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-   -   How much would living 3months in Thailand/Cambodia/Vietnam cost during Dec-Feb? (https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/asia/1855608-how-much-would-living-3months-thailand-cambodia-vietnam-cost-during-dec-feb.html)

snail Jul 22, 17 12:06 pm

Good English speaking cities in Thailand/Cambodia/Vietnam?
 
I'm a Single male (no kids), mid-40s, and only speak English.

I'm tired of winters in the US and am thinking about living in a warm but cheap country during that time when I retire in a couple of years.

Which SE Asia cities can a English only speaker get by for 3months?
And how much would it cost to live there during Dec-Feb?

thx

sbm12 Jul 22, 17 12:16 pm

What lifestyle do you plan to lead (type of housing, beach/city/mountains, etc.)? Travel a lot in the region or stay put?

A couple thousand dollars per month can go a long way but it can take a little extra up front to get situated. Moving to a new location adds costs typically.

invisible Jul 22, 17 11:04 pm

Side note: 'mid-40s' and 'retire in couple of years' in my world do not usually go together unless you have enough money to afford not to work for next 40-something years starting from now.

Regarding the question - did OP also asked if he considers if cost of living includes other stuff like medical expenses as well, if required? What are requirements for amenities?

With 'English only' requirement the only two counties fit - Malaysia and Singapore. Singapore and 'cheap' can be used only with relation to hawker center food, nothing else.

With Malaysia price tag is certainly cheaper comparing to Singapore and US but it still be more expensive than any other country in the region.

It would definitely help to know the specifics of 'living' and on what money is going to be spent.

RustyC Jul 23, 17 1:21 am

It's certainly do-able to go to an expat haven like Phuket or Pattaya and speak only English. Lots of people are in that situation. Renting by the month is also very do-able (even with hotels), though at the cheaper end the utilities will be separate. Location can be a BIG deal in the Thai places to avoid transit/traffic problems, and people ignore that at their peril. Cambodia and Vietnam are cheaper, but for a reason. Malaysia may be cheaper than Thailand these days, but gets fewer takers.

snail Jul 23, 17 6:28 pm


Originally Posted by sbm12 (Post 28592388)
What lifestyle do you plan to lead (type of housing, beach/city/mountains, etc.)? Travel a lot in the region or stay put?

A couple thousand dollars per month can go a long way but it can take a little extra up front to get situated. Moving to a new location adds costs typically.

not beach. I cant swim.
not mountain. I have Achilles tendon problems so cant walk/hike miles.

for the 1st time there, I'll stay put to get accustomed to the area.



Originally Posted by invisible (Post 28594563)
Side note: 'mid-40s' and 'retire in couple of years' in my world do not usually go together unless you have enough money to afford not to work for next 40-something years starting from now.

Regarding the question - did OP also asked if he considers if cost of living includes other stuff like medical expenses as well, if required? What are requirements for amenities?

With 'English only' requirement the only two counties fit - Malaysia and Singapore. Singapore and 'cheap' can be used only with relation to hawker center food, nothing else.

With Malaysia price tag is certainly cheaper comparing to Singapore and US but it still be more expensive than any other country in the region.

It would definitely help to know the specifics of 'living' and on what money is going to be spent.

um.. no, did not consider medical! :eek:
wow.. might not retire in a couple of years.

How expensive is Malaysia?

don't have any specifics of 'living' besides must have Internet :p

Flying Machine Jul 23, 17 6:55 pm


Originally Posted by snail (Post 28598075)
not beach. I cant swim.
not mountain. I have Achilles tendon problems so cant walk/hike miles.

for the 1st time there, I'll stay put to get accustomed to the area.



um.. no, did not consider medical! :eek:
wow.. might not retire in a couple of years.

How expensive is Malaysia?

don't have any specifics of 'living' besides must have Internet :p

Take a look at HCMC (Saigon)I bet you can live really well for $50 US a day. $30 for logging and $20 a day for food and transportation (bus) really fun city with lots of zones to explore. English is my native tonge and I had no issues at all..

invisible Jul 23, 17 10:10 pm


Originally Posted by snail (Post 28598075)
not beach. I cant swim.
not mountain. I have Achilles tendon problems so cant walk/hike miles.
um.. no, did not consider medical! :eek:

So you potentially might need to put into equation medical costs as well.


Originally Posted by snail (Post 28598075)
How expensive is Malaysia?
don't have any specifics of 'living' besides must have Internet :p

Answer is 'it depends'. You definitely won't have any language problem in many major cities - KL, Ipoh, Melaka, Johor, Kuching, KK, etc.
The problem is that you 'might' find life quite... drab. Especially if you want to minimize costs on living expenses and as a result staying at outskirts instead of places where most 'life' happens.

