This is where expats get paid the most

Expatriates in Southeast Asia are the highest paid globally and report greater levels of disposable income, according to a new survey from HSBC.

The average annual salary for expats -- or those living outside their home country -- in Asia Pacific was $126,000, compared with a global average of $104,000, the survey found. The survey was conducted by YouGov and questioned nearly 22,000 expats from 198 countries.

Expats in Asia also largely said they had more disposable income and could save more since moving to the region, with nearly 70 percent in some countries, such as China and Vietnam, agreeing, the survey found. The global averages were 57 percent who said they had greater levels of disposable income and 52 percent who said they were able to save more, the survey said.

"Asia offers some of the most rewarding job opportunities, allowing expats to experience and learn skills while at the same time, boost their standard of living and raise lifestyle aspirations," Matthew Colebrook, Head of Retail Banking and Wealth Management, HSBC Singapore, said in a statement.

There can be drawbacks to living abroad, however. While Singapore ranked highly in the survey -- with 65 percent saying they had greater levels of disposable income and 60 percent able to save more -- other surveys have found that expenses can sometimes be much higher than in expatriates' home countries.

For example, expatriate workers with children in Singapore international schools can expect to pay more than $409,000 in school fees over the course of their child's education, from primary school to the thirteenth and final year of compulsory education, according to a November report commissioned by The Fry Group, a financial advisory firm.

And Singapore's school fees are only set to get heftier, as the report forecasts annual fees to cost 52.3 percent more in 2020 than they did in 2010.

In addition, sometimes the higher salary packages for expats are related to higher costs of living.

The ECA International's annual MyExpatriate Market Pay Survey released in May found Japan offer expatriates the heftiest benefit packages in the region, with a typical middle-manager pay package amounting to around $375,289 per year on average.

But that's because the costs of housing, education, taxes and transportation are much higher than elsewhere.

-Ansuya Harjani and Aza Wee contributed to this article

—By's Leslie Shaffer; Follow her on Twitter @LeslieShaffer1