Because with all the stress coming with moving to a new land, nothing beats being able to put your mind at ease about your own safety.
Being able to walk around alone at night without worrying about getting mugged is a special kind of freedom reserved for those living in the safest cities in the world. So is sitting down to a restaurant meal without fretting about suffering from food poisoning afterwards, or using a credit card without fear of falling prey to fraud. If safety is a priority of yours, living in a city with a low crime rate and good infrastructure can make life much less stressful. Here are our top picks.
1. Tokyo, Japan
Not only is Tokyo one of the world’s most exciting cities and an intense introduction to Japanese culture, it is also possibly the safest city in the world. This is a city where lost mobile phones are dutifully reunited with their owners, and where the homicide and robbery rates are so low that umbrella theft is actually a thing.
So, it’s no wonder that Tokyo took the top spot in The Economist’s latest Safe Cities Index. Other than a low crime rate and a cultural bias towards not bothering strangers, it is also a global city with some of the world’s best infrastructure and hygiene standards that border on the nit-picky.
2. Singapore, Singapore
The tiny, orderly city state of Singapore is so safe that 94-percent of people feel safe walking around at night, compared to the world average of 69-percent. Virtually very inch of the dense city is lit by streetlamps at night, and before the pandemic quite a few convenience stores and eateries operated on an almost 24-hour basis.
Singapore is also as clean and as modern as it gets with excellent infrastructure. Whether you’re looking for a fast, secure internet connection, contemplating whether it’s safe to let your kids take public transport on their own or just wondering about whether you can drink the tap water, all your safety needs are covered.
3. Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
The capital and second largest of the seven emirates in the UAE also happens to be one of the world’s safest cities. Ranked by Numbeo as the safest city in the world for five years in a row, Abu Dhabi enjoys an extremely low crime rate thanks to compliance by the population to strict rules. Street harassment is rare and walking around alone at night is not a problem most of the time.
Abu Dhabi also happens to one of the wealthiest cities in the world thanks to the fact that 10-percent of the world’s oil is located there. This has enabled the city to enjoy word-class infrastructure, including a strong healthcare system to which medical tourists flock.
4. Wellington, New Zealand
The multicultural city of Wellington not only offers easy access to New Zealand’s natural beauty, but is also one of the safest cities in the world. The Economist’s Safe Cities Index 2019 ranked Wellington fifth in the world for personal safety thanks not only to the city’s low crime rate but also its inclusive spirit.
The city also has an excellent healthcare system with universal health coverage and strong digital infrastructure, enabling residents to enjoy the conveniences of a major city without the inconveniences.
5. Vienna, Austria
The capital of Austria is not only a mecca for classical music lovers, but also one of the safest cities in Europe. Vienna was named safest city in the world in terms of personal safety on Mercer’s Quality of Living City Ranking, and Austria is one of the world’s most peaceful countries. Walking around at night is usually safe and, despite the high number of tourists in certain areas, pickpocketing is not terribly common, although it does happen at times.
The old world charm of the historic centre is accompanied by low crime, good healthcare and good infrastructure. Your risks of getting scammed or being unable to get help in a medical urgency are low, which leaves you to enjoy Vienna with peace of mind.
6. Seoul, South Korea
If Korean Pop makes Seoul look like a stylish metropolis where it’s perfectly safe to walk around in your most stylish outfit, it’s not far off from reality. Physical safety isn’t something you’ll have to worry about, even at night. Your biggest concerns are likely to be pickpocketing or paying attention when crossing the road, but physical violence is rare.
In fact, you’ll probably feel right at home walking around at night, since Seoul is a city that’s replete with late-night activities: from internet cafes and karaoke lounges, called noraebang (literally meaning “song room”), to lively street markets which never seem to close for the night.
7. Taipei, Taiwan
You won’t have to look over your shoulder after a late-night karaoke session or a midnight visit to a night market in Taipei. The Taiwanese capital is one of the safest cities in the world, with a zero-tolerance gun policy and very little violent crime.
Taipei is a first world city with a high standard of living and good infrastructure, so you can expect a high standard of digital security and hygiene. As an added bonus, locals have a reputation for being friendly and eager to assist, so in a worst case scenario you should be able to find someone to help you out of a pickle.
8. Sydney, Australia
Enjoy the sun and surf without worrying about safety in Sydney, Australia’s biggest city. Despite being a big city, it enjoys relatively low crime levels and the risk of getting mugged or pickpocketed is low, although you should of course exercise reasonable caution no matter where you are. While there are some suburbs you might want to avoid, most of the inner city is very safe.
In terms of health, digital and infrastructure security, Sydney has got you covered. As a majority city in a developed country with one of the world’s best healthcare systems, you’ll enjoy a full range of securities and creature comforts.
By Joanne Poh