Living in South East Asia on $400 USD a month?

This is a part of our Cambodia forums to chat about anything, whether it relates to Cambodia or not. This discussion forum is at the top of our site because it's usually the busiest part of the expat community chatter with random topics on just about everything, including expat life, Khmer politics, Cambodian blogs we have or have come across, or whatever else our members want to discuss. Whether you're an expatriate, tourist, Cambodian or random traveler just passing through South East Asia, you are welcome to talk about anything or start new topics yourselves.
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Hotdigr
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Re: living in SEA on 400USD$ a month?

Post by Hotdigr » Mon Oct 08, 2018 10:32 am

I should add that Pov works as a chef so gets her one main meal a day for free at work.
I should also add that I usually spend at least $100-$150 extra each month on various things. My budget is in answer to the OP and I feel shows that it is quite possible to have an actual decent comfortable, albeit simple, life here (as opposed to just an "existence") for a single person for around the $400 mark.
Also, when I work, my beer budget would be less then 30% of what I quoted here and my food less then 50%, because both beers and food are part of the package I receive in hospitality. So if you have a job in hospitality, $400 is EASILY doable
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Beerinthemorning
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Re: living in SEA on 400USD$ a month?

Post by Beerinthemorning » Mon Oct 08, 2018 12:10 pm

Hotdigr wrote:
Mon Oct 08, 2018 10:32 am
I should add that Pov works as a chef so gets her one main meal a day for free at work.
I should also add that I usually spend at least $100-$150 extra each month on various things. My budget is in answer to the OP and I feel shows that it is quite possible to have an actual decent comfortable, albeit simple, life here (as opposed to just an "existence") for a single person for around the $400 mark.
Also, when I work, my beer budget would be less then 30% of what I quoted here and my food less then 50%, because both beers and food are part of the package I receive in hospitality. So if you have a job in hospitality, $400 is EASILY doable
Those hospitality jobs arent so common like before since The new visa rules came out.
Pizzalover
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Re: living in SEA on 400USD$ a month?

Post by Pizzalover » Mon Oct 08, 2018 12:50 pm

ExPenhMan wrote:
Sun Oct 07, 2018 6:43 pm
taabarang wrote:
Sun Oct 07, 2018 6:27 pm
shnoukieBRO wrote:
Sun Oct 07, 2018 6:07 pm
The post refers to SEA which includes a few very cheep countries. You can eat for $1 in Thailand, and other Southerly countries
Yeah, how about other countries located in different continents or islands, the post on Bulgaria was a good start.
Yes, excellent report on Bulgaria from Pizzalover. Got me reading up on the country and its cities for an hour or two. Kyiv, Ukraine is another place that's interested me since someone I know spent a few years there. I visited Kyiv long ago, 1980s, and really liked its feel, even though it was under the USSR thumb. The eastern European countries are coming roses for a lot of tourists these days. The key word has been "cheap." But for me it's the amazing architecture, the old European feel, and beautiful streets with actual sidewalks, trees, trash bins and relaxing benches. It's something that I've been yearning for for a couple of years now. Both my parents are of 20th century Euro background.

PS Back on topic, I forgot to mention one site reported in 2017 that an expat "can easily" live on $500US a month in Bulgaria.
Yup, Sofia is beautiful and I m visiting every year. Bulgaria is the main reason for me rethinking my SEA existence. For those non-Northern Americans: Bulgaria will join Schengen some time in the next 5-6 years. Anyone with a residence in BG will be able to move around Schengen and work etc. Might be worthwhile
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Re: Living in South East Asia on $400 USD a month?

Post by Pizzalover » Mon Oct 08, 2018 1:32 pm

The main issue for me is the health situation. Even when insurance has been sorted out, it does not help with all issues. In SHV I had a push bike. At one time I caught myself going to the market and managing the trip from intersection to intersection. From one challenge and danger to the next. At that moment I realized that I was crazy, putting my life on the line for a few cucumbers. I stopped using the bike and sold it. Reaction time and escape chances were higher when walking, much less exposure.

