Taiwan vs. Thailand, Taipei vs. Chiang Mai

Hope I’m not opening a can here…

Currently living in Taipei. Hate the climate. Rumor has it that this was one of the best winters in years, and I’m a depressed mess. The company is considering a move to Taichung, Kaohsiung, and possible Chiang Mai. I hate to give up on five months of language study, but I’d hate to lose my family because I’m a hot mess.

I’ve seen lots of good threads about visiting Thailand. Have any of you lived in Chiang Mai or other parts of Thailand? What would you choose? Taichung, Kaohsiung, or Chiang Mai?

Have you ever visited Thailand? Awful, awful, awful. It makes Taipei look like NYC.

What is it about the climate you hate here? Because Thailand, when not swelteringly hot and humid, and rainy and humid.

Doc said I have something called Seasonal Affective Disorder. It’s the lack of sun. Hotter and sunnier, the better. I thrived not far off the equator in South America.

Mate just go for it. Its impossible to get SAD in Thailand. Chiang Mai is hot and sunny year round. When it rains it pours, but its tropical downpours, not inclement drizzle. I would jump at the opportunity to live in Thailand.

In that case, Thailand might be just what the doctor ordered, weather-wise.

Well Taichung is sunny almost all year round, and I guess so is Kaoshiung. It also hardly ever rains and is not so humid and only cold for one month or so. I lived in Taipei for over 8 years and honestly it’s like living in a different country compared to Taichung. The weather is THAT different.

Chiang Mai is in northern Thailand, and the latitude isn’t much different from Taiwan. If you’re that badly affected that Taipei’s two hour variance is a big deal, you should try Singapore, right on the equator.

Yeah but nah but…Taipei’s crap weather is either due to cold fronts moving down from Northern China, or just because it has a rainy microclimate, more so in Danshui, Keelung, Ilan etc. Chiang Mai does not have these problems.

Chiang Mai is awesome! I’ve visited a number of times. In fact, I was just looking online at property there yesterday! I would love to buy a condo there to spend part of the year once I retire. It is very hot and humid year-round, but it is a small, friendly city and very fun and affordable.

Taipei does have an awful climate. But Taichung and Kaohsiung has a great climate ! Kaohsiung is a lot warmer in winter then Taichung (and certainly TAipei).

IF you are affected by SAD, TAipei is NOT for you.

Chiang Mai weather is just as awful. Plus a lot of expats have to escape the city around 1 month a year due to the horrible air quality.

It’s fun to visit as a tourist, but otherwise it is very boring. There is an alleged ‘trendy’ area (Nimmanhaemin Rd) but I saw nothing special or trendy about it. If you are under 40, you might find it difficult to have a social life.

Taipei is infinitely better, in every way, unless you enjoy staying at home after work.

I’ve spent a lot of time in ChiangMai.

Here is the weather:

Jan-Mar, hot in the day cool at night, sky choked with smoke from slash and burn agriculture methods of hilltribes.

April-June, hot as balls and humid.

July-October, rainy season. Due to much of Chiang Mai being very low there is a ton of flooding, so be careful where you rent.

Last millennium Chiang Mai would be my top choice all things being equal for where to live in Asia, but in the last 13 years the amount of tourists, cars, and scooters have choked the downtown and most of my friends there now live in ‘mubangs’ (gated communities) outside the city and have little to know interest in venturing to the city centre.

It has become a hip place to set u shop to the point where it is borderline cliche.

But if you go with your family, drive a car and live in a gated community, you can have a very comfortable existence, the days of safely zinging around on a scooter (relative of course) are long gone and the semi-empty, well kept streets were part of its charms.

Too many blue hairs too, and they drive up the price of everything, putting money in the pockets of the big chains while the little man, who made Chiang Mai special, suffers.

And if you want to date, your prospects have all likely spent time in the pros.

Taipei’s normalcy is highly underrated.

I haven’t been there in about 14 years but it was a special place when I visited, laid back, kind of dusty streets, beautiful sunsets and temples, very enjoyable. Sad to hear it may become another Asian metropolitan city.

