Relaxation, enjoyment, and rest. These are the three main reasons why people backpack or travel around the world. And for a trip to fulfill these reasons, the countries to be visited should be safe. I’m willing to bet you are not eager to visit a country affected by political upheavals and terrorist attacks. The crime rate is another thing a traveler concerned about their safety would check out. Even if the political atmosphere is stable, you won’t want to suffer harm due to the deliberate actions of others.
Asia, especially Southeast Asia, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. The sights are impressive and sometimes, simply magical. The cultural experience is diverse thanks to the diverse and numerous cultures. If you are a lover of good food, you’ll be blown away by the delicious vegetable and meat-based Asian cuisines. Several historical sights are scattered throughout Asia and you are guaranteed to have tons of fun on your visit.
Despite the obvious appeal of Asia, safety and security will significantly influence the decision of many travelers. This article focuses on the safest countries in Asia. From our experience, Asia is generally a safe continent. I’ll be drawing from personal experience and the Global Peace Index to compile a list of the safest Asian countries.
What is the Global Peace Index?
The Global Peace Index (GPI) is the world’s leading and most trusted measure of global peacefulness. It is produced by the Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP) which measures the relative position of nations’ and regions’ peacefulness. The GPI ranks 163 independent states and territories according to their levels of peacefulness.
Below, you’ll find the list of the safest Asian countries.
Global Peace Index score: 1.326
Singapore, where I now live, is one of the cleanest and safest countries in Asia – and the world. Crime rate is low as citizens are quick to report crimes. The police force is also one of the most dedicated in the world and they are known to do their utmost best to solve cases and catch offenders.
The country’s low crime rate can also be attributed to the full enforcement of laws that deter people from committing crimes, self-discipline among the citizens, the installation of 24/7 surveillance systems, and harsh penalties and jail sentences.
The New York Times once described Singapore as a place “so clean that bubble gum is a controlled substance”. And they couldn’t be more right. There are harsh punishments for littering the place and everyone is expected to be on their best behavior.
There’s low risk of crime and terrorist attacks. But as with any tourist destination, petty theft and pickpocketing may happen. You can also get scammed, so you have to be smart. This isn’t difficult as long as you don’t blindly trust strangers and keep your belongings safe.
Global Peace Index score: 1.336
There’s a saying about how travelers should fear tsunamis and earthquakes more than human criminals in Japan. The saying is meant to emphasize how safe Japan is and while it’s exaggerated, there’s some truth to it as Japan is one of the safest countries in the world.
The reason for the low crime rate in Japan can be credited to the rigid and strict rules. Punishments for crimes are usually harsh and serve as strong deterrents against offenses. For example, Japan has heavily regulated gun laws to avoid incidents of mass shootings and other gun-related crimes. Drug offenses are less likely to happen there because of the severe punishments reserved for the said crimes.
Moreover, the country’s police force is hardworking. Police stations are accessible round the clock in all areas of Japan, even in small suburbs. The surveillance system is also impressive because fully functioning CCTV cameras are installed in most parts of the country, including banks, stores, malls, and even the streets.
So, as a traveler in Japan, you can expect to enjoy what the country has to offer without fearing for your safety. Even petty theft is rare in Japan.
Despite how safe Japan is, you should still be smart and follow the general safety tips I recommend when visiting a foreign country. The politeness, friendliness, and graciousness of the Japanese are bound to blow many tourists away.
Hence, if you plan to visit Japan or even decide to live there as an expat, you don’t need to worry because the country is one of the safest in Asia. Neighborhoods in Japan are guaranteed to give you peace of mind. So, if you’re looking for a place to live in Tokyo or any part of Japan, you can check out some options online. Many reputable websites offer information about the best neighborhoods in Tokyo where safety is not a concern, career opportunities abound, and essential amenities and facilities are close by.
