Alternatives to Thailand

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arjay
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Alternatives to Thailand

Post by arjay » June 10, 2018, 3:39 pm

After 15 years in Thailand, 7 of which were in Phuket, 1 in Udon and the last 7 in Nong Khai, I relocated back to the UK in 2015, and have been visiting LOS about once a year since.

I am thinking, as I have no ties to LOS whether there are any countries with similar characteristics that I could visit or stay for periods of up to 3 months, instead. I have researched and considered Vietnam, Cambodia, the PI's and Malaysia, and have I think rejected those for the usual reasons,- lack of infrastructure, safety, medical facilities etc. (I have read Bob's reviews of some of those places with interest, thanks).

Ideally I would be looking for a warm+ climate, friendly natives, particularly the female ones, a low cost of living (good exchange rate to the £, - if there is anywhere left now that doesn't have a stronger x rate than sterling!!) and preferably easy to get there, I detest long haul flights.

Does a suitable place still exist? (Sensible replies only please).



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Re: Alternatives to Thailand

Post by BobHelm » June 10, 2018, 4:14 pm

Vietnam would be my choice RJ.
They are, I gather, currently doing a single entry 3 month Tourist Visa for $25. The multiple entry is a much more expensive $65.
If it was not for the difficulty of getting a long term stay visa then I would seriously consider moving there full time.
With 3 months to spend you could have a good look around & see what you like - the hustle & bustle of Hanoi or Ho Chi Min where you get International standard fare or more laid back the sea side resorts. Da Nang & Nha Trang are a great deal more laid back & relaxing than their Thai equivalents & because the beaches are owned by the municipality they are not infested with hawkers & deck chair salesmen.. :D
Public Transport in Vietnam is very well organised & easy to use.
There are also some interesting Towns inland that I would like to visit as well...
3 months would go in a breeze, I think..

After that, Myanmar is certainly worth considering. It is nothing like as developed or organised as Vietnam & some places are still a no, no for Tourists but that almost makes it worth the visit. Whether there is enough to occupy someone for 3 months, I am unsure, but would certainly be worth a view for 3 weeks to a month if coming all the way from Europe.

Cambodia is just a no.. Angkor Wat for maybe a week & Phnom Penh for about the same. Sihanoukville was never much of a beach resort & now the Town is owned, lock stock & barrel by Chinese Casinos, staffed by Chinese. While that might have made a change from the previous Russian Mafia ownership it is not much of an improvement. The Russians at least kept to their Island enclaves, the Chinese are just everywhere.

Never been to mainland Malaysia, but have to Penang &, personally, would not be in too much of a hurry to repeat the exercise. I found it expensive & nothing like as friendly as the 3 countries above.

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Re: Alternatives to Thailand

Post by Laan Yaa Mo » June 11, 2018, 12:29 am

Laos is nice with much to see but roads outside Vienchan can be slow and certainly slow and winding. Life is slower than in Thailand and maybe as slow as rural Burma. I do not know if it is easy to be an ex-pat in Burma or not. I suspect the Shan States, in particular Kengtung. would be much like small-town northern Thailand since they share the same language and culture.
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Re: Alternatives to Thailand

Post by goodison » June 11, 2018, 6:51 am

Having worked in Myanmar, Vietnam and Indonesia prior to retirement, in the more rural areas of each country, I always found each a pleasant country to visit but couldn't see myself settling down in any of them in the manner I found my niche in the L.O.S.

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Re: Alternatives to Thailand

Post by glalt » June 11, 2018, 11:17 am

BobHelm wrote:
June 10, 2018, 4:14 pm
Vietnam would be my choice RJ.
They are, I gather, currently doing a single entry 3 month Tourist Visa for $25. The multiple entry is a much more expensive $65.
If it was not for the difficulty of getting a long term stay visa then I would seriously consider moving there full time.
With 3 months to spend you could have a good look around & see what you like - the hustle & bustle of Hanoi or Ho Chi Min where you get International standard fare or more laid back the sea side resorts. Da Nang & Nha Trang are a great deal more laid back & relaxing than their Thai equivalents & because the beaches are owned by the municipality they are not infested with hawkers & deck chair salesmen.. :D
Public Transport in Vietnam is very well organised & easy to use.
There are also some interesting Towns inland that I would like to visit as well...
3 months would go in a breeze, I think..

