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I'm not sure if this has been done before, but if it has, I haven't seen it. In this thread I want to list all of the useful blogs, discussion forums, news, job sites, and other useful websites that I use to learn more about traveling and living as an expat in Asia. I will do a country by country list of all the websites I currently use, and I will also write a brief description of each website. Feel free to add your own websites to this list. I don't know websites for every Asian country, rather only the ones I have personally traveled to or lived in. Some of these websites I probably discovered on this forum!
A website with articles, tweets, and a discussion forum frequented by long time expats of Cambodia - most of which are Americans living in Phnom Penh. The number of active members on the website is somewhat small, and lots of the website's information is about Phnom Penh's nightlife and bar ladies. There's also LOTS of cynical humor, so don't take the website too seriously. It's also one of the only Cambodia-based discussion forums on the web.
A website featuring the news articles that are the most widely talked about by Chinese netizens. You can read the articles in both English and Chinese. The articles are also followed by several random comments made by Chinese netizens, which have been taken from various Chinese websites. You can read the comments in their original Chinese, as well as translated into English. The website also has it's own comments, which can be written by anyone from all over the world, and many of them are written by expats living in China. There's lots of very interesting articles, but they tend to focus a lot on China's negative aspects. The website was my number one local news source while I was living in China, mostly because it featured news stories that were censored by the Chinese government.
Ministry of Tofu
A website that's very similar to chinaSMACK. Sometimes this website features news articles that haven't been covered on chinaSMACK. This website also doesn't get quite as many comments that chinaSMACK does. However, it's certainly worth checking out if you like chinaSMACK.
A website owned and run by Canadian expat, Ryan McLaughlin, who has been living in China for quite a long time. The website features articles written by Ryan and other expats in China. There's lots of valuable information, excellent photos, and great stories to be found about living in China, as well as the latest news concerning laws that affect expats in China. This is my favorite China-based expat website. However, the website isn't updated very frequently.
A personal blog written by the same Ryan from Lost Laowai. Unlike Lost Laowai, the website focuses mostly on Ryan's personal life. The blog covers his current life in Haikou, as well as his past life in Suzhou and Dalian. It also covers a lot about his marriage life with his Chinese wife. Ryan is an excellent writer, he's a pretty smart guy, and he has lots of experience living in China, so his blog is definitely worth a read.
A very popular website with its main focus being on its discussion forum covering Shanghai. The forum generally covers expat life in Shanghai, but the forum can still be worthwhile to anyone living in China, because it also discusses the latest hot and controversial topics in China. Opinions tend to be diverse and all over the place, so the forum can be quite interesting and addictive. There are hundreds (maybe thousands?) of different posters on the forum. The website also hosts expat get togethers, and there are also some articles on the website, but I don't find them very interesting. Shanghai Expat is probably the single most entertaining and addicting forum I can think of.
A personal blog written by American expat, Dave DeWall, which mostly covers his day-to-day life in the Philippines. Dave is a retiree who has been living with his Filipina wife in the Philippines over the last few years. The blog covers such topics as marriage life with a Filipina, traveling around the islands, cost of living, local political issues, and many others. While I think the blog is mostly targeted at middle-aged men, younger readers can also find lots of useful and interesting information.
Stickman's Guide To Bangkok
A website with everything you'd ever need to know about living in Bangkok. The website is run by a New Zealander expat who goes by the nickname "Stickman." He doesn't go into many details about himself, but I assume he's a middle-aged white guy who's lived in Bangkok for more than a decade. His website covers teaching English in Bangkok, any kind of news affecting expats and travelers to Thailand, and it also has a heavy emphasis on the latest news from Bangkok and Pattaya's hedonistic nightlives. The best part of the website is "Stickman Weekly," which is a part of the website that has been written and updated weekly by Stickman himself for the last 10 years or so. It features excellent photos and the latest happenings in Thailand. There's also very interesting reader submissions written by some of Stickman's thousands of followers. This is my favorite Thailand-based expat website.
