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Where Is The Best Place To Live ?


lemerou

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Hi,

I'm 38, in Europe right now and considering coming to Asia to relocate.

I'm considering Bangkok, Seoul and China (not sure where ? Beijing ? Shanghai ? Kunming ?).

I am sure some of you have been living in those places for some time and can share some insights on those different places.

How did you like in there and how do you think they compare ?

Also, what do you think would be the nicest place to live in China ?

For China i'm a bit afraid of the pollution that seem to be huge in all cities.

For Seoul, i'm afraid of the apparent xenophobia of koreans people (towards foreigners, obviously).

As Bangkok, i know and like the place but i also know a lot of expats are living ...

Thanks for your input!

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It would be nice to know what your purpose is for relocating over here. Are you retiring? Going to work? Married? These make a huge difference.

I looked at your blog and it appears you are a photographer. Great stuff! Asia, as you well know, is a great place for this.

One big thing to consider is a visa...and a work visa if that is what you are considering. Not easy to obtain. Even normal visas can be a challenge.

As you are already familiar with Bangkok, this topic might do better in the SE Asia forum. So, let's move it over there and see how it does.

I've never lived outside Thailand, but have been to China many times and spent a small amount of time in Seoul. I know quite a few people who live and work in China...and they don't really like it. My single friend comes here all the time just to escape it. But, China is a great place to explore. Lots of things to see...just a challenge to live there. As you say, pollution is very bad. My good friend gets sick from some thing or another every 3 months or so. Just got out of the hospital after a week from some unknown ailment. As you know, Beijing gets some really bad dust storms. Shanghai is where my friend lives. It's OK, but IMHO, just a big city. IMHO.

We loved Seoul and never had any problems with the locals...though I have also heard bad things like you mention. We didn't experience that. In fact, quite the opposite.

Anyway, it would be great to hear back from you...and best of luck with your decision!

//Topic Moved//

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Interesting choices.

I've spent a few years living and working in China and my favourite cities to live in where Nanjing in Jiangsu and also Ningbo in Zhejiang province. I preferred both of these locations to Shanghai / Beijing.

I have some friends who have lived in Sichuan province (Chonquing) and they raved about living there. However as a number of posters have already noted, the air pollution / smog can be a problem just about everywhere.

However, if you are free to choose, then I would suggest there are a lot of nicer places to live in Asia that mainland China. My list would include:

Just about anywhere in Indonesia or Malaysia

Vietnam (only been once for a couple of weeks but really liked it)

Southern India on either the West or East coasts.

Thailand (obviously as I live there at the mo).

Good luck,

Simon

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I've lived in both Bangkok and Seoul but only visited Shanghai.

In terms of Western comforts Bangkok is the best place and accomodation is cheaper too. It's very expensive in Seoul if you want to be anywhere near the city centre or in a good area.

Seoul has a great and cheap transport system though, underground and busses run all over the city and are easy to navigate if you have an English map.

Never experienced any xenophobia in Seoul and I used to travel around different parts a lot.

Will you be with family? Seoul is better for kids than Bangkok, more open spaces, parks, attractions and less noisy and busy.

Bangkok better for use and understanding of English language but never really had a problem in Seoul, just in a couple out of the way restaurants which can be navigated by pointing at the menu pictures, or at what others are eating.

Cost of living (groceries, eating out) is more expensive in Seoul.

Shanghai seemed a good place to live and there is a Western enclave of residences and reataurants but I have no real feel for living there. Taxis were cheap and trains to other parts of the country also.

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Having lived in all 3 countries if you like freezing your nuts off in the winter months then both China and korea are fine if however you are like me and like to live in a warm/hot climate then I suggest southern Thailand as it has a good all year climate even in the rainy season it is warm. Malaysia is also very nice and I think a little cheaper than Thailand.Bangkok is like any other city full of pollution and smog my tips would be Phuket, Krabi, Koh Phangan or koh Samui however Phangan and Samui are not the cheapest places to live compered to other parts of Thailand.

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Having lived in all 3 countries if you like freezing your nuts off in the winter months then both China and korea are fine if however you are like me and like to live in a warm/hot climate then I suggest southern Thailand as it has a good all year climate even in the rainy season it is warm. Malaysia is also very nice and I think a little cheaper than Thailand.Bangkok is like any other city full of pollution and smog my tips would be Phuket, Krabi, Koh Phangan or koh Samui however Phangan and Samui are not the cheapest places to live compered to other parts of Thailand.

