Asian Expatriate Guide – A Guide to Living in Asia
Asia has a lot to offer if you are looking for a peaceful and easygoing expat life at a reduced cost of living. Expatriate life in Asia can be a mix of thrilling experiences with a few challenges thrown in; however, doing the necessary initial research can save you from a lot of hassles later. If you have already moved to your desired destination, you will have to work toward a smooth transition, especially during the initial days.
Boasting of some of the best cities to live in, every year Asia welcomes millions of expats and travelers visiting its much sought-after destinations. If you think that moving to an Asian country is a rare opportunity. Here is a guide that will assist you in making the most of your stay on this continent. Expats from all walks of life can explore the innumerable opportunities to work and live comfortably in an Asian city.
If you are an expat living in Asia, we recommend that you join the new GoExpat Asia Group.
Singapore with all its natural and architectural delights can be a great option for expats looking for a safe place to stay. Crime rates and taxes in Singapore are believed to be the lowest in the world. You can also plan your stay in Bangkok which is popular for its metropolitan lifestyle and tourist-friendly environment. Compared to North America and Europe, the cost of living in Asian countries is quite affordable, which is again a major lure for entrepreneurs and new enterprises. If you want to grow your existing business, you will have access to some of the best global talent, that too at affordable costs.
Travel Guide to Asia for Expatriates
Expats from Western countries can easily travel to Asia as visa processes in Asian countries are quite straightforward and traveling around the continent is quite affordable. The paperwork is not complex and you don’t need to have a lot of money in your bank account to get a visa for an extended stay.
Booking tickets in Asia-based airlines is the best way to save on travel costs. There are also budget airlines in Asia for those traveling on a modest budget. Flying to major airports in Asia will help you save costs. For instance, if you want to live in Phuket, you can fly to Bangkok and then board a bus or a train to Phuket. If a flight is cheaper in a neighboring country compared to the flight prices of your planned destination, you should consider taking that. Once you reach your destination, you can travel around the cities by trains and buses. The most convenient and affordable way to travel around Asian cities and countries is by bus. No matter how far you want to go, the bus will take you almost anywhere and everywhere.
Safety Guide in Asia for Expats
Asia is a beautiful continent and many natural hideaways are yet to be explored. However, not all places in this continent are completely safe for expats. Some countries that appear in the list of safest places in Asia, include Singapore, Japan, Indonesia, and Taiwan. These days, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, and Bali are favorite hubs for most expats. For a relaxed and peaceful life, retirees can consider staying in Malaysia’s Penang and Melaka.
Road safety is actually the most pressing concern for expatriates living in some Asian countries, especially in Thailand. Much of the problem lies in poor enforcement of traffic laws, especially as they relate to drunk driving. Driving in places such as Thailand and Cambodia can be a hair-raising experience. In China, it has been reported by the World Health Organization that about 200 000 people lose their lives every year due to road traffic crashes. It is another reason that expats living in Asia should have good healthcare.
There are too many things to do and enjoy in Asia; however, you will have to do the necessary research and find the safest places before you move around to enjoy their sights and sounds.
Healthcare Guide in Asia for Expats
Most of the countries in Asia offer some form of healthcare facilities to their citizens; however, the efficiency of the healthcare systems varies widely between countries. Healthcare standards in nations like Singapore, South Korea, and Japan are way better than those of Myanmar, North Korea, and Cambodia. In countries like India, China, Turkey, and Indonesia, the quality of healthcare contrasts between excellent and poor. Medical facilities in the rural and remote areas of these countries are often inadequate and inefficient.
A visit to a doctor for a regular or general check is usually very affordable in most Asian countries. If you are comfortable with the local language and have a few local currency notes, you can visit a doctor without any hassle. However, there is a huge difference in the standards between public and private medical services. Public facilities may be inexpensive, but you will have to compromise on the quality and waiting time to obtain such services. Lack of modern equipment and language barriers can be added hurdles. In countries like China and Singapore, the cost of private medical care for expatriates can be as expensive as care received in the USA!
As an expat, having access to the private healthcare system through an international health insurance plan is vital. Most of the private healthcare providers offer the necessary privacy and advanced testing equipment for lesser wait time. You can also expect an English-speaking physician to attend to your health woes. Private healthcare in Asia is undoubtedly quite expensive; however, the standards are very high if you can afford it. In every Asian country, you can expect at least one private healthcare provider. They are usually located in the capital city of that particular nation. In major expat hubs like Bangkok, Hong Kong, and Singapore, you will also find top-notch facilities and medical specialists who are experts at treating complex health issues.
Health Insurance is Vital for Expats in Asia
Purchasing health insurance before you move to Asia can be very beneficial for you as an expat. Being prepared for the unexpected can help you a lot during your transition into a new expatriate. The plans that you can opt for are adequately designed to suit the needs of innumerable expats who visit Asian destinations all year round. Local health insurance plans are usually accepted by local medical facilities or hospitals. Having a local medical care plan would mean that you won’t have to pay for medical expenses upfront. Check out if your existing global plan would be enough to cover your costs when you visit an Asian hospital. If it gives you access to a large medical network for direct reimbursement.
If you are a frequent traveler, a local health insurance policy may not suffice. Going for an international healthcare plan from a brokerage such as Expat Financial that covers you and your loved ones would be the best bet if you are relocating to an urban city in Asia. Local plans may be inexpensive, but they may not serve all the purposes that a global plan can in the long run. Remember that the cost shouldn’t be the only criteria while choosing health coverage. You will need the peace of mind while moving to Asia to start a new expatriate life; so, opting for a comprehensive global healthcare plan will help you take good care of yourself.