The cheapest places to live in the world. $500 a month

By dorotix, July 1st 2009 in Travel News Comments (1330)

Are you tired of busy cities, crowded streets, high rents and almost non-affordable mortgage? Well...there are places in the world where you can live well for less. The cheapest places to live are also the most beautiful and exotic destinations. So why not make your dreams come true, pack your bags and move to one of those paradise locations, if not for a lifetime, then at least for a year or two?

There are two simple rules to follow while searching for low cost destinations. Firstly: if you find a place cheap enough to travel to, then most probably you will also find it cheap to live in. Secondly: wherever you are, the further from the big cities and large agglomerations, the cheaper it gets.  

Of course 'cheap' is a very relative concept, and what is cheap for you may not be cheap for people living some place else in the world.

But if 'cheap' means spending just a few dollars/euro/pounds a day, then these locations in Asia and Central America may interest you...




This could be your home. By rene ehrhardt


Have you ever been to Thailand? Do you remember that feeling of paying $1 (€0.70) for a glass of beer? Did you ask yourself then what it would feel like to pay that much for a drink back home? Or the other way round... what would it feel like to enjoy such prices on a daily basis? If your answers are yes, yes, yes ...then why not consider moving to the Land of Smiles for a while?

Life is short and, really, no one forces you to spend your days sitting in the office with a computer as your best friend. Think about sandy beaches, constant sunshine and excellent food and realize that you can have it all for less than $500 (€350) a month.

Of course this amount will not pay a beach apartment but you can easily find cheap accommodation in places as beautiful as Chang Mai, up north, where you will pay around $30 (€21) a month for a small flat. Nearer the coast, a room in the apartments runs at roughly $90 (€63) upwards.


Chang Mai by Dj Badly

Cooking at home will cost you nothing as fruits, vegetables and meat at the local markets fall into the budget category. If you are too lazy to cook then try excellent Thai food from street-side food stalls. You can get spicy chicken with rice or noodles for around $1 (€0.70). Spending around $200 (€142) for food a month, you still have around $200 (€142) spare to enjoy local trips, restaurants, parties and some small shopping.



Angkor Wat. By Jon 2

Thinking about Cambodian history, the bloody regime of Pol Pot and poverty, no one would dare to call the country a paradise, but in terms of living cost Cambodia rivals Thailand. It does not have as great beaches as its Thai neighbor but, well, it is not all about beaches, right?  You can easily live for less than $500 (€350) in the country’s capital, Phnom Penh.

As there are more and more foreigners living in the town, the accommodation prices are getting higher – it would be hard to find something below $200 (€142) a month, but you can always reduce this cost by sharing a flat with a friend or some long-term travelers.

With $300 (€213) left, you can easily get by in the country. The food prices are similar or lower than in Thailand. Eating in local restaurants will cost you around $2 (€1.40) a meal and $1 (€0.70) a beer but if you really aim to trim your budget, you can try food from street stalls- simple but delicious. Traveling by tuk tuk will cost you several bucks/euro a day. 


Getting around by tuk tuk. By tajai

Living in Phnom Penh, the town of no McDonald’s and Starbucks, may be a life changing experience for you. Be aware that Cambodians are extremely poor but modest people, so treat them with respect.  Getting to know a few natives may help you to understand the complex history and tough life in the country. You can always teach English or get involved with some non-governmental organizations to help change the reality around you.   

For visa details read an article at

You will find similar costs of living in nearby countries such as Vietnam and Laos .



Such beach on a daily basis? Why not...By Eric Uano

Another exotic destination where life will cost you not more than $500 (€350) a month is the Philippines. Following the rule of getting away from big cities, Manila is not an option, as a rent prices start at $360 (€255) a month.  But if you head for Cebu, one of the most developed provinces in the Philippines, with sandy beaches, golf courses and great shopping, you can get an apartment for $150 (€106) a month. In other bustling towns, such as Damaguete City, you can easily rent a room for around $40 (€28) per month.

Food is also cheap. $200 (€142) a month will be absolutely enough to provide you with all necessities including alcohol and tobacco - a big glass of beer and pack of cigarettes cost $0.55 (€0.39) and $0.80 (€0.57) respectively. 



Ricefields in the Philippines. By Sekitar

Moreover, the Philippines offer a special resident retiree visa   that you can get as early as at the age of 35, but you need to deposit $50K in a bank there. At the age of 50 and above you have to deposit $10K and prove a monthly pension of $800 single ($1K couple).   

Malaysia , has a similar retiree offer called My Second Home program.




Surfing in Costa Rica might be an option...By Saaron83

Just a few dollars/euro would be enough to survive in Costa Rica. And surviving in Costa Rica may be just a pleasure. The land has 12 different climatic zones and abundant wildlife, but in general, the weather is hot tropical and the natives (called Ticos) are very spirited and friendly people.