Ha! My friend in Shanghai use to live in a condo that had no heat. I guess Shanghai is just below some line where heat either was, or wasn't, included when they built the units. It was in old town, so I'm sure it was an older building. But, he would complain about the weather and freezing his nuts off also. :lol:

It's raining today here in Pattaya. Perfect weather. It's 26 outside right now.

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Thanks for your answers everyone,

Well i guess i should have given a bit more details :

- I work online mostly so location is not a pb and so maybe a work visa is not required (*cough*)

- I am single

- i will relocate for two reasons : first i love SEAsia and am a bit tired of Europe so i want to enjoy the life in this part of the world. It is not a retirement and i might go somewhere else or came back after some years.

Second, i will start to learn chinese. It is not my main goal (that's why i didnt talk about it at first. Because i know everyone would have said : if you wanna learn chinese, go the <deleted> to China :) ) but this is my long term goal.

So i guess i will try to get a student visa by learning chinese at a university, wherever this will be (and it appears i can do this in all the locations i'm considering)

- budget regarding, i will eat mostly asian, use public transport, will go out once or twice a week (bars, clubs...), will try to travel as much as money  allows and i will need a gym. I just want my appartment not to be a shit hole since i'll be doing some work in it on my computer. It should be nice enough to spend some time in it.

@londoedan : Thanks for your ideas.

I know indonesia, well i know Java and Bali (ex-girlfriend was from Jogja  ;) ) but i'm not sure i would want to live there.

Indonesians are super friendly but there are several problems : the bureaucraty, the bad infrastructures in the country, not nice cities to live overall (well Bali is different of course) and visas.  Not mentioning islamic fondamentalist in certain parts.

Malaysia looks nice (only been to KL) but a bit pricey (and a bit boring i'm afraid)

Vietnam : i have a friend who lives there. It seems ok (and the girls are really pretty) but infrastructures are also bad compared to Thailand. Also sometimes locals seems a bit...Not so friendly...

India : don't think it is for me (also i would love to visit there). And i'm not really into indian girls ;)

@PattayaParent : how much do you think the average monthly budget to enjoy living in Seoul would be ? I heard you can live well with 1500/2000 US$.

@crazykopite : actually i'm not a beach guy ;) I like cities or montains and while i enjoy going to the sea once or twice a year, i would hate living there...

PS: tks for moving the topic, craigt3365, i actually wondering if i should post it in there.

Edited by lemerou
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Hangzhou will be the best place to live in China, you can do some research online if you are interested. I've been to many cities in China as a Chinese, and alot of foreign friends of mine in Hangzhou are so in love with this city. it's a neighbor of Shanghai, but not as crowed as Shanghai, and it has more good views to see and fun outdoor things to do such as hiking, biking. The best part of Hangzhou is the West Lake, it's in the central, surrounded by mountains, restaurants, shopping malls, bars and everything. Life is very convenient there, people are friendly, and the city itself is the safest place in all Asia, guaranteed! Easy to find teaching jobs for foreigners.

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Thanks for your answers everyone,

Well i guess i should have given a bit more details :

- I work online mostly so location is not a pb and so maybe a work visa is not required (*cough*)

- I am single

- i will relocate for two reasons : first i love SEAsia and am a bit tired of Europe so i want to enjoy the life in this part of the world. It is not a retirement and i might go somewhere else or came back after some years.

Second, i will start to learn chinese. It is not my main goal (that's why i didnt talk about it at first. Because i know everyone would have said : if you wanna learn chinese, go the <deleted> to China :) ) but this is my long term goal.

So i guess i will try to get a student visa by learning chinese at a university, wherever this will be (and it appears i can do this in all the locations i'm considering)

- budget regarding, i will eat mostly asian, use public transport, will go out once or twice a week (bars, clubs...), will try to travel as much as money  allows and i will need a gym. I just want my appartment not to be a shit hole since i'll be doing some work in it on my computer. It should be nice enough to spend some time in it.

@londoedan : Thanks for your ideas.

I know indonesia, well i know Java and Bali (ex-girlfriend was from Jogja  ;) ) but i'm not sure i would want to live there.

Indonesians are super friendly but there are several problems : the bureaucraty, the bad infrastructures in the country, not nice cities to live overall (well Bali is different of course) and visas.  Not mentioning islamic fondamentalist in certain parts.

Malaysia looks nice (only been to KL) but a bit pricey (and a bit boring i'm afraid)

Vietnam : i have a friend who lives there. It seems ok (and the girls are really pretty) but infrastructures are also bad compared to Thailand. Also sometimes locals seems a bit...Not so friendly...

