Situated in Karnataka, one of India’s southwestern states, the cosmopolitan city of Bengaluru offers something for everyone, from its green spaces and outdoor activities to its tech hubs and buzzing nightlife. Often still known as Bangalore, the city continues to welcome expats from all over the world.
Living in Bengaluru as an expat
At first glance, the metropolis is a patchwork of bad roads, low-slung buildings and disorganised urban sprawl, but there is much more to it than that. Propelled by its burgeoning tech industry, which is attracting techies from around the globe, Bengaluru is a city on the rise. The city is developing new infrastructure, wonderful amenities and plenty of attractions to keep its residents entertained.
Expats moving here can look for work in the transport, travel and tourism, as well as hospitality, design, marketing, banking and call centre sectors. That said, Bengaluru is perhaps most famous for its information technology industry, so much so that it’s received the nickname of 'India’s Silicon Valley'. The area known as Electronic City is a major IT hub, and many expats moving to Bengaluru will find employment in this sector.
The city has no shortage of excellent expat accommodation. From freestanding houses and gated communities, to high-end apartments and even ‘independent floors’, Bengaluru has something for everyone. Most expats prefer the mega-complexes, as these provide them with multiple convenient amenities and the opportunity to socialise and meet other expats and locals alike.
Road congestion is a nightmare and, while there are many transport options, getting around the city isn’t always easy. Despite this, the city has a convenient metro system and an extensive network of buses.
There are many healthcare facilities in the city, but the quality of public hospitals often varies. Private hospitals are often excellent and affordable, though, making private care a popular option among expats. That said, we nonetheless recommend having comprehensive health insurance to cover all eventualities.
Cost of living in Bengaluru
The city offers a reasonably cheap cost of living paired with a generally high quality of life. The Mercer 2023 Cost of Living Survey ranks Bengaluru at 189th out of 227 cities surveyed, making it one of the most affordable expat destinations in the world. Most of an expat’s pay cheque will likely be spent on items from markets, especially those who prefer imported items. With affordable accommodation and healthcare, expats can expect a balanced lifestyle and easy budgeting.
Expat families and children in Bengaluru
The city has a wide choice of public, private and international schools, though public facilities tend to be somewhat underfunded. Private schools offer better-equipped facilities, and are often the best option for those parents who wish for their children to integrate into Indian society. However, most expat parents end up choosing international schools. Though pricey, these offer children the choice of foreign curricula, allowing expats to continue with their home country’s schooling system.
For those who want to unwind from a busy working day, Bengaluru is known for its cosmopolitan lifestyle, with cafes, shops, countless entertainment options and a vibey nightlife. The city is also known as the Garden City, full of parks and green spaces, such as Lalbagh Botanical Garden. This, along with the friendly, welcoming local people, makes for a welcoming environment for families looking to raise children here. Unfortunately, this bubble contrasts the reality of poverty faced by many living in the surrounding areas, and this can be a major element of culture shock.
Climate in Bengaluru
The city and its surrounding regions have a tropical savanna climate with distinct wet and dry seasons. Bengaluru has a moderate climate throughout the year, though occasional heatwaves do occur. Between September and February, the weather is usually at its mildest in the city and the hottest time is between March and May.
Though perhaps not for the faint of heart, Bengaluru is an exciting expat destination that offers professionals, particularly those in the tech industry, a real chance for career development, and a wonderfully diverse environment to explore and enjoy. Despite the pros and cons, expats who move to Bengaluru with an open mind can truly enjoy all there is to see and do.
►Check out some Frequently Asked Questions about life in Bengaluru
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Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Bengaluru. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
Expat Health Insurance
Cigna Global Health Insurance
With Cigna, you won't have to rely on foreign public health care systems, which may not meet your needs. Cigna allows you to speak to a doctor on demand, for consultations or instant advice, wherever you are in the world. They also offer full cancer care across all levels of cover, and settle the cost of treatments directly with the provider. Cigna is currently offering a 10% discount for seniors (over 60) on their Silver package.
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