JimmyJ

Similar city as alternative to Chang Mai to avoid air problems?

92 posts in this topic

8 hours ago, Berkshire said:

Your opinion, of course.  I assume you're in Medellin...which makes us wonder why you wouldn't be posting on ColombianVisa. 

 

There are reasons why expats aren't flooding to South America.

 

What are some of them?

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2 hours ago, dcnx said:

I'm in Chiang Mai. Probably will return to Colombia within in next year or two if things work out. I enjoy Thailand and have been here for a while but the pollution, terror on the roads, and the fact that it's moving backwards and not forwards, is enough for me to not want to grow old here. I'm in my early 40s, so the thought of living here for 30 or 40 more years sounds like a nightmare. Immigration check-in every 90 days for the next couple of decades, no thanks.  

 

Expats don't leave Thailand for many reasons, geographical location of another place isn't generally one of them. Being stuck, having a limited budget, having a Thai family, or just too lazy to move, are a few. I fall into the lazy category. Such a move is a big ordeal, especially with a business here. Otherwise, I would have gone back a long time ago.

 

There is quite a large expat community in both Colombia and Ecuador. Cost of living is just like here, it depends on your lifestyle. You can do it cheap or live lavishly. Visas... there are options and work arounds for long term stays, just like here. 

 

If you're an anti-social drunk, prefer sitting in a beer bar all day, or simply enjoy the chaos of Asia, I don't recommend the move. Thailand is perfect for those types. But normal gents would find it quite nice and a change of pace after being here for a while. A better place to have a family perhaps, and for sure better schools, safer roads, and cleaner air. If that stuff is important to you. But like you said, this is just my opinion. Those things matter to me more now than ever. 

 

Fair enough.  Although I realize Colombia is not the same as say Brazil or Venezuela, Latin America in general just seems a tad more dangerous than Asia. 

 

As far as Thailand, your description may fit Pattaya more so than Chiang Mai.  One can raise a family in a place like Chiang Mai quite well....although it's getting more and more congested each year.  And yeah, the crappy air does wear on you. 

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Chiengmai....my living in town was relatively short term for a year or two,  mostly in Chieng Dao for more  than  25 years intermittent years . There was a  time in CM when we would sit and 'watch' traffic go by in Chiengmai and if a white woman walked by,  we would wonder if she was a missionary.  Chiengmai traffic to Mae Rim was a car race even back then, now the race course extends to MaeTaeng. It certainly is not getting better. I am now worried to survive a ride from Chieng Dao to Chiengmai. You folks seem to be worried about smoke and ignore car traffic/ pollution and tobacco and death on the highways. Chiengmai is not a pleasant place to retire in , or be 25 years old in.....except for  few weeks.  ;-).  There are many small Thai cities where people are most pleasant , especially if you learn a dozen Thai phrases to start with. Sure there is agribusiness  burning fields..............but, also just folks who need to replant and harvest the mountain's natural bounty. 'Old world' Thailand does still exist....you just need  to be smart enough to appreciate it when you find it.  It is there and it needn't change.

 

                                                                ...Ken ( formally a Teak Wallah)

 

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9 hours ago, JimmyJ said:

What are some of them?

There's the standard grinding poverty, endemic corruption, substandard infrastructure, lack of medical services, crime, etc.  But for most, it's probably more about the personal safety.

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11 hours ago, Teak said:

There was a  time in CM when we would sit and 'watch' traffic go by in Chiengmai

There was a time when this was called the Chiangmai forum. A few years ago it was changed to Chiang Mai forum.  I don't think it was ever called Chiengmai forum but what do we know. 

Showing results for chiang mai
Search instead for chiengmai

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On 21/03/2017 at 1:00 AM, dcnx said:

I'm in Chiang Mai. Probably will return to Colombia within in next year or two if things work out. I enjoy Thailand and have been here for a while but the pollution, terror on the roads, and the fact that it's moving backwards and not forwards, is enough for me to not want to grow old here. I'm in my early 40s, so the thought of living here for 30 or 40 more years sounds like a nightmare. Immigration check-in every 90 days for the next couple of decades, no thanks.  

