Vietnam

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Retire Cheap in Vietnam

Best places to retire cheap in 2018

Where’s the best place to retire cheap in 2018? Here’s my definite list for the year!

Here you go, in order:

#8 Cebu, Philipines: Beautiful forts, old architecture, mountains and beaches…..what’s not to love about Cebu? Also Cebu speaks English. They have great food, a mix of traditional and western can be found here no problems. The biggest problem with Cebu and why it only ranked #8 on this years list? Heat. It’s hottttttt, hot, hot here. Also spotty wifi, and roosters. Why are roosters a big con? They still have cock fighting here. So you are going to hear roosters all the time. One of the best things about Cebu though? The beaches, this will rank high for you if you love beaches!

Cebu Summary

#7 Bali, Indonesia: Tranquil beaches, and a very diverse culture is why it’s #7 on this years list. You’ll find everything from Australian backpackers, to yoga pant wearing hippies residing here. I’ve been all around the world and this is one of the most diverse places I have found in the way of culture. The people of Bali, are all great though. Regardless if you like yoga or all you can drink night clubs, there’s a place in the city for you. You’ll be able to get fresh fruit shakes for $1 CDN and big beers are $3. The biggest problem with Bali, is that it’s full of bugs. I don’t think I saw one traveller that was not covered in bug bites. I’d vacation here, but I don’t think I’d like to retire here. But I love the banana pancakes on the beach…..so good and definitely worth going for!

LINK: One Month Bali Review

#6 Quito, Ecuador: Quito is one of the cities you’ll definitely visit in Ecuador. The reason you’ll visit is that it’s an airport hub and it’s close to the Amazon. Would I retire there? Yes, but it’s not as good as it’s sister city Cuenca. While Quito has several things going for it like Uber and more buses going to different parts of the country, it’s not quite perfect. Giant hills make walking around difficult, and while I’d recommend coming here, (It’s still in the top 10 in the world.) It’s neighbor Cuenca is just better for retirees. Another problem with Quito is like most of South America, people don’t really speak English. Great healthcare in Ecuador though keeps Quito in the mix! Also as a bonus if you’re staying in Quito, go check out the Blue Door Housing…fantastic place to stay.

LINK: One month in Quito

#5 Chiang Mai, Thailand: Founded in 1296, this northern town in Thailand is a quiet place compared to Bangkok. The old town here is amazing, picturesque with temples and a feeling of peace. It doesn’t feel like a big tourist trap like Bangkok does. Saying that there are some reasons it’s ranked #5. No transit. The city has no good bus/transit/taxi. You’ll be taking Jeepneys everywhere. Recently it got GRAB, but cars are still relatively rare.

LINK: Great things about retiring in Chiang Mai

#4 Saigon, Vietnam: Saigon is a great place to retire cheap, because of the combination of great food and culture. LINK In detail review of Saigon

FOOD! Banh Mi is my go to food in Vietnam. Even if I never retire in Saigon, I’ll need to fly back at least once a year to eat some Banh Mi.

The costs here are great:

  • Coffee 17,600 Dong ($1 CDN
  • I’ve tried to give up smoking, but it’s been hard so I’ll usually have a smoke with my morning coffee. Cigarettes are 25,500 Dong ($1.50 CDN) a pack.
  • Gym 260,000 Dong ($15 CDN) a month.
  • Vietnamese Sub, AKA Banh Mi, AKA delicious 15,000 Dong ($1 CDN). The funny thing about Banh Mi’s is that there are several stands all around my apartment. All of the Banh Mi’s are slightly different but they are all uniformly 15,000 Dong!
  • My apartment was 4.4 million Dong ($250 CDN ) a month. This included high speed internet (43 Mbps), a maid once a week, power, water etc. (Shared with 2 other people).
  • A bowl of Pho 40,000 Dong ($2 CDN)

Why did it not rate higher on my best countries to retire cheap list? Heat mainly, and the fact that GRAB is really bad there. Also the visa situation kind of sucks. You have to do paperwork ahead of time to get your Visa, and Visa runs are necessary every 3 months.

#3 Medellin, Colombia: Ranked #3 this is my #1 to place to visit. Especially if I were just to judge it by it’s vibrancy and culture. I loved Medellin as soon as I stepped off the plane. The sounds, the sights (the women are beautiful) and the fact that everyone seems pretty darn nice. Medellin is somewhere you definitely want to visit at least once in your life. Saying that it only ranked #3 for a reason. It’s lively culture also includes, drugs, thieves and assaults. Every person I knew had either been mugged, robbed or pickpocketed (or personally knew somebody who had been). I personally had somebody try to pickpocket me, and my roommate was robbed at knife point. The safety factor drops this amazing city in Colombia to #3.

