Where to base for 4 months in SE Asia?
Replies: 10 - Last Post: Feb 2, 2013 1:58 AM Last Post By: destidations
Nov 12, 2012 1:33 PM
Where to base for 4 months in SE Asia?In March I'm heading to SE Asia for four months (possibly longer). I'm taking a break from life in the States and want to settle somewhere I can get an apartment, do some writing, and take a class or two doing in something (language, art, cooking, yoga, etc.). It'll also serve as a base for me to take several 1 -2 week trips through the rest of the region.
For those that have lived throughout the region, any advice on where I should base myself? I'd like to be in a city and the only place I'm not considering is Bangkok because it's a bit bigger than I'd like. Feedback appreciated.
Nov 12, 2012 5:38 PM
1Having ruled out Bangkok, you might then consider Chiang Mai - smaller and more funky than BKK, but still a good jumping off point to Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and even Malaysia and Singapore.
Kuala Lumpur would also be good option also as it is the main hub city for Air Asia and as such you can fly to almost anywhere in the region quite cheaply. Malaysia and Singapore probably offer the best and most eclectic foods in Asia. It's also just a wonderful place to hang out. Not sure about the visa situation there though and you didn't suggest your nationality. Singapore is great also, but more expensive than the other options.
Chiang Mai is a good place to inexpensively take good quality courses of the type in which you are expressing interest.
Nov 14, 2012 12:46 AM
2I'd 2nd Chiang Mai any day over KL. Otherwise one of the Thai Islands.
Nov 14, 2012 1:08 AM
3Look up langkawi malaysia tax free Island. Should have everthing you need with airport conections to kl bk and singapore. Visa for uk residents is 3mths not sure about americans. Itis easy to get visa extension on island or short boat trip to Thailand. If you want more info and r considoring Langkawi reply and I will give You more Info.
Nov 14, 2012 1:11 AM
Nov 14, 2012 1:18 AM
5Bit of misinformation there!!. Neither Brits nor Americans need visas for Malaysia for stays of up to 90 days!!
Nov 14, 2012 10:50 AM
6I agree with Chiang Mai. Tons of classes offered from yoga to Thai massage to cooking. Massive ex-pat community and all types of food. There's even a Mexican restaurant. Luang Prabang would be my second option. Good resources, easy tourist area to navigate and an expat community you can bond with.
Nov 17, 2012 3:53 AM
7Immediately thought of Chiang Mai, then saw how many others had recommended it! Ticks all your boxes and is really cheap. Great apartments available, immigration office in the city, an airport and great bus and rail links.. plus loads of culture, festivals and events thrown in!
Nov 18, 2012 10:50 PM
8Like everyone else, I'd agree Chiang Mai is a great choice. It's affordable, has got all kinds of yoga and cooking classes, the visa situation is straightforward, you can meet lots of different people - or not. The choice is up to you. Loads of wonderful places to travel nearby.
If Bangkok is too big/chaotic, KL, Hanoi and Saigon will be, too.
Luang Prabang, Koh Lanta, and Ubud are three smaller towns/islands/areas that might also suit your purposes: lots of yoga and culture and plenty of time to focus on your own work.
Dec 13, 2012 12:32 PM
9Chiang Mai is a good option, as others have said. Depending on how much you want to travel, it is not a good hub though. You're going to find yourself having to take an overnight train or fly to Bangkok to get anywhere else quickly.
I lived in Bangkok as a base to see the rest of SE Asia for 7 months. The first time I visited the city, I hated it, but grew to love the place. I'd recommend a second look if you intend to travel, as many good fares can be found out of there.
Hanoi, while chaotic, 'feels' small to me. Another city I absolutely hated on first visit but came to love. Not sure how it would be as a hub, check Air Asia fares and see how difficult it can be to get to Malaysia/Indonesia/etc. I'd imagine you have to go to Bangkok to get anywhere.
The more I think about it, if you intend to do a lot of traveling pretty much everywhere else is either a) worse than Bangkok or b) not a great hub, and you'll end up having to go to Bangkok/Singapore to get anywhere
Feb 2, 2013 1:58 AM
10I lived in Bangkok for 5 years. If your living not required anything in Bangkok .. I don't recommended. Busy city but truly easy traveling to each part by sky train. Never think about taxi or bus. Traffic is jam all the time.
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