Cheapest Countries to Live in Southeast Asia in 2022

Cheapest Countries to Live in Southeast Asia in 2022

If you are looking to invest as an expat or high-net-worth individual, which is what I specialize in, you can email me (advice@adamfayed.com) or use WhatsApp (+44-7393-450-837).

Introduction

As you may be aware, Southeast Asia is in general a cheap continent, and this is one of its appeals to many expats. In this article, we will discuss the cheapest countries to live in Southeast Asia.

But pricing in these locations may be a little cheaper or a little more expensive for you, depending on your way of living.

Note that while Myanmar has always been considered a cheap and beautiful destination, and one of the cheapest countries to live in Southeast Asia, we excluded it from this list due to the current political and civil unrest in this location.

Cheapest Countries to Live In Southeast Asia: Cambodia

For a long time, Cambodia ranked as one of the cheapest countries to live in Southeast Asia. While some costs have gone up, particularly the price of food, the country is still affordable compared to other countries in Southeast Asia.

The rising costs is normal due to inflation that is being experienced globally.

The Cambodian economy has developed over the past few years. The country currently boasts one of the strongest and fastest-growing economies in Southeast Asia, which serves as another factor drawing the attention of numerous investors to Cambodia.

The cost of visas and other incidentals is not too high. However, as was already noted, it’s important to take into account your lifestyle while looking at the cheapest countries to live in Southeast Asia so that the estimated cost of living can be adjusted to suit your particular requirements.

Average Cost of Living in Cambodia

According to global cost of living data aggregator Numbeo, you need the following amount (as of the time of writing) to live in Cambodia:

  • A meal at an inexpensive restaurant: $3
  • Mid-range restaurant for a three-course meal for two: $21
  • Local transport (one-way ticket): $1.38                 
  • Monthly rent for one-bedroom apartment in the city center: $436.8      
  • Monthly rent for one-bedroom apartment outside the city center: $246.5
  • Apartment purchase in the city center: $2,337.82 per square meter
  • Apartment purchase outside the city center: $1,217.22 per square meter
  • Average monthly allowance for a family of four (excluding rent): $2,058.60
  • Average monthly allowance for a single person (excluding rent): $580.61
Cheapest Countries to Live In Southeast Asia cambodia
Historic statues at angkor thom, Siem Reap, Cambodia. Image by wirestock on Freepik

Cheapest Countries to Live In Southeast Asia: Indonesia

Indonesia is incredibly well-liked, particularly by digital nomads. The nation’s economy has expanded, which is often linked to the recent surge in prices of goods, among other things.

Bali is a popular destination for many expats and tourists, and numerous local accommodations that are reasonably priced can be found there. Even still, the area is becoming more expensive and the average rental prices are substantially higher than those in other, less expensive Southeast Asian nations.

Costs for food and transportation are typically low. If you frequently use or buy western products, they normally come with a premium price tag due to import tax, much like many Southeast Asian countries on this list.

Average Cost of Living in Indonesia

Numbeo said you need the following amount to live in Indonesia:

  • A meal at an inexpensive restaurant: 25,000 rupiahs ($1.65)
  • Mid-range restaurant for a three-course meal for two: 250,000 rupiahs
  • Local transport (one-way ticket): 5,000 rupiahs                 
  • Monthly rent for one-bedroom apartment in the city center: about 4.1 million rupiahs  
  • Monthly rent for one-bedroom apartment outside the city center: roughly 2.5 million rupiahs
  • Apartment purchase in the city center: 24.7 million rupiahs per square meter
  • Apartment purchase outside the city center: about 12.5 million rupiahs per square meter            
  • Average monthly allowance for a family of four (excluding rent): 22.4 million rupiahs
  • Average monthly allowance for a single person (excluding rent): 6.4 million rupiahs

Cheapest Countries to Live In Southeast Asia: Laos

Laos is a popular nation that is frequently visited by tourists from around the world, but it is frequently a sought-after destination for people residing in Thailand who need to obtain a visa. Laos has a variety of diverse lodging options that fluctuate in price, although, for the most part, rental costs are on the lower side of the scale.

It’s crucial to consider the whole experience, including leisure and attractions, when estimating how much it costs to live in Southeast Asia. There are numerous inexpensive and frugal options accessible for individuals traveling to and settling in Laos.

