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Looking for the best places in Asia for digital nomads? Let me help! I’ve been a digital nomad for the last six years and Asia is one of my favorite continents to work and travel.
I remember the early days of my digital nomad journey, full of excitement but also uncertainties. Asia, with its incredible affordability, was a game-changer for me, especially when I was building up my business. It’s a place where your dollar stretches further, allowing you to focus on growing your venture without the financial stress.
But there’s more to Asia than just its cost-effectiveness. The continent is home to well-established nomad communities, making it super easy to find new friends and network. Whether you’re sipping a latte in a Seoul café or working from a beachfront bar in the Philippines, you’re never far from fellow nomads who are eager to connect and share their experiences.
And let’s not forget the breathtaking scenery and rich culture that Asia offers. From the majestic temples of Cambodia to the bustling markets of Vietnam, every destination is a blend of beauty, history, and inspiration.
In this post, I’ll guide you through the top digital nomad spots in Asia, where affordability meets community, and every view is postcard-worthy.
Best Places in Asia for Digital Nomads
1. Chiang Mai, Thailand
One of the top destinations for digital nomads in Thailand is the northern capital of culture, Chiang Mai. The city is jam-packed with temples, nature getaways, and exceptional food, with a large and welcoming expat community.
In Chiang Mai, you will find lovely coffee shops and coworking spaces to work from with high-speed internet connections.
Rent is affordable, and the cost of living is generally low, even if you like to enjoy the vibrant nightlife that Chiang Mai offers.
It is also affordable to rent a scooter to explore the surrounding natural wonders and hike to the many waterfalls. With some planning, you can live on less than 1000 USD/month in Chiang Mai.
On top of that, the city is an excellent base for traveling around northern Thailand.
The downside to living in Thailand is that there is no digital nomad visa. However, Canadians and Americans can get a tourist visa for 45 days, which can be extended for another 30. After this, most people do a visa run to a neighboring country and return.
For new nomads looking for an easy place to move with a great community and low cost of living, Chiang Mai is easily one of the best places for remote workers to live.
2. Bali, Indonesia
No list of places to live for remote workers is complete without mentioning Bali. The island group has long been a favorite among remote workers and digital nomads.
If you dream about working remotely from an attractive villa with an outdoor pool surrounded by palm trees, Bali is a place to fulfill that dream – though, I do think Bali’s best days are behind it.
There is no need to mention the thriving community of expat workers you can find in Bali. WiFi is fast, safety is not a concern, and the tropical weather is amazing.
Canggu is the most popular spot in Bali for digital nomads, although it was not my favorite. While it is an unbelievably convenient place to live (coffee shops, gyms, and parties everywhere), it also comes with the cost of terrible traffic and rising prices.
Uluwatu, in the south of the island, offers nicer beaches and is growing in popularity. Ubud is also a great place to live if you’re looking for a spiritual community and easy access to nature.
3. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Another Southeast Asian place that is wonderful for remote workers is Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. Being close to Laos and Cambodia, it is a great base for travel in Southeast Asia.
Ho Chi Minh City offers fast wifi, succulent food, affordable living, and all over a fast pace as the largest and most populated city in Vietnam. The best way to get around is by motorbike, so you might as well buy a scooter like most people in the city. Or rent one for cheap when you need to get around.
When it comes to working remotely in Ho Chi Minh City, you will find a multitude of coworking spaces and work-friendly cafes. There is also a solid expat community to connect with, though generally, the people in Ho Chi Minh City are warm and welcoming to new faces.
4. Bangkok, Thailand
Bangkok, at first glance, can feel like a whirlwind of sensory overload. The bustling streets, the vibrant markets, and the non-stop energy might seem overwhelming. But once you delve into its cool neighborhoods, Bangkok reveals itself as an incredibly dynamic and exciting city for digital nomads.
In the heart of Bangkok’s seemingly chaotic facade lies a network of fascinating neighborhoods, each with its own unique vibe. Places like Ekkamai and Thonglor are not just trendy; they’re where you’ll find the real pulse of the city. These areas are brimming with quaint cafes that double as perfect remote work spots, offering strong Wi-Fi and delicious Thai iced coffee.
One of the most enticing aspects of Bangkok for digital nomads is its affordability, especially when it comes to housing. Imagine living in a modern apartment with a rooftop pool, gazing out over the city skyline, all without breaking the bank. This isn’t just a dream; it’s a reality in Bangkok. The cost of living here allows you to enjoy luxuries that might be out of reach in other global cities.
Bangkok never runs out of things to do. Whether it’s exploring the rich cultural heritage at temples like Wat Arun, indulging in street food at Chatuchak Market, or enjoying the vibrant nightlife, there’s always something new to discover. For the digital nomad, this city is not just a place to work; it’s a place to live a life full of adventure and new experiences.
5. Seoul, South Korea
Seoul, the heart of South Korea, is a dream destination for digital nomads seeking a blend of ultra-fast internet, top-notch infrastructure, and a safe urban environment.
