Asia is the most populous continent in the world, with over 60% of the world’s population living in Asia. As such, Asia is also home to many of the world’s universities, some of the best, as a matter of fact. Universities such as Peking University and the University of Tokyo are famous the world over for the quality of their graduates. This makes Asia an attractive option for international students. Today, we will discuss how much it costs to live and study in Asia.

Cost of Studying in Asia

Given that Asia is such a vast landmass, there is of course a vast difference in cost between the most and least expensive universities on the continent. Countries such as Japan, South Korea, and Singapore are much more costly when compared to nations such as Mongolia and Kazakhstan. We will illustrate this difference in tuition fees with some examples below:

As you can tell, in terms of the cost of studying in Asia, there is a huge gap between some of the most expensive and least expensive universities. However, these are not the only costs international students will have to account for.

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Cost of Living in Asia

1. Tokyo

Tokyo is Japan’s capital and one of the world’s most modern cities, with advanced industrial, digital, and robotics industries in the city. As you can imagine, with such industries in place, Tokyo is famously regarded as one of the most expensive cities in the world.

For the cost of living for international students, Tokyo can be an expensive city. However, rent averages between 81,000 and 143,000 Yen per month. In dollars, this means that rent ranges between 654 and 1155 rent per month, which is much lower than many other large capital cities. Leisure in the city is about average when compared to other Asian cities; a movie ticket usually costs 1,850 Yen or 14.50 USD.

Finally, transportation in Tokyo varies quite a bit in price. Taxis in Tokyo range between 420 and 700 Yen, while a monthly pass for public transport costs around 10,000 Yen/80 USD.

2. Baku

The largest city on the Caspian Sea, Baku is the capital of Azerbaijan. While Baku is the most expensive city in the Caucasus, it is much cheaper when compared to other capitals in Asia, such as Tokyo and Beijing. For international students, the city can be a great choice.

For example, restaurants in Baku are much cheaper than in other countries. A two-person meal at a mid-range restaurant costs only 25 USD or 42.50 Man. A cappuccino is also relatively cheap, with an expensive one only costing 7 Man or a little over 4 dollars. Transporation in Baku is also among the cheapest in Asia, with a monthly pass for public transport only costing around 20 Man or 11 USD. Finally, rent in the city costs around 282 Man outside the city center or 518 Man within the city center.

3. Yangon

Yangon is the largest city in Myanmar. With an incredible mix of ancient, colonial, and modern architecture, the city is one of the most beautiful in South-East Asia. Exploring the city is something international students should do if they get the chance.

In terms of the cost of living in Asia, Yangon is especially affordable compared to other major Asian cities. Transportation in Yangon is remarkably affordable; a one-way ticket costs only 0.15 cents. A monthly pass also costs a little over 10 USD. Utilities are also not expensive in Yangon, with heating, water, and electricity for a medium-sized apartment costing only 28 dollars per month. Rent in the city is also notably cheaper than in other cities. A one-bedroom apartment costs between 420 and 970 dollars per month, depending on how close you are to the city center.

4. Kathmandu

Kathmandu is the capital of Nepal and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Famous for its many religious sites, international students should take the chance to visit the city when they get the chance.

Living in Kathmandu is not especially expensive, as a matter of fact, it is one of the least expensive capital cities in the world to live in. For example, utilities in Kathmandu are very cheap. Internet in the city costs only 1,619 NRs or only 13 USD. As well as the low cost of utilities, rent in Kathmandu is among the cheapest in the world. A one-bedroom apartment in the city center costs between 12,000 and 50,000 NRs, or only between 99 and 412 dollars per month. Finally, clothes are also low cost. A pair of men’s business shoes cost, on average, 4,970 NRs or only 41 dollars.

5. Mumbai

Mumbai is one of India’s largest cities and home to many of India’s most famous landmarks, including the Elephanta Caves and the Gateway of India. There are also many excellent universities in the city, such as the University of Mumbai and the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, making Mumbai a premier destination for international students.

While Mumbai is an incredible city, it is among the most expensive in terms of the cost of living in Asia. For example, rent in the city center costs between 30,000 and 60,000 Rupees per month, or between 394 and 789 USD. Childcare in Mumbai is also not cheap, with a full year of schooling at an international primary school costing, on average, 277,000 Rupees. In USD, this amounts to over 3,645 per year.

We hope that this guide has given you some insight into what it is like to study in Asia. There are many excellent universities on the continent, meaning international students have many options to choose from. Many Asian countries are affordable, especially compared to American and Western European countries.


We hope this article on the cost of living and studying in Asia was informative and helpful. To know more information like this, check out the Available Programs for International Students!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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