Do this before retiring in SE Asia

In this report, I explain why you should do this before retiring in SE Asia. After living all over the world for 17 years, this is the most important thing I can teach you about retiring overseas without regrets. If you don’t do this you may regret where you decide to retire.

When I was about 21 years old, I walked into a nightclub and immediately fell in love with a woman standing across the room from me. She was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen with my own eyes. I will call her dream girl.

What happened with dream girl will help bullet-proof your overseas retirement.

So, there I was with dream girl just 30 feet away when the DJ started playing one of my favorite songs. That song gave me the nerve to walk over and ask my dream girl to dance. As I stepped towards her, an old friend I hadn’t seen in years, grabbed my arm.

After talking to my old friend for about 2 minutes, I looked around and the dream girl was gone. So I walked around the club and saw dream girl dancing with a group of female friends. Dream girl was amazing, she danced gracefully and had a beautiful smile.

She was really enjoying her friends so I decided to wait until she came off the dance floor. I found a spot where I could watch her dance without being obvious.

I noticed her friends were dancing around a girl with a wedding veil. It was a bachelorette party. Next thing I knew they all ran out of the club together laughing. I didn’t think I would ever see her again.

But 6 months later, I was in the same club with my new girlfriend when dream girl walked right back into my life. She saw my new girlfriend, walked up to us, and gave my new girlfriend a big hug. They had been friends since the first grade.

Over the next few months, I got to know dream girl pretty well. She was always around my new girlfriend and me. During that time, dream girl went from being beautiful to being only average. Eventually, she even seemed ugly to me.

Her personality ruined her beauty for me. She went from being a dream girl to being unattractive to me. She was selfish, inconsiderate, egotistical, and shallow. It slowly became clear to me that both my new girlfriend and dream girl were only beautiful on the outside.

I ended up dumping my new girlfriend. A year later, dream girl randomly showed up at another friend’s house party and gave me her telephone number. I never called her. A physically beautiful person can become ugly to you once you get close enough.

So here is the point of this story.

People are just like countries. I often have a really positive first impression when I first arrive in a new country. But after a few months, those feelings may change, for the better or for the worse. So, I don’t make any permanent decisions based upon first impressions.

You have to let a new country sink into your bones before you will know for sure

You have to let the honeymoon phase end before you really know how you feel about a new country. You also need to date a few countries before you know which one is your favorite in a region.

So, in this report, I will cover three things. First, I share an actual itinerary for you to slow travel around SE Asia. Then I share what to do once you know your two favorites. Finally, I will give you example budgets for the whole thing.

We are all different. But you will find the best place for you by following this process. That is what slow traveling through SE Asia will do for you. By spending time in multiple countries, you will drastically increase your chances of being successful at three very important things.

First, you increase the chances that you will pick the country that fits you like an old glove. Second, you will reduce the chances that you will fantasize about a country that you have never visited when other people tell you how great it is. Third, when it is time to vacation outside the country you retire, you will know which countries are your favorites for visiting.

Okay, now I will share a sample itinerary to slow travel SE Asia. The first thing you will need to do is find the cheapest flight to SE Asia.

Cheapest Flight to SE Asia

Trust me, you shouldn’t care what country in SE Asia you fly to first. Just buy the cheapest one-way flight to SE Asia. Once you are in SE Asia, the one-way flights between countries are only about $100 USD.

Whenever I search, the two cheapest places to fly into SE Asia are usually Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur. You don’t have to take notes as you listen. I will put links to everything on my web page which is at the first link in the description below this video.

So go to Skyscanner and look for the cheapest one-way flight to either Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur. And you don’t care what airline either. Just buy the cheapest.

Today, I searched Skyscanner. Skyscanner has a setting called “flexible” that returns the cheapest flight for each day of the month. The cheapest flight from the USA to Bangkok was $376 USD one-way.


I also searched “flexible” for the same month going to Kuala Lumpur and the cheapest flight was $408 USD one-way.


The flight to Bangkok is cheaper so I would book that flight. Make sure to add any extra luggage you need while booking. If you have more weight than allowed on these economy flights, it could cost you triple if you wait to pay when you are checking into your flight.

Slow Travel SE Asia (The Country Dating Phase)

Now that you have arrived in SE Asia, I am recommending that you date each country for a few weeks or months, and then pick your top two favorite countries. I have created a sample itinerary of how long I suggest you date each country, and then how much time to spend in each suggested city. I call these exploratory visits, the dating phase.

