Asian Expat Thread

iop890

Crow
Gold Member
The general expat/escaping lockdown threads are increasingly useless when it comes to practical information because they just rehash the same regional arguments over and over and rarely get into the specifics of any region.

Here's a thread specifically for East and Southeast Asia. Assume for the purposes of this thread that everyone is already set on this region and refrain from posting about starting an alpaca ranch in Uruguay instead.

Anybody on the ground that could give specifics about the severity of lockdown where you are would be appreciated. I've heard the Philippines went totally insane with lockdowns for example.
 
I’m in Mexico actually, sorry.

Background
I was traveling around Asia for years. However I got frustrated that women I dated were unwilling to come back to USA with me. They’d drag their feet and refuse to apply for the visa because it was too difficult.

Many ended up with European guys immediately after me who they knew could get them an easier visa and who was living as a true expat (spending all his time in a Tier I city). Many times they were seeing these guys concurrently and not even really hiding it. What can you do?

I had some real heartbreaking situations. Keep in mind I dated more attractive women who weren’t in the bottom rung of their society. I can hardly blame them for not wanting to leave their work lives behind. I was only offering them a life of budget travel and a base in NYC and South Florida. I’m also only a male 8, chuckle.

East Asia
My Korean and Japanese girlfriend’s were the only ones I could really take seriously. They’d have made excellent partners wives and moms. But both were devoted to their work.

The Japanese and Koreans work crazy hours. I barely saw them. Not much free time for more than a weekend trip. Their intense work culture turned me off wanting to be a full-time expat there.

That said, if you go there expect a lot of excuses about time, distance, money, difficulty of going to USA. I’d advise you to cut ties with America and live as a true expat.

You can make decent money teaching English there. Japanese and Korean are not tonal. So easier to learn than Chinese. Spoken fluency isn’t hard. The alphabet and characters take years to learn.

Southeast Asia
If you want more of a life (free time) I’d recommend SEA. There’s less stringent work culture there and your money goes further. Though I still had major problems getting even a weekend in Bali with Indonesian, Malaysian, and Thai women I dated.

They were supposed to have weekends off. Malaysia seemed the best actually. My gf and I went somewhere every weekend there. In Thailand, my gf was harassed by her job nonstop demanding she come in. My gf in Indonesia only had one free day a week and just wanted to relax.

I lived in Laos and Cambodia for awhile. I couldn’t find a normal AND attractive woman to date in Cambodia. It’s cheap though and fun to drive a motorbike around the provinces. Same for Laos though I did find an attractive sponsorette that I couldn’t make an honest women out of—truly heartbreaking.

ASEAN, etc
I’ve never been to Vietnam. Only crossed into Myanmar briefly. Never got to Taiwan. I have dated women from all these countries in HK & SG. THe dynamics of those cities lead young women to monkey branch big time and I felt like I was as much as a free hotel to them as a person. I can hardly blame them with rent prices being so high...

I’ve traveled across Micronesia. Don’t sleep on Guam. If you can find work or get stationed there it’s a short flight to EE and SEA. It’s a US Territory with lots of military bases

China
Traveled a bunch in China (Yunnan, Sichuan). Lived in BJ, SH, HK, Shenzhen, and Guangzhao. Chinese women are nice but have a stubborn (even bitchy) side to their personality. I had to dump all my Chinese girlfriends because of that.

Was Wechatting last night with a rich Chinese ex who ALWAYS brings up the fact that I’m not working and that’s my problem in life, blah blah. Nice but cunty side that’s totally oblivious to her insulting harping.

The Chinese are super money oriented, but have good values overall. Way too much pollution, drinking, smoking, poor diet, lack of exercise. I couldn’t live long term in China until air pollution is cleaned up. Maybe Hong Kong but it’s got so many problems now and is super expensive.

Lockdowns
I’ve talked with guys who were in Philippines. Indeed it was a harsh lockdown that has pushed many people into poverty and starvation.

SRRV foreigners were allowed to stay. If they left, coming back was tricky. Many were not allowed back. No new applicants.

I’ve also talked lately with expats in Indonesia. The governance there seems to be about the same. Foreigners were allowed to stay and business visa travelers could get in until a few months back.

I’ve talked to expats in Thailand who had Thai elite visa which allowed them back with a quarantine. They said it’s pretty normal. Just empty.

Things in Indonesia and Philippines also seemed relatively normal for the past several months. They’re just scared to reopen fully.

Further Reading
I published a book about living abroad that talks about SEA and East Asia. I bounced around on tourist visas and never bothered with residency. Those were the days. Easy visa runs.