LINK: Medellin is dangerous!

#2 Siem Reap, Cambodia: The city of temples! It’s got all the charm of Vietnam, and it has 50 cent beers! Food will cost more than Vietnam, but it balances itself out with cheaper beer/cigarettes. In Siem Reap you’ll find a great combination of international food, and $3 lunches. This is the only place where I found imported liquor cheaper than it is back home in Canada! That’s right if you’ve travelled around you know the price of international booze is always more expensive. In Siem Reap, Jack Daniels is actually 40% cheaper than it is at home in Canada. The only caveat to this is wine. Wine is double the price for no known reason.

Siem Reap is small enough to walk around, but if you get sick of walking there’s an abundance of Tuk Tuks. Safe, and with great English, this is a great place to retire cheap. Visa on arrival is no problem, and it’s super easy to get 6 month extensions. The only reason it didn’t make the top spot on my list? Hot! It’s hot, hot hot! If you like hot weather this place should actually move itself up to number one.

LINK TO SIEM REAP MONTHLY REVIEW

#1 Cuenca, Ecuador: Oh Cuenca, I love you. Cuenca contains all the beautiful architecture you would find in Quito, but not filled with giant hills. I’ve found this is a sleepy town, but it is big enough to have malls, movie theaters and gyms.

I love the fact that you can pretty much walk everywhere here. A lot of expats lose weight just because of the constant walking.

You’ll wake up go for a walk to the market, get some fresh eggs and vegetables all for a $1 CDN. Big beers are $1.75 CDN, and meals out are roughy $2.50.

There is a wide assortment of culture to be found here, but it’s not really a party place. Cuenca isn’t a place you want to go for a vacation. There’s really not much to do here. It’s a place you’ll want to go to retire. A strong expat community also makes it an easy place to make friends.

Why is it rated so highly then? Just the fact that while it’s a sleepy town it is also peaceful and easy to get to know.

The only thing about Cuenca that I’d love to see change? It needs a better cab system. In Quito there was Cabify and Uber. Nothing like that exists in Cuenca. But when you can get a cab they are friendly and cheap.

Cuenca wins 2018 with its perfect spring like weather though out the year, great people and good sized population. Cuenca was #1 in 2017, and I am keeping it here for 2018.

LINK: One month in Cuenca

I hope this list has been useful to you. It was a lot of fun to make! It’s been a big year for me in 2018 and I love travel blogging. Thank you so much for your support! If you have any questions about which countries to retire cheap in, just message me!

Best places to retire cheap in 20182019-01-24T22:53:55+00:00

Cambodia vs Vietnam? Head to Head Show down!

If you’re looking for the best country to retire cheap , you’re going to definitely consider Vietnam. To be honest, until this recent trip, I never thought of coming to Cambodia. Known as the “more expensive, less safe version of Vietnam”, I had to come see it for myself. Today I’m going to compare two cities, Ho Chi Minh (AKA Saigon vs Siem Reap).

Rating 1: Partying & Nightlife

Siem Reap has Pub street, while Vietnam has Bui Vien. Both of these are the areas where people go to party when the sun goes down. The town of Siem Reap is also perfect for going out during the day, it’s small and everything is within walking distance. If you want a ride around town it’ll cost about a $1 for a Tuk Tuk. Ho Chi Minh (HCM) is much more spread out. It’s also a huge pain in the ass to get a motorbike taxi or cab. Getting a cab, is over priced as hell in Vietnam unless you use GRAB, and the problem with that is that it’ll take about 30 minutes to get one. (Half of the time you’ll book a GRAB and the car driver will cancel on you, or ask you to cancel.)

Winner: Siem Reap. Pub street kicks ass. It’s a much bigger area than Bui Vien, even though Siem Reap itself is much smaller than Vietnam. On Pub street you can get a massage, a beer, a pack of smokes and a taco for a combined price of under $10. Prices are great! (Tip: Go one block out of the Pub Street area, and pay 30% less for everything). The only problem with Pub street is Tuk Tuk drivers. They don’t allow them cars on the main part of the street, so the drivers themselves will stand there and constantly hassle you asking if you want a ride. These drivers will ruthlessly overcharge you, so make sure you never agree to one. If you are coming to Siem Reap, use GRAB or PASSApp. LINK TO TUK TUKS IN CAMBODIA STORY


Rating 2: Danger.
Both of these cities are relatively safe. Be careful of ladyboy hookers and pickpockets.

