Digital Nomads are on the rise all over the world. Some of you might wonder, what does 'Digital Nomad' mean? Digital Nomads are individuals who work while traveling making use of digital technologies such as WiFi. Data shows that 50% of the working population prefers remote work over traditional work, and 60 to 70% of knowledge workers say that they would have no problem working from a coffee shop.
Choosing this lifestyle is about embracing new experiences and adventure along with the uncertainties it brings as opposed to traditional values of materialism and security. It differs from your regular travel, here you become an expert in finding places where you can work peacefully. You work for a few hours and look around to find new adventures waiting for you. You have a laser-sharp focus in one moment, and you are having the time of your life in the next.
Some researchers suggest that remote work often boosts productivity. You don't have to spend time to commute to one particular place, you often take longer breaks but get more things done while you're focused and you end up with more productive hours per month as opposed to your traditional office worker. These facts aside, let's explore top remote working destinations in Asia.
#1 Chiang Mai(Thailand):
Thailand has become an alluring 'remote work' destination for quite some time. Thailand's weather, low cost of living, and a comfortable lifestyle adds to its charm. Speaking of charm, Chiang Mai is a beautiful city in Thailand that pulls travelers towards the mountainous paradise; it is with ever-present colorful hills, serving as a playing field for a travel enthusiast. Chiang Mai makes it to the top for 'remote work destinations' around the world, not just Asia. It is also a great place for digital nomads to find their kind of community.
Pros of working in Chiang Mai for a digital nomad:
- Chiang Mai's weather is of a fairly lower temperature compared to the rest of the cities in Thailand.
- Inexpensive health care.
- Affordability: According to Nomad List, $1,168 per month would cover monthly expenses in the city.
- Cafes and Coworking spaces: Most cafes have WiFi and allow people to work there as long as they buy something. But, if you prefer a dedicated coworking space with all the resources you need, then you can choose coworking spaces in Chiang Mai, which are open 24/7.
- Fast Internet access (Nomad List mentions that the connection speed is 23 Mbps on average).
#2 Bangkok (Thailand):
Bangkok is very open and friendly to foreigners. It has been cited as the most visited city by the 'Mastercard Global Destinations Index' during the years 2012, 2013, 2016, 2017, and 2018. The city offers a low cost of living, a good healthcare system, decent transportation, and a vibrant culture. For a digital nomad, the city offers Airbnb facilities, co-living spaces, hostels, coworking spaces, and work-friendly cafes.
Pros of working from Bangkok for a digital nomad:
- New coworking spaces open up every other month here.
- Fast fiber optic cable Internet everywhere (Nomad List mentions that the connection speed is 25Mbps on average).
- Sim cards are cheap and can be bought from anywhere in the city along with 4G data.
- Mouth-watering street food.
- Networking opportunities with other Digital Nomads.
- Bangkok hospitals are reliable and modern.
- SkyTrain and underground train services for getting around major areas of the city.
#3 Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia):
Kuala Lumpur is both the capital city and the biggest city of Malaysia. According to the Global Liveability Ranking, the city is #2 in terms of liveability in Southeast Asia. The city has a tropical rainforest climate which is warm and sunny with an abundance of rainfall.
Pros of Kuala Lumpur for a digital nomad:
- A modern city with great infrastructure.
- Decent Internet speed (Nomad List mentions that the connection speed is 17 Mbps average along with free WiFi).
- Low cost of living.
- Quality hospitals.
- Educated population with a good grasp of basic English.
- The city is not crowded, like most major cities.
- Business laws in this city are flexible.
#4 Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam):
Ho Chi Minh is the financial capital of Vietnam. With the cost of living, nomads mention that this city is a winner, but they also mention that the networking opportunities in this city are limited compared to the above cities. But, that can be a blessing in disguise as you end up spending more time on getting things done as opposed to meeting somebody new every second day.
Pros of working from Ho Chi Minh City for a digital nomad:
- Affordable to live in and work from.
- Fast Internet (Nomad List mentions the connection speed is 21 Mbps average).
- Cashless economy (cards are accepted almost everywhere).
- Non-religious government.
- Good destination for short trips and adventures.
- Yummy Street Food.
- Coworking spaces are available.
