Recommended books for visitors, expats and foreigners wanting to live, work, retire or invest in Southeast Asia and other locations

There are foreign retirees living in many parts of Asia in countries like the Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia (Bali), Laos, Singapore, Vietnam and Malaysia - to name the most popular.

Some retirees are in the fortunate position of being able to 'put their feet up' full time while others need to continue to earn money; that's not quite so easy, but it is possible if you follow the right procedures for your locality and choose a business that at least has some chance of success. Here are some books we recommend for 'home study'!


CAMBODIA MIGHT WELL BECOME THE "NEW" THAILAND according to author Ken Silver. Find out exactly why by downloading a copy of his recent Kindle title:

Live and Retire in Cambodia The Easy Way by Ken Silver

Written in Ken's unique, laid-back and amusing style, totally from his own recent personal experiences, it shows you how to get the best of the famous Angkor Wat, but there's much more to this developing country; one which could well take over from Thailand as the #1 spot for expats in Southeast Asia. Friendlier, with far less bureaucracy and interference; the Cambodians are welcoming to visitors, short or longer stay. The local ATMs even dispense US dollars!

If you have even the slightest interest in visiting Cambodia, with an eye to spending extended periods or your retirement there, this is a less than 2 or $3 "must read". I thoroughly enjoyed it. See it on or

Asia Eleven 11 Great Towns to Live in Southeast Asia

First published in 2014, Asia Eleven is Ken Silver's unique book about Asia for visitors and foreign living or retirement in Asian towns and cities. It is written mainly for those living on fairly limited resources, but high rents for luxurious accommodation are there too!

The Kindle publication is available from either the Amazon UK site, or from for $5: Asia Eleven - 11 Great Towns to Live in Southeast Asia.

Well worth a read if you might want to move to sunnier climes. See more on the R-A Blog page.

Southeast Asia The Easy Way by Ken Silver (2012)


This is a new take on Ken's passion for all things Southeast Asian, intended to amuse the novice traveller as well as to inform. It works. Read the reviews on Amazon, including ours. On Kindle only, it's a steal at the price!

Retire To Asia!

Retire to Asia! was first published a few years ago, but it has since been revised and re-released in 2011 by Amazon as Retire to Southeast Asia, Kindle Edition.

Written by now well-known and travelled American author Ken Silver, this is an amusing but very informative guide for anyone even thinking about new places to explore, perhaps for early retirement, especially on limited resources. There are many compelling reasons including the much lower cost of living, that really make Asia the continent of choice for Ken or anyone else, in his opinion for early, part time or even full retirement. Central America and Mexico's prices are higher by comparison in most cases.

Ken records his personal experiences of travelling around and living in several Asian countries with a light-hearted but very informative style. He includes his 'Silver Way' blueprint for setting up a main or second home in Asia. He is an American who has spent fifteen happy and exciting years exploring and savouring the many delights of Asia, the most beautiful of all the continents in his opinion. His love of the subject is obvious and his enthusiasm is infectious!

"Retire to Asia!" contains sections on living in countries like Thailand, Laos (Lao PDR), Cambodia, Vietnam, Philippines and India.

I have always recommended Ken's books, all of which I have read, not only for content but value, with numerous pages of text and his own stunning photographs.

Retire to Asia! contains detailed information on how to prepare your own plan for early, full or part time retirement in Asia or simply spending the cold winter months in the warmth of the tropics.

Amazon Kindle publications can be downloaded and read instantly on computers, smartphones and tablets. Apps are available on the Apple and  Android Markets. You can get your copy of Retire to Southeast Asia from Amazon US or Amazon UK.

Ken Silver's first fiction work String Theory the Novel was published on Kindle in June 2012. According to the description it's "a laugh out loud science fiction/fantasy comedy adventure which ranges across Thailand, the mystical temple complexes of Cambodia, the beaches of Bali, and then into the far future." Maybe not everyone's 'cup of tea', but you can see a sample chapter and reader reviews on Amazon.

