Chiang Mai

You know it’s a good place when you have moisture in your eye as you’re leaving. Life is simple in Chiang Mai. Most people work to have their basic needs met and nothing more. They're not slaves to desires for expensive houses, cars and fashion. Thais spend their free time talking with friends, being creative or just relaxing. This kind of economy has kept costs low. A decent living (by western standards) can be had for about $500 a month. Many expat retirees come to Chiang Mai to live well on modest pensions and hope for a happy ending. The low costs have also attracted startups and digital nomads. Some western startups have moved their entire company to Chiang Mai. To accommodate the high tech migration very high speed internet is available and there are many co-working /creative spaces. Like everywhere else, consumerism is slowly creeping into Chiang Mai. Hopefully it won’t change too much, too soon. For now, I'll keep Chiang Mai in my back pocket in case things get heavy.



Wat Phan Tao
Taipei Gate
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
Doi Suthep
Cooking Class
Tom Yum Soup and Pad Thai

East By South East

Dubai is like Vegas minus gambling, alcohol, shows and fun; so just giant shopping malls. Crucifixion and amputation are still acceptable forms of punishment and you'll get 60 lashes for kissing or cursing in public. Shopping can be serious business, gulp. There was a lounge behind a secret door in our hotel where they served alcohol and samosas to foreigners, otherwise 40 lashes for drinking in public.

New Old Dubai
Kochi India
50% of the population of Dubai is Indian. When I got to India I saw why there where so many Indians in Dubai; very few malls in India. Most Indians cannot afford McNuggets or Nikes so the corporate imperialists have ignored India for the most part. In Dubai they can earn enough to buy a decent pair of sneakers and send some home to their families. However it's going to be a cold day in hell before Indians kill a cow to make a Big Mac. Who will direct traffic? I kid, I kid. With globalization, the prices of everything are getting synchronized. This will drive India even further into the mall-less abyss.

Marmagoa India
Penang Malaysia
Kek Lok Si Chinese Temple Penang Malaysia
Singapore
Singapore has the highest concentration of millionaires in the world due to the absence of capital gains tax. Banks are full of investable money. Architecture is very modern and the newest technologies are quickly implemented. It’s like living in a very clean spaceship with many, many malls. Singapore has some strange litter laws though. $1000 for the first offence and $5000 for the second. And if you even utter the words "chewing gum" you'll be fined, jailed, caned, hung upside down, tarred and feathered and your entire extended family for the next three generations will be banned from ever coming near the country again ... They also have urine detectors in elevators. Once they sense urine the doors automatically snap shut and contain you until police arrive; not joking. Corporal is the punishment de jure. Canes are sold in most grocery stores so everyone can have a go. The best thing about Singapore is the food. The old school $3 street hawker stalls together with the strict hygiene police make the food scene very popular, safe and competitive. The best I've ever had.

Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery Singapore
Haw Par Villa Singapore