What's a cheap place to live somewhere in the world for a month?
February 2, 2020 2:14 AM   Subscribe

My job is ending overseas in Asia and I have 2 suitcases and no permanent home. I need to get a new job but I want some cheap downtime somewhere to look for that next gig. About a month should do it. Where's a cheap place in the world with decent internet, a big airport not too far away (for a cheap flight), relatively safe and somewhere I can live on street food for a couple of bucks a day?
posted by rileyray3000 to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
 
Thailand! Bangkok is directly near a big airport, but I'd actually recommend a smaller city like Chiang Mai or somewhere in the south. There are cheap local flights less than an hour connecting to Bangkok. Lodging is cheap (you can get a decent hotel room with private bath in Chiang Mai for a couple hundred baht, less than 10 €, this place is lovely, a little more expensive, but worth it) and street food is amazingly delicious and cheap. If you stay in Bangkok, I would avoid the Ko San Road area, lots of cheap backpacker hostels but kind of it's own world and not really Thailand. I think you can generally stay 3 months in Thailand without a visa depending on your nationality.
posted by orchidee at 2:40 AM on February 2, 2020 [5 favorites]


Peru is crazy cheap, has incredible food, friendly people, and an insane amount of awesome places to explore. They’ve got a major airport in Lina, with flights all over the world.

Spain is a lot cheaper than you’d expect, despite using the euro and being an EU member. Also, it’s Spain — delicious food, fun culture, mind-blowing art and history. Major airports in Madrid and Barcelona.

It’s currently off-season for both places, so neither will be particularly crowded.
posted by panama joe at 4:52 AM on February 2, 2020 [2 favorites]


Chiang Mai...by the beginning of March it will be the start of the hot season. You can definitely get a favorable monthly rate. The city (which feels like a large town, not at all like Bangkok) has such an overwhelming supply of guesthouses, boutique hotels, and service apartments, that you could show up at midnight on Christmas Eve and find a bed. I pay 600B/$20 for a spotless room, aircon, fridge, elec tea kettle, attached bath, soap and shampoo, hair dryer, towels provided...all the mod cons and that was in the high season. There are street food vendors and night markets with tiny tables and stools set out on the sidewalks. Renting a motorbike starts at $8/day, again monthly deals but be sure you have an IDL. Bicycles are common. A new bus service takes you from the airport to the center of town for $1. Otherwise, the "red cars" just need to be hailed in passing and can take you wherever for 20 or 30 B. Most restaurants and coffee shops have free wifi and all hotels do. It's super safe. The airport has international flights but also frequent hops to Bangkok's two airports. Though if you can, try to book a 2nd class (lower) pullman sleeper on the overnight train for $33. How often do you get to do that?
posted by TWinbrook8 at 6:04 AM on February 2, 2020 [5 favorites]


Reading the coronavirus check-in thread and some questions on Ask.me suggests that going to your next destination might be wise. Depending on how the virus progresses, your ability to travel freely may be affected.
posted by theora55 at 8:28 AM on February 2, 2020 [4 favorites]


Are you sensitive to air pollution? Google: chiang mai "burning season". At it's worst, the smoke is so bad the airport closes because visibility is too low. It's not rare for the AQI (air quality index) to be over 300, a level defined as 'Hazardous'. Best forum to search for more info is the Chiang Mai subforum at ThaiVisa.com

Passport holders from some countries receive a 30 day visa exempt entry upon arrival. More official visa info.
posted by Homer42 at 9:43 AM on February 2, 2020 [3 favorites]


Spain is a lot cheaper than you’d expect, despite using the euro and being an EU member. Also, it’s Spain — delicious food, fun culture, mind-blowing art and history. Major airports in Madrid and Barcelona.

The south of Spain is especially cheap compared to big-city prices like you'll find in Madrid or Barcelona. I lived there 10 years ago, so please adjust for rising prices, but I could get a full menu - salad, entree, bread, drink, sometimes dessert too - for 8 euros. Bit of shell shock to find the cheapest menu in Madrid to be upwards of 20!

It's also gorgeous and not that cold this time of year. I'd suggest Malaga as there is an airport but it's still a pretty small place.
posted by chainsofreedom at 10:42 AM on February 2, 2020 [2 favorites]


Came here to recommend Chiang Mai as well. I've never been, but it's where a lot of digital nomads and remote worker type folk who are location independent tend to flock to - good internet, low cost of living and decent weather.
posted by cgg at 10:56 AM on February 2, 2020


Many people have talked about Chiang Mai. I'm going to offer up a different destination in Thailand: Koh Lanta.

Advantages:
- it's an island, so you can swim at the beach when it's hot
- less of the "burning season" thing down there (I've been in Chiang Mai during the burning and it's not good)
- reasonably close to Krabi Airport
- less crowded and touristy than most Thai island destinations
- has the best coworking space I've ever been to, KoHub, which basically gives you an instant social life
Note that you would probably need to rent a scooter to get around or use tuk-tuks a certain amount of the time. We did both and had no problems.

Another recommendation: Penang, Malaysia.
- Malaysian hotels in general have a philosophy that you should get THE MOST for your money. It's very easy to find a hotel in Penang that includes breakfast, "afternoon tea" (which is an enormous food buffet) and "cocktail hour" (free-flow booze and snacks) for short money. We stayed at Le Dream and basically only needed to eat out one meal a day. Which was kind of a shame, because the street food there is SO GOOD. And I'm a vegetarian with weird food allergies, if you eat more than I do you can do well
- English was an official language and is still pretty commonly spoken
- It's a World Heritage site so there's some cool things to do
- Like take a FUNICULAR to the top of the MOUNTAIN! Which was fantastic, and hanging out up there was a great time
- There's also lots of cool speakeasies and so forth

If you want a city, Kuala Lumpur also has lots of good cheap food, great culture and lots of hotels with similar "add ons." I had the best hotel experience of my life, the club floor at the Grand Hyatt, for about $125/day. That included an enormous breakfast buffet (both Asian and European foods) with eggs and potatoes cooked to order, and an enormous dinner buffet for "cocktail hour" that included Asian and European foods, free-flow booze and a spectacular view of the Petronas Towers and the nightly thunderstorm. If you are looking to spend very little money this may not be the stay for you. But KL is definitely the place where you can get luxury at a reasonable price. The street food is really good, too.

Like others have said, keep an eye on coronavirus. Thailand has had several cases at this point and it is possible that they will drop flights to Thailand like they have to China.
posted by rednikki at 7:13 PM on February 2, 2020 [3 favorites]


The south of Spain is especially cheap compared to big-city prices like you'll find in Madrid or Barcelona. I lived there 10 years ago, so please adjust for rising prices, but I could get a full menu - salad, entree, bread, drink, sometimes dessert too - for 8 euros. Bit of shell shock to find the cheapest menu in Madrid to be upwards of 20!

I would eat the paella para dos for 10 Euro nearly every day from this hole in the wall place in Antequera if I could. It came with salad, bread, olives, and the humungous pan of paella for a measly 10 euros. One euro for a Large glass of wine. There was absolutely no way we could have eaten it all. Southern Spain can be quite cheap off the beaten path and then you're a quick train ride to Malaga Airport with cheap flights to anywhere in Europe. Not as cheap as SE asia, but a lovely place to go on Holiday.
posted by koolkat at 2:56 AM on February 4, 2020


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