Escape from the Hot Season

Originally posted on July 30, 2010


There’s something happening here.  It’s not exactly clear.  The hot season here in Thailand (and it looks like around the world too) seems to be getting hotter and longer (I just learned that the last June was the hottest one on record – for the whole world!).  It is the rainy season now so we are experiencing a little respite.  We’ve got about 8 really good months ahead of us.  But I’m not really sure we can take another hot season like the last one

So, Pikun and I need your advice.

Last hot season was close to unbearable for us.  We don’t like air conditioning but had to turn it on just about every night just to get to sleep.  I have a thermometer on my back patio, in the shade, and it registered over 40°C every day for more than 6 weeks.  That is 104°F for those of you who are metrically challenged.  When I first came to Thailand, it rarely got to 38°C, and then only once or twice a season.  Something is happening here.

So, here is why we need your advice.  We are thinking of running away from Thailand for a month or so during the worst part of the year, sort of a vacation from our retirement.

We have a few places in mind but there are a some conditions.

  • It has to be a cool place, both weather-wise and metaphorically, someplace below 30°C during April and May.
  • It has to be affordable.  We don’t have lots of extra money.  We live off of Social Security so we would have to cut back a bit during the year to be able to afford the plane fare.  If the cost of living there is low enough then our expenses should be about the same as here.  Since we won’t have to run the air conditioner we might even save money by not having such a high electric bill.  It might even be cheaper to leave here in the hot weather.
  • It has to be a place that isn’t presently at war with anyone.

Here are a few places we are considering.

1. Kunming, China and its surroundings like Lijiang and Dali and Shangri-La (Yes there really is a place called Shangri-La.  Check here to see some pictures.)   It is close to us, straight to the north,.  It’s cool in April.  The surrounding Yunnan province seems like a very interesting place, has great food, and it is cheap.

Lijiang, near Kunming, China

2. Turkey We have been to Istanbul and love it, the people and the food, the Haja Sophia, Grand Bazaar, Topkapi, and the Blue Mosque. I would love to see them all again.  Turkey probably has the best food in the world besides where we live now.  We would like to visit the southern coast.  But it seems like Turkey may be facing some terrorist problems (mainly in the Kurdish east) so we will have to keep an eye out for that.

Istanbul – one of our favorite cities

3. Southern Spain and Portugal We will have to keep an eye on the Euro.  If it goes into the toilet this might be the cheapest place of all, and with my high school Spanish still in my brain somewhere, the language wouldn’t be a problem.

Savilla, Spain

We would love to hear from anyone who has ever been to these places?  What do you think?  Does it meet the above conditions of fun, cheap, peaceful, and most of all, cool?

Do you have any other places that you might recommend?  I am sure that others reading here might be interested too.  We can’t be the only ones who almost went nuts during the last hot season.  Pikun and I are in our 60s.  Maybe that is the problem with the heat.  I don’t think it is, but it could have something to do with our not being able to take it anymore.

There is something happening here and I am hoping that you might be able to give us some advice.