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Best Asian City for a Fitness-Minded Digital Nomad

Discuss culture, living, traveling, relocating, dating or anything related to the Asian countries - China, The Philippines, Thailand, etc.

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Best Asian City for a Fitness-Minded Digital Nomad

Postby Jester » Mon Oct 12, 2015 6:16 am

Hi all, been away, greetings, hugs, no kisses sorry...

I gave away Chucky the Pit Bull a while back, cause where I live (no fence), I just couldnt contain him. (I refused to cut off his gonads.)

Without him it got lonely fast.

Even if I am on the beach, I gots to have human company. I am tired of working alone, exercising alone, etc. Retirees here are bad influences, just want to drink and socialize and complain. Won't work out together or chase young women. Mexicans are nice for church and a few things, but there is no future except giving them money or marrying some single mom. I can hit on the young ones, they are nice, no bitch shield, but it aint going anywhere.

Other things that need to change:
-- I need BREAKFAST.
-- I need street food that has some VARIETY.
-- I need restaurants that are not open in the EVENING, you know... when I EAT.
-- I need Western food that is not priced at a premium.
-- I need to be around people who are COMPETENT and have GOALS and speak ENGLISH. I can flirt and tell jokes in Spanish, but I am damned if I am going to explain tech problems to a non-English speaker. Mexico DOES have these people, but they are not plentifully available. They already have good jobs.
-- If I do end up working at home rather than a co-working, then I need some TV channels in English.

Things I want to stay exactly the same as I have here:
-- I want a place that is more or less crime-free like here. Don't want to worry about getting jumped while walking on the street or at the ATM.
-- I want to be around honest, kind people like here. People who have hearts. Not with abrasive New Yorker types.

********************
Things I am giving up:
-- So I am giving up the best writer's cottage that ever existed in the history of the galaxy. Ah well.
-- I am also, for now, giving up the dream of picking up another passport. Easy-peasy in Mexico. :(
-- And giving up my trusty steed, the 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee.
-- And I am giving up on my dream (every expat's dream?) of blending in with the locals. Just cause an animal in nature can CO-EXIST with another species doesn't mean it can BECOME that species.

********************

So how to get some human company? Any alternative to hiring a goldigger or two?

Well, in Asia they have "co-working spaces", you pay 100 to 500 usd per month and then you have an office around other people. I decided to choose a city that had these but great health and fitness stuff, all compact and close to good food, coffeehouses, etc.

I looked for
-- co-working space where people speak English and like Whites
-- an expat community that either is married to or is chasing much-younger women, or otherwise shows signs of life, and is doing SOMETHING other than eat and drink and monger.
-- some form of outdoor exercise
-- Chi Gung and/or Tai Chi
-- a gym
-- Pranic Energy Meditation or Reiki or the equivalent
-- Chinese Medicine
-- very affordable, excellent massage
-- street food with convenience and variety
-- BREAKFAST (not a goddam roll)

I didn't require a swimmable beach like I have here, because most Asian beaches you keep hearing about jellyfish. I have swum with dolphins and pelicans here, but do not want to sit on the sand looking at a pretty ocean that I can't swim in.

**************************

So I did some research. (These are not trip notes, these are conjectures.) In order of rank:

Chiang Mai - Old City is compact and bicyclable; has groups and/or classes in Tai Chi and Chi Gung; Acupuncture; coffeehouses; great food; world class co-working touted by digital nomads; cheap prices; decent internet. Co-working is full of ambitious young English-speakers. (Costs about 125usd a month). Thais in the South of Thailand are tired of White louts and sex tourists, but Chiang Mai is still friendly on the surface. Lots of yoga junkies, arty types and trekkers come here. If the locals really like me deep down or not I don't care, the point is that the entire place is set up to deliver the perks that my Privileged White Ass (PWA) requires. Lots of fitness and health options, from trails and biking to "Hash House Harriers" trail-running social group. Almost no real gyms though. Not as miserably hot and sticky as all the larger SEA cities.

