Step 2: Goodbye Korea, Hello Tropical Beach
You’ve spent a year teaching English in Korea, and not only have you broadened your horizons, but you’ve also had a rip roaring good time–all while stuffing 12 grand in your pockets. Well done! …and now I’ve got a little surprise for you.
…you don’t have to wait 2 years to get to the beach. You’re going to head there right now! The most difficult decision in your life at this point is which beach to go to, one in Thailand or one in Vietnam. Or, should you skip the beach and head to a really cool city, like Hanoi, Ho Chi Min, or Bangkok. Here is what you need to know.
Both Vietnam and Thailand have very liberal policies in regards to visas. What does that mean? It means that if you’ve got cash, you get a visa. And you’ve got 12 grand stuffed in your socks, which means you’re in!
- Thai Education Visa: Read this post.
- Thai Tourist Visas: You can easily stay in Thailand for a year. Click here for up to date info.
- Click here for a Vietnamese visa.
Vietnam and Thailand are both amazing places to live. There are tons of books, blogs, and TV shows that go on and on about how wonderful they are, so I’m not going to go into great detail here. I will give you a few pointers, though.
One of the biggest advantages of Southeast Asian countries is the low cost of living. Yeah, let’s talk about that. Pay attention…Bangkok is EXPENSIVE! It’s just as expensive as living in a big city back home. Now, check this place out, Buriram. This is where I lived when I first came to Thailand. You can get a great apartment here for 100 USD a month. A great Thai meal? About 1 USD. I lived very comfortably in Buriram for about 600 USD a month.
The bottom line is this. The plan I’m laying out for you budgets 1000 USD a month for your living expenses, including visas, food, apartment, entertainment–everything! If you go to a big city in Thailand or Vietnam, you’re not going to have much money left over after renting an apartment, feeding yourself, getting visas, and buying toilet paper. If you move to a smaller city, it won’t be as exciting, but your money will go a lot further. My recommendation is that you skip the big cities for now. You can relocate there, if you want to, after you start making some money.
A few Places to Consider
When choosing a city, don’t be shy. Find blogs about the cities and email the owners. Ask them how much they spend there each month. Ask them how to rent an apartment. Ask them about dating. Ask them about their Internet connections. Ask them everything! Bloggers love to help people, and they always have recent, up-to-date information.
Tips For Relocating
- Start researching cities 6 months into your teaching contract
- Know exactly where you’re going by the 9th month
- Things change quickly–check dates on articles you read
- Get information from city-specific blogs and forums
- Contact local expat bloggers and ask for advice
- Specific Information You Need to Get
- Apartment Information
- Contract Terms
- Getting Internet
- Utility Costs
- Furnished or not
- Visa Run Information
- How do local expats make visa runs?
- Which visa agencies are good?
- What do they charge for visas?
- General Living
- Where do the foreigners hang out?
- Do local businesses speak English?
- Is it a fun place to live?
After reading, you may feel like I haven’t given you enough specific information here. I mean, it can’t be that easy to relocate to Thailand or Vietnam for year, right? Well, yeah, it is. You just need a place with good Internet access and an easy way to keep your visas in order. That’s it.
Here is an example of the kind of site you’re looking for. It is in Buriram, a small, cheap, easy-to-live-in city in North Eastern Thailand.Buriram Expats
If you have any questions about relocating, just put them in comments below. I’ll answer them as soon as I can.