Best Cities For Expats In South East Asia part 1 – Why South East Asia?

Best Cities For Expats In South East Asia part 1 – that will be the topic of today’s article.

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Living in South East Asia has never been more popular. The region has long been renowned for its beautiful beaches, fascinating history, and amazing food.

It is also home to some of the friendliest people around who are happy to guide expats through their new lives with advice on everything from how to order a drink at a bar in Thailand to where is the best place to find fresh seafood in Malaysia.

Best Cities For Expats In South East Asia

While some expats may choose to explore the region independently, various companies offer services specifically aimed at helping expats. These packages help foreigners new to South East Asia and want to navigate their way through local customs and language barriers.

Such companies often organize events for their clients, including all-inclusive trips to local attractions and even speed dating or coffee nights that give their members a chance to interact with people from other companies.

In this article, we will look at some of the best cities for expats in South East Asia. Not only is that, but along with tips on settling into your new life there as well as advice from those who have been there before. By the end of the article, you should know where to go and what to do on your arrival.

Why South East Asia is good for Expats

Best Cities For Expats In South East Asia

South East Asia has a rich culture, and there are many opportunities for expats. For recent graduates, an international transfer, or more experienced professionals looking to make a career change, South East Asia is a perfect choice.

There are several reasons why this part of the world is attracting many expats from all around the globe. In this section, we will walk you through the benefits or reasons why this part of the world is amazing. Without further ado, take a look at it below.

  • Low cost of living
  • Rich culture and history
  • More than 7,000 islands
  • Tropical weather all year round
  • English is widely spoken in most countries
  • Well-developed infrastructure
  • A rapidly growing economy
  • Numerous career opportunities
  • A relaxed lifestyle with plenty of sunshine
  • Year-round golfing opportunities

1)    Low Cost Of Living

There are many countries in South East Asia where the cost of living is meager.  Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar have some of the lowest costs in the world for accommodation, food, and transport. However, they also have abundant beauty with rich culture and history to offer expat residents.

2)    Rich Culture and History

South East Asia has so much to offer with its rich cultures, fascinating cities, beautiful beaches, and historical sites. The region is the birthplace of some of the oldest civilizations in world history, including Hinduism and Buddhism. It’s also home to marvelous ancient architectural treasures, including Angkor Wat in Cambodia and Borobudur in Indonesia.

3)    More Than 7,000 Islands

From the tiny fishing communities of the Andaman Islands to modern cities with skyscrapers, South East Asia has one of the most varied landscapes in the world. Many expats choose to move by boat rather than house or apartment simply because there are so many beautiful islands in the region to explore.

4)    Tropical Weather all Year Round

Being in South East Asia means enjoying a year-round, warm tropical climate with slight variation in temperature compared to other countries. Many expats living in this part of the world have said that they will never take cold British winters for granted again. There are only a few months of the year that expats might need to take additional precautions against the sun.

Best Cities For Expats In South East Asia

5)    English Is Widely Spoken In Most Countries

Many people in South East Asia speak both their native language and English fluently, making it easy for expats to settle into this part of the world, particularly if they are single or traveling alone. People are usually very helpful to expats, even those who cannot speak the language.

6)    Well-developed Infrastructure

South East Asia is a modern part of the world with a great transport network and well-developed utilities including telephone, internet, and electricity systems. The majority of people living in South East Asia have access to these services, which makes it easier for expats to live and work in the region.

7)    A Rapidly Growing Economy

The South East Asian economies are flourishing, and there is a great deal of job opportunities for expats interested in making career moves. Many multinational companies have established themselves within the region offering expats the chance to experience working with some of its most prominent businesses. Southeast Asia’s economy is growing at a faster rate than any other region in Asia.

8)    Numerous Career Opportunities

If you are thinking of relocating to South East Asia, then there are plenty of career opportunities that become available for expats daily. Many international companies have offices in the region and thus offer expats with transferable skills exceptional career opportunities.

9)    A Relaxed Lifestyle with Plenty of Sunshine

South East Asia offers expats the chance to enjoy a laid-back and relaxing lifestyle along beautiful beaches, islands, and tropical climates. The majority of people living in this part of the world spend their time outdoors, which is another reason why expats love it here so much.

10) Attractive Remuneration Packages

Beach life and relishing in the tropical climate doesn’t come cheap, so many expats can earn more money than they would at home, which helps increase their quality of living. The majority of multinational companies offering jobs to expats provide attractive salary packages with bonuses, flights back home, or even a company car, adding to the attractiveness of South East Asia.

Best Cities for Expats in South East Asia

Whether you’re looking for a laid-back beach lifestyle or a more fast-paced big city adventure, here is a roundup of some of the best cities in South East Asia for expats. Moreover, some cities are commonly overlooked but ideal for expats to live in.

Ho Chi Minh City

Best Cities For Expats In South East Asia

This vibrant metropolis is one of the most popular destinations for expats looking to settle in Southeast Asia. The city has a population of 8.7 million people, where you can find anything from open-air fruit markets to high-rise buildings and some of the best street food on earth.

