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BANGKOK 14 November 2018 20:00
hermespan

Burma's strong and weak points compared to Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos?

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Please move to correct sub-forum, my error...

I mean for expatriates not involved in politics and who don't have savings of over 6 figures.and who have no interest in wheeling and dealing in the corporate world (small business *maybe*). I cannot compare to Laos (Vientiane) as my trips there have been infrequent. I have been to Vietnam (Saigon) many times and worked there over the last 20 years, as well living and working extensively in Phnom Penh for the last 18 years.

Factors

1. ease of visas (Burma is much worse than Cambodia which is one of the easiest places in Asia to stay long term, Burma worse than Vietnam sounds like)

2. low cost of living (accommodation is MUCH higher than either, food not sure. Cambdoia is cheap)

3. vegetarian food (hassle in Hanoi, OK in HCMC, not bad in PNH)

4. nightlife (Cambodia is a fallen star, Laos never shone)

5. banking infrastructure (Cambodia excels)

6. 'Open for business' (Cambodia good, although real estate prices high; Vietnam keeps *talking* about liberalizing. blah, blah, blah)

7. Theravada culture (like Cambodia and Laos)

8. Trading in luxury goods (precious metals buying and selling is open in Cambodia though limited to gold and aloeswood resin, Vietnam gov't periodically interferes in the gold market; does Burma mine silver? It does of course have an active coloured stones market)

9. low population density (Cambodia excels, I find Vietnam rather crowded, everywhere)

10. easy-going people (Cambodia excels to the extreme - hard to get stuff done really; I find Vietnam too intense)

11. swimming (beaches near Sihanoukville excellent, a smattering of public pools in PNH at low cost)

12. TCM and ayurveda (Vietnam gov't hassles practitioners of traditional medicine, Cambodia has some TCM but no Indian system. As Burma is a a mix of South Asia and SEA, perhaps it has equivalent)

13. Reliable and good value modern hospitals (Cambodia is horrible, Vietnam excels)

14. Easy lingo (Viet is a killer, Khmer OK)

15. Attractive women (Except for Shan/Thai Yai, I was wasn't impressed compared to Cambodia and Vietnam)

Fundamentally, my question is IF you spend a lot of time in Yangon, other than JJs and Shwedagaon Pagoda - what's the point of doing so considering other similar options in the region?

Edited by hermespan
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there are some businesses run by foreigners. In Mandalay I know of a pub, a motorcycle rental business. When I say run by foreigners, it at least appears that way outwardly. On paper they are quite possibly in the name of locals.

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I spent the last 18 months in Yangon. First 8-10 months were interesting, in a sense of colonial buildings, mountains up north. But that's about it, boring, power outages, rain season is ending, and it does rain here ALOT. People are friendly. Street food is a BIG RISK. Sidewalks all torn up. I can say out of 15+ countries I worked, this was a nighmare.

Expensive housing, hotels, the food is not cheap, unless you want to eat in a hotel, free standing restaurants that are affordable are hard to find.

Edited by richusa
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there are some businesses run by foreigners. In Mandalay I know of a pub, a motorcycle rental business. When I say run by foreigners, it at least appears that way outwardly. On paper they are quite possibly in the name of locals.

correct, Zach is renting motorcycles but i wouldn't say he is running the business

The pub , i did not know about ( wish i had known where it was when i was there in July)

I found the people very friendly and very open, had quite a few good discussion with locals ( one Burmese educated man was teaching English) and some very wealthy guys up in Mogok.

totally disagree about Cambodia an laos

Do agree Thailand still comes out on top

Edited by phuketrichard

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catweazle says he has not been to Vietnam and then guesses they hate Americans. Quite the OPPOSITE in my experience. They like and RESPECT americans, which is more than I can say for Thai officials/politicians and regulations.

I enjoyed Vietnam, but and the food was great, but it is a bit more hectic than Thailand and run by dictators. Which place was that? Oh yeah, Vietnam. Of course we have never had an american President that I voted for either, so not so different.

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I have lived and worked in all the neighbouring countries. Enjoyed lots in the other countries, food, sights, people, but taking everything into account, number one for me is still Thailand and second North Viet Nam.

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I find of all the countries you mentioned, Vietnam has the least friendly people, with the worst attitude. Really feels like they are carrying around the burden of the past two centuries on their shoulders, ever hour of every day. They are just not happy or fulfilled, by the looks of it. Not particularly warm, nor welcoming. At least that has been my experience from three visits, over 15 years, in both the north and the south. Most of what I mention was more pronounced in the north, and especially the rural areas. People in tourist related businesses in the big cities tried to be nice, sometimes. The Thai people seem far more fulfilled. Burmese are kind and warm. Same with Laos. So, from my point of view, that puts Vietnam on the least friendly list.

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was just there

  • Hotel Accommodations are ok in low season, crazy in high, For long term rent VERY EXPENSIVE
  • food sucks compared to Thailand, Cambodia but u can get good local food but not cheap, $3-5/meal for a good sit down meal.
  • Visas u can get a 70 day Business visa if u have contacts inside the country,
  • tourists visas 28 days easy to get in Bangkok but no extension in country
  • Nightlife (i can only speak about Mandalay an Bagan) nothing for westerners at all
  • Real estate is CRAZY!!!
  • Burmese very friendly ,Women are beautiful,( i Love the tikha powder on their faces)
  • Not crowded

some not on your list;

  • Internet is slow
  • Smart phones everywhere but sims are hard to get and expensive ( $150)
  • calls are expensive
  • Can not travel everywhere an many places you need special permits which cost $$$$
  • I liked it there but it could be dam boring living there

Did NOT see ANY business's ( rests, gh, bars, entertainment places, anything) run by westerners.

The Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) has expanded the list of businesses that can be owned 100 per cent by foreign investors, as the country aims to attract more foreign investment.

http://www.elevenmyanmar.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7338:foreign-investors-permitted-full-ownership-of-more-businesses&catid=33:business&Itemid=356

am sure seavision can offer a lot more

There is a bakery in Yangon run by an American lady located in the same building as the China Southern Airlines office. Don't remember the name but it's somewhere not far from Inya Lake.

I have heard of a motorcycle rental business in Mandalay run by an expat too. In both cases I think they only arrived in the last couple of years so it will take a while for foreign run places to become ubiquitous, but it is starting to happen. Also, an Aussie who is a member of this forum lives in Dawei and runs the southern Myanmar website.

However, unlike in neighboring countries, foreign run businesses, just like any other group of foreigners tend to be found only in bigger cities, for example Yangon and Mandalay, NOT Hpa-an, Myawady, Tachilek, etc. but that could change.

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