Then I moved to PP. Last month I caught myself again planning the route according to traffic and intersections. This was in response to unbelievable driving by bikes and also some cars. I cannot imagine myself being able to put up with that at, say, 70. In other words, PP is transitory and the risks involved are not worth it compared to other places in Asia and especially in Europe.

The moment one draws up a realistic budget, not one like survival against the odds, Cambodia looks very bad. Now this will not help anyone who is in such a situation. However, the Phils will be a viable alternative at lower cost and better value/quality of life. The applause for Thailand fades somewhat when compared with SE Europe. I am contemplating a combination of some winter escape to Vietnam and surroundings with the Balkans for 9 months or so. A base budget of 600 USD would allow this. Anything above will add considerable comfort. Like sitting in an actual cafe, not some stupid coffee shop, having a piece of cake produced by a chef, not that brownie from the factory, with a decent cup of coffee. They still have those old grand cafes and they do not cost more than that Thai place and much less than any starsucks. The assortment of bread, sausages, meat (actual precise cuts), etc. is great. There are some so-called 'Asia' shops which provide some staples we got used to. For the 2-3 months trips I do now, I can bring in most of what I need. And those beer drinkers - you will rediscover what the term beer means.

SE Europe has also the advantage for Brits that very cheap airline tickets will lift them back to the NHS when needed, assuming it is not a total emergency.

What has all of this to do with the 400 USD in Cambodia? Well, it puts it into perspective. 400 USD in Cambodia is very doable depending on the location/housing.The experience will differ as we all have our own food preferences which alter the sample. To get the full picture, what do we get for the same sum in other locations? That is a critical consideration for those who are flexible.

I personally prefer the spring on the Mediterranean or in the hills nearby over the hot season and smog in PP. Done both and learned the lesson.
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Re: Living in South East Asia on $400 USD a month?

Post by johnny lightning » Tue Oct 09, 2018 4:46 am

"My own destination". Care to tell us where or is it a secret? You mention being able to carry on a conversation. In which language?

Johnny
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Re: Living in South East Asia on $400 USD a month?

Post by shnoukieBRO » Tue Oct 09, 2018 9:56 am

It's a funny thread.

Me thinks that BITM has either got a 20 year old out of date SEA travel guidebook, or still reminisces about when SEA was cheep.

I therefore suggest the chap works and saves a bit longer so he has some extra cash just in case, and then when he finally returns gives us his opinion of the $400 a month lifestyle.

That would be both interesting going to read and potentially useful. 😀
Better hip beach days on Ko Rong!
Pizzalover
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Re: Living in South East Asia on $400 USD a month?

Post by Pizzalover » Tue Oct 09, 2018 6:13 pm

johnny lightning wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 4:46 am
"My own destination". Care to tell us where or is it a secret? You mention being able to carry on a conversation. In which language?

Johnny
Former Eastern Block country. Conversation referred to education and brains. Right now I m still dependent on English or other western languages. Once I m established I will add a local language. My remark is really the product of my frustration of not having had a meaningful intellectual exchange with a Cambodian woman in ages. In Vietnam it is an entirely different situation.

For more enterprising people Georgia could be a good alternative to Bulgaria. People from many countries get a 1 year stamp for free. Tax regime is good, no off shore taxation, Tbilisi is a beautiful city but similar smog problems like PP. Culturally a very interesting area. nature also very diverse. Cheap flights out of Kutaisi (Wizzair) and also somewhat budget connections to SEA via Moscow, Istanbul or Dubai from TBS. Pricing will depend on routes and local airport in SEA, differences of up to 100 and more %. I was in Tbilisi last month, had a small apartment, free standing single unit house in an old neighborhood, 10 USD per night, clean bath with hot shower, small kitchen with basic equipment, free wifi, TV, 2 single beds. Public transport (subway, vans, modern GERMAN buses not that Chinese shit in PP) excellent, excellent trains running to Batumi, good large overland buses (European standard, 2+2 or 1+2 seating), and so on and on. Walking in TBS is easy and large sidewalks like in Sofia and other eastern hubs. Noise levels acceptable.