India : don't think it is for me (also i would love to visit there). And i'm not really into indian girls ;)

@PattayaParent : how much do you think the average monthly budget to enjoy living in Seoul would be ? I heard you can live well with 1500/2000 US$.

@crazykopite : actually i'm not a beach guy ;) I like cities or montains and while i enjoy going to the sea once or twice a year, i would hate living there...

PS: tks for moving the topic, craigt3365, i actually wondering if i should post it in there.

What about Hongkong and Taiwan? Why not travel around a bit, that's what I plan to do as well.

Also, I think you should check out northern Thailand, especially Chiang Mai. For your situation I don't see any reason to live in BKK, unless u're into smog and big traffic. :)

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Hangzhou will be the best place to live in China, you can do some research online if you are interested. I've been to many cities in China as a Chinese, and alot of foreign friends of mine in Hangzhou are so in love with this city. it's a neighbor of Shanghai, but not as crowed as Shanghai, and it has more good views to see and fun outdoor things to do such as hiking, biking. The best part of Hangzhou is the West Lake, it's in the central, surrounded by mountains, restaurants, shopping malls, bars and everything. Life is very convenient there, people are friendly, and the city itself is the safest place in all Asia, guaranteed! Easy to find teaching jobs for foreigners.

We liked Hangzhou a lot. For sure quite a few places to enjoy the outdoors. It's a very crowded city. West Lake is a zoo on the weekends...which can be kinda fun...kinda. The Chinese LOVE their horns and won't stop for you when you are in a pedestrian crosswalk with the OK to cross. They just plow through, one hand on the horn. I started carrying an umbrella that I would pop open in front of their car when they keep doing it to me. Didn't really help much, other than with my temper! In Beijing, during our 10 day stay, we saw 2 dead pedestrians in the street (one was a traffic cop) and several others who had been hit. Crazy drivers.

I'm really glad the Thai's haven't found the horn in their car...yet...

For a photographer, Hongkong would be an amazing place to live. Midlevels would be great!

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Seoul for a single guy? I lived there for 5 years. You will be bored in no time. For such a big city it's incredibly soulless. It's expensive and easily has the worst western food in Asia. Enjoy the religious nuts in Itaewon.

On the other hand you may like natural areas around it - the mountains can be nice for a climb

Edited by BugJackBaron
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Hangzhou ? Never heard of it. Will do some searching online about it.

What about Chengdu or Kunming ? I heard good things about both ...

Hong Kong is too much expensive for me.

Taiwan is a location i've been thinking about already actually. It seems an enjoyable place to live and of course chinese is spoken there.

Seoul is boring ? Really ? In wich way ?

Chiang Mai is actually a nice and cheap place as well, it's true. But i'm afraid to get bored after a while.

Why would i want to live in Bangkok ? Well mostly because i like big cities and also because there is lots of things to do.

Cultural events, shopping, easy transportation to everywhere around....

Edited by lemerou
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I was offered a job in Seoul. I agreed to try it for six weeks. It was in December and I nearly froze to death. Everything was very expensive and you have to like kimchee. The only thing I liked about Seoul was the pay. I was VERY happy when the six weeks was up and I was able to return to Bangkok.

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Hangzhou ? Never heard of it. Will do some searching online about it.

What about Chengdu or Kunming ? I heard good things about both ...

Hong Kong is too much expensive for me.

Taiwan is a location i've been thinking about already actually. It seems an enjoyable place to live and of course chinese is spoken there.

Seoul is boring ? Really ? In wich way ?

Chiang Mai is actually a nice and cheap place as well, it's true. But i'm afraid to get bored after a while.

Why would i want to live in Bangkok ? Well mostly because i like big cities and also because there is lots of things to do.

Cultural events, shopping, easy transportation to everywhere around....

Sounds to me like you've made up your mind anyway, Bangkok, and your considering alternatives. Certainly the most user friendly. Like you I'm a fan of big cities and if all you need to work is a laptop its unrivalled as an easy exit hub to somewhere cooler, less polluted, drier etc whenever you need to do so.

Sometimes the most important thing about a city is how easy it is to leave it when you need to.

Seoul doesn't have the soul, don't know if I would say boring. Taipei ? Try getting away when it rains. You like CM but as you say your afraid you'll get bored, on the other hand, the amount of money you can save living there compared to Bangkok means Bangkok trips are affordable.

