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Bangkok vs Medellin: Head to Head SHOOTOUT

Bangkok vs Medellin: Head to Head SHOOTOUT

Bangkok the land of smiles vs Medellin the city of eternal spring. Both of these are very similar. Both are “unsafe”, “dangerous” & “legendary”.

When I tell my friends back home in Canada, about Bangkok, all they think about is Ladyboys, and ping pong shows. If I say Medellin? Coke.

Rating 1: Partying & Drugs

Bangkok is much more of a place to grab a beer, and watch crazy stuff, then Medellin. Medellin is Salsa dancing plus 80’s partying. Cocaine vs beer. Obviously Bangkok has tons of drugs, but it’s not near as prevalent as Medellin. In Medellin, you can buy coke for $10 a gram, and it’s as easy to get as Chiclets. Also the cops don’t care. Bangkok is a no drug city. Just don’t do it. You will be busted, and thrown in a Thai prison. There you’ll meet ladyboys.

How do I score this?

Winner: Medellin. You can go to an after hours bar, a salsa club, an 80’s metal club all in one night. Bangkok, is much more of a stripclub/disco feel. Bangkok I always felt like a spectactor and part of the audience, in Medellin you’re doing shots of aguardiente and dancing to a-Ha’s “take me on”.


Rating 2: Danger

Bangkok you might get pickpocketed, but it is nothing compared to Medellin. Even in the safest parts of Medellin, you have a chance of being violently mugged. Every person I’ve talked to has been either robbed, pick pocketed or known somebody who has. Sad but true.

Winner: Hands down Bangkok wins for safety. If you keep to the good parts of town, you’ll be fine. If you go deep into the underbelly? Still safer than Medellin

Rating 3: English

Bangkok beats Medellin here. South East Asia, has given into the idea that, while there are a million Asian languages, English is the international tourist language. In Medellin, the South American idea that Spanish is universally spoken is the dominant thought.

Winner: Bangkok. You might only be able to order food or squabble with a taxi in Bangkok, but in Medellin, they do not speak English, even in the super touristy areas.

 

Rating 4: Weather

Bangkok is hot, humid and when it rains torrential. Medellin is about 20 degrees. They call it the city of eternal spring for a reason. It actually reminds me of Vancouver, Canada in terms of weather. (But with less hipsters).

Winner: Medellin. You can wear long pants and shirts  here, without feeling like you’re going to die of heatstroke.

 

Rating 5: Food

Ok. I love food. Love it. If you love pad Thai, and love getting it fresh from a cart for a $1 you’re going to love Bangkok. However did you know there are tons of styles of Empanadas? And Medelllin has them all. Colombian food vs Thai food can be a matter of palate, but all in all Bangkok has less variety of International cuisine than Medellin. In Thailand you’ll find more forms of Asian food though.

Winner: Medellin. Even though Thailand has more Asian cuisine, sometimes I want a burger. And in Medellin you’ll be able to get a taco, pizza or empanada’s all in a 3 block radius.

 

Rating 6: Cost

Bangkok has Sukumvhit, while Medellin has Poblado. Both are the expat heavy areas. If you live in the tourist/expat areas, you’ll find Bangkok cheaper. If you get out into the regular parts of town you’ll find Medellin is cheaper. Also there isn’t much haggling in Medellin. Maybe 20% vs the 600% you might have to haggle down in Bangkok

Winner: Tie

 

Rating 7: Shopping

For a place with so many people, Medellin has inferior shopping. Seriously, they don’t really understand the shopping/haggling mindset. Bangkok will suck every dollar out of your pocket with fake Beats by Dre and Chang tank tops.

Winner: Bangkok.  Millions of Indian tailors. Chatuchak. Terminal 21. So much to buy, from Ferrarris to fake converse.

 

Rating 8:  Health

Bangkok, you can buy medicine directly from the pharmacy. Medellin, you can have a motorbike courier bring it to you! Medical tourism is huge in Bangkok , and Medellin is the king of plastic surgery. I got my teeth cleaned and whitened for $150 CDN in Medellin.