 

Expats don't leave Thailand for many reasons, geographical location of another place isn't generally one of them. Being stuck, having a limited budget, having a Thai family, or just too lazy to move, are a few. I fall into the lazy category. Such a move is a big ordeal, especially with a business here. Otherwise, I would have gone back a long time ago.

 

There is quite a large expat community in both Colombia and Ecuador. Cost of living is just like here, it depends on your lifestyle. You can do it cheap or live lavishly. Visas... there are options and work arounds for long term stays, just like here. 

 

If you're an anti-social drunk, prefer sitting in a beer bar all day, or simply enjoy the chaos of Asia, I don't recommend the move. Thailand is perfect for those types. But normal gents would find it quite nice and a change of pace after being here for a while. A better place to have a family perhaps, and for sure better schools, safer roads, and cleaner air. If that stuff is important to you. But like you said, this is just my opinion. Those things matter to me more now than ever. 

 

Speaking of Columbia:

 

 

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On 3/22/2017 at 0:16 AM, amexpat said:

There was a time when this was called the Chiangmai forum. A few years ago it was changed to Chiang Mai forum.  I don't think it was ever called Chiengmai forum but what do we know. 

Showing results for chiang mai
Search instead for chiengmai

 

When I first got here in 1911, Chiengmai was the most common spelling.   Chiengmai Gymkhana is still called that. 

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On 21/03/2017 at 8:00 AM, dcnx said:

I'm in Chiang Mai. Probably will return to Colombia within in next year or two if things work out. I enjoy Thailand and have been here for a while but the pollution, terror on the roads, and the fact that it's moving backwards and not forwards, is enough for me to not want to grow old here. I'm in my early 40s, so the thought of living here for 30 or 40 more years sounds like a nightmare. Immigration check-in every 90 days for the next couple of decades, no thanks.  

 

Expats don't leave Thailand for many reasons, geographical location of another place isn't generally one of them. Being stuck, having a limited budget, having a Thai family, or just too lazy to move, are a few. I fall into the lazy category. Such a move is a big ordeal, especially with a business here. Otherwise, I would have gone back a long time ago.

 

There is quite a large expat community in both Colombia and Ecuador. Cost of living is just like here, it depends on your lifestyle. You can do it cheap or live lavishly. Visas... there are options and work arounds for long term stays, just like here. 

 

If you're an anti-social drunk, prefer sitting in a beer bar all day, or simply enjoy the chaos of Asia, I don't recommend the move. Thailand is perfect for those types. But normal gents would find it quite nice and a change of pace after being here for a while. A better place to have a family perhaps, and for sure better schools, safer roads, and cleaner air. If that stuff is important to you. But like you said, this is just my opinion. Those things matter to me more now than ever. 

 

I must give my 2 cents here :)

I"m just back from Colombia, spend 8 months there. Wanted to check this country for retirement (was tired of Thai karaoke pop maybe :)), and well a peace process being in... process, i've been there.

Every country has it's plus and minus, well not every country, but Thailand and Colombia...

Over there : amazing music and dance, easy talking people (you have a talk anytime with unknown people everywhere, very friendly), spanish may be more easy to learn, and... the chicas are damn HOT :) Even the eye contact is hot :) And they have boobs, oops :)

But... To find a monthly rental is a nightmare ! I've tried everything, even via local people i knew, it's just a nightmare, they don't trust each other, so good luck as a foreigner, you will need a garant, to pay 6 month in advance, and even so, hard to find. So no monthly rates, kind of nowhere, hotel AirBnB, they don't do that yet. Even at crazy gringo prices... That's a big issue ! And hotels are more expensive than in Thailand, way more for a equivalent quality. Same for motorcycle.

