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Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia forum

Advice sought on establishing a permanent travel base in SE Asia

Posted by laurencegoldman on 20/2/2017 at 20:34

Hi all.

I'm planning to become ex-pat. I want to figure out best way to leave quality of life items, including the bag I bring them in. As I explore the region I like to come back somewhere and cook, have unneeded seasonal clothes stashed. Perhals !eave a laptop. Simple kitchen stuff. Health stuff.

What comes to mind is renting a minimal flat yearly, or having a tin box I can stash safely.

If someone knows a cheap way to have kitchen access when hopping around, I'd like to hear it.

My focus is hanging out online, bird watching and nature sound recording, and eating my own fresh fruits and veggies.


#1 laurencegoldman has been a member since 20/2/2017. Posts: 2

Posted by amnicoll on 22/2/2017 at 04:57

Finding somewhere to stay will not be a problem. First decide which country you want to base yourself in and take into account visa issues then once you have done this start thinking whereabouts you want to stay THEN start thing about accommodation.

#2 amnicoll has been a member since 10/1/2005. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 976

Posted by CTHRUCHRISTEYES on 22/2/2017 at 05:40

I am new to Southeast Asia but found some noticeable differences among several cities. I have been to Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok(also been to Macau and Hong Kong). I read your post and see you are concern about costs. Singapore has too many jokes about it being "Sing-a-pay", "Sing-a-more" which is why you are "Sing-a-poor". Expensive to live in and travel to and from. Kuala Lumpur was reasonable from the cost of food to accommodations, but is it really centrally located for travelling?
Bangkok, this is a city you anyone can afford to travel to and from and live in. By the way, I guess I am the last one to know that Europeans, Americans and Australians are moving to this city by the thousands. Most of the new construction there is for ex-pats. My recommendation as to where to look for a place to base would be near Don Muang Airport airport in Bangkok. There is much available transportation to the old International Airport, maybe not like Suvarnabhumi airport with the Air Link train, but still accessible by public transportation. Also, checking the cost of flights for example from Don Muang vs Suvarnabhumi was like comparing prices from a New York City airport versus Newark, New Jersey Airport (where I live). Up to 50 percent less in cost, but many choices in airlines and destinations.
Hope this helps you.

#3 CTHRUCHRISTEYES has been a member since 21/2/2017. Posts: 1

Posted by amnicoll on 22/2/2017 at 06:09

CTHRUCHRISTEYES Why chose a big city, if it were me I would go for a smaller town where it will be easier to meet locals.

#4 amnicoll has been a member since 10/1/2005. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 976

Posted by exacto on 22/2/2017 at 15:43

There are lots of interesting and exciting choices on where to base yourself, but I would lean towards Thailand because of the solid infrastructure and the relative ease of getting a retirement visa.

I agree with amnicoll that a smaller town would be the better choice, not only because meeting the locals and fellow expats would be easier, but also because prices tend to be more affordable and the P.I.T.A. factor lower.

Within Thailand, I might start looking at already popular expat hangouts like Chiang Mai, Phuket, and Hua Hin, if for no other reason than to get ideas on the types of places available and the general cost of things; then extend the search towards other, smaller and less busy places to see what you like. I've always been a fan of Nong Khai, and Trat, and Trang, and lately Prachuap Khiri Khan is catching my eye as a lovely seaside town with affordable housing and a nice pace of life.

A cheap, minimal flat is a great idea for kitchen access, a place to keep your stuff, receive your mail, etc. Kitchen access on the road may be available at some hostels and guest houses.

In any case, if it were me, I'd make a one or two month scouting trip first, checking out places I thought I might like, and figure out what is what. That way, when you are ready to make the jump, you'll already have most of the details lined up and can hit the ground running.

I hope that helps. Let us know how things turn out. Cheers.

#5 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,831

Posted by amnicoll on 23/2/2017 at 04:12

certainly agree with Prachup, Trat and Trang as nice places but if an expat community is what you want then if you dig below the surface you will often find small expat communities in smaller town such as Lop Buri and Ban Takli to name a couple to the north of Bangkok

#6 amnicoll has been a member since 10/1/2005. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 976

Posted by antoniamitchell on 23/2/2017 at 04:22

Hi. Are you actually planning on living there part of the year, or just using it as a place to store your stuff (you mention a lock box).

If you just want a stor age space, check out self storage options in well connected cities like Bangkok.

If you want to live there but only intermittently, say returning for a few weeks at a time, then off for another month trip, then you'll want a mix of cheap accommodation and we'll connectedness (well connected airport and rail links), so you're probably still best looking at places like Bangkok, KL, Chiang mai, etc. But expect you won't get the "expat" lifestyle (nice condo with pool) in any city without a decent budget.

If you plan on staying put longer between trips (say, living there for three months, travelling for a bit, back to home base for another 2-3 months) then you can really base yourself practically anywhere in the region, visa issues and budget not withstanding.

SG and HK are ridiculously expensive though - you can really only live there I'd you work there.

Good luck

#7 antoniamitchell has been a member since 13/5/2012. Posts: 569

Posted by exacto on 23/2/2017 at 11:11


How goes the recovery?

Good suggestion on the self-storage option in Bangkok and elsewhere. Self storage is very common here in the states, but I've never used it in Thailand. I found several good options for short-term backpack storage and longer-term self storage with just a quick Google search. Ta.

#8 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,831

Posted by antoniamitchell on 24/2/2017 at 17:50

Hi Exacto,
The recovery progresses, thanks. The nerve damage is now about 75% healed, so I'm very positive about that. In May I'm scheduled to meet with the spinal surgeon to discuss the op to remove all the metal they put in last time, so i'm hoping to have that operation this summer, and with a little luck, by this time next year I'll be fully healed!

#9 antoniamitchell has been a member since 13/5/2012. Posts: 569

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