After that, Myanmar is certainly worth considering. It is nothing like as developed or organised as Vietnam & some places are still a no, no for Tourists but that almost makes it worth the visit. Whether there is enough to occupy someone for 3 months, I am unsure, but would certainly be worth a view for 3 weeks to a month if coming all the way from Europe.

Cambodia is just a no.. Angkor Wat for maybe a week & Phnom Penh for about the same. Sihanoukville was never much of a beach resort & now the Town is owned, lock stock & barrel by Chinese Casinos, staffed by Chinese. While that might have made a change from the previous Russian Mafia ownership it is not much of an improvement. The Russians at least kept to their Island enclaves, the Chinese are just everywhere.

Never been to mainland Malaysia, but have to Penang &, personally, would not be in too much of a hurry to repeat the exercise. I found it expensive & nothing like as friendly as the 3 countries above.
Bob sums up Sihanoukville very well. Two of my friends and myself have been there several times. One friend comes over every year from Florida and he wanted to go back there. It was immediately obvious that things had changed for the worse. We went in one large restaurant and was told Chinese only. We stayed in an expensive crappy dirty hotel for ONE night. We ended up about 8 kilometers east along the beach to find some farang style bars and bungalows. Even there, it was being taken over by the Chinese. A huge area was cleared and a very large building was being built. We won't be going back. I should add that the Cambodians were NOT happy.

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Re: Alternatives to Thailand

Post by samuel » June 11, 2018, 2:33 pm

language is most important.
in daily life and most of all in legal affairs.
that is why i would prefer to migrate to an english speaking country …. next time or next life.

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Re: Alternatives to Thailand

Post by arjay » June 11, 2018, 2:53 pm

I would be quite prepared to look at locations elsewhere in the world. For example, I wondered about the Ukraine or some of the coastal areas in Croatia, which would involve shorter flights! Or Sri Lanka?
Last edited by arjay on August 21, 2018, 11:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Alternatives to Thailand

Post by Lone Star » June 11, 2018, 3:19 pm

arjay wrote:
June 11, 2018, 2:53 pm
I would be quite prepared to look at locations elsewhere in the world. For example, I wondered about the Ukraine (for ladies) or some of the coastal areas in Croatia, which would involve shorter flights! Or Sri Lanka?
I have a friend whose country of origin is the UK. He has a residence in Romania, here in Thailand and also one still in the UK. He loves it in Romania.
AMERICA: One of the Greatest Stories Ever Told.

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Re: Alternatives to Thailand

Post by TicToc » June 11, 2018, 3:25 pm

Interesting post.
So what's the difficulty of getting a long term stay visa in Vietnam?

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Re: Alternatives to Thailand

Post by maaka » June 11, 2018, 4:09 pm

what about the Pacific Islands group, or Melanesia, Rarotoanga, Tahiti,
I see Granada, Malta and Cyprus are offering long term residency and passports, if you spend up large there on a condo..

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Re: Alternatives to Thailand

Post by Barney » June 11, 2018, 4:11 pm

TicToc wrote:
June 11, 2018, 3:25 pm
Interesting post.
So what's the difficulty of getting a long term stay visa in Vietnam?
The difficulty Tic Toc is that they just do not issue long term retirement visas. There are 3 mnth tourist which can be extended.
Business and work visas are the only real long term visa.
I have in the past obtained a couple of 3 year visa, they are multiple entry of no fixed time, just come and go whenever and just present the passport and visa photo card on arrival.
I hear there are perhaps changes to the visa's in the future. But not sure what they will be.
Remember they are a communist country. There is still the old brigade making decisions.

Vietnam is a great place and the food is great especially seafood on the coastal regions, but the language can be difficult, travelling is much easier if you have a guide to go with on your travels. Most guides are about 45kg in size with long black hair.
Travelling out of the cities is easier, if you can afford it, by private hire van or car just for you and the guide and maybe friends. Hire the vehicle for what ever days you need to travel. Closest Beach resort areas of Mui Ne start within 2 to 3 hours from HCMC, then you can go further north or inland up to the coffee highland of Da Lat. Travelling further north is better by plane.
The island of Phu Quoc is another destination just off the coast from HCMC. Nice beaches and some history to it for its gaol which is set up like it was when they treated their own prisoners to a pleasant stay. They were cruel buggers.

