Monthly Archives: July 2016

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Why you should never bring a paperback book to Asia

Retiring in Asia, a land where you can buy $1 noodles or $3000 suits gives you an unlimited amount of things to do and see. Retiring cheap in Asia though means limiting the costs of imported food, entertainment and luxury items. One thing I can’t live without though wherever I am, is a book. And when I say a book, I mean several books.Every since I was a little kid living in the library all summer I’ve loved reading. If you’re an avid reader like I am then you’ve probably got a couple bookshelves of your favourites at home.There’s no way that you can ship them all over. Books while lovely are heavy as bricks at a pound a half each, and expensive to ship. I had to abandon my vast graphic novel collection and my entire library when I started writing BestCountriesToRetireCheap.com. (I was lucky my friend Peter gave them a good home.)If you’re wondering how am I getting my daily literature fix? My Ereader. Light, durable and capable of holding thousands of books,it lives in my day bag. (And in my heart!)Now, here’s the thing, even if you’ve got an amazing pre-stored electronic library already in your Ereader like I do (Thanks to my friend Peter, I left Canada with 415 books), you’re going to run out of things to read.Buying an English paperback book in Asia is not cheap. It’s a kick in the nuts to your retiring cheap budget. At roughly $15 (45 rm) a book, you won’t be loving it. The worst thing though is, unless you are a fan of bestsellers, even if your willing to pay the price it may be hard to find what you want. Sigh, I guess I’ll buy another “Best Seller”.Also if you’re going to travel what are you going to do with that book when you’re done? That’s the worst feeling isn’t it to throw away a book? I don’t mind giving them away to somebody else, but just chucking one is brutal. It’s like throwing away one of your beloved best friends.The solution to this is an online reading subscription. I’m right now trying out Kindle Unlimited. It’s got a 30 day free trial and then it’s $10(30 rm) a month. My major worry about signing up was , “do these subscription services work overseas?” There’s no point if they don’t work in different countries.The answer is yes, yes they do!Biggest thoughts about my subscription?

  • Choices. There are a lot of choices but not as many as I would like. 79% of the time the books I want to read are not available on Kindle Unlimited. They’re on Amazon but not available with my subscription. It doesn’t matter that there are close to half a million books to choose from 94,472 of them are children’s books, and 90,722 are romance. Neither category do I read nor browse in (even though my friend Peter has slipped dozens of bodice rippers into my elibrary because I suspect he secretly loves them himself! Darn you Peter!)
  • Cost. Even though there aren’t as many choices as I’d like, there are still enough choices to justify the $10 (30 rm) a month.
  • Recommended choices.  What’s cool are the recommendations. The Kindle Unlimited subscription takes advantage of Amazon’s “recommend for you” algorithm.  It does do a good job recommending new things to read. Since it’s free to check out a new author with the subscription, I find myself enjoying their recommendations. With the recommendations feature AND the free downloads it feels like a bookstore where I can browse all night that serves $1 Thai whiskey.

  • Downloaded books. I don’t always have wifi, and the times that I don’t have wifi are the times when I want to read most. The subscription gives you the ability to have up to 10 books downloaded to read offline at any time.
  • Devices. I love my old beat up 7th generation Kindle, but you can use the subscription from any device. Also you can link multiple devices. I am right now reading graphic novels from my IPad.


If you’re thinking of retiring cheap in Asia and are an avid reader, I’d highly recommend getting that Ereader subscription. I hope this article has helped you plan your own trip to retire cheap. And if you want more articles scroll to the bottom of the page for all my helpful posts.Want a retirement in Asia checklist? Go here RETIREMENT CHECKLIST

Why you should never bring a paperback book to Asia2018-07-09T11:52:42+00:00

Are some cultures better than others?


