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Most of Southeast Asia has a tropical climate, two locations in Thailand and Laos being at almost the same Northern Hemisphere latitude, with similar seasons and annual temperature ranges. Bali, the Indonesian island is a few degrees south of the Equator and Singapore is virtually on it. The weather varies between these places. Bali does have a cooler season, more noticeable 'up country' but is typical of islands and coastal locations in the region.
Due to different cultures and traditions influenced by a dominant religion, as well as political systems and styles of government, all these places have a different 'ambiance'. From a Western perspective, there may appear to be a lot of similarities between Asian cultures and traditions, but this assumption can be misleading, as there can be significant differences in many aspects of life, personal as well as in business, between one South East Asian country and another, and even between different regions of the same country, due to the ethnicity of the inhabitants and their religious beliefs. As a Westerner living in Asia there will be a period of learning to accept differences of culture. It can be a distressing experience for some.
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The location descriptions are very brief, as they
serve only to illustrate some of the differences between three places which are all suitable
ex-pat destinations, each in its own way.
Here are the current weather conditions in each, just to give you an idea. Different times of the year will give lesser or greater variations between them.
Bali Island Chiangmai Vientiane
Also visit our SE Asia Weather Page for current conditions in other locations.
Apart from the geography, all three places differ in facilities, and will appeal in varying ways to different people. Foreign expat communities are well-established, but they differ in nature too. It is not necessary to become too closely-aligned with any sort of community, although most of us do. You can learn a lot from your fellows. Some will move to another country simply for a change from their own kind! Many people find that they enjoy mixing more with the locals, and many of course end up with a local partner, and become part of a new community altogether. It’s also possible to distance yourself from society more or less altogether, and be left in peace and relative seclusion if that’s what you prefer.
Learning another language helps a lot in understanding the ways of the local people and will be an asset in many aspects of living, socialising as well as doing business in these places. Indonesian is quite easy to learn and the Western alphabet is used. The Thai and Lao languages are similar. Visit our language learning and talking dictionaries pages to learn more.
You can keep up to date with any additions and changes by becoming a free member, and also download useful e-books and other reports.
(why be alone on your travels?)