Thursday, July 25, 2024

Top 5 places to live in Asia

Asia is overflowing with the world’s oldest cultures, is bursting with colour and vibrancy, incredible architecture, divine food, and friendly locals. Choose from the frantically-paced streets of Hanoi, Bangkok or Tokyo or the dreamiest beaches in Phuket or Halong Bay. Asia is fully loaded with captivating journeys that offer adventure or inner peace and solace. Asia never ceases to enthral new visitors, just as it has for centuries.

Trading routes have dramatically forged competitive empires as goods and philosophies were exchanged throughout the region. Asia’s ambitious people gave rise to some of the world’s most pioneering ideas and technology that can still be learned from today. There are ancient wonders and sacred spaces to be discovered, from the Great Wall of China to the temples of Angkor and Bagan and the lesser-known wonders of Nepal and Sri Lanka. 

Phuket, Thailand 

The largest island in Thailand, Phuket is a long-term heartthrob for many. Its unique blend of flamboyant, serenity, and history makes it the ideal location for expatriates that enjoy a balance of western facilities and Asian culture. The island is developing at a rate of knots, yet it still manages to retain its historic charm that dates back to the Chinese settlers and the times of tin mining.

Across the island, there are swathes of nature, including jungles, pine tree-lined beaches, and ancient rubber plantations. Hot spots such as Phuket Old Town, Nai Harn, Kata, Karon and Cherngtalay offer a resplendent fusion of traditional Thai and contemporary Asian living conveniences for residents seeking a harmonious living. 


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Shambhala, the perfect, up-and-coming location for discerning residents. Click here to see a 360 tour of Shambhala Villas, Phuket.

Phuket is known for its sporting-vibe and hosts annual marathons and Iron Man competitions; its convenient airport serves as an accessible hub to the rest of Asia. For families, it has some of the most excellent international schools, entertainment, dining and shopping facilities. 

Penang, Malaysia 

Another island favourite, Penang, is famed for its sparkling waters off Batu Ferringhi Beach and historical sites. The island happily brags about its culinary offerings which are a tasty blend of Chinese, Tamil, and Malay influences, which result in fiery curries, noodle dishes and a plethora of curious street cuisine. 


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A UNESCO World Heritage Site sits proudly in the capital – Georgetown is in the north-eastern corner of the island. It is dotted with old-fashioned colonial-era mansions, clan houses, ornate temples, a Little India, and many Chinese shop lots.

Penang is an affordable island and boasts a highly acclaimed international school, it is lively with various restaurants, night markets, and hawker stalls. The great outdoors gives residents rainforests and beaches, and a vibrant history that melds seamlessly into contemporary living.

Colombo, Sri Lanka 

Sri Lanka is a relatively new destination for expat living. It has all the excitement of living in a post-civil-war and post-colonial era. The country is discovering itself; it’s culturally rich, complex and full of religious subtleties. 

Colombo is an island just off mainland Sri Lanka that is quickly evolving and becoming a city that is comfortable for foreign settlers; people can choose to live in the thick of the hectic city or have a little more peace on the shores of the Laccadive Sea. Weekend jaunts can lead to the exploration of remote beaches, mountain vistas, the jungle or historical and religious temples, and of course seemingly endless tea plantations. 

Colombo has a good collection of international schools for those expats settling with children; there are some impressive farmers markets at the weekends for the freshest fruits and vegetables and some relatively modern shopping facilities. The food offerings are very similar to Indian cuisine, so expect some firey feasts. 

Bali, Indonesia 

This tropical island is known for its breath-taking beaches, meandering rivers and never-ending jungle scapes, temples and holistic living. There are many activities for the intrepid explorer including whitewater rafting, diving and hiking past the Sekumpul waterfalls, Tegalalang rice terraces and of course the Instagrammable Handara Gate.  

Various areas are suitable for differing expats. For those hipsters who love healthy food, yoga, surfing and a bustling nightlife then Canggu is the place to be. Ubud is further inland and surrounded by rice plantations and jungle, it’s been brushed with the reputation of being the spiritual town of the island; it has lots of divine eateries, activities and an international school. 


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For beach lovers, then Denpasar and Seminyak are better bets; accommodation here is upscale and off the party-route. The beaches are clean and calm. 

Da Nang, Vietnam

The Vietnamese are undeniably some of the friendliest in Asia. They always have a warm welcome and a beaming smile for visitors. Vietnam is a relatively small country that is cocooned by China, Laos and Cambodia; it boasts the famed Mekong River which flows from the high canyons of China and eventually out to sea through Vietnam. 

Da Nang is a true beach city with over 30km of white sandy beaches that are endlessly lined with palm trees; My Khe Beach and Lang Co are the favourites and offer lots of watersports for those with an adventurous spirit. A mere 20 minutes away is Hoi An, a perfectly preserved Asian trading village that has been crowned a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Further north is Hue, Vietnam’s ancient ex-capital city; it holds incredible history and sites of great importance. 


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Da Nang has ample employment opportunities and offers more cost-effective living expenses whilst still boasting the contemporary requirements of an eternal expat. The city has a clean environment in which to live, a stable infrastructure and exceptional living standards. Within the last decade, it has won the ASEAN Environmentally Sustainable City Award.

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