Winner: Siem Reap wins for safety. If you don’t go to shady places with ladyboy hookers, you are fine. In HCM one of the bigger problems is motorcycle mugging. They’ll drive by and the passenger on the back will snatch your phone, purse, etc. It’s not too bad, but it’s still not ideal. Because Siem Reap is a tourist town, police do seem more friendly, and keep an eye on crime.

Rating 3: English. The English qualities in both cities are fine. You won’t have any problems.

Winner: Siem Reap. The menus are universally English, and you’ll love it. Not only is English better, but it seems Cambodians are the most universally linguistically able people I’ve ever met. Here it’s not uncommon for people to speak 3 languages fluently! Vietnam isn’t bad, but definitely not as good as here.

Rating 4: Weather.

Winner: Tie. Both cities are universally hot and or rainy. If you like 30 degree plus weather, this is going to be the place to be. Also ants and mosquitos!

Rating 5: Food

Ok. I love food. Love it. If you love food, both cities have a great selection from local cuisine to imports.

Winner: Ho Chi Minh. Ho Chi Minh has one thing that Siem Reap doesn’t have. Banh Mi! LINK TO BANH MI STORY. Banh Mi for lunch for 80 cents is the #1 thing I love about Vietnam. Banh Mi, in case you don’t know are Vietnamese subs. Fresh baguettes from their in house bakery are stuffed with a mix of cured meats, and picketed vegetable. Literally if you have not had a Banh Mi in Vietnam you are missing out on one of the greatest pleasures in life. Also while Siem Reap has a great selection of food it’s missing out on McDonalds. I know you’re thinking I’m insane. I’m not. I don’t particularly need a McDonalds. I just use it as an example. If you like chains you’re out of luck. Ho Chi Minh has it all for food! This is a place to come for food. Whether you love Pho, Banh Mi or just want a burger and fries, Ho Chi Minh is a foodies paradise.

Rating 6: Cost

Both cities fall easily within my $1000 CDN a month budget. Saying that though, Ho Chi Minh is only affordable if you live in the local areas (District 7, 11, 12). If you live in the fancy areas of town with the expats and English teachers (District 1,2) then your budget will be much higher.

Winner: Siem Reap.

Rating 7: Shopping

Both places have little shops where you can buy things, but Ho Chi Minh has giant malls. Siem Reap by comparison has 3 separate night markets. These sell the $2 tank tops, and stuffed elephants.

Winner: Tie. Depending if you like luxury brands, and giant supermarkets or small night markets and local shops.

Rating 8:  Health

Both places have cheap pharmacies everywhere.

Winner: Tie

Rating 9: Gyms

One of the best gyms I’ve found in the world is in Siem Reap. $1.25 a visit, it’s not fancy, sweaty guys working out without their shirts on, and fit ladies. Ho Chi Minh though also has $30 a month places, but it’s usually not as common as expensive places around $60.

Winner: Siem Reap. Cheap, and I love the fact you can work out without a shirt. There aren’t that many places you can do that!

Rating 10: Internet

This is super important. Both have strong internet. Neither is horrible. Either way you’ll be in a place where you have internet. Till you don’t. Natural disasters, weather and such make it hard to rely on it sometimes.

Winner: Ho Chi Minh: The internet was definitely less spotty, and more reliable in Ho Chi Minh. Siem Reap is a tourist town, and it’s still developing. So, things like fast, reliable internet aren’t a given. This will change in the future, but for now Ho Chi Minh is definitely better. I work online as you all know writing this blog. I make videos and love playing games. In Siem Reap, it is tough. Not impossible but tough. Watching tv online is hard!

OVERALL WINNER? SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA. This little tourist town is great!Everyday feels like you’re on vacation here. It’s a small place, and I love the fact that you can walk everywhere. I also love the fact that visas are easy to get. A 30 day on arrival visa plus an easy to get 6 month extension, means that you’ll only be doing tourist border runs once a year. If you are surprised that Cambodia has won, you have to come check it out. You’ll see why I love it! Bonus Tip: Siem Reap has sidewalks. (Ho Chi Minh, has areas for motorcycles to drive that supposedly sidewalks.) Also beers in Siem Reap are 50 cents! Siem Reap’s slogan should be “Come for Angkor Wat, stay for 50 cent draft!”

