Bangkok ranks second-best city for expats in Asia, Singapore is top with Penang and KL close behind


BANGKOK: Asia offers a vibrant and dynamic business landscape, with thriving capitals presenting abundant opportunities for expatriates seeking new beginnings. But how does Bangkok compare to other expat hotspots?

To find out, Preply has ranked 21 of the most popular destinations on nine relevant relocation metrics. These include the average monthly cost of living as an expat, average salary, safety scores, etc.

Key findings include:

Bangkok ranks as the second-best Asian city for ex-pats, with a very affordable cost of living (US$1,043 a month) and the fastest internet speed (92 Mbps)

Chiang Mai in Thailand ranks as Asia's fourth-best city, and it offers the lowest living costs at just US$665 a month and a high safety score (76.50).

Singapore tops the list as the best Asian city, as well as globally, for expats in 2024. With its cleanliness, safety and wealth of interesting cultural excursions to explore, it's an ideal option for expats.

Revealed: The top 20 cities for ex-pats to live and work in 2024

According to the language learning platform Preply, over 26% of those learning a new language online are doing so due to relocating to a new area.

With emigration becoming an increasingly popular choice amongst students, families, and working professionals, this begs the question – which cities around the world are the best for expats to move to in 2024?

To find out which cities around the world, and in Asia, are the best for expats looking to relocate, Preply has ranked 60 of the most popular destinations on 9 relevant relocation metrics. These include the average monthly cost of living as an expat, average salary, safety scores, and many more.

You can view the full research here: https://preply.com/en/blog/expat-cities/

The top 10 cities in Asia for expats to work and live

Preply's research also found out which cities specifically in Asia are the best for living and working in 2024.

Singapore will be the best Asian city for ex-pats in 2024

Singapore tops the list as the best Asian city, as well as globally, for expats in 2024. With its cleanliness, its safety and its wealth of interesting cultural excursions to explore, it's an ideal option for expats.

Coming second is Bangkok, Thailand. 19% of its visitors return here, proving its demand, and there are 347 things to do in the city — from exciting street food to magnificent temples.

Tied at third place are Dubai and Penang in Malaysia.

Famous for its luxury lifestyle, Dubai's cost of living is particularly high, at $3,787 per month. Although, Dubai's tax laws mean that those earning more than £50,000 pay nothing in tax, an attractive benefit for expats.

Penang, with an average monthly living cost of $691, is followed by Chiang Mai in fourth place, with a monthly living cost of $665. Kuala Lumpur also in Malaysia comes in at fifth place with a monthly living cost of $1,064.

Ang Mo Kio ranked the most affordable place to live in Singapore for expats

With 1.23 million expats and migrant workers living in Singapore in 2022, Preply has also looked into which areas of Singapore are the most affordable, and the most expensive, to rent a one-bedroom condo to help those looking to pack their backs and make a home here.

The town of Ang Mo Kio has the best value for rent. With household incomes at $5,499, and rent costs averaging $1,268 per month, the percentage of income used on rent is 23%, the lowest figure overall.

In second place is Sembawang. It has a higher monthly household income ($8,499), though the average rent cost is almost double that of Ang Mo Kio, ($2,329), resulting in a slightly higher income percentage (27%).

In third is Yishun, with 28% of income used, followed by Punggol in fourth (29%) and Choa Chu Kang in fifth, with 30% of average income spent on rent.

The top five most expensive places to rent in Singapore

Toa Payoh is the most expensive place to rent in Singapore, with 91% of residents' income spent on rent. The average income is $5,499, and with an average monthly cost of $5,007, residents in Toa Payoh have little room to pay other expenses.

In second place is Bukit Merah, with 86% of residents' income required to pay rent. People here have the same monthly income as Toa Payoh, but the cost of rent is $4,712, making it slightly more affordable.

In third is Outram, with just over three-quarters of income needed to pay rent (77%). Kallang comes fourth, at 75%, and Geylang comes fifth (66%).

Language expert shares top tips for expats in Asia

Sylvia Johnson, Language Expert at Preply commented:

"Asia can be a real culture shock for some, particularly when it comes to speaking the language. To help out, we've put together some top language and culture tips to consider when travelling to an Asian country."

Learn some basic words in your country's language

"A simple tip that will help any expat in a new country is to learn very basic words if you don't already know the language. A simple 'please', 'thank you' and 'hello' go a long way when interacting with locals, and is your first step towards language learning.

Be mindful of dress codes

Each country, culture and religion is different when it comes to dress codes. It's important to do some research on what is appropriate to wear around the city you're living in, particularly if you're visiting a religious site like a temple.

Get to grips with body language

Body language is the secondary communication after verbal communication, and it's just as important. Get an idea of what body language is used to convey certain things. There's plenty of content online about this, so do some research and you're sure to feel comfortable communicating.

Learn the language - fluently!

It's a lot of work and a lot of dedication, but learning the native language of the country you're emigrating to is an essential part of integrating into your new life. And, it's a lot easier than you think!" - The Nation/ANN

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