Siem Reap - second choice to Chiang Mai; bicyclable; 1 co-working space. Easy visa for year round stay. But little or no health or fitness culture, and internet is not great. Co-working space will probably be full of European NGO slackers. Streets full of hippie types dancing at Angkor Wat nearby. Probably what Chiang Mai was like in 1965. This is probably where I will do visa runs.

Kuala Lumpur - Not bicyclable at all. Has Chinese stuff, acupuncture, Pranic Energy stuff, etc. A little more expensive than Chiang Mai. Better food than anywhere except perhaps Penang. (yes food matters). Several good co-working spaces. Co-working is full of ambitious young English-speakers, mostly Malaysian Chinese. I sense that people like Whites (the three main population groups do jostle with each other.) No tourism, all business. Easy 3-month stay, leave and return, no paperwork. Good coffeehouses. They have even more martial arts dojos than ChiangMai (Malays like to fight and race cars), but they also have nice real gyms. But coffeehouses, gyms, co-working and guest-houses are all in totally separate neighborhoods. Ridiculously spread out. I am simply not going to travel 40 minutes between workplace and gym etc. Otherwise it would be my first choice. If I find I have extra money I will do visa runs here instead of Siem Reap, see what its like.

Penang (Georgetown) - They do have the Pranic and Chinese stuff. Tourist areas are bicyclable but they are not near anything except food and guest houses. Huge island, long motorbike rides to get to different things. Beaches are not great. Better food than anywhere except perhaps Kuala Lumpur. Easy 3-month stay, leave and return, no paperwork. But - no co-working spaces at all. More of a vacation environment, lots of Brit couples and Asian I suspect (not sure from where). If it had co-working it would pop up to 2nd place.

Saigon - I always wanted to see it as a teen ;) Hate Americans, crooked, pushy; hard to find a place to stay. And little English. BUT, they have great coworking spaces, maybe 200 usd a month. Intelligent, ambitious people, headed to be the next Japan. But being both ex-Commie AND hating Americans, it will be hard to make friends or find business teammates to collaborate with. Not bicyclable. Cutthroat traffic. I love "feu", but apparently Vietnam suffers from same food issue as Mexico -- only just a few dishes are sold. There isnt a lot of choice. I like Mexican food, but you get tired of the same four things after a few weeks. If the people were friendlier this could be my first choice, just for the vibe.

Davao -- Friendly, safe, great place to date etc but that's not the priority. Food is bad. Ridiculously spread out, coastal city. Not bicyclable. They do have Pranic, and affordable massage. Nice people, love Americans. The co-working space is more about teams of virtual assisteants or customer ervice reps, rather than writers designers and entrepreneurs. Might be good for dating, but not inspiring my best work. Too sleepy for me right now, not stimulating enough.

Manila -- All the Pranic and Chinese stuff is there. Big city, has nice areas but little cost advantage. Massage is cheap. Overall just not cheap enough or compact enough.

Singapore - perfect food scene, great freedom, English-language, all the stuff I need within walking distance - gym, co-work, everything. But all priced too high. Co-working space is $500usd a month for example. Not a place to save money while rebuilding. Also major visa issues. And women are spoiled, or unappealing nannies.

Hong Kong - perfect food scene, great freedom, ... but big visa problems like Singapore or worse. They dont want my kind in this town. Also expensive. Didn't really research it.

Tokyo - Where they invented Shiatsu. Interesting food, though hopelessly priced. Tempting. But apart from the cost, it's impossible to get around. Noone speaks English. Too hard. I am looking for easy, not hard.