Winner: Tie

 

Rating 9: Gyms

Bangkok has gyms, but Medellin seems to have a gym every other block. From crossfit, to iron gyms, to free outdoor gyms, Medellin has it all.

Winner: Medellin. Latin culture values physical fitness and looks much more than Asian cultures.

 

Rating 10: Internet

This is super important. Both have strong internet. Neither is horrible. Either way you’ll be in a place where you have internet. Till you don’t. Natural disasters, weather and such make it hard to rely on it sometimes.

Winner: Tie.

The Total out of 10? Medellin 5 , Bangkok 3 , with 2 ties. Is Medellin the best place in world to retire cheap? I still love Bangkok, but I’ll definitely be back to explore Medellin more. I hope this article helped you with your quest of finding the best country to retire cheap. Scroll to the bottom of the page for more tips and articles on finding the cheapest places to retire. And if you liked the article, please share on social media (I’d love it if you did!)

Bangkok vs Medellin: Head to Head SHOOTOUT2017-07-25T07:59:28+00:00

How Dangerous is Medellin, Colombia? My roommate gets mugged!


How dangerous is Medellin, Colombia? My roommate gets mugged!

At one point Medellin was rated, “the most dangerous city in the world”. Drug wars, drive by shootings, bombings and kidnappings ran rampant though this city. Looking for the best countries in the world to retire cheap means living in some pretty out of the way places. The best places to live in the world might have the worst reputations.
First, I’ve noticed Medellin is surprisingly safe. People are friendly, there are a lot of smiles and don’t get me started on how pretty the women are. But, is it all fake? Is it a smile in one hand, and a knife in the other? Here’s 3 stories that sum up Medellin life for me so far.

1. My roommate was robbed at knife point last night. The public parks here all have free WiFi. Why’s that important? Well, it’s 2am in the morning, and my roommate (I’ll call him DJ Flaco) decides to leave the party to message a friend using this free WiFi. Lighting a smoke, he takes a drag. Taking out his phone, he starts Facebook messenging people. Out of nowhere, a tiny Colombian girl runs by him and tries to snatch his phone. While he’s only 122 lbs soaking wet, and kind of buzzed, he still manages to keep his phone. He drops his cigarette out of his hand, and half tackles this would be phone snatcher into the public fountain. After a quick tussle he gets his phone back. What he doesn’t notice is that her partner has come around. A tiny Colombian guy, he whips out his knife. DJ Flaco, decides it’s not worth it. Soaking wet, the beer and drug fuelled buzz now worn down by the soaking in the fountain and the adrenaline. He hands over his phone and wallet. After they take his stuff, the two muggers just grin, and saunter off slowly. DJ Flaco, tries in his limited Spanish to get help, and while there are people are around, nobody is really stepping up to help him.

2.It’s a Saturday at 5 am in the morning, the four of us have now hit 3 nightclubs and an afterhours. Time to get home. We decide to grab the cab in front of the afterhours club. Everybody gets in, and I’m the last one in. All of a sudden I feel a hand in my front pocket. I’m kind of half squatted, because I’m on my way to sitting down. I grab the arm, and the pickpocket is super surprised. His face is full of fear, as I’m probably at least 40lbs bigger than he is. I squeeze his forearm and he drops my coin purse into the street. I let go of his arm and he bolts like an Olympic trainee. Picking the coin purse out of the street, I close the cab door and we vamos.

3.On my first day into Medellin, I’m tired and full of stupid. I get a cab to take me Lleras Park where my hostel is. We find it and I pay him. After 30 minutes the cab driver pulls back up. I have no idea what he is doing back at the hostel. Did I not pay him enough? Nope, turns out I had left my carry on bag in the back of the cab. That’s right. 2 iPads, my kindle, and all my work notes could have all been gone. I am amazed at how honest this guy is. 2 hours later. The same cab driver is back.  A small pouch which contained all of my cables, had fallen out of the carry on. I am so lucky, this guy was honest.

