Bangkok is now ranked in the top 50 most expensive places for expats to live in Asia. Thai cities are the biggest risers in the 2019 Cost of Living survey by ECA International, with Bangkok moving up 43 places and entering the top 50 most expensive locations for the first time at 47th place. Chiang Mai has moved up 56 places.
Two popular expat destinations, Singapore and Hong Kong, are ranked in the top 10 of the most expensive places to live in Asia. Singapore has moved up two places to be the seventh most expensive location in Asia for expatriate workers to live; it is the 13th most expensive in the world.
Hong Kong slipped one spot to be the third most expensive location in Asia for expatriates to live, behind Ashgabat, Turkmenistan and Tokyo, Japan in first and second place; it remains the sixth most expensive place globally.
Other Asian countries in the top 10 of the global rankings were Yokohama (eighth) and Nagoya (10th); Seoul was placed 16th, Macau 18th and Shanghai 22nd.
The survey compares a basket of like-for-like consumer goods and services commonly purchased by expat residents in more then 480 locations worldwide. Certain living costs, such as rent, utilities and school fees are not included in the survey as they are "usually covered by separate expat allowances".
Lee Quane, ECA International's regional director (Asia), said: “Bangkok, long seen as a cheap destination for holidaymakers and expatriates alike, has seen a huge jump in its rankings, moving the most out of all Asian cities surveyed. This is largely the result of a strong Thai baht.
"We have seen Thai cities moving significantly up the rankings over the past few years – Bangkok has moved up 75 places in the last two years alone while Chiang Mai moved up 56 places in the same period.”
Commenting on Hong Kong, Quane said: "Hong Kong’s place in the rankings has remained stable this year with the city continuing to be the sixth most expensive location in the world for expatriates.
“Despite the ongoing socio-political upheavals and the fact that the economy is in recession, we have yet to see a real impact in the cost of living in the city."
And on Singapore, Quane noted: “Despite relatively low rates of low inflation and weakening global trade growth, Singapore has risen five places to be the 13th most expensive city in the world thanks to the continued strength of the Singapore dollar. Singapore is now more expensive for expatriates than Seoul and Shanghai.”