For digital nomads, internet speed is crucial, and Seoul leads the pack with lightning-fast connectivity. This city is a tech utopia, offering not just speed but also reliability. Whether you’re video conferencing from a chic café or uploading your latest vlog from a co-working space, Seoul’s internet won’t let you down.
Safety and ease of living are paramount for anyone living the nomadic lifestyle, and Seoul excels in both. The city’s infrastructure is among the best in the world, with efficient public transport and modern amenities. Plus, the South Korean entry requirements for Canadians are relatively straightforward.
My first visit to Seoul was when a friend was teaching English here, and it was an absolute blast exploring the city’s unique spots. Animal cafes, where you can sip coffee surrounded by cats, dogs, or even more exotic animals, make for entertaining work areas. Seoul’s quirkiness is part of its charm, offering endless entertainment and cultural experiences that are both fascinating and fun.
6. Koh Phagnan, Thailand
Koh Phangan, Thailand, often recognized for its vibrant Full Moon Parties, has a lesser-known side that has become a sanctuary for digital nomads with a flourishing spiritual community.
This quieter aspect of the island, a stark contrast to the lively party scene, offers a peaceful retreat for those seeking a harmonious balance in their nomadic lifestyle. Here, you’ll find yoga retreats, meditation centers, and wellness workshops, creating an ideal environment for rejuvenation and focused work.
In places like Koh Phangan, you can enjoy a comfortable and fulfilling lifestyle without overstretching your budget, which is a dream for anyone looking to sustain their travels and work simultaneously.
The warmth and hospitality of the Thai people add to the allure of Koh Phangan. The locals are incredibly welcoming, making it easy for digital nomads to feel at home and integrated into the community. The island’s natural beauty, with its stunning beaches and lush greenery, provides a picturesque backdrop for your work.
7. Penang, Malaysia
Penang, Malaysia, is a destination that’s increasingly catching the attention of digital nomads in Asia.
Known for its unique blend of cultures, stunning architecture, and delicious cuisine, Penang offers a living experience that’s as enriching as it is affordable.
The island’s capital, George Town, is a UNESCO World Heritage site, famous for its well-preserved colonial buildings and vibrant street art. This historical charm is complemented by modern amenities and a growing number of coworking spaces, making it an ideal spot for those who need to stay connected and productive.
One of the most appealing aspects of Penang is its culinary scene. The island is a food paradise, offering a variety of dishes influenced by Malay, Chinese, and Indian cuisines.
The cost of living in Penang is another significant draw. Accommodation, food, and transportation are reasonably priced, allowing for a comfortable lifestyle without a hefty price tag.
This affordability, combined with the cultural richness and friendly community, makes Penang an increasingly popular choice among digital nomads and is high on my list of places to check out next.
8. Da Nang, Vietnam
This coastal city, known for its sandy beaches and history as a French colonial port, is another emerging digital nomad destination in Asia.
The city itself is a blend of modernity and tradition. Da Nang boasts a growing number of coworking spaces and cafes with reliable Wi-Fi, catering to the needs of remote workers. At the same time, it retains a strong sense of Vietnamese culture, evident in its bustling markets, street food stalls, and friendly locals.
One of the standout features of Da Nang is its stunning coastline, including the famous My Khe Beach. For digital nomads who love working in beachfront cafes, this is a great choice.
Affordability is another key advantage of Da Nang. The cost of living is significantly lower than in many Western countries, making it possible to enjoy a high quality of life on a modest budget.
Safety and ease of getting around add to the city’s appeal. Da Nang is known for being one of the safest cities in Vietnam, and its compact size makes it easy to explore, whether by motorbike, bicycle, or on foot.
Interestingly, Da Nang has also become a popular destination for digital nomads who previously resided in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Many of my friends from the digital nomad community in Chiang Mai migrated to Da Nang after the smoky season started last year.
9. Siargao, Philippines
Renowned as the surfing capital of the country, Siargao attracts both Filipino and international surfers with its legendary waves, particularly at the famed Cloud 9 surf spot. But Siargao’s allure extends far beyond its surf. The island is a magnet for local and foreign travelers drawn to its natural beauty and its raw, laidback island vibe.
The charm of Siargao lies in its perfect blend of tranquility and adventure. The island’s unspoiled nature creates a serene backdrop for those seeking a peaceful work environment.
Yet, it’s also brimming with activities, offering everything from surfing and island hopping to exploring lagoons and caves. This balance makes Siargao an ideal spot for digital nomads who want to integrate work with an adventurous lifestyle.
Despite its reputation as a laidback surf haven, Siargao is surprisingly well-connected, making it a practical choice for remote work. The island has seen significant improvements in internet connectivity, and a growing number of cozy cafes and small coworking spaces provide perfect spots for productivity amidst the island’s serene environment.
Final thoughts: Best Asian countries for digital nomads
Whether you’re building a business on a budget, seeking a community of like-minded individuals, or simply craving a change of scenery, Asia has something special for everyone.
From the bustling streets of Bangkok to the serene shores of Siargao, each place offers its unique blend of culture, community, and connectivity.
So, pack your bags, fire up your laptop, and get ready to explore. The beauty of being a digital nomad is that the world is your office, and in Asia, the possibilities are as endless as the horizon.