Cheap Asian retreat for 3-6 months

What is the best place in Asia to hang out for 3-6 months?
Let’s say you had a book to write; where would you like to do it?
Anyway, this is what I’m looking for.

*Cool, sunny weather. I don’t like hot places - tropical weather makes me lazy and I end up spending too much time on the sauce.
*Beautiful natural environment. A cabin with a mountain view would be ideal.
*Cheap accommodation and food.
*Cheap beer. Er, on second thoughts make that VERY cheap beer.
*Electricity (for my notebook computer). I don’t need to be on-line but would require an internet cafe that I could visit 2-3 times a week).

I think the best place would be somewhere up in the Indian Himalayas. I haven’t been there before but from what I’ve read it seems pretty good. English is spoken, everything is cheap, the altitude provides cool weather and great views, and tourists can get a 6-month visa.

Any other ideas?

Possibly the Cameron Highlands of Malaysia, or Baguio in the Philippines. I’ve been to both places, but it was a long time ago, so I wouldn’t know if they are still cheap or nice.

Or Taiwan’s highlands? Above 1000 meters, Taiwan is pretty cool. But not necessarily cheap, at least the hotels aren’t. It depends on finding a place you can rent that gives long-term discounts. I have a contact in Lishan (elevation 1900M) if you’re interested.

South Korea this time of year is plenty cool - expect to see snow if you head into the mountains. Again, finding a cheap place might be a little challenging, though yogwans (budget hotels) give big discounts on monthly rentals.

cheers,
Robert

“They’re just jealous because they don’t have three wise men and a virgin in the whole organization.”

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Mongolia? Heard some wonderful things about the natural beauty, although the food is horrible and the lodging is bad. Electricity is iffy, but if you brought a UPS to filter the power line noise. . . .

Let me suggest a lovely old post-colonial hill station in Southern India (kerala). It is called Munnar, or something like that-it was a while ago aI was there. It is high up on a mountain, above the clouds and the view is quite beautiful. You can get lodgings there, including meals, for what amounts to just a few pence a day (a little money goes a long way in India). If you are writing, I heard that Yann Martell stayed there while writing ‘The Life of Pi’. Kochi (Cochin) is the nearest city, and it is very nice, not as dirty and smelly and overcrowded as many other cities on the subcontinent. The beer might be a little problematic though. when I was there, the government put a ban on alcohol sales, but the locals got around it by burying their stock in the ground and serving it up in teapots.
They probably make allowances for westerners anyway, wanting the tourist buck.
Good luck.

I second the recommedation for an Indian Hill Station, although often places like these tend towards the higher cost areas of India. Simla is one option other that that already mentioned by deano.

If India isn’t your thing, try Nepal. Cheaper than parts of India and there are many rural, yet equipped little places around the Kathmandu valley, or Pokhara that would suit you well.

One caveat, if you were planning to stay in Kathmandu valley, it tends to get very damp and chilly over the winter months.

Actually, two:

When I was last there, a foreigner could only stay 5 months out of a year in the country unless they were employed or volunterring and had the necessary sponsor/paperwork. So, I believe it’s a two month visa, extendable 3 times, or maybe 3 month extendable twice. The only place to extend it was in Kathmandu which means you won’t get 5 unbroken months. But, as one who lived in the wilds, trust me, you’ll welcome the occasional excuse to head for the “big” city.

One other place to think about would be China, Dali in Yunnan province is almost exactly what you are after if you go just slightly out of town. Really nice friendly people, some even speak some english, really cheap local beer, that is good, even though they claim it to be 10.5% alcohol content, with views out onto the Snow mountain range, tallest peak being some 17 or 18000 feet and snowcapped.

I might also add the Dalat city or area of Viet Nam. It meets all of your stated desires. The 6 month visa should be worked out quite easily, however I do not have any info to provide.
Weather is cool, housing is very affordable and electricity id stable. Food is most excellent, beer plentiful and cheap. They also have internet cafe’s.

Just another place to consider. Plus its a very beautiful city and environs. Old summer capitol.

In terms of China, I’d say forget Dali. It’s way too run down of a backpacker haunt, for me at least.

The one little city in China that I’d love to stay in for several months would be Kangding, Sichuan. It has unpolluted blue skies, a blue stream running through the center of town, and tall mountains surrounding the town. The population is half Han and half Tibetan (the Tibetans in town being mostly yak herders coming into town.) You can get super cheap and super spicy shaokao as well as plenty of cheap beer. They also had these smoky “movie theatres” where you can watch two HK movies for 1RMB. They have some cheap hot springs on the edge of town. And it’s also a great base for exploring the Kham region of Tibet (which according to the political boundaries is actually far western Sichuan), where they have all sorts of beautiful grassland scenery and little temples where, because it’s so isolated, they openly display pictures of the Dalai Lama. Also, the people are super friendly and Western backpackers are fairly rare.

Though I’d imagine the weather would only be warm enough in the summer. And given the propensity of the Chinese to ruin anything good, maybe it’s devolved into a shithole since I was last there four years ago.

