One of the benefits of having English as a native language is that living in Southeast Asia as an expat is much easier. In many countries across Asia, English is one of the highest languages spoken behind the country’s own local language; thus, in today’s article, we will cover the best places to live in Asia for English speakers.
Best Places To Live In Southeast Asia For English Speakers
1. Manila – The Philippines
Manila is the capital of the Philippines, and the Philippines, in general, has the second-highest level of spoken English in Asia. Moreover, Manila is the central hub for many corporations, investments, and developments. Billions of pesos have been invested in the Philippines from overseas within the first quarter of this year alone.
Manila is the best place for English speakers to live in Asia for these reasons and many others. But as there is so much more to unpack when deciding where to live as a foreigner in Asia, you may wish to check out our latest pros and cons of living in Manila, which explores some additional detail of what life is really like in Manila.
2. Kuala Lumpur – Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur is the capital of Malaysia and has an English proficiency index score of 547. Malaysia as a whole ranks third in the list of English proficiency rankings for Asian countries, just behind the Philippines.
Interestingly many Malaysians feel that they do not have a strong level of English, but when speaking English, travelers and expats communicate in near-perfect English. However, Malaysians can often come across as very shy when speaking English, as it’s very challenging to speak a foreign language to a native speaker. Still, in general, Malaysians are great at speaking English but this will differ depending on the location.
3. Phuket – Thailand
Phuket is perhaps one of the most popular and well-known tourist islands in Thailand. Phuket has gained a lot of publicity over the last few months due to the sandbox process in place.
As a whole, Phuket is an excellent spot for those looking at the best places to live in Asia as an English speaker as the English in Phuket is one of the highest in Thailand. Basic Thai is also very simple to pronounce, so if you plan to learn the local language, you won’t have too much difficulty communicating simple sentences.
4. Cebu – The Philippines
We recently spoke about retirement in Cebu and dived into several pros and cons of living in Cebu, but the question today is, is Cebu the best place to live in Asia for English speakers? Absolutely! It’s one of the most popular locations right behind Manila.
One downside of Manila is that it is getting bigger and busier by the day, so some decide to move to other areas, and Cebu is a popular hotspot. Local Filipinos in Cebu also have an excellent level of spoken English, especially if they live within the city.
5. Bangkok – Thailand
Just like every capital city, Bangkok, over the years has welcomed many international travelers. Statistics show that just over 21% of the GDP for Thailand revolves around travel and tourism; thus, English proficiency is a high-demand skill in Thailand.
Thailand, in general, is an interesting case as the English proficiency index score rates Thailand low on average. However, some areas such as Bangkok can be the best places to live in Asia for English speakers as English is in heavy demand all across Thailand, which is a rising need.
6. Hanoi – Vietnam
The last contender on the best places to live in Asia for English speakers is Vietnam, and to narrow this down, even more, the capital of Vietnam, Hanoi. According to the English proficiency index, Vietnam ranks 13th out of 24 Asian countries and has an English score of 473, which is considered low.
However, this is only a relatively new rating. Over the last few years, Vietnam has been ranking moderately and several years ago ranked 29th globally. Still, evidence suggests English has been deteriorating slightly due to several motivations, including the ongoing pandemic.
For more information about the best places to live in Southeast Asia for English speakers and other content, feel free to head over to the latest information on our YouTube channel.
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