Georgian cuisine is excellent and very affordable. Baked trout, boiled potatoes etc. = 4 USD in a pretty decent Georgian restaurant. Khinkali 22-28 cent, fruit simply spectacular. Dont go there if you like alcohol, worse than Philippines, you'll drown mercilessly.

Caucasus chain is a dream, as is the lower Caucasus. The Russian ladies in Batumi populated the seaside. Eye candy.

There are a lot of bullshit bloggers and websites pushing Georgia now. Usually for tax flight etc. They often try to sell specialized infos by way of expensive PDFs. No need for that. All pretty transparent in Georgia. Georgia is also part of the banking system IBAN which makes transfers much cheaper and easier. Might be important for guys on a European pension.

Georgia is on top of my back up list together with Bulgaria. Georgians and the government encourage western immigration and long stays. After Cambodian and Thai coppers Georgian officials look like aliens fresh out of dreamland. Made me aware with what kind of shit heads I had to deal the past 2 decades.

Healthcare: Having read a few things about bugs in Cambodia, I went to a local hospital, the infectious disease clinic, today. Paid 16 USD total, lost some blood, and they will also play around a bit with my excrement. That should be sufficient to determine if I m ok for malaria, amoeba, and a series of other unpleasant items. The 16 USD included a long chat with the chief physicians (single, good looking) and my blood being taken in front of 15 young student ladies. That old nurse spoiled it all for me when she asked for my age and 18++ would not seal the deal for her. Note: this was not in Georgia

The example might be helpful as it was in a recognized contagious disease center (certificates from Britain etc on display), experienced staff, English speaking doctor (did I mention her looks?). Cash 16 USD. I m not sure at all that this would have happened in Cambodia for the same rate. Ah, no waiting.

These lengthy remarks might be useful as a pointer for some readers who wonder whether Cambodia is still worth it.

As stated earlier, I m contemplating a kind of mixed solution. Base in Europe with long trips to SEA to escape bad winter weather. If you like snow and sports, again Georgia and Bulgaria have excellent winter sport facilities at a fraction of the price that the rest of Europe demands.
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Re: Living in South East Asia on $400 USD a month?

Post by Dilby » Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:09 pm

Pork and rice 3 x day = $90
Cheap room = $100
Bicycle, one off
Clothing, 2nd hand, dirt cheap
Electricity/ water = $50

Doable.

Don't get sick.
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Re: Living in South East Asia on $400 USD a month?

Post by phuketrichard » Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:27 pm

Dilby wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:09 pm
Pork and rice 3 x day = $90
Cheap room = $100
Bicycle, one off
Clothing, 2nd hand, dirt cheap
Electricity/ water = $50

Doable.

Don't get sick.
:please:
that is BARELY surviving....not close to living
In a nation run by swine, all pigs are upward-mobile and the rest of us are fucked until we can put our acts together: not necessarily to win, but mainly to keep from losing completely. HST
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Re: Living in South East Asia on $400 USD a month?

Post by LaudJohn » Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:43 pm

It's doable IMHO, and a better life than in the west on 3 times that budget.

As Hotdigr said, cooking at home is one of the key points.

My gf can spend $5 and 2 of us can eat for 2 days.

Eggs are about 12 cents each, a kilo of bacon $9, bread rolls are 25 cents. A good breakfast should not cost $1. We eat at a Khmer restaurant where each dish is $2.25 with free rice.

Also your own transportation is essential. Tuk tuk or Moto rides add up, but a $400 moto will get you around for about $3 in petrol for a week. A bicycle is cheaper.

Lots of places in PP with 50 or 75 cent beers for some western company.

Just forget about the ladies and air-con.
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