Best Accommodations For Expats In Southeast Asia

April 18 , 2021 by: Victoria Anderson

The Southeast Asia is one of those places that has been traveled by expats for decades. From the unknown Burma to the touristy Thailand, passing through the beautiful, calm and bucolic landscapes of Laos, the crystal-clear beaches of the Philippines, the intensity of Vietnam or the historic Cambodian temples of Angkor Wat.

If you are one of those people who like to look at images of beautiful landscapes on the internet, you have certainly seen wonderful photos of places in Southeast Asia, a destination that has been conquering more and more tourists for its natural and cultural riches.

With beautiful beaches and islands, mountains with stunning views and incredible historic buildings, the region is also known for its hospitable people and for its delicate and exotic cuisine, attractions that appeal to all types of travelers.

However, if you plan to visit any of the countries of Southeast Asia, it is worth preparing a little and knowing how to rent your accommodation in the country.

Photo by Quang Ngyuyen Vinh on Pixabay

Accommodation in Vietnam

A country that will not leave you indifferent in any way. Vietnam is an intense and authentic country. It is without doubts one of the best expats countries in southeast asia. With its frenetic cities, spectacular landscapes and one of the best gastronomies in all of Southeast Asia that await you, Vietnam is undoubtedly one of our favorites and to which we are looking forward to every moment.

When you move to Vietnam, finding accommodation will be one of your top priorities. Start by identifying the city or region where you want to live and learn about the lifestyle of its inhabitants.

Rent in Vietnam tends to be lower compared to other Asian countries; however, the price can be negotiated with owners when contacted directly. The rental periods are variable and generally last between one and five years. It is also possible to negotiate month by month, depending entirely on the owner.

In Vietnam, tenants are usually required to pay an advance which can amount to 1-3 months’ rent. To sign a rental agreement, the tenant must present their passport or valid visa as proof of identity. Make sure you have read and understood the different clauses of the rental agreement before signing. If you move before the lease expires, you may not get your deposit back.

Ho Chi Minh City on Unsplash

Types of accommodations in Vietnam

Different types of housing are available on the market in cities such as Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), Hanoi, Danang, Hoi An… so you must already start by identifying what type of housing you want to live in.

Most foreigners prefer to stay alone in an apartment, but many choose shared accommodation to start with: you can choose a large house to share, a large loft located in a very lively neighborhood or a small two- or three-room apartment to share with others. other expatriates. For each type, you will have a list to rent in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, or other cities in Vietnam.

If you decide to move there for the first time, we recommend that you choose a district that is not too far out: District 1, District 2 are excellent in Ho Chi Minh City for example. You will feel safe and have no language barrier issues, which is why most people choose this option. Contacting a real estate agent upstream can be interesting in order to have accommodation as soon as you arrive, but many also choose to stay at the hotel for a few days and find directly on site. This is especially the case if you have a tight budget: by being there, you can compare the prices and types of apartment to choose the one that is the least expensive.

Photo by Robert Stokoe on Pexels

Accommodation in Singapore

Singapore is like a bubble in the middle of an ocean, small and different. This country is probably one of the most advanced in the world, and has little or nothing to do with the rest of the neighboring countries. Its small size makes visiting it something simple and does not require a lot of time, making it ideal to get to know it on a long stopover of several days.

Expats wishing to relocate to Singapore should be aware that the cost of living in the country is high, which is especially true for accommodation. However, the country offers a wide range of possibilities, ranging from detached houses to condominiums or apartments. Singapore also has an efficient public transport system, so you may want to consider venturing beyond the most popular areas.

Urban tower, Singapore on Pixabay

Rent in Singapore

Some of the favorite spots for foreigners are central locations such as Orchard Road and Tanglin. These venues are bustling with activity and are ideal if you want to be close to shopping and an eclectic assortment of hawker centers – outlets with a wide selection of foods. Apartments in these areas tend to be more expensive, as do accommodation in Sentosa Cove, a delightful enclave located towards the eastern part of Sentosa Island. You will be able to find accommodation options more affordable in Serangoon Gardens as well as parts of Holland Village, which is located in a convenient area with casual bars, malls and cafes. Other areas worthy of consideration include Tiong Bahru, Tanjong Pagar and Woodlands. As a general rule, prices tend to go down the further you get from central Singapore.

Types of accommodation in Singapore

Housing and Development Council (HDB) apartments are a popular option, especially for students on a tight budget. Although HDB housing initially targeted the poorest segments of the Singaporean population, the quality of housing has increased in recent years and HDBs are well worth a visit as part of your housing hunt. However, there are restrictions for the allocation of HDB apartments and only permanent residents can submit applications. Condominiums are also very popular in Singapore, and they usually come with swimming pools, gyms, and in some cases, tennis courts. Although apartments are the most common form of housing, Singapore also offers a great choice of homes, although these cost a lot more. Among the most popular types of houses are those called “black and white”. These are houses built during the colonial era to accommodate British servicemen and their families. They are characterized by white walls and black formwork and are part of Singapore’s historical heritage. They are usually owned by the Singaporean government and are in high demand, especially by expatriates. Most black and white have large gardens, real treasures in a country where space is scarce.