Secondly, while you have desire to get away from winter, you might are not ready to deal with the local realities in terms of weather - at least for most of Malaysia it is 90-92F during the day, 84-86F during night with 80% of humidity. 365 days. And during Dec-March period it rains. 2-4h every day/night. You either get used to it or find yourself confined into air conditioned places all the time. Which with the same success you can do in US as well.

While Vietnam is cheaper, language is still a barrier and then there is another thing - due to the fact that you are a westerner you most likely will be considered as a walking ATM for locals. Well unless you have a local person who accompanies you all the time. Plus navigating street traffic in Saigon for person who did not grew up there might be an impossible task. I've seen western tourists stuck at sidewalk for 20 minutes unable to cross the street.

Flying Machine Jul 23, 17 10:50 pm


Originally Posted by invisible (Post 28598682)
So you potentially might need to put into equation medical costs as well.


Answer is 'it depends'. You definitely won't have any language problem in many major cities - KL, Ipoh, Melaka, Johor, Kuching, KK, etc.
The problem is that you 'might' find life quite... drab. Especially if you want to minimize costs on living expenses and as a result staying at outskirts instead of places where most 'life' happens.

Secondly, while you have desire to get away from winter, you might are not ready to deal with the local realities in terms of weather - at least for most of Malaysia it is 90-92F during the day, 84-86F during night with 80% of humidity. 365 days. And during Dec-March period it rains. 2-4h every day/night. You either get used to it or find yourself confined into air conditioned places all the time. Which with the same success you can do in US as well.

While Vietnam is cheaper, language is still a barrier and then there is another thing - due to the fact that you are a westerner you most likely will be considered as a walking ATM for locals. Well unless you have a local person who accompanies you all the time. Plus navigating street traffic in Saigon for person who did not grew up there might be an impossible task. I've seen western tourists stuck at sidewalk for 20 minutes unable to cross the street.

I think the 20 minutes is an exaggeration .. and in a day or two most people are walking in and out of traffic like a local..

calbear2005 Jul 24, 17 10:41 am


Originally Posted by Flying Machine (Post 28598772)
I think the 20 minutes is an execration.. and in a day or two most people are walking in and out of traffic like a local..

Or after an hour or two of walking. From what I remember, Saigon had a good amount of stop lights and crosswalks, so it wasn't too much of an issue. Either way, just avoid the cars and trucks; the motorcycles will maneuver around you as long as you keep to a predictable path (no stopping suddenly, doubling back, etc.).

CrazyInteg Jul 24, 17 2:51 pm

Phoenix is pretty nice in the winter, is pretty cheap, and they mostly speak English there. You can legally own a car and drive yourself around. Good healthcare.

As a tourist in SE Asia, you will probably be doing a lot of walking, so your leg injury might have a big effect on your quality of life.

If you rent a no-frills one bedroom apartment, don't air condition the place to 65 degrees and eat at home almost everyday, I think $1500 a month is do-able in SE Asia. But if you like to eat out and drink imported beers, you're looking at $2500+ per month.

nydave11 Jul 24, 17 3:23 pm

You should check out International Living. I am not plugging them as they are a shill for lots of real estate stuff, but you may get some ideas from them. You should look at the Philippines. They sort of speak English and you should be able to rent a furnished apartment for $600 a month max. You might want to look at some of the expat areas of Mexico. Ecuador is also very cheap right now, however you will run into a lack of English. Grenada Nicaragua might fit what you are looking for as the locals now speak some English. Be aware of 90 day tourist visas in many locations. A little more expensive might be the Algarve in Portugal.

Diplomatico Jul 24, 17 10:25 pm


Originally Posted by nydave11 (Post 28602144)
You should check out International Living. I am not plugging them as they are a shill for lots of real estate stuff, but you may get some ideas from them. You should look at the Philippines. They sort of speak English and you should be able to rent a furnished apartment for $600 a month max. You might want to look at some of the expat areas of Mexico. Ecuador is also very cheap right now, however you will run into a lack of English. Grenada Nicaragua might fit what you are looking for as the locals now speak some English. Be aware of 90 day tourist visas in many locations. A little more expensive might be the Algarve in Portugal.

They speak English quite possibly better than anywhere else in Asia.

invisible Jul 25, 17 12:08 am


Originally Posted by Diplomatico (Post 28603504)
They speak English quite possibly better than anywhere else in Asia.

