This Could Be The Best Place In The World To Retire Well On A Budget Of $1,200 Per Month Or Less
Danang, Vietnam, is emerging as one of the best places in the world to retire comfortably on a small budget.
Clean and modern, Danang is also both cosmopolitan and seaside, a city of nearly a million people that manages to retain a small-town feel. New skyscrapers give the downtown a decidedly “developed” look, but you won’t find the hustle and bustle here that you find in other Vietnamese cities.
Other differences, too, set Danang apart both in Vietnam and in Southeast Asia. Danang has an active recycling program, and the city is virtually litter-free. Few cities in the developing world are as clean as this one.
Danang is also home to a visible and upwardly mobile middle class. This is partially due to a relative lack of corruption. Unlike many cities in Vietnam, good jobs in Danang are filled by qualified applicants, rather than being sold to those who can afford to buy them.
Wide roads make driving safe, and wide sidewalks make the city pedestrian-friendly. The Han River runs through downtown, and the heart of the riverfront is flanked by two new bridges so stunning that they have won architectural awards. Other than along this riverfront, you’ll encounter few vendors or beggars. The city as a whole has the look and feel of a comfortable, safe, and economically viable place to live.
Then there’s the beach, one of the cleanest, safest, and most attractive in all Southeast Asia. The beachside promenade spans the length of the city along the coast of the South China Sea, with parks and playgrounds along its wide, well-maintained walkway, and the popular stretches of soft sand here are supported by lifeguards and litter barrels.
Yet Danang is not a “beach town.” The beaches receive surprisingly little use, and no matter the time of year, it’s generally easy to find a deserted stretch of sand.
Historically, Danang has been little more than a transportation hub, but this is changing, and, indeed, Danang hasn’t completely escaped discovery. Nearly 4,200 foreigners have settled in the city and the beachside developments. Expats and retirees who’ve chosen to settle here love the friendliness of the local people, the high quality of life, the low cost of living, and the weather. Danang boasts one of the nicest climates in Vietnam. Temperatures are warm but not too hot, and there’s always a gentle ocean breeze.
How To Spend Your Day In Danang, Vietnam
How might a retiree in this city spend his days? In addition to the beach, there are two outstanding golf courses nearby, both about 20 minutes south of town on the coastal road to Hoi An. Montgomerie Links features 18 holes and a driving range designed by European golf great Colin Montgomerie, and the Danang Golf Club, with its rugged, seaside links intended to be reminiscent of the first golf courses in Scotland, was designed by golf legend Greg Norman.. In 2012-2013, it was awarded “Best Golf Course in Vietnam” by USA Golf Digest.
Danang is located within 100 miles of three UNESCO World Heritage Sites—the ancient towns of Hoi An and Hue and the Hindu ruins of the Champa Kingdom at Mỹ Sơn—making Danang a perfect base for the history buff. Its proximity to these major attractions also means a nice selection of restaurants, spas, and other amenities; yet Danang isn’t a tourist town.
UN Habitat Asia awarded Danang the title of “Cityscape Asia 2013″ recognizing the city for its “harmonious coexistence with the regional environment; safety, convenience, and sustainability; respect for regional culture and history; high artistic quality; contributions to local development [and its] capability of becoming [a] model for other cities.”
All of this could be enjoyed by a retired couple with a budget of as little as US$1,200 per month.
Which is why we asked Southeast Asian Correspondent Wendy Justice to file a complete report on retirement in this part of the world. Wendy’s full and fully illustrated guide to expat life in Danang, including a detailed budget, is featured in this month’s issue of my Overseas Retirement Letter.
If you’re a subscriber to the Overseas Retirement Letter, the report should have landed in your inbox. If you’re not a subscriber, you can get on board here now in time to receive your copy.