From what I’ve seen of Medellin, the people are all super friendly for real. Those smiles are real. They are honest and care about you as a person not just a walking ATM. Saying that, they have a saying here. “Don’t give Papaya” Roughly it translates into, don’t show off your bling and tempt fate. By showing your papaya, you risk getting your hand lopped off. I’ve travelled all around the world, and I can say Medellin is no more dangerous than downtown Edmonton, Alberta, Canada at night. 

They did a famous study once, where they had a group of convicted criminals look at video surveillance of a busy sidewalk. They asked them separately which people they would target. 84% of the same people were picked by this group as good potential victims. Don’t give papaya anywhere. Keep aware of your surroundings, and be smart while traveling to find the best places to live cheap 

I hope this article helped you with your quest of finding the best country to retire cheap. Scroll to the bottom of the page for more tips and articles on finding the cheapest places to retire. And if you liked the article, please share on social media (I’d love it if you did!) 

How Dangerous is Medellin, Colombia? My roommate gets mugged!2017-04-25T23:21:56+00:00

Mosquitos, Extreme heat & Motorcycle Muggings: 3 reasons to SKIP Bali

So you’re thinking of retiring cheap in Bali, what’s the upsides and downsides? After one month in Bali I can tell you there are some great upsides. You can read my other articles on the full feel of Bali (under Bali in my travel blog), but it’s not all beaches and cheap food.

There’s 3 really good reasons why you might not want to retire in Bali. 

  1. Mosquitos and bug bites. Every day I’d wake up with new bites. Even with mosquito spray you’re a moving buffet there. If you’re allergic or just hate bug bites this place sucks.
  2. Extreme heat. I was in Bali in September, and it’s hot hot hot. Most days the weather was 30 degrees Celsius but felt like 40. This might be too hot. During the days you’ll find me in the pool, at the beach or hiding inside in my air conditioning.
  3. Motorcycle muggings. If you’re worried about safety you might not want to retire in Bali. One girl I met was on her scooter and another motorcycle literally slammed into her. They knocked her down, stole her purse and wound up dragging her by the purse strap for a half block. Scary, I know right? It’s a poor country and poverty is one of those economic drivers of crime. This mugging happened in a busy area during the day! 

Bali is a beautiful place with lots to offer, but these 3 reasons might be a good reason not to come retire here. I loved Bali but you definitely have some problems in paradise. I hope this article helped you with your quest of finding the best country to retire cheap. Scroll to the bottom of the page for more tips and articles on finding the cheapest places to retire. And if you liked the article, please share on social media (I’d love it if you did!) 

Mosquitos, Extreme heat & Motorcycle Muggings: 3 reasons to SKIP Bali2017-02-28T21:14:15+00:00

3 great spots to sleep for free in klia 2 Kuala Lumpur 

If you’re traveling looking for a cheap place to retire you’re going to spend a lot of time in airports. This is my handy guide to give you the best place to sleep in Kuala Lumpur klia 2. Klia 2 aka the low cost carrier terminal is gigantic.
There are are many spots to hang out and sleep, but these are the 3 best. I’m honestly a little worried that if I share it with you my BestCountriesToRetireCheap.com fans that I will miss out myself. (So keep it secret ok!) if somebody else to know swear them to a blood oath first.

These 3 great sleeping spots are all in the mid way area of klia 2 before you go into the gates area, but after first screening (Confused? Read my story about illogical stuff in klia 2)

To find these secret spots first head to the bottom level by the movie zone.

Spot 1 (my favourite) is tucked in the back behind a Starbucks and the smoking lounge. Even though it’s close to the smoking lounge there is no smoke smell.  It’s space for 1 so not great for couples is its downside. Why is so great? It’s very private, has very little activity around it and has its own wall charger. The charger is placed at mid thigh level so you can lie down and use your phone while charging. A little nook with its own floor charger and surrounded by 3 sides keeps you safe from having your stuff nicked when you sleep. If you pull your luggage trolley in after you, you make a very private sleeping hole. Hang up a sarong and you can make a fort!


Spot 2. Outside the washroom in that zone. At the very back of a massive room full of seats, there are chairs with no arm rests. Sleeps multiple people. Downside smells like nearby washrooms. Upside not on the floor.

