I am starting a job in Thailand and I have to be there on the 17th of September. I am going to be running really low on money by then so I am thinking that I will just go somewhere and plant for a month or so. It doesn't have to be in Thailand but should be in SE Asia. Where would you guys go? Here is a short list of things I am looking for but none are requirements, just ideals.
2) Cheap (lodging, food, beer)
3) Has things to do (either activities or sights) and a fair amount of people around
That's about it. Would love to hear some ideas!
Assuming you mean one country (as opposed to just one place), I would recommend Malaysia (Peninsular), especially given it's proximity to Thailand (if you are on a tight budget).
1) Beach - Perhentian Islands;
2) Malaysia is very cheap, even by SEA standards.
3) Things to do - Penang, KL, Cameron Hiughlands etc.
One specific place that would meet your requirements would be Sihanoukville in Cambodia but, as you may have heard, this is not everyone's cup of tea. I personally liked it quite a bit, esp. the uber-chilled Otres Beach, but not everyone takes to it.
#2 chinarocks has been a member since 17/6/2011. Posts: 738
My vote goes to Sihanoukville. Cheapest place I know. Easy to get to from Bangkok. Weather wont be great at that time of year but it will met all of your other requirements.
Beer 50 cents; great BBQ $3, fan room with bath $5; dorms available if you want them.
Can't fault the prices! Kampot & Kep are not far if you want a bit of a change of scenery (but a bit more expensive).
My vote goes to Hoi An . It has a great beach that stretches for miles and miles, on which you can easily find secluded areas. Outstanding and cheap seafood. Fresh beer is around US 30 cents per glass(!). Decent rooms can be found in the US $12/night range. The Old town is possibly the best place in SE Asia to relax at a cafe... Think "Venice of Asia." The people are possibly the most friendly I encountered in all of Vietnam if not mainland SE Asia, and the surrounding area is loaded with worthwhile day trips (Great temples in and around Hoi An, My Son, Marble Mt., China Beach, islands, Da Nang, etc.). Also, from Hoi An the stunning ruins of Hue are just a couple hours bus ride north, so an inexpensive side trip there is a definite possibility.
Bear in mind that going to another country is going to cost money (transport, visa etc).
You want a fair amount of other people around, a beach, fairly cheap. In Thailand maybe Ko Phangan would fit all those requirements and the weather should still be OK in early September too.
Avoid the full moon party at Had Rin though...the main reason for organizing parties is to relieve tourists of their money.
Is your visa situation an issue? Would an extra month in Thailand before you start work be covered by the visa you'll be using for your job, or will you need to string something else together?
How much money do you have for that month?
For beach places, you can save a lot of money on accommodation by staying at places that are off the beach. You can save money on food the same way, and particularly by eating at the places where the locals/workers eat.
Just to throw in another idea, have you considered hanging out in southern Laos in the 4000 Island/Si Phan Don area?
Wow! Thanks so much for all the responses!! I'm not sure exactly how much I will have, as I'm trying to cut back on beer at the moment in order to save more but it's not really working out ;). I'm thinking something like $500-600 if that's possible. I have been to Shianokville and didn't really like it very much. I think Hoi An seems like a good idea. I loved the 4,000 islands and that would be nice too.
If I went somewhere in Thailand I would just do a visa run right before the job began. I had thought about Ko Phangan. I would DEFINITELY skip the full moon. I like beer but that's is not at all for me. Are there cheap places to stay there? Hmm... so much to think about!