Malaysia is a mix of cultural attitudes. It’s the first majority Muslim country I’ve been too. As I travel the world looking for the best countries to retire cheap in, I am thinking about if some cultures are better than others. My first thoughts were of course there is no culture that is better than another. Every culture is equal. Then I started to think is it? Traveling opens your eyes and your mind about what is “normal” and “accepted”. I definitely think that as a product of North American culture I have an internal compass of what I personally think is right and what I think is wrong. I thought, as a traveller shouldn’t I be embracing the culture of wherever I’m living?As I’m writing this post all the controversy about Donald Trump and building a wall from Mexico is going on. The main emphasis of the book “Adios America” by Ann Coulter (one of his ardent supporters where he gets a lot of his positions on immigration from), is that illegal immigration is wrong and should be stopped. It also emphasizes cultural attitudes and what she would like to see in America. I highly recommend reading it regardless of whether you agree with her position or not. (SPOILER : In case you’re wondering her attitude is “No more Mexicans!” )Here in  Kuala Lumpur I really like hearing the call to prayer here, but as an agnostic I don’t have any urge to go pray. I’ve seen women swimming in burqas but besides the fact that it must be awfully uncomfortable and soggy  they seem pretty happy. I really thought from my previous North America exposure to Muslims that they would be much more oppressed feeling? Isn’t shariah law barbaric and wrong?

According to Wikipedia, “Syriah  (the Malay spelling of “Sharia”) refers to Sharia law in Islamic religious law and deals with exclusively Islamic laws, having jurisdiction upon every Muslim in Malaysia. The Syariah Court system is one of the two separate system of courts which exists in Malaysian legal system. There is a parallel system of state Syariah Court, which has limited jurisdiction over matters of state Islamic law (Shariah). The Syariah Courts have jurisdiction only over Muslim in the matters of family law and religious observances, and can generally only pass sentences of not more than three years imprisonment, a fine of up to RM5,000, and/or up to six strokes of the cane”Growing up in our secular culture, I can’t imagine a religion having a separate religious court, but it exists here. Should I embrace this part of the culture? Do I think a separate court system would work or be a good thing in North America? I don’t think that it would. I also think as a traveller you can realize the fact that different countries will have different values and cultures. After visiting here I realized one important thing.Besides my other checklist of items I need in my country. Such as, fast internet, healthcare and English speaking, I’m going to need the ability to enjoy and appreciate the culture of the country. Retiring cheap means that you will no longer be a tourist, but instead you’ll be an immigrant. In America they are talking about that border wall because illegal economic immigrants are just walking in from Mexico. As someone who is thinking of retiring cheap in another country aren’t I also an economic immigrants? Just reversed? I’d highly recommend staying at least month in a country before thinking about retiring there, because you won’t know what the culture feels like until you’ve deeply immersed yourself. I hope this article helps your planning, but truly nothing beats travelling to really help you make your decisions. And to the question are some cultures better than others? I’d say yes. They might not be a “better” empirically but like chocolate versus vanilla, some cultures are definitely better and more enjoyable for me. I’ll stay far away from a Muslim culture when I’m retiring. If you’re looking for a great pre-retirement checklist go here RETIREMENT CHECKLIST

Are some cultures better than others?2018-07-09T12:00:33+00:00

Visit Bukit Bintang if you love luxury shopping in Malaysia 


If luxury shopping and brand names are what you’re looking for in your best country to retire cheap checklist then Bukit Bintang in Kuala Lumpur is your place. 

Easy to get to by LRT, it’s a shopping mecca. You can listen to the call to prayer, while sipping on a Starbucks and looking at the new Coach bags. I love how the different parts of the culture merge together.


Pretty, air conditioned and full of shops Bukit Bintang is a great place to kill a hot day. Right around the corner there is Alor street. It’s the place where you’ll find street food and restaurants. I got to try some Durian there. It was $3 (10 rm). Durian is a fruit so stinky that most hotels won’t let them in. I really had to try some. After one bite I definitely put it in my “nope” pile. Tasting like an unholy mix of garlic, blue cheese and mango I wondered who was the first person who tried this fruit and said “This is definitely worth cultivating .”