Advice
I got a late start in my travels to Asia. I do wish I’d gone abroad as a student or immediately after college and used English teaching to work and stay there long term. I’d be much happier now and probably have a second passport and loving wife and kids.

Any of the ASEAN countries aside from Brunei would be a decent choice. There is a path to citizenship in many that would have been worth it for a 20 year old me or any guy that can commit 5 years.

But doesn’t make sense now that my lifetime economics are tied to the USA. America has me for life I’m afraid.

I’m envious of anyone who’s gotten out and stayed out from a young age. I think SEA/Eis the best region to live in the world.

The hardest part is picking one country. Then learning the language.

Philippines of course is English speaking so doesn’t work for English teaching.

You don’t really need language in any of the countries. Especially to start. Learning it helps but you can do it while there. It’s not like Latin America where I’d recommend being fluent before coming.

Retirement Visas
Not worth it in pre Covid days. Even Thailand offered a multi entry visa that was good for 9 months per year. That’s just enough time to skip the rainy season. The catch was going home to apply for it.

Malaysia has no age on its retirement expat visa. Though they want a huge amount of cash on deposit in a Malay bank. I think it was $100k or something like that. It made me laugh.

Maybe worthwhile if you buy property. But I met several expats who bought and regretted it. KL has pollution and is boring.

Philippines Special Retirement Residency Visa has several iterations. You have to be 35 years or older. Put $50,000 into a flip bank account ($10,000 in some versions) or real estate. Manila has a hot market. Homes go up 22% an year. Truly insane.

Manila does enforce a smoking ban on nightlife and have lower pollution than other cities. It’s smaller and more manageable with several golf courses and a nearby airport (KL’s is far). Good for weekend getaways.

Indonesia you have to be 50+. So most digital nomad expats go for the social visa. It’s a monthly renewal good for a totals of six months. It’s annoying to renew in Bali and requires 3 weekly visits. Sometimes holidays interfere—I got back an expired visa renewal once!

If things go back to normal I’d recommend doing visa runs on the tourist exemption for Indonesia.
 
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Edit: Mods delete my first reply. This one has more info.

I’m in Mexico actually, sorry.

Background
I was traveling around Asia for years. However I got frustrated that women I dated were unwilling to come back to USA with me. They’d drag their feet and refuse to apply for the visa because it was too difficult.

Many ended up with European guys immediately after me who they knew could get them an easier visa and who was living as a true expat (spending all his time in a Tier I Asian city). Many times they were seeing these guys concurrently and not even really hiding it. What can you do?

I had some real heartbreaking situations. Keep in mind I dated more attractive women who weren’t in the bottom rung of their society. I can hardly blame them for not wanting to leave their work lives behind. I was only offering them a life of budget travel and a base in NYC and South Florida. I’m also only a male 8, chuckle.

East Asia
My Korean and Japanese girlfriend’s were the only ones I could really take seriously. No hygiene issues or ba to their personality. They’d have made excellent partners wives and moms. But both were very devoted to their work.

My Korean gf was a doctor so pointless asking her to quit. My Japanese gf was a tour guide who wanted to quit her job and be supported. But dragged her feet on the process.

The Japanese and Koreans work crazy hours. I barely saw them. Not much free time for more than a weekend trip. Their intense work culture turned me off wanting to be a full-time expat there.

That said, if you go there expect a lot of excuses about time, distance, money, difficulty of going to USA. I’d advise you to cut ties with America and live as a true expat.

You can make decent money teaching English there. Japanese and Korean are not tonal. So easier to learn than Chinese. Spoken fluency isn’t hard. The alphabet and characters take years to learn.

Both countries have a good pool of women for an serious relationship. They’re raised very well with no major defects like so many other countries.

Southeast Asia
If you want more of a life (free time) I’d recommend SEA. There’s less stringent work culture there and your money goes further. Though I still had major problems getting even a weekend in Bali with Indonesian, Malaysian, and Thai women I dated.

They were supposed to have weekends off. Malaysia seemed the best actually. My gf and I went somewhere every weekend there. In Thailand, my gf was harassed by her job nonstop demanding she come in. My gf in Indonesia only had one free day a week and just wanted to relax.

I lived in Laos and Cambodia for awhile. I couldn’t find a normal AND attractive woman to date in Cambodia. It’s cheap though and fun to drive a motorbike around the provinces. Same for Laos though I did find an attractive sponsorette that I couldn’t make an honest women out of—truly heartbreaking.

ASEAN, etc
I’ve never been to Vietnam. Only crossed into Myanmar briefly. Never got to Taiwan. I have dated women from all these countries in HK & SG. THe dynamics of those cities lead young women to monkey branch big time and I felt like I was as much as a free hotel to them as a person. I can hardly blame them with rent prices being so high...