Cambodia vs Vietnam? Head to Head Show down!2018-09-24T08:49:58+00:00

Getting to Phomn Penh from Saigon

Retiring cheap in Vietnam means you are going to be going to Cambodia. Why? Visa runs. The typical visa you’re going to get in Vietnam will be the 3 month tourist visa. This means every 3 months, off you go somewhere else. For most people it means taking the bus to Cambodia ($20 CDN)

You might not go all the way to Phomn Penh, but if you are here’s the scoop.

First you’ll buy a bus ticket from Giant Ibis. This company ACTUALLY has a website where you can actually buy your ticket.

This might not seem like a big deal to you if you’ve never left North America. But believe me it is.

Showing up at the bus station (it’s in Bui Vien District 1) you might not actually see it. I was expecting a big terminal with buses. I actually refused to get out of my GRAB until he told me 100 times that, “yes, this is Giant Ibis”.

The little office is tucked inside. So look for the Panda Travel sign.

There are no buses around. They just pull up when it’s time to go.

Before you board, they are going to want to see your passport and if you don’t have a Cambodian Visa, you’ll pay for one here ($35 USD). It’s important to note that the price is in USD.

From this point on, you will no longer need your Vietnemase Dong (hehehhehe).

Cambodia works on Riels, and USD. There’s a currency exchange place right next door though.

I don’t know how badly I got ripped off. I just needed some greenbacks.

Getting on the bus was simple with the arranged seats

The bus itself is comfortable, think Economy plus on an airplane. It’s got wifi, electrical plugs for your gear, and reclining seats. BRING A JACKET! The Aircon on the bus is cold. Almost every girl ran to the storage area at the first stop to get a jacket. At this point you should hang out near that area of the bus to make sure, nobody “accidentally” goes into your bags).

You’ll also get a water, pastry and wet wipe.

The bus trip was from 830 am to 430pm.

There are NO bathrooms on the bus. They do make stops every few hours though.

The first stop is at a mediocre restaurant. Don’t eat there. The food is overpriced and not so good.

They do have nice bathrooms though.

Going through customs is a breeze. The bus driver takes your passport, does all paperwork and then gives it all to the customs guys. KEEP AN EYE ON YOUR BUS DRIVER. (He’s going to go the area you need to go, but isn’t going to wait for you.)

You’ll first get your Vietnam exit stamp then drive for a bit to the Cambodian border.

When you get to the border stops, you’ll get bombarded by money changers. If you do decide to use a money changer, find out the exchange rate and then use your own calculator to figure out the amount you should get.

(I’ve heard they like to give an ok exchange rate, then short change you on the actual money given.)

There’s another stop where you’re going to be able to get decent fried chicken and food at a little cart. I recommend eating here.

Arriving at the Giant Ibis station in Phomn Penh means dealing with Tuk Tuks.

The English speaking level here is actually pretty good. (I’m rating it 8//10….like the Philippines) If you’re going to an out of the way place to stay, it’s handy to have the phone number. The tuk tuk drivers will call them for you for directions.

I didn’t see any cabs. In the two days I’ve been here, I’ve seen zero cabs. There is Grab and PassApp in Cambodia.

How much is a Tuk Tuk? My place was 23 minutes away from the Giant Ibis terminal. So, they quoted $20 USD.

From my experience in Bangkok, I know that Tuk Tuks are the greediest bastards you’ll ever see. After several minutes of haggling I settled on $12 USD.

Normally I would NEVER take a tuk tuk from a bus/train/plane station. You know it’s going to severely over priced.

But when I arrived the rain was so heavy and torrential that cars were up to mid rim. Literally calf deep water.

In that type of weather, I’ll pay a little more. (My ride back by the way was $7 USD negotiated with a random tuk tuk near where I was staying).

I hope this helps you on your way to find the best place to retire cheap. If you want more articles this is the place to go. LINKS TO ALL ARTICLES

Getting to Phomn Penh from Saigon2018-08-08T09:20:43+00:00

Breakfast in Saigon

Waking up to the sounds of humanity and the hum of my air conditioner (It’s 28 degrees in my apartment without it.) I go to the balcony.

Seeing that the ubiquitous rain has stopped, I go out for breakfast.

Breakfast in Saigon, is not what you’d be used to. Instead of eggs, toast and a sausage, it usually involves rice of some kind.

There’s a little family shop around the corner from me, I can’t give you it’s name as it doesn’t have one.

Many of the little shops are shops/houses. They work in it, until they want to then shut the gates. What you might find open at 8am is very different from what is open at 8pm. (It’s like a quest!)

This shop opens in morning at around 6am and then shuts down in the late afternoon.

The mom is washing dishing in the back, while the dad is up front grilling the pork.

