Paradise for pennies: 7 countries where it’s cheap to live

The 15 cheapest countries to live and move to

Migration is an opportunity to move to better working conditions, see the world, and experience better infrastructure and a milder climate.

There are plenty of places on the planet where you can live cheaply, beautifully and interestingly. This ranking presents the cheapest countries to live in, where you can move permanently, expand your career prospects and increase your personal comfort level.

1. Vietnam

Nha Trang

Vietnam is not only a great destination for a traveler on a tight budget. Housing and food prices in this country make it possible to stay here long term as a freelancer. And with knowledge of English there is a chance to find a decent position in local companies (IT, teaching, service).

Mountains, sea, exotic forests and lakes – Vietnam is rich with a variety of recreational resources. So anyone can, with a couple of days off, find a hobby to their liking.

In Ho Chi Minh, one month of living costs about $1,000. In smaller towns by the ocean or up north, it’s cheaper.

It’s not hard to find a studio apartment in the $200-400 range. Lunch at a cafe, on average, costs $1-3, and a cup of good coffee $1.5. Despite the exoticism of the local cuisine, restaurants with Western cuisine are plentiful.

2. Bulgaria.


This country, though considered one of the budget ones in Europe, offers a good standard of living and great job opportunities. Vacancies in tourism, English education and IT are popular in Bulgaria. Sofia is a beautiful city with a history and low requirements to the wallet. For a one-bedroom in the center the normal price tag is $350. To live on the outskirts or in a smaller town (Burgas, Plovdiv, Varna) is even cheaper.

As usual in Europe, Bulgaria is pleased with good medicine, good transport infrastructure and peaceful environment in the country. From the Black Sea to the Balkan Mountains there are many locations for a variety of recreation.

For Russian expat will not have a problem adapting to Bulgarian society thanks to a similar language, familiar cuisine and friendly relations between the peoples.

3. China


In terms of costs, Asian cheap countries to live in, of course, differ from cheap European countries. But when talking about moving to such a large country as China, you should understand that the standard of living and financial requirements in Hong Kong are much more serious than in Haikou (a large city on Hainan Island). Salaries in China are higher than in most neighboring countries, there is a strong demand for foreign specialists in some industries. The most popular job among immigrants from the West is teaching English. Also there are a lot of Au pair jobs.

Au pair is a program where a person lives in a foreign family (in their house) to study culture and language and in return provides a service. Most often it means child care.

In major Chinese cities it is not difficult to rent a one-room apartment for $300. In Haikou or Nanyin it will be an excellent apartment in the center. It is worth bearing in mind that outside Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong there are few people with good English. And it can be difficult to find culinary places without Asian recipes.

4. South Korea

South Korea

South Korean cities lose in terms of cheapness of life to the capitals of Vietnam or Thailand, but they offer the opportunity to work in one of the largest economies in the world. Jobs in sales, IT, education (English again), or tourism can provide a good income.

You don’t have to collect high price tags by going to Seoul. Busan, Suwon, Daegu, and Daejeon are suitable for permanent residence. You can easily find a decent apartment for $300-400 a month and a local restaurant with a lunch for $5.

5. Thailand


The cheapest countries to live in are not without this Asian nation. For many, Thailand needs no introduction as a place to rest and work inexpensively. The economy is little prepared for any other direction than tourism, but the cost of housing and food allows you to safely engage in freelance work. Good prospects have a business in the service sector or teaching English.

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Chiang Mai – one of the most popular (read expensive) places in the country, but even here the rent of a one-room apartment in the city center is $ 200-300. In Bangkok for the same money there are options near the business center. In both cases we are talking about living in a modern Western-style neighborhood. With a day off, it won’t be hard to get to a quiet spot and take a shower by the sea.

A $3 seafood lunch is not uncommon. Admittedly, people with strong culinary habits will have to go through an adaptation – Western cuisine has been slow and hesitant to make its way into Smile Country.

6. Poland


The Republic of Poland is a great place to live, which combines low cost of living (for EU countries) with a decent social infrastructure, pay and entertainment. Warsaw, Krakow, Wroclaw, Lodz, Poznan, Gdansk are beautiful cities with rich history and wide employment opportunities. Not knowing Polish is not a problem if you speak English. Large global companies continue to expand into Eastern Europe, so there is a demand for specialists in banking, finance, education, IT, service industries.

Poland is part of the Schengen Area, which means there will be no difficulty in organizing an Euro-tour from East to West during your vacation. Or a trip to Berlin for a weekend.

You can find an apartment for $300-400 near the center with good transportation and a couple of institutions nearby, ready to become a favorite. Lunch is $5, coffee is $1-1.50, beer is $1.5-2. Bonus will be: Warsaw nightclubs, medieval architecture, castles, scenic lakes, and skiing and even seaside resorts.

