Did you know, you don’t need to be 50+ years of age to actually travel and live abroad. If you are fortunate to have one of the more powerful Passports in this world… you can travel to MANY countries, and most importantly, have the ability to stay, leave and come back, without immigration giving you a hard time.
With that being said, in this article, I’ll be covering the reason why TODAY (in 2018 and going forward), you could enjoy the beautiful culture and people of the Asian ethnicity. Below I’ll be covering the most important countries which make traveling in South East Asia a FUN experience.
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Important Criteria which make it Worth It
Cost of Living
This has to be one of the biggest reasons why many foreigners move abroad or travel most of the year. The cost of living compared to 1st world western countries is a fraction of the cost.
Want an example?
Being from the United States, outside of the city on the east coast we are generally paying around $850-$950 per month for rent for a 2 bedroom apartment.
Add a car payment of $300 per month, plus $125 for auto insurance, plus $200 for gas, plus health insurance of $200 per month, plus utilities. … this leads to an EASY $2K + per month in living expenses.
Say for example you manage to save $25,000 of cash in 3 years… that $25,000 will cover you for just barely one year.
That if anything, should be your emergency fund.
Now how about if you managed to save $25,000 (after taxes) and lived in a place like… Thailand. Now, of course, it depends on where you’d try, but let’s say a place like Chiang Mai.
Using an amazing source like Airbnb, you can rent a beautiful and modern apartment with a flat screen tv, good internet, modern appliances, beautiful bathroom, a good view, and an excellent cleaning staff…. For around $550-$700 for the month. This includes water, electricity, heat, and everything else.
*You can go cheaper if you end up signing a lease for 6-12 months. Bring that rent down toads the upper 400’s or low 500’s.
Rent a scooter for less than $100 per month, with another $30-$40 per month in fuel. Next one being food, you’ll spend a lot LESS, something like $100-$125 per month to eat 2-3x each day at little street restaurants which serve AMAZING food btw.
Lastly, unless you apply for a long-term tourist visa (3+ months stay), you’ll need to fly out and fly back into the country which should be $100-$200 per round trip.
All in all, you are looking at around $1000 per month for living expenses each month. And what I covered above can be drastically reduced if you move to a cheaper location or you don’t spend as much money on some of the things I mentioned.
That $25000 can make you live abroad instead of 10-12 months, more like 22-24 months. In that meantime, you are bound to also find some kind of work locally or online if you try at least a little bit.
Getting your own automobile is not advisable, at least in most of these countries… it’s simply a pain in the next.
(Aside for countries like Singapore, which would be expensive to rent an automobile… let alone buy one).
You can either use TukTuks which charge very reasonable rates (most of the time), regular local taxi drivers (not the best choice usually), or use Uber/Grab. The latter is the best choice because you KNOW which car you’ll be getting, how soon it will arrive, and what is the driver’s reputation with the star ratings.
It’s actually the cheapest option because it does NOT discriminate because you are a foreigner.
You probably assumed that Asians live longer than most other parts of the world, and that is very true today. Healthier living CAN be had if you live in most of these countries which are listed below.
One wild awakening which I realized when arriving in Chiang Man and Phuket Thailand, was the amount of green which was planted around me. From cafe’s to peoples houses, you felt like you were part of nature.
Most places have amazing food to match the culture. Rice or noodles being the staple food of most meals, makes getting full very easily. Plenty of vegetables and meats which are not processed.
Go buy a meal which Is ready to eat, and if you cheap out, you’ll spend about 2 USD. Now heat it up, and eat. Discussing, quality is complete crap. Now make your own single meal for two portions, you’ll be paying about $10 USD. Buy a ready to eat an organic meal, and you’ll be looking at $7-$12.
Expensive and a waste of time, let along health…
Now let’s take a simple dish in Thailand called “Pad Thai” which costs around $1.75-$2.50 for a plate with free water. Double that if you want seconds…
$3.5 to $5.00 to be completely full. And let’s not forget about the amount of time you managed to save by doing this.
You’ll SAVE money if you eat at reasonable places. Your body will THANK YOU for eating simple, unprocessed food.
Switch Countries for Less Than $100 USD
Unless you applied for a long-term visa, you’ll need to leave every 14-30 days (depending on the country). Usually, the easiest countries to do “Visa Runs” are Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia.
However, for a few western countries, countries such as Malaysia and Singapore, let you stay for 90 days before you are required to either get a Visa OR, fly out and fly back in.