During this dating phase, your goal is to pick your favorite 2 countries. After showing you my suggested itinerary for the country dating phase, I will share the next phase. Okay, here is your sample country dating itinerary. These are not written in stone. They are just my suggestions.

60 Days In Thailand

Since you landed in Bangkok, you should explore Thailand for the first leg of your slow travel journey through SE Asia. Thailand gives passport holders from many Western countries 30 days visa exemption on entry and you can extend for 30 more days before you explore the next country.

During this country dating phase, you can return to any of these countries to explore more cities, but Thailand only allows one 30-day extension for 60 days. So, you need to decide where you want to spend your first 60 days in Thailand. We have retire-cheap reports on 12 of our favorite locations in Thailand.

We also have 70 videos on our YouTube playlist for Thailand with our feet on the ground in all 12 cities that you can watch to decide your favorites. But I recommend the following places for this first entry into Thailand.

Spend 2 weeks in Bangkok, 2 weeks in Chiang Mai, 2 weeks in Jomptien (which is next door to Pattaya), and 2 weeks in Koh Samui. The 12 retire cheap reports for each location show how we transferred between locations, where we stayed, where we ate, and what we did in each location. Okay, it is time to leave Thailand.

90 Days in Vietnam

Vietnam remains one of our favorite places in SE Asia. Vietnam has a 90-day e-visa available online now for passport holders of many Western countries. Skyscanner shows flights from Bangkok to Da Nang starting from about $113 USD, one-way.

We have 9 retire cheap reports of our favorite places to live in Vietnam. We also have 66 videos on our YouTube playlist for Vietnam with our feet on the ground in all 9 cities that you can watch to decide your favorites. But I recommend the following places for the first 90-day e-visa entry into Vietnam.

I would recommend 30 days in Da Nang, 2 weeks in Hoi An, 2 weeks in Nha Trang, and 30 days in Saigon. The retire cheap reports for all 9 reports show you how we transferred to those locations, where we stayed, where we ate, and what we did in each location.

We have hundreds of reports and videos and two courses that teach you the best places to retire in paradise overseas and how to make money online. To receive a 50% off coupon during our end-of-the-year sale that starts next week, make sure to grab a free copy of my eBook and I will email the coupon as soon as it is ready.

Next, I suggest you go from Vietnam to the Philippines.

90 Days in the Philippines

The Philippines still remains one of our favorite places in SE Asia. The Philippines give passport holders of many Western countries a 30-day visa exemption stamp upon arrival. But they also allow up to 36 monthly extensions. But this itinerary will start with 90 days in the Philippines.

On a search today, Skyscanner shows that you can fly from Saigon to Manila one way starting at about $113 USD.

We have 21 retire cheap reports of our favorite places to live in the Philippines and how we travel between them. We also have 136 videos on our Philippines YouTube playlist with our feet on the ground touring all over the Philippines. But for this sample itinerary, I would recommend the following places

I would recommend 2 weeks in Metro Makati, 2 weeks in Baguio, 1 week in Puerto Galera, 1 week in Cebu City, 2 weeks in Dumaguete, 2 weeks in Iloilo City, and 2 weeks in Boracay. Our retire cheap reports for these locations show you where we stayed, where we ate, and what we did in each location.

90 Days in Malaysia

Malaysia is one of the most modern countries in SE Asia. Qiang was born in Malaysia, it is one of our favorites, and we return at least once a year or so to stay with her family. Passport holders of many Western countries are given a 90-day visa exemption stamp upon arrival.

Today, Skyscanner shows flights from Boracay in the Philippines to Kuala Lumpur starting at about $87 USD, one-way.

We have 9 retire cheap reports of our favorite places to live in Malaysia. We also have 47 videos on our Malaysia YouTube Playlist with our feet on the ground touring all over Malaysia. You could review our reports and videos of Malaysia and pick your favorites. But for this itinerary of 90 days in the Philippines, I would recommend the following places.

I would recommend 4 weeks in Kuala Lumpur, 4 weeks in Georgetown Penang, 2 weeks in Sabah, and 2 weeks in Sarawak Malaysia. Our retire cheap reports for these locations show you where we stayed, where we ate, and what we did in each location.

Next up is Indonesia.

30 Days in Bali, Indonesia

We rated Bali the number one place to retire early cheap in the entire world for 2023. Make sure to subscribe to this YouTube channel and ring the bell so you will get this kind of country information.

If you fly from Kuching Malaysia to Bali, passport holders of many Western countries are given a 30-day visa exemption upon arrival.