6 months would go very fast when travelling and staying. No need to rush anywhere. The seasonal weather will also determine how you travel.

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Re: Alternatives to Thailand

Post by TicToc » June 11, 2018, 4:59 pm

Many thanks Barney.
Just wondered where i would go if i left Thailand.
Would be good if Vietnam got on the ball with the visas then.

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Re: Alternatives to Thailand

Post by arjay » June 11, 2018, 5:19 pm

My visits would only be for a month or two at a time (max), so I wouldn't envisage visas being a problem.

I am not too keen on multiple flights or long road road journeys. Thus ideally I like the idea of flying directly into my intended destination.

I had thought about Vietnam, but understood there wasn't much of a bar scene, or thus friendly "guides", as Barney put it, and flying into Hanoi (from the UK), would mean further extended travel to access beaches, such as Da Nang, Nha Trang, Hua, etc.

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Re: Alternatives to Thailand

Post by glalt » June 11, 2018, 6:01 pm

I really don't trust third world governments especially communist governments. That leaves out Laos and Vietnam at least for me.

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Re: Alternatives to Thailand

Post by fdimike » June 11, 2018, 6:49 pm

A friend and I just returned from a bicycle trip to southern Vietnam. This was my 4th trip by bicycle from Udon to Vietnam. I found the country to be fascinating, the people friendly and the cost of living reasonable. The weather in the southern part of the country to be really quite nice most of the time. The food is excellent in most places and the drivers certainly more polite than what is normally found here in LOS.

i think the biggest drawback would be the weather which can be unpredictable with significant storms coming in off the Gulf of Tonkin and the Pacific. The same can be said for the northern part of the country. Additionally, northern temps in the winter months are quite cool and wet. Last year we traveled to Hanoi from Udon in March and were really not prepared for the cold weather. The return trip across Laos saw an immediate 10deg C increase once on the west side of the mountains.
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Re: Alternatives to Thailand

Post by arjay » June 12, 2018, 7:58 pm

Thanks for the various suggestions guys, and the additional supporting info.

Is there anywhere else I should be thinking of (perhaps a bit outside the Asean box)? What about Goa, has anyone been there?

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Re: Alternatives to Thailand

Post by Faraday » June 12, 2018, 8:27 pm

Merthyr Tydfil.....

It's in south Wales UK.

[-X

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Re: Alternatives to Thailand

Post by sunwavessand » June 15, 2018, 7:50 am

Bali and Vietnam. Language-wise, Coron or Cebu in the Philippines.

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Re: Alternatives to Thailand

Post by GT93 » June 15, 2018, 2:48 pm

Queensland but you'll need to be a multi US$ millionaire to have the young sheilas interested in you.

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Re: Alternatives to Thailand

Post by Hoopoe » June 17, 2018, 6:21 am

arjay wrote:
June 12, 2018, 7:58 pm
Thanks for the various suggestions guys, and the additional supporting info.

Is there anywhere else I should be thinking of (perhaps a bit outside the Asean box)? What about Goa, has anyone been there?
Goa , been the 2 years running now ,in January ,i find it a sh-t hole ,the beaches are filthy ,be careful where you eat ,i was in Calangute area , Anjuna ,Candolim, so can only give opinion on these areas ,depends on what sort of time you want , i found the Bars full of richard brains , tossing bottles ,fighting , puking all over the place ,the noise , honk honk beep beep , bikes racing up and down ,( nice to hear the Enfield though) dust and sh-t everywhere ,word of advice make sure you have adequate insurance ,saw quite a few come unstuck with that one , 600 quid for 2 nights hospital stay , /Sun stroke , , helping him out was such a joy , 3 days back and forth ,trying to get him out of there was fun (NOT ) This is the typical brit mental place ,(i'm a brit ) everyone you talk to thinks it's wonderful ,They are blinded by the sun ,555 but i reason ,("take the sun away and what have you got " ) I wont be going back ,

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