Better than in Singapore where English is the primary language?

MSPeconomist Jul 25, 17 12:27 am

There's a big website/internet bulletin board oriented toward foreign English teachers working in Thailand. It has a lot of information on the cost of living for expats in various locations in Bangkok and around Thailand, including a number of blogposts on this topic. There's also some practical information about finding apartments and the pros and cons of different locations.

If you stay under three months, you can probably avoid visa requirements, but doing this too many times might raise questions about whether you're working illegally, including over the internet. Some YouTube star seems to have gotten in trouble over this recently.

maverick17 Jul 25, 17 5:52 am

I live in Saigon. The housing can vary from $300 a month for a room, or $400 a month for a furnished apartment in the suburbs, on up to $1000 a month or more for a nice place downtown. Internet I pay $13 a month for fast enough to stream sports and tv online. Mobile I pay about $5 a month for 450 mb data and texts. Electricity is $20 a month without A/C, I only prefer fans. With A/C will get you up to maybe 60 or 75 a month. Food budget can be cheap if you want to, around 5 bucks a day, on up for eating out a lot or whatnot. Consider the visa cost where you go and if you have to exit the country or can stay the whole three months. Uber, taxis and walking is all very easy in Vietnam. Renting a motorbike is about $50 a month, but please don't do it unless you are very careful and learn the rules (which many tourists don't realize exist).

Diplomatico Jul 25, 17 8:26 am


Originally Posted by invisible (Post 28603770)
Better than in Singapore where English is the primary language?

The OP asked for a "warm but cheap" place in SE Asia. Does Singapore qualify for that definition in your opinion? If not, then it's irrelevant to the thread.

CrazyInteg Jul 25, 17 8:36 am


Originally Posted by MSPeconomist (Post 28603809)
Thailand

If you stay under three months, you can probably avoid visa requirements, but doing this too many times might raise questions about whether you're working illegally, including over the internet.

One visa per year will raise questions? 60 day tourist visa plus 30 day extension.

Flying Machine Jul 25, 17 9:22 am


Originally Posted by maverick17 (Post 28604428)
I live in Saigon. The housing can vary from $300 a month for a room, or $400 a month for a furnished apartment in the suburbs, on up to $1000 a month or more for a nice place downtown. Internet I pay $13 a month for fast enough to stream sports and tv online. Mobile I pay about $5 a month for 450 mb data and texts. Electricity is $20 a month without A/C, I only prefer fans. With A/C will get you up to maybe 60 or 75 a month. Food budget can be cheap if you want to, around 5 bucks a day, on up for eating out a lot or whatnot. Consider the visa cost where you go and if you have to exit the country or can stay the whole three months. Uber, taxis and walking is all very easy in Vietnam. Renting a motorbike is about $50 a month, but please don't do it unless you are very careful and learn the rules (which many tourists don't realize exist).

Great post about a great city. Very concise and relevant and on point. Al I could add is the vibrancy of the city. E visa for USA Passports is $25. A quick trip to Cambodia by bus with Visa arranged by Bus for about $50 will solve your Vietnam Visa stay issues.a fun trip too.

889 Jul 25, 17 7:25 pm

Your money will probably go farthest in Indonesia, and you'll get pretty good value for it. Given you don't seem to have much experience living in Asia, touristy but comfy Bali might be just the place for you, probably somewhere around Ubud. Indonesia's a bad choice if you might need good healthcare, though.

Finally, don't ignore the earlier comment about walking. If you're a drive-everywhere type with a foot problem, then Asia just about anywhere may be a bad fit for you.

invisible Jul 26, 17 1:18 am


Originally Posted by Diplomatico (Post 28604861)
The OP asked for a "warm but cheap" place in SE Asia. Does Singapore qualify for that definition in your opinion? If not, then it's irrelevant to the thread.

Your reply was


They speak English quite possibly better than anywhere else in Asia.
'anywhere else' in relation to Asia includes anything starting from Turkey and ending to Papua.

invisible Jul 26, 17 1:23 am


Originally Posted by 889 (Post 28607515)
If you're a drive-everywhere type with a foot problem, then Asia just about anywhere may be a bad fit for you.

This is important - with the limited mobility and requirement to get from place to place on car/taxis cost of living most likely will increase substantially.

Recommendation about Arizona should not be dismissed as trolling. It might will be the best recommendation with the set restrictions.

helloVietnam Jul 27, 17 4:58 am


Originally Posted by snail (Post 28592362)
I'm a Single male (no kids), mid-40s, and only speak English.

