The safest cities in Asia are some of the best you can ever visit, and each offers a unique experience like no other. While some of these cities are rich in history and have witnessed many different empires and evolutions, most of them are recently developed and compete with each other in development. A large fraction of the safest cities are in East Asia, while thriving Middle Eastern cities also play a significant part in the mix of the safest Asian cities. The following cities are all ranked based on the Economist Safe City index that takes into account many factors, including digital security, understanding of Covid-19 restrictions, and environmental and health security.
12 Safest Cities in Asia
- 1. Singapore
- 2. Tokyo
- 3. Hong Kong
- 4. Osaka
- 5. Taipei
- 6. Seoul
- 7. Shanghai
- 8. Abu Dhabi
- 9. Kuala Lumpur
- 10. Dubai
- 11. Beijing
- 12. Istanbul
Singapore is one of the fastest evolving cities in the world and is famous for its skyscraping buildings, friendly locals, and overall quality of life. In 1965, Singapore separated from Malaysia to become an independent and sovereign state and has been rapidly developing ever since. The city is famous for being one of the cleanest destinations, incorporating natural aesthetics within urban areas and the Marina Bay Skyline. Singapore tops the charts by being the safest overall city in Asia, thanks to its high 2nd place ranking in Digital, health, and infrastructure security.
Tokyo is the capital city of Japan and one of the most famous destinations for visitors of the country for its rich history and stunning urban aesthetics. Tokyo has much to see and do, from exploring modern fashion and technology to enjoying breathtaking sceneries of blossom trees and greenery. Some of its most famous attractions include the Harajuku fashion region, Sensoji Temple, Meiji Shrine, and the Tsukiji Fish Market. Ranking 2nd as the safest Asian city in the world, visitors will surely enjoy its unique culture and heritage.
3. Hong Kong
Hong Kong is the gateway to China and one of the safest Asian cities. It is the powerhouse of international trade and investments and the residential choice for enjoying its own capitalist economic system and semi-independence from mainland China. Hong Kong is highly diverse in its residents and offers a broad range of shopping centers and street markets. The city ranks as the 3rd safest city in the Asian region and is a must-see city for anyone visiting China to compare the different economic and administrative systems.
A large port city and commercial center in Japan, Osaka is Japan’s second-largest metropolitan area, and it is covered in neon lights, massive billboards, and commercial buildings. Osaka is a tourist destination for its friendly locals, shopping centers, cultural richness, and delicious cuisines. Popular destinations in Osaka include the Dotonbori commercial district, the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan, and Shitennoji Temple. Osaka ranks as the 4th safest city in Asia and offers an entirely different atmosphere than the famous Tokyo.
Taiwan’s capital city and cultural hub for Japanese colonial architecture and historic landmarks, Taipei, is Taiwan’s political and economic center, boasting a diverse scene of modern architecture, Chinese art, and Japanese history. The city held the record of the tallest building in the world before Burj Khalifa in Dubai, known as Taipei 101, which is now one of the city’s most iconic buildings. Taipei ranks as the 5th safest city in Asia and comes in 14th for the environmental and 19th for personal security.
Seoul is the capital city of South Korea and a cultural and economic center of the country. It is one of the oldest historic cities in Korea, with a settler history dating 2000 years back to prehistoric times. Seoul is full of modern urban architecture, has minimal greenery, and is a megacity with over 10 million residents. Some of the most popular destinations for visitors include Myeongdong Market, Changdeokgung, and the Gyeongbokgung Palace. Seoul ranks as the 6th safest city in Asia and is a must-see destination for anyone visiting South Korea.
A global financial hub and major tourist destination, Shanghai was originally a fishing village and market town that evolved into one of the world’s most productive cities. Shanghai is known for its dominance of manufacturing, technology, and science industries and is the commercial center of China with one of the largest seaports in the world. Ranking as the 7th safest Asian city in the world, Shanghai offers everything one can look for, and is the most populated Chinese city.
8. Abu Dhabi
This United Arab Emirates (UAE) city makes the list of the top 12 safe cities in Asia and is the largest emirate by area in the UAE. The city shares almost the same history as its neighboring emirate Dubai, for being a seafront economic hub. However, Abu Dhabi has more cultural attractions than modern luxury experiences. Some of the most notable attractions include the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, The Louvre Abu Dhabi, Al Ain Oasis, and The Founders Memorial. Ranked the 8th safest city in Asia, Abu Dhabi is 12th in health and 25th in personal security.
9. Kuala Lumpur
One of the fastest-growing cities in Asia, Kuala Lumpur is Malaysia’s capital city, and it perfectly balances modern architecture and traditional heritage. The city’s central hub, the Golden Triangle, comprises Bukit Bintang, KLCC, and Chinatown. Kuala Lumpur hosts some of the best shopping destinations in Malaysia and boats rich history and delicious cuisine. The city is the 9th safest city in Asia according to the safe city world index.
A city that is best known for its safety and record-breaking skyscrapers, Dubai is a standard go-to destination for tourists from all over the world. Dubai is a famous luxury escape home to some of the most extravagant traveling experiences you will ever have. It offers many royal adventures, from helicopter tours to a list of 5-star stays and shopping destinations. The city was built specifically to attract tourists, with its urban development taking place in the 21st century after it was a fishing village known for its booming pearl industry. Dubai is the 2nd United Emirates city on this list, coming in as the second safest after Abu Dhabi and ranking as the 10th safest city in Asia.
Beijing is China’s capital city, known for its thriving technology and as a business hub for over 105 regional headquarters of multinational companies and 455 headquarters enterprises. Beijing is also home to the legendary Great Wall of China and the Forbidden City, the imperial palace during the Ming and Qing dynasties. According to the safe city index, Beijing ranks as the 11th safest city in Asia thanks to its high ranking at 19th for health security.
Uniquely situated in the far northwestern reaches of Turkey, Istanbul sits partially in Asia and is divided into both European and Asian sides. According to the Economist world safety index, Istanbul ranks as the 12th safest country in Asia. Istanbul is rich in cultural heritage on both its European and Asian sides, divided by a Bosphorus strait, a 20-mile-long waterway that connects the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara. The city is among Turkey's best places to visit and is often mistaken for being the country’s capital.
Narrowing down the safest cities in the world involves analyzing many factors, from the economic state and wealth to how the local governments responded to the Covid-19 pandemic. The safest cities in Asia are mainly spread across the continent's eastern side, with two cities in Japan, three in China, and its greater region. The United Arab Emirates also dominates with two of its major cities, but according to the Economist Safe City index, there is no place like Singapore. To better understand which of these cities deserves the overall best score, pack your bag and head over to check them out!
20 Safest Cities in Asia
|Rank||City||Overall Safety Rating *|
|14||Ho Chi Minh City||58.5|
*Source: The Economist (Safe Cities Index 2021)