Visas and Travel and how Southeast Asia is the best!

I went in today and took my Passport in for the so-called extension of stay retirement visa. The visa agent was a great person who understands the visa laws of Cambodia quite well. She told me some of the things I could do if I wanted to change the extension of stay to another one of the four types. Here’s a synopsis of the extensions you can get. I got the retirement extension or the ER choice. This visa can be given for up to 12 months and is a multiple entry visa. It costs $290 per year and next September after the 16th of the month I can apply for a renewal by going back to the agent and doing it again.

When I planned the departure, my primary goal was to find long stay places that also had reasonable visa laws that I could extend easily. Thailand has a decent retirement visa. Malaysia’s is priced too high for me. Vietnam does not have one but I could get a year long visa but would have to leave every 90 days for a visa run. The best combination of value and cost was Cambodia and I think they really want retired folks spending their money here.

My primary goal with the long stay visa extension in Cambodia was to establish a home base from which I can travel out to where I want to go but always be able to get back and have an established home so to speak. I don’t intend on staying in Cambodia all the time. In my current travel plan I will be back in Phnom Penh in January after visiting 4 other cities in Cambodia in 4 months. Then I will spend a week at the LaLune Hotel and fly to Singapore. I will not be back to Cambodia until June then as I see Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand. In June I fly to Ho Chi Minh City, then to Hanoi, and then back to Phnom Penh at the end of 30 days. Probably two weeks in each place. I have friends in both places that want me to visit.

Its good timing for the visa to get back around August or so to Phnom Penh. I will be able to extend the retirement visa for another year in September but the other reason is China. I can get a tourist visa for China right here in Cambodia in a few days and go visit later next year. Another new goal I have is to ride the Shinkansen from Kyushu to Hokkaido in Japan. I want to see all of Japan and I would take a few months doing it. Then there’s India. I have to get back to India. People have been asking after me in Chennai, Mumbai, and Bangalore.

As long as I have the anchor or home base here, I can always get back and rest up or plan more things or just hang out in Phnom Penh. I also don’t mind return visits to places like Malaysia. I would only do long term stays in cheap places. So the long term retirement visa here is a big deal for me. It anchors me and also lets me go. Its multiple entry so I can take time as I want in Vietnam or Thailand or wherever but always get back here.

If you ever plan a getaway that is a forever thing and you are retiring, consider that Southeast Asia is kind of tailor made for retirees. Living is cheaper although you have to adapt and adopt a bit. Traveling is cheaper. You can travel across a lot of countries big and small and meet some amazing people. And you can do it all on less money than you think. Having the monthly social security retirement is nice for stability but the actual living expenses are low. Even if I splurge multiple times on food, everything always ends up good for me.

Give it some thought if you are getting close to retiring and wondering what in the world you will do next.