Today, Skyscanner shows flights from Kuching Malaysia to Bali Indonesia start at about $110 USD one-way.

If you are wondering how I get away with buying one-way tickets when many countries require proof of an exit ticket, Google the words “Onward Flights,” and read about onward flights for $12 USD.

Okay, now you are in Bali. We have a retire cheap report for my favorite area of Bali called Ubud. Plus, we have 6 YouTube videos of us showing you all over Bali. You could review our reports and videos of Bali and pick your favorites. But for this itinerary of Bali, I would recommend spending the entire 30 days in the central walkable area of Ubud.

Next up is Cambodia.

30 Days in Cambodia

Cambodia is home to Siem Reap which is next door to Angkor Wat, the largest ancient temple city in the world. Passport holders from many Western countries can apply for an eVisa online for 30 days and can extend at immigration offices once inside Cambodia.

Today, Skyscanner shows flights from Bali to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, one way, starting at about $114 USD.

We have 5 retire cheap reports for our favorite places to retire cheap in Cambodia. Plus, we have 31 videos on our YouTube Playlist for Cambodia with our feet on the ground all over Cambodia. You could review our reports and videos of Cambodia and pick your favorites.

But for this sample itinerary, I recommend spending 10 days in Siem Reap, 7 days in Phnom Pen, 6 days in Kep, and 7 days in Kampot.

Other Countries in SE Asia

SE Asia also includes other countries such as Brunei, Burma (Myanmar), Timor-Leste, Laos, and Singapore. I suggest merely visiting them once you live nearby. Singapore has become stupidly expensive which will not be a good fit for most retirees. The others are not so expensive and worth a visit but not places I would retire.

Moving in Together

Once you have finished the dating stage it is time to pick your two favorite countries and spend more time in each. You need to get past the honeymoon stage before you will see all of their blemishes and warts.

Notice, that you have mostly just been getting tourist exemption stamps as you slow travel during the dating phase. You still have not applied for a retirement visa. Personally, I would still not apply for a retirement visa anywhere.

Here is what I would do next. I would pick my two favorites and start bouncing between only those two favorites, for however long they would give me on tourist exemption stamps. So let’s say your two favorites were Thailand and the Philippines. This is just an example.

I would spend the 60 days they would allow me in Thailand, and then spend 3 to 6 months on each entry into the Philippines. You could explore different cities in both countries or pick one city you really love in each and just hang out there on each visit. I call this the “moving in together stage.”

I would just keep bouncing between them until it becomes clear which one is my favorite. Once it was clear which was my favorite, it would be time to go-long term for me.

If it is Thailand, I would then apply for the Thailand retirement visa. If it were the Philippines, I would just take advantage of their 36 consecutive tourist exemption stamps and never bother with their retirement visa.

Cost Estimates

I have a whole report that explains why living costs vary so widely based upon your behaviors. You can read that here. The truth is, I don’t know anything about you or your relationship with money. I don’t know if you are a high roller or a low roller.

I don’t know what you will eat (foreign or domestic food) in each country, or what you will drink foreign or domestic. I also don’t know what you consider as minimum accommodations requirements. So I will just give you some estimates based on what I would likely spend in each of these countries. But remember, these are just my guestimates and you are not me.

If I were single, during the slow travel phase (Country Dating), I would spend between $1500 to $1800 per month slow traveling through these countries. But I am not single, so I would spend about $2000 to $2500 per month to slow travel through these countries with Qiang at my side.

The truth is, we are not as frugal now as we were a few years ago. We are both making more money in our businesses and that has made us less frugal. Plus, during the slow travel phase, we would be exploring areas, taking tours, and sampling more restaurants (rather than cooking at home), so we could really get to know what it feels like to live in each place. All that costs more.

But once we entered the “moving in together” phase, and bounced between just the two favorite countries, if we were no longer touring around those countries, we could probably hold a budget of about $1500 to $1800 per month as a couple. As a single during “moving in together”, I would estimate around $1200 to $1500, unless I was also trying to date at the time. Then I would add another few hundred per month for that.

Although we are not as frugal as we once were, all of our reports about how to save money by living more like a local than a foreigner are still part of our membership. So if you are super frugal, you should be able to spend less money than we are estimating here.

Conversely, if you are not frugal, you could easily spend more.

Please remember to grab that free eBook now so you will get all of our emails and any coupons about retiring cheap overseas. Thanks for watching and I will see you in the next video.