The World Is Full of Interesting Places for Part-Timers: Asia

Choosing a place to live part-time overseas is easy for some, more challenging for others.  Some folks visit a place perhaps on vacation, and they know immediately.  They want to live there.  They need to live there.  They will be back to make the country and culture a permanent part of their lives as part-timers.

Others know they want to live in another culture with another perspective on life, but they just don’t know where.  They are open, searching, and evaluating.

In this series, our goal is to introduce you to popular expat destinations that seem to be drawing part-time as well as full-time expats.  The folks want to recreate or redefine their lives around an overseas experience.  You won’t get a lot of details here about the places we propose, but you will get a starting point from which to do your own research.  The places we mention have come from various sources, people’s experiences, publications, and websites.

Every person has preferences.  Every person has likes and dislikes.  This living overseas part-time is not a cookie-cutter project.  You want to find the place or places that are right for YOU, not for everyone else.  However, seeing some trends and gaining some insight and wisdom from others’ experiences can be really helpful.

Thailand:  This southeast Asian country has long been a favorite.   Popular expat spots include:

Chiang Mai:  Low cost of living, slower pace, global nomad hub, friendly.

Bangkok (the capital):  Cosmopolitan, bustling, cuisine, climate.


Phuket:  Beach life, stunning beauty, climate, lifestyle, modern.

Chiang Rai:  Cheap living, peaceful, inexpensive housing, more mild climate, mountains, nature.

Krabi:  Less developed, more remote, slower pace, quiet.

Koh Samui:  Island life, small but has a countryside feel, not as touristy as other locations, good infrasctructure for a small island, caves, waterfalls, proximity and accessibility to Bangkok.

Malaysia on map

Malaysia:  This country is a rich mix and melting pot of cultures.

Kuala Lumpur/Klang Valley:  This metropolitan area is often a top choice, lots of options with regard to shopping and transportation.

Penang:  An island only 45 minutes flying time from Kuala Lumpur.  Laid back lifestyle, excellent food options, less expensive housing than the metro area.

Kota Kinabalu:  Located on Borneo.  Offers a laid-back approach to city living.  Close proximity to beautiful islands, popular with tourists, and has an international airport.

Kuching:   Also located on the island of Borneo.  Culturally rich city.  Pace of life is slower than in Kuala Lumpur.  Good housing options.  International airport.

Vietnam:  This friendly country is rapidly becoming popular with expats.  Rich culture, beautiful scenery, tasty food, and low cost of living make Vietnam very popular.


Taiwan:   InterNations reports that Taiwan is a place that expats may never leave.  It was awarded best expat destination in the world in 2016 by InterNations.  Captivating blend of warm-hearted locals, historic and modern culture, captivating temples and shrines, beautiful natural landscapes, and wonderful food.


Singapore:  Good quality of life, ranks high in safety and security.  Expats report relative ease in settling in.  Very modern.

San Marina Bay, Singapore

Indonesia:  Popular for its culture, weather, and cost of living.


Bali:  This island is one of the most popular retirement destinations in the world.  Expat hubs include Ubud, Kuta, Sanur, and Uluwatu.  Ubud is a well-known global nomad center, while the other three regions are famous for beaches and surfing.

Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara:  Beautiful scenery, lost cost of living, peaceful lifestyle, and improving infrastructure make this tourist area popular with expats.

Yogyakarta:  University city known for a peaceful and relaxed atmosphere yet with accessible modern conveniences and attractions, affordable cost of living, low health care costs, and university amenities.

Lembang, West Java:  Beautiful hills, uncrowded environment, parks and waterfalls, and the famous Tangkuban Perahu Mountain.

The Philippines:  7,107 tropical islands to choose from!   The Philippines offers the warm blue waters and white beaches as well as the verdant mountain communities with cooler temperatures.

The Philippines
The Philippines

Cebu:  Modern city without the high prices associated with big cities in the US.  Colorful, only 30 minutes from the beach, easily accessible amenities.

Boracay:  Idyllic island setting 50 minutes by air from Manila, the capital.  This is the place for adventurers and water sports enthusiasts.  Low cost of living and slow pace of life.

Dumaguete (Island of Negros Oriental):  beach community of 120,000 locals and 8,000 expats.  Very low cost of living and friendly expats make this a very attractive destination.

Cambodia:  Full of history (Angkorian temples), yet it has modern cities with western conveniences.  Most popular cities for expats are Siem Reap and Phnom Penh.  Other areas of the country where there are expat populations are Sihanoukville (country’s most popular beach community) and Kep (popular beach community with a slow pace lifestyle and famous crab market). (Photos of Cambodia below.)


Obviously, I can’t cover every place that expats love or live in Asia, but this will give you an idea of the range of countries, places, and lifestyles available in Asia.  Enjoy the search, and let me know if you decide upon an Asian expat destination.  I’d love to hear of your experiences.


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3 thoughts on “The World Is Full of Interesting Places for Part-Timers: Asia”

  1. I am from Philippines. My country has more to offer not only Boracay, you have to consider underground water in Corona, Kalanggaman Island in Leyte. Thank you.

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