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Old 10-28-2017, 10:03 AM
 
Location: Cannes
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I want to spend a month exploring Asia. Which city would be the best as a base to explore the continent?
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Old 10-28-2017, 10:40 AM
 
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You can easily spend a month in India or China alone. I'd suggest a place where you won't have to do much flying - traveling by train or bus. Possibly Bangkok? Along with Thailand you can explore Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Malaysia pretty easily. You can fly into one country and out of another so you don't have to backtrack unless you can do a circle trip. I would start by choosing what you want to see most and then add on from there. If you select one or two cities in each country, then you can probably see 4 countries (including travel time). If the goal is to see as much as possible then you can spend a day or two in any one place.
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Old 10-28-2017, 10:42 AM
 
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a month doing what? spending a week in one city? or flying every other day and seeing airports?

hong kong, tokyo, singapore, seoul would last a quick month if you spent a week in each, and would be spinning from the different languages too

pick one country so the language stays the same if all you have is a month
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Old 10-28-2017, 12:19 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by survivingearth View Post
I want to spend a month exploring Asia. Which city would be the best as a base to explore the continent?
It depends on what kind of exploration you want to do. As others have indicated, one month can zip by very fast. Asia is very large and covers a lot of different countries. With only a month to spend, if you're looking for one city as a base, traveling to and from a base city would give you very little time to really experience other countries, other than a few very brief canned sightseeing trips.

If you're looking for variety, Bangkok was mentioned as a good base. Just exploring Thailand alone in a month's time can seem short, but it's better doable if you limit your destinations. You can easily spend a week in BKK and still not see it all. From BKK, you can fly North to Chiang Mai for a week. Flight time from BKK to CM is about 45 minutes to an hour. Plenty to do around there. You can get there by train or bus, but it's a slower time-consuming way to get to get there. From CM, you could fly to Sukhothai for a couple of days. Very interesting for photo ops, but not much more than a couple of days for most people. It's not that big of a place. Then back to BKK for a few days, and fly off to beaches at Phuket for a week in the south. If you're interested in seeing historical ruins, you travel by bus or train to spend a few days at Ayutthaya. It's about a 2-hours by bus from BKK to Ayutthaya. Then back to BKK, and your month will be close to being over.

Everyone is different. I can tell you about my approach to exploring the country. I spent most of time just exploring BKK on my first trip. I was there for 6 weeks. I was able to get a discount on accommodations at a specific place for the entire time. I did take a couple of short day trips (by bus) to the province of Saraburi to visit friends. On other trips to Thailand, I again spent time in BKK, but flew up to Chiang Mai for a week or so to visit more friends and see some of the local sights. Other trips to the country, I headed for Ayutthaya and Sukhothai. And still other trips were to the Gulf Coast on the peninsula and to Bang Saen Beach in Chonburi province just SE of BKK.

All in all, I never try to cram in too many locations in a limited amount of time, mostly because I wanted to take my time exploring to get familiar with certain areas and really enjoy it. I think most people probably want to spend some time shopping around for odds and ends. Plus you've got to eat, sleep and travel. It all takes time. But some people don't mind hurrying and rushing through things.

Drawbacks to BKK? It's crowded and there's a lot of traffic in the city which can be painfully slow. Browse through a few good guidebooks to get an idea of what might interest you the most before embarking on the trip. Pick out a few choices. If you have time for a few other spots, then that's like icing on the cake. For me, there's just so much to do and experience in the country, that it can't be done all at once. If you like your trip, then you might want to return there again for different things.
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Old 10-28-2017, 02:00 PM
 
Location: Big Bayou
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Quote:
Originally Posted by survivingearth View Post
I want to spend a month exploring Asia. Which city would be the best as a base to explore the continent?
Base yourself in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Reasons why:

1) The country uses US dollars. All ATMs, banks, and cash transactions are in dollars. You won't need to exchange money all of the time.

2) The country's defacto second language is English. You won't need to know how to speak Khmer at all.