Prices in San José are low - the cost of goods and services is among the lowest of all cities throughout the world. You can easily live on $500-$600 (€350-€425) a month if you share a house or flat with a partner or a friend. 

Obviously the further away from San José, the lower the cost of housing.  Around 75 km (50 miles) from the town you can rent a small or medium house for $250 (€177) a month.

In the restaurants you can have an excellent meal with desert for about $4.00 - $5.00 (€2.8-€3.5). And if you buy food at local markets and from the street vendors, you pay less- a bunch of bananas will cost you $0.50 (€0.30) or less. Cigarettes are only about $1.20 (€0.90) per pack. In general, the prices in supermarkets are 30% higher than on the local markets and street stalls.

Street stall in Costa Rica. By Angela Rutherford

While in Costa Rica you can learn or develop your surfing skills as the coast has great breaks and excellent surf conditions. And if you're not too lazy, you can learn or practice your Spanish. Lessons will cost you much less than back home or in Spain. 

To find out more check the blog by Tim, who has lived in the country for several years.  It seems that he knows a lot about living in Costa Rica.

If you seriously think about moving to Costa Rica, you should also read ‘Living Abroad in Costa Rica’ by Erin Van Rheenen, who herself moved to live there and wrote from experience. The book explores the country’s history and culture, describes the nation and, of course, suggests a reconnaissance trip to Costa Rica before you decide to move.



Belize sunset by Gold44

Your dream of a personal heaven for a bargain price may also come true in Belize, which is considered one of the most beautiful countries in Central America. It has it all: great beaches, subtropical climate, and diverse wildlife. The official language in the country is English – that makes things simpler, doesn’t it?

The country is also a paradise for scuba diving and snorkeling lovers .The Belize Barrier Reef offers 127 offshore Cayes (islands) where you will find the best preserved marine ecosystems in the world.

The costs of living are similar to those in Costa Rica. For a large house in Cayo district, a one-hour drive west from Belize City, you may pay $300 (€210) a month and if you share with two other friends, it is only $100 (€70)!!!

Groceries are cheap when bought locally. Imported stuff is in general 50% more expensive so if you want to trim your budget, you should shop at local markets and buy from street vendors. 

If you’re 45 or more you may consider retiring to Belize. The Retired Person’s Incentive Program may allow you to live a tax free lifestyle, which should definitely help you save up a few bucks.


Storm approaching the coast in Belize. By Grant Heller

Before you pack your bags, be aware that the country has dry and wet seasons so the weather is not always as perfect as you wish. The wet season starts in May and ends in October – it rains all the time and the hurricanes may occur, so if you want to spend just a few months in the country, go between November and April.

The world is changing fast and the bargain destinations may soon become less affordable, so go there before it is too late. 

And don’t forget that the best things in life are for free. Living abroad for less than $500 a month is great but what counts most is the people you meet, friends you make, experience you acquire, places you see, tastes and smells you learn to recognize.

There are also countries in Europe and Africa where you can live for $500 a month. So keep checking the blog... the article is coming soon.                 

P.S. At the time of writing, the exchange rate was $1 - €0.71.



  1. Veriy Jul 3, 2009 2:53 AM

    Bali is also a cheap place to live

  2. Guest Jul 3, 2009 3:07 AM

    Of the central american destinations you mentioned, Costa Rica and Belize are the most expensive. Better live in luxury in Guatemala!

  3. Guest Jul 3, 2009 3:15 AM

    I've been to all of those places and you are so far from reality it's not even possible to rationalize with you

  4. Guest Jul 3, 2009 3:20 AM

    what about india?

  5. Guest Jul 3, 2009 3:26 AM

    I've been looking at a couple of the places you mention, but it is difficult to work out accommodations from overseas. Any advice on how you can do so without overpaying?

    Also your numbers for rent in Thailand seem off.

  6. Guest Jul 3, 2009 3:27 AM

    Bali is exoticly beautiful and cheap. You should put it on the list :)

  7. Guest Jul 3, 2009 3:29 AM

    Awesome!! Thanks for the great list. Looks like I'll be packing to Costa Rica :-)

  8. Guest Jul 3, 2009 3:44 AM

    I am from the Philippines, if you are a westerner, if you live here you will not know the difference since our culture is somewhat adopted from the western. We'd been ruled by Spanish and the americans, both culture are mix today.

    Another is the language, we speak english...

  9. Guest Jul 3, 2009 4:00 AM

    Just spent the last 5 years in Thailand, Cambodia and The Phillipines. You CANNOT live in Any of these places on $500 a month. No way, no how.

