Living in South East Asia as a “bule” (an Indonesian term which stands for a foreigner, often refers to a Caucasian) sure has its own advantages and drawbacks.
Who doesn’t love the sunny beaches, beautiful sunsets, spectacular waterfalls, wonderful cultures, and super friendly people of this very region of Asia, anyway? I’m pretty sure that you’d rather move out of Europe and prefer coming there to enjoy the warmth of the sun shining all year round.
However, despite the glorious summer vibes you’ve got and the cheap deals you got from those mouth-watering meatballs and satays, living in South East Asia sometimes is not easy—which makes it rather difficult for us to leave Europe.
So, here are some good aspects as well the downsides you may expect from living in South East Asia.
- Opposite to Europe or America, the weather in South East Asia is warm all year round, which boosts our happiness the most. It’s also a win for us since there is no need to buy winter clothes, shoes, jackets, etc.
- Everything is cheap—there is no need for you to cook, do laundry or iron your clothes. You can always savor the delicious street food for a cheap deal and buy three meals a day by only spending for about 5 euros. It’s also easier to take your laundry to the laundry shops—50 cents per kg and you get tour clothes fresh, clean, and neatly ironed and folded the next day!
- Rent is a lot cheaper there than Europe and States, especially if you don’t cook nor do laundry since there won’t be any utility bills charged. Because of the relatively hot weather in South East Asia, you also don’t need heating, but you might need an AC or an electric fan instead. Besides, along with the low rental fee of an apartment or a villa, our residence usually comes with a pool—such a great deal!
- We tend to have more free time because things are cheaper there—and it means you can work less. You can work as hotel or villa managers and earn some good amount of money; it’s even better for people who run their own business since they can manage it from afar. Relaxed atmosphere and low living costs will also be very convenient for you who love to enjoy your life through the entertainment and attractions available. Chilling out on the beach, snorkeling with fishes, diving, surfing, partying—all these pleasant activities will be yours daily.
- Asians, particularly from Southeast Asia, are friendly. They are curious and love to talk with us. So you don’t need to be anxious over nothing since whenever you’re going out, they’re more than willing to talk to you first anyway.
- Lastly, one of the most interesting things in South East Asia is their markets! You can find various stuff sold at the markets, some of them may be peculiar yet unique to you. You can bargain for a better deal at the traditional markets as well.
- Remember, however, you’ve immersed yourself into your new cultures and environments, you’re still a “bule” to the local people. It makes us being treated differently most of the time. Local people tend to admire and respect you merely due to your skin color, which is awkward. However, things get especially challenging when it comes to buying stuff or paying for services because people may trick you to pay more than you should.
- It will take some time for you to get accustomed to the toilet. You will find squat toilets more often than not, so it may not be very convenient for the first time. Expect crazy traffics in day to day basis. Cars, all sorts of taxies, motorcycles, trucks, buses, and bicycles are all part of the busy traffic—it’s as if they are tangled with each other.
You may get flustered and raged at the crazy traffic jump. However, you don’t need to worry, the traffic makes people such as pro drivers—no accident is guaranteed most of the time! It’s important to note, though, that you still have to be careful since there are a lot of safety issues going on, such as irresponsible driving, overtaking, and other traffic violations.