Skip to content

Cheapest Country To Retire In Asia For Expats

    Cebuano Cebuano English English Filipino Filipino

    Cheapest Country To Retire In Asia: At the time of retiring, there are many exciting decisions to make. One of those decisions is what place to retire in. For many retiring in Asia is a lifelong dream, and thus, we will be exploring today the cheapest countries to retire in Asia.

    Aside from exploring the data of the cheapest countries to retire in Southeast Asia, we will also be looking at visas, a complete list of cheapest countries in Asia, and finally exploring tips to live cheaper when retiring in Asia.

    Before we begin, there are many different options when looking at the cheapest countries to retire in Asia. But one statistically proven fact is that the cheapest countries to retire in Asia are situated in Southeast Asia. Furthermore, the data and feedback used to calculate the list of cheap Asian countries to retire specifically cover basic living expenses for retirees but do not include unessential or luxurious costs.

    Cheapest Country To Retire In Asia

    This section will explore the cheapest countries to retire in Southeast Asia by comparing previous average costs from the latest statistics. Additionally, today’s list of the cheapest countries to retire in Asia excludes Burma due to the recent conflict surrounding the area, making the country currently unsuitable for retirees.

    Costs for each country are at the end of this article. Feel free to jump to the List section of this editorial for more details.

    Cheapest Country To Retire In Asia

    5th Cheapest Retirement: Indonesia

    Indonesia is a unique country, home to the largest flower worldwide, and its capital is one of the most Instagrammed cities globally. But is Indonesia an excellent place to retire in Asia?

    Sources from Numbeo and several others posted this year concluded that the healthcare and climate index is high. Also, the cost of living index is meager, which benefits retirees thinking about retiring in Indonesia. However, some negative categories such as pollution and traffic result in a moderate quality of life index score.

    Many expats have happily retired and settled in Indonesia. One of the benefits of living and retiring in Indonesia is its diverse range of phenomenal areas across its landscape. Based on the data, we have concluded Indonesia is the 5th cheapest country to retire in Southeast Asia on average.

    Retirement Visa For Indonesia

    According to the official immigration department of Indonesia / ministry of law, foreigners can obtain a retirement visa (official name – Temporary Stay Visa For Retirees C319). The duration of stay is a maximum of one year but can be renewed. Retirees also must be over 55 years of age and do not intend to work in Indonesia during their retirement.

    Additionally, to obtain a retirement visa from Indonesia, you will need to adhere to the following requirements;

    1. Company Business License And Tax ID Number Of A Travel Agent;
    2. Copy Of Valid Nationality Passport With At Least 18 (Eighteen) Months Validity;
    3. Curriculum Vitae, History Of Employment And Education Of Foreigner;
    4. Health Insurance, Life Insurance, And Civil Law Responsibility To A Third Party In Origin Country Or Indonesia;
    5. Proof Of Accommodation In Indonesia By Purchasing Accommodation At Least USD 35.000 (Thirty-Five Thousand Dollars) Or Rent Per Month At Least:
    6. Evidence, By Pension Agency Or Bank Of Origin Country Or Of Indonesia, Of Having At Least USD 1500 (One Thousand Five Hundred Dollars) Per Month To Meet The Need In Indonesia;
    7. Sponsor Letter From The Sponsor Which Is A Travel Agency (more on this below)
    8. Statement To Employ At Least 2 (Two) Indonesian.
      • US$200 (Two Hundred Dollars) Other Than Region Mentioned In Point A) And B);
      • US$300 (Three Hundred Dollars) For Other Regions In Java Island, Batam, And Medan; Or
      • US$500 (Five Hundred Dollars) For DKI Jakarta, Bandung, And Bali;

    A common question asked about retirement in Indonesia is, are there any fees? Yes, here is a minor payment breakdown of the fees that will be applicable per applicant.

    1. Multiple Re-Entry Permit: Fee Depends On The Length Of Stay Granted By The DGI
    2. Temporary Stay Permit: The fee Depends On The Length Of Stay Granted By The DGI
    3. Temporary Stay Visa: USD 150
    4. Visa Approval From The DGI (Telex): IDR 200,000

    To apply for an Indonesia retirement visa, you will be obliged to have a local Indonesian sponsor, which is limited to an owner of an official travel agency that is licensed.

    Cekindo is an example of a company that offers a service such as this. However, there are also many similar companies. The benefit of this is that the official sponsor will handle many of the requirements that are needed.