A popular website run by long-time British expat, Phil Williams, that has a strong emphasis on living in Thailand as an English teacher. It has all kinds of practical information about living in Thailand, such as visa issues, salary expectations, cost of living, and finding work. The website also has lots of interesting articles written by readers, as well as a very in-depth discussion forum covering everything you could possibly imagine about living and teaching English in Thailand. The forum's posters are a pretty diverse crowd, so you get a large variety of opinions. The website's focus is primarily on its forum (like Happier Abroad and Shanghai Expat), but I would say every part of it is worth checking out.
A mostly "how-to" and "where can I" discussion forum where people go to find answers to their questions concerning traveling to and/or living in Thailand. It's mostly a practical forum, but sometimes you can also find some entertaining discussions. If you have any visa questions about Thailand, Thaivisa.com is usually the best place to find the most up-to-date information.
Along the Mekong
A personal blog written by twenty-something American expat, Mike Tatarski, which mostly covers his expat life in Ho Chi Minh City as well as his travels around Vietnam and other parts of Asia. Mike is somewhat of an "up-and-coming" travel writer, and he has written many articles for the Ho Chi Minh City edition of AsiaLIFE magazine. He's a pretty darn good writer, and his blog is pretty balanced with the positive and negative sides to life in Vietnam. His blog is mostly targeted at the younger crowd, but I'm sure expats of all ages could find it useful and enjoyable.
All of Asia and the Rest of the World:
A personal blog written by twenty-something Irishman, Mark Zolo, which covers his hedonistic adventures of trying to bang a woman from every country in the world. Mark has been all over the world, and his website has lots of guides to cities around the world. The city guides cover things such as the difficulty level in sleeping with the local women, the cost of alcohol, the cost of marijuana, the cost of a hotel, and so forth. Mark seems to have a strong stance against pay-for-play, so his blog only covers getting local action for free. The website is quite entertaining, but sometimes it seems too repetitive. I find myself taking breaks from it for months at a time. I imagine this blog is going to eventually piss off the wrong people, and there will be big trouble for Mark. If I was him, I would keep a much lower profile!
Dave's ESL Cafe
An excellent website created by American expat, Dave Sperling, that has been running for well over a decade. It's very useful for hunting for English teaching jobs around the world. It also has an extensive discussion forum covering every region in the world. The forum mostly discusses working in a foreign country and expat life. There are also very extensive threads covering both South Korea and Japan that are worth checking out. Lots of the other threads don't get too much activity. Anyone looking to live and teach English abroad should definitely check out this website.
The International Sex Guide Forum
A discussion forum covering sex mongering in every region of the world. If you're into pay-for-play, then this is the forum for you. Lots of information regarding current prices, where to find the action, and how to handle yourself. Sometimes you have to weed through a lot of useless information before you get to the good stuff, but it is out there. If you're planning a trip to Asia and you've got hookers on your mind, then this forum is a must. The forum has been around for quite a while, so you can also read some very old archives to see how much things have changed over the years.
World Sex Guide
A discussion forum very similar to the International Sex Guide Forum, although not quite as good in my opinion. Once again, the primary focus is on pay-for-play. So if you like the ISG Forum, then you should certainly check out the World Sex Guide as well.
One of the best websites for finding plane tickets to anywhere around the world. I know there are countless other websites to find plane tickets, but I find Skyscanner to be the most elaborate and most efficient of them all. I also really like Skyscanner's interface. If you need a plane ticket to anywhere in the world, search Skycanner first!
Last edited by Everdred on July 27th, 2012, 7:13 am, edited 2 times in total.
Thank you for this awesome list Everdred!
I've used a few of those sites before when I was living in BKK specially the Ajarn, Daves cafe as at one point I was toying with the idea of teaching English. Since I am very interested in spending time in China, I will be devouring the info on the Chinese sites you've posted. I've bookmarked this very informative thread! Thanks a lot man!
Btw, are you teaching English in BKK or working on an online bizz or just chilling? Looking forward to reading more about your China experiences and your BKK ones.