  10. Guest Jul 3, 2009 4:30 AM

    Vote for Indonesia...hahahaha

  11. Guest Jul 3, 2009 4:33 AM

    Teacher’s average salary in Thailand is $400 per month... so I guess it is possible for anyone to live on less than $500...

  12. Guest Jul 3, 2009 4:33 AM

    My friends got mugged in Belize... not fun

  13. Guest Jul 3, 2009 4:40 AM

    would someone then post some information about the same countries about a bare minimum how much it really costs to live there.

  14. Guest Jul 3, 2009 4:43 AM

    Depressing. I can barely afford to live in my own country (Philippines). LOL.

  15. Guest Jul 3, 2009 4:56 AM

    As a 6 year expat in The Land Of Smiles, I have to correct your Thailand living expenses.

    First off, a single room even in the cheapest parts of Thailand is going to cost you upwards of 70 dollars. On the beach you can rent a dirty bamboo hut for around 100 dollars a month. But anything decent is going to cost at least 200 a month.

    A beer is no longer anywhere near $1, for this price you'll get a can from 7/11. If you're going to sit down and have a beer, expect to pay $2 - 6 dollars.

    Thai street food is indeed around $1 dollar a dish. But you can forget about cooking at home on that budget. For a start the place you rent for 100-200 dollars a month will not have a ktichen. Then you'd have to buy in bulk to beat the street food prices, so unless you wanna eat chicken fried rice every meal for a week, cooking at home is gonna cost you more.

    Also I have to add, these prices are usually only available to the seasoned Thai visitor or expat. If you can't talk Thai, you can forget it. Expect to pay double on pretty much everything mentioned above (except street food, which is usually a standard price for Thai's and foreigners.)

  16. Guest Jul 3, 2009 4:57 AM

    I live in Chiang Mai Thailand and for $30 a month an apartment would be a crappy tent in abandoned building. Figure at least $120 for decent accomodations and I pay about $300 for great quality. It's true food and other things are cheap there

  17. Guest Jul 3, 2009 4:59 AM

    Thank you!! Just helped me plan my next vacation :)

  18. Guest Jul 3, 2009 5:05 AM

    "Teacher’s average salary in Thailand is $400 per month... so I guess it is possible for anyone to live on less than $500..."

    $400 ?? ?? ?? perhaps if you are a Thai national, even then as a teacher you'd should be earning around 500.

    The only people who can live on 500 a month in Thailand are the Thai's. And for this they share a single room with four people, only ever eat street food, drink one perhaps two beers a night, work 12 hours a day, 7 days a week.

    Yes its possible, but I wouldn't suggest hopping on a plane to Thailand to live that kind of life.

  19. Guest Jul 3, 2009 5:07 AM

    as a Costa Rican, I will tell you that is just not true. Unless you are a pig.

  20. Guest Jul 3, 2009 5:09 AM

    Chang Mai is indeed cheaper than coastal towns.
    I paid $750 a month for a decent (not luxurious) 2 bedroom in Rayong for 3 years. Did not include utilities.

    The Phillipines I payed $450 a month for an ex- Navy personal 2 bedroom home in Subic Bay. Had to have bars on all my windows and steel doors. Also had a 24 hour armed guard. People still got robbed regularly. Safety is an issue for foreigners in the Philippines.

    Cambodia is tough to find western standard apartments. Cost is about the same as Thailand.

    You better put aside at least $200 a month for health insurance in all these countries and extra money for prepaid airvac insurance in Cambodia.

  21. Guest Jul 3, 2009 5:14 AM

    i agree

  22. Guest Jul 3, 2009 5:20 AM

    Here is a realistic breakdown of a semi western style lifestlyle in Thailand.

    $750+ for a seaview 1 bedroom apartment with a common pool
    $750 a month. No seaview 2 bedroom. Western Kitchen and bathroom. Aircon in all rooms
    $500 a month Small 1 bedroom with aircon and Western Kitchen.
    $350 a month for Studio with aircon and not quite western standard kitchen on the patio outback.
    $200 a month for a Thai dump with a sqaut toilet and no kitchen. Electric will be spotty.

    Divide these by 2/3 rds for Chang Mai, Chang Rai.
    Divide by 1/2 for most is Issans major cities.
    Multiply by 1.25 to 1.50 for Puket.
    Pattaya, Rayong and Hua Hin will all be about those prices.

    Double whatever price you come up with for everything else. Food, Bike rentals etc etc.

    Add some money for health insurance and $100 a month for visa runs.

  23. Guest Jul 3, 2009 5:28 AM

    This story is a load of uninformed garbage -- the author either hasn't been to SE Asia at all or is simply making up complete BS. I've lived in three of the countries she mentions and she is so far off point on all three it is beyond a joke.

