Now, the downside
But the comforts of the orient do come with their share of disadvantages. Quality health care in Southeast Asia, for example, can be expensive especially in the case of treating long-term illnesses.
"Health insurance is not really affordable once you get to 70 and medical bills are very expensive," Les and Sally said.
"It's reasonably cheap to visit the doctor or the hospital, but in the case of a serious illness, then we would have to consider whether we could afford ongoing treatment," added Mea.
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Imported products in local supermarkets can also be pricier. 62-year-old British retiree John Harvey, who chose to retire in Malaysia four years ago, said alcohol is "disproportionately expensive," adding that this was not something he begrudged and fully accepted as part of living in a different culture.
He also cited the higher levels of crime in the region, which played a key role in his choice of retirement destination. John ruled out the Philippines from his shortlist of five countries due to safety concerns, ultimately settling on Malaysia, although he noted that reports of crime in the country have risen recently.
"If you read the press there is an increasing number of incidences of crime… I don't feel threatened but I've always adopted the policy of not drawing attention to yourself and not going to areas that are regarded as unsafe," John said.
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For Les and Sally, road safety is among their biggest worries living in Thailand. "The driving is dreadful and it's a risk you take every day you go out," said the British couple. "Many people drink and drive, there are rarely any police unless you do have an accident," they added.
Still, for the Pages, the benefits far outweigh these concerns.
In Ko Samui, they live comfortably in a three-bedroom villa with a swimming pool and eat out several times a week, paying £1,500 ($2,358) a month for their total living costs, although Sally noted that they could easily live off around £100 pounds a week if they wanted to.
This compares with monthly living costs in the U.K. of around £2,000; and this amount doesn't include eating out as often or the cost of running a swimming pool.
For John, he still gets startled by the difference in living costs when he makes trips back home to the U.K.
"The prices shock me when I go back to England. The cost of doing anything [is higher]," he said.
—By CNBC's Katie Holliday: Follow her on Twitter @hollidaykatie