Japanese Garden on Pixabay

Accommodation in Japan

There is a certain magic in the idea of ​​traveling to Japan. Not only for the fame of the cuisine, of the technological development and of the society itself, but also for the traditions; typical clothes numerous temples, and cherry trees that are as flowery as in a dream.

The cost of living in Japan and especially Tokyo is famous for being among the highest in the world. However, if you live outside of central Tokyo, adapt to the Japanese lifestyle and don’t rely heavily on food and products from your country, you may be surprised at how cheap Japan can be.

Japanese lane in Kyoto, Japan on Pixabay

Renting an apartment in Japan

When starting your searches, take a look at the many real estate agencies and websites at your disposal. The real estate agencies know very well all the nooks and crannies of the gigantic buildings stacked side by side, their agents know it like the back of their hands. Just specify your agent what you are looking for and he will show you places that suit your needs.

Each person has their own criteria for a good apartment, but here are some relevant things to take into account during your search.

In the largest cities in Japan, the central points are much more expensive than those more peripheral, far from the city center and the subway or train stations. Taking into account the efficiency of Japanese public transport, apartments close to a good station will allow you to move to virtually anywhere. Be prepared, however, for higher prices. A good apartment, close to a good station, is the priority for many, so be prepared to pay for convenience.

On the other hand, make sure your room or building is not in the direction of a railroad. You may not be very predisposed to hear the train passing by at every interval of the day. Keep in mind that you will have to pay to use rail transport, so add that to your monthly budget. It will increase!

When looking for apartments, you will usually find the abbreviations L, D and K, preceded by a number. Abbreviations come from English, L for living room, D dining room and K for kitchen. Therefore, a 2LDK apartment means a two-bedroom apartment, as well as a living room, a dining room and a kitchen. Likewise, a 1DK apartment has a bedroom, a dining room and a kitchen, and so on.

When renting an apartment in Japan, check the age of the construction. Some of these buildings may not have been well maintained yet, and you may be signing a contract that includes water damage to wooden foundations, cracks and ventilation problems if you are not careful during your search.

Seoul, South Korea by Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash

Accommodation in South Korea

Located in East Asia, South Korea shares its territory with its “sister”, North Korea. Officially recognized by the Republic of Korea, the country is one of the best expats countries in Southeast Asia, and attracts more tourists and residents each year.

One of the biggest challenges foreigners face over and over again in Korea is finding a place to live.

The easiest way to find a home in South Korea is to go to the area of ​​your desired residence and visit various real estate agents to see their offers. The types of units shown depend on the budget, size, and furnishings desired by a prospective tenant.

Once you find something you like, make an immediate down payment to secure the unit. Many people in Seoul are always looking for places to move, so a good deal can be snatched up by someone else if you wait too long.

A person who agrees to move into a unit usually pays a percentage of the rent as a gyeyakgeum (contract amount), which guarantees that neither the agent nor the owner will give it to someone else. On the day the tenant moves into the house, the remainder of the lump sum deposit (jeonse) or security deposit (bojeunggeum) must be paid to the landlord after the lease is signed. For those who rent on a monthly basis, which is called wolse in Korea, the first month’s rent is usually paid when you move or on a designated date of the month.

Huwaseong Fortress, Suwon, South Korea, by Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash

Leasing contract

The lease is signed at the real estate agent’s office by the owner, the tenant, and the agent who presented the home to the tenant. Key information such as rent and security deposit amount, move-in date, and general house rules are included in the document. Before signing, you should meticulously verify all personal information, such as names and identification numbers, to avoid fraud. In addition, the tenant receives documents about the owner’s financial situation to see if he has any debt related to the house. This is especially important for tenants who put in a lot of jeonse.

One of the main reasons for the need for the real estate agent in Korea is the large sum of money that is moved from one part to another when a house is rented. This is especially true in the case of jeonse.

This system originated at a time when Korean banks were offering huge interest rates, making it more profitable for homeowners to invest their jeonse money instead of receiving small amounts of rent each month.

Because jeonse may require several hundred thousand euros, a tenant must be fully aware of the owner’s financial status. Equally, it is important to find a real estate agent who is contractually bound to compensate the tenant if the landlord is unwilling or unable to repay the jeonse amount after the contract expires.

Taipei, Tawian by Tommy on Unsplash

Accommodation in Taiwan

Taiwan is one of the countries that, of all the destinations on the Asian continent, are worth visiting.

With 23.5 million Chinese-speaking people, Taiwan embodies the manufacture of electronic chips and high-tech objects, but the island offers a unique combination of modernity, tradition and preserved tropical nature.

If you are looking for a place to live during your stay in Taiwan and still don’t know which city to choose or accommodation type to choose, this guide is specially made to prepare your stay in Taiwan. Read on!

