Chiang Mai, Thailand
Thanks to its weather and low cost of living, Thailand has been on retirees' radars for years, and Chiang Mai is cheap, even by Thai standards.
"For under $2,000, I live like a king," says Barry, a Canadian who relocated to Chiang Mai in early 2009. Since then, he has rented a 1,200-square-foot condo for a little more than $400 per month. Groceries are no big concern, usually running him about $50 per month. Restaurants cost about twice that, at $100 per month -- and he goes out to eat almost every day.
Barry says that Chiang Mai has just about everything he needs. "There are Western-style restaurants, entertainment venues and social events," he says. The city has several modern hospitals. "I had an emergency spinal fusion two years ago at a cost of 280,000 baht (about $9,300 at the time). In Canada, medical coverage is free, but the waiting time is long. Here, the service is almost instantaneous and very professional."
More routine medical issues are so inexpensive, Barry says, that he doesn't need insurance to cover them. "Going to a dentist for a checkup and cleaning is 500 baht," or about $16.