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3 Places Where You Can Live the Good-Life on $40,000 a Year — Internationalliving.com/au

August 11, 2018 Lifestyle No Comments Email Email

In the best-value countries outside Australia, expats are finding that they can live better than they could at home—for less. A new report from the editors at Internationalliving.com/au delves into three spots where a move overseas can lead to a lifestyle upgrade on a budget of just $40,000 a year.

SourceInternationalLiving.com/au

Penang, Malaysia

The island of Penang, off the coast of Malaysia, has been a firm favourite among savvy expat for decades. This island, of 1.6 million souls, packs a punch. The low costs make it affordable even on a more modest budget and exploring further afield in Southeast Asia is easy thanks to the international airport.

In Penang, the lifestyle is comfortable and first world. A couple can live well on a monthly budget of $2,500, but if you want to splurge and push your spend to $3,300, you can live in luxury. Rent in a modern high-rise with a pool, gym and 24-hour security will cost around $1,000 a month. For that, you’ll get a modern, three-bedroom, three-bath, 213-square-metre apartment with a balcony overlooking the ocean.

Known as a foodie haven, Penang’s largest city, George Town, is home to eclectic architecture, a vibrant art scene and the best street food in the world. You’ll also find high-end shopping centres with many of the same stores you’d have back in Australia.

If you’re a fan of the great outdoors then Penang National Park, with its hiking trails, a canopy walk, eight beaches, over 1,000 species of flora and fauna and a meromictic lake (the lake’s surface and bottom layers of water don’t mix) is just waiting to be explored. Or you can sit on a white-sand beach with a cooling drink and relax. It’s really up to you.

It’s a luxury life on an affordable budget with all the comforts and conveniences of home.

The Algarve, Portugal

The British discovered the delights of Portugal long ago, from the mellow taste of port wine in the north to the natural beauty of the southern region known as the Algarve.

From the craggy cliffs and expansive views afforded by Cape St. Vincent on the extreme west coast to Tavira—sometimes referred to as “Queen of the Algarve”, located 30 minutes from the Spanish border—the region is rich in every way. Superior beaches, ancient architecture, cuisine noted for fresh seafood—like the regional dish, cataplana—and excellent, inexpensive wines are luring many to explore the Algarve.

Here, a couple can live well here on $2,660 per month and really live the high-life on $3,190.

Despite 161 kilometres of Atlantic shoreline, there’s plenty more to do than sunbathing. Golfing, tennis, boating, horseback riding, hiking and biking are just some of the activities on offer.

There’s also plenty of variety amongst the towns in the Algarve.

Alvor—a traditional fishing village with lovely beaches, a small marina and friendly locals, Alovor has retained its charm despite great popularity with tourists and expats alike.

Olhão—to experience the essence of Portugal, centred on the sea and seafood, head 10 kilometres east of Faro to Olhão, Algarve’s largest port.

Vilamoura, originally conceived in the 1980s as a world-class golfing venue, offers elegant hotels, fine restaurants and a large marina in addition to the pristine Praia da Falésia beach.

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Chiang Mai has been a popular destination with tourists and expats for generations. With its hundreds of golden temples, wide variety of international restaurants, stunning surrounding countryside and large choice of outdoor activities, this city in northern Thailand has something to offer everyone. And the year-round tropical climate is an added bonus.

But the real kicker—Chiang Mai, one of the main cultural hubs of Thailand, offers all the amenities of a big, university city but at small town prices.

Two people can live comfortably in Chiang Mai on a monthly budget of $2,650. When you realise that Chiang Mai has a population of several hundred thousand and comes with all the amenities of a large, modern city, you can appreciate just how low some of these costs are.

Aussie expat Michelle Hammond lives in a luxury, one-bedroom condo in Nimman—a trendy area full of restaurants, cafes, bars, shops and boutique hotels—for the very attractive price of $827 a month.

“With so many amenities on offer, there are days when my partner and I don’t even leave the complex,” she says. “It includes a swimming pool with a jacuzzi, a gym, a sauna, a library, a semi indoor-outdoor wine bar, an outdoor barbecue area, a relaxation garden and a rooftop with views of Doi Suthep mountain.

“I’m amazed at what our money is getting us here in Chiang Mai. Especially when I compare it to our old apartment in Melbourne, where we were paying $1,738 a month (plus bills) to live in an old building with no amenities.”

Allow for a monthly spend of $3,100 in Chiang Mai and you can enjoy luxuries only the wealthy can afford back in Australia, like travel, a house keeper and regular massages—a higher quality life but in a tropical setting.

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