Spot 3. A sleeping nook just outside washroom area but farther than those chairs so not as smelly. You can find it by looking for currency exchange place across from it. You can always lie down anywhere in an airport but this place is where to sleep.This one is designed for sleep. It also has a private charge outlet. Downside is it’s in heavy traffic area, so people are  constantly walking by. This spot is easily noticed so chances are it’ll be occupied as well.

I hope this article helped you with your quest of finding the best country to retire cheap. Scroll to the bottom of the page for more tips and articles on finding the cheapest places to retire. And if you liked the article, please share on social media (I’d love it if you did!)

3 great spots to sleep for free in klia 2 Kuala Lumpur 2018-11-10T02:30:27+00:00

Prevent sickness with this 1 easy tip from Hong Kong!

Here’s one easy travel tip that’ll prevent sickness while searching for the best place to retire cheap. If you’re eating at a restaurant that might have questionable cleaning habits, this tip will help you out. I learned in Hong Kong (which already has comparitvely clean restaurants ) that there’s 1 simple custom designed for maximum cleanliness. This custom is going to increase your health and keep you happy and safe while looking for that cheap place to retire.


Wash your utensils in tea! Many restaurants will provide a large oversized bowl which is used for this express purpose.

The first pot of tea is traditionally designated for washing not drinking, as the first batch of fresh tea isn’t the best. Historically this custom was born because roadside restaurants would get dusty utensils from traffic and now it’s a super handy for getting rid of excess bleach or washing detergent that might be left over on your plate, utensils or cups. Wash things in tea! How simple and charming, and don’t worry you won’t be insulting the restaurant if you do.

I hope this article helped you with your quest of finding the best country to retire cheap. Stay safe, rinse those chopsticks off and scroll to the bottom of the page for more tips and articles on finding the cheapest places to retire. And if you liked the article, please share on social media (I’d love it if you did!)

Prevent sickness with this 1 easy tip from Hong Kong!2018-03-03T02:54:12+00:00

Single Female Traveller? Read these 4 tips before retiring in Asia.


Retiring in Asia as a single female traveler? I got a chance to interview Laura L. for some valuable tips for the single female travelers who are looking for the best countries to retire cheap. Laura, a vivacious and intellectual 20 something woman, is currently heading to India to continue her yoga training.

Is it difficult as a female traveler?

As a female traveler the main thing is that you don’t want to let those gut feelings that you’ve had while at home disappear when you’re traveling. Obvious things like not taking drinks from strangers and trusting your intuition are important. I was in a hostel and it felt dodgy, so I left even though I had already paid for the night. One other time a cab driver tried to tell me the street I wanted to go to was “close down” so he wanted to take me somewhere else. I had to tell him to stop the cab or take me the street. As a female traveler, don’t just be polite, you have to be ruder sometimes.

What’s the worst things that have happened to you as a single female traveler?

On two separate occasions in Malaysia I’ve had men behind me following me, just staring, I’ve caught them rubbing  their penises and making mastabutory motions. As a western woman in a Muslim country I can understand that their cultural upbringing has told them that women not in burqas from the west are sexually loose. It still isn’t pleasant.

What are some tips for other female travelers that you wish you had known ahead of time?

  1. Keep a journal. 
  2. Use social media and let people know where you are going specifically and when 
  3. Don’t fall into a victim mentality. Don’t let people take your space.
  4. Use women’s only train cars. I was in India and you’re jammed in, and can’t tell who is groping you.


What’s the best thing about being a single female traveler? 

People are super friendly. One time at dinner in India, the waiter couldn’t understand me, a family sitting nearby invited me to have dinner with them!

Thanks for the time and the tips!

I hope you found this article helpful in your own research on best countries to retire cheap. For more information and tips, scroll to the bottom of the page for all my articles. And don’t forget to subscribe to the blog! If you liked this article don’t forget to share on Social Media. Seriously I’d love it if you did.

Single Female Traveller? Read these 4 tips before retiring in Asia.2016-12-12T00:10:52+00:00

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