7. India


India rightfully gets into this rating about the cheapest country to live in. This is a state where a few hundred dollars a month is enough for a comfortable stay. Depending on the state and size of the city, you can rent a 1-bedroom apartment in the range of $50 to $250 (in downtown Delhi).

The country is developing industry, services and innovation, so the demand for foreign specialists is high. There is no need to learn the local language – all Indians in the former British colony speak English.

Freelancers who dream of working from their laptops while lying in a hammock should pay attention to Goa. There are plenty of options for permanent housing for $150-200. Fresh fruit, ocean, exotic nature, and lunch for $2-3 comes with it.

If you are going to live in India, remember that the country has poor health care, high crime areas, and poor internet.

8. Czech Republic


In terms of costs, the Czech Republic is not as budget-friendly as other cheap countries to live in Europe. But with successful employment it gives stability, high level of comfort, safety and health care. There are in-demand professions in the banking sector, IT, services and tourism.

It is better to move with the knowledge of English – English-speaking positions pay more. However, it is not difficult to learn Czech, because it is remotely similar to Russian.

The Czech Republic is a free movement through the Schengen area. True, you don’t have to go anywhere for quality entertainment. The country has world famous ski resorts, lakes and national parks. Cities with hundreds of imprints of history are of great interest.

Rent of a 1-bedroom apartment in the center of Prague costs $700, in Brno – $469. Lunch at a restaurant costs $6-7 or $4-5 respectively. A mug of beer is $1,5-2, coffee $2-2,5. In smaller towns (Plzen, Ostrava, Liberec, Olomouc, Hradec Králové, České Budějovice), the prices are lower. And they are no less charming in appearance, and the road to Prague, if necessary, takes a few hours.

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9. Bosnia and Herzegovina


By European standards, all states formed after the collapse of Yugoslavia are cheap countries to live in. Bosnia is no exception. Because of the split of the republic, Bosnia has some economic and geopolitical problems, but the situation inside is calm and stable.

On the one hand, without knowing the language, finding a job in local companies will be difficult. On the other hand, food and housing prices make it an option for freelancers.

As a vacation destination, Bosnia and Herzegovina is best known for hiking and snow skiing. But the country also has access to the Adriatic Sea with excellent beaches. If desired, it is not difficult to travel to neighboring Montenegro or Croatia. The country has preserved a lot of monuments of antiquity, the Middle Ages, the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian periods.

For telecommuting it is better to choose not Sarajevo, and Mostar. Prices are more democratic and closer to the sea. A single room in the center will cost $200-250 ($150-200 more in the capital).

10. Serbia .


For Russian immigrants there are several reasons to choose Serbia as a country to live in: good relations between the peoples, it is easy to learn the language, familiar culture and cuisine. In addition, it itself is very beautiful and interesting. Belgrade – an inexpensive European capital, but accommodation in Zemun (suburb), Novi Sad, Pancevo or Subotica is much more affordable.

For comparison, rent of one-room apartment in the center of Novi Sad (the second largest and most important city) – $150-200 per month, in Belgrade – $250-300. Lunch or dinner at a place close to home costs $4-5 in both cases. To have a coffee or a beer in the evening is $1-2.

11. Greece


The Hellenic Republic is a collection of all the parameters you can imagine for a comfortable stay and enjoyable leisure. Excellent beach vacation, amazing historical locations, mild climate and a common customs area with the European Union are just some of them. With knowledge of English and even without it, you can find a job in tourism, as the demand for this destination among foreigners (including those from the CIS) is not declining.

In Greece, low prices for accommodation by the standards of the Mediterranean. In the center of Athens, there are options for long-term rent of one-bedroom apartment for $ 250-300. In order to save money it is better not to go to restaurants – the average price for a dinner is $10-12.

12. Romania


This country is rightly included in the list of the cheapest countries to live in. An abundance of inexpensive and delicious food, good Internet, safe environment in the cities, a lot of beautiful areas for walking – all this is Romania. The greatest activity is in Bucharest. Other cities: Timisoara, Constanta or Ploiesti lose to the capital only in the intensity of nightlife. In Romania, you can vacation inexpensively at a ski resort (Sinaia, Poiana Brasov, Predeal) or by the Black Sea.

Positions for those who speak English, French or Italian are well paid because they are opened by large companies in finance, banking, heavy industry, IT. There is a shortage of qualified specialists in medicine and engineering.

13. Montenegro

Herceg Novi

Montenegro, popular among Russian tourists on the Adriatic coast, can be considered as an option for permanent residence. Large tourist demand supports the development of the state. Despite the fact that visitors are still the main source of income in Montenegro, industry, banking and IT is growing.