[quote=“TainanCowboy”]I might also add the Dalat city or area of Viet Nam. It meets all of your stated desires. The 6 month visa should be worked out quite easily, however I do not have any info to provide.
Weather is cool, housing is very affordable and electricity id stable. Food is most excellent, beer plentiful and cheap. They also have internet cafe’s.

Just another place to consider. Plus its a very beautiful city and environs. Old summer capitol.[/quote]

I’ll second that - Dalat is excellent. Also Sapa in the northern part of Vietnam. But I’m not sure about the visa thing. Last time I was in Vietnam, we could only get two months, but maybe it’s changed.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Joyful (?) Ramadan and, last but not least, Happy K’wanza!

– Robert

BANDIPUR,one of the hill side of Nepal,you can see the pick of nine different mountains,nice view of villages,river,different species of birds (specially eagles).On the cloudy day you feel like you are living in the cloud.If you want to live for a long period you would get a lot of discount.Drink beer (carlsberg,tuborg,sanmiguel) from the bar and replace it by buying from the local shop,it costs around NT$40,but I suggest you to drink local home made wine.If you are really interested to be there,PM me,I will find out all the details during my visit to Nepal in January.

I would defintely agree that India would be the place for all of this, especially the 6-month visa.

How about Darjeeling? Sikkim is nearby and is an interesting place to poke around.

Or Manali? Or Dharamsala/MacLeod Ganj? Or a few months in Manali then up to Leh for the summer then back down to Manali for the autumn (wonderful apples in Manali).

Never been here, but I’ve heard a lot of good things about southern India.

As mentioned earlier, Sapa might be a good place.

If you want to be in China, some place in northwest Yunnan might be good. Sure, Dail and Lijiang are tourist centers (and not just for backpackers–I would say Chinese tourists now far outnumber the scraggly travelers in these town). But you can use them as a base and find another small town in the general vicinity, if you want to get away from the tourist scene. Zhongdian–er, I mean “Shangri-la” as it has now been renamed–and the areas nearby might be an option.

Kanding, in Sichuan? Good recommendation by an earlier poster, but I don’t know if it such a quiet little town. The three times I have been there, I have found it to be one of the noisest places in China (now that’s saying something) with too many little red taxis incessantly honking their horns in the city area. The city itself is nothing special, imho, more of a jumping off point for better things nearby. It is definitely a transportation hub. But it would be an option.

May I ask: Will you be working on a book or a project?

Have a great time and let us know where you end up.

Thank you for all your useful replies. I’ve spent several hours looking up all the suggestions on the Internet and they look excellent.

I’m not heading there in the near future, next summer would be the earliest. It’s just that it’s important to plan well in advance (esp. when you are shackled with lone-year leases etc.)

Robert, you suggested Taiwan. Interestingly, it would be easier for me to hang out in places like India than here in Taiwan because of the visa situation. I’m in ARC bondage to a school so I don’t have the freedom to spend a few months up in the mountains. If I switched over to a visitor visa I’d only get a month. Thanks Taiwan!

Fee wrote

[quote]I would defintely agree that India would be the place for all of this, especially the 6-month visa.

How about Darjeeling? Sikkim is nearby and is an interesting place to poke around.

Or Manali? Or Dharamsala/MacLeod Ganj? Or a few months in Manali then up to Leh for the summer then back down to Manali for the autumn (wonderful apples in Manali).[/quote]

Yeah, it

AJ, I would go to the Wu Tang mountains. Of course, I am not sure if it meets your requirements, but what an inspirational place to be at one with your thoughts.

Ramadan’s been over for more than a month now, Robert. :rainbow:

ZhongDian is maybe a little to remote, the last time i was there internet cafes etc did not exist, and electricity was also a little haphazard, but buy a small portable generator and the problem could be solved.

Using Dali as a base, but actually living in one of the outlying villages etc would be the best solution, remoteness when needed, but relatively easy access to civilisation when required.

[quote=“almas john”]What is the best place in Asia to hang out for 3-6 months?
Let’s say you had a book to write; where would you like to do it?
Anyway, this is what I’m looking for.

*Cool, sunny weather. I don’t like hot places - tropical weather makes me lazy and I end up spending too much time on the sauce.
*Beautiful natural environment. A cabin with a mountain view would be ideal.
*Cheap accommodation and food.
*Cheap beer. Er, on second thoughts make that VERY cheap beer.
*Electricity (for my notebook computer). I don’t need to be on-line but would require an internet cafe that I could visit 2-3 times a week).

I think the best place would be somewhere up in the Indian Himalayas. I haven’t been there before but from what I’ve read it seems pretty good. English is spoken, everything is cheap, the altitude provides cool weather and great views, and tourists can get a 6-month visa.

Any other ideas?[/quote]
Hmm, Mongolia?

I lived there for a little over a year in 1995/1996 and enjoyed the place. However, it’s not really suitable for what I want because the visa situation is difficult. Beer is imported so it’s not that cheap.