The 2011 HSBC Expat Explorer Survey put Thailand at the top of its list globally for expats without children. For those who know Thailand well, it will come as no surprise that Thailand is ranked number one for overall experience, taking into account numerous quality of life factors.
The annual survey is broken down into three main criteria: Economics, Experience, and Raising Children Abroad. Thailand is at the top of the list for Experience, and retains the top position even when Economics is factored in.
Thailand’s strongest points contributing to its outstanding assessment pertained to several factors within the overall expat experience, particularly the quality of life that expats living in the Kingdom enjoy compared to 30 other countries. Highlighted by expats was the excellent healthcare system and reasonable cost, the ease of finding relatively luxurious accommodation, and one of the best working environments in the world.
The HSBC survey is the largest of its kind in the world, with 3,385 expats throughout the world answering questions on life overseas based on 55 criteria. It is all the more amazing that Thailand should garner the number one spot, given that the expats involved commented on their transition to life in a foreign country, and Thailand is an Asian country, with an Asian culture, Asian food, and an Asian language.
Almost every one of the other countries in the top ten of the Experience category have a large English-speaking population and much more in common culturally with the Western countries producing the expats; for example, Canada is number two, followed by South Africa, the Philippines, and Malaysia.
One of the most striking observations of the results must be the predominance of Southeast Asian countries in the top rankings. These are obviously places with great opportunities and growth as well as warm, welcoming populations, a low cost of living, and excellent work environments.
When you consider the above elements, and add dynamic and exciting world-class cities like Bangkok and Chiang Mai to the mix, one can begin to see why Thailand is quickly moving to the top of many international surveys and polls. Undoubtedly, Thailand is now coming into its own; expats know this and are heading east to the Kingdom in search of opportunities, experiences, and a much higher quality of life than they can have in their native lands.