Unlike hotels, lodging for rent is inexpensive. Especially if you do not settle directly by the sea. In the capital Podgorica is not a problem to find a studio apartment for $ 200-300. And the road to the sea by car takes no more than two hours.

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14. Albania


According to various estimates, Albania is the most affordable to find a state in Europe (although locals are unlikely to agree). Developing on the remains of a totalitarian communist regime, it tries to use all recreational resources. Therefore, the Albanians are actively engaged in tourism on the shores of the Adriatic and Ionian Sea. To rent an apartment in one of the resorts for a long term makes sense only for remote workers. And “office” professions are in demand in Tirana, the capital and economic center of the country.

15. Armenia


Cheap countries to live in and the final position is Armenia. The advantages compared with most states from this list are obvious. Here are inexpensive housing, cheap and delicious food, beautiful places to relax and friendly attitude to visitors (especially Russians). Almost 80% of the population knows Russian as a native speaker, which is also an important aspect. The demand for qualified specialists is high in IT, medicine, mining industry and pharmaceutics.

Apartments for $200-300 a month are rented in the center of Yerevan. For a lunch in the center of the city $8-11 is enough. The price of a cup of coffee or a glass of beer is $1-1.5. It almost makes no sense to consider other cities for living. Yes, they are cheaper, but there are almost no high-paying jobs in them.

Heaven for pennies: countries where it’s cheap to live

Here is a list of cheap countries to live in, where a month of living in often costs less than a week of living expenses in Russia.

The prices in the article are approximate, listed in local currency and duplicated in rubles at the new exchange rate. The information is current as of 2017.

  • Thailand
  • The cost of housing in Thailand
  • Food prices in Thailand
  • Bike rental prices in Thailand
  • India
  • Prices for Accommodation in India (Goa)
  • Prices for food in India (Goa)
  • Rent a Bike in Goa
  • Bali
  • Accommodation prices in Bali
  • Bali Food Prices
  • Philippines
  • Rental prices in the Philippines
  • Food prices in the Philippines


Currency: Thai Baht (1 Baht ≈ 1.7 RUR).

Mecca for Russian travelers and downshifters. More and more Russians are going to live in Thailand, having decided to exchange the gray of everyday life and cold weather for a rich life in sunny Asia. This practice is especially common for residents of large cities: people rent out their apartments / rooms, and the proceeds from this more than enough money to live carefree in Thailand directly on the beach. Another category of people are freelancers. Working remotely via the Internet, these people do not earn the biggest money by Russian standards, but this income is quite enough to live here.

So, the cost of living in Thailand (as elsewhere) is made up of two main parts: the cost of housing and the cost of food.

The cost of housing in Thailand

Rent a house or condo in Thailand (one or two bedrooms, kitchen, often even with a swimming pool) will cost from 10 thousand baht per month – from 17 thousand rubles. For this money now in Moscow and St. Petersburg is unlikely to get a similar level of comfort housing. And here you have a whole house! For example, in St. Petersburg we rented a room near the metro station Tekhnologicheskiy Institut for about 20,000 rubles with utilities (pre-crisis price, 2014).

Of course, renting a room in Thailand for a month is cheaper – 4000-8000 baht a month, depending on location, size and interior furnishings. Studio in Pattaya and Phuket, you can rent for about 30 thousand rubles a month, a hotel room – from 300-400 baht per day. And in Phuket and Pattaya, we rented a hotel room for 400 baht per day. Typically, when renting for a long time you can negotiate with the owner and the rent is cheaper.

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A decisive factor in pricing for rent in Thailand – geographical. In such popular tourist destinations such as Pattaya, Hua Hin and Phuket, everything will cost more expensive than in the north of Thailand – for example, in Chiang Mai. In addition, affect the price of seasonality, convenience and size of lodging.

Food prices in Thailand

The second key component is food. The cost of food in Thailand is surprisingly low. Shashlik will cost from 10 baht, a large plate of rice with meat – from 30 baht, soup with noodles and dumplings – from 40 baht. Meal costs in Thailand will be even less if you cook your own food, buying products in stores and markets. Read more about the current prices in this country in the article “In Thailand cheap” and “Pattaya or Phuket: which is better” – there are detailed prices for food and accommodation, as well as transport.

Bike rental prices in Thailand

For those who prefer to have their own means of transportation, it is ideal to rent a motorcycle. A month rent will cost 3-4 thousand baht or 200-300 baht per day. In the North of Thailand renting will be cheaper. Gasoline costs about 40-50 baht per liter.


Currency – Indian rupee (10 rupees ≈ 8,8 ruble).