    4th Cheapest Retirement Laos

    Way back in 2020, the UN declared that the population of Laos had reached 7.2 million. Despite this, Laos remains one of the least densely populated countries in Asia. Laos is also known for its geographical location sharing its borders with many countries. This has a particular benefit for those who require a visa run, but it does have some limitations for beach lovers.

    Suppose you have learned the Thai language previously and are thinking about retiring in Laos. In that case, the Thai language will be extremely useful in Laos as many of the words and phrases used are identical in Laos, making communication much more manageable.

    Retirement Visa For Laos

    Lao authorities do not issue retirement visas to foreigners seeking retirement in Laos. So instead of a retirement visa, you will need to obtain a different type of visa, such as a business visa that can be renewed annually.

    Recently we have covered a complete guide on retiring in Laos and spoke about general life in Laos, covering some essential information for retirees. I’ve attached both articles above for your reference. has some fantastic information about this topic, and in terms of business visas, they state the following requirements.

    • A completed and signed Laos application form.
    • A passport is valid for six months beyond the stay in Laos. A blank passport page is necessary for a Laos visa stamp.
    • A recent (taken within the last six months) passport photograph in color and a plain and light background (meet the E-visa photo requirements).
    • A work visa to Laos generally must be arranged by a sponsor company in Laos. The Embassy or Consulate will not take any action on the application until the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Vientiane authorizes the Laos business visa.
    • A business cover letter that can be either from the employer or sponsoring company. The Laos Embassy or consulate required an official business letter to support a Laos business visa application.
    • Proof of travel arrangements such as a flight itinerary indicating the entry and departure dates from Laos.

    Applications can be made online through the Laos online service which Is where further information about business visas or other visas can be found; however, at the time of writing, due to the ongoing pandemic, the application process has closed until further notice.

    3rd Cheapest Retirement: Thailand

    Thailand is perhaps one of the most popular retirement options when deciding where to retire in Asia as it offers a unique blend of landscapes and living experiences for retirees. For instance, the beautiful mountains of the north are home to Chiang Mai in Chiang Rai, some of the cheapest areas in Thailand, while the South is home to the gorgeous sandy beaches of Koh Samui.

    Thailand has been another popular Southeast Asian retirement country that we have addressed before. For those born in the UK, we also have a separate article comparing prices from Thailand and the UK. In addition, I’ve attached other articles regarding retirement in Thailand for your reference.

    Suppose you are looking for the cheapest country to retire in Asia. In that case, Thailand is one of the leading countries but just like so many countries on our list today, different areas and cities can impact the general living expenses. As mentioned above, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai in the north are some of Thailand’s most beautiful and cheapest areas.

    Retirement Visa For Thailand

    Unlike the neighboring country of Laos, Thailand does offer foreigners a retirement visa. If you plan to visit other countries, you will need to apply for a multi re-entry permit. This will avoid your visa being canceled. On the other hand, if you plan to stay in Thailand, you will not need a re-entry permit.

    The official length of a retirement visa in Thailand is one year. However, this can be renewed annually. Each year you may be required to present the exact requirements you did during your initial application for your retirement visa, including proving your financial funds. Aside from this, you will also be required to complete a 90-day report.

    For more information about retirement visas, here are some additional criteria and documents that will need to be submitted to obtain a retirement visa in Thailand.

    In the case of retirement: Criteria for Consideration

    1. An alien who entered the Kingdom before October 21, 1998, and has been consecutively permitted to stay in the Kingdom for retirement shall be subject to the following criteria:(a) Must be 60 years of age or over and have an annual fixed income with funds maintained in a bank account for the past three months of no less than Baht 200,000 or have a monthly income of no less than Baht 20,000. (b) If less than 60 years of age but not less than 55 years of age, must have an annual fixed income with funds maintained in a bank account for the past three months of no less than Baht
      500,000 or have a monthly income of no less than Baht 50,000.
    2. Must be 50 years of age or over.
    3. Must have an annual earning and funds deposited with a bank totaling no less than Baht 800,000 as of the filing date.
    4. Must have been granted a non-immigrant visa (NON-IM).
    5. Must have evidence of having an income of no less than Baht 65,000 per month; or…..
    6. On the filing date, the applicant must have an account  deposited  (saving / fixed account) in a bank in Thailand of no less than
      Baht 800,000 for the past three months. For the first year only, the applicant must have proof of a deposit account in which said the number of funds had been maintained for no less than 60 days before the filing date

    Also, Documents to be submitted;

    1. Application form
    2. Copy of applicant’s passport
    3. Evidence of income such as a retirement pension, interest, or dividends; and/or….
    4. Account  deposited  (saving / fixed account) certificate issued by a bank in Thailand and a copy of a bankbook
    5. Only in the case of Criterion (6), the applicant must submit documents equivalent to Clauses 1-4 stated above

    You can apply for a retirement visa in Thailand in many different ways. The first standard method is through the online service recommended by Thai authorities due to the ongoing pandemic. Alternatively, visa support services and companies will handle the application for you; however, additional fees will apply.