Countries like Viet Nam usually require visas prior to arrival. However, they are easy to get and can let you stay in the country for up to 12 months at a time. This will cost about $300-$400 but it’s well worth it. A planned flight can cost you as little as 50 dollars round trip using airlines like NokAir, AirAsia, CebuPacific, VietJet, LionAir, Tigetair, and a few other not so popular airlines.
Friendly & Hospitable People
Every country has someone who can ruin your experience as a tourist. However, that is the exception and not the rule. SouthEast Asian countries generally are welcoming and love you for being a guest in their country.
Thai’s, Filipinos, Indonesians, Vietnamese, Singaporeans, Malays and many others… are kind, welcoming, and even with their limited English… will make you feel like at home.
Again, don’t forget, negativity is everywhere… it’s an exception and not a rule.
Countries to Focus
Oh the Philippines, it’s the most English fluent south-east Asian country. The beautiful weather year-round makes it an excellent location for retiring to or living at if from abroad. While made up of many islands, the primary places you can live at and experience “like home” comfort is in Central Luzon, NCR area, Mindanao, Davao, and a few others.
Now that’s not to say everywhere else is not as great… quite the contrary. What you’ll find that is unique, is that the more remote you go, the more beautiful this country gets.
Most of the country speak Tagalog (Filipino) and English. Especially in the National Capital Region, you’ll find 95% of the people speaking enough English to where you won’t have a problem keeping a conversation.
The land of smiles as most would say and beautiful Buddhist templates. Thailand is known for their incredible hospitality, delicious food, and incredible flexibility with visa requirements.
While not the most English fluent country, it’s not that bad. With that in mind, you’ll easily get around by using a thing like Google Translate which works quite well with getting a point across from your native language.
What you’ll find here is VERY affordable living, very nice people, easy getting around with scooters, and a lot of nature exploration. If nature is something you truly enjoy being in, Thailand is quite breathtaking for that.
Remember to not disrespect the Buddha, and God forbid… their current or previous King. Enjoy! : )
While this country has some visa requirements for traveling, receiving the visa’s isn’t tough… it really only takes money. So with that in mind, you’ll see what this country has to offer… which is quite a lot.
Stretching a few hundred miles from north to south, you’ll experience humid tropical climate and colder going towards Hanoi and further north. This country actually has more than one season when it comes to temperature. It’s not uncommon to find yourself in 13-16 degree Celsius temperature during the November-January months.
Food is really good, just like Thai. Most would find that their popular dishes is Pho, Banh mi, Bun bo Hue, and many others. Heavy on noodles and pork… and boy is it delicious.
It’s one of the cheapest countries to live in that is VERY WELL developed in their big cities. Cheap transportation, cheap food, cheap housing, cheap visa requirements, many places to see… that’s what it comes down to.
In Malaysia, the people are very nice… especially if you get out of the city. In this place, unlike many other Asian countries, you don’t feel like a walking ATM machine. Quite a relaxing feeling actually.
English is widely spoken, just like in Singapore and Philippines. Whether you are on a bus, in a taxi, or at a food court… you may find some interesting conversations. Believe it or not, the wildlife in this country is truly diverse… like seriously, you can see monkeys, tigers, elephants, and much more. With that, you’ll see them in some spectacular scenery ranging from beautiful beaches to inland mountains.
The culture is there, with Malay, Indian and Chinese making up the major portion of individuals living. If you like spicy food, Indian food is the way to go, enjoy eating chicken or beef with rice? Malay food is great too. Or you can simply have meat, vegetables, and rice all in one with truly traditional Chinese food.
While this may be a tiny country… as in the size of a big city, don’t let it fool you. It’s an amazing place to visit and live in, thanks primarily to their strict rules and exceptional cleanliness.
Now with that being said, this is by far, the most expensive country on the list. You are not going to find budget-friendly living here. Expect to pay a premium for living expenses such as rent and food. However transportation is affordable, but you may opt out of that and choose to walk instead.
Singapore is the most expensive place in the world, and their infrastructure is clearly showing significant innovation in technology. This place IS strict with a few things (one is drugs, don’t ever bring drugs here that are classified illegal where you are from).
Check out what NOT to do in Singapore.
With those things in mind, you otherwise will have an excellent stay in this beautiful and well-organized miro-nation.
If there was ever a competition for the country with the most islands, most volcanos, most wild life, most beautiful locations and most diverse cultures… Philippines would come kind of close, but Indonesia takes the win hands down.
The people of Indonesia are some of the most generous, as there’s different religions and cultures all throughout this giant nation (Main one being Islam though ).
Getting around is of course easy if you have a motor bike, from island to island it’s by either plane or boat, and if in the city of Jakarta… its Uber or Grab.
When it comes to living expenses, this country ties with Thailand and Viet Nam.