Have you ever wondered where you could flee if World War III were to break out? With an increasingly polarized and hostile political climate around the world, these days the question doesn’t seem entirely hypothetical. Right now we are seeing a fragmentation of traditional western alliances, and meanwhile Russia’s power is rising around the world.
If you are in Asia, you might figure you are in pretty bad shape by default. Russia after all is right nearby, and both China and Japan are global superpowers with a strong martial history. China and India are the two most highly populated countries on the planet. Basically, if you live in Asia, you are right in the thick of it.
There is no way to make any objective assessment of a situation like this, because we really cannot be sure what shape WW III would take. But we do know that countries like China and Japan are likely to be swept up in it, and we also know that major population centers are most likely to be targeted either for mass violence or political oppression—especially if the war goes nuclear.
So with that in mind, the best course of action might be to move to a remote destination far from any major population center. That way you can stay out of the direct line of fire. And as a bonus, you can enjoy some of Asia’s spectacular scenery.
The downside is that a lot of these more remote countries are former Soviet satellite states—so Russia might seek to take them back. But if you’re living in a hut in the middle of nowhere, it might not really matter, right? So here are some of the best Asian countries to consider moving to if WW III does ever break out!
Bhutan joined the United Nations back in 1971. Nonetheless, if you look back over Bhutan’s history, it is like looking at an Asian version of Switzerland. Bhutan does not like to get involved in political fiascos.
Further, Bhutan’s geography would make it a hassle to invade. The country is entirely landlocked, and almost all of it is located inside the Himalayas. So despite the fact that it is bordered by China and India, it is possible that its remote, desolate reaches would be left alone.
As to what it would be like living in Bhutan, you would be living a magical life in a mysterious land. Bhutan’s rugged slopes, lush green forests, mystical monasteries, and rich spiritual heritage make it a remarkable destination like no other. There would certainly be worse ways to weather the Third World War!
Like Bhutan, Mongolia is landlocked. It is a sovereign state, bordered between China and Russia. It is quite close to Kazakhstan as well, but does not share a border with that nation.
Measured in terms of land mass, Mongolia is the 18th largest country on earth. Its entire population is only around three million. So if you are looking for isolation, you can certainly find it here. In fact, LonelyPlanet.com characterizes Mongolia as “feeling like the only person on earth.”
Most people who live in Mongolia are Buddhists. Most are also members of Mongolian ethnic groups, with horse culture still playing a key role in modern Mongolian society. At one point, Mongolia was a Soviet satellite state, but it was liberated in 1990 through a peaceful democratic revolution.
If you move to Mongolia to escape WW III, you can look forward to vast, sweeping landscapes, horse riding, hiking, camping, and other outdoor activities. The nomadic population is very friendly to travellers, making Mongolia a hospitable destination.
Nepal is another landlocked Himalayan country, located in South Asia. It shares a border with China and India.
Just how remote is Nepal? Well, consider that in the times of the British Empire, Nepal was left alone. It buffered Colonial India and Imperial China, but was never conquered by either power. Previously the country was a monarchy, but following a civil war, it became a republic in 2008.
That being said, Nepal’s military actually is pretty formidable, and it is the fifth largest in South Asia. It was involved in both previous world wars, so moving here could be a bit of a mixed bag. Plus, the internal turmoil of the past may be something Nepal has not yet entirely left behind.
All of that being said, Nepal is still undergoing reconstruction following the 2015 earthquakes. Nonetheless, most tourist routes and trails are already open again. Move here and you will be surrounded by snowy peaks, fluttering, colourful prayer flags, and a unique cultural heritage like no other.
Tibet is wedged between East and Central Asia (to the point where some have debated whether it is part of one region or the other). The political status of Tibet is also contested. China feels Tibet is its property, while the Tibetan Government-in-Exile asserts that Tibet is an independent country which is currently being occupied.
In WW III, Tibet, like Nepal, would likely be a mixed bag. Obviously this is a country with a history of violence and oppression. And as it is essentially a province of China at this point, moving to Tibet would mean that you were in effect moving to China.
On the bright side, however, you would be in some of the most remote territory on earth. It seems entirely possible that you might be able to hide out of the grid in the Tibetan wilderness. Of course, as with most of the remote terrain in Asia, you would have to be ready to eke out a tough living.
Despite its proximity to major population centers, Laos would actually be an excellent candidate if WW III broke out. This landlocked nation is bordered by China, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand.
It is a quiet, laid-back, serene land to visit, one with plenty of wide open spaces that are sparsely populated. The country’s official slogan for tourism is “Simply Beautiful.” Once you visit the remarkable city of Luang Prabang and explore the plains, caverns, waterfalls and forests which typify the country’s wilderness, you will simply fall in love with Laos.
As the oldest democracy on the entire continent, Sri Lanka is a beacon of human rights in Asia. With universal suffrage and a multi-party system, it is a country where many voices can be heard. This makes it a good choice to move to despite the dense population.
There is so much to see and do here—relax on a sandy beach, watch elephants in the Uda Walawe National Park, or explore the spectacular ruins of Anuradhapura. This is a country where you could happily spend the rest of your days!
Sometimes known as Burma, Myanmar is bordered by India, Thailand, Bangladesh and China. Myanmar has a questionable human rights record and it is in a densely populated area, so why choose it? Well, for starters, there is no train or bus service across borders, and you cannot cross by automobile or boat either. Basically, you have to fly. Such tightly controlled borders could help keep trouble at bay if WW III were to break out.
Secondly, Myanmar is home to such beautiful destinations as the Shwedagon Pagoda and the Ananda Temple. So you will find plenty here to explore and enjoy.
This vast Asian nation is the largest landlocked country in the world, and the ninth largest country on the planet overall. It was a Soviet republic in the past, and currently it has a terrible human rights record, so is it an awesome place to move to? Probably not. That being said, the standard of living is higher here than it is throughout much of central Asia, and there is plenty of vast wilderness to escape to if you are ever on the run.
The bottom line here is that if WW III ever does break out, most of Asia probably is going to be right in the middle of it, and it does not help that a lot of central Asian countries used to belong to the Soviet Union. Nonetheless, there are plenty of desolate wilderness landscapes which you could feasibly escape to if you have good survival skills and are ready to rough it.
No place in Asia is likely to be entirely safe in a world war scenario, but we can at least say one thing for sure, and that is that if you choose any of the countries above, you will at least be surrounded by gorgeous scenery!