I had to quickly snuck a nip from my $4 (12 rm) whiskey flask to try to kill the taste of this putrid fruit monster (not legal to drink on the street in Kuala Lumpur). I checked out the western pubs and bars around the area, but stuck to my illegally smuggled whiskey because of the cost. During happy hour a beer at these bars were around $7(20 rm) each. That doesn’t sound like much to my readers back home, but remember a beer in Thailand is $2 (6rm). (I also had to be careful sneaking sips from my flask as they didn’t have people with open alcohol like like I’ve seen in the Philippines.) The bars themselves were more pubs than party places.  A great place to relax after a day of shopping.

If you’re in Kuala Lumpur and want to go treat yourself to some shopping this is the place to come. The prices are similar to what you would find at home, and there are no knock offs here. And if you wind up skipping the visit here but still in KL here’s a great tip Where to sleep in the airport 

Visit Bukit Bintang if you love luxury shopping in Malaysia 2017-07-24T18:55:54+00:00

How much is to live in Kuala Lumpur? 


If you decide Kuala Lumpur is the best country to retire cheap, this is how it much it would cost to live here.

Rent. A shared apartment with security, a pool but farther from the city centre would is roughly $600 (1800 rm)gets you a nice apartment.

Air conditioning. This is your major electrical cost. It’s hot 30 degrees plus at night, so AC and electricity will cost $100 (300 rm).
Wifi. Can’t live without it, the cost is $50 (160 rm).No problems with speed here.

Water (non purified). I boiled water for drinking. It cost $11 a month(40 rm). 

Gas. Gas for cooking and boiling hot water $11 (40 rm)

Waste water. This is a government charge for getting rid of water.$3 (15 rm)

Food. My daily food budget at $5 (15 rm) a day has been no problem. This includes eaten out daily as well as buying groceries. Kuala Lumpur has amazingly cheap dine out fast food. The dishes are a blend from  Chinese, Indian, Morrocan, Malaysian and Western.

Sin. Booze isn’t as expensive as people tell you it is. If you stick to Asian produced hard liquor it’s cheap. A 26 ounce bottle of whiskey is $8 (24 rm). Smokes are expensive for an Asian country at $5(15 rm) a pack.

Transportation. An average ride on the monorail is $1.50 (5 rm). A taxi will cost you about $15 (45 rm). The transit system here is well put together and effective. I only took a cab here once.

The total cost of living in Kuala Lumpur would be roughly $900 (2700 rm) a month. If you didn’t drink, smoke, spend more than $100 (450 rm) a month on entertainment, sundries or emergencies  you could live here on $1000 a month. I’d recommend sharing an apartment with a roommate or renting out a room. $1000 is doable, but you would live a very frustrating and frugal lifestyle if you did on that budget.

How much is to live in Kuala Lumpur? 2016-12-12T00:11:08+00:00

Ordering Pizza Hacks in Malaysia. Moneysaving Travel tip!

Do you love pizza? And do you miss it in Asia? Retiring cheap can mean giving up some of your comfort food because of the cost of ordering it in your new country. I find myself craving pizza every once in a while in Asia, and I found a great way to order it in Kuala Lumpur. Order Dominoes online.

This pizza is the same as Dominoes back home. Unlike McDonald’s or Pizza Hut which changes its flavours depending on the palate of the country, Dominoes in Malaysia keeps it the same (you can order some odd things though)

Retiring cheap means maximizing what you spend your cash on. In this case it’s pizza. Pizza calculator is a great way to see what is ACTUALLY the best deal per dollar. Is 5 small pizzas a better deal than 2 large?

After looking at the Dominoes Malaysia website, I found a great deal and according to the pizza calculator it was the best money per square inch. By the time you read this that promotion is probably over, so I’ll instead tell the best way to customize your pizza toppings regardless of which promotion is on. 

  1. Decided what you want in your head for toppings.
  2. Decide what sauce you want (the normal Dominoes one is the example I’ll use)
  3. Pick a Smokey Beef and chuck pizza from their pre made favourites selection.

  1. After picking that EDIT  the toppings. Every topping you take off gives you a credit. Then add back on the toppings you REALLY wanted. The Smokey Beef and Chuck pizza has the most toppings and an extra sauce you can remove for the maximum credits. 
  2. At the end you’ll have something that looks like this. (I made a double everything pepperoni and mushroom). 

