Where should I go in SE Asia?
February 6, 2012 5:52 AM   Subscribe

Southeast Asia filter: where should I go later this month?

Single 30-year-old male planning a 2-3 week semi-working vacation in SE Asia around late Feb/early March. My ideal place would be somewhere I can work on my laptop for 5-6 hours/day and spend the rest of the time on the beach, swimming, hiking, or exploring a town or city. I want to stay in one place (or maybe two) the whole time, not spend a lot of time travelling around. I'm not that interested in cultural landmarks (on this trip) or all-night beach raves or (much of) the rest of the backpacker circuit, but I think I'd also be bored at a more conventional family resort. So I guess I'm looking for a place that's somewhere in between: calm enough to get some work done but lively enough to meet other 20/30-something travellers and find things to do. With good weather this time of year (or rather a few weeks from now). Any suggestions?
posted by pete_22 to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total)
Chiang Mai, Thailand? I met someone when I was there (this time last year) who was doing exactly that. We were staying in a hostel in the centre that was particularly good for him as it had free wi-fi and a lovely kind of relaxed shaded communal garden area with free toast and an honor system for drinks and stuff - I can look up the name if you're interested. Chiang Mai's a nice enough city, and there's various stuff to do around, including some cool cooking classes, elephant riding, ziplining if you're into that.
posted by Kirn at 7:02 AM on February 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Go to Bali.
posted by lstanley at 7:15 AM on February 6, 2012

Another vote for Chiang Mai. I spent 2 weeks there working online part-time and being a tourist part-time. There was good or at least decent wifi in many places, 3G for when you just need to check your email, and amazing food.

I was happiest staying outside the main tourist area, in the west near the university, though if you want to meet backpackers you won't find them there. You might check with the Lonely Planet forum about the timing of your visit, because there are times of the year when the surrounding fields are burned and the smoke affects Chiang Mai.
posted by ceiba at 7:20 AM on February 6, 2012

Chiang Mai is a great city, but it doesn't have any beaches that I can recall. I'd maybe vote for Krabi, which has some great night markets with excellent food, but is a drive/boat trip away from the beach, or Ao Nang, which has a not-fantastic beach, and is a bit closer to Railay Beach, or Railay Beach itself - which doesn't have much of a town to explore, but has a beautiful beach. Rock climbing too.
posted by backwards guitar at 9:15 AM on February 6, 2012

Singapore has a few beaches although they're not great, but everything else fits and you'll certainly have all the wifi/tech infrastructure you need. And it's easy to get around and explore various parts of the city and nature preserves/zoos/gardens, since they have excellent public transit. The weather is hot and humid all year long but almost everything is air-conditioned.

It's also easy to book short trips to nearby places like Tioman Island in Malaysia, which has some nice snorkeling, and cheaper beach/diving destinations in Indonesia. Singapore isn't cheap but if you want efficiency and infrastructure that works, it's a good home base.
posted by Quietgal at 9:25 AM on February 6, 2012

Hi Pete - the name of the hostel is Gongkaew Chiangmai House. Hard beds, now that I think about it, but otherwise a lovely place with lovely staff. Also, the site seems to be down right now but it is pretty close to this cool place: http://www.keironnicholson.com/steps/2011/03/the-house-of-success/. Have a great trip.
posted by Kirn at 1:25 PM on February 6, 2012

I really liked Ko Chang island in Thailand - roughly a few hours northeast-ish of Bangkok. Less of a party scene than other Thai islands, this place is more of a sleepy bungalows on the beach kind of place, with plenty of nature to explore. It doesn't really have much of a town though, but enough shops & village-type settlements to get by.

Some people like Sihanoukville in Cambodia, a little further around the coast. I only spent about a day there en route, so can't really comment but you might like to look it up. Kep is also nearby - quite sleepy & peaceful.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:55 PM on February 6, 2012

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