I'm tired of winters in the US and am thinking about living in a warm but cheap country during that time when I retire in a couple of years.

Which SE Asia cities can a English only speaker get by for 3months?
And how much would it cost to live there during Dec-Feb?

thx

Welcome to Vietnam holiday. Nha Trang Beach, Da Nang, Hue, Ho Chi Minh, Phu Quoc is warm. You should try to live in there.

JetSetDave Jul 28, 17 9:19 am


Originally Posted by helloVietnam (Post 28613985)
Welcome to Vietnam holiday. Nha Trang Beach, Da Nang, Hue, Ho Chi Minh, Phu Quoc is warm. You should try to live in there.

If walking is an issue, I recommend Da Nang for various reasons. The traffic is nowhere like HCMC and you can get around easily by renting or owning a motorbike. The municipal government laws are more relaxed there, hence more Western like than other parts of Vietnam. You can visit Hue and Hoi An while living there.

MSPeconomist Jul 28, 17 9:29 am


Originally Posted by 889 (Post 28607515)
Your money will probably go farthest in Indonesia, and you'll get pretty good value for it. Given you don't seem to have much experience living in Asia, touristy but comfy Bali might be just the place for you, probably somewhere around Ubud. Indonesia's a bad choice if you might need good healthcare, though.

Finally, don't ignore the earlier comment about walking. If you're a drive-everywhere type with a foot problem, then Asia just about anywhere may be a bad fit for you.

Bali is more expensive than many of the other places being considered.

Jaimito Cartero Jul 28, 17 9:49 am

Housing is likely your biggest expense. If you can rent a house or apartment for $300-400 a month, then $1500 per month will probably keep you comfortable.

I've been to every country mentioned, and never had much of a problem communicating. A simple phrasebook works well, along with a smile, and maybe a translation app.

I think Bali or Thailand would be the easiest. I think Thailand gives 60-90 day entry, so probably the easiest. Getting around by motorcycle, taxi or Uber is fairly affordable. It can be quite hot during the day, but if you come out at night, it's not bad.

Singapore is fine for a short visit, but it gets expensive quickly, and a bit boring, imho. Malaysia for a week or two, could be good. Vietnam might work out, but I found less English there than most other SE Asian countries.

My first visit to Indonesia was in 2004, for a month. I stayed in Bali for most of it. I spent about $25-30 per day, including food/housing. It was one of my best trips, ever.

cslewis Jul 28, 17 10:33 am

A friend of mine did 1 month in Thailand with his girlfriend for around 2000 euros and i know it was not on the cheap side of travelling, he likes his food and his comfort

bwiadca Jul 28, 17 12:19 pm

If I was in position as OP, I would do 1 month in Thailand, 1 month in Vietnam and 1 month in Cambodia or Malaysia.

CrazyInteg Jul 28, 17 1:33 pm


Originally Posted by bwiadca (Post 28619696)
If I was in position as OP, I would do 1 month in Thailand, 1 month in Vietnam and 1 month in Cambodia or Malaysia.

Every year or just for the first year to figure out what he likes?

Flying Machine Jul 28, 17 1:51 pm

Hopefully the OP will come back and give the thread some direction. Many good posts too..

bwiadca Jul 28, 17 6:46 pm


Originally Posted by CrazyInteg (Post 28619975)
Every year or just for the first year to figure out what he likes?

It depends how adventurous the OP is. If he likes the same old over and over again he can commit to one place.
If I haven't been to SE Asia, and I had to make decision where to stay for longer period of time, I would definitely stay at few places for couple of weeks to figure out which place I like the most.

TheMadeTraveler Jul 29, 17 7:53 am


Originally Posted by snail (Post 28592362)
I'm a Single male (no kids), mid-40s, and only speak English.

I'm tired of winters in the US and am thinking about living in a warm but cheap country during that time when I retire in a couple of years.

Which SE Asia cities can a English only speaker get by for 3months?
And how much would it cost to live there during Dec-Feb?

thx

If you are willing to live outside the central districts, however, a similar one-bedroom apartment costs only about $255 per month. Rental prices are substantially cheaper farther north in Chiang Rai. Most expatriates who eat meals primarily at home should be able to dine very well on less than $200 per month.

Other basic living expenses such as household cleaning products and personal hygiene products are less costly. You can buy plenty for these items in $50 to $100.