I can't see any difficulty learning Chinese (whatever you mean by that....Mandarin ?) in Bangkok or CM.

Edited by roamer
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Hangzhou ? Never heard of it. Will do some searching online about it.

What about Chengdu or Kunming ? I heard good things about both ...

Hangzhou is a very nice little city and it's not far from Shanghai.

Only been there a couple of days though so no idea what living is like.

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Hangzhou ? Never heard of it. Will do some searching online about it.

What about Chengdu or Kunming ? I heard good things about both ...

Hong Kong is too much expensive for me.

Taiwan is a location i've been thinking about already actually. It seems an enjoyable place to live and of course chinese is spoken there.

Seoul is boring ? Really ? In wich way ?

Chiang Mai is actually a nice and cheap place as well, it's true. But i'm afraid to get bored after a while.

Why would i want to live in Bangkok ? Well mostly because i like big cities and also because there is lots of things to do.

Cultural events, shopping, easy transportation to everywhere around....

I have lived and worked in Asia for the last thirty odd years, Manila for 6, Thailand for 8, HK for nearly 20 and now China. I relocated with a job from Bangkok to Kunming, and to be honest was really happy to leave thailand, 8 years was enough. Kunming is actually closer by air to BKK than HK but was very disappointed in it. To be honest the climate is perfect, hence the name "spring City", but it is at quite a high altitude which gave me headaches. The City itself is not too inviting, the Expats there struck me as the back packer type.The roads are jammed full of electric scooters and driving is a nightmare.

Whilst in KM I travelled extensively on business, including such places as Chengdu and Chongching but neither rocked my boat.I am presently based in Dongguan which I am enjoying, but not too sure about how others would find it.

In your case I would suggest China but in such places as Shenzhen (Shekou) or Zhuhai, where its a literal walk accross the border to HK or Macao respectively. Good infrastructures, International bars restaurants, satellite TV and temperate climates. Both have domestic airports.

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Though Kimchi is not my favorite food, i think it's allright.

Didn't you even like the girls there ?

Kimchi is not really a food, it's a side dish unless you specifically have duboo kimchi or a kimchi soup.

So there's plenty of food to eat in Seoul without ever seeing kimchi.

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Though Kimchi is not my favorite food, i think it's allright.

Didn't you even like the girls there ?

Kimchi is not really a food, it's a side dish unless you specifically have duboo kimchi or a kimchi soup.

So there's plenty of food to eat in Seoul without ever seeing kimchi.

That's one of the things I loved about Seoul...so many different kinds of kimchi!!!

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Hangzhou ? Never heard of it. Will do some searching online about it.

What about Chengdu or Kunming ? I heard good things about both ...

Hong Kong is too much expensive for me.

Taiwan is a location i've been thinking about already actually. It seems an enjoyable place to live and of course chinese is spoken there.

Seoul is boring ? Really ? In wich way ?

Chiang Mai is actually a nice and cheap place as well, it's true. But i'm afraid to get bored after a while.

Why would i want to live in Bangkok ? Well mostly because i like big cities and also because there is lots of things to do.

Cultural events, shopping, easy transportation to everywhere around....

Seoul is boring for food as the only thing they do well is Korean food. There are a few exceptions but in general western food is ridiculously expensive and poor(I recall paying the equivalent of 600 baht for bacon and eggs and they couldn't even do the toast right).

Culturally it is just as boring as there are no immigrant communities in Korea - unlike the West. Even their Chinatown is a joke as it mostly run by Koreans. The Chinese were driven out in the 1970s. It is like one big tribe in its uniformity.

Romantically. Well, some people may find a mate but there is far more xenophobia than in Thailand and a kind of schizophrenic attitude towards foreigners. Many Koreans will just want to meet to practice their English(which is often not so good).

On the other hand, it is not a bad place for a quick visit, a hike in the mountains or to try exotic kinds of kim chi.

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Though Kimchi is not my favorite food, i think it's allright.

Didn't you even like the girls there ?

My boss took me and a couple of the Korean engineers to a karaoke place. The beer was good but the snacks were all fruit, no other snacks at all. Fruit and beer are not a tasty combination for me. My companion was especially chosen for me because she spoke English. Other than some pleasant polite conversation, that went no where. The bill, the boss paid, was over $600 USD.

Bar hopping in Seoul is a VERY expensive evening out. The girls didn't seem especially interested in a farang. In my opinion Thai girls are MUCH better looking and sexier.

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