Connect with us

Thai Life

Where is the world’s most popular place for expats? You won’t believe it.

Tim Newton

Published 

 on 

This city is the winner of the 2017 Expat Insider Survey. I’ll admit, I’ve never heard of it.

Where is the best place in the world to live as an expat? Mexico? Thailand? Malaysia? Bahrain? BAHRAIN?! No way, surely not.

But yes. Manama, the capital of Bahrain, has come out on top in a survey of the world’s best places for international expats to settle.

The Internations.org survey is full of surprises. Locally, the survey places Kuala Lumpur fourth in the overall list of 51 cities ranked best to worst for expats to set up home in, with Manama, Prague, and Madrid just slightly ahead.

The study compiles responses from nearly 13,000 people living and working abroad.

Expat Insider 2017 is one of the most extensive expat studies worldwide. Apart from offering an in-depth analysis of expat life in 51 cities, the survey ranks them by a variety of factors from the area’s quality of urban living, getting settled, urban work life, as well as finance and housing.

According to all these rating factors, the top 10 cities for expats are Manama, Prague, Madrid, Kuala Lumpur, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Johannesburg, Bangkok (in 8th place), Basel and Frankfurt.

Though there’s consistency in the bottom 3 voted countries, the surprises this year are Bahrain, Costa Rica and Mexico knocking the 2016 winners off the podium.

• Bahrain leaps from 19th to 1st due to ease of settling in and career satisfaction.

• Costa Rica’s warm welcome and pura vida vibe see it take second place.

• Mexico remains a favorite; expats find it easy to settle and good value for money.

Where is the world's most popular place for expats? You won't believe it. | News by Thaiger

Bangkok barely struggled into this year’s top 10 having to settle for eighth place this year. (PHOTO: NationMultimedia)

None of last year’s top 3 retained their spot this year but the bottom three remain the same – Kuwait, Greece and Nigeria (I have friends living in Santorini and swear it’s an amazing place to live – they’re digital nomads so maybe they just need good wi-fi, some cheap accommodation and bars open late.)

While Bahrain barely made the top 20 in 2016, improvements across all indices that factor into the ranking have seen the Gulf state take pole position in 2017.

Where is the world's most popular place for expats? You won't believe it. | News by Thaiger

Bahrain really excels in making expats feel at home, and the country tops the ‘Ease of Settling In’ index. It also comes first for being able to get by without learning the local language; one Kyrgyz respondent likes that “Bahrainis are very friendly and welcoming. Everyone speaks English”. In fact, a quarter of expats in Bahrain (25%) say they started feeling at home almost straight away. This is particularly impressive given that a third of respondents in Bahrain (33%) have never lived abroad before.

Respondents are also happy with their careers. Not only does Bahrain rank third in the ‘Working Abroad Index’, it is also second in the ‘Job & Career’ as well as the ‘Work-Life Balance’ subcategory. Expats in Bahrain are less positive, however, about the state of the economy (25th place), with the county ranking 18th in the ‘Job Security’ subcategory.

Many respondents praised the country: one American expat called it “a beautiful melting pot of many different cultures”, and another respondent from the Philippines said it was their “home away from home”. With such glowing reviews, it’s no surprise that almost a third of expats (32%) see themselves staying in Bahrain for more than five years, and 11% say they might stay forever.

Where is the world's most popular place for expats? You won't believe it. | News by Thaiger

KL’s ease of long-term visa hassles, variety of food, cost of living and ease of communication scored well. (PHOTO: Lonely Planet)

Locally, KL was the top performer coming in fourth place ahead of BKK in eighth place.

Although Islam is the main recognised religion of Malaysia, many other faiths are celebrated through public holidays, like Diwali and Chinese New Year. Expats also praised the city for being understood by locals, way ahead of Bangkok where non-Thai speakers can struggle.

Being an expat in Kuala Lumpur will also make your bank account smile. The city came in second in the category of finance and housing, just marginally behind Bangkok.

Expats in Kuala Lumpur have reported finding the housing search particularly easy, with 46 percent reporting that it is usually little or no difficulty in scooping up a place to live. As well as the ease of finding a house, the cost of upkeep and rent is kept to a minimal also.

With an average two-bedroom apartment in the city coming in at around US$650 per month in rent and 69 percent of expats surveyed said the financial pressures in Kuala Lumpur are kept to an absolute minimum.

Read all the winners and losers in the survey HERE.

 

 

Want more Thailand news from the Thaiger family?

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📝️ Join the conversation on Thaiger Talk - discuss news & life in our Thailand forums
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates

image

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Tim Newton has lived in Thailand since 2012. An Australian, he has worked in the media, principally radio and TV, for 41 years. He has won the Deutsche Welle Award for best radio talk program, presented over 10,000 radio news bulletins, 3,900 in Thailand alone, hosted 650 daily TV news programs and produced 2,100 videos, TV commercials and documentaries. As founder of The Thaiger, Tim now acts as the Content Manager and head-writer, whilst supervising the growth of the YouTube channel. He's reported for CNN, Deutsche Welle TV, CBC, Australia's ABC TV and Australian radio during the 2018 Cave Rescue and other major stories in Thailand.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Coronavirus (Covid-19)6 hours ago

Nightlife businesses petition government to reopen, sell alcohol

Coronavirus (Covid-19)10 hours ago

Koh Larn 70% vaccinated as Pattaya eyes reopening

Economy11 hours ago

BMA extends permits for street vendors to 2 years for stability

Phuket Sandbox July 1st

days
hours
minutes
seconds

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in July - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages in June!

Sponsored by image

Phuket13 hours ago

Expats in Phuket without a work permit can register for a Covid-19 vaccine

Environment13 hours ago

Tar balls wash ashore on several Phuket beaches

Thailand13 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Private vaccines, PM promises to re-open Thailand, Phuket Sandbox | June 17

Thailand14 hours ago

2 dead following truck crash

Thailand14 hours ago

Outbreaks at factories rise, operators ordered to file Covid risk assessment

Thailand14 hours ago

Prayut going to Phuket, see if it’s Sandbox ready

Coronavirus (Covid-19)14 hours ago

Chulabhorn Royal Academy details Sinopharm vaccine insurance

Thailand15 hours ago

Thai-English auto-translate down on Facebook due to “technical issues”

Best of15 hours ago

Top 8 Things to do in Phuket

Crime15 hours ago

Famous/infamous murder suspect out on bail wins lottery

Thailand16 hours ago

Police arrest 2 men for allegedly trying to extort 2 million baht from a man

Phuket16 hours ago

Electricty outages in Phuket today

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism4 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8

Trending