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Move to Taipei, Chengdu, or Greater Bankok?

Move to Taipei, Chengdu, or Greater Bankok?

Old May 1st, 2011, 09:33 AM
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Move to Taipei, Chengdu, or Greater Bankok?

I have job offers in the above cities, and have two young children. Which cities would be the best to live in? Which have the least pollution? sunny skies? cost of living, housing choices. I read that Taipei is crowded. I'm a New Yorker, so would I be shocked, or is it similar? Thanks!
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Old May 1st, 2011, 09:41 AM
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You can rule Chengdu out for pollution and sunny skies - and I'd also worry about food safety for young children.

Between Taipei and Bangkok, if you think Taipei is crowded, you'll find Bangkok the same if not worse.
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Old May 1st, 2011, 10:10 AM
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Bangkok definitely more crowded and worse traffic. I really liked Taiwan (click on my name for my East Asia TR). Good scenery, and plenty of day trips from Taipei. Good public transport, too.
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Old May 1st, 2011, 10:55 AM
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I've spent a lot of time in Bangkok, and that would be my number one choice among those cities. Yes, it has bad traffic, but it has great public transport. I wasn't as charmed by Taipei as Thursdays was, but I'd put it ahead of any city in CHina by a long shot.
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Old May 1st, 2011, 06:45 PM
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If you are a new yorker, you will find taipei to be very similar to nyc but less crowded. I've been to taipei several times and its one of the most underrated cities in the world. The efficiency of its subway system can even put tokyo's to shame.

Taiwan is the only developed country out of these three so my suggestion would definitely be taipei.
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Old May 1st, 2011, 07:28 PM
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for shere quality of family life, i would go with bangkok
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Old May 1st, 2011, 07:50 PM
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Time for the OP to make a trip out to check out both. At least we helped her eliminate one.
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Old May 2nd, 2011, 02:03 AM
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It would be hard to pick three more different places to live, IMO. I would caution you against taking advice from well-meaning strangers who have only been tourists in these places. Having been an expat living in Asia and Europe for close to 20 years, I can tell you that living and working someplace is <i>completely</i> different from being a tourist there. Finally, unless your assignment is very short term (less than a year), I would strongly encourage you to visit each city and see which YOU prefer. This is esp as you have children, as there are many different issues to consider. Availability and quality of schools would be top of my list; in some of these places there may be waiting lists for good schools, or tuition fees can be rather steep. (If your children are not school-age, then availability and quality of day care would be the issue to investigate.) It is also quite hard to get a feel for living costs (esp housing) until you have been there and seen a variety of flats or houses so you can get an idea of value for money in terms of space, location and facilities. Go into a grocery store and see what prices are (esp for Western items which you believe you will want) and determine whether they would fit into your budget. Ideally you would have a chance to meet other expatriates and discuss what day to day living is like. Also consider tax issues, which will vary from country to country. You may need specialized advice on that. Cost and availability of health care, inflation (a big issue in the PRC currently) and currency fluctuation risk should also be part of your consideration (and negotiation with your employer). Thailand has had more than its share of political upheavals in recent years. Both Chengdu and Taiwan have had serious earthquakes. These might be items to consider as well.

I would generally agree that Chengdu would be problematic in terms of air quality and food safety issues (although the latter can be worked around by using imported food to the extent possible, but that of course will increase your food costs). I believe Taipei and Chengdu would present language issues on a greater scale than Bangkok in terms of every day living (like grocery shopping) and finding English-speakers who can provide services (like an English-speaking plumber or day care). While I think that any of these places would offer a really interesting adventure, bear in mind that if you will be working full time and raising kids, it can be tiring to live on a day-to-day basis in a place where you have to struggle with language issues.