    2nd Cheapest Retirement: Vietnam

    Vietnam is a very unique and interesting country to retire in South East Asia. Over the years, Vietnam has seen a transformation, and many modern ways of life are common all across the country, but still, Vietnam remains one of the cheapest countries to retire in Asia.

    There are many pros and cons to living in Vietnam, but if you are a beach lover who also enjoys city life, some fantastic areas are increasingly popular with retirees, such as Da Nang.

    Vietnam is on the border of China, and in my own experience living in Vietnam, I felt that Vietnam was more of an Asian country. For instance, the Philippines is heavily influenced by American and western culture, but I found Vietnam to be more traditional due to its traditions and customs.

    Retirement Visa For Vietnam

    Like Laos and a few other countries in Asia, Vietnam does not have an official retirement visa for foreigners looking to retire permanently in the country. However, there are options available for retirees looking to live permanently in Vietnam, including obtaining a business visa.

    Aside from obtaining a business visa, retirees also have the option for visa runs. Still, from speaking two expats living in Vietnam, many consider the business visa to be the most appropriate visa type for their requirements.

    Two types of business visas can be obtained in Vietnam.

    • DN1 visa – this visa type is for foreigners who work with other businesses and organizations in Vietnam that have legal standing according to Vietnam law.
    • DN2 Visa – this latter visa type is for foreigners coming to Vietnam to build a commercial presence platform or offer a service under international treaties.

    In the visa types, there are some requirements to meet to gain a long-term visa in Vietnam.

    • Applicants must have a passport valid for at least six months, and temporary passports may not be accepted
    • Your passport must have at least two pages free and available for immigration stamps
    • If you apply through a local embassy in your home country, a sponsorship letter from a licensed company in Vietnam is required

    According to, a few different types of visas can be obtained for business in Vietnam. Below are the following options. Please note that the most extended length visa is one year.

    • 1 Month Multiple Entry Visa
    • 1 Month Single Entry Visa
    • 3 Months Multiple Entry Visa
    • 3 Months Single Entry Visa
    • 6 Months Multiple Entry Visa
    • 1 Year Multiple Entry Visa

    Prices can range depending on the total length of the visa. For example, a one-month single entry business visa costs $119. you will also need to pay a $25 stamping fee. If you are looking for a faster application, then there are premium services available for an extra $30; however, usually, visas take 5 to 7 working days on average.

    You can obtain a business visa for Vietnam on arrival, or you can contact the Vietnam business visa embassy (if one is available) in your local country for application.

    There is one method that may be suitable; however, it will require working that may not be suitable for retirees. This method involves becoming an English teacher and obtaining a work permit as English teaching is a high-demand service across Vietnam. However, this does allow you to stay in Vietnam for a more extended period legally.

    The Cheapest Retirement Country In South Asia: Cambodia

    Cheapest Country To Retire In Asia: One of the cheapest countries to live in Asia is beautiful Cambodia which is well known for its famous ancient ruins and overall low cost of living. Cambodia has a diverse range of cities and popular areas for retirees, but genuinely speaking, most retirees can live very comfortably on less than $1000 a month.

    Over the years, there has been an increase in tourism from retirees looking to retire in Cambodia, and many digital nomads have chosen to make Cambodia their home. This has resulted in both pros and cons. The benefits are that foreign services and communication have become much more manageable. However, one disadvantage is that prices can be much higher in certain areas.

    Due to the history and economic growth, and many other significant factors affecting the population of Cambodia, poverty is a visible site. You may see this, especially if you are traveling around the capital.

    Retirement Visa For Cambodia

    The retirement visa for Cambodia is straightforward and cost-effective. In addition, unlike other neighboring countries, Cambodia operates a retirement visa extension. This means that retirees can extend their visa on arrival, referred to as the official ER visa extension.

    The ER visa extension applies to retirees. For example, an EG visa is for those looking for employment, while an ES visa is for students. These are all different types of extensions that are available through the Cambodian immigration department.

