Singapore Flyer 4. Marina Bay Sands 5. Fullerton Hotel 6. City Hall 7. Clarke Quay 8. Liang Court 9.
Robertson Quay Miramar Hotel Zion Food Centre Wheelock Place Tourism Court Botanic Gardens Orchard Hotel Marriott Hotel Mandarin Orchard SVC Orchard Orchard Plaza Rendezvous Hotel Singapore Arts Museum Raffles CityRed Line: Suntec Hub Fu Lu Shou Little India Mustafa Centre Golden Landmark Kampong Glam Hotel Intercontinental City Hall Supreme Court Chinatown Kreta Ayer Whether Southeast Asia is just one base in part of your multi-base strategy or a place to settle down and live full time, there are many cities that provide great opportunities for you.
The choices you will make about where to base yourself very much depend on the lifestyle you want to lead. The cities on this list are what I myself and my team would recommend based on factors like foreign accessibility, efficiency, variety of available services, lifestyle options, and travel availability.
Even within my team, we have very different lifestyle preferences and may choose one city over another. As you read our recommendations, look for how these cities will fit into your nomadic lifestyle. The Island of Gods is one of the most popular nomad hotspots in Asia due to its exotic charm, quality of life and a large expat community. And it is certainly a heavenly spot for someone who wants to be surrounded by nature, eat healthy vegetarian food, drive a scooter around and bounce from main hubs in Ubud, to Canggu for surfing, or Seminyak to go out. This is also a hugely popular destination for interests like yoga retreats, meditation, and health classes.
My remote team was in Bali doing a three-month stay and loved it. We have written a nomad guide to living in Bali here. For one, there are some stories of credit card scams or duplicates. The economy of Bali has long been geared towards tourists, so you need to stay vigilant. Also, it can be harder to fly to, but there are options through Singapore and elsewhere for a long and refreshing visit to the big city after being in the jungle or on a beach for a while.
That said, the Balinese culture is generally very welcoming and hospitable and the nomad hubs of Ubud and Seminyak have had a huge influence on SE Asia nomad travels. Hanoi is the cultural capital of Vietnam and a great option for nomads and expats. We have written before about the cost of living in Vietnam and how to be part of the emerging economy there.
I think Hanoi is one of the more underrated cities to focus on as a base in SE Asia. Hanoi has a colonial charm and excellent cultural scene for nomads who want to be somewhere a little different than the typical mall-heavy cities of Bangkok or Singapore. One of the interesting things about Hanoi are the tube houses that result from old property tax laws.
The city has some fascinating zoning laws that result in an interesting array of homes and neighborhoods throughout. Both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, and Vietnam in general, are fast-growing cities that reflect the increasing interest in Vietnam as a regional economic powerhouse. One of my favorite cities in the world, Hong Kong is a fantastic place to bank or do business if you can. While not always considered part of Southeast Asia, Hong Kong is a truly international city on the South China Sea that defines much of the region.
Hong Kong is an incredibly expensive place to rent an apartment. A long-running real estate bubble has made it among the most expensive places to live. However, even in Central, there is a yin-and-yang about Hong Kong that makes it truly special. On the opposite corner, local merchants hawk cheap clothing next to food shacks. You can get anything you want in Hong Kong; and the slightly gritty, big city nature of it offers up plenty of ways to live abundantly.
Hong Kong offers all the benefits of big city life and the weather is great much of the year.
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Beaches, greenery, and culture like the Big Buddha are a short bus ride away. The strong business culture and low tax rates make it a great city for entrepreneurs. The Philippines is a very interesting place with friendly people that, combined with the prevalence of English-speaking locals, makes the city of Manila of great place to start. The Greenbelt Mall in Makati is filled with lush greenery, streams, a duck pond, and even a chapel.
While not huge on culture, the city has several interesting museums and attractions from its Latin roots. For the successful businessman, luxury and abundance are always an option.
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Finally, for Westerners, areas like Makati offer a city within a city with Western-style dining, such as the Filipino equivalent of the Cheesecake Factory. For the successful businessman, luxury and abundance are always an option. Finally, for Westerners, areas like Makati offer a city within a city with Western-style dining, such as the Filipino equivalent of the Cheesecake Factory. Other people may recommend other cities like Cebu or Davao, but as someone who likes capital cities, I would choose Manila for my global citizen lifestyle over anywhere else in the Philippines.
Bangkok, a vibrant international hub famous for its street food and temples is usually the first city most of the nomads go to when it comes to Southeast Asia. I like to live in places that are more developed than Bangkok so that I have better access to the things I want. You can fly anywhere in the region with very little trouble. If you want to live cheaply, you definitely can — eating street food, living somewhere further from the metro or BTS, etc.
If you are looking for a high-end lifestyle, it is accessible in areas like Silom at sky bars and different gourmet restaurants. Moreover, as an international hub, flying in and out of BKK is easy.
Spending the weekend on the beach is also affordable and easy, making Thailand an ongoing popular option. When I did this list back in , I left Bangkok off of it, much to the consternation of many viewers who hold the strong belief that Bangkok is the best place to live in Southeast Asia. Many people love the Thai lifestyle and cultural hospitality.
Ho Chi Minh is one that really punches above its weight, as people say. It has more going for it than you might surmise at first glance. Ho Chi Minh City is especially popular among location-independent workers who travel with a backpack and a laptop. The Vietnamese dong is weak, allowing your dollar or euro to go incredibly far in a market that offers very affordable living, developed shopping, fantastic restaurants, and beautiful apartment buildings. This also makes it a great place for business.
Many nomads go there to bootstrap their businesses and get the most for their dollar. The food is interesting, the culture is great, and you can easily maintain a Western lifestyle there. Though it is an expensive place to live in Southeast Asia, what Singapore has to offer when it comes to quality of living can be worth the cost for nomads and expats.
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Some might find our ranking for the second place city on our list debatable. The place is so amazingly sterile and clean that first-time visitors joke about eating off the ground. Singapore is tremendously developed and efficient and I love that about it. You can go from airport, to a car, to the city center in no time. You have access to many of the things that you want.
What turns me off about Singapore is the high cost of housing. Like Hong Kong, Singapore is both a symbol of economic freedom and a rather expensive place to live. Buying a house in Singapore is going to cost quite a bit, creating a very low yield. Because of that, me living in Singapore means renting.
That said, the diverse culture of Singapore and its highly affluent status not only makes it a perfect place for fine shopping but also for a myriad of dining and cultural options provided by the foreign talent that helped build the place.
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I personally think that Singapore can be a great place to store your wealth , and it has quite a bit going for it. First place goes to Kuala Lumpur. Kuala Lumpur has it all. Bar none, it is the most underestimated place for living in the world. You have many of the elements that make Singapore great, including a sizable English-speaking population. You have good connectivity to the most important parts of the country with, quite frankly, one of the best airports in the world for getting around.
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