    Is there any quality control on this site or do you simply publish rubbish in order to get comments from people who actually know what they're talking about?

  24. Guest Jul 3, 2009 5:35 AM

    outstanding list!!!thailand is a great place to visit!!thanks for great information!

  25. Guest Jul 3, 2009 5:38 AM

    dont forget that in Thailand you can only stay up to six months a year with the new visa laws. You need a retirement, business or spouse visa to stay a full year now. All are not easy to get. LOS is becomming LOH - land of hassles.

  26. Guest Jul 3, 2009 5:54 AM

    I had a spouse visa in Thailand. Now you have to show a combined income of around $20,000 a year. Not 20k in a bank account. Income as determined by whatever Immigration agent you are lucky enough to pull that year. If not, it's 3 month visa runs to Cambodia or Laos and crossing your fingers once a year in Singapore for a 1 year visa.

    The business Visa are a total joke now. Big buck in lawyer and account fees every year.

    Could have changed in the last 6 months. God knows they completely changed the visa rules at least 3 times in the 5 years I lived there.

    No more easy 1 year visas from the Us Consulates. Retirees having to stick 800,000 baht in a Thai bank each year. Can't get concurrent tourist visas in ANY Asian consulate any more. Closest place is now Perth. Used to be able to goto Laos or Penang, Malaysia every 3 months. That is if the airport wasn't under siege. Lol *joke*

    I'd move to Cambodia next week if they had a decent hospital.

    I have alot of freinds in Cebu, Phillipines. Always getting robbed.

    Looking at South America now. Getting hard to find anywhere with the precipitous drop of the US dollar.. Argentina ? Dominican Republic ?
    Guatemala ? Parts of Mexico ? Dunno..

  27. Guest Jul 3, 2009 5:57 AM

    I live in Poland where many young and older people earn $500 a month...and they often have to support the whole family...The minimum wage in Poland in 2009 is $400 and Poland belongs to EU so it should be of higher standards than Asian countries, right? Well...if it is possible to live on less than $500 in Eastern and Central might be also possible in Asia and Central America

  28. Guest Jul 3, 2009 6:04 AM

    You seem to delete comments that hurt the post. However, I am actually trying to help you make it better. It is an eye sore to read the article with all the grammatical and spelling mistakes. Please fix.

  29. Guest Jul 3, 2009 6:22 AM

    nice article! I've been to thailand and it was a freakin blast! china is another place you can live for less than $500 a month, but you won't find many places as beautiful as the pictures you showed on this article :P

    I have considered Costa Rica to be my next long-term destination, but that's a few years off, after I'm done with Asia :P

  30. Guest Jul 3, 2009 6:42 AM

    Erm, Internet?

  31. jason in detroit Jul 3, 2009 7:03 AM

    The Ukraine is crazy cheap and relatively safe. Even though Poland is in the EU it still uses the Zloty and it has a favorable exchange rate with the dollar right now. Definitely check out Poland. Nice people, smokin hot women, and beer is cheap.

  32. RGV Jul 3, 2009 7:31 AM

    dorotix, you made a mistake by writing this article ... now, I'll have my wife allways saying: "See? That's what we need!". ;-)

    Just kidding!

    Great article. Man, just a dream ... that can, and should, be REAL!

  33. Guest Jul 3, 2009 7:32 AM

    What about Nilesville? It's perfect the shrelms are nice. Masey Shrelmers performs his great hit reebsburger in mases mouth.

  34. Guest Jul 3, 2009 8:07 AM

    As someone living in Thailand, I think your costs are waaaaaaay off.

    I live in Bangkok and I pay about $700 a month and though I could have a place for half the price it would be small, no pool (and believe me, you want a pool), out in the middle of nowhere where you have to take a bus or motorcycle taxi just to get to the BTS line, etc.

    I'll give you that I kept my western standards in finding a new place. I could save a couple hundred by downgrading a little or moving farther out of the city center but my price is not radically expensive.

    And as someone also mentioned, beers run about 70 baht ($2) in a cheapie Thai bar or at some happy hour but expect to pay about 100 (around $3) at most restaurants and bars that feature no entertainment (bands, girls, or whatever). If they do have a band or it's a bar with girls then you're looking at 150 ($4.30) or so.

    Also as has already been mentioned, if you don't speak Thai you'll be hanging out in farang (foreigner) areas which are more expensive. You'll have a terrible time if you try to go to Thai bars and hang out with Thais who don't speak any English. So you'll gravitate to bars geared for farangs with English speaking staff and you'll pay extra.

  35. Guest Jul 3, 2009 8:33 AM

    Amazing. I have been to Thailand and Cambodia and agree that both are quite beautiful places and the people are amazing.