And, a terrible noise, they tend to klaxon but like a moto-taxi will klaxon 20 times a minute !!! And so on, car, trucks. Noise everywhere, sometime you have 4 different sono/music in your ears when eating in the street. It goes with a fiesta attitude too, witch is very fun, and they are damn good. But it's too much. Hotel lack of quiet and privacy too. And no massage, or pricy, and not good.

Last point, security, well it's ok in town, daytime or area with people. But not the confort of Thailand where you don't even think about it at night. Latin america : guards everywhere, secure grid/gates, etc. And politically, well the farc have sign a peace, but the paramilitaries still do a lot of killings. A lot. Does not concern tourist or expats, yet... But sure you don't want to go anywhere, you check first.

A interesting source of info :

http://colombiareports.com/

I like this country, love the people, but it's not easy ! And it's a euphémism to not say : damn difficult... Monthly or long term Rental being the terrible issue (i knew it before because you can find that issue online by searching).

Not to mention the long term visa, after 6 month a year, doesn't look easy.

 

So i enjoy my return in Easy Thailand :) Good hotel, condos monthly, motorcycle same-same, massage (the real one, i'm adicted seriously to a good foot massage, oil, or Thaï -soft for me thanks-) ! Safety, politness. Visa, théorically :). I can deal with the worst driving in the world maybe (so easy to fix by some education they make 4-5 big mistakes all the time... but well, not the topic), and the arg... still karaoke level really ? :):):)

And you can go everywhere in Thailand, choose your place.

 

It's very different though, impossible to compare somehow, quite opposite in many ways. But i'm back, there are some big reasons.

 

To stick vaguely with the topic :) : Pollution in Chiang Mai bother me (i'm not there right now partly for that issue), but take Medellin for example, so called eternal spring, well it's over polluated all year...

 

Il y a des avantages et des inconvénients partout :) (learn French guys :)).

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On 09/11/2016 at 9:58 PM, kenk24 said:

 

Hi Jimmy -- sorry, I don't have the time to read a long thread... there is a smoky season... and it effects most of Northern Thailand. The season can run as long as about 2 months, with much of it being not that bad... it can get really bad for a couple of weeks... with the yellow air and decreased visibility and you feel like you can almost see the particles in the air... but, most of the year, for a city that size, it is fine.

 

when the air gets bad, it makes a nice opportunity for a beach vacation... 

I must desagreee with that :)

Fire pollution is a big 2-3 month problem. Time to go to the south or somewhere else, espacially if you have kids imo. Witch could pose a problem for school.

And Chiang Mai, well i love this town, but honnestly i will consider to find a place 20-50 kms away.

It's a big and bigger city, with vehicules polluating (you can see anytime big clouds coming from a bad truck or diesel or old motorcycle, no regulation ?). Traffic congestion are more and more adding as a issue. And most importantly it's in a valley ! And imo, that's bad for air, especially with few wind, opposite to near the sea. Pollution stay in the valley, most of the time.

 

That said, you can live to die another day :) And i plan to return to or near (preferably) Chiang Mai. But definitely NOT right now.

But for sure, if i had kids, i would not live in Chiang Mai or any big polluated town.

Pollution kills way more than cigarettes (don't argue, it's a scientific fact). And the main issue is not exactly about visibility to take pictures for FB (not saying that for kenk24 but read somewhere else)... Time to wake up :)

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On 3/21/2017 at 10:37 AM, Berkshire said:

Fair enough.  Although I realize Colombia is not the same as say Brazil or Venezuela, Latin America in general just seems a tad more dangerous than Asia. 

 

As far as Thailand, your description may fit Pattaya more so than Chiang Mai.  One can raise a family in a place like Chiang Mai quite well....although it's getting more and more congested each year.  And yeah, the crappy air does wear on you. 

 

Just about anywhere South America is more dangerous than Thailand. Though, it's not like it used to be, especially in Colombia. They really did an amazing job cleaning it up, butI still wouldn't waltz into shady areas.

