cities to live in Southeast Asia

The 7 Best Cities To Live In Southeast Asia

Planning a move somewhere totally new? Asia is a popular choice for expats across the world, in particular Southeast Asia. It’s ideal for digital nomads looking to live somewhere warm, relatively cheap and still be on the grid. So with that in mind, here’s the best cities to live in Southeast Asia.

Great wifi? Check. Hopping with culture and things to do? Check. Easy to meet people? Check. These great cities tick all the expat boxes.

Best Cities to Live in Southeast AsiaHow do these rankings work?

1. Bali, Indonesia

The Indonesian island of Bali has long been a huge draw on the travel route, for everybody from surfers and backpackers through to honeymooners and luxury travellers.

It’s the paradise island that has something for everybody. No wonder it’s one of the best cities to live in Southeast Asia.

2. Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh City (formerly known as Saigon) in the South of Vietnam is a bustling city of close to 10 million people – packed with great restaurants, bars and mopeds wherever you look.

You’ll find amazing sights around each corner to capture your imagination, from street markets to French-style cathedrals.

Ho Chi Minh things to do

3. Manila, Philippines

Manila in Philipines is one of the most densely populated cities in the world, with a total of 20 million people living in the urban area.

It’s always been an important trading city and has a long and diverse background as well as a ethnically diverse population. Not only that, it’s a beautiful city to live in, with English as a main language.

Things To Do Manila

4. Chiang Mai, Thailand

This mountain city in northern Thailand is a calm, laid back place. You’ll find hill tribe villages, elephant sanctuaries and busy markets. Chiang Mai is a popular place for digital nomads and has an impressive coffee scene.

There’s also beautiful scenery and waterfalls to explore, all in a super safe atmosphere.

Instagram Chiang Mai

5. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Home to the famous Petronas Twin Towers, the skyline here at night is unforgettable. Plus, Malaysians are naturally friendly and nice to strangers, and Kuala Lumpur is the best example of this.

The easy-going temperament of locals and their friendliness towards visitors means that it’s easy to make friends here. KL is a top spot for both tourists and expats.

cities to live in Southeast Asia

6. Bangkok, Thailand

The Thai capital of Bangkok is a city that’s absolutely bursting with street life, colour and a sense of vibrancy.

It’s the perfect spot to have as a base, where you can explore the beaches in the south, and other areas during your free time. It’s busy and overwhelming, but peel back the touristy layers and you’ll discover a brilliant city.

cities to live in Southeast Asia

7. Singapore

Singapore is a small island city-state off southern Malaysia which punches way above its weight on a global level. It’s also a centre of tourism and a serious hub for travel in Asia.

What makes it one of the best places to live in Southeast Asia is the sheer range of things to do, see and eat. It’s an easy city to navigate with a cosmopolitan vibe and a thriving expat community.

cities to live in Southeast Asia

Sarah Clayton-Lea

Co-founder of Big 7 Travel, Sarah created the company through her passion for championing the world's best food and travel experiences. Before her career in digital media, where she previously held roles such as Editor of Food&Wine Ireland, Sarah worked in the hospitality industry in Dublin and New York.

Contact [email protected]

View stories