  36. avatar meghana Jul 3, 2009 8:46 AM

    What about india

  37. Claude Jul 3, 2009 9:24 AM

    Costa rica is beautiful but no where near cheap. Even in mal pais- one of the more remote parts of the country - apartments started around $400/mo in 2005. I was most recently about 30 min from jaco in December and prices were on par with the US- imperial cost ~$6.00/6pack or $2-$3 in bars and meals typically ran around $8 for casado or alot more if you wanted something less local.

    Don't get me wrong- I love CR but I wouldn't classify it as one of the cheapest places to live. I would recommend Nicaragua if you're looking for a cheap central american destination...

  38. Guest Jul 3, 2009 9:46 AM

    Has the person who wrote this even ever cracked open a Lonely Planet? Perusing the Latin American one, you'd quickly see that CR is NOT the cheapest country in the region.

    That said.. I live in the US, in a pretty big town, and splitting a place with my girlfriend, I spend no more than $500 a month... Furthermore, I imagine the hourly wage one can make here, is out of reach for the majority of those in the countries mentioned, making life even more difficult.

  39. Guest Jul 3, 2009 9:55 AM

    Wow! I've been to half of these places and your pricing is optimistic to the point of fantasy. While these places are very much less expensive that so many other "western" destinations, they still cost quite a bit more than you have cited. At least when comparing similar living standards.

    Someone already stated that the cited rent was correct for a tent or thatched roof hut. But, for less primitive accommodations, rent is far higher.

    Also, I must ask if English is your first language? The writing in this article is atrocious for a native English speaker. If however, your first language is Thai, then you did a great job even if it was inaccurate.

  40. Guest Jul 3, 2009 11:32 AM

    You should add Sri Lanka, Mauritius and Maldives to this list.

  41. Guest Jul 3, 2009 11:39 AM

    The expat experience in CR is not as rosy, retirees from the US have been moving there for decades and the prices have been going up on everything for a long time. That people are a bit resentful is what I've felt while there. Its a pain driving up and down beautiful country and finding countless "locked in" neighborhoods with Uzi packing guards at the gates, these are mostly for foreigners. Safety has become an issue for expats as well, the reality is you'll stick out, where ever you go, speak the language. Robberies and such against expats have also been on the rise in CR.

    I really find this article to be extremely irresponsible writing. To anyone considering moving to any of these places, please do your research and start taking language courses.

  42. Guest Jul 3, 2009 11:47 AM

    Sorry friend, but 1 hour west of Belize City puts you into the middle of the jungle: no beachfront, no diving/snorkeling.

    I live in Cozumel, Mexico and I rent a "Western level" 1-bdrm apartment in a great part of town for ~$300/month. Surfing, kite boarding, snorkeling, and diving are a 15 minute drive away. Prove a foreign income and you can get a 1 year renewable visa. I could go on....

  43. Guest Jul 3, 2009 11:54 AM

    I can't help but point out I could live in most us cities for less then 500 a month. There are tons of crappy efficiencies with loads of better living conditions all over the states. Plus, only getting 25 to 35 hours a week at a minimum wage job here earns you over 800 a month after taxes. Many of the countries you listed I would consider dangerous for a foreigner to live.

  44. Guest Jul 3, 2009 12:18 PM

    Cozumel!! Yeah!!!

  45. Guest Jul 3, 2009 12:58 PM

    Colombia also has lots of places where you can live with less than $500USD. Colombia is pretty much better than Costa Rica.

  46. Guest Jul 3, 2009 1:45 PM

    Three billion people live on less than $2 per day. There are plenty of places in the developing world where one can live on less than $500 a month.

  47. Guest Jul 3, 2009 4:00 PM

    Got me excited then as I have about $60,000 and am 35 - but after a bit of reasearch


    All foreign nationals below 50 and at least 35 years of age are required to deposit the amount of US$75,000.00 with any PRA short-listed bank. Those aged 50 and above are required to deposit

    US$50,000.00. Former Filipinos are required to deposit US$1,500.00. The deposit amount of US$50,000.00 shall be required from an applicant who is at least 35 years of age and belongs to any of the following:

  48. Guest Jul 3, 2009 4:24 PM

    Costa Rica is SUPER expensive for being in Central America. Like a previous "guest" wrote, try Guatemala or Nicaragua...both equally as beautiful, if not more, with friendlier people and less expensive accomodations.

  49. Guest Jul 3, 2009 4:49 PM

    How about living in the empty quarter, it will cost you nothing (eat sands and sleep on sand dunes).
    Consider that for a change!

  50. avatar letsgo Jul 3, 2009 7:01 PM

    I've been to some places in Mexico where I wish that 500 per month was possible...there are places there.

  51. avatar letsgo Jul 3, 2009 7:05 PM

    Here in the Central Valley of California, the cost is low...especially now.