 

Brazil is rough. Lots of violence there. Venezuela... brink of a total revolution, but always very dangerous. Wouldn't recommend living in either.

 

I find Chiang Mai to be VERY safe, but the pollution is beyond what I want to deal with. None of us are getting out of here alive anyway, but with the higher rates of lung illnesses and cancer up here, I at least want to give myself a fighting chance as I grow older.

 

If they could get pollution under control here, and some sort of a visa that doesn't require 90 day reporting and silly forms to track your every move, I'd probably stay, though maybe I'd buy a tank to drive around. :-) Reporting every 3 months and having to fill out a form if I change cities within 24 hours.... that's how you treat criminals, which I am not, and I assume most of you are not as well. I actually find it offensive. But that's just me. Anywhere else, you get your visa and you're good until it expires. That's how it should be. However, more than anything, it's the pollution that really puts me off. Cleaner air shouldn't be too much to ask for.

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37 minutes ago, Sambotte said:

And the main issue is not exactly about visibility to take pictures for FB (not saying that for kenk24 but read somewhere else)... Time to wake up :)

Right, you have to look at the actual air quality index and not just visibility. Some days here are on par with some smaller Chinese cities, and I sure as hell wouldn't live there. 

 

I've been hacking and coughing for a few weeks now. This year has been harder on me than years past, but visibility has been pretty good. Go figure. 

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ID: 88   Posted (edited)

Somehow... Take USA... Have been many time there. Immigration play too many time with foreigner, just to play "power game". I've experienced it, recently, after Trump so. A young guy just wanted to make problem for zero reason, i have nothing to hide or suspect, i am always polite, etc. After one hour and half checking in detail my belonging, a supervisor told him by phone to let me pass, and he expressed then publicly his frustration ! I have to fill a complain btw in case there is still justice there. Pissed me off, especially to be unable to do anything again that absolute nosense. ? Many travellers have had stupid problem like this recently, it's a shame ! For no reason, and by so immigration US or homeland is not doing their necessary job. It's in USA, and i think many Thai can't even have a visa or ESTA for example. But could be same in France (i just don't know obviously since i'm French :) And well i don't plan to come back anytime soon...

Never had a problem in Thailand. With lots of tourist visa cumulated. Always welcome.

 

Second point, well, USA (sorry guys i like you in fact :)) again, they just don't need you to fill form to spie on you, no ? :)

 

Just talking, it's all relative, and well i'm fine with Thailand, easy country, nice people, very good services. I've been in many places around the world, and well i'm back here and happy to be :)

 

But i agree with you, pollution in Chiang Mai is a big disappointment. Big problem i mean.

The funny ting is i am near Phuket to avoid pollution in CM, and guess what ? :) I've got a cold after the too many planes and a transit for business in USA, and... It's damn raining every day ! Can't believe this :) Weather become crazy, not suppose to rain now so much here... Rain that would be so welcome now in CM :)

Edited by Sambotte

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A former British Consul once wrote that there were 50 ways of writing ChiangMai or the names for the town as used in history.

I jokingly pulled him up on this and he laughed saying I know John that there are over a hundred words for CM.

Next time I go to visit my 97 year old friend in his Care Home in Mae Rim I will ask him for the definitive view on the matter, for he has lived here since 1960 and as a member/founder of the Northern Thai Society he does have some serious knowledge on old CM.

 

john

Think I'll stick with CM though I have  pleasant memories of Central America.

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ID: 90   Posted (edited)

On 11/11/2016 at 7:57 AM, JimmyJ said:

This is a great thread. Thanks for all the suggestions, and please keep them coming if anyone has other suggestions or comments or wants to second some of the places mentioned.

 

Mentioning neighboring countries is also very helpful, as I was planning on checking those also, at least very briefly, so your suggestions of which cities is great.