The smell of the charcoal bbq was what had me stop in the first place, and I’m glad I did.

There’s no sign or menus. But, with my non existent Vietnamese and signing, I just order 1 of something. I have no idea what I’m ordering or how much it will be but that pork smells delicious.

The breakfast turns out to be a mix of savory rice, the bbq pork, a fried egg and some mixed vegetables.

The meal is delicious, as I carefully work my way around the plate, taking little bites of grilled meat, rice and then some egg.

Breakfast at this little place is 25,000 dong (1.50 CDN). If you see me alive in the morning, this is where you’ll find me. I love supporting small family owned business and this is local as it gets.

Want more stories and articles about me traveling the world trying to find the best places to retire cheap? Start here LINK TO HOMEPAGE AND ARTICLES

Breakfast in Saigon2018-07-25T04:28:18+00:00

This is my $150 CDN apartment in Saigon

What’s a $150 CDN room in Saigon? How does rent for the month sound?

My apartment is in District 7, (in the local area, so it’s not in the cool Expat area.)

I like it though, probably because it is in the local area.

It’s a shared place, 3 bedrooms. I share a bathroom with one of my roommates, and the other room has a private bathroom.

The rent doesn’t include electric/wifi/weekly maid. That’s about another 1 million dong ($56 CDN).

One neat thing about the room, is that the deposit (5 million dong : $250 CDN) was paid by me to the person who lived in the room before me.

So, when I move out, the next person pays me directly.

The reason for this, is so that expats can then take advantage of this long term rental price, without having to try to sign a contract.

I don’t think you’d ever get your deposit back if you just gave it to a landlord here. (I might be wrong. But, I kind of doubt it.)

Neat right?

It’s walking distance to my gym, and a local market, and it’s got a pool too!

Hope you’re all loving life, and if you want more articles click here LINK TO ARTICLES

This is my $150 CDN apartment in Saigon2018-07-16T16:19:01+00:00

What’s the best way to see the Cu Chi Tunnels in HCM?

The Cu Chi Tunnels is one of those must sees in Saigon. Every tourist in Ho Chi Minh has probably gone, or is at least planning to go.The Cu Chi Tunnels are underground tunnels that document the area where the US/Vietnam war happened. It’s a great thing to do.What’s some of the ways to get there?

  • Rent your own motorcycle (Price stupid. Because if you do this. You’re risking your life)
  • Hire a car (usually 600,000 Dong/$35 CDN)
  • Go on a tour
  • I hate tours. I’ve been on some horrible ones, and let me explain what cheap tours are like.
    • They will have horrible guides
      Usually you stop at a jade store/gold factory/silk store and you are “encouraged” to spend money there.
      The horrible guides will often ask for a “mandatory” tip at the end
      If there’s food, it’s crap. Seriously, you probably don’t want to eat it.

    Even though I hate tours, booking one was the cheapest way to get to the tunnels.