There are also more than two dozen universities so expats can study for a qualification as they settle into their new life. In addition to its cultural diversity, Ho Chi Minh City is an ideal place to settle because of its temperate climate and numerous facilities that allow expats to live comfortably as well as enjoy the area’s many attractions.


Many people think of beaches and partying when they think of South East Asia, but Bangkok is a great choice for leading a more relaxed life. The city has over 15 million inhabitants and is known as the ‘city of angels’ or ‘capital of Thailand.’

It offers endless attractions such as ancient temples and palaces along with sumptuous Thai food and vibrant nightlife, but if you’re looking for a cozy lifestyle, then it’s the perfect place.

The climate is also suitable throughout the year, with average monthly temperatures between 20°C and 32°C, making it an ideal place to settle.

Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur is the capital of Malaysia and has a population of over half a million people. It is built around the Klang River and has an impressive skyline recently ranked as one of the most livable cities by The Economist Intelligence Unit.

This vibrant city offers various attractions for expats, including colonial architecture and the famous Petronas Twin Towers. But what makes this destination so attractive to expats because it has a diverse population, friendly people, and an excellent transport system. It is also within easy reach of other popular attractions in Malaysia, such as the Cameron Highlands.


Singapore is often known as the ‘Little Red Dot’ because it’s so tiny compared to its neighbors, but despite its size, it offers everything you could want from a big city. It has one of the world’s busiest ports and an excellent transport system, so expats can travel around this cosmopolitan island easily.

The city has developed rapidly over the last couple of decades and has become known as one of the most business-friendly cities in Asia. It also boasts high employment, great healthcare, and a desirable quality of life that makes it one of the top choices for expats looking to settle in South East Asia.


Another popular place for expats is the Indonesian island of Bali which is home to over four million people. It has exotic culture, warm weather, and miles of coastline, offering some of the best beaches in South East Asia.

It’s also known for its numerous Hindu temples and offers plenty of art & music festivals throughout the year to experience all aspects of Balinese culture. However, one of the most attractive features of Bali is its laid-back lifestyle which offers expats an outstanding work/life balance so they can enjoy living in this beautiful part of the world.

Siem Reap

For those looking to settle in South East Asia but prefer something more off the beaten track, then Siem Reap offers a fascinating insight into the lives of the people in Cambodia. It’s most famous for Angkor Wat, which is one of the largest religious monuments in the world and dates back over 800 years to when King Suryavarman II built it.

Siem Reap is also home to several other UNESCO World Heritage Sites, which offer a fascinating insight into the lives of people who once lived in this area. It has also become popular with tourists because it offers plenty of modern facilities while maintaining its unique culture and friendly locals.


One last destination for expats to consider is the Vietnamese capital, Hanoi. It’s a vibrant city with a history dating back over 2,000 years and is well-known for its French influence. It’s also full of life as the streets are always filled with bustling markets, colorful street food stalls, and people playing traditional games, which makes it an exciting place to be.

It has plenty to offer expats, including great healthcare, a low cost of living, and plenty of employment opportunities. Along with this, it has a rich cultural heritage to learn more about different aspects of Vietnamese life through the many festivals and religious ceremonies held in the city.

It also offers an affordable lifestyle and is within relatively easy reach of other popular tourist destinations like Ha Long Bay.

Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang is another popular choice within South East Asia and offers an unforgettable experience of Laos. It’s one of the oldest cities in this part of the world and has retained its culture despite becoming a popular tourist destination for many years.

It’s also home to numerous Buddhist temples, making it an essential place for practicing Buddhists. But it offers far more than just this with its mix of French, Laotian and Chinese influences, which gives the city a unique cultural identity.

The mix of cultures makes it an exciting place to live with plenty to discover throughout the year. Luang Prabang has become famous for being one of the most environmentally friendly cities in Asia. Hence, it’s a great place to be.


The Philippines is a popular destination for expats, and there are plenty of choices when deciding where to settle. However, the capital city, Manila, offers an exciting mix of culture and a modern facility that makes it one of the best places to live in this part of the world.

It has over 12 million people and offers plenty of employment opportunities in various sectors, which makes it a popular choice for expats looking to start a new life abroad. There are also numerous shopping malls where you can find many Western brands, so expats don’t have to adjust to living without some of the things they’re used to at home.


With a population of almost 200,000 people, the capital of Laos is a small city, but it has plenty to offer expats who want to live in South East Asia. In particular, it offers an affordable lifestyle compared with other major cities and has a rich cultural identity that reflects the traditional way of life for many Laotian people.

It has a strong heritage and is home to numerous Buddhist temples and national monuments, so there’s plenty to see and do when you take a trip out of the city. The quiet suburban areas also mean it’s easy to escape from bustling cities and relax in peace whenever you want. It might be small, but it offers great healthcare, a low cost of living, and plenty of employment opportunities, making it a great place to live.

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