I'm not planning on moving there, although the idea of building a salsa scene in Vientiane does have a certain appeal, but how does one obtain a retirement visa to live in Laos and what are the criteria? Does anyone here know? Or does Laos only provide long term visa's for people working there? I found precious little (surprisingly) on the net.
#1 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
For around a dollar a day you can just make the monthly pilgrimage to the bridge and even include a shopping trip to the Tesco. Or. . .
Contact one of the many travel companies around town offering assistance in smoothing over the rough edges so that you can come and go as you please or not. They are very sabai sabai as long as you don't make any disturbances.
Have you learned the words and tune to the internationale?
I'd be interested in a forum or website devoted to old men (and women) who stretch thier retirement dollars by living overseas in cheaper countries! I can think of several places this happens but wonder about just how many people do it.
Most people, especailly as they get older, find the notion of uprooting themselves daunting. Also, they often have children and want to be close to them. I remember when I retired, I was still pretty young (47) and a German friend of mine said "You're retiring to Thailand? Very courageous." The idea of him even moving out of his neighborhood was an anathema.
#4 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Mac, there is no such thing as a retirement visa. You can get a 28 day visa, but this is not multi entry, so if you decided to go back to Muck during this 28 day period, you would have to pay the visa fee again. Technically you are only allowed 3 consecutive 28 day visas, but I have never heard of anyone being denied one.
You would be far better off getting a business visa which allows you to come and go as you like over a 12 month period. Surely Carole can organise on for you.
I was sorely tempted to teach dance in Savanakhet as well. Given the proximity and the size... but if I got a multiple entry visa for Thailand, I would have to pay re-entry every time. Financially it just made no sense at all. And I know from experience it's not as if if I started teaching there it would take off. It would take years to develop, just like it has on this side of the river. And it would probably never pay for itself. We're actually thinking of moving to Khon Kaen down the road because of it's superior infrfastructure. My wife really likes it there.
#6 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
A lot of mongering? That's everywhere in Thailand. But I'm not interested in "mongering" I'm interested in dancing and boxing and I enjoy a quality live band. We have all of that now in Mukdahan. BUT, Khon Kaen has three things that make it attractive - Top flight medical care, international food and good transportation links to BKK. I am trying to get my mother to retire out here and live with us. My wife and she are close, but my mother is concerned about medical care. Muk is OK, but nothing compared to Khon Kaen. Then there's food. Khon Kaen has a sizzlers steak house, an Italian restaruant, a German restaraunt, a couple of McDonalds... it's civilized. We're short of culinary civilization in Muk. Vientiane would be OK for me - but not for mom and certainly not for my wife (who hates Laos). Also, my wife is Thai and she can navigate the bureaucracy in Thailand just fine. Not being a Laos citizen and having a less lesaiz faire system would make it more difficult for her to run her own buisiness. So I don't think Vientiane is going to cut it, although one never knows for sure what the future holds. I can't believe that neither Pnhom Phen nor Vientiane have salsa scenes. Outside of the Islamic world, they are one of the very few capital cities with this horrible state of affairs.
#8 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
" Khon Kaen has a sizzlers steak house"
Food is great in Vientiane. Medical care is not as bad as people make it out to be either.
Actually there WAS, (I'm not sure if it still exists), Salsa dancing on one night a week at Borpenyang Bar.
OOOOh weeee, Khon Kaen is uptown. LOL Sorry Madmac, couldn't resist. I myself do not consider McDonalds a culinary delight. Interesting thread on retiring to Laos instead of Thailand though.
#10 neosho has been a member since 13/8/2008. Posts: 386
McDonalds is like a Schweinebraten - not real important until you just can't get it anymore. The first year I didn't miss either, but now I'd give my right arm for a quarter pounder with cheese.
Rufus, are you telling me there's quality pizza's, burgers and German food in Vientiane?
It would be hard to medical care to be as bad as it's made out to be. I onced asked Carol why she doesn't use local medical care (she goes to BKK) and she said "Cause I don't feel like getting AIDS". At any rate, my mother was already there, and ruled Vientiance out.
#11 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Personally, I'd miss being near the river, which is why I'd likely pick Nong Khai as my first choice. I think it is a lot like Mukdahan, but perhaps a bit bigger and certainly a larger tourist destination, which means a wider variety in housing and restaurants and such. Plus, it is right across the river from VTE, for when I needed to get a red wine and good bakery fix as well as make the pilgrimage to the Beer Lao brewery.