  • There are a million tour companies in Saigon that offer the tunnels tour. Being the cheapass that I am, I chose the cheapest one I could find. People on Expat Facebook groups were horrified “There’s no way a good tour could be cheap! Pay for the expensive one! Don’t you care you’re not paying a local guide? What’s an extra $10?”
  • Sinh Cafe aka Sinh tourist LINK TO TOURS is near Bui Vien street (backpacker area), so you know it’s main customers are backpackers. Backpackers like myself are cheap, so knowing it was in this area was a good sign.
  • How was my cheap tour? Like I said before, a cheap tour is usually really really bad.
  • But the cost of it was super enticing.
    • 105,000 dong ($6.50 CDN) was the price of booking the tour
  • This did not include the cost of entry.
    • 110 000 dong ($7)
  • The Sinh Tourist EXPLICITLY mentions that the entry fee wasn’t included when booking the tour, so I didn’t mind paying it.
  • This seems like a great deal right?
  • Well it was.
  • The problem of being totally jaded from being ripped off by tours in different countries, is that I’m always waiting for that “AHA! RIPOFF MOMENT.”
  • When I got onto the 44 person air conditioned bus, (each seat clearly assigned) I was given a bottle of water and a wet wipe for the heat.
  • THERE WAS NO CHARGE…….(again, I was thinking “Sure it’s free, what’s the catch, you’ll charge me after?”)
  • The bus ride itself was roughly 2 hours.
  • (I paid the same price for this tour with the 2 hour bus ride as the GRAB from my place to the tour office. So cheap!)
  • Full of mainly Hong Kong tourists, we arrived at the Cu Chi Tunnels. The guide entertained us (in English) with trivia facts like
  • “How many people live in Saigon?” Answer 8.6 million
  • And
  • “How many motorcycles are here?” Answer: 24 million, and they all drive on the sidewalks randomly. (This was not the answer given by the guide, but it is the correct one).
  • The guide offered to buy all of our gate tickets for us to reduce confusion.
  • “AHA! Here’s the scam!” I thought
  • “He’s going to charge extra and pocket the difference!”
  • Nope. He charged the exact same as the gate. (I followed him sneakily and checked).
  • After our afternoon tour of the tunnels, it was time to go back.
  • (The tunnels by the way, are totally worth seeing. Fun fact, you can buy beers here for 30,000 Dong/$2 CDN)
  • Also you can buy live ammo, and shoot guns.
    • 60,000 dong ($4) per cartridge, minimum of 10.
  • After our ride back to the office, I was expecting the customary “hit up for a tip moment.”
  • Again NOPE!
  • They just dropped us off, and that was it!
  • I cannot emphasize how non-scammy this tour was. Seriously, I spent my whole afternoon thinking…..this can’t be right.
  • I suspected when I booked it, that this cheap tour would be missing something. There were tours from other companies that were at least 3 times the price. (I saw some of these other tour groups….they were mainly full of suckers. There is absolutely no difference between the cheap tour and the expensive one. See photos of suckers below).
  • So, can you get a good cheap tour to the Cu Chi Tunnels? You bet, just do your homework, and don’t book an overpriced tour.
  • I’ll be definitely booking with Sinh Tourist again, and would recommend you do it too!
  • I hope you liked this article and if you want more on finding the best countries to retire cheap go here Link TO ARTICLES
  • What’s the best way to see the Cu Chi Tunnels in HCM?2018-07-10T07:56:33+00:00

    Boardgame’s or Rent?

    Today I went to a Boardgame Cafe in Saigon. Those of you who know me, know what a massive geek I am. Wherever I’ve travelled in the world I’ve tried to find fellow board gamers and nerds to hang out with. (Playing werewolf in Ecuador was a blast.)I tried to find my tribe of fellow nerds in Saigon, and was not disappointed.The Boardroom is a peaceful local place ran by a fellow Boardgame enthusiast in Saigon, Vietnam. The cost to play is actually, just “buy something like a drink or food”!No hourly costs. WHAT?! How is that possible? I don’t know. Needless to say, I bought way too many drinks, and dinner because I really wanted to support the place.If you’re looking for the best place to play Boardgame’s in HCM, you’ve found it!If you’re looking at playing boardgames, this is the place to go. Quiet, and a good selection of games, it’s a great place to get your geek on.During my night there, I played 7wonders duel, Love letters, Battlelines and Chinatown. Even though it’s just a little cafe in Vietnam their selection of games (considering they are only one month old) is pretty good!If you’d rather just buy boardgames, one thing to know is that they are the SAME PRICE as in Canada to buy! That’s right. Even though they are imports, they aren’t more expensive. (In fact, if you’re willing to buy the Chinese knockoffs they can be significantly cheaper).One thing I’d say though, is that even though it’s the SAME price, it’s significantly more expensive relatively to buy boardgames here. For example my rent for a shared place, with wifi, maid and aircon is 3.5 million dong ($198 CDN). The cost of a normal Boardgame is $50 in Canada. My rent in Canada at my place was $1400. The percentage difference between the two is huge.$50 out of $1500 vs $50 out of $200 makes a big difference.When you’re traveling to find BestCountriesToRetireCheap.com then all of a sudden things that don’t seem like a luxury at home, become crazy expensive here.Would you rather pay rent or own 4 boardgames?That’s one of the things that this minimalist travelling nomad lifestyle has really reinforced.There’s no such thing as cheap, or expensive. It’s all relative.Buy what you want, but remember if you want to travel the world looking for a cheap place to live? Save your money today, because, every $1 you save will be worth much much more in your new forever home.Want more articles? LINK TO HOME PAGEf

    Boardgame’s or Rent?2018-07-06T08:30:42+00:00

    Is This The Best Oyster Bar in Saigon?

    Travel blogging is suppppeeerrr tough work, flying to exotic locations, eating delicious food and then blogging about it.(hehehhee). The quest was to find the BEST oyster bar in Saigon. Did I succeed? Read more BestCountriesToRetireCheap.com fans!

