3/19/2013 3:15 PM ET|
Best secret retirement spot
This South Asian island destination is a natural wonderland with a quirky personality and high-quality affordable health care.
Kuching, situated just inland of the northwest coast of the island of Borneo, offers retirees with a sense of wanderlust a generous helping of laid-back charm along with a high standard of living, all for a downright bargain cost.
Kuching offers unlimited opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. This is the land of endangered proboscis monkeys, orangutans, the world's biggest flower and the elusive hornbill. Some of the world's largest remaining virgin rainforests can be explored in the many national parks just a short distance from the city. However, this isn't about jungle living. Kuching is a pleasant and modern city. On your less adventurous days, you could relax on pristine beaches, be pampered in a spa, play a round of golf, watch the latest Hollywood films, or enjoy a day shopping at one of the many malls and specialty shops in the city.
The name Kuching is derived from the Malay word for "cat," and feline lovers will find themselves in good company here. The city is proud of its cat statues and cat museum and seems to have a certain lazy and content feline quality about it.
In fact, Kuching may be the perfect off-the-beaten-track retirement destination. Incentives for permanent residency are even more generous here than they are in the rest of Malaysia, and the cost of living can be less than $600 a month for a home-owning couple.
But Borneo? Where in the world are we talking about? Kuching, the capital of the state of Sarawak, is situated very near the equator in the northwestern part of Malaysian Borneo, the third-largest island in the world. Sarawak is bordered on the south by the Indonesian state of West Kalimantan and on the east by the tiny, oil-rich country of Brunei. The South China Sea lies directly to the north of Kuching. Sarawak, with a total population of about 2 million, is the largest in area of the 13 Malaysian states. It has 420 miles of coastline and an extremely rugged interior, much of which is still covered in primary rainforest.
Kuching itself, though, is a pretty city that presents a comfortable blend of neo-classical British colonial forts, museums, and government buildings, Chinese-style churches, shop-houses and temples, and unique Borneo-style arts and crafts. It's an eclectic mix.
One of the many factors that make Malaysia such an appealing retirement option is its high standard of health care. Hospitals are well-equipped and modern, and most medical personnel speak fluent English. In addition, health care costs are very low, and the quality of care tends to be excellent. Since Malaysia does not have any medical schools, all physicians practicing medicine here have received their education abroad, mainly in the European Union, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States. Health care is of such a high standard and so reasonably priced that Malaysia is one of the world's top medical tourism destinations, with visits growing at a rate of 30% annually.
Crime-wise, very little happens in Kuching. The risk of being a victim of a violent crime is almost nonexistent in Kuching, and acts of terrorism are extremely unlikely. According to the Global Peace Index, Malaysia is the 19th safest country in the world. (In comparison, the U.S. ranks 82nd in the same survey.)
Kuching has other attributes that make it a pleasant, comfortable, nice place to be. It is one of the cleanest cities in Malaysia and has been recognized by the United Nations, the Alliance for Healthy Cities, and the World Health Organization for this achievement. English speakers will have no problem communicating in Kuching, as English is an official language of Sarawak. Foreign home buyers enjoy special incentives with the My Second Home Program in Kuching and select other cities in the state of Sarawak, and are permitted to purchase property at a lower minimum investment than in any other state in Malaysia.
If living in a modern city in the heart of "wild" Borneo piques your imagination, you'll find that Kuching will exceed your expectations. Outdoor enthusiasts will delight in the pristine beaches, virgin jungles, and unparalleled exotic wildlife, as well as the opportunities for golf and hiking in the cool highlands. Retirees preferring city life will be heartened by plentiful shopping, museum hopping, and abundant culinary delights. Whether you prefer the cosmopolitan life or the great outdoors, you'll be immersed in the unique culture of this region, interacting with the indigenous community and gaining appreciation for the distinctive arts and traditions of its people.
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I have a much better secret retirement spot. MY BACKYARD.
Living the good life, getting up when I want to. Doing the things I like. Enjoying time with the grandkids, sitting outside listening to the birds and having the most cheerful little helpers. The drinks will always cold in the cooler and never a drink I don't like. My garden will keep me busy. I will always be able to find a sexy lady (wife) to take to lunch or dinner. Take an afternoon nap. What more can a person want?
These writers are morons who don't know that the Visa is the most important!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1
Here we go again, MSN with another "Paradise" retirement. They come up with one every other week, and they really pick some "winners". You take your life in your hands if you move to any othe country especially in SE Asia.
I'm really waiting for the "retire in Pakistan" and live like a king.
"This is the land of endangered proboscis monkeys, orangutans, the world's biggest flower ..."
Somehow they failed to mention that the world's biggest flower smells like decaying flesh. Ah, paradise...
Sounds like someone is trying to convince us to go to Borneo. Probably a realtor witha bunch of properties that he can't sell.
I'm Brazilian born and traveled a lot. I would not trade my place in the USA. Here is where I feel at home. Always.
It always gets me whenever a writer, along with the editor allowing the piece to be published, writes nonsense like this.
Areas overseas, especially in the tropics, have bacterial and viral ailments that's indigenous to the region, something that American doctors and the public are not aware of.
(Sarcastically speaking) So, if you want to live in an area where you can be suseptible to contract a indigenous ailment, with substandard medical care offered in the region, then by all means move there.
Believe you me the USA is the best place to retire. I have travelled extensively and like all the other readers have mentioned you must know the language thats a BIG problem getting to know the Locals, Corruption everything you do you have to give Baksheesh which is Tips in Hindi. We live in India and there are no movies you can go to, The Cinema Halls are filthy and over crowded, no eat out places no bingo no wheel chair accessible nothing for the retired. Borneo would be a death sentence..forget it. Better stay close to the grankids adn in the USA.
Living in a country where you don't communicate well with the locals? Rules and regulations you can't read or need someone to translate for you? Learning a new language in your retirement years? Doesn't sound like fun to me.
If I were to retire, I would go where there is no language barrier. Expat colonies are OK, but you're still living in a third world country with all the warts that go with that designation.
I would rather live in a retirement community in the US were they cater to people with the needs of seniors in mind. Weather is the big determinant. I don't want to shovel show in my old age, or worry about the bone cold rain all the time. I probably would live in the warm, dry climes. I personally like southern CA and it's inland areas are comparable to housing prices nationwide, except you have the beaches and mountains on either side of you with little rain and warm weather. Property taxes are set at about 1-2% of sales price and can only go up at a low set rate thanks to Prop.13. Oh, and that occasional earthquake. But then every haven has it's downside.
What about Golf? TV? fast food drive thrus? roads? water? sewer? public works?
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