Best Three Places in Southeast Asia to be an Expat

A view of Singapore's Skyline

Singapore’s Skyline [Photo: Wikimedia]

If you’re looking to live abroad in Southeast Asia and you need REAL opinions, check out the Expat Explorer survey from HSBC. They have surveyed over 9,000 expats and according to them, the best 3 places to be an expat in Southeast Asia are:

Number 3 – Malaysia: Expats seeking out challenge and adventure.

Expats looking for a challenge and adventure are among the most likely to head to Malaysia in Southeast Asia.

Nearly half of the expats surveyed say they find the local language difficult but they seem to embrace the sense of adventure and many trying to learn and use the local language despite its difficulty. Many started travelling more since embarking on an expat life describing Malaysia as a culturally interesting place for them and their families.

In general, many expats can save huge on utilities and high quality accommodation making Malaysia cost-effective as well as being an exciting destination. (Take a closer look at Malaysia’s ranking here)

Number 2 – Thailand: Cheap and cheerful.

Thailand emerges from the Expat Explorer survey as the best destination for expats looking for an improved lifestyle at a low cost. Most expats say they have greater levels of disposable income as they spend less on utilities, accommodation, public transport and groceries.

Thai culture holds much appeal with many enjoying exploring Buddhist temples to participating in the Songkran festival to celebrate the New Year. Thai cuisine and shopping is also highly regarded, with many saying that they enjoy eating the local food and shopping at local markets.

Language can be a bit of a struggle, with majority of expats saying that they found it difficult to learn Thai. However, this doesn’t seem to stop people getting around as it is still relatively simple to travel around. (Take a closer look at Thailand’s ranking here)

Number 1 – Singapore: A higher quality of life but this doesn’t come cheap.

For expats looking for an improved quality of life and greater economic opportunities, Singapore is the place to go.

The country performs solidly in all areas accounting for quality of life – high quality accommodation, active social life and good access to healthcare. Setting up in Singapore is a relatively simple process for new expats and in terms of lifestyle, most found it easy to fit in with the local culture, weather, and travelling around the local area.

However, life in Singapore is expensive and majority of the expats surveyed are paying more for their accommodation than they did back home. This theme carries on when expats discuss raising children in Singapore, most saying it is more expensive to do so than at home. (Take a closer look at Singapore’s ranking here)

There’s that, but bear in mind that for a country to be included in the Expat Explorer survey, it needed at least 100 expat respondents of whom at least 30 were parents. So do you agree with the survey? Do you think there’s a country that should displace the top three? Tell us in the comments section below.

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