    Kau Ba Oyster bar is a brand new oyster bar in Saigon. Above a seedy Japanese Karaoke bar in District 1, I had a hard time actually locating the space, but once I found it I was glad to go in. It’s all the way at the top of a multistory building. (Tip: If you’re cabbing to it just type in Kau Ba into the GRAB app). Here’s the contact info (also they did not pay me for this review in any way).

    Why did I go there? I heard that there was an all you can eat oyster buffet! I’ve travelled far and wide and while I’ve had oysters at buffets, I’ve never gone to an oyster buffet.

    I love oysters, and the thought of an all you can eat place with a variety of ways to eat oysters is exactly what this blogger needed.

    How were they though? From the minute I stepped in, I loved it.

    The staff spoke English fluently, and had no problems answering any of my questions. (It helps that Talor the bar manager was from New Orleans).

    My first question when I’m eating fancy pants oysters is always, “where are these oyster from?” The answer was Ha Long Bay, in the North East of Vietnam it’s known for it’s emerald waters and thousand of towering limestone islands.

    Kau Ba Oyster bar, has more than oysters on it’s menu, but hey, if you go to an oyster bar and eat anything but oysters, you are mucho loco.

    Ordering in batches of six, I went through their entire oyster buffet selection. (I did have help though).

    What are the highlights?

    Oysters in the half shell: Obviously these were a must try. They come several ways. With cocktail sauce, with butter, with scallions. All of them are good.

    Oysters with shrimp roe and a raw quail egg: Served in a shot glass. Delicious. The smooth taste of the oyster, blends well with the creamy quail egg. The shrimp roe give it a satisfying crunch as well.

    Oysters with flame grilled cheese. I love grilled oysters, but if you go to a buffet, normally they are cold and gross. Not here. It’s grilled as you order. (Tip: If you order the grilled dishes, order a raw dish at the same time, the timing works well). The grilled oysters with cheese are probably worth going to this bar by themselves. The cheese is real, not processed, and it’s good! Asia is not known for it’s cheese, so it’s really nice to get some while I was in Vietnam.

    The whole buffet menu is here. By the way it’s $395k ($23 CDN)for this experience .

    Besides stuffing myself with oysters. They had fantastic drink specials.

    They give you the option of a shot and a beer for 50,000 Dong ($4 CDN)! This is a fantastic deal, because most of the bars within spitting distance are 50,000 dong for just the beer. (In a fancy oyster place. I’d imagine a minimum price of 100,000 dong per beer.)

    I think I might try the Deluxe Bloody Mary next time, but this first time it was shots of house whiskey and Heineken for me. (Odd fact…they charge 100 000k if you want draft vs 50 000 for the can?)

    This is the best meal I’ve had in Saigon, Vietnam. If you come to Saigon to visit me I’m bringing you here!

    The bill for 3 people, with tip and tax was roughly 500,000 k ($25 CDN). This was with 10 shots and 10 beers that we split. Also if you look at the photo you can see that I only paid 290,000. That wasn’t because I was going to write this review, but because they had a grand opening special. (Funny note, they charged us 6000 dong (30 cents CDN) for wet wipes. Lol!)

    Is this the best oyster bar in Saigon?

    I haven’t been to every one in this city of food, but I can guarantee you that if you love oysters, you’ll love this place. First class all the way, and reason #4345 to travel and find the best countries to retire cheap. If you want more articles on food? Check out my blog here. LINK TO TRAVEL BLOG ARTICLES

    Is This The Best Oyster Bar in Saigon?2018-06-28T05:42:48+00:00

    D’Maris Buffet in Saigon Review

    I love buffets and have been to them all around the world. (The only reason I’m not 500 lbs and the star of my own reality show is because I also love going to the gym).

    Seriously, every country I go to I try to find at least one buffet that will amaze me. Sometimes I’m successful. Other times not so much….feel free to read about a few of them below.

    LINK TO BEST BUFFETS OF BANGKOK 2018

    LINK TO BIGGEST BUFFET IN MALAYSIA

    LINK TO BEST BUFFET IN CEBU

    How does D’Maris buffet in Saigon stack up? First of all you’re lucky you’re reading this page. For a chain buffet restaurant , D’Maris has one of the WORST online presences I’ve ever seen. Literally the worst. I think their facebook page is a flash mini game. Not even kidding. The info they do have is all Vietnamese as well.

    The address of it is

    469 Nguyễn Hữu Thọ, Tân Hưng, Quận 7, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam

    It’s on the 3rd floor of the mall there.

    The cost for dinner on a Wednesday night was 517,000 Dong ($29 CDN).

    Is that expensive? Cheap? From my perspective having literally just come from Bangkok, the buffet prices in Vietnam are uniformly overpriced.

