Its the last day here so went for a walk and decided to buy some T shirts. The 0ld market here sells cheap T shirts in many sizes for $3 each. At the beginning I was shipping shirts over to Vietnam because it was very hard to find the XXL size western there. Here in Cambodia, the shirts are easier to buy and I can just buy and discard them as I need. Don’t feel really bothered tossing a shirt that only cost that much. They are also lighter fabric and dry more quickly after a day walking in the hot sun and sometimes humid temperatures here.
Tomorrow I board the Champa Mini bus which is a good and bad thing. The bus packs everyone in to a point where the backpacks and suitcases overflow and so do the people. Its a 3 hour bus ride and we get one stop for food or a rest break for 30 minutes. The Champa station in Sihanoukville is a nondescript little shop where there is no real sign. Luckily when I left Otres, the tuk tuk driver knew the bus station and took me right there with no google maps or questions. Now going back to Otres for two nights, I’ll just grab a tuk tuk and pay the $10 to get back to the bungalow. Tomorrow night I will do bbq at this place that cooks some really nice steaks or chicken. The final night will do Pizza at one of the better pizza places I have been to in Cambodia.
I wanted to mention a thing about food throughout Cambodia and other places. If you want Khmer or Vietnamese food, it’s all over. Easy to find. If you want western food, Mexican, Italian, German, French; it too is all over and you can find it. You may end up paying more. I went to this place American owned last night for one of the best burgers ever and the dinner was $6.00 for a huge cheeseburger and a draft beer. The good thing there was the talk though. Tonight, I’ll try this other restaurant I scoped out for dinner that is not so far.
So the big message here is that food is no problem in Cambodia. Street food? Other food? Nice restaurants? Smaller local places? It’s all here.
Retirement Visas and the Long Stay Question
I’ve been considering the long stay question for awhile since getting my retirement visa here. For a year, it costs $290 and I can enter and exit as I want. I don’t need to deposit any money or show I make so much. Its just given and I get it in 10 days and I’m on my way. I do not think there is a comparable deal anywhere. I’ve looked at Thailand and the Philippines. Thailand’s deal is not so good. The Philippines seems better but I would need to deposit USD $10k and then prove I can make $800 a month. Neither of those are problems for me but the real question is the value. Given I will not stay there and will continue to travel slowly in different places, why should I pay the deposit and have it frozen in the Philippines? I cannot think of a reason.
The other question is whether I would settle down and stay longer in a place. By longer I mean longer than 3 months or so. It is possible that I may decide to stay longer in a place which has a certain thing it offers. Here in Cambodia I would stay in Kampot or Phnom Penh. If I chose Vietnam, I could only stay 3 months at a time and then would have to exit and re-enter. I could get a 1 year visa there as well but would have to leave every 3 months, get an exit stamp and then come back. If that were the choice though, I would stay in Da Nang. I would not choose Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City.
If you are considering doing what I have done, consider the regular costs like food and lodging and travel but also factor in how visas work. You may decide to find a local person to marry and more power to you. I think a lot of people make that decision because it the whole thing changes then. I am not interested in marrying a Khmer or Vietnamese person whatsoever. I spent 23 years in a relationship that ultimately failed and perhaps I am still damaged goods.
Its really easy though to travel slowly and pick places you can stay. There are a number of countries with good visa policies. Just remember to check out how you renew, if you have to maintain a balance in a local bank, etc.
My advice FWIW is to pick a place like Cambodia. Its easy to live, people are friendly, most things work like you want except cheaper. You can exit and enter as you want so other countries are open to you.
Finally, I am off to Siem Reap on Thursday by air. I’ll spend a month there and tour a different temple each week. I’m still putting the finishing touches on the tours I want but I want my own tours done my own way and its easy with Cambodian tour companies.
I’ll be blogging soon from Siem Reap and its exciting!