Thailand joined the top 10 retirement destinations alongside Malta and Malaysia, InternationalLiving.com has announced. Comparing countries' cost of living, climate, real estate , ease of integration, retirement infrastructure and health, the magazine ranked the 22 best places in the world for retiring in 2013.
Ecuador was ranked number one with a score of 91.9 out of 100, closely followed by Panama (89), Malaysia (87.6), Mexico (85.1) and Costa Rica (84.4). Uruguay, Colombia, Spain, Thailand and Malta completed the rest of the top 10.
"This is a qualitative assessment exploring what matters most to you when you consider an overseas retirement spot," explained the site. "We don't just look at hard numbers. We talk to the expats living there and ask for the details."
"Our life in Ecuador is everything we hoped for," expat Mike Grimm, who arrived in Cuenca two-and-a-half years ago with his wife Patty, commented. The country's mix of tropical beaches, affordable healthcare and beer make it a popular choice, reveals the index, as well as the fact that expats can import household goods duty-free.
"We're totally happy and plan to live here the rest of our lives," Grimm added.
"Panama's just an easy place to live," another said of the second place destination, where pensioners can obtain residency visas quickly, entitling them to discounts at restaurants and entertainment, plus up to 15% off medication and consultation.
"It has lots going for it," he continued, "the government stays off your back."
Malaysia was boosted by its golf and sporting facilities, as well as the low prices and weather.
"You don't have to look far to find fascinating cultural traditions here," expat Deborah Mackay said about Mexico. "Music, dancing, all kinds of colorful exhibitions are a regular part of life. And the cherry on the cake is that they're usually free!"
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