I’ve traveled across Micronesia. Don’t sleep on Guam. If you can find work or get stationed there it’s a short flight to EE and SEA. It’s a US Territory with lots of military bases.

Singapore is expensive and boring. Though that’s fine if you are a serious businessman or finance type baller I guess. Good airport for getaways. Strong passport.

If you want to teach English I’ve heard good things about Vietnam. Cambodia I met some teachers who were totally unqualified. Also guys on biz visas who were clearly just hanging out on the cheap. Cambodia tends to attract that crowd.

China
Traveled a bunch in China (Yunnan, Sichuan). Lived in BJ, SH, HK, Shenzhen, and Guangzhao. Chinese women are nice but have a stubborn (even bitchy) side to their personality. I had to dump all my Chinese girlfriends because of that.

Was Wechatting last night with a rich Chinese ex who ALWAYS brings up the fact that I’m not working and that’s my problem in life, blah blah. Nice but cunty side that’s totally oblivious to her insulting harping.

The Chinese are super money oriented, but have good values overall. Way too much pollution, drinking, smoking, poor diet, lack of exercise. I couldn’t live long term in China until air pollution is cleaned up. Maybe Hong Kong but it’s got so many problems now and is super expensive.

Lockdowns
I’ve talked with guys who were in Philippines. Indeed it was a harsh lockdown that has pushed many people into poverty and starvation.

SRRV foreigners were allowed to stay. If they left, coming back was tricky. Many were not allowed back. No new applicants.

I’ve also talked lately with expats in Indonesia. The governance there seems to be about the same. Foreigners were allowed to stay and business visa travelers could get in until a few months back.

I’ve talked to expats in Thailand who had Thai elite visa which allowed them back with a quarantine. They said it’s pretty normal. Just empty.

Things in Indonesia and Philippines also seemed relatively normal for the past several months. They’re just scared to reopen fully.

Further Reading
I published a book about living abroad that talks about SEA and East Asia. I bounced around on tourist visas and never bothered with residency. Those were the days. Easy visa runs.

Advice
I got a late start in my travels to Asia. I do wish I’d gone abroad as a student or immediately after college and used English teaching to work and stay there long term. I’d be much happier now and probably have a second passport and loving wife and kids.

Any of the ASEAN countries aside from Brunei would be a decent choice. There is a path to citizenship in many that would have been worth it for a 20 year old me or any guy that can commit 5 years.

But doesn’t make sense now that my lifetime economics are tied to the USA. America has me for life I’m afraid.

I’m envious of anyone who’s gotten out and stayed out from a young age. I think SEA/EA is the best region to live in the world.

The hardest part is picking one country. Then learning the language.

Philippines of course is English speaking so doesn’t work for English teaching.

You don’t really need language in any of the countries. Especially to start. Learning it helps but you can do it while there. It’s not like Latin America where I’d recommend being fluent before coming.

Retirement Visas
Not worth it in pre Covid days. Even Thailand offered a multi entry visa that was good for 9 months per year. That’s just enough time to skip the rainy season. The catch was going home to apply for it.

Malaysia has no age on its retirement expat visa. Though they want a huge amount of cash on deposit in a Malay bank. I think it was $100k or something like that. It made me laugh.

Maybe worthwhile if you buy property. But I met several expats who bought and regretted it. KL has pollution and is boring.

Philippines Special Retirement Residency Visa has several iterations. You have to be 35 years or older. Put $50,000 into a flip bank account ($10,000 in some versions) or real estate. Manila has a hot market. Homes go up 22% an year. Truly insane.

Manila does enforce a smoking ban on nightlife and have lower pollution than other cities. It’s smaller and more manageable with several golf courses and a nearby airport (KL’s is far). Good for weekend getaways.

Indonesia and Thailand you have to be 50+. So most digital nomad expats go for the Indo social visa (applying in SG or KL).

It’s a monthly renewal good for a total of six months. It’s annoying to renew in Bali and requires 3 weekly visits. Sometimes holidays interfere—I got back an expired visa renewal once!

If things go back to normal I’d recommend doing visa runs on the tourist exemption for Indonesia.

The Fattening
I’m now in Latin America. I thought I’d come back here and give it a shot. I studied in Mexico in college and new I could buy cheap farmland here and do my own thing with no government interference.

While that’s true, I’m appalled by how fat the country has gotten. Asia is blimping out, too.

Some guys are porker barrel asses themselves and don’t care. If you’re a taco ass who likes to pay women to be mean to you I’d say go for Latin America.

