Myanmar, which is also known as Burma, has recently been one of the most talked-about countries in Southeast Asia. Though the country is very beautiful and has some of the best, untouched landscapes in the region, it has been the center of political unrest.
Though the country was in a better state since 2013, there were still some problems with hate crimes, and recently, the military has taken over the country.
The military has declared a year-long emergency, which means that at least for this year, you won’t be moving to Myanmar. Following the general elections earlier this year, in which Ms. Suu Kyi’s NLD party won by a landslide, the situation in the country started to move towards unrest.
The armed forces had backed the opposing side, which was claiming that there had been fraud in the counting of the votes. Protests were happening, and on 1st February the military took over the country.
Hopefully, these unfortunate conditions can end soon, and there is some stability in the country. However, for now, we are going to look at Myanmar as any other country in Southeast Asia. ignoring the current situation, let’s see if Myanmar has the properties to be a suitable retirement destination in the future, once these problems have been sorted out.
- 1 Pros and Cons of Retirement in Myanmar
- 2 How much do I need per month to retire in Myanmar?
- 3 Best place to retire in Myanmar
- 4 Eldercare for retirees in Myanmar
- 5 What are the requirements to retire in Myanmar?
- 6 How easy is it to retire in Myanmar?
- 7 Final Thoughts
Pros and Cons of Retirement in Myanmar
Myanmar is a lesser-known country in Southeast Asia, and like any other place, there are some pros and cons to choosing it as your retirement destination. Let’s take a look at them.
Shopping is easy:
Myanmar has come a long way over the last decade, and where you can still find many old street markets in the country, there are also modern malls, and supermarkets, all the things that you may need easily available.
If you are shopping for groceries, you can get almost any western important products you want, and they aren’t very heavily taxed either. Visiting the old street markets can also be very beneficial, especially when you want to buy local produce, which is usually very fresh and affordable.
Hiring help is easy and affordable:
When you are retired, you are probably not going to want to clean up and cook for yourself, well, the minimum wage in Myanmar is quite low, and you can easily hire a maid, cook, or any other kind of help. If you pay taxi drivers a good tip, they will also drive you around, and even wait for you while you do your shopping to run any other errands.
The local foods are delicious:
Food products are very affordable in Myanmar, especially the ones that are produced locally. There are many restaurants that offer delicious local cuisine, and if you are in the mood of eating something western, there are many restaurants to choose from.
Eating out is also quite affordable in Myanmar, and it is possible to eat out all the time, without draining your budget.
Myanmar is a country that has stayed secluded from the outside world for a long time, therefore, their culture is very well preserved. Myanmar has a unique culture, and there are several heritage sites that you can visit and experience, especially in the old capital, Yangon.
Visiting the local markets also gives you a chance to admire the incredible local arts and crafts of the region, and you can also take some time to visit the National Museum in Yangon to take a detailed look at the country’s history and admire its culture.
The people are friendly:
One of the most important positives about living in Myanmar is that the people are very welcoming and supportive. If you need any kind of help, the locals are always up for it.
One of the major problems in Myanmar is that there aren’t any specific food safety standards, and if there are, they aren’t enforced as strictly. Your body will take time to get used to the water and food in Myanmar, if you want to avoid problems, it is better to drink bottled water, and avoid street foods that you suspect to be made with unclean water.
Myanmar doesn’t have the best healthcare system, in fact, it is way behind some of its neighboring countries. There are many private health facilities opening in major cities like Yangon, but they are still not very reliable.
If you have a serious medical issue, your best bet is to travel to a neighboring country like Thailand.
The biggest negative about moving to Myanmar is that it can be very difficult to get a long-term visa. You only have two option, either you can get a short tourist visa, or you will have to apply for a business visa, which can be a lot of hassle, and if you are thinking about retiring, you probably don’t want to keep operating a business when you are in Myanmar.
However, if you make an investment, and just own a business that is operated for the most part, by the people you have hired, a business visa can be a viable option.
How much do I need per month to retire in Myanmar?
Myanmar is an affordable destination to live in as the cost of living is quite low as compared to other western countries. However, it is still very important to maintain a budget plan, especially if you are living off your pension or retirement fund.
If you choose to live in Myanmar for an extended period of time, Yangon is one of the best options. It is a well-developed city, with a lot of amenities that any retiree might need.
While you are living in Yangon, a significant chunk of your budget will go towards accommodation. One option is to live in downtown Yangon, rent here is not too expensive, but most apartment buildings are quite old. Furthermore, there can be regular power outages in the region, so that has to be considered. A good apartment in downtown Yangon will cost you about $300 a month.
If you can afford a little higher rent, and you want to live away from the hectic city, you should look for a condominium or apartment complex away from the city. The star city condominium compound is a good option for retirees, it is located about a 30-minute drive away from downtown Yangon.
The compound has a swimming pool and fitness center as well, which you can use without any extra fees if you are a resident. There are also some nice restaurants in the vicinity. There is also a 9-hole golf course in the compound, so you will have multiple leisure options.
A one-bedroom fully furnished condominium in Star city will cost you about $600. This compound also has a backup generator, which comes in handy in case of a power outage.
In utilities, you will have to pan an electricity and water bill. You should expect to pay about $50 if you use air conditioning regularly. Getting an internet connection at home will cost you about $20 a month, and the average cost for GBs of data on your phone is about the same.
After rent and utilities, food is also a significant expenditure. Local markets are quite affordable. However, there might not be a very wide range of products available, especially if you are looking for something imported. There are many restaurants that you can enjoy in the region, a meal at a premium restaurant will cost you about $10; whereas, at a budget restaurant, you can get a meal for $2.