A guidebook or a search on Google will give you an idea of temperatures and rainfall in these places.
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Old May 4th, 2011, 06:18 AM
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Thanks for all of the comments. We have now ruled out China. The choice is between a place one hour out of Bangkok, and Taipei. The job in Taipei pays twice as much salary, has a housing stipend of 35,000 per month, but does not pay utilities. In Thailand, the job gives a house with all utilities included, and a car for our use while there. We'd need a nanny for our baby in both countries. Nannies in Thailand are very inexpensive, in Tapei run about $1000 USD per month. All that said: where sohould we go for a good quality of life and savings? Would we still save $ in Thailand even though the salary is a lot less (about $40,000 USD)?
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Old May 4th, 2011, 06:20 AM
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One more thing, I am a principal for international schools, so the school situation is not a challenge for me: My older son will always attend for free at the school I run.
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Old May 4th, 2011, 06:29 AM
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i think the decision would depend on where you think your family would be the most happy.... i think that a visit to each place now would answer that question...

for me $$ would be low on the equation...
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Old May 4th, 2011, 09:20 AM
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Well if you are looking for a sunny tropical paradise where lifestyle is much more relaxed, Thailand might be a better choice. Taiwan is too industrialized therefore living there is not so different from the states, though u might have a better standard of living comparing to Thailand. Taiwan has its share of beauty but its vastly different from Thailand.

Most of nannies in TW are Thais or Filipinos (so-called foreign labors in tw), based on a higher salary you might spend comparatively less hiring a nanny there.
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Old May 4th, 2011, 12:43 PM
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Thanks so much for the replies. I've been to Thailand 6 times, but at the moment, I can't afford for a big trip to Taipei (took the year off to have a baby). So- tough to compare the two personally. That said, is Taipei really as expensive as the US or EU?

Thanks again. Big help!
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Old May 4th, 2011, 03:28 PM
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Taipei definitely can be as expensive as the US. The only real value is street food. But otherwise, restaurants both western and asian are almost as expensive as US. I'm sure global inflation is contributing to this also. And taipei housing is obviously limited given the small footprint. Although i suspect there is a huge housing buuble right now, there's plenty of local and chinese money flowing in to keep prices high. I'm personally biased as i have family there but for quality of life it's best in Asia short of Japan. Thailand is fun but it's way hotter/humid and dirtier. Plus being based in TPE you could go on holiday to anywhere tropical in asia fairly easily
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Old May 4th, 2011, 06:03 PM
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One of my friend own one of the best international school "chain" in Asia with schools in Bangkok, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Beijing, India and the middle East. The prize city for the expat teachers at the schools to be base in is Bangkok.
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Old May 5th, 2011, 11:32 PM
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I've lived in Taipei twice and loved it. It's easy. Safe and clean, with good transportation and reasonable medical care. Western goods and food are all available. It is not a thrilling city like Bangkok and the expat community there is comparatively small. Help is not cheap. When you say you'd get a housing stipend of 35,000/month, are you referring to NTD? That will not get you far. Everyone loves Bangkok and with good reason, but Taipei is an extremely comfortable and livable city.
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Old May 8th, 2011, 04:48 AM
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You guys are wonderful. Thanks to all! For family happiness, I'm leaning more towards Bangkok. It's actually a town an hour out of Bangkok, so the pollution should be less.

Hanuman, I'd love to know the name of the chain of schools, just for future reference. I presently have been working with schools that are not a chain, and life would be a lot easier if I were transferred within a chain instead of starting the job interview process each time before a new move.

JGMC- Yes, the housing stipend would be 35,000 NTD in Taipei. Also, we'd be working in the Beitu area of Taipei. Do you know anything about it? Location, average price of apts?
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Old May 8th, 2011, 06:26 AM
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Beitou is the hot springs area of Taipei. It is well served by mass transit and a nice community. I suggest you contact the Community Services Center of Taiwan; you'll find them online. They are a great resource (language classes, trips, counseling, and basically anything you need to know) for expats. You might ask them for names of several realtors to get an idea of rents in the area.
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Old May 8th, 2011, 06:53 AM
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mashakay - the school is "Harrow International School".
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Old May 18th, 2011, 04:49 AM
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Hanuman- Thanks.
We have signed the contract for Thailand. Thanks all.
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