So far, I've been in Bangkok for only a few months, and I'm currently teaching English full-time. I taught English part-time in China, but I also had a separate full-time office job somewhat related to teaching English.
Everdred, I've been applying for English teaching jobs EVERYWHERE, and yet, I haven't received one response back! I'm Korean American, and I believe I'm being discriminated against because I'm not Caucasian! I have a bachelors degree in Business from the University of Maryland and a 100 hour TESOL online teaching certificate. I'm also a veteran of the U.S. military and a registered x-ray tech. How the hell am I not getting any job offers??????? Can you recommend for a job anywhere, Everdred? Thanks.
I've got a couple more websites to add to the list. Both of them are about China:
A website somewhat similar to Lost Laowai, but with a focus on the city of Chengdu in China's Sichuan province. The website is somewhat of a personal blog created by a thirty-something American expat that goes by the name "Charlie." He has been living in China for nearly a decade, and he's also a DJ. Charlie comes across as quite an intelligent guy that doesn't have too much of a pessimistic view of China, so lots of his articles can make you deeply interested in China. Besides just stories about Charlie's life, there are also lots of guest interviews and stories about inspirational people living in Chengdu, many articles discussing life as a foreigner in China, and other articles discussing how much Chengdu is changing. Most of the articles are very well-written, and anyone considering living in or visiting Chengdu should definitely check out his site. Some of the best articles I've ever read about China and Chengdu were on his website. I should also mention that the website has a discussion forum, but I've never gotten around to exploring it.
KalanStar in Shanghai!
A very cynical and pessimistic personal blog about life in Shanghai written by a Canadian expat that goes by the nickname "KalanStar." I assume he's in his late twenties, but I'm not sure. This guy's blog is so negative, you can't help be amused by it. KalanStar is so hell-bent on telling what a terrible place China is, that he seems to be "in love" with hating China. He constantly compares China to its surrounding countries, and he has nothing but bad things to say about China and it's people. In all honestly, most of what he says about China is true, but he focuses entirely too much on China downsides. I really can't understand why this guy wants to continue living in China. He's also a regular poster on the Shanghai Expat discussion forums where he goes by the username "KopyKatKiller." If you're itching to learn more about the downsides of living in Shanghai or China, then his blog is for you - just don't take it too seriously!
Hey, you've forgotten echinacities.com. This has the best articles on China expat life anywhere, and I spent most of last night reading the site.
Thanks for mentioning eChinacities.com. I forgot about that one. It's a site worth checking out, but I honestly don't think the articles on the website are very good because they often seem very amateurish. However, the dicussion forum on the website is pretty good, and there's lots of input from expats living in cities all around China, rather than expats living in just one city. Also, the website is great for looking for jobs in China. You can look at all the jobs available in one particular city, and the list of cities on the site is quite large. For example, I was living in Dalian, so I would often check out the job classifieds for Dalian. There's usually lots of full-time and part-time work listed, but I should mention that 90% of the jobs are related to English teaching.
I've got a few more to add:
A website featuring articles about life in Asia that were written by amateur expat writers. Don't let the "amateur" part scare you, because many of the articles are very interesting and well-written. If you're an amateur writer yourself who's looking to get some notoriety, you can submit your own articles to asiapundits. And if your articles are good enough, they'll be featured on the site. Even though the site's articles cover all Asian countries, it seems a large proportion of the articles are about North and South Korea. The site has only been around for a couple of years, so it still has somewhat of a "developing" feel to it. Definitely worth checking out though.
If you like chinaSMACK, then you'll surely love the above four websites as well. These sites cover all the hot topics being discussed by netizens in South Korea, Japan, Indonesia, and Russia. All four sites were created by the same people who created chinaSMACK, so they all have a similar feel and theme. koreaBANG is very extensive just like chinaSMACK, but japanCRUSH, indoBOOM, and russiaSLAM are still relatively new and therefore not so extensive.