Transportation is also quite affordable. There isn’t a very well-established public transports system; however, taxis are easy to find and affordable, but they do not use meters here, therefore it is a good option to use a ride-hailing application, where you can get a fixed rate for your ride.
You can also travel by bus, which is very affordable. One bus ride will cost you around 15 cents, so for a daily commuter, it may cost around $30 a month.
So, when it is all added up, you will need about $800 to $1,200 per month to retire in Myanmar.
Best place to retire in Myanmar
Myanmar is a large country. However, undoubtedly, the best place to retire to is Yangon. Yangon was the capital of Myanmar from 1948 to 2006, and it is one of the safest, and next cities in the country for expats.
Yangon is located in the southern part of the country, and it has a lot of options for accommodation and living that are suitable for retirees and expats. You can live in the city, which is affordable but can be a little chaotic, and noisy.
The best option for retirees is to live in a condominium, which is easy to find. If you live in one outside the city, you can get a lot of amenities, and the peace of mind any retiree would want. The healthcare system in the city is better than other parts of the country, but it is still far from the best in the region.
The Bogyoke Aung San Market is an excellent place to buy groceries, fabrics, and a lot of other things, moreover, if you want more affordable and fresh produce, you should visit the fresh food street markets of the city. They are usually crowded with loads of different vendors, and you can find fresh meat, fruits and vegetables for ridiculously affordable prices.
The street food culture is also very prevalent in Yangon, and the local cuisine is incredible.
There are many attractions that you should explore in Yangon, the most popular and notable of which is the ShweDagon Pagoda, which is an important religious and heritage landmark in Myanmar.
Eldercare for retirees in Myanmar
In Myanmar, the civilian government was established in 2011, and since then, the overall condition of the country has improved; however, as far as the healthcare system is concerned, there is still a lot to be desired. There isn’t too much information about the healthcare system in Myanmar. However, there are flaws in it.
There aren’t that many high-standard private medical facilities, and the public hospitals are not that good either. Though the healthcare system is suitable for small emergencies, for more serious issues, you should consider going to Thailand, which is one of Myanmar’s neighboring countries. Thailand has a reliable healthcare system, and the private facilities, especially in the main cities are quite good.
As far as pharmacies and medications are concerned, getting western brands for your prescription might not be easy. Most of the medications are either locally made or imported from nearby countries like Thailand or China.
So, in general, if you do decide to live in Myanmar, you should consider visiting nearby Thailand for serious medical conditions, because finding a good, English-speaking doctor in Myanmar can be difficult. And even if you find a doctor, the hospitals don’t have all the equipment, and modern amenities that more developed countries have.
What are the requirements to retire in Myanmar?
Retirement in Myanmar isn’t the easiest thing to do, especially in light of the current situation in the country; however, even in normal circumstances, Myanmar is largely closed off to foreigners and visitors. The only way to enter the country is through a short visitor visa, or an international business visa. Unlike some of the other countries in the region, Myanmar does not offer any dedicated retirement visa to foreigners.
Therefore, if you want to live in Myanmar for an extended period of time, you need to use a visitor visa or a business visa.
Tourist visas are only valid for 28 days, which can be extended for an additional 14 days at max, even then, the validity lasts only for 42 days, which is far from ideal for a retiree. Therefore, if you do want to retire in Myanmar, applying for a business visa is the only reasonable option.
There are two different kinds of visas offered by Myanmar, firstly, the standard business visa, which is valid for 70 days, and secondly, a long-term business visa, which can valid for six months or one year
Acquiring the standard business visa is easier and much more likely, either way here is a list of the documentation you will require to apply for a business visa in Myanmar.
You will need a valid passport, which will be valid for longer than the length of the visa you have applied for. So, in care of the business visa, it should be valid for at least the next year.
You will need at least two passport-sized photos of yourself that have been taken recently.
You will also need to show a list of documents proving that you intend to do business in Myanmar. This may include a letter of invitation from the business you are going to work with. A business license, an address and the contact info for your place of business, and a company registration form.
For a smaller seventy-day business visa, a letter of invitation is usually enough; however, if you are applying for a long-term business visa, you will need to provide a lot more information. The more details you provide for your business the more likely you are going to get approved.
The problem; however, is that if you are retiring to Myanmar, you are probably not going to want to work. And unlike some of the other Southeast Asian countries, to qualify for a business visa in Myanmar, you actually have to do business. This is why Myanmar isn’t as popular when it comes to retirement destinations.
How easy is it to retire in Myanmar?
As far as the visa application process is concerned, retiring in Myanmar is not easy at all. The country does not offer any kind of retirement visas, and the only way to stay therefore longer than about a month is to apply for a business visa.
Furthermore, if you want to get a business visa to Myanmar, you will actually need to run a business in the country, unlike other countries in Southeast Asia, where you can easily get a long-term business visa, even if you don’t have any business establishment in the country.
However, once the visa is sorted out, living in Myanmar isn’t too hard under normal circumstances. Though the situation is not ideal right now, in general, living in Myanmar is easy. The cost of living is quite affordable, and there the pace of life is slow.
When someone talks about retirement or travel destinations in Southeast Asia, Myanmar is probably the last country that comes to mind. It is a country that has largely remained secluded from the world and has been largely affected by instability and political unrest.
However, it is definitely a viable destination for retirement, and has a lot of offer, from its incredible culture, and delicious cuisine, to a low cost of living.
Therefore, if you were thinking about retiring in Myanmar, I hope this post was helpful.