Pros and cons of living in Asia: Living in Asia as an expat is an exciting and unique experience. However, travelers should be made aware of many pros and cons of living in Asia. Therefore in today’s article, we will be covering the pros and cons of living in Asia & answering the ultimate question of – should I move to Asia as a foreigner.
Table of Contents
Pros Of Living In Asia
Asia Has Very Cheap Living Expenses
When investigating the pros and cons of living in Asia, you most likely come across a fundamental truth: southeast Asia is incredibly cheap for the general cost of living. The general cost of living typically includes three significant categories.
These categories include accommodation, transportation, and food. Even though there are other categories, these three tend to be the most significant. Previously we have spoken about the most affordable countries to live in Asia, which is extremely helpful if you are looking to save money while living in Asia.
Locals Are Often Very Friendly
Many locals across Asia are extremely friendly. In my personal experience, I have found those who are the most friendly to be in non-touristic areas. This is due to foreigners being a rare occurrence. Nonetheless, the locals are often friendly and welcoming to all visitors.
Some individuals also mean very well, but due to communication barriers, are often unable to express their friendliness, so if you are looking to get involved with the locals while living in Asia, it’s recommended to learn the local language as this will give you a big advantage in Asia.
Asia Is Well Know For Its Landscapes And Scenery
Some of the most beautiful sights our planet has to offer are located in Asia, and this is a pro of living in Asia as a foreigner. If you enjoy the beach life, it is recommended to visit the Philippines as these beaches are commonly referred to as the “Maldives of Asia.” Nonetheless, many Asian countries have phenomenal beaches, such as Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, etc.
Aside from the beaches, another well-known benefit of living in Asia as a foreigner is the natural wonders. Of course, there are many well-known natural wonders across Asia, but some of the most beautiful can be found off the beaten track, and some are so far removed that a few select residents only know them; therefore, it pays to network with the locals.
Opportunities To Reinvent Yourself
Life can be challenging at times, and we all wish to escape from time to time. Even though it’s not recommended to run away from your problems, there are certainly opportunities to reinvent yourself as a foreigner living in Asia.
If you are looking to reinvent yourself and start again, one of the most important things to consider is to first look at your life’s foundations, including your habits. Of course, the grass is always greener on the other side, and this is true for Asia, but if your habits and mindset do not change, it may be challenging to reinvent yourself when moving to Asia.
There Are Many Safe Cities Across Asia
Some of the safest cities in the world are located in Asia – Davao City, and Chaing Mai, to name a few. In addition, the latest statistics show there are two primary countries that rank interchangeably as the safest area in Asia. These are Japan and Singapore. Southeast Asian countries are also relatively safe but this statistic changes depending on the city in question.
Most Asian Countries Are Highly Accessible
Another important pro of living in Asia as an expat is that most Asian countries are highly accessible. Many Asian countries are also accessible to each other. It’s often straightforward to purchase a ticket from Thailand to Laos, for example.
This is very beneficial for those who need to travel to other countries due to visa requirements or simply wish to explore a new country. In addition, many Southeast Asian countries offer re-entry permits, meaning that you can leave and re-enter the country on one visa several times within a year.
You Will Feel Special In Asia
This is perhaps one of the most significant truths of living in Asia as a foreigner, but it is a reality that is rarely spoken about. Feeling a sense of uniqueness is often a great feeling, and in certain areas in Asia, you may be a rare sight.
I’ve seen people who have experienced this, and due to this inflation of confidence, they did some wonderful things that they have always wanted to do. These include getting involved with the community by teaching them new things and volunteering.
There Are Plenty Of Investment And Business Opportunities
The last pro of living in Asia as a foreigner is an opportunity for business and investment. Depending on what kind of business and investment you are interested in, some countries may be more applicable than others. For example, Singapore is a great place to invest, but it is not the cheapest, and it is not the highest return on investment, but some investments in Singapore offer much lower risk.
The Philippines, in comparison, is a fast-growing economy and is an excellent option for those who wish to start a business, especially in industries such as outsourcing. But due to several factors, real estate in the Philippines is not the strongest compared to other southeast Asian countries.
When looking at the pros and cons of living in Asia as a foreigner, You will see plenty of financial gain opportunities. Still, the type of investment and business may be better suited in a particular country in Asia, so research and consideration are often recommended in this category.