If you require skinny women who don’t treat their body like a garbage can—I’d say you need to be in Japan or Vietnam. Super low obesity rates.

Final Thoughts
It’s important to understand that you’re investing in a society. If the foundation is bad there nothing you can do. You’ve wasted your time becoming part of a broken society.

When you think about what countries aren’t broken or severely compromised—well there’s not much. Japan really.

SEA has a problems but you can ignore a lot of them and insulate yourself. Not a bad option if you’re looking to golden parachute into a tourism based retirement and are single and older, already.

I have given up on finding a wife or travel partner. So that means no kids. Therefore I’m leaning more towards SEA. The hassle and expense of integrating as an expat into Japan Wouldnt be worthwhile for me at this point.
 
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iop890

Crow
Gold Member
@Timbuktube Thanks for the in-depth response.

I spent a couple years in Bangkok starting when I was 19, and have done short visits to some nearby countries(spent a decent amount of time in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore), but I've spent the last few years in the US in order to make more money(In hindsight I may have been better off staying there and just having less money).

I was actually planning to move back last year but got interrupted by all the lockdowns. The plan was to bounce around checking out my options for a while, but it's not so easy to jump from country to country anymore.

I'm personally deciding between going with what's familiar(Bangkok again) vs trying out Vietnam, or going with Japan despite the higher costs. Honestly as sentimental as I am about Thailand, Japan seems like the best option if you can afford it and I have enough savings to have a fairly cushy start right now, so it may be time to give it a go.
 
Bangkok is where all the cool guys hangout. Too polluted and boring for me. But good for networking with red pill guys.
 
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In Bali Indonesia. Things are pretty chill here. Everything closes around 9pm, but restaurants, gym etc are open. Tons of people on the beaches having a good time. Mask when you drive, but not enforced very seriously. Some places are dead, like Ubud, Kuta etc, other places have gotten all the remaining expats, like Canggu, Uluwatu. It’s possible to get in with a business visa. Quarantine a few days or just pay a lot and skip it.

I have dated in many of the Asian countries. Imo give up on Singapore, it’s a nice place to live, but not even the local men want to marry their women. Thailand is fun, it’s a good option if you want to live there, but many westerners have been fishing the waters there already, so it’s getting harder. Indonesia and Phillippines if you want to date a young marriage minded low notch count woman. They will want to move away from there, so be comfortable with the idea of taking her home. Wherever you go, make sure you know what you want and are good at screening away anything that does not fit your goals. In the more developed places these women will demand more from you, in the less developed places you will get more bang for your bucks(no pun intended), but living there will be lower quality of life.
 

Watchman72

Sparrow
@Timbuktube I'm personally deciding between going with what's familiar(Bangkok again) vs trying out Vietnam, or going with Japan despite the higher costs.
Vietnam vs Thailand:

Cost of living is lower in Vietnam.
Food might be slightly better in Thailand but overal I like Vietnamese cuisine.
Vietnamese are more open to different countries and cultures and less racist/etnocentric than the Thai.
Thailand has way more ladyboys and sex tourism than Vietnam. These things are almost nonexistent here.
Average IQ is higher in Vietnam.

Vietnamese women are more conservative when it comes to sex.
It's much harder to randomly bang sluts here.
Most girls here are only looking for serious relationships/marriage.
Thai girls use a lot of fakeup. Many Viet girls hardly use any makeup and show very little skin.
Viet girls are curvier than Thai girls.
Medical care is better in Thailand, but Vietnam is catching up.

Vietnamese uses the Latin alphabet so it's easier to recognise words on road signs, to read menus in restaurants etc.
It"s almost impossible to integrate in Thai culture and society. Vietnam is a much better place if you wish to integrate. I've been to Bangkok twice. I don't like the vibe.

Before I decided to move to Vietnam I took a good look at Thailand.
After doing my research and comparing both countries it was obvious to me that Vietnam is the winner.
Maybe Thailand used to be a great place 20 years ago.
Times change. Imho Thailand is has been...
 
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I've been to Thailand and Colombia. I'll also echo the previous concerns Thailand is too polluted. The SEA region is fun. Flights are so cheap. I have met someone who I could have settled with, only problem was looks.

I visited Colombia this year and the lockdowns are no joke. My local bankers has also spent time in Colombia in his youth and I'm very lucky to have him as a contact.

When I was in Colombia I met someone who married an 18 year old SEA as a 50 year old. With SEA age gaps are totally fine. Just my opinion but that should be socially acceptable. He has told me he gets looks all the time when he visits New York.

I'm at a point in time where I want to settle down but want to leave America. I've had problems with employment in this once great nation. Go where you're treated the best.
 
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