Imported goods typically come with a heftier price tag, but the costs are only somewhat more than in other nations. Laos is still one of the cheapest countries to live in Southeast Asia.

Average Cost of Living in Laos

According to Numbeo, you need the following amount to live in Laos:

  • A meal at an inexpensive restaurant: $2
  • Mid-range restaurant for a three-course meal for two: $21.66
  • Local transport (one-way ticket): less than a dollar                          
  • Monthly rent for one-bedroom apartment in the city center: $560.49    
  • Monthly rent for one-bedroom apartment outside the city center: $257.88
  • Apartment purchase in the city center: $2,493 per square meter
  • Apartment purchase outside the city center: $297.7 per square meter
  • Average monthly allowance for a family of four (excluding rent): $2,412.95
  • Average monthly allowance for a single person (excluding rent): $684.68

Cheapest Countries to Live In Southeast Asia: Malaysia

Malaysia attracts expats from throughout the world due to its beautiful landscape, agreeable climate, delectable cuisine, and affordable cost of living. It is a gorgeous country that is perfect for anyone who appreciates tranquility and relaxation in their lives. Even yet, there are some places in Malaysia where your living costs may go up.

In contrast to other nations like Thailand or Vietnam, Malaysia is not well known for its scooters and motorbikes. The average cost of transportation has slightly increased, but public transportation options are very accessible.

Average Cost of Living

Numbeo said you need the following amount to live in Malaysia:

  • A meal at an inexpensive restaurant: 10 ringgit ($2.18)
  • Mid-range restaurant for a three-course meal for two: 80 ringgit
  • Local transport (one-way ticket): 3 ringgit                            
  • Monthly rent for one-bedroom apartment in the city center: 1,587 ringgit           
  • Monthly rent for one-bedroom apartment outside the city center: 1,058 ringgit
  • Apartment purchase in the city center: 8,100 ringgit per square meter
  • Apartment purchase outside the city center: 4,659.5 ringgit per square meter   
  • Average monthly allowance for a family of four (excluding rent): 7,092.8 ringgit
  • Average monthly allowance for a single person (excluding rent): about 1,985 ringgit
Cheapest Countries to Live In Southeast Asia malaysia
Urban high Kuala Lumpur City Centre, Malaysia. Image by freestockcenter on Freepik

Cheapest Countries to Live In Southeast Asia: Philippines

Among Southeast Asia’s nations, the Philippines is a striking and stunning region. It offers gorgeous beaches and other tourist attractions that you can enjoy once you settle in the country. It has various locations that appeal not only to the outdoor enthusiasts but also to those who seek a more laid-back lifestyle and quiet environment. 

It’s important to keep in mind that rent in the Philippines is frequently higher than it is in other Southeast Asian nations with identical residences. This is especially true in certain cities and locations near business hubs. The pricey rent can take a major chunk out of your funds when you move to the country. Perhaps, if you’re ready and willing to give up some city comfort, there are also a lot of places where you can rent for cheap when you venture to less-known areas.

Motorcycles are available in the Philippines and they are becoming as common as they are in other Southeast Asian nations even in the cities, particularly with the roll out of several riding apps offering such services. Since traffic can be quite terrible especially in the metropolis, it can save you a lot of time to use these apps or get your own motorcycle and drive.

While the Philippines has relatively cheap public transport, try to manage your expectations as they can be very uncomfortable or crowded, specifically during rush hours.

Average Cost of Living in the Philippines

You need the following amount as per Numbeo to live comfortably in the Philippines:

  • A meal at an inexpensive restaurant: 200 pesos ($3.39)
  • Mid-range restaurant for a three-course meal for two: 1,200 pesos
  • Local transport (one-way ticket): 15 pesos                          
  • Monthly rent for one-bedroom apartment in the city center: 19,008.5 pesos      
  • Monthly rent for one-bedroom apartment outside the city center: 10,405 pesos
  • Apartment purchase in the city center: 125,852.8 pesos per square meter
  • Apartment purchase outside the city center: 68,679 pesos per square meter
  • Average monthly allowance for a family of four (excluding rent): 93,219.23 pesos
  • Average monthly allowance for a single person (excluding rent): 27,024.75 pesos

Cheapest Countries to Live In Southeast Asia: Thailand

Thailand, also commonly known as the Land of Smiles, is a great choice if you’re thinking of moving to Southeast Asia. The country is home to sunny beaches, delicious food, and a thriving nightlife.