3) Cambodia is between Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam, and is close to Malaysia. It is very easy to get to most other countries in East Asia from Cambodia.

4) There is no application process for a visa, you can simply buy one on arrival, and renew it for a fee when you need to. Coming and going is very convenient.

5) Cost of living is cheap. A 2 bedroom apartment with marble floors and a balcony overlooking the Mekong River and royal palace cost me $350 USD a month in 2012. You can get a decent room at a guest house for anything between $12-40 USD a night.

6) Nightlife. The food scene is really very good. Khmer culture was influenced by French, Chinese, and Vietnamese culture, so there are tons of interesting fusion and traditional style restaurants to try. Phnom Penh is a foody city, and you can dine at the equivalent of a 5 star restaurant for pennies on the dollar. Cheaper options also exist and are still quite good. The club scene is also lots of fun.
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Old 10-28-2017, 05:33 PM
 
Location: Cannes
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MLSFan View Post
a month doing what? spending a week in one city? or flying every other day and seeing airports?

hong kong, tokyo, singapore, seoul would last a quick month if you spent a week in each, and would be spinning from the different languages too

pick one country so the language stays the same if all you have is a month
One month for exploring.
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Old 10-28-2017, 06:50 PM
 
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About 13 years ago, on my second Thai trip, I did a week in BKK, then went to CM for a week, then BKK for five days, Hua Hin for 8 days, then topped it off with a few more days in BKK. Great trip. Cheap flights to CM and split a taxicab for a two hour HH trip. I will say I hate touristy stuff, and love just finding a clean, friendly cheap place to relax. Did a few mini whirlwinds in BKK, but really minimized checking in/out and airports, bus stations, train stations. We did just jump on a two dollar bus coming back from HH..it was there ready to leave..was fine for two hours. Been living in CM for four years and still never had my photo taken with a drugged tiger, gone to the zoo, or attended a transvestite review. Floods, earthquakes, and military coups are just as exciting. Khao San Road is absolutely the worst part of the entire country..not Thai at all.
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Old 10-28-2017, 07:01 PM
 
Location: Miami-Jax
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A few thoughts:

-one month really isnt much so what do you want to focus on?
-Why do you need a base? Are you keeping a home somewhere for that short a time? Again, one month isn't long and I'd much rather go point-to-point than circle back to any base.

Now if you were thinking one year, I would suggest Hong Kong or Kuala Lumpur. HK housing is pretty expensive but it is a major airline hub and very centrally located in Asia. KL is much better if you want to explore South East Asia. It's not super cheap but it's far more affordable than other large metropolises and KL also offers many cheap flights to the rest of Asia through Air Asia.
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Old 10-28-2017, 08:26 PM
 
Location: Macao
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Quote:
Originally Posted by survivingearth View Post
I want to spend a month exploring Asia. Which city would be the best as a base to explore the continent?
There is a flaw here.

One month is short, Asia is HUGE. You really can't base yourself somewhere, and explore ''Asia" in a month.

USUALLY, when people say 'Asia' in the generic sense, they usually imply Southeast Asia, and Bangkok traditionally was the best place (as they always had the most flight connections), but these days Air Asia dominates with the low-budget AIR ASIA, and that is based out of Kuala Lumpur. So, one of those two cities is good if SE Asia is your definition of 'Asia'.

However, you ONLY have a month. That would be expensive to keep flying back to BKK or KL or wherever to your 'base', every few days. Even moreso if 'Asia' doesn't mean 'SE Asia'.
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Old 10-28-2017, 11:01 PM
 
Location: Cannes
2,329 posts, read 1,463,690 times
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Cities on my list:
Busan
Jeju
Bangkok
Shenzhen
Guangzhou
Kuala Lampur
Phuket
Pattaya
Taipei
Slem Reap
Jakarta
Gullin
Dhaka
Nagano
Tokyo
Any suggestions....Dates would be January through first week of February around 40 days to be more precise.
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