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The Best Cities for Expats in 2023

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Governments have streamlined the relocation process for foreign employees as more people pursue the digital nomad lifestyle. As a result, more and more people are leaving their homes and setting up shop elsewhere. According to a recent research from Preply, an online platform for language learning, Kuala Lumpur is the greatest option if you’re thinking about moving abroad soon and are looking for a place that balances price, safety, high-speed internet access, and entertainment opportunities.

Preply has rated Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, as the best place for expats to relocate, with a score of 6.62 out of 10 and the lowest cost of living at about $1,057 per month. A one-bedroom apartment in the city center will cost foreigners in this Southeast Asian city, on average, $407 a month. In addition, with an average monthly cost of $86 it offers the most reasonably priced co-working spaces out of the top 20 cities in the ranking. Additionally, inexpensive dining options are a big lure for expats, with meals in Kuala Lumpur costing, on average, $3.21, the second lowest of the top 10 cities. A broad variety of attractions and activities are also available in the city, such as the famous Petronas Twin Towers, art galleries, a vibrant music scene, temples, and delectable cuisine.

Preply estimates that with an average internet speed of just 11Mbps, Kuala Lumpur may not have the fastest internet in the world. Furthermore, according to the business, learning Malay well enough for a professional job would require a native English speaker 900 hours of instruction making it one of the most difficult to learn.

Tbilisi, Georgia and Lisbon, Portugal

Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, ranks second on the list of the top cities for expats with a total score of 6.58. Tbilisi is renowned for its high safety standards, despite having higher living expenses and rent averages ($651 and $1,346, respectively) in comparison to other cities.

Lisbon is ranked third in the expat rankings in Preply’s list. The capital city of Portugal, which is renowned for its wealth of attractions and events, has a steady internet speed of 29 Mbps and a low cost of living of about $1,600 per month. It also has a good safety index rating and is well-liked by retirees.

Dubai, UAE and Bangkok, Thailand

Other cities in the top rankings include Dubai and Bangkok, coming in at 4th and 5th place respectively, according to Preply’s report. In comparison to the other cities in the survey, Dubai, which is known for its opulent lifestyle, has a higher cost of living for foreigners, coming in at about £2,674. It does, however, have the second-highest average monthly pay after taxes, at £4,082, after Bern in Switzerland (£4,907). Additionally, Dubai has no taxation for those making more than £50,000. Similar to how long it takes to study Mandarin, learning the Arabic language, which is spoken in Dubai, takes 2,200 hours. A sizeable portion of the world’s population can be reached through communication in both languages.

In Bangkok, the average salary after taxes is £492, and the cost of living for expats is relatively high at £1,725. However, it boasts meals that are reasonably priced at £2.11 and the second-lowest monthly rent for a one-bedroom city center home after Kuala Lumpur, at £451.

The following top expat cities are shown below in the infographic.

The Global Expat Index by Preply

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Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Governments have streamlined the relocation process for foreign employees as more people pursue the digital nomad lifestyle. As a result, more and more people are leaving their homes and setting up shop elsewhere. According to a recent research from Preply, an online platform for language learning, Kuala Lumpur is the greatest option if you’re thinking about moving abroad soon and are looking for a place that balances price, safety, high-speed internet access, and entertainment opportunities.

Preply has rated Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, as the best place for expats to relocate, with a score of 6.62 out of 10 and the lowest cost of living at about $1,057 per month. A one-bedroom apartment in the city center will cost foreigners in this Southeast Asian city, on average, $407 a month. In addition, with an average monthly cost of $86 it offers the most reasonably priced co-working spaces out of the top 20 cities in the ranking. Additionally, inexpensive dining options are a big lure for expats, with meals in Kuala Lumpur costing, on average, $3.21, the second lowest of the top 10 cities. A broad variety of attractions and activities are also available in the city, such as the famous Petronas Twin Towers, art galleries, a vibrant music scene, temples, and delectable cuisine.

Preply estimates that with an average internet speed of just 11Mbps, Kuala Lumpur may not have the fastest internet in the world. Furthermore, according to the business, learning Malay well enough for a professional job would require a native English speaker 900 hours of instruction making it one of the most difficult to learn.

Tbilisi, Georgia and Lisbon, Portugal

Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, ranks second on the list of the top cities for expats with a total score of 6.58. Tbilisi is renowned for its high safety standards, despite having higher living expenses and rent averages ($651 and $1,346, respectively) in comparison to other cities.

Lisbon is ranked third in the expat rankings in Preply’s list. The capital city of Portugal, which is renowned for its wealth of attractions and events, has a steady internet speed of 29 Mbps and a low cost of living of about $1,600 per month. It also has a good safety index rating and is well-liked by retirees.

Dubai, UAE and Bangkok, Thailand

Other cities in the top rankings include Dubai and Bangkok, coming in at 4th and 5th place respectively, according to Preply’s report. In comparison to the other cities in the survey, Dubai, which is known for its opulent lifestyle, has a higher cost of living for foreigners, coming in at about £2,674. It does, however, have the second-highest average monthly pay after taxes, at £4,082, after Bern in Switzerland (£4,907). Additionally, Dubai has no taxation for those making more than £50,000. Similar to how long it takes to study Mandarin, learning the Arabic language, which is spoken in Dubai, takes 2,200 hours. A sizeable portion of the world’s population can be reached through communication in both languages.

In Bangkok, the average salary after taxes is £492, and the cost of living for expats is relatively high at £1,725. However, it boasts meals that are reasonably priced at £2.11 and the second-lowest monthly rent for a one-bedroom city center home after Kuala Lumpur, at £451.

The following top expat cities are shown below in the infographic.

The Global Expat Index by Preply