Resources for extended stay accommodations in major cities of Asia?
July 13, 2014 9:59 AM   Subscribe

Due to a fluid work/living situation I have the freedom to try to make the following dream happen: to live for a month each in several cities of Asia (perhaps Tokyo, Hong Kong, Seoul, Shanghai, Hanoi, Bangkok, Phnom Penh) while working on a personal project. My core question is trying to find out if this is feasible within my budget and to ask for recommendations for accommodations in each city. Details within.

I'm trying to look at my current employment situation (unemployed!) and housing situation (roommate getting married- forced to move!) as a positive in that it allows me to maybe achieve the dream of living in the following cities while I do some work on an art project, in no particular order:

1) Tokyo (or Osaka)
2) Hong Kong
3) Seoul
4) Shanghai
5) Hanoi
6) Bangkok (or Chiang Mai)
7) Phnom Penh

My problem is finding housing. A hotel would be too expensive, hostels might be too transient/noisy, "serviced apartments" seem geared toward business travelers with expense accounts. I'd just like clean, quiet, reasonably priced places where I can sleep and charge my laptop before going out to a cafe to work.

Ideally, I'd spend around what my rent is ($1600/month) on a place to stay before moving on to the next country/city. Obviously, I'd be spending more on restaurants and touristy thing, but if I can keep the housing within budget it would be feasible financially since I won't be paying for rent in the US. I'm guessing this would be possible in places like Bangkok and Hanoi, but might be very difficult in cities like Tokyo and Hong Kong, although I'm hoping the collective genius of Ask-Me-Fi will help me solve this.

clean, safe, internet/wifi

kitchenette so I can save money by cooking

not important:
pool, gym, business center, any luxury spa facilities, maid service (except maybe fresh sheets weekly)

Do you have any recommendations on places or resources to find such places? I can take alternates ideas too (such as: instead of Tokyo, try Osaka because it's cheaper, or ideas for other cities that I missed, or warnings about visas to obtain before I leave the US.) Thanks for your help.
posted by bluecore to Travel & Transportation (5 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Try Airbnb Sublets, which is an Airbnb subsite geared toward monthly rentals.
posted by Emanuel at 10:59 AM on July 13, 2014 [2 favorites]

In Osaka, there are a number of extremely cheap no-frills hotels near SpaWorld, in the Tennoji area. When I was there in 2010, rooms were 1500 to 3000 yen. They have small, plain rooms with space to sleep and that's it. Japanese-style tatami rooms with futon bedding are cheaper than western-style rooms with beds. Bathrooms are shared, as are Japanese-style communal bathing facilities. (I don't remember if the one I stayed in had a shower stall somewhere in addition, but it might have?) I think there was wifi. There's no kitchen, but there are cheap local restaurants and convenience stores nearby, so you could do food on the cheap well.

The one I stayed in was definitely clean and quiet. We (two women travelling together) felt safe there, and I wouldn't hesitate to go there alone. I think it was Hotel Taiyo... but I also remember there being several similar places in that area.

In Tokyo, I think hostels would probably be your best bet. (But then again, I only found that cheap area in Osaka by accident, so there could be something similar lurking in Tokyo somewhere? I remember seeing something similar in the Asakusa area, but more expensive.) The quietest Tokyo hostel I've stayed in is the Ace Inn Shinjuku.
posted by snorkmaiden at 11:22 AM on July 13, 2014

Chiang Mai and Bangkok - you could definitely get a nice hotel room for 1600$ a month, 3.5-4 star hotel within city centre. A little further out and you can probably get something nicer.

Don't know about Phnom Penh and Hanoi but would imagine that you could get something similar.
posted by moiraine at 1:32 PM on July 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

Look for month to month rentals aimed at English teachers... I know it exists in Japan, so I imagine it would in HK etc. Try Dave's ESL Cafe (google for website).

Osaka, Nagoya, and smaller towns will be cheaper than Tokyo; Kyoto might or might not be cheaper but could be competitive and you'd want a little extra lead time. I lived in Japan, albeit 8 yrs ago - me mail me if you have questions. had posted a link recently to an article outlining what it costs to do just as you describe in Indonesia. It's too tricky to find it on my phone, if you're interested let me know!
posted by jrobin276 at 3:08 PM on July 13, 2014

There are hundreds of hotels in Shanghai for <300RMB/night (< USD1600/month), but none of them are likely to have a kitchenette. You can search by price and area on CTrip.

A quick google search shows that there are quite a few short-term apartment rentals in your price range, too. I don't have experience with any of them, but this site has a lot of listings.
posted by bradf at 9:52 AM on July 15, 2014

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