 

Here's something I posted in "The Multi-Entry Visa" thread recently:

 

"My situation:

 

USA citizen living in the USA. Will be making my first trip to Thailand, exploring it with a view towards moving there permanently.

 

Planning about 3 months in Thailand, also quick visits to neighboring countries just in case something grabs me in one as an alternative.

 

Then returning to USA, closing out there, and moving to Thailand on a 1 year retirement visa."

 

Thought I may rent a car during the trip from time to time.

Now, with the wealth of riches in this thread giving me so many places I'd like to see, considering depending on price spending most of the trip with a rental.

 

 

 

I've hiked a lot in CM... not many well maintained trails like the US and after about 2 months, kinda boring.
Nature?  Most of the forests are void of nature and wildlife.

 

I'm planning my move to British Columbia, Canada for 2018... summers for now.  With exploration trips to Spain.  

 

What's the allure of Chiang Mai Thailand?

 

On 11/12/2016 at 5:35 PM, elephant45 said:

We have no idea what the micro particulate matter pollution here does to our bodies in CM , our minds and souls, and add in the noise.

The new fashion, loud motorcycle pipes with teenagers racing around 24/7 in most of this town. I just don't understand why all the these dumb websites with tonnes of ads on them rate this place so high as a reasonable retirement place. Its a joke, "Beautiful Beaches, Wonderful People etc etc." yes I have many Thai acquaintances but they will never be my friend, as it seems to be illegal for some reason. This was told to me way back when while working for the Thai Military. And the heat? Personally I am done with it, and moving for at least 8 months a year out of here.

Also please don't comment with things like good riddance , move if you don't like it etc, or cheap replies. If you want to comment in a nasty way PM me and we will meet in person and have a coffee or a beer and discuss it as kind human beings would do. 

I agree.  

The overpopulation of v/bloggers writing fantasy just to get hits to their site has gone out of control.  Anyone can be a travel writer now and most write total crap.  
The more times I leave CM to escape the smoke, the more I realize I'm having more fun where I go.  I'm spending less time in CM, maybe just a move out of CM is in order, but I'm finding it hard to come up with reasons to stay in Thailand.  Just no vibe there.  
I won't get started on how many more people I meet outside of thailand that make eye contact, smile, say hello and are genuinely friendly and that I have a nice conversation with.  

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Nowisee
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Chiang Mai is lovely place to live.  I have been here 12 years full time.  I am now 40 years old.

 

I live outside the city in a small rural village... lots of traditional wooden houses and lovely temples, rice fields, birds and wildlife. 

 

With the passing years, the air pollution problem has been getting better.  This year I have only noticed 2 or 3 days when it was bad.  This has been the best year so far. When I fist came here there would be weeks of haze and smog, with my eyes stinging and sore throat. 

 

People here are generally very friendly, funny and relaxed about things.. which I like.  I love the Northern food too.  I live mostly like a Thai rural person now... do my shopping at the local markets, I grown vegetables and fruit, have chickens and ducks.  I cycle or use a motorbike rather than dive a car.

 

I don't go out into the city at night drinking and driving anymore.  I like to drink with my friends in the local shops a few nights a week.. where I can walk or cycle home a short distance.

 

I have learnt the language to a reasonable degree... and no I feel really this is my home.  I would not consider moving to another country.

 

Chiang Mai inner city is also improving year by year, with more stylish and modern buildings and venues. The city is very green, lots of big trees and flowers, water fountains in the moat, etc.  Pavements have been improved and now its easy to walk around most of the city.  Many of the rural roads have been widened and resurfaced, and on the ring roads, many new underpasses have been built, so its easier to travel around now.

 

More modern shopping malls have been built, with fantastic cinema and supermarkets. (I have never been in a cinema so nice in the UK). 

 

The only real negative thing is the amount of traffic is increasing.  I notice this mostly on the main roads and in the city, where it can be difficult and dangerous to cross a road!  I hope that this too will get better in time. 

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