So that's it. Mexico is over for now. Ditching my stuff, or storing it with a trusted friend who hopes to entice me to return one day. I'm off to Chiang Mai to get fit and rich. Then we'll see what comes next.
"Pick a point and go to it."
-- Dr John Hunsucker, speaking about canoeing on Georgia's Lake Lanier, with its irregular shape, and 1000 miles of meandering shoreline
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Re: Best Asian City for a Fitness-Minded Digital Nomad

Postby davewe » Mon Oct 12, 2015 3:44 pm

I liked the week I spent in Chiang Mai a lot. It might have what you are looking for and the price is right, I liked the restaurants, etc. I would disagree about it not being as hot and sticky. It's plenty hot and sticky :)

Most of the other Asian cities you listed are far too expensive for me. You might like Davao, but I think it's better suited for a retiree to live a simple, comfortable life.
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Re: Best Asian City for a Fitness-Minded Digital Nomad

Postby Jester » Mon Oct 12, 2015 8:27 pm

If I were raising a family, and business(es) were already running smoothly, I would be looking at Davao, Dumaguete, Baguio (for the weather) etc. Ask me in three years.

Re hot sticky SEA weather, little spoiled jester is just going to have to suck it up for a while!
"Pick a point and go to it."
-- Dr John Hunsucker, speaking about canoeing on Georgia's Lake Lanier, with its irregular shape, and 1000 miles of meandering shoreline
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Re: Best Asian City for a Fitness-Minded Digital Nomad

Postby gsjackson » Mon Oct 12, 2015 9:08 pm

Fascinating bit of research, Jester. It's easier to find what you're looking for when you know exactly what it is.

Just put the Pacific coast weather in the recesses of your mind and reference summers in Athens, Georgia. That should help gird you for year-round hot and sticky.

You and others make Asia sound great, but I'm afraid I don't connect with it aesthetically. Gonna have to keep plugging away in Europe. As you know, I didn't like Thailand, or at least, Pattaya and Bangkok, but I will say my impression was that obtaining reasonably presentable female companionship there was simply a matter of walking out into the street and keeping your eyes open. And not just with pros, either.

Look up Tamdrin in Chiang Mai. Seems like a good dude, with some interesting thoughts.
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Re: Best Asian City for a Fitness-Minded Digital Nomad

Postby Jester » Tue Oct 13, 2015 12:00 am

Yes I will thanks

BTW re Athens Georgia, yes thanks - that's exactly how I am framing it mentaly! I told my sister who lives there, and who has been to Bangkok, Chiangmai etc, that I am hoping the worst 8 months a year in CM will be like the worst 2 months a year in Athens.

Because I made it through those!
"Pick a point and go to it."
-- Dr John Hunsucker, speaking about canoeing on Georgia's Lake Lanier, with its irregular shape, and 1000 miles of meandering shoreline
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Re: Best Asian City for a Fitness-Minded Digital Nomad

Postby drealm » Tue Oct 13, 2015 4:43 am

Thanks for sharing this Jester. It's a bittersweet moment in your life and hopefully you'll find some place better. I can empathize with Mexico and latin America in general at the moment. I have had some recent upsets, though I haven't posted them publicly. I think any white person has better odds in Asia than Latin America. Yes you won't blend in or be accepted, but maybe that's not important. At a certain point people just want results.
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Postby Ghost » Tue Oct 13, 2015 6:24 am

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Last edited by Ghost on Wed Oct 26, 2016 4:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Best Asian City for a Fitness-Minded Digital Nomad

Postby Jester » Tue Oct 13, 2015 9:45 am

DRealm - thanks for your comments and understanding... good to hear from you.



Ghost - your comments noted, thanks... You think like me but "even worse" ;)

You mention India and China... I didnt research China at all and researched India just a tiny bit... any oases in those places that you would recommend?

I assumed that China would have less fitness-conscious stuff, and shitty internet. And when dabbling in India, I turned up a lot of spiritual crap, not actual fitness stuff. Anything to the contrary?
"Pick a point and go to it."
-- Dr John Hunsucker, speaking about canoeing on Georgia's Lake Lanier, with its irregular shape, and 1000 miles of meandering shoreline
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Re: Best Asian City for a Fitness-Minded Digital Nomad

