5 Delightful Destinations for "Slow Travel"

When it comes to travel, there’s simply so much to do in so little time, you might be right to question whether the trend of “slow travel” (where one spends a reasonably long time in one place, for example a month, often working and fully integrating with the culture of the destination)… is a viable way to squeeze more from your travels or whether it’s just slowing you down.

The thought behind “slow travel” is that by spending more time in one location, be that a few weeks or a few months, you can experience the city in more depth and more authentically.  The term “like a local” is often used to describe the experience of getting beneath the surface of a city and living more like a local - however, to do this in a weekend isn’t realistic, no matter what guidebook you possess.  

Whereas, if you have a month to integrate with the local culture, and genuinely live like a local, in that you rent a home and perhaps even get a part-time job; you will experience a whole new side of the city that is much richer than the typical tourist trail.


Chiang Mai is known as the “capital of the north”.  Many would describe Chiang Mai as a mystical land of temples, rice paddies, monks and natural jungle; though whilst this is true for areas around Chiang Mai, the town turned city itself, is pretty bustling and at times resembles a more relaxed version of Bangkok.

Chiang Mai is a digital nomad’s paradise with a high concentration of freelancers working from the many independent coffee shops and restaurants scattered around the cities walls.  There’s also a large university meaning the city has a young, vibrant, and aspirational feel to it.

Finding somewhere cheap to live in Chiang Mai is pretty simple.  There are several modern condos available, for exclusive rent, on www.airbnb.com at a cost of just $10 per night if you are renting for a month or more.  In terms of finding a more traditional short term lease, there are property agents but the majority require three to six months minimum stay.

Chiang Mai is a great place to have as a long term base, in which you can explore the rest of Thailand.  With direct flights to Krabi, Phuket and Koh Samui you are able to have a base in the North of Thailand (much cheaper than the south) and go on mini breaks to more exotic locations.

Turkey has received a lot of bad press in recent years, with terrorist attacks, political instability and social unrest bombarding the headlines.  The truth is, that whilst there are pockets of unrest, Turkey is a very peaceful place where people get along with each other very well.  Indeed, there is a sense of community that instantly makes you feel welcomed into, if not part of, the culture.  Whilst there are the occasional political demonstrations, on the whole, Istanbul for instance, is a very safe city due to its police presence and enhanced security measures now in place.

Istanbul is much like London, New York and Paris - in that it is is one of the world’s greatest cities yet it is comparatively cheap to its western counterparts.  Indeed, Istanbul is unlike any other city in the world due to being separated by the Bosphorus Strait which divides Istanbul into two sides, on two different contents, the European Side and the Asian Side.  

The European side offers the more modern side of the city, with well known brands occupying prime real estate on the busy high street whilst independent hipster bars and coffee shops can be found near the river.  Indeed, the European side has a feel of San Francisco about it, with all its unique and creative independent stores, cafes, restaurants and watering holes.  

In terms of finding a property, this side of the river is where you’ll find trendy loft apartments at a quarter of the price you would pay in New York.  The Asian side, however, is a little more shabby, and this is where you’re likely to find a great deal on a property.  The Asian side has a much more “local” and rustic feel to it.

Marrakech is an incredibly colourful and vibrant city.  The majority of people visit for just a short while, as there is an element of endurance to be had with exploring Marrakech, due to the frenetic pace, the hustle and bustle, and in summer at least - the sweltering heat.  

Marrakech, for some, may feel like stepping into Disneyland, in that it is such an overwhelming delight/attack on the sense.  Whilst it provides a stark contrast to the Western World, it is only a short hop on a cheap flight to Mainland Europe and the “new city” offers some very luxurious accommodation at an incredibly cheap price.

Whilst you may not choose to live in Marrakech for a number of months, it can be a fantastic place to base yourself for a few weeks whilst exploring the gems of Morocco such as the Sahara Desert and Atlas Mountains.  A more relaxed alternative to Marrakech is Essaouira which has a far more chilled out coastal vibe to the city.

Made famous by the film Eat Pray Love, Bali is a spiritual hotbed of creative travellers all trying to make ends meet on the beautiful island of Bali.  Admittedly, Bali isn’t the cheapest destination in SE Asia, though other parts of Indonesia are incredibly cheap and equally as beautiful as Bali - in fact, the lesser known parts are in some ways even more magical because they retain their true essence without being masked by tourism.  To see just how cheap Indonesia can be, check out https://www.rumah.com/rumah-dijual/di-area-medan-idsu14 to get an idea of just how good a deal can be found.

Singapore is a melting pot of cultures with a serious foodie scene.  Whilst Singapore isn’t particularly cheap as a place to live, you can earn a decent wage here, and regulations for foreigners working within Singapore are reasonably easy to navigate.  

Hotels can be pricey, but there are some great deals to be had on long term apartments.  Singapore, of course, provides a great place to have as a base for exploring other parts of South East Asia such as Bali, Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia.  There are very cheap flights to the majority of popular tourist destinations within South East Asia and flights are just a few hours long.  

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