Whether your stay on the island is short or long, it is important to choose well in which city to stay as this choice will influence the type of tourist activities you can undertake (cycling, hiking, beaches, etc.) and tourist monuments – temples, museums etc. – depending on whether you choose to stay in Taipei, Hualien, Kaohsiung or Taichung.

The range of accommodation in Taiwan is quite wide and ranges from reasonably rudimentary youth hostels to luxury resorts.

You can search on a hotel comparison engine that, depending on the season, will show you cheap accommodation options in Taiwan.

Sometimes it is possible to find good deals on the Airbnb platform: you can benefit from an entire apartment rental starting at eighty reais a night and, often, the owners offer a reduction applicable to long stays.

For a long stay, the traveler can choose another solution, cheaper than the family home: renting a shared apartment.

Living in an apartment shared with the people of Taiwan offers unforgettable and authentic experiences, allowing for cultural and linguistic immersion, a change of scenery and an ideal discovery of the island.

Juifen old street, Taipei, Taiwan, by Vicky Ng on Unsplash

Staying in the capital of Taiwan: Taipei

Contrary to what one might imagine, rents can be quite high in Taipei: Taiwan’s standard of living is high and the population is dense. This mechanically has the effect of saturating supply in the face of high demand, mainly because social differences are significant.

Taiwan’s capital – Taipei, the “northern city” in Mandarin Chinese – will be your point of arrival on the island from Taoyuan Airport. We recommend that you stay close to the center of Taipei to be close to the tourist attractions in the city center.

Accommodation in the city of Taipei is very expensive or noisy (in Taiwan, the streets are full of scooters, which causes a lot of noise pollution!)

Give preference to the New Taipei area, separated from Taipei by the Tamsui River.

New Taipei is a city of 3.9 million inhabitants where there is a wide variety of accommodation for those looking for a little more tranquility, but on the other hand you will be far from most of the tourist attractions in Tapei.

Hong Kong by Yun Xu on Unsplash

Accommodation in Hong Kong

Located on the south coast of China, Hong Kong being one of the best expats countries in Southeast Asia is an economic power in itself. With a population of over 7.155 million, it continues to attract expats from all over the world for many reasons. If you plan to settle there, you will certainly have to find accommodation. Which shouldn’t be much of a difficult task. Indeed, Hong Kong has a wide range of accommodation to suit all tastes.

The city of Hong Kong is divided into 18 districts comprising industrial districts and residential districts. In the Central District you will mainly find businesses, financial institutions and regional governments. You will also find large luxury hotels here as well as large residential complexes. This is a very popular area for expatriates because access to essential services is easy.

The Victoria Peak district is less accessible to expatriates. There are mostly large luxury private residences, as well as luxury boutiques and gourmet restaurants. A little further, the Mid Levels district is very popular with foreigners due to the offers of modern and equipped accommodation.

SoHo and Lan Kwai Fong are renowned for being nightlife districts with a large number of clubs and nightclubs, as well as restaurants and malls, while the Western District is a commercial district. In addition, Aberdeen, Admiralty, Stanley and Tsim Sha Tsui are residential areas, including large hotels as well as new housing under construction.

Kowloon, Hong Kong on Unsplash

Types of accommodation Hong Kong

You will find different types of accommodation in Hong Kong: furnished and unfurnished apartments and condominiums, multi-story houses, villas, among others. If you plan to make a short stay in the city, you can opt for a hotel or a “serviced apartment” (aparthotel) according to your means. Note, moreover, that a large part of the furnished apartments or villas have an air conditioning system. This should not be the case for single-family homes.

It must be said that rental prices in Hong Kong are relatively higher than those charged in other Chinese cities. Indeed, Hong Kong is one of the most expensive cities in the world.

So, if you are embarking on your search for accommodation in Hong Kong, expect to see a very large chunk of your monthly budget go there.

For example, an unfurnished one-bedroom apartment could cost you around 5,000 yuan, while a furnished two-bedroom apartment could cost you around 12,500 yuan. To rent a detached house, count around 15,000 yuan per month and some 25,000 yuan per month for a villa.

As everywhere, the amounts of the rents vary nevertheless according to the geographical situation and the districts (more expensive on the island, less on Kowloon and the small islands, even less on the New Territories) and the quality of housing (renovated, equipped, furnished or not) and the building (recent or not, with elevator, etc.).

Some expats prefer to buy real estate in Hong Kong instead of renting due to the high cost of rent; obviously, prices vary depending on the residential areas and the facilities attached to them. The average price for buying real estate in Hong Kong is 25,000 yuan per square meter for a one-bedroom apartment. For a three-bedroom apartment, the average price can exceed 70,000 yuan per square meter.

Finding accommodation in Hong Kong

The best way to find accommodation in Hong Kong is through a real estate agency. This will save you time and find accommodation according to your preferences. You can also check classified ads in local newspapers or real estate websites.



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