#5 Da Nang (Vietnam):
Da Nang is the 5th largest city in Vietnam in terms of the population, and it is spacious. The city is popular for its old pagoda-style buildings, peaceful beaches, green national parks, French colonial buildings, and the sunsets that occur on the backdrop of beautiful mountains. Something worthy of a photo snap.
Pros of working from Da Nang for digital nomads:
- Inexpensive to live ($849 per month on average, according to Nomad List).
- Decent internet connection (Nomad List mentions 15Mbps on average).
- Not crowded.
- Warm climate all year round.
- Safe for women.
- Business laws here are flexible.
#6 Phuket (Thailand)
Phuket has ample rainforests, mountains, comprises of world-famous beaches and is home to various seaside resorts, spas, and restaurants. Even though Phuket is more expensive compared to other cities in this list, but it makes up for it with its exotic beaches and premium services along with notable landmarks such as Phuket Big Buddha.
Pros of living in Phuket for a digital nomad:
- Not crowded.
- Warm all year round.
- Good quality of air.
- Great hospitals.
- Safe for women and LGBTQIA+ friendly.
- Locals can speak basic English.
#7 Kathmandu (Nepal)
Kathmandu is the fastest growing city in South Asia. It is also the 6th friendliest city in Asia. The city is popular for its enchanting medieval and spiritual temples. For example, Durbar Square (UNESCO world heritage listed area) shows the finest of traditional architecture. You can spend hours wandering around the glittering glass bead shops and Buddhist prayer flags. The city comprises of ancient towns, ancient palaces, walled and hidden gardens and temples on hilltops.
Nepal is a beautiful country and fairly popular amongst tourists that are mountain climbers, rock climbers, and adventure seekers along with tourists who are into diverse cultures and diverse natural landmarks. The country possesses 8 out of 10 highest mountains in the world and various Hindu and Buddhist heritage sites.
Pros of choosing Kathmandu for a digital Nomad:
- Low cost of living (Nomad List mentions $600-$700 on average, and if you were to read blogs by frequent travelers, it is clear that Nepal is more budget-friendly as compared to Thailand).
- Kathmandu offers lots of fun activities to do, such as hiking, camping, sightseeing, trips, et cetera. You can try rock climbing, fun parks, or you could join a paintball war. Many popular hike trails start from Kathmandu and end up in a beautiful and ecstatic location. Various hotels in Kathmandu provide camping services to travelers. The locals in Kathmandu themselves love to travel around the city so if you are in a super strict budget; you could make the best use of social networking apps such as Instagram, couch surfing travel app, travel et cetera, to find locals who could show you around, including the places a traditional guide would not. Although Uber, Lyft, and Grab do not operate in Nepal, you can still use ride-sharing apps such as Tootle and Pathao and cab booking services such as Sarathi to commute.
- Kathmandu is surrounded by hills and is mostly warm throughout the year.
- English is integrated as the secondary language in the hearts of people here. Some scholars argue that it even serves as the primary language in some places, such as in education, and should be made the official language of Nepal. For you, as a knowledge worker, it can provide the ability to collaborate with locals here. Be it a web designer who could help you set up your travel blog or a content writer who could write for you at a much lower price than what you're used to.
- Kathmandu city is safe for women, and the city is friendly towards the LGBTQIA+ community. We often get to hear stories of foreign LGBTQIA+ couples choosing Kathmandu as a destination to get married.
- You can find a free WiFi service in public places in Kathmandu. Most cafes here provide free WiFi to customers, often with a collaboration with an Internet Service Provider.
One of the biggest complaints from Nomads for this city seems to be bad internet connectivity, which was true a while back, but things have changed in recent years.
If you choose a coworking space like "Rem.Work", we offer pretty stable and high-speed internet connectivity along with all your other remote working necessities. We understand that work requires a proper environment and setup, and working while sitting in a pavement or even a cafe is not always workable. We offer a state-of-the-art meeting room, corporate internet lines, dedicated desks, shared desks, private offices, a fully loaded pantry, recreational area, book corner, printer, a scanner and a trendy workspace in a much-needed quiet and peaceful residential location free from the hustle and bustle of a busy city as Neeti Sharma mentions in our previous blog post.
At "Rem. Work", we seek to build Nepal towards being a lucrative destination for digitals nomads by providing you with premium quality services that make you want to stay in Nepal a little longer, be enchanted by its beauty a little longer.