When it comes to travel, most people would agree that there’s so much to do in such little time, and we all want to pack as much into our lives as possible when it comes to travel, meaning we want to pack as much into each trip as possible too. How many times you actually got to take it easy on a trip?
This question comes down to how you view seeing the world; if you’re someone that wants to tick off 100 countries, then slow travel is unlikely to appeal to you – whereas, if you’re someone that wants to scratch beneath the surface and really connect with the authentic pulse of each unique place you visit then slow travel might be right up your street.
Indeed, whilst there’s much to enjoy about travel there are also components of travel that some people hate. At the top of the list for many, in addition to packing and queuing at airports is that of other travellers, meaning if you want to get away from it all and head off the beaten track away from the tourist masses then slow travel might be ideal for you, as it will allow you to immerse yourself in the real culture of a destination away from the tourist veneer.
The thought behind “slow travel” is that by spending more time in a single location you can experience the place in more depth and more authentically, like a local. It’s ironic that the term “like a local” is often used in guidebooks in an attempt to help travellers get beneath the surface of a city, yet, it’s ironic as if the recommendation is housed in something like a Lonely Planet guidebook then it almost guarantees a steady stream of tourists.
Made famous by the film Eat Pray Love, Bali is a spiritual hotbed of quirky travellers. Now, Bali is by no means the cheapest destination in SE Asia due to its popularity, though other parts of Indonesia remain very cheap and are equally as beautiful as Bali. If you’re interested in the remote working lifestyle then you might want to check out Hubud.
Singapore is a melting pot of cultures with a serious fantastic foodie scene. Singapore isn’t the cheapest place to live in SE Asia but this is compensated by the fact you can earn a decent wage here, and regulations for foreigners working within Singapore are pretty easy to navigate.
Hotels can be pricey, but there are some great deals to be had on cheap hdb rental that are worth checking out if you’re going to be staying in Singapore for a while. This way, you can have a great base for exploring other parts of the region, as there are cheap flights to the majority of popular destinations such as Thailand, India, Malaysia and Cambodia.
Chiang Mai is a digital nomad’s mecca with a high concentration of freelancers working from the many independent coffee shops to be found within the cities ancient walls. There’s also a large university here meaning the city has a young, vibrant, and aspirational feel to it – it feels like people are going places, albeit it at a suitable relaxed pace.
Finding somewhere cheap to live for a few months in Chiang Mai is really easy. There are several modern condos available, for exclusive rent, on AirBnB at a cost of around $10 per night (presuming you are renting for over a month).
Chiang Mai is a fantastic place to have as a long term base to allow you to explore the rest of Thailand. There are direct flights to Krabi, Phuket and Koh Samui which are all beautiful island destinations in the South, whilst having a base in the North (which is cheaper than the South) means you also have access to places like Laos and Myanmar. The food in the North is known for being better too – the only limitation is that if you’re used to having a daily fresh young coconut, Chiang Mai doesn’t seem to cater to this demand as much as everywhere else in Thailand.
Istanbul is much like London, New York and Paris. It is one of the world’s most interesting cities yet it is comparatively cheap and less packed with tourists than its western counterparts.
Istanbul is unlike any other city in the world due to being separated by the Bosphorus Strait which is a large river that divides Istanbul into two sides, on two different contents, the European Side and the Asian Side.
The European side offers a more modern city, with well known brands occupying the busy high street along with hipster bars, galleries and artisanal coffee shops. The European side has a similar feel to San Francisco in some ways.
In terms of finding a property to stay for a while, you’ll find trendy loft apartments at a quarter of the price you would pay in New York (if not less) whilst the Asian side offers even better value, yet it is a little more shabby and back to basics.
The majority of people visit this incredibly vibrant city for just a short while, as visiting Marrakech can feel like an endurance race in some ways due to all the hustle and bustle of food vendors, snake charmers and shopkeepers trying to tempt you with their wares.
Marrakech, can however be a fantastic place to base yourself for a few weeks or months whilst exploring the lesser known gems of Morocco such as the Sahara Desert and Atlas Mountains. However, if you’re looking for a more chilled out vibe then you’ll want to head to the Atlantic coast where you’ll find Essaouira which offers a much more relaxed pace of life more akin to what you might expect in Portugal.
Images sourced from Unsplash.