Talk Talk China
Even though this website has been discontinued for quite a long time, it's still infamous and somewhat of a legend throughout the expat community in China. Talk Talk China was a personal blog maintained by three anonymous, long-time expats living in China. Most of the blogs were about the day-to-day frustrations and annoyances of living in China. Any expat who has lived in China is familiar with the term "bad China day" - well a large amount of this site is about those "bad China days." The link I provided is to an archive of the site, because the site was discontinued years ago. The site had a very short life span of only about one and a half years, and the creators of the site are still unknown to this day. Just like KalanStar in Shanghai!, don't take this site too seriously when reading it. I can relate to most of what the site discusses, but it's heavily focused on China's downsides. Remember that while you're reading it, and don't let it completely scare you away from China.
Time for an update!
I can't believe I left this one off for so long! So you're planning a trip halfway across the world, but you don't have a clue what you should when you get there, right? Well then, you should definitely start your research at Wikitravel. This website has thousands of wikis about cities and places all around the world. In traditional wiki style, all of the wikis are created and filled out by web users like yourself. Wikitravel has some really valuable information concerning hotels, local food, nightlife, transportation, history, and the dangers to look out for in cities all around the world. The only flaw to Wikitravel is that many smaller cities will have very incomplete or non-existent wikis. I mostly use Wikitravel for learning how to get from point A to point B when I travel around Southeast Asia by bus or train.
Although this website appears to be dying, it does have some valuable information. The website features a questionnaire that expats living around the world can fill out about their experience overseas. All the questions for each interview are the same. Most of the questions concern cost of living, treatment of foreigners by the locals, the upsides and the downsides of living in that particular country, and so forth. Some of the expats on the website don't tell too much, but others tell a wealth of information. I encourage any of you expats on this forum to go over to Expat Interviews and fill out the questionnaire for the country you're living in. I'm sure the webmaster would greatly appreciate it. Let's try to prevent this potentially useful website from dying off!
A personal blog written by American expat John Pasden, who's been living in China for 12+ years and is now based in Shanghai. John seems like a really bright guy, and his blog is one of my personal favorites. The blog mostly covers his personal hurdles of learning Mandarin Chinese. Anyone trying to learn Mandarin would probably greatly appreciate his blog and could probably relate to many of the frustrations he mentions. The blog also covers some of the more personal aspects of living in China, such as Chinese food and foreigner-Chinese relationships. The blog also has tons of useful information and resources for learning Chinese. If you like his blog, also check out the Chinese Grammar Wiki. It's probably the single most helpful free resource on the internet for learning Mandarin. I believe it was co-created by John, and he contributes a lot to it. And finally, make sure you check out ChinesePod because John is one of the hosts of the ChinesePod broadcast.
Xinjiang - Far West China
A personal blog written by Josh Summers, an American expat from Texas that lived in China's Xinjiang province for about 3 years with his American wife. Xinjiang is a very huge, far-west province in China that is largely inhabited by Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic minorities. If you have any curiosity about Xinjiang, then Josh's blog is a great place to start your research. I have to admit that I haven't been reading Josh's blog for long, but what I have read so far has been pretty interesting. The blog covers such topics as expat life in Xinjiang, culture shock, Xinjiang's top places to see, and so forth. Xinjiang is quite a bit different than the rest of China, so Josh's blog is sometimes a refreshing change from all the blogs written by expats living in China's far eastern cities.
AsiaLIFE is a free magazine distributed throughout Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam which features articles mostly written by local expats (including previously mentioned Mike Tatarski from Along the Mekong). Each of the three countries has its own unique AsiaLIFE magazine with its own unique articles. In other words, AsiaLIFE Cambodia magazine has different articles than AsiaLIFE Thailand and AsiaLIFE Vietnam magazines. Many of the articles featured in the magazines are highly interesting and cover such topics as expat life, local political issues, and the latest "happening" hotspots around the country. The website features the same articles that are in the magazines, and you can even look at previous back issues of the magazine online for free.