  52. Guest Jul 3, 2009 7:13 PM

    WHAT AN IDIOT. It's amazing what nonsense is published on the web. I've been to most of the said destinations, and most of this guy's statements are false. I doubt the author has ever picked up a budget travel book, let alone traveled out of his own area. I suppose you could rent cardboard boxes for some of the prices mentioned.

  53. avatar Jul 3, 2009 7:16 PM

    I have lived in Thailand and Dominican Republic. I agree with all of the comments stated. Unless you live and eat like the locals, it is expensive. I speak both languages and will tell you that they charge the Franges double. If it was better in these countries I would be there today. If you want unstable goverments, visa runs every month at costs of $25 to $100 US dollars, hot humid conditions, insect bites, sewer smells, unsafe drinking water, people begging you for money 24/7 and prices higher than this person stated "UP TO YOU". No #%&@# way can you stay in these countries stated for $500.00 US dollars or less. The person that wrote this article has no clue what so ever.

  54. avatar Jul 3, 2009 7:26 PM

    What locations in America are the best places to live where jobs are plentiful, low crime rates, ideal temperatures and taxes are low?

  55. Guest Jul 3, 2009 8:27 PM

    I believe than costa rica is the best option.
    You can live for 500, but some retired american with $2000 can live with luxury

  56. MG Jul 3, 2009 9:45 PM

    what about Egypt... ?? ??

  57. Guest Jul 4, 2009 5:18 AM

    malaysia, great food, $500 a month is possible

  58. Guest Jul 4, 2009 5:24 AM

    why not cuba......its prety, save and cheap.

  59. Guest Jul 4, 2009 7:13 AM

    I want to live in all of them!

  60. Guest Jul 4, 2009 9:06 AM

    FYI: If you decide to you don't want to live in the country anymore, that $50,000 deposit is released back to you at $1,000 a month. My brother lived in Costa Rica and he is still getting his money back $1,000 at a time.

  61. Guest Jul 4, 2009 9:10 AM

    Ha ha... Wake up dude! 500$/month is a fricking treasure!


  62. Guest Jul 4, 2009 10:49 AM

    I wouldn't say the prices are beyond fantasy, but they are extreme indeed. I've been to Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Malaysia. I managed to live in Bangkok for 400 euros a month, but although the living conditions suited me fine, it would not be imaginable for everyday life... I was living as a backpacker/local in substandard guesthouses, eating street food, and almost no booze/smoke. On the other hand, same budget accomodated for trips in the area, and visiting is one of the reasons to move away, right?

    However, as the author stated, it all depends on what you call "cheap"... Some people are accustomed to certain standards that they will not be able to change, or cope with less. Think of what is really necessary to you, and see how much that costs to maintain, and you'll get a better ballpark figure of what your budget should be.

  63. hiddenson Jul 4, 2009 10:58 AM

    I wouldn't say the prices are beyond fantasy, but they are extreme indeed. I've been to Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Malaysia. I managed to live in Bangkok for 400 euros a month, but although the living conditions suited me fine, it would not be imaginable for everyday life... I was living as a backpacker/local in substandard guesthouses, eating street food, and almost no booze/smoke. On the other hand, same budget accomodated for trips in the area, and visiting is one of the reasons to move away, right?

    However, as the author stated, it all depends on what you call "cheap"... Some people are accustomed to certain standards that they will not be able to change, or cope with less. Think of what is really necessary to you, and see how much that costs to maintain, and you'll get a better ballpark figure of what your budget should be.

  64. Guest Jul 4, 2009 1:54 PM

    Egypt is by far the cheapest place to live!

  65. Guest Jul 4, 2009 5:36 PM

    I have a one year visa in thailand and am living very well on about $300/month. $150 for a 3 room cottage and the rest on food and daily incidentals.

    I am very satisfied with my life and can't see any reason to spend more than that.

  66. john l. Jul 4, 2009 9:35 PM

    This article is true only for backpacker-style living standards, this means poor food quality, insect bites, discomfort, bad night's sleep, etc.

    people, stop kidding yourself. there is no free lunch. if something is cheap it means its low quality. you will pay for it in sickness, stress or discomfort.

    eqypt is an awful place. not polite and pushy people that haze tourists. its the worst 'popular' tourist destination in the world.

    india wasn't meantioned because everyone knows you can live on less than $500 per day there as with most of africa and the local cardboard box on skid row. sure you can get a meal in india for $2 bucks but the visit to the doctor afterwards will cost $25, so how do you define cheap? the fact is that Western living in loser countries actually costs MORE.

  67. Guest Jul 4, 2009 11:21 PM

    Beautiful, but I think India also needs to be mentioned.