If the OP likes Taiwan he can try living down south for a bit, maybe the OPs wife is Taiwanese so that would be easier too. I’m in Taichung now and it’s sunny and hot as per usual, it’s gets boring and sometimes you wish for a bit of rain.

The only real downside for me is there is more air pollution here , although not on the same level as Thailand or China, it is still annoying.

It’s still very much laid back and enjoyable for the most part. Even ‘downtown’ isn’t that bad. It’s lovely to visit.

Good to hear…enjoyed my hikes around Northern Thailand too.

Chiang Mai was quite nice a few years ago.
From what i hear it the centre is becoming another Khao San Road, exaclty where you DON’T want to be.
And also i see two others problems :

  • During two months in the winter the sky is filled with smoke caused by the strange argriculture methods
  • CM is WAY smaller than Taipei. You’ll soon get bored there.

I’ve lived in both places. LOVE Taipei (though I agree with you on the weather–it’s the pits). Do not love Chiang Mai for many reasons–the poor air quality part of the year, the insane traffic (Taipei is positively orderly by comparison), the crime, the mai pen rai attitude that makes it difficult to get things accomplished and sometimes leads to dangerous situations, the tourists everywhere. Plus, CM is small, and after you’ve explored for a year or two it gets a bit boring. I enjoyed living there–it’s a charming place, overall–and I like going there for vacation, but MUCH prefer living in Taipei.

However, if you’re making a purely weather-related decision, Chiang Mai may be the way to go for you. In the years we lived there, I can only think of a couple of instances where we had more than a day or two together of rain (and that was when the remnants of a typhoon blew over). Sun year-round. Even during rainy season, it’s sunny most of the day except for downpours in the afternoons. The only thing that might get you down is the horrible air Jan-April, with the peak in March. It rains little or not at all during those months–and also happens to be the time of year when farmers burn their fields, so the smoke and haze builds up and becomes quite dangerous to breathe. And ugly to look at: our second dry season there were days when we couldn’t see down the street it was so thick. Definitely no blue skies during those months, and strenuous outdoor activity like biking is discouraged.

If you have the option to go Kaohsiung or Taichung, I would look into it. I find both places preferable to CM, they have much better weather, and like you said, it would be a bummer to give up the language and cultural investment you’ve already made.

We don’t have the option to relocate, and I’ve had to make a few lifestyle changes to tolerate Taipei winters. Last year’s was the worst–about twice a month I would get in the car and drive south until I hit sunshine, just to get out of the gloom. Doing that regularly improved my mood a lot.

If you have heat and therapy lamps in every room, your winter blues can be for the most part alleviated. I suffer horribly from SAD, and have ordered the lamps and wall heaters (220V) from the states and crank them up when the nasty cold fronts come on…The therapy lamps really really work, and those that know me have known I am a grumpy prick in winter. Driving south to the sun is a very underrated and nearly erotic activity when you reach the cloud boundry and suddenly…there is the sun.

Fall to your knees, enjoy, get your lamps and heat (I paid about 250USD for 5,000Watt wall heater and f-ck those idiotic things they sell here, which heats my downstairs at about 38pings) and you will feel a world of difference.

There is indeed much to be said for being warm inside the house and not have to suffer wearing ski jackets indoors when the fronts are in town.

Used to fly for work to TAinan and Ktown regularly. It was indeed awesome getting off the plane into bright and beautiful SUNSHINE at those places when just a wee bit over 35 mins ago i got on the plane in a dreary and cold and rainy Taipei !

If not for going regularly to the hotsprings , i would hate Taipei winters more. But being born and raised in Taipei I didnt suffer SAD luckily. There are times when I like that winter cold and the heavy overcast (if i was in the mountains of YMS/Peitou) . It certainly has a certain charm !

It would be cool tho to have only Jan that way. Hv 5 months of summer and the rest spring tho.

Kaohsiung is probably something like that.