Prices for Accommodation in India (Goa)

In general, the prices for rent in India are not very different from the Thai. Rental price depends on season (more expensive in winter), the size and equipment of homes, the distance from the beach and, importantly, the proposed lease term. For example, in Goa, even in the season (in winter) to rent a condo or house far from the shoreline (over 3 km) can be from 18.5 thousand rupees a month, closer to the sea – from 23.5 to 30 thousand rupees a month. Most often, people rent houses (1-2 rooms with a kitchen, but not on the beach) for 20-26 thousand rupees a month.

A room in a gesthouse (double with shower and toilet) will cost from 470 to 700 rupees. You can rent a bungalow or a wooden house (with shower, toilet, minimal furnishings) for 400-1000 rupees per day. It’s best to look for accommodation in Goa on the spot, unless you decide to arrive before the holidays – New Year and Christmas, then it’s better to book in advance.

Prices for food in India (Goa)

In India you can eat cheaply in the shacks, small eateries on the beaches, where you can find both European and Indian food. You can get a lunch at a shekha for 60 to 150 rupees. Breakfast costs around 50-80 rupees, Indian dishes range from 100-200 rupees, soups from 50 rupees.

Freshly squeezed juices cost between 50 and 100 rupees a glass, depending on the type of fruit. A bottle of local beer in the store – about 60 rupees, in a cafe – from 100 rupees, a cup of coffee in a mid-range cafe – from 50 to 80 rupees. A bottle of water in a store – from 15 rupees, masala tea – up to 50 rupees, depending on the establishment.

Rent a Bike in Goa

It costs from Rs. 200 to Rs. 250 to rent a bike a day, for a month – Rs. 4 to 6.5 thousand. The price depends on the power of the bike and how new it is.

Currency – Indonesian rupiah (1000 rupiah ≈ 4,3 rub).

Accommodation prices in Bali

Bali is becoming more and more popular every year, and therefore the cost of housing rises noticeably. The cost of housing in Bali depends on the resort, location and amenities, rental period and size. A house with three rooms and a kitchen in Kuta can be found from $ 500 a month, but if you try, you can find and from $ 400 a month. Room in a gesthouse for a month can cost from $ 70, but be prepared for a very Spartan conditions. On average you can find a decent room in Bali in a hostel for $ 13-15 dollars a day.

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The prices for accommodations in Bali vary significantly from resort to resort – the more it is promoted, the more expensive the cost. Kuta, Seminyak, Nusa Dua, Sanur – here the prices will be quite high. In Uluwatu, Jimbaran, Chang and other cities are cheaper, judging by the reviews of travelers, you can find a nice house, not too far from the sea within $ 400.

Tip: The longer you plan to rent a house, the cheaper it will cost you. In Bali it is customary to pay rent at once, so keep this in mind. It is also better to look for a house on their own, riding around on a bike, as agencies and realtors charge a large commission (in addition, there is a risk of getting caught unscrupulous realtor). You should read the reviews on the internet before you contact an agent.

Bali Food Prices

You can eat on a budget in Bali in varungas (small cafes). A dinner for two will cost about 40 thousand rupies (about 170 rubles), that is, a dish with meat costs up to 20 thousand rupiah, soups about the same. Vegetarian dishes are cheaper – up to 15 thousand rupees. Milkshakes cost up to 13 thousand. Sweet pancakes cost up to 20 thousand rupees. On average, a dish in a varunga costs 20-25 thousand rupees.

Be careful – not all varungas are for locals, there are also tourist varungas designed for foreigners, the prices there are higher. The closer the varung is to the sea, the higher the prices.


The currency is Philippine peso (10 pesos ≈ 8,8 rub).

Rental prices in the Philippines

The Philippines is another place where you can live cheaply. The capital Manila is overly popular with tourists and, therefore, is not suitable for inexpensive accommodation. However, the province of Cebu, which is quite a developed region with all the necessary infrastructure, will be quite suitable for budget accommodation. House in the islands of Cebu, Panglao and Bantayan can be rented from 13.5-15 thousand pesos (or from $ 300). If you put a lot of effort and search hard, you can get in and 10 thousand pesos a month.

The room in the house on Boracay, you can rent for 630 pesos a day, a bed in a hostel with private facilities on the floor can be found for 300 pesos a day, and on average, prices in the hostels are in the range 400-500 pesos. The price for a room for two in a hotel on the average 700 pesos a night, you can find cheaper – the price depends on the location and facilities.

Food prices in the Philippines

Food in the Philippines, as well as in other SEA countries, is inexpensive. In cafes and local shops you can get a full meal for 100-150 pesos per person with a portion of rice with meat and a drink, but you can also eat cheaper. In the tourist cafes the prices are higher – you have to spend about 200-300 pesos per person. In restaurants the main course costs from 100-150 rubles. The most popular beer – San Miguel Pilsen: a bottle of 0,33 you can buy for 30-50 pesos, rum costs from 80 pesos. Exotic fruits and vegetables are inexpensive, it’s better to buy them at the markets.

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