  1. If you don’t follow these steps you wind up paying double in surcharges for what you want. There’s even a surcharge for half half pizzas.
  2. When you’ve ordered all your pizzas make sure you don’t add any drinks or extras. 
  3. At the final final checkout area a pop up will appear offering you add ons at a discount! (I had to go back and double check: it is indeed cheaper than what the original price was!) I added a banana kaya dessert it was amazing.

  1. If you now look in your email, Dominoes will have sent you an ecoupon to use for free stuff. You can add it by hitting your profile name in the top right corner. (Taking a survey after the first order will give you another coupon for onion rings next time)

One other cool thing was their pizza tracking system, frankly I was interested to see if they take my frankenorder pizza.I also wanted to check the time because Dominoes gives you that long missed “30 minutes or it’s free” deal. (A voucher for a free pizza next time). I ordered my pizza at 3:04 pm (you can see my time stamp). I thought that there was no way they could create my frankenorder pizzas, bake them, drive them over, get past the gated security and up to the 18th floor where Samson the pizza devouring beast lived in under 30 minutes.


I was totally wrong. 24 minutes. That’s how long it took. Are you kidding? I’ve had to wait longer for a salad to be walked over in a restaurant! What did I order and how much did it cost?


That’s right my deal loving pizza aficionados: 5 regular(9″) pizzas, onion rings, 3 Tropicana fruit drinks, and a banana kaya dessert cost me $24 (71 rm)! Enjoy my pizza hack ! And seriously I’m going to be eating cold pizza for a few days.

Ordering Pizza Hacks in Malaysia. Moneysaving Travel tip!2016-12-12T00:11:12+00:00

Can you afford to be a travel blogger full time?

What are you going to do all day when you’ve found the best country to retire cheap in? Retiring cheap is great, but how are you going to fill your days?You’ll need a plan to keep active or you’ll get super bored.

Filling my days and entertaining you all is part of the reason I’m a travel blogger. Not a super rich one, or a super famous one, or let’s face it not even a super good one. (My next article is going to be about “how to get a good deal on a Dominos pizza in Malaysia…”so yeah not Pulitzer Prize wining material)

How much does it cost me to be a travel blogger and what do I do all day? 

My daily budget is 

  • $10 for accommodation 
  • $5 food
  • $10 everything else

For my quick on the math friends, that adds up to less than the $1000 a month that I’ve budgeted for. The rest of the money sits in my plane fare and emergency fund. It’s not much but you will need it since you’ll likely be flying home for a few months each year.

What do I do all day? I’d love to say that I spend everyday living like you see those people on the travel channel. Luxurious meals, exotic sites and great views. I don’t really have the budget to go randomly exploring around every day but I try to do things that I wouldn’t do at home a few times a week.

My normal “glamorous” day looks like this

  • Waking up whenever, eating either some eggs (which are delicious here in Asia) or a pastry bun $1 (3rm)
  • Then check my social media 
  • Head to the gym.(I’m now in much better shape then before I started this)
  • Go to the pool
  • Write an article (I love writing poolside, it makes me feel super writery)
  • Read my Kindle
  • Have lunch (usually Texas Fried chicken and rice in Kuala Lumpur)$2(6rm)
  • Read some more, play some more 
  • Do some SEO on my website
  • Have dinner (In Cebu this was BBQ) $2(6rm)
  • Do a little research on what my next article will be
  • Watch a show of two on Iflix or Netflix.
  • About 2 times a week I’ll go get a cheap massage or see a movie or go exploring
  • Play some more online games.

The online games are fun. They give me a kind of everywhere is home feeling. My online teammates (Hi, all you Foxy Council members!) are always there regardless of if I’m in Chiang Mai or Singapore. I’m currently playing a Free to play game called Walking Dead: Road to survival. Again it’s free to play, but like most freemium games there’s all these micro transactions you can buy. I spend $13 a month on this “free” game. I really don’t mind because it entertains me as much or more than my Netlix $10 subscription or my Kindle Unlimited subscription $10.


Remember how I told you I plan about $1000 a month for my life as a travel blogger? That’s roughly $12,000 a year or $24,000 for 2 years. 

