Best Places to Live in Asia

The Asian continent is vast in its landscape and diversity. There are so many beautiful places to live in Asia. But, with so much variety, searching for your new hometown can become overwhelming.

We’re here to help. Whether you’re looking to settle down or on a quest to see Asia’s hidden gems, we know all the right spots. Here’s our list of the best places to live in Asia.

Best Places to Live in Asia For…

  1. Expats: Singapore
  2. English Speakers: Shanghai
  3. Digital Nomads: Kyoto
  4. Solo Travelers: Canggu
  5. Couples: Phuket
  6. Groups: Bangkok

Top 10 Places to Live in Asia

Asia has something to offer every kind of expat, from digital nomads to couples searching for the perfect retirement destination. Here are just a few Asian locations that we think you’d love.

1. Singapore

The Best Asian Country for Expats

Average cost of living per person: $$$

 Singapore is first on our list because it ranks highly in almost all of our categories. This is a fantastic country for expats because of its high English proficiency rate, fast development, growing job market, and large expat community.

Tip: Living outside the city will save you money and only add 5 – 10 minutes to your daily commute.

Who would like to live there: Anyone, especially young professionals.

Pros:

  • Very efficient public transport.
  • Immaculate city.
  • Very safe.

Cons:

  • High property prices.
  • Small country with limited space.
  • Expensive private healthcare.

2. Shanghai

Lots of  English-speaking Locals

Average cost of living: $$$

Adjusting to life in the busy city of Shanghai won’t be as hard as it seems, and over 60% of expats in Shanghai agree. Most of the city’s friendly locals speak English, and Shanghai has excellent job opportunities for English speakers.

If you haven’t been before, taking a tour of Shanghai will help you to navigate the city as you settle in.

Tip: Take on the challenge of learning Mandarin to improve employment and social prospects further.

Who would like to live there: English-speaking expats and young professionals.

Pros:

  • High-quality health care.
  • Great schools and universities.
  • Large English-speaking community.

Cons:

  • High cost of living.
  • Very busy city.
  • Extreme weather.

3. Kyoto

The Perfect Combination of Modernity and History

Average cost of living: $

Depending on what you need, there are so many great places to live in Japan. Kyoto is the perfect option for digital nomads. There’s an abundance of co-working spaces and free internet around every corner. So, you can work from pretty much anywhere in the city. Besides that, you’ll never run out of things to do on your day off in Kyoto.

Tip: Consider paying a monthly membership fee for access to one of the working spaces in Kyoto.

Who would like to live here: Digital nomads and remote workers who love city life.

Pros:

  • An abundance of shared workspaces.
  • Rich culture and history.
  • Immaculate city.

Cons:

  • Locals are hesitant toward outsiders.
  • Most jobs require some Japanese language skills.
  • High cost of living.

4. Canggu, Bali

Great Opportunities for Solo Travelers

Average cost of living including rent: $$

Canggu in Bali is packed with expats and nomads. Living in the region is relatively cheap, and friends are easy to find. Besides the beautiful beaches and friendly inhabitants, this area is an excellent escape for solo travelers.

Tip: Canggu can get busy. Consider Ubud for a more laid-back lifestyle.

Who would like to live here: Young solo travelers.

Pros:

  • Lots of Nomads.
  • Affordable living.
  • Great food and weather.

Cons:

  • It can feel crowded.
  • Limited access to healthcare.
  • Local language barrier.

5. Phuket

Paradise for Couples

Average cost of living per person: $

Phuket is a popular destination in Thailand for couples. It leaves the business of Bangkok behind and instead offers pristine beaches and very affordable living. Couples looking for a new adventure or somewhere sunny to retire would love the culture of Phuket.

Tip: The best way to get around Phuket is by motorbike.

Who would like to live here: Couples, young and old.

Pros:

  • Lots of friendly nomads and expats.
  • Affordable living.
  • Great weather and beaches.

Cons:

  • Busy and dangerous roads.
  • Complicated currency to adapt to.
  • Hard to find employment.

6. Bangkok

Great for a Group

Average cost of living: $$

Many English-speaking expats take on teaching jobs in Bangkok. Living in the city on a small salary can become expensive, so most expats opt for shared living. If you aren’t moving in with your own group, there are plenty of ways to make friends in Bangkok.

Tip: Most expats in Bangkok advise against drinking tap water. Even in the city, opt for bottled instead.

Who would like to live here: Young expats who don’t mind sharing accommodation.

Pros:

  • Lots of expats.
  • Many jobs for English speakers.
  • Affordable living.

Cons:

7. Kuala Lumpur

Affordable Housing for Expats in Asia

Average cost of living: $$

Around 70% of expats living in Malaysia’s capital agree that housing is affordable and living is easy in Kuala Lumpur. The city offers expats great opportunities to socialize and easy communication with locals, most of whom speak English.

Tip: Consider living in Bangsar or Damansara Heights to be around other expats.

Who would like to live here: Young expats and families with kids.

Pros:

  • Many gated communities in expat areas.
  • Culturally and religiously diverse.
  • Cheap and efficient public transport.

Cons:

  • Expensive import fees.
  • Political instability.
  • Heavy traffic in the city.

8. Hong Kong

Student-friendly City

Average cost of living: $$$

Hong Kong is one of Asia’s most student-friendly cities. It’s also home to some of Asia’s best universities for technology, science, and medicine. All major public universities use English as the language of instruction. Hong Kong also has a strong graduate employment program.

Tip: Learn some Cantonese to make living in Hong Kong easier.

Who would like to live here: Students and young expats.

Pros:

  • Excellent education quality.
  • Efficient public transport.
  • Cheaper tuition than most cities.

Cons:

  • High-priced accommodation.
  • Learning Cantonese is difficult.
  • Bustling city.

9. Penang

Family-friendly Community

Average cost of living per person: $

 Penang is home to one of the largest expat communities in Malaysia. Living in Penang is cheaper than most expat areas in Asia and also offers a variety of housing options and a wonderful and safe community. There are also many international schools in Penang.

Tip: Hosting and attending dinner parties in Penang is a popular way to make friends amongst expats.

Who would like to live here: Families with younger children.

Pros:

  • Safe community environment.
  • Many international schools.
  • Affordable living.

Cons:

  • Lacks the convenience of the city.
  • Not much nightlife or many events.
  • Very laid-back lifestyle.

10. Seoul

A Hub of Digital Development

Average cost of living: $$$

South Korea’s capital Seoul, is home to some of the most famous names in the digital world, like LG and Samsung. South Korea has some of the fastest internet globally, making it the perfect city for digital nomads, tech enthusiasts, and remote workers.

Tip: Indulge in South Korean culture by checking out Seoul’s food scene.

Who would like to live here: Tech enthusiasts and digital nomads.

Pros:

  • Superfast internet.
  • Lots of public holidays and festivals.
  • Cheap food.

Cons:

  • High property prices.
  • Political instability.
  • Heavily congested city.

FAQs for Living in Asia

1.   Is it Safe in Asia?

For the most part, yes. But, like anywhere in the world, certain areas can be dangerous, especially at night.

2.   What Currency is Used in Asia?

Asia uses a variety of currencies. It’s country-specific, so you can do a simple Google search before planning your travels.

3.   What Language Do They Speak in Asia?

Like currency, language in Asia is country-specific. But, these days, most people speak a little bit of English.

4.   How to Travel Around Asia?

Many Asian countries on our list have easy-to-use and efficient public transport. Otherwise, hopping on a bicycle, motorcycle, or tuk-tuk is the best way to get around.

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