  68. Guest Jul 5, 2009 12:09 AM

    i am an american who has lived in thailand for most of the past 8 years, and there is NO WAY you could live there for $500 a month. not unless you were living with a bunch of Thais and getting most things for free.

  69. Guest Jul 5, 2009 1:08 AM

    Its not Damaguete, its Dumaguete, and its possible to live in Dumaguete for around $500 a month, that is if you're not planning on diving or whale watching. The town is small, you can explore the whole downtown area by foot in about an hour--just don't do it alone at night. There are bike rentals at hourly rates. Decent housing starting from about $65/month. Its a small university town with most of the population being students, hence most commodities are in "student prices".

    The thing here in the Philippines is that you should know a local to do some negotiations for you as many places charge foreign nationals differently from the locals. English isn't a problem to many. Roadsigns, menus, major publications and groceries are labeled in English. Doesn't hurt to learn a few words in the language too.

  70. Guest Jul 5, 2009 1:08 AM

    I'm surprised nobody has mentioned the Kurdistan portion of Iraq.

  71. Guest Jul 5, 2009 9:43 AM

    wtf Iraq, I'm all set with that. Sounds like all the guest should write the next one, sounds like they know whats the best

  72. Guest Jul 5, 2009 11:58 AM

    I lived in Thailand for much less than 500 bucks a month. It was a secluded Island where we caught/grew our own food and sold pot on the mainland to idiots like YOU. It was a shame about that shark, though :-( (

  73. Guest Jul 5, 2009 6:17 PM

    man i live off the equivalent of $650 a month and im in the UK! Im sure it can't be that hard to live in one of these countrys for peanuts.

  74. Guest Jul 6, 2009 12:24 AM

    millions,MILLIONS, of Americans live in the US on their disability/social security checks for around 650 per month. Granted, some services are subsidized further but honestly there are Tons of places in Mexico,South and Central America where you can live a simple "Western" lifestyle for $500 a month. 'Shack on the beach and all the beer you can drink for 300 a month all over Mexico. Sling a few bags to Euro tourists and live like a king. Cheap drugs, food and alcohol are the norm.

  75. Guest Jul 6, 2009 1:29 AM

    In Australia, I live in a shared house for $266 a month, about $210 USD. The full cost of rent for the house is $800 a month. That is for a house that is 10 minutes from the city. $240 a month for food and you're set, I don't see why people need to move overseas to pay more than what they are paying at home.

  76. Guest Jul 6, 2009 2:58 AM

    Nepal is one of the cheapest place. you can live with 300 $ in ine month

  77. GuestZagreb Jul 6, 2009 6:44 AM

    How about living in Croatia Europe for 500-600$ a month. No problem here renting appartment for 200$, people speak english, the best looking Mediteranean seacost. We have few USA basketball players here. Check it out.

  78. Guest Jul 6, 2009 7:17 AM

    I've just returned from living in Chiang mai, Thailand for 3 years. An apartment there is more like $300 per month.

  79. Guest Jul 6, 2009 9:08 AM

    The USA would be nice, but Bumbling Barack and Corrupt Nancy have ruined it

  80. Guest Jul 6, 2009 10:12 AM

    Heaven And Hell are among cheapest in the whole world ...kakakkakka

  81. avatar Jul 6, 2009 10:56 AM

    Last one to leave America, please turn off the lights and don't let the door hit you on the back side.

  82. Guest Jul 6, 2009 4:05 PM

    It is all relative. While the numbers are on the low side it is doable but as previous posters mentioned: the less you spend the more comfort and quality you give up.

    I got back from thailand 2 weeks ago and I could live on 10bucks a day but that is the cheapest guesthouse (they are actually cheaper than apartments), 3 meals of street food (w/ a bottle of water), 8 cigs, and 1 large Chang per day only from 7-11. It gets old if you arent careful. $30/day is far more comfortable, double it if you like to get drunk in farang bars, take girls home, don't eat Thai food or need an A/C room. If all of this describes you, you are going to be spending a lot more.

    On a tenner a day,iIf you have to do laundry, give up beer. Want to buy a used book? cut out beer and cigs. Want to have a western breakfast? fast thru lunch and give up the beer.

    An update: Marlboro is not sold in BKK's duty free shops. And for all cigs only the 1st carton is duty free coming into the US. After that you pay about $10/carton in duty. (Thanks Prez.)

  83. Guest Jul 6, 2009 5:20 PM

    how about japan? LOL

  84. Guest Jul 6, 2009 5:57 PM

    500 usd is not a small amount to live in turkey too. You can find a decent fully western style flat for about 200 usd for long term accomodation in coastal towns and cities if you get some help from a local. western style stores and supermarkets are all over the country and prices are same for everybody. you can afford food shopping in local markets for about 200 a month except meat. meat is expencive, about 10 usd for 1 kg. and if it is really a indicator a beer from store is 1i5 usd and 3-5 usd in modest bars.