How would you feel if I told you there’s somebody in my “Free”to play game has spent $24,0000 this year on it?

Does it make you kind of sick to your stomach like it made me when I found this out? Did you think, “OMG what an idiot!”?

I’m not guilty of spending $24,000 on a video game, but when I think about how much I spent on other things in the past I’m definitely kicking myself.

  • Home theatre $10k. 
  • Bedroom set $3k
  • Comic Books , Boardgames and Nerd toys $2k
  • Motorcycle $5k

Everything on that list and lots more is now all sold to pay for travel blogger lifestyle. (And I didn’t get anything close to what it cost to buy it.)

All it costs to live a pretty good life once you’ve found where you want retire cheap is $25 a day. I kind of wish now I hadn’t bought so many pairs of black ankle boots, because all I wear now are sandals or my gym shoes. I hope you enjoyed reading this article and hopefully it inspired you on your own hunt for the best countries to retire cheap. Happy travels!

Can you afford to be a travel blogger full time?2016-12-12T00:11:12+00:00

1 reason you might not want to retire in Malaysia 


There’s a lot of reasons to retire in Malaysia, but here’s 1 reason why this might not be the best country to retire cheap for you. 

Censorship. 

  • Print and online media that are deemed “disrupting peace and harmony” have been banned. These include works by fantasy author Robert Jordan, SpongeBob SquarePants and Dora the explorer 
  • News media are also strictly watched over. News criticizing the government are not shown. Also things like kissing, LGBT activity, and profanity are censored out. There’s a government approved company and other satellite companies are illegal. Buying and installing your own satellite can get you fines and or jail time.
  • Online pornography and “inflammatory” news sites are also blocked. Over 4000 sites were blocked last year. Even though Kuala Lumpur is trying to become an international IT hub, it has now taken a hard stance “At the time, I agreed as I did not fully comprehend how much information could pass through the Internet. According to the former prime minister“Not knowing the power of the Internet, I (speaking then as prime minister) promised that we would not censor it. But today, I have changed my mind,” 


If living in a society that is free of censorship is important to you then Kuala Lumpur is not the best place for you to retire cheap. If you’re ok with a conservative Muslim culture there are a lot of reasons to move here. You’ll have to decide what level of cultural differences and diversity you’re willing to accept. Me? I’m walking around naked in my apartment, watching illegal porn, and writing this article so I’ll probably be retiring somewhere else! 

1 reason you might not want to retire in Malaysia 2016-12-12T00:11:13+00:00

Cheap Movies in a Muslim Country

Kuala Lumpur has crazy cheap movies every Wednesday. The Philippines doesn’t have a day when going to the movies are cheaper. Thailand is also cheaper on Wednesdays. Looking for something to do while searching for a cheap place to retire abroad? I’m hitting the theatre every Wednesday. At $3 (10 rm) for any film (except the most recently released) movies are a great deal in Kuala Lumpur.
You can pre buy tickets and pick you’re seat. There’s no need to queue up. Just select the seat you want and then feel free to come back when it starts. A great system. The seats are nice, but not as opulent as Thailand. They have cozy couple seats you can buy in the back row for privacy. I love the option of being able to pick a seat, it’s like this in some theatres at home in Canada, but not at all movies. Usually only the ultraavx and fancy ones. (I don’t know why this is.)

I like to spend the extra time heading into the mall, and getting bootleg snacks. Like most theatres in North America there’s no outside snacks allowed. My friend Ashan, brazenly just tried to walk in with a bag of chips and a pop. After they took it away, they actually attached his seat stub to it, so he could get it back after the movie. My cleverly hidden beer and snacks got in no problem.

Check out the crazy snacks you can get inside the theatre.


Mmmmmmn hmmm who wouldn’t want a delicious fishball combo? Also there were a billion types of crazy popcorn flavours like Tom Yum.

