Below are the reasons we tend to use Bangkok as our base while we travel in Asia.
The cost of living in Thailand is very low compared to western countries. After spending more than we like to in more expensive Asian cities like Singapore, Hong Kong or Macau we have been able to recoup the expense pretty easily by living cheaply in Bangkok. There are cheaper places in Asia, but few have quite the same value for money.
The guest house that we usually stay in costs us 500 baht (£10GBP, $14US) for a comfortable air conditioned room. A dentist check up and cleaning costs us the same amount. As Bangkok is a modern city with no shortage of shopping we can often replace our old travel worn clothes inexpensively, while also having the option of going more expensive if we want better quality (who am I kidding? MBK all the way).
You can pretty much fly to any major city in Asia from Bangkok and many budget airlines operate from the city. When we make our travel plans we can almost guarantee a reasonably priced flight from one of Bangkok’s international airports. The frequency of flights means we can also often pick a time and booking far in advance is not always necessary.
Also, a little closer to home (am I calling Bangkok home now?) there are always plenty of options for more travel within Thailand. It’s ridiculously easy to book a next day bus out of Bangkok to one of many beautiful Thai islands or national parks.
Bangkok is a massive city. From temples, palaces and shrines to rooftop bars, Muay Thai boxing and vintage cinemas (looking at you Scala), every time I go back I find new things I like about the place. Similar to cities like New York or London, you can never really keep up with everything Bangkok has to offer.
If you are craving food from anywhere in the world you can head to the Sukhumvit area and gorge yourself or just eat inexpensively on fantastic Thai food. We always carve out a little time to go to the Siam Paragon Gourmet Food Market, a slightly more upscale but undeniably excellent world food haven. I always leave there with a fatter belly and a skinnier wallet.
Bangkok has proved to be a great place for us to recharge and get work done. The fact we know the city well and we are familiar with the best places to sleep, eat, work and drink means we have a lot more time to think about building our blog and organising future travel plans.
The guest house where we usually stay has high speed internet and strong coffee (although being typically English I prefer tea). While we are more than used to working on the road, we have found Bangkok energising after some of our more exhausting (but amazing) trips like India.
This might seem like a silly thing to consider an advantage, but the 30-day travel visa exemption limit for Thailand really stops us from getting too settled. As people who love to travel, we don’t want to spend all our time in one place getting too comfortable. While we love using Bangkok (and the rest of Thailand) to recharge, chill out and get some work done, we are aware that there are still many places in Asia we really want to experience.
Do you have a favourite place to use as a base when you are travelling the world? Let us know in the comments.