Once the royal capital of Laos, the small city of Luang Prabang is known for its remarkable Buddhist temples. Some shimmer with gold leaf, glass, and mirrored mosaic tiles, others are adorned with lavish paintings...and that's just the exteriors...
In 2010, Larry John paid $142,000 for his three-bedroom, two-bathroom condo with a sea view, in Penang, Malaysia. It's off a tree-lined street in a well-kept, gated development, with a top-of-the-line gym and swimming pool.
My husband Mark and I are sitting in a jeep surrounded by tall grass, watching a leopard tuck into a fresh kill just 30 feet away. He doesn’t take his topaz eyes off me while he eats. Our trusty driver, Nuwan, tells us, “Don’t worry. He can’t be bothered to move if we don’t give him a reason to.” We are not in Africa. We’re in Yala National Park in Sri Lanka, that large, teardrop-shaped island nation at the base of India.
Small, frothy waves slowly recede from the light tan sand, while the colorful parachutes of kiteboards fly overhead. A man in a cowboy hat walks his horse along the strand, hoping someone will ask for a ride. I’m sitting in Beach Café Restaurant, drinking fresh coconut water right from the shell ($2) and taking it all in.
Turquoise waters lap the white-sand beach fringed with casuarina trees. There are no jet skis or banana boats here—just a few stand-up paddle boarders and a kayak or two.
“The last time I went exploring by motorbike through the jungle, I saw an elephant just walking down the road. An elephant! Now that doesn’t happen in Canada,” says Michael Brown, who now makes his home in the Thai resort city of Hua Hin. “I have the time to enjoy my life, and there is truly so much to enjoy here.”
Tired of cold weather and the workday drudgery in his native Minnesota, Dave Christopherson was eager to turn his back on the working world. Having snow nearly five months a year was just too much.
His love affair with his new home is understandable. For him, the tropical climate, the beaches, the Filipinos’ friendly, hospitable nature, and the low cost of living make it a dream come true. He lives in a big city, yet he still feels that he has the typical “island lifestyle” that you’d expect from the Philippines. Life is simpler, like the 1950s U.S., but with all the First-World amenities he could want. And “if you ask me for just one thing I love about the place, it would be the people. Their seemingly never ending smiles brighten each and every day.
The road winds its way up tree-lined slopes. Here, the hustle and bustle of the Philippine capital, Manila, seems a world away. As you breathe in the cool mountain air, you can already feel the heat and humidity easing off. But it’s the scenery that leaves a lasting impression. Below you, the forested hills descend to a massive blue lake with small islands jutting from its basin. Rising from the lake’s center is a volcano, whose crater holds yet another small lake. There are views you can tire of… but this certainly isn’t one of them.
From the air as your plane descends, you see banana trees of every shade of green stretching as far as the eye can see, ﬂanked by cobalt-blue waters dotted with ﬁshing boats. Lots of foreigners have landed in Dumaguete before me. This quaint ocean-side town of about 120,000 locals is home to 4,500 expats. The town is famed for its energy and vibrance, thanks to seven universities and colleges. You’ll ﬁnd the ﬁrst private U.S. university in Asia here—Silliman University. This in turn houses the best private hospital in town, where for $56 a night you can get a private room, if need be.