Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok; one of the best connecting airport hubs in Asia
Dan from Tropical MBA wrote an interesting post last week comparing the quality of living and working in Bali vs. Thailand. Although it’s a great post and defo worth a read, I personally think comparing Thailand with Bali is an unfair comparison. After all, Bali is just an island whereas Thailand is a whole country.
In Thailand you have a far wider range of settings to chose from than Bali. From small cities to big cities to islands to beaches to rural areas where’s there’s little development. Compare this to Bali where you’ve basically got the choice between living by the beach or up in the rice paddies – you can probably see my point.
So where is the best place to live and work in South East Asia?
For me personally, there isn’t a perfect place. That’s one of the reasons I still do not have a home yet :)
Like every region in the world, everywhere has it’s advantages and disadvantages. Isaan has the fastest internet speeds. Don Den in Laos is the most impressive island I’ve ever visited. Phuket wins for partying and bars. Singapore has the best visa offerings. Without a doubt Bali has the best surf in South East Asia. Bangkok has the best dinning scene. Isaan has the best motorbike culture (Dan, in Bali it’s far to dusty!). Hanoi would win if your looking for charm. Kuala Lumpor has the best connecting airports due to Air Asia HQ being located there. Isaan would win for the best value for money. The list could go on and on.
My advice would not only differ based on your personal interests and personality, my recommendations would also differ based on how many countries you’ve visited in South East Asia and how well you know the area. The more you travel, the easier (or harder) it’ll be to chose a place you’ll want to call home.
In an ideal world, I’d recommend newbies visit as many countries in South East Asia as possible, so you can get a feel of what suites your style best. If you need a base while doing this, I would say Bangkok wins hands down.
The Vertigo Bar in Bangkok; you’ll never get bored of dinning out in Bangkok
Bangkok is unique city in that what you see if not necessarily what you get – especially for newbies. I don’t know any other city that’s like this.
The more you learn your way around Bangkok, start to form a network of friends and pick up a little Thai, you’ll get to see a completely different Bangkok than the first time visitors or tourists get to see. Somehow, Bangkok will turn into one of the world’s easiest cities to live in, from one of the most difficult cities when you first arrive. It takes some patience and a bit of work, but the rewards can be worth it.
The biggest advantage of basing yourself in Bangkok for a while is that Bangkok has one of the best connecting airports in Asia. With the budget airline Air Asia, you can pretty much get around anywhere in South East Asia for under a hundred bucks. And then there’s heaps of cheap accommodation options to chose from, that would allow you to save some extra change in order to travel and explore more of the region.
I dream about a home office just like this one
As for me, I have been looking for a place I can call “home” for a while now. I relish the thought of having a base where I can store my stuff in, a place I can cook my own eggs in the morning and a proper desk with a proper office chair I can use to get work done. As to where this will be, I’m still unsure. To much choice is sometimes a bad thing. However based on my feelings right now, it would be a tough choice between Isaan and Bangkok.
Where do you think the best place to live and work in South East Asia is?