Are there any oddities about watching movies in Kuala Lumpur? Mainly censorship. According to Wikipedia  “Although movies shown in Malaysian cinemas carry an age-restricted rating such as “18”, films that contain scenes of sex and nudity are completely censored off by the LPF (Malaysia’s film censorship board), which renders the 18 rating meaningless and strict entry by the cinema operators pointless. Kissing and make-out scenes are also censored in movies rated “P13”. On the other hand, there have been many “18” rated films filled with profanity and graphic violence that were hardly censored or uncensored in recent years. This shows that the board mostly views sex and nudity as completely unacceptable for a Malaysian audience.”

This means I’ll definitely be watching my sexy films with all that naught nudity at home. (Couldn’t they just have a rating “MU” (Muslim) where the women are wearing burqas and all drinking is replaced digitally with soda pop?)

If you have $3($10 RM) to spend on a Wednesday, go catch a film. It’s cool that you can see Malaysian, Chinese and Indian films here (most have English subtitles)

TO avoid censorship try to pick a rated G or PG one. Wait are the fish in “Finding Dory” naked?

Cheap Movies in a Muslim Country2016-12-12T00:11:14+00:00

The dark caves of Kuala Lumpur 

There are ancient dark caves you can explore in Kuala Lumpur. Full of bats, trapdoor spiders and albino centipedes. There was no way you could stop this darkness loving travel blogger from exploring them. Retiring cheap isn’t all poolside living and golfing for me. Today I went on a trip to find my inner Batman. 

The dark caves can be found as part of the Batu caves trip. It costs $12 (35 rm) and all the money goes to conservation of this unique ecosystem. 

I put on my hard hat, grabbed a flashlight and took a 30 minute guided tour with some other intrepid explorers.


 I did see bats in their natural habitat, but the coolest thing was how much I learned about how a guano based ecosystem worked.

The Dark caves were first explored in 1878, several groups of people have then gone on to see the uses and variety of this cave. Graffiti left by tourists in the earlier part of this century can still be seen.

I got to see some inspirational stone work, and was reminded of how short a human life is compared to the work nature does.


I also learned about beautiful it could be.


At one point in the tour, they had us put out all our lights, and it was dark. Darker than I’ve ever been in immersed in. You could smell the guano, and feel the heat of the air around  you, but you could see nothing. I did whisper “I’m Batman…” 

If you’re in Kuala Lumpur exploring the Batu caves make sure you see the dark caves. It’s worth spending the cash and the time. You’ll leave thinking about how diverse life is. You’ll also get an experience that you wouldn’t have seen at home. Looking for the best places to retire cheap definitely include these odd experiences!

The dark caves of Kuala Lumpur 2016-12-12T00:11:15+00:00

The dark caves of Kuala Lumpur 

There are ancient dark caves you can explore in Kuala Lumpur. Full of bats, trapdoor spiders and albino centipedes. There was no way you could stop this darkness loving travel blogger from exploring them. Retiring cheap isn’t all poolside living and golfing for me. Today I went on a trip to find my inner Batman. 

The dark caves can be found as part of the Batu caves trip. It costs $12 (35 rm) and all the money goes to conservation of this unique ecosystem. 

I put on my hard hat, grabbed a flashlight and took a 30 minute guided tour with some other intrepid explorers.


 I did see bats in their natural habitat, but the coolest thing was how much I learned about how a guano based ecosystem worked.

The Dark caves were first explored in 1878, several groups of people have then gone on to see the uses and variety of this cave. Graffiti left by tourists in the earlier part of this century can still be seen.

I got to see some inspirational stone work, and was reminded of how short a human life is compared to the work nature does.


I also learned about beautiful it could be.


At one point in the tour, they had us put out all our lights, and it was dark. Darker than I’ve ever been in immersed in. You could smell the guano, and feel the heat of the air around  you, but you could see nothing. I did whisper “I’m Batman…” 

If you’re in Kuala Lumpur exploring the Batu caves make sure you see the dark caves. It’s worth spending the cash and the time. You’ll leave thinking about how diverse life is. You’ll also get an experience that you wouldn’t have seen at home. Looking for the best places to retire cheap definitely include these odd experiences!

The dark caves of Kuala Lumpur 2016-12-12T00:11:16+00:00

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