  85. Guest Jul 6, 2009 6:15 PM


    And I've already said too much...

  86. avatar letsgo Jul 6, 2009 6:35 PM

    here is another place in central california where you can live very cheap. delano,California is the table grape capital of the could even hook up and work part time in the grape picking and packing season...would be quite an experience!

  87. Guest Jul 6, 2009 8:17 PM

    How about Paraguay? The capital is one of the most affordable cities in the world

  88. Guest Jul 6, 2009 8:45 PM

    I've travelled through Central America. Costa Rica is relatively expensive and dangerous. As other posters have mentioned, Nicarauga is a better option or my favorite - Panama. Panamanians are friendly, the country is beautiful and it is relatively cheap.

    I think this article demonstrates the perils of internet research, but don't bag the writer too much, it's a thankless task

  89. Guest Jul 6, 2009 10:23 PM

    Belize is possibly the biggest shithole ever. If you've ever been to Belize you know that every 14 year old is carrying around an AK 47 and trying to jack your shit. It may have a pretty deck somewhere on it that someone may have taken a picture of, but otherwise it is dangerous and disgusting.

  90. pearljamcrazy Jul 6, 2009 10:24 PM

    Costa Rica is a beautiful, beautiful country. Went for a month, did community service. Spectacular!

  91. Guest Jul 7, 2009 12:05 AM

    There is no such word as "firstly"; possibly
    the writer meant "first"? Yeah, that's a
    tough one.

  92. Guest Jul 7, 2009 12:20 AM

    Great country went to Casa Girasol in San Jose for a week to have an initiation of Costa Rica, we met the most wonderful people ever and the best organized tours that picked us up every morning we felt just so in love that we decided to stay and here we are.

  93. avatar lingoguy Jul 7, 2009 12:36 AM

    Firstly is a valid word - check out the Oxford College dictionary. Secondly, I want to say that Belize is rated very highly by most travel publications - perhaps the writer was thinking of Fort Bliss, Texas, where people do carry weapons.

  94. avatar lingoguy Jul 7, 2009 12:43 AM

    NO - Japan is very expensive, from what I hear. I speak Japanese a bit. With regard to these various places, don't forget that the language barrier is a great hindrance.They tell me that the louder you speak English in Thailand, the less they understand!

  95. Guest Jul 7, 2009 12:46 AM

    I'm surprised that Bulgaria, Romania, and Albania aren't on this list. each one is cheaper than Costa Rica in my experience.

  96. Guest Jul 7, 2009 1:57 AM

    I live in Cuba - and although a previous posts suggests it is cheap, it is not.

    Surprisingly, to rent a room in a house for a month will cost you upwards of 600-1100 dollars a month. This is what I paid my first two years there, now my rent has gone up to 1200 dollars a month.

    Visa runs are expensive and the bureaucratic red tape is a nightmare.

    Now if you are a Cuban... you can live on next to nothing. Life is different there for locals and foreigners.

  97. Guest Jul 7, 2009 11:17 AM

    africa don't exist or u only like westerned countries;

    burkina faso for french speakon or ghana

    for english spoken are much more cheap and

    cool, Thailand is nice but thay just want u're

    money and they're racist, sorry but that's my


  98. Guest Jul 7, 2009 5:36 PM

    cebu,philippines more cheaper esp in moalboal,cebu,they have one of the best diving piscaddor island...locals are friendly.

  99. Guest Jul 7, 2009 5:56 PM

    In all the answers, why has no one mentioned what the US govt is working on for restrictions, limitations on foreign bank accounts, possible difficulties in returning to the US. Take a look at the bills in Congress and see what our lawmakers want.....difficult restrictions and legal ways to force expats to return to the US so the government can collect more taxes....Short stays may be fine in any of the countries in discussion...but check the US Dept of State warning lists....some areas such as Mindanao in the Philippines are totally off limits for US Citizens due to the kidnappings and murders that are becoming more frequent there. Ditto for Egypt, parts of Guatemala and Mexico. Even high-scale, once-safe places like Dubai are rife with crime these days.. Do your homework well before you leave and check visa restrictions, medical facilities, legal problems. While living in a foreign country, I saw many a US citizen's car impounded, US citizens thrown in jail on trumped up charges, busts for drug use which did not occur...etc. etc. Forewarned is forearmed!

  100. Guest Jul 7, 2009 8:45 PM

    I have been to all of the places mentioned in this article within the last two years. It should not be used as any sort of guide or resource. It is almost entirely incorrect and has been written by someone with very little worldly experience of anything but air conditioned internet cafes, or so it would seem.

  101. Name: Feb 6, 2016 9:07 PM