Kuala Lumpur is the best place to be an expat this year, survey finds


Kuala Lumpur is a top choice for expats. Photo: AFP

Our dream travel destinations are not always the most suitable ones when it comes to establishing an expatriate existence.

At a time when turning the page on your daily routine by packing up your bags is no longer a project that can be undertaken lightly, an international ranking provides some good leads by highlighting the destinations where settling in is easiest.

Conducted by the InterNations network, which brings together more than four million expatriates, this analysis takes into account the factors that are essential for a successful new life far from home: the ease of finding housing and work, meeting friends, the cost of living, the quality of public transportation, but also the healthcare system, political stability and climate.

No less than 12,000 expatriates in 186 countries and territories were interviewed for this survey.

If you've been dreaming of New York's highrises or a sunny life on the American West Coast, you may be disappointed... Because the InterNations list doesn't feature any American destinations in its top 50.

Asia and the Middle East make up the bulk of the most advisable choices. While Kuala Lumpur is in pole position thanks to the ease of settling in experienced by expats in the Malaysian megalopolis, Singapore (5th), Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam (6th), Bangkok in Thailand (11th), Shanghai in China (13th) are other top options for expatriates.

Apart from Singapore and Shanghai, these are destinations where housing is affordable and a good living can be made.

In Ho Chi Minh City, for example, 75% of expatriates report that their salary covers more than their daily needs.

In the Middle East, Dubai (United Arab Emirates), Doha (Qatar), Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) and Muscat (Oman) are the top rated. There is no language barrier, which suits 94% of expatriates living in Dubai.

English coexists easily with the local languages. Plus with its indoor ski slope, its sensational sports activities and its extravagant theme parks, the leisure portfolio offered in Dubai is enough to make people want to spend time in this destination, which is currently very popular with those looking for a change in their life. Eighty-four per cent of respondents are delighted with the spot.

For those thinking of moving to a European country, this ranking may somewhat reduce the options. Spain stands out as the most feasible possibility, with several cities in the chart – Malaga (2nd), Madrid (10th) and Barcelona (29th).

Within the top 10, only two other cities in Europe are presented as good choices: Prague (7th) in the Czech Republic and Basel (9th) in Switzerland.

Here are the top 10 best expatriate destinations:

1. Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia)

2. Malaga (Spain)

3. Dubai (United Arab Emirates)

4. Sydney (Australia)

5. Singapore (Singapore)

6. Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam)

7. Prague (Czech Republic)

8. Mexico City (Mexico)

9. Basel (Switzerland)

10. Madrid (Spain) – AFP Relaxnews

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