Best Destinations for Expats in China

If you’re looking to travel or move to China, then you’ve likely been overwhelmed by the sheer amount of options that you are given. China’s size is daunting, and when you’re looking for a place to visit you want to make the best decision possible. 

[Book Your China Tour Today]

So how can you know where to start? Well, below we have a short guide to some of the most popular places to live and work in China. We’ll discuss what high points most expats are looking for, and then how these fit into our top four cities, and your trip.


What Do You Look for in a Foreign City?

Here are some essential things to consider before choosing a place to live or visit.

  • Plenty of Work – obvious, if you’re looking to live you need to sustain yourself. Luckily, there a lot of job offers available before you move to China, for example teaching jobs.
  • Things to See and Do – you won’t be working 24/7, so make sure that wherever you move to has plenty of activity that interest you for your off-hours.
  • Good Environment – China is known for its huge population, and some of the cities are extremely crowded and dense. If you enjoy being with a crowd, great! If not, this is something you need to consider beforehand.
  • Established Expat Community – this may or may not be on your list, but having an expat community in the area will give you the opportunity to meet new people who speak your language. They’ll also be able to help you if you’re just coming over as they’ve been through the same things that you will go through.

So, which cities are the best for expats in China?


Suzhou is located in the Jiangsu Province in Eastern China. This beautiful city has been likened to Venice for its many canals and rivers. This gorgeous city is filled with beautiful gardens and is known for its natural beauty despite being home to over 10 million people.

Suzhou canals

Teaching English in Suzhou is a very accessible type of work that you will enjoy thoroughly. Transportation is improving, with a metro network under construction and becoming increasingly usable.

While transportation in a car is not ideal as there are way too many cars, bicycling is a great way to get around. Sports are also a big part of this city, with an annual half-marathon and a running club founded by expats.


This capital of the Zhejiang Province is known for the greenery and beauty of its surroundings. As a coastal city, the beauty of the water in front, and the mountains behind is astounding.

Over 21 million people call this place home, and it is known as one of the most beautiful cities in China. Culture has always been important in this city. Even though it is internationally known and become ever more a cultural melting pot, its heritage has never been forgotten and continues to decorate this beautiful landscape.


The working environment is very agreeable. Additionally, the city is always working on self-improvement concerning health care, international environment, and education.


Located along the southeastern coast of China, this seaport town was rated China’s most romantic city. This fantastic city offers a laid back life with mild weather all year round. Rents are cheaper here, although it seems that expats’ salaries are also a bit lower than expected.

Transportation is good, as the city is relatively small in size and thus easier to traverse. Taxis are everywhere and are relatively cheap, while buses are also a good way to get around.


The city provides excellent service to its inhabitants and also tries to expand on the natural beauty of China by providing lovely parks and gardens along the Pearl River Delta.

Probably the biggest advantage of living in Shenzhen is its proximity to Hong Kong. Within few minutes you’re on the more international side of China. Flights are also very cheap from there. As one of the major cities in China, a little more experience in teaching may be required when searching for a job in Shenzhen.

If you’re looking to beef up your resume to get a better job and learn more about teaching English, you should consider doing a TEFL certificate. While the cost of living is higher, the salaries are also higher. 

Shenzhen traffic at night

The lifestyle In Shenzhen is fast-paced and exciting, with a very international atmosphere. Day or night you’ll always find something to do as this city is always full of activity.

So where will you start you adventure overseas?

Learn How To Book The Cheapest Flights To China

Download FREE eBook

Follow Cez

Cez Krol

Travel blogger at eTramping
Cez lives in China like a local for the past 4 years. Apart from speaking the language, he loves to discover more about this unique country of extreme contrasts. He shares his China experiences here at Sublime China and on his blog eTramping, so go and check out what's out there for you in China.
Follow Cez