Global Peace Index score: 1.471
Malaysia is among the best countries to visit in Asia, especially in terms of security. The country, which is one of the most technologically advanced in all of Asia, has a lot to offer travelers.
Similar to Japan, the punishment for crime is quite severe. Some drug offenses even come with a death penalty and the overall harsh punishment is a deterrent for many people. Some drug crimes even have a death penalty so people have a lot of incentives to be law-abiding.
The citizens of Malaysia are generally polite and welcoming to tourists which is great. But you should still use your head and follow your gut feeling even though tourists are rarely on the receiving end of assaults and robberies.
Also, some safety tips to consider when visiting Malaysia include keeping your purse close to you, staying away from protests, not wearing expensive jewelry, and watching out for scams.
Global Peace Index score: 1.481
Bhutan isn’t as popular as many of the other countries on this list. The country has a steep and mountainous landscape, rich cultural heritage, several monasteries and statues of Budha as well as a spicy and delicious cuisine.
Crime rate is low and violent crime is rare. Petty crimes such as burglary, bag snatching, and pickpocketing are also not common. So, you’ll need to observe normal safety precautions in the country.
Demonstrations and public protests can happen and it’s recommended you stay away from them. While they are most peaceful, they can also quickly turn violent and you don’t want to be caught in the middle of these events when they take a turn for the worse.
The weather can get really severe and natural disasters can occur. Always monitor local media and follow weather reports whenever you are in Bhutan, especially during the monsoon season.
Global Peace Index score: 1.618
Taiwan has steadily climbed up the Global Peace Index ratings over the past decade. The country is famous for its incredible scenery and amazing cuisine. Thankfully, crime rate is low in Taiwan and you only have to watch out for petty crimes like pickpocketing which tends to be more common in the major cities. Make sure your personal belongings are secure at all times.
Credit card and ATM frauds can occur. To avoid being a victim, watch how your card is being handled by others and use ATMs inside a bank or business. If the ATM is outside a building, ensure the area is well-lit and avoid using ATMs at night as much as possible.
Global Peace Index score: 1.775
Petty crime is the major concern of tourists in Mongolia. Pickpocketing and bag snatching is rampant in crowded places. This tends to be more common during the peak tourist season and major festivals.
Keep your phones out of sight and avoid wearing things that may signify wealth such as jewelry and watches as they make you a target for thieves. Also, avoid walking alone at night and don’t enter unlicensed taxis.
Prepare for the extreme weather in Mongolia. Temperatures range from 35°C in the hot season to minus 40°C in cold weather. Snowstorms, fires, earthquakes, and flooding are common in Mongolia and you should have local advice concerning you.
Global Peace Index score: 1.779
While tensions have increased between South Korea and North Korea in recent years, South Korea is still a safe country and petty crime is the biggest worry in the country. Bag snatching and pickpocketing can happen in major cities like Busan and Seoul, so you should be vigilant especially when you are in crowded areas. Overall, you should exercise a normal level of caution when you are in South Korea.
Some travelers have been victims of sexual assaults and violent crimes although the rate of these is low. Don’t leave your drinks unattended in bars and clubs. Decline drinks and cigarettes from people you don’t know and avoid walking alone at night.
Natural disasters like typhoons, earthquakes, and tsunamis can occur so you should follow local advice. Mudslides and flooding are also common during the rainy season.
Global Peace Index score: 1.786
Famous for a bloody war that spanned over three decades, Vietnam has managed to overcome its tumultuous history. Nowadays, travelers flock to Vietnam to enjoy the landscape, cultural heritage, archeological sites, and delicious cuisine.
Tourism is a big deal in Vietnam and one of the major sources of national income. So, it’s in the best interest of the country that tourists have an enjoyable time and this makes tourists’ safety a priority.
Crime rate is low and the biggest concern is petty theft like bag snatching, phone theft, and pickpocketing. These crimes are common in almost every major city in the world so you just have to take normal safety precautions and be vigilant at all times.