5 Spots in Asia Where Everyone is Moving

Discoveries

Whether you're looking to become an expat, are searching for the coolest place to retire, or simply need a change of scenery, you might have thought about moving abroad at some point. But where? With a low cost of living, fantastic cuisine, and laidback lifestyle, Asian nations like Thailand, Vietnam, or Indonesia may be in the cards. We’re here to help you decide by presenting you with these five spots in Asia where everyone is moving.

Cambodia

Credit: Aleksandar Todorovic/Shutterstock

Over the past several years, Cambodia has undergone a metamorphosis of sorts and begun attracting a wave of expats and retirees from all over the planet. What’s the draw? Cheap food, cheap accommodations, a simpler way of life, and access to all the ancient temples and culture that Southeast Asia has to offer. What’s not to love? Cambodia can be the adventure that you’ve always dreamed of and the people of Cambodia are extremely welcoming to those who wish to make this beautiful country their home. The capital city of Phnom Penh has a fantastic food scene, and you’ll certainly never be bored!

You can comfortably live in Cambodia on $1,000 a month, and that includes a lovely furnished apartment ($300 monthly rent) and money to eat out (a local meal will set you back about $2). If you are looking to make some extra income, teaching English is a very lucrative job. Cambodia makes it easy to move here with minimum red tape/financial requirements and getting your visa extended is also easy.

Thailand

Credit: I love photo/Shutterstock

Thailand has been a mecca for expats and retirees for many years. One place in Thailand where everyone is moving to is Chiang Mai due to the low cost of living and high quality of life. Modern Chiang Mai has grown beyond the ancient walls of a bygone era and now offers mega-malls, modern grocery and department stores, and other trappings sought after by those living in the West. If you need more reasons to move to Chiang Mai, how about great weather and fantastic healthcare (you can see an English-speaking doctor for $20)? If you want the excitement of big city life, there's always Bangkok.

You can comfortably live in Chiang Mai on as little as $1,200 per month. That includes housing, food, and a healthy budget for traveling.​ You can get also a healthy fresh Thai meal for about $1.50, plus the local beer is awesome and will only set you back $2.

If you want to make Thailand your home for an extended period, you can apply for a “B” work visa, but will need to have a job lined up. It’s super easy to get a position as an English teacher in a Thai school. If you plan to retire here (and are over 50), you can get a non-immigrant “O-A” visa that's valid for one year and can be extended indefinitely.

The Philippines

Credit: Rad Radu/Shutterstock

If you want to move to an island (more like 7,000 islands) paradise, then pack your bags and head to the Philippines. The country shares many cultural similarities with the U.S. like American TV shows, fast food, and the English language. Wherever you end up going, the Filipinos are famously accepting of foreigners. With so many activities — island-hopping to tropical beaches, swimming the coral reefs, climbing incredible mountains, and exploring ancient sites — you’ll never run out of things to do. If you want the excitement of a big city, then Manila and Cebu City (less congested and closer to the best beaches and dive sites) will satisfy any lover of skyscrapers, night clubs, and top-shelf restaurants, plus all can be had on a budget.

The Philippines has a low cost of living, and you could comfortably live on $1,000 a month including housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and taxes. A one-bedroom apartment is only $250 a month and that goes down to $125 if you live outside the city.

You can only stay in the country for 60 days on a non-immigrant visa (you don’t need a visa if you are staying less than 30 days). It’s best if you have a job lined up, then you can apply for a pre-arranged employment visa. Retirees with a steady pension can apply to stay in the Philippines indefinitely.

Vietnam

Credit: DeltaOFF/Shutterstock

With its scarred past behind it, Vietnam has become a mecca for expats and retirees from all over the planet. What’s the draw? Vietnam has a bit of everything with gorgeous beaches, remote mountain villages, vibrant cities, and charming river towns. Everything costs less in Vietnam and getting around the country is a breeze by bus, train, or budget airline. Ho Chi Min City and Hanoi have grown into a modern city of skyscrapers, bridges, and malls. Vietnam also has a fantastic food scene and you can find fresh and tasty food for a dollar or two. Many Vietnamese also speak English, which makes the transition even easier.

You will be able to retire comfortably here for $1,000 a month and that includes a fully furnished apartment ($400 a month for rent) with a watchman who can double as a cook. Who’s moving to Vietnam? You’ll find a diverse assortment of English teachers, business executives, entrepreneurs, retirees, and digital nomads — all drawn to the low cost of living.

A three-month multiple-entry tourist visa is the best any tourist can hope for in Vietnam. For a longer stay, you'll need to get a work permit, which has a maximum term of three years. You can repeat the process if you want to call Vietnam home.

Malaysia

Credit:Rat0007/iStock

Malaysia is fast becoming Asia’s most attractive destination for expats and retirees. Its tropical weather, affordability, and fascinating culture make it both enjoyable and exciting. The country’s Malay, Chinese, and Indian cultures make life anything but boring, and the food options are endless (you can get an excellent meal for less than $3). Kuala Lumpur will satisfy anyone wanting to live in the big city and is home to the Petronas Towers — two of the tallest skyscrapers in the world. Stylish malls and modern grocery stores make living in this vibrant city a real joy. If you want to escape the city for a quiet retreat, small, quaint villages are just a short trip from the capital. English is widely spoken and healthcare is first-rate, public transportation is state-of-the-art, and the tap water is safe to drink. Beautiful beaches and serene mountain retreats are only a short drive or flight away.

The cost of living in Malaysia is not as cheap as other Asian countries, but the standard of living is so much higher. For about $2,500, you can live a comfortable lifestyle. A one-bedroom apartment in downtown Kuala Lumpur will only cost you about $350 a month plus utilities. Of course, if you plan to live outside the city, rent is so much cheaper. Staying long-term in Malaysia is very easy. The "Malaysia, My Second Home" program offers a renewable ten-year, multiple-entry visa for foreigners who meet specific criteria.

Enjoy this article? Share it with a friend

Discover the World’s Best Destinations, with your free weekly travel guide sent straight to your inbox.