    Here are the requirements for obtaining an ER retirement visa extension in Cambodia

    • Retirees must show documentation proof of retirement in their home country. This can include Social Security, pension contributions, etc.
    • Retirees must be able to prove financially that they have the funds available to support themselves living in Cambodia as a retiree
    • Applicants must be 55 years and over
    • On some occasions, obtaining an ER visa at a younger age may be possible (not officially confirmed) as long as the applicant is formally retired and requirements have been met. An essential requirement for those who are under 55 is the financial requirement

    Cambodia’s retirement visa extension operates on a standard point in time. Including 1,3,6 and 12 months. Immigration Services, whether directly with the Cambodian authorities or with local agencies, can obtain a Cambodian retirement visa extension.

    What Is The Best Country To Retire In Asia?

    When determining the best country for retirement in Asia, one has to consider one’s lifestyle expectations. Each country offers a retiree slightly different options. Here are some examples.

    If you are looking for beautiful beaches and friendly locals, the best country to retire in Asia is the Philippines. However, if you wish your money to go further, you will be most suitable in countries such as Cambodia or Thailand. If you prefer a less touristy country than other southeast Asian countries, Laos is an attractive option.

    Today we explored the cheapest countries to retire in Asia, and thus it is highly likely that you are looking for your money to go further. Still, one of the most wonderful benefits of retiring in Asia is that many countries have a diverse range of costs. So when deciding what the best country to retire in is, it is best to look at other benefits aside from living expenses before making your final decision.

    One last benefit that is sometimes overlooked when retiring in Asia cheaply is that you have the opportunity to explore nearby countries throughout your retirement. Many retirees do this not only for retirement reasons but also for financial reasons.

    List Of The Cheap Asian Countries To Retire

    A few weeks ago we published a full article which covered a list of the cheapest countries to live in Southeast Asia. Similar to today’s list, prices were based on essentials and did not include any nonessential living expenses. Therefore, looking at the prices below, you may wish to have $200 – $300 to obtain a more accurate cost of retirement in Asia.

    Burma: Average Costs Per Month $635 – $760

    Cambodia: Average Costs Per Month $530 – $645

    Indonesia: Average Costs Per Month $705 – $860

    Laos: Average Costs Per Month $590 – $725

    Malaysia: Average Costs Per Month $750 – $890

    Philippines: Average Costs Per Month $735 – $925

    Thailand: Average Costs Per Month $595 – $720

    Vietnam: Average Costs Per Month $555 – $725

    11 Effective Tips For Living Cheaper In South East Asia

    As we have covered the cheapest countries in Southeast Asia and looked at retirement a little closer, you may be wondering, are there any tips for living cheaper in Southeast Asia? Happily, there are many ways to live cheaper in Southeast Asia as a retiree. Here are the 11 best and most effective ways.

    1. Shop with Lazada. Lazada is the Amazon of Asia. Many high-quality items can be found on the Lazada platform for a very affordable rate.
    2. Live slightly outside of the city. If possible, living in an area slightly outside of the metropolitan areas is often 12%-25% cheaper than downtown areas.
    3. Eat the local cuisine. Western food is highly accessible across Southeast Asia, but eating a local diet helps you save your money if you retire in Asia.
    4. Fly during low season. The majority of countries in Southeast Asia have a heavy tourism industry which can increase prices during the high season. Hence, it’s best to travel during the low season to save money while living in Asia.
    5. Cut back on alcohol. In some countries, alcohol can be purchased at an affordable rate; however, some countries have seen alcohol prices rise steeply over many years.
    6. Exercise to save some extra retirement cash. Gyms are highly accessible in many areas and cities, popular with retirees; however, there are cheaper exercise options.
    7. Try more public transportation. One of the benefits of retiring in Southeast Asia as a foreigner is how low-cost public transit can be.
    8. Aim to rent long term. If you decide to retire in Asia as a foreigner long-term, then long-term rentals of a property will often save you many thousands of Dollars, Euros, Pounds, etc., annually.
    9. Fly during midweek if possible. If you are retiring in Asia and are planning your flight, figures show that flying to Asia or within Asia is statistically cheaper during the middle of the week.
    10. Consider insurance. Depending on the country you are retiring in, some areas can be expensive for hospital treatment, and thus insurance is often a wise investment
    11. Choose the correct location. When looking at the cheapest countries to retire in Asia, you will find that many countries have a high-quality city that is also inexpensive. For example, Chiang Mai in Thailand. Cheapest country to retire in Asia.

    More South East Asia Guides

    Cheapest Country To Retire In Asia