    The fancy hotel buffets usually range from 800,000 dong to 1.2 Million ($45 to $55 CDN). I chose D’Maris because it was one of the cheaper ones.

    But, let’s get down to how the buffet actually is!

    HIGHLIGHTS (AKA WHY I WOULD TELL VEGETARIANS TO COME HERE)

    • This is the best buffet for vegetarians I’ve ever seen in the world. Normally if you’re a vegetarian at a buffet, your choices are very very limited. And you KNOW you’re being ripped off. Here they actually have fancy vegetable based things for you to eat.
    • A non vegetarian highlight is odd things you can choose from to eat that I’ve never seen. Some of them include Crocodile ribs, and steamed ray!
    • The non alcoholic drink area also included fresh sugar cane juice which again I’ve never seen in the world.
    • The Japanese area had a surprising amount of sashimi available for choice, normally at medium class buffets you’ll only see tuna/salmon. Here they had halibut as well.
    • The desserts were also not too bad.
    • Deep fried soft shell mini crabs were available.
    • Good service

    LOWLIGHTS (AKA WHY I WON’T BE BRINGING MY UNCLE OLIVER HERE)

    • No shrimp. They have shrimp as an ingredient in some dishes, and fried shrimp, but no ready to eat cooked shrimp mountain. Why? I don’t know. Vietnam has millions of shrimp everywhere.
    • No carving station. They do have a steak to order section, but they serve it as paper thin 2 oz slices. Basically, not a steak, but grilled meat. It’s not possible to get a big hunk of meat here.
    • No oysters on the half shell. Just sad.
    • Poorly replenished. The key to a good buffet is hot, and readily available food. The food here looked like it had been sitting a while. And the heating bins were usually about 10% full.
    • The sashimi was served in thumbnail sized portions. I’ve never seen such small cuts.

    WOULD I GO BACK?

    No. I love buffets, and while the price of D’Maris buffet wasn’t bad, it wasn’t the experience you’d want to go for. A better use for your money would be to go to a restaurant and order the items you liked instead.

    All in all, I’d give D’Maris a D rating. Not a Fail, but definitely not a pass.

    I hoped you liked the review, and it helps you with your quest to find the best countries to retire in. If you want more check out

    LINK TO HOME PAGE

    D’Maris Buffet in Saigon Review2018-06-21T21:50:32+00:00

    Grab Taxi Scam to watch out for

    We all know that taking taxi’s in general are for suckers. (I’m not saying all taxi cab drivers are thieves who will try and pump the meter, but unfortunately more often than not they are. )

    Uber, Grab, Lyft and other ride sharing services all grew to existence out of the need for reliable cheap transport.

    I’ve used them ride sharing services all over the world, and love them.

    That’s why I was super disappointed to hear that UBER has pulled out of South East Asia.

    This leaves pretty much GRAB as the only game in

    This article is actually about a GRAB scam that you’ll see at the airport.

    Imagine you’re just getting off of the plane, probably pretty tired, and just wanting to get to your hotel.

    You, being the savvy reader of BestCountriesToRetireCheap.com already know, not to just take a taxi.

    And that booking a ride sharing service is the way to go.

    This usually means, going and getting wifi, or a data card for your phone. (A bit of a pain, and you know it’s going to be expensive at the airport.)

    Lo, and behold, there are a dozen uniformed GRAB drivers waiting at the airport, ready to go!

    “Perfect!” you think. No need to buy a phone card yet.

    They approach you, and ask if you want a GRAB. You know that GRAB is the ride sharing service in South East Asia, and were going to use them anyway, so this is perfect!

    They show you the app on their phone and you punch in the address. The price comes up. And that’s the rate you get.

    Here’s where the scam comes in. These are REAL GRAB drivers. The APP is fake. They have a lookalike App that they show you on THEIR phone.

    It mimics the real GRAB app, but instead of giving you the real price, it charges 3 times the rate. (Like a calculator that gives the wrong info).

    You being brand new and having no idea how much it should really cost fall for the doctored price and another sucker is born.

    How to avoid this scam? Just make sure you always use the app on YOUR phone and don’t just let a waiting driver flag you down.

    Hope this travel tip helps you on your search for the best countries to retire cheap in. PS…Right now I’m loving Saigon! Scams suck, but Saigon is amazing!

    Want another article, or want to find out more? LINK TO MY ARTICLES it’s on the bottom of the page.

    Grab Taxi Scam to watch out for2018-06-05T23:09:55+00:00

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