MALAYSIA topped the chart for the most ideal place to retire among Asian countries in 2018, according to a new Retirement Index from International Living.com.

According to the latest index, which took into consideration criteria such as cost of living, healthcare and climate, Malaysia ranked fifth globally while Costa Rica was the most preferred destination to retire in the world.

The site said Malaysia was ideal due to its tropical climate, and offered the best options for retirees to choose from, be it in the heart of cities or in mellow towns, most of which are surrounded by nature or beaches.

It also noted that retirees could live comfortably in Malaysia with just US$2,500 (RM9,930) a month, only a small chunk of living costs in Western countries.

The site said that medical tourism was also another factor as the country had quality healthcare at affordable prices. while choices of restaurants and imported groceries were readily available for the homesick.

The site also lauded the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme, calling the retirement visa option one of the best in the world, easing the process for retirees.

The yearly index compiled the top 24 retirement havens around the world based on key criteria for a happy retirement.

Besides Costa Rica and Malaysia, other countries that made it onto the list were Mexico at second place, followed by Panama (third), Ecuador (fourth), Colombia (sixth), Portugal (seventh), Nicaragua (eighth), Spain (ninth) and Peru (tenth).

– Bernama