But I can definitely see the advantages of life in Khon Kaen. As I mentioned before, I lived there for 4 months back in late 1985, and I loved it then. It has all the modern infrastructure stuff you'd want, plus it has still kept much of its Isan town qualities too. That would put you close to your son at university too, which I'd think would be a real bonus.
I don't know if they are still doing it, but there used to be a silk fair held in Khon Kaen every year that was quite a bit of fun.
I talked to the wife today about going to Vientiane and then on to Laung Prabang with our daughter for vacation. I've been wanting to go a long time, and it just hasn't happened. Something always gets in the way. But we're going sooner rather than latter.
#14 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Thanks I figured that much out.
What if you don't need to work and retired? I am retired at 45 worked in the IT field for 27 years. Had 2 companies back home I sold so now I am retired. I have money and don't need to work for anyone. Can I consult for myself and get a working visa? I just want the visa to live don't need to work for money.. Eventually I will have money to invest for a good cause. ie. computer school or whatever
I am in Cambodia and a business visa is just pay more.
#17 dmcrory has been a member since 26/12/2007. Posts: 4
450?? Holy visa scam batman! Do we get fries with that? Let me see, my last visa here cost me 1,800 baht for one year. That's a touch short of 450 USD.
#19 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
I'd think $450 pretty cheap for breaking the law. Better mind your Ps and Qs though, that neighbor you mouth off to might have an uncle at foreign affairs and when you try to cross back on the bridge all of a sudden things are no good.
Did Carol really say that about AIDS? Maybe she is your cousin.
I'm sure nobody is doing it anymore, given the Hepatitus and HIV infection risks, but there was a time when needles were being re-used in Laos medical facilities (hopefully at least washed first). She might not have been serious (although I think she was), but she didn't have a real high opinion of health care there a few years ago. I get the feeling from Rufus that it's getting better.
Somsai is indicating that even that visa is breaking the law? OK, Somsai, is retirement in Laos simply not a legal option?
"True, but can you work with your visa?"
Dejure or Defacto? Rural and provincial Thailand, as I am sure you are well aware, is WAY different from BKK or other heavily urban areas. A very good friend of mine opened a Cafe across the street from city hall and he was staying on a retirement visa. He had that Cafe for four years before he decided to sell it. As Somsai said, be polite, say you're sorry if you make a mistake, don't hurt anybody, and you can do whatever you want out here. I have NEVER paid (never gotten) a traffic ticket. No matter the offense, I say I'm sorry and the cop always says "Mai Pen Rai" and waves me on. Once when I was drving my chopper in Yaso I had forgotten my license (my old international didn't fit in my wallet) and was stopped on a highway checkpoint. I showed the guy my US Army retirement ID, explained I forgot my license at home, and he just said "No problem" (I think the only English phrases he knew). My friends who live in BKK tell me it's completely different there. So this obviously isn't Thailand wide. But here - very easy going.
#23 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
So if you don't work there, then you either marry a local or live illegally? As you said before, Rufus, Laos doesn't have a retirement visa, so retiring there doesn't look like an option. Or is this more of a "Nobody really cares as long as you don't bother anyone" kind of thing?
#26 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
I have a video I have to load from my favorite place out here. You will love the song.
#28 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
They did just begin a retirement visa program but it's for former Lao Nationals.
Mac I've lived in rural Thailand and Laos both, if anything I'd say Laos is even easier as far as official annoyances. Your lack of traffic tickets is a pretty good indicator. For whatever reason some people who stay longtime in Thailand get tickets, others don't.
The girls were cute, the Song wasn't cutting it though. You'll love this band. I'll have to have this vid posted. The music is just outstanding. The band is incredibly talented.
None of the expats here get tickets or have trouble with the cops - with the notable exception of the guys who are jerks. This is a small place and everyone knows everyone. Be nice, be friendly, smile a lot - you won't ever get a ticket here. Believe me, I deserve plenty of tickets. I'm not a risk averse kind of guy. But I'm nice to everyone, even people who don't deserve it. I know the cops here. They aren't going to ticket me. They've stopped me before, but I always get a warning. My friends too. Be nice, say you're sorry, don't hurt anyone - and you can do whatever you want here. Maybe it's the same in Laos. I'd believe it if you told me.
#30 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957