Best Cities To Live On A Budget In Southeast Asia
When looking for the best cities to live on a budget in Southeast Asia there are many to choose from. Just about anywhere in this part of the world can be done cheaply, but your quality of life will vary a lot from place to place.
This site is still GuysNightlife after all, and the goal here is to have some fun. So while you may be able to go live in some province in the middle of any country on next to nothing what type of a life is that?
Well, we aren’t going to judge and if that type of life is what you want then more power to you. But this post on the best cities to live on a budget in Southeast Asia isn’t only about saving money, its about living cheaply while still having a lot of fun.
Not all guys will want to enjoy their life in the same way. Some may want to be out enjoying great nightlife as much as they can.
Others may want to meet a girlfriend and be a homebody enjoying their time with her. So this list will try to encompass as many different types of lifestyles as it can.
We will try to cover what a cost of living would be like, be it a bare bones cost of living or being a free spender who doesn’t need to worry about price when he buys things. We will also give tips on what living in each city would be like, where to stay, and any negatives that you may have to deal with as well.
All cities here are listed in random order. We can’t really put them in a best to worst list since we aren’t sure what each reader wants out of his life. Lets start with one that generally tops lists like these.
Digital Nomads In Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai is one of the biggest digital nomad hubs in the world and for good reason. There are many great things to like about living in Thailand and Chiang Mai in general.
If you are looking for great nightlife and wild partying then this city probably is not for you. However if you are a nature lover or want to network with other like minded digital nomads and try to learn more ways to make money online you will love it here.
But any time too many foreigners move to a place that has its downfalls. You can still meet a lot of cute (and easy) girls on Thai Cupid and Thai Friendly to make up for the lack of nightlife, but there are lots of other foreigners doing the same.
As far as a cost of living in Chiang Mai one main thing you have to factor in is the visa runs, if you rent your own bike while living here (recommended) you can drive to the border to lower those costs. You can get by here for $600-$700, anything above $800 will have you comfortable, and $1500 will be baller level in this city.
One great thing about Thailand is you get the best apartment value here. You can live in some really nice places for cheaper then dumps in other cities will cost.
Living Cheaply In Ho Chi Minh City
There aren’t anywhere near as many digital nomads living in Ho Chi Minh City, but there are definitely a lot of backpackers traveling through. If you are going to live here staying in District 1 would probably be best.
This is where much of the best nightlife in the city is located. The food here is very good and highly underrated, and it is quite cheap also.
The infrastructure is nowhere near as good as in Thailand, the war definitely seems to have held this country down for a long time. Overall the people don’t really seem to mix with foreigners too much.
When it comes to girls they are much more conservative then Thais, don’t expect to be a playboy and get lots of casual hook ups here. Even pulling drunk Vietnamese girls from clubs will be hard.
Many guys do consider them to be some of the sexiest girls in Southeast Asia, and if you are willing to go on a few dates then they will start to put out. Definitely a better country to find a serious girlfriend on Vietnam Cupid then be a playboy.
There is some hooker nightlife in Ho Chi Minh City but it really isn’t great for that. It is more of a massage and blowjob bar scene, not a Go Go or freelancer scene.
But the city just has an appeal to it that many fail to put into words. You really can’t understand unless you visit, and almost all that visit seem to really like it.
This is a capitol city so things are going to be a bit more expensive, a minimum budget of $800 a month would be a good low point. $1000 will have you comfortable, and $1500-$2000 will have you balling.
Easy Girls In Cebu City
Every travel site has talked about the easy Filipina girls in Cebu City it seems. Like with Chiang Mai this is leading to more and more guys going there and making the competition a bit stiffer.
It is still a good city to play the field on Filipino Cupid and PinaLove, but probably not as good as it was 5 years ago. The hooker nightlife isn’t great either, the best thing you can do is try to meet girls for sex in Cebu City at Mango Square.
If you are on a baller budget you can get a condo in IT Park off AirBnb. That will have you in the nicest area of the city where it doesn’t feel too third worldy.
Apartments are not very good value in the Philippines and electricity prices are very high. A minumum budget for here would be somewhere around $800, $1100 would have you comfortable and $1800 would have you balling.
The biggest positives would be the easy girls, the easy visas, and that people speak English and are very friendly. Where as in Ho Chi Minh you will always feel like an outsider in the Philippines you feel very welcome.
Lowest Budget In Southeast Asia
If you are on a tiny budget and need to either survive as long as you can or slowly build a roll then Sihanoukville is probably the best spot. This is a sleepy beach town in Cambodia that is very cheap to live.
You can get a fan room in a guest house for $5 a night right on the beach minutes from the best nightlife. Heck, you can even get a job handing out flyers and promoting the bars that will give you a free place to stay and free food.
Or you can find an apartment for under $200 a little ways away from the beach. The visas are also very cheap and easy, and everything will be cheap.
But this is Cambodia and the infrastructure is very bad. There are no good hospitals around if anything goes wrong, the power goes out frequently, and you definitely will know you are in the third world here.
But you can get by on $500 if you really want. $700 will have you pretty comfortable, and it would be hard to even be able to spend $1500 a month here. One thing to point out is that the nightlife in Sihanoukville totally revolves around hookers.
Don’t come here to play the field unless you want to pay for it. Find a good girlfriend on Asian Dating or pay for the booty.
Great Value In Bangkok
Some may be surprised to see Bangkok on this list and if you don’t have any willpower then don’t bother. This is a city that can be very expensive if you can’t control your spending.
On the other hand from a value to money perspective Bangkok might be the best city to live cheaply in Southeast Asia. It has by far the best infrastructure of any city listed here, it doesn’t feel third worldy at all.
There is great public transportation so make sure you choose a condo near the BTS or Metro line. There is great food, easy girls on dating sites, and of course the Bangkok nightlife is world famous.
You will need to have some discipline to do this city cheaply, but as long as you have a minimum budget of around $900 you can live here and have a decent life. $1200 will allow for more wiggle room, and $1800 will allow you to have a whole lot of fun.
A true ballers budget in this city will be way above those numbers, but you can live a great life here for a cheap price no doubt. You can also get a great cost of living in Pattaya as well.
Tips On Southeast Asia Budgets
Tips for Southeast Asia budgets are similar to budgets anywhere. Try to find a centrally located place close to where you will spend most of your time.
That way you can either walk or take a cheap motorbike taxi to get their quickly. Look for local food restaurants that get a lot of customers and give them a shot. Travelers tummy happens, but if you choose crowded places you lower your chances.
The biggest thing that can crush your budget will be the nightlife and girls. If you go out with a wad in your pocket, get really drunk, and lose all control you won’t survive here on a budget.
If you only bring out what you can afford and have the willpower to say no you can live in this part of the world very cheaply and have a lot of fun. If you wanted to read about more good budget vacation options for single guys check out this eBook guide.
Hopefully you find the right best city to live on a budget in Southeast Asia.