Postby MarcosZeitola » Tue Oct 13, 2015 5:26 pm

Jester, I think Thailand sounds like it could work for you, for the time being. The food is good, the women pretty, and if you know your way around the place I'm sure you will be able to keep the prices down. I wish you all the best on both your short-term, and your long-term ambitions. If ever you reach your goal of "getting rich & fit" and you are looking to establish your little tribe, be sure to consider the Philippines. Baguio is quite a nice city with a far better temperature then most of the region, and as it just so happens I have a lovely cousin-in-law living and studying there. Have some good memories in Baguio, from my first roadtrip through Philippine I undertook with my then-fiancée. It has some polluted areas I'd avoid, however. But you'd have a hard time finding any Asian city above a certain size that isn't somewhat polluted. Good folks are in no shortage, and neither are pretty girls, college age and above. No divorced age-appropriate ladies for you, I guarantee it! :lol:

Baguio is also fairly close to where I found my own little Valhalla, but something tells me it would be too rural for you. I would probably suggest you to look into Cebu where Davewe will probably be going, as it's a lovely place and I could picture you somewhere by the beach and palm trees, living it up. I don't know how important city life and good internet are to you, but if I were to spend my golden years somewhere, anywhere, it'd have to be some place sunny with beautiful nature and laidback, easy-going locals. Internet access is on the rise in most of Asia, in the Philippines I see that even the most remote of areas are starting to get access to it, and this is 2014\2015 I'm speaking of. What more when it is already 2016 or 2017, there will be internet practically everywhere. I find myself not needing it much, however, when I am actually in the Philippines, a part of my little community. The internet is a good distraction when you aren't where you wish to be, but once you arrive at your own personal paradise I find there is little need for escapism; you're a free man. And if ever you decide to give love and parenting a second chance, which I believe you are still interested in, I think it would be wise to advoid the cities for your long term destination so that your sons can be free men as well. Free men, breathing fresh air, the value of which is sadly lost on some.

I cannot advice you on many other Asian countries. I have been to Singapore once for a week, to China briefly while passing through. Neither country appealed to me much and I would not want to live in either for the rest of my life. It's a mentality issue for me... the mentality of the Filipino clicks better with mine. The relaxed nature of things, the way things go nice, slow and easy. For some of us this may be frustrating. We are used to the fast-paced life, the best and highest quality of facilities, the quickest customer service... but if you ever arrive at a point where this becomes less important to you, and you just want to have a sense of freedom, peace, quiet, the Philippines is where I would go. And not Manila, not any major city. Somewhere smaller. Somewhere away from the hassle. Somewhere you could go out sailing, fishing, surfing. Somewhere you could have a cold beer with friends. Somewhere you can reinvent yourself, and start anew with a clean slate. A little slice of paradise that has remained relatively undiscovered by major tourism, is where I think you will be the closest to paradise.

Either way, first things first of course. No need to be in a hurry. I don't know your financial situations but something tells me you could afford to travel a bit, explore different places. Explore enough places and somewhere along the way you'll find your El Dorado. Ingat, and happy hunting! :D
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Re: Best Asian City for a Fitness-Minded Digital Nomad

Postby Jester » Tue Oct 13, 2015 5:57 pm

Thoughtful as always Marcos, thanks.

Once I have achieved some fitness training etc I can possibly relocate IF I have human company (female company would work) and for now, good internet. In some areas with marginal internet, you can pay extra to have a line put in for you, I forget what it's called, maybe a T1 or something. Like in Asuncion Paraguay, this was available a few years ago for 150usd a month. I think it's available from the phone company here too but I didnt price it, regular internet is fine. Not the kind of thing that would be available in the boonies, but in a town.

You're really right about the dichotomy of town and countryside. No question countryside is MUCH better for children - especially boys. Right now I am totally "working on myself". If and when I am taking others into account, the calculus will be different.

Filipinos are great people, I can easily see myself settling there. It's probably the one place in Asia that I could truly make a home.

We'll see.
"Pick a point and go to it."
-- Dr John Hunsucker, speaking about canoeing on Georgia's Lake Lanier, with its irregular shape, and 1000 miles of meandering shoreline
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