Cons Of Living In Asia
Cost Of Living Can Be High In The Capitals Of Asia
When looking at the pros and cons of living in Asia, it’s always wise to investigate one of the most important areas of survival: money. The cost of living (as we discovered earlier when looking at the pros of living in Asia) is highly cost-effective, but the capital of each country is where the difference is.
For example, let’s assume we have an individual with an average living expense living in Chiang Mai, Thailand. He/she would need around $800 USD to live comfortably in Chiang Mai. If that individual moved to Bangkok, they would need at least $1300 USD per month to have a similar lifestyle.
Visa Regulations Are Tightening
Visas are currently an ongoing development across Asia right now. Due to the recent pandemic, many Immigration services find this is the best time to re-evaluate and restructure the visa regulations for foreigners living in Asia. This is not a new occurrence, as regulations have been tightening for many years, but COVID has drawn attention to the changes.
Over the years, there have been reports of many expats deciding to live and retire in other Asian countries and also outside of Asia in general. Some authorities believe this will cause a ripple effect in the economy of certain countries. Still, other specialists argue that many Asian countries are financially stable enough not to need the financial investment of other countries.
Air Quality Can Be Bad At Times Across Asia
The air quality index map is a fascinating read as it shows every area and country around the world and their real-time pollution analysis. The air pollution score is frequently updated, but certain countries are much higher on the scale. For example, China and Thailand have some of the worst air pollutions. Conversely, other countries such as Indonesia and the Philippines have the cleanest air quality.
However, the air quality score is continuously changing. The average score of air quality control is orange, which is unsafe for sensitive groups. This ranges between green which is good and dark red which is hazardous/fatal.
It Can Be Challenging To Feel Like A Local
One disadvantage of living in Asia as a foreigner is that you will always be treated as a foreigner. This can include price discrimination at times. This is not a significant issue, but if you are looking to get involved in the community, you may find you feel this way in certain situations.
The good news is that this is not for everybody. Many locals will see you as an equal and as another human being. But, unfortunately, some will always see foreigners as foreigners. Alas, assumptions are made at this point.
Corruption Is Well Known And Present Across Many Asian Countries
Corruption is a vast topic, and no one knows the true extent of corruption in the world. Still, there have been so many stories and documented corruption cases across Asia, that it’s challenging to turn a blind eye.
When we think about corruption, we often think about government officials, but corruption is common throughout society in Asia, including the public and private domains. Some would argue that this is also common in most countries around the world but less visible.
English Proficiency Can Be low In Some Countries
It’s often recommended to learn the local language of the country you plan to live in. However, the disadvantage of living in Asia is that many countries have a low English proficiency scores and may struggle with communication. If this is a big concern, it is recommended to take a look at Singapore or the Philippines as they are the top two English-speaking countries in Asia.
On the other side of the coin, you may wish to learn the local language. Even though this is not always easy, some Asian languages are easier to learn than English, and the benefit is that you can gain a student visa in the process.
Should I Move To Asia?
Naturally, when looking at the pros and cons of living in Asia as a foreigner, there are many areas to investigate. Of course, some of these pros and cons of Asia may be more applicable to you than others, but when looking at should I move to Asia, there is one true question you must ask yourself… What am I looking for if I move to Asia?
In my experience, I’ve found those who wonder, should I move to Asia often do so because they are in a situation in life that they wish to change. This could include more money, better relationships, stress-free life, etc.
When you have decided on what you are really looking for, you can start investigating different countries to see if they offer the lifestyle you are looking for. Then, you can revisit the central question of should I move to Asia.
Personally speaking, when I decided to look at the pros and cons of living in Asia all those years ago, I knew that my life would completely change, whether good or bad. Due to the new surroundings, I was right. When you’re in a new country and a new way of life, you think differently, and you become a much better person in the process.
But on an individual level, only you can answer the ultimate question. Many travel bloggers advise that if you feel like going to a country, you should make the jump, and whatever comes of it, you will be a better person for it, to which I agree. Nonetheless, it is always best to have a backup plan and carefully consider your options after looking at the pros and cons of living in Asia.
More South East Asia Guides
- 6 Best Places To Live In Asia For English Speakers
- Best Investment Options In Southeast Asia 2022
- Best Place To Retire In Southeast Asia In 2022
- Cheapest Country To Retire In Asia For Expats
- Cheapest Place To Live In Southeast Asia 2022
- How To Save For Moving For Asia
- Pros And Cons Of Living In Asia 2022