Living as a Retired Expat in the Philippines

Will Irwin, author of "Retirement Living in the Philippines" has over 30 years of entrepreneurial experience in the USA as well as having lived in the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Hawaii, Alaska, and Fiji. He feels that the most difficult aspect of foreign retirement in the Philippines is not just getting information, but involves four things: making the decision, having a plan of action before making the move, having enough courage to overcome fear and anxiety, and having a further plan of action for at least five years after arrival in the Philippines. Emphasis on these points o set one guide apart from other books on the topic, but there are many publications available for potential Expats in the Philippines on Amazon.

How to Retire in Bali, Indonesia

How to Retire as an Expat in Bali by Mike Henry"How to Retire in Bali" is a guide written for anyone thinking of spending time or retiring in Bali. But it contains much more useful information than its title.

This is Australian Mike Henry's second publication about Bali, Indonesia (where he is currently based) and is packed with the same research and attention to detail as his Business in Bali guide reviewed below.

Planning and preparing a move, banking and finance, property issues, cost of living, medical facilities, bureaucracy, immigration, taxation, licenses, social life and entertainment and more are all covered. The guide covers more than Bali itself; there are some comparisons to expat life in other SE Asian countries and elsewhere like Central America, plus information and aspects of expatriate life that should be considered by anyone wanting to move abroad for retirement.

Nowhere on this earth is perfect; wherever you choose to live you have to learn to accept the good with the bad and Bali is no exception. Having spent extended time there myself a few years ago, I can see that some of the less attractive aspects remain, but others have improved and the island has not lost any of its unique charm and attraction. It suits a lot of expats and tourists very well.

Whether you have visited Bali before as a tourist or not, after finishing the 110 easy-to-read pages of How to Retire in Bali, with its many invaluable references, recommendations and tips, you will have a much better idea of whether this often-described 'tropical island paradise' could be the place for you. A brilliant work and absolutely recommended; well worth the $25.

Family Guide to Living in Bali

Released in 2014 by the same Australian expat author Mike Henry, this is a $10 guide for those wanting to bring their family to Bali.

Starting a Business in Bali

How to start a business in Bali, Indonesia

Local Bali entrepreneur Mike Henry published his ebook guide on "How to Start a Business in Bali" in 2010, but the information is still very current in 2013.

It has been well-researched and having just read it myself, I would say this is the de facto (if not the only!) guide to opening an expat business in Bali or other location in Indonesia.

It's 100 pages of fact without fluff or attempt to disguise the truth about doing business as a foreigner in Indonesia and Bali in particular.

Mike writes from his  own experience but includes in-depth interviews with other Bali expat business owners, who made a go of it in several different types of business. This adds dimension to the guide. There's also a list of resources useful to those intending to live or work on the island of Bali.

The book costs $25 and as far as I am concerned, is a valuable guide for anyone looking for reliable information about running a business in Southeast Asia and not only Bali. Learn more about the island on Mike Henry's Bali Expat website:

Making Your Second Home in Malaysia

Read a series of 5 Country Retirement Reports that contain complete details on retirement opportunities in some of the world's top retirement havens right now at least one is in SE Asia, Malaysia.

Kuala Lumpur the bustling capital, is a sophisticated, modern city in an exotic, tropical country that boasts real-world infrastructure and all the trappings of a luxury life, available for a relative pittance.

"Malaysia is a tropical paradise," writes Wendy Justice in her Malaysia report. "Beautiful islands and beaches, cool mountain retreats, great food, a diverse and multi-ethnic culture, excellent shopping, and a low cost of living...Malaysia has it all...

"Plus, the infrastructure and health care are modern and efficient. English is widely spoken. Entertainment ranges from street celebrations to casino gambling, from amusement parks to mountain climbing, from jungle trekking to championship level golf, and from Formula 1 racing to world music festivals and philharmonic orchestra productions. World-renowned diving and snorkelling destinations are never more than a few hours away."

Perhaps the best part is that Malaysia, unlike many countries in Asia, welcomes many foreign retirees and residents.

More about the MM2H Programme

Malaysia for the Expat



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Last updated:
January 2018