If you want to get detailed information about living cost in these 3 countries. These below links will give you more ideas:

https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-livin...untry=Cambodia
https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-livin...ayCurrency=USD
https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-livin...ayCurrency=USD

MixalisK. Jul 30, 17 12:31 pm

Malaysia has one of the best retirement plans in the world. Also best condition of living to cost ratio, in the region. Don't know in the future but currency ratio now is quite favourable too. Never been to Borneo yet but must be a very fascinating place to visit.

edsh Jul 30, 17 4:27 pm

edsh
 

Originally Posted by snail (Post 28592362)
I'm a Single male (no kids), mid-40s, and only speak English.

I'm tired of winters in the US and am thinking about living in a warm but cheap country during that time when I retire in a couple of years.

Which SE Asia cities can a English only speaker get by for 3months?
And how much would it cost to live there during Dec-Feb?

thx

What's you maximum budget? Everyone's idea of 'cheap' is different. Start with your 3 month trip: after you factor in roughly $800 for international air, how much do you have remaining for lodging, food, and local transportation.

invisible Jul 30, 17 8:20 pm


Originally Posted by MixalisK. (Post 28626409)
Malaysia has one of the best retirement plans in the world.

Requirement for people younger than 50 to park USD >$120K in a bank and show proof that you have monthly income of USD $2.5K is probably is not 'best of the world'....

RustyC Jul 31, 17 3:55 am


Originally Posted by MixalisK. (Post 28626409)
Malaysia has one of the best retirement plans in the world. Also best condition of living to cost ratio, in the region. Don't know in the future but currency ratio now is quite favourable too. Never been to Borneo yet but must be a very fascinating place to visit.

Very thick with bugs. Drop a cake crumb even in a 5* hotel and the ants will find it. :p

The preserved areas have some of the oldest forests in the world, with very extensive root systems. Unfortunately way too much prime land has already been converted to palm oil plantations, and there are other major environmental concerns.

RustyC Jul 31, 17 3:57 am


Originally Posted by invisible (Post 28627723)
Requirement for people younger than 50 to park USD >$120K in a bank and show proof that you have monthly income of USD $2.5K is probably is not 'best of the world'....

They're suspicious of anyone under 50 because they think the person might be running away from something.

snail Aug 1, 17 9:10 pm


Originally Posted by bwiadca (Post 28619696)
If I was in position as OP, I would do 1 month in Thailand, 1 month in Vietnam and 1 month in Cambodia or Malaysia.

where can I stay for just a month at a time?
extended stay hotels?

snail Aug 1, 17 9:13 pm


Originally Posted by invisible (Post 28608655)
This is important - with the limited mobility and requirement to get from place to place on car/taxis cost of living most likely will increase substantially.

Recommendation about Arizona should not be dismissed as trolling. It might will be the best recommendation with the set restrictions.

no public transportation (buses) in major SE asia cities?

hm.. never thought of phoenix for the winter.
just thought any major US city would be relatively expensive compared to SE asia for the winter?

invisible Aug 1, 17 9:50 pm


Originally Posted by snail (Post 28636517)
where can I stay for just a month at a time?
extended stay hotels?

AirBnB is your friend for one month rental, but I would only consider properties which >50 4.5 star ratings and only places when can rent the whole apartment/home, not a room. You also need to make sure to communicate with the host in advance and clear all questions.

invisible Aug 1, 17 10:07 pm

Seems you need to do some reading and research before embarking on such adventure. Moreover - if you decide to spend 3 month in Asia, I would suggest first to go on trial Asia trip for a month, moving from place to place and spending 10 days in in one place to get some understanding.


Originally Posted by snail (Post 28636528)
no public transportation (buses) in major SE asia cities?

Short and direct answer - outside of Singapore and Hong Kong (which are outside of your price range) public transport is for poor people who do not have money to buy/move by car. So they have to endure buses/trains where they are available (in most cases they simply don't exist). Public transport in most (all) places is not clean (to be polite in this expression) and in number of places do not have air conditioning either. Also crime - pickpocket and bag/backpack snatching is common thing.

Seriously, why don't you start reading wikivoyage on relevant cities/regions to get some understanding? Then come here to ask specific questions.


Originally Posted by snail (Post 28636528)
just thought any major US city would be relatively expensive compared to SE asia for the winter?

You need to make a list what is important for you in terms of priority and only after that things can have price tags, like:
- language barrier
- access to quality medical care
- ability to move from place to place and using what means
- ability to eat familiar food
- lodging requirements (noise/amenities, etc)
- social life
- internet connectivity
- environment (air/water quality, access to parks/nature/beaches)
- etc, etc, etc

Otherwise going to Asia with 'oh, let me go live in Asia for three month because I hate winter in US' - culture and other shocks are guaranteed.


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