Expats in Thailand and Vietnam point out how cost-effective it is to live in these destinations
CHIANG RAI – It is not easy to learn Thai and to make friends in Thailand, but the cost of living and the culture is still a strong magnet for the expat community in Asia. Among other Asian countries, only Singapore (2nd best) and China (3rd) reach the top ten along with Thailand.
Switzerland is the top global winner of 2014 HSBC ranking for expat living, with a trusted economy, good quality of life and salaries : Switzerland-based expats more often than others mentioned the better work-life balance, availability of outdoor activities and the family oriented culture as the reasons they enjoy the Swiss lifestyle.
Thailand Ranks 3rd in Asia and 7th Globally
For expats living in the Far East, life is sweet and – often – comes at a lower price than it did at home.
Gold diggers and high-income searchers will prefer Singapore (2nd global and 1st in Asia) and China over Thailand, but more budget conscious expats named the kingdom as the best place for affordable, quality living.
Expats in Thailand and Vietnam point out how cost-effective it is to live in these destinations, with many saying that the countries offer much better value than home. The expat opinion of Thailand has not shifted particularly from last year’s survey, underlining the fact that the Far East continues to be a magnet for expats in search of cost-effective adventure.
This year, around two-thirds of expats say that they associate Thailand and Vietnam with a higher quality of life (69% and 62% respectively), with many also commenting on the comparatively higher levels of disposable income (72% and 75% respectively).
The expats said they appreciated paying less on utilities, accommodations, public transport, and groceries while 78% said the quality of their accommodation improved or stayed the same since moving. Parents ranked Thailand No 1 in the world for cost of childcare and children’s confidence, but were disappointed by the quality of education ranking 30th globally.
Around two-thirds of expats in Thailand and Vietnam associate their host country as being a culturally interesting place to live (69% and 64% respectively, compared to the global average 47%).
Thailand also ranked near the bottom of the 34 countries surveyed when it came to learning the local language, making friends and feeling welcome at work. Thailand also ranked 32nd on expats’ feelings about the environment
Less is more for expats in Thailand
Despite expats in Thailand saying they spend less on accommodation than they did at home (70% compared with the global average of 23%), the quality of accommodation is not compromised, and a large proportion (78%) of expats in the country say the quality of their accommodation improved or stayed the same.
But China is the best place for expats looking to make their money go further, with more than three-quarters (76%) of expats in the country experiencing a growth in their spending power once they moved.