Living in Thailand has certain benefits, one of which is cheaper transportation. There are plenty of foreign residents that have access to motorcycles that can be rented for very little money. Across the nation, gas costs are likewise remarkably low.

Do note that some regions of Thailand are more expensive than others, particularly those in the south close to the islands. I think you can say this is fairly normal as this is isn’t an isolated case in Thailand. One of Thailand’s most affordable regions is still Chiang Mai.

Average Cost of Living in Thailand

Numbeo said you need the following amount to live in Thailand:

  • A meal at an inexpensive restaurant: 70 baht ($1.85)
  • Mid-range restaurant for a three-course meal for two: 800 baht
  • Local transport (one-way ticket): 30 baht                             
  • Monthly rent for one-bedroom apartment in the city center: 13,479.73 baht      
  • Monthly rent for one-bedroom apartment outside the city center: 7,297 baht
  • Apartment purchase in the city center: 111,980 baht per square meter
  • Apartment purchase outside the city center: 60,690.81 baht per square meter
  • Average monthly allowance for a family of four (excluding rent): about 65,233 baht
  • Average monthly allowance for a single person (excluding rent): 18,107.50 baht

Cheapest Countries to Live In Southeast Asia: Vietnam

In terms of cost of living, Vietnam is very similar to a few other Southeast Asian countries on our list, but one of the clearest is the likeness between Vietnam and Thailand.

The cost of rental prices can be slightly lower than in Thailand. Still, other significant categories such as food costs, transportation costs, and other expenses are nearly identical.

The perks of moving to Vietnam is not only thanks to its being one the cheapest countries to live in Southeast Asia, but also to its mouthwatering cuisine, gorgeous scenery, rich tradition, and some of the most breathtaking caverns on earth. It is a place where you can easily access revered temples as well as the relics of the Vietnam War.

Average Cost of Living in Vietnam

According to Numbeo, you need the following amount to live in Vietnam:

  • A meal at an inexpensive restaurant: 50,000 dong ($2.11)
  • Mid-range restaurant for a three-course meal for two: 500,000 dong
  • Local transport (one-way ticket): 7,000 dong                      
  • Monthly rent for one-bedroom apartment in the city center: 8.6 million dong    
  • Monthly rent for one-bedroom apartment outside the city center: roughly 5.7 million dong
  • Apartment purchase in the city center: 65.9 million dong
  • Apartment purchase outside the city center: 33 million dong      
  • Average monthly allowance for a family of four (excluding rent): 37.8 million dong
  • Average monthly allowance for a single person (excluding rent): about 10.6 million dong
Cheapest Countries to Live In Southeast Asia vietnam
Vietnam mountain. Image by 4045 on Freepik

Cheapest Countries to Live In Southeast Asia: Few Tips to Save

  • Since there are peak and low seasons in most of Southeast Asia, it is advisable to make deals and buy necessities during the off-season.
  • In Southeast Asia, committing to long-term deals can help you save money.
  • The most affordable and often available method of transportation is public transit.
  • The cheapest option is usually to eat locally and find street vendors to buy goods from.
  • High-traffic regions are frequently the most expensive.

Cheapest Countries to Live In Southeast Asia: Final Thoughts

Do keep in mind that cheap can mean different things to different people, so before looking for a country where the cost of living and level of living are roughly matched, you should first identify your budget. Furthermore, if you spend a lot of money on shopping, eating out, drinking, and treating yourself, any of these expenses could increase. Therefore, while estimating how much it will cost to live abroad, remember to constantly take into consideration your personal lifestyle.

Are you into investments? If so, you can read our articles such as best investment options for Australian expats in 2021, what are the best investment options for Canadian expats in 2021, what are the best investment options for UK expats in 2022, and how to invest in the S&P 500 from outside America.

We also have reviews of Investors Trust Access Portfolio, Novia Global, Dominion Capital Strategies Guernsey, Custodian Life, St James Place fund, Tilney BestInvest, Sarwa Dubai, HSBC Expat,

Ardan International, and Investors Trust S&P 500 Review.

Pained by financial indecision? Want to invest with Adam?

Adam is an internationally recognised author on financial matters, with over 492.2 million answers views on Quora.com and a widely sold book on Amazon

Add a comment

*Please complete all fields correctly

Related Blogs

9 Best International Schools In Dubai
17 Best International Schools In The Philippines