Medellín vs Chiang Mai: Which is the Better City to Live In? - Medellin Guru
Medellín vs Chiang Mai, Thailand. We comprehensively compare the two cities in 22 categories to see which is the better place to live in for expats.

Medellín vs Chiang Mai: Which is the Better City to Live In?

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6 thoughts on “Medellín vs Chiang Mai: Which is the Better City to Live In?”

    1. Lynn Betts December 20, 2018

      Good comparison!

      We lived in CM for about 3 years (2014-2016), and I think you’ve represented it quite well in most all respects. We liked it in many ways. We’ve now come to Mexico for the present, and may try Medellin later (which is why I follow your FB page). There are clearly trade-offs between CM and Medellin simply due to size difference, but you’ve mentioned them in categories where it counts, which is tough to do; congratulations on doing an impressively effective job of it!

      I would add (or reinforce) the point that the visa renewal situation for foreigners in Thailand (at least when not married to a Thai) is an expensive and recurring time-consuming mess. (I do not know what Columbia’s is like.) We also found CM pretty isolated as a place to live. You mostly addressed this via transport: no direct flights to major cities outside nearby SE Asia locations (and airline choices for reputable carriers are very limited, and the airport has very limited (if any) ability to expand).

      One “category” which we have found important to us sort of combines bits from a few of the others: “international cosmopolitan-ness” it might be called: amount of people present from different foreign countries, not just as tourists but as residents. This creates the mix of an enormous variety of foods, clothing, culture, etc. Because of CMs location and inexpensive healthcare and cost of living, it was great for that; I haven’t seen it matched anywhere. For us, CM is an odd mix of being both isolated and internationally cosmopolitan. ?

      In short: you’ve done a good job with CM, in our opinion.

    2. James Reed December 20, 2018

      I am currently living in Chiang Mai. Medellin was and still is my second choice.

      To say that your comparison is a little bit biased would be an understatement e.g. I guarantee the cost of living in CM is cheaper than Medellin and there are several other categories where you are just plain wrong in favour of Medellin. Health care, public safety, Thai food, and transportation are very good in CM and many people feel no need to own a car here due to abundant very cheap public transportation including a newly implemented bus system.

      That said I believe the two are very close, not nearly as different as you have indicated. Medellin wins in the language category easily and that is a big plus as communications here can be difficult.

      You avoided the issue of men seeking women. From all I have read the Thai women are much more approachable and as wives much more domestically inclined than the hot Latinas. I have a lovely Thai wife and would not be able to find anyone like her in Medellin.

      I enjoyed your article. Just felt the need to add my two cents.


      • The article doesn’t look biased to me. I looks like Jeff provided some stats to back up his choices of the winners. Cost of living has links to cost of living sites, WHO ranks healthcare in Colombia as better than Thailand. And he said CM wins in the restaurant category.

        I visited Chiang Mai early this year and I was not impressed. It’s a polluted dump and I had trouble breathing. In my opinion the public transport in CM sucks compared to Medellin. I didn’t see a single bus when I was there just those songthaews and tuk tuks everywhere.

        Also its too freaking far to go to Thailand when you have Medellin that is closer and a much better place to live IMHO.

        • Hi Dan, thanks. Yes, where possible I tried to use some statistics to back up my choices. For example, WHO ranks the healthcare system in Colombia much higher than Thailand.

    3. Having lived for 3 years in Thailand, the crime statistics in Thailand are not very accurate. It is common for murders to be ruled as suicide, and police will often refuse to take police reports if something is stolen particularly if you are a foreigner.

    4. Nice comparison. Wow 40,000 expats in Chiang Mai. Are they clueless? Chiang Mai is a polluted dump and it doesn’t even have buses or a metro for public transportation and the Thai language is very difficult to learn. No way I would want to live there.

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