Last Updated on 5 February 2024 by Brittany
With a world of excellent digital nomad destinations to explore, many remote workers find themselves traveling through Asia. So, we’ve gathered a list of the best digital nomad cities in Asia to provide some direction for your digital nomad travels.
Oh and don’t forget, there are amazing opportunities to fully relocate and live in some of these Asian countries with a digital nomad visa!
For decades, digital nomads have traveled to Asia, thriving in new cultures, affordable prices, great wifi, and even better food. Hosting some of the best digital nomad cities in the world, remote workers instantly fall in love with Asia when they visit.
Now, we at Nomads Embassy understand how much time and effort digital nomads put into their travel itineraries. They have to be strategic about what types of cities they visit, tourist visa stays, and the logistics of actually traveling to the destination.
So, to make it easier to plan your travels this year, we’ve collected a list of the best digital nomad cities in Asia to help you out. These cities have been approved by thousands of digital nomads as remote worker-friendly and ideal places to stay.
Plus, we’ll share more information about how you can live in some Southeast Asian countries as a digital nomad for a year or more at the end.
Why Digital Nomads Travel to Asia
Asia is the world’s largest continent, offering a variety of cultures, landscapes, and opportunities for digital nomads to experience. With so much diversity, the best digital nomad cities in Asia are remote worker-friendly and ready to welcome foreigners.
For this article, we are going to focus on the best digital nomad cities in Southeast Asia and Western Asia.
Cost of Living
In general, the cost of living in Southeast and Western Asia is much more affordable than countries in the West, such as Europe and North America.
Between rent, transportation, groceries, eating out, and a local SIM card, digital nomads can actually save money while living in Asia without sacrificing comfort.
For digital nomads who enjoy warm tropical weather, Southeast Asia is perfect. With a hot climate, digital nomads can enjoy the outdoors, take advantage of working outside, and pack lightly with just a backpack.
Of course, countries such as Japan and South Korea, experience more seasons and mild or even cold weather throughout the year. These are ideal places for digital nomads who don’t mind bundling up every so often.
Asia is home to thousands of different cultures. Deeply rooted in Buddhism, digital nomads coming from the West will experience a very different mindset and attitude in Asia.
As a digital nomad, living in Asia can provide a new perspective, habits, and outlook on life when embracing local cultures.
Asia has so many vast landscapes digital nomads can explore. From gorgeous islands with white sand beaches to mountains and hills with rice paddies to bustling cities filled with millions of people, there is a place for every digital nomad.
In many of the best digital nomad cities in Asia, the technology and infrastructure are incredible. With fast wifi and internet speeds, mobile data, and reliable public transportation, the technological advancement of some of these cities is a digital nomad’s dream.
The technology and startup communities in Asia are also great places for digital nomads to network and make new connections.
Digital Nomad Visas
More and more countries in Asia, specifically Southeast Asia, are introducing digital nomad visas. These visas allow remote workers to live in a foreign country for a year or more.
For those digital nomads who fall in love with the lifestyle and a certain country in the region, a digital nomad visa could be an excellent opportunity to truly get to know a destination.
There is a large community of digital nomads across Asia. If you’re a seasoned digital nomad, you know just how important having a like-minded community around is while traveling, especially if you’re on your own.
You’ll find IT specialists, programmers, health coaches, yoga teachers, and content creators gallivanting across Asian countries, working remotely, and appreciating all the best digital nomad cities in Asia have to offer.
Best Digital Nomad Cities in Asia
Now that we know why so many digital nomads choose to travel to Asia, let’s dive into the best digital nomad cities in Asia.
As the capital city of Thailand, Bangkok is also the most populated city. With skyscraper buildings, impressive infrastructure, and plenty of coworking spaces and cafes, digital nomads either love this city or hate it.
To be fair, the hustle and bustle of Bangkok isn’t for everyone. But city-loving digital nomads will thrive in the busy and chaotic atmosphere of this city.
Digital nomads can live in Bangkok for just $1,400 per month, including rent. Eating out is also affordable, sometimes even cheaper than cooking at home.
With plenty of coworking spaces and cafes with free high-speed wifi to choose from, many digital nomads find themselves at the luxurious Great Room at Gaysorn Tower or The Work Loft, located in the city center.
If you fall in love with Bangkok, you may be eligible for the Thailand digital nomad visa, which allows qualified applicants to live in the country for up to 10 years.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Malaysia’s capital city, Kuala Lumpur, is one of the best digital nomad cities in Asia. You’ll probably recognize the iconic two glass and steel Petronas Twin Towers when you search for photos or walk around the city.
The city is a very modern city with great infrastructure for digital nomads. It’s also equipped with some amenities many other Southeast Asian cities lack, such as luxury shopping malls.
The nightlife is notable as well as the culture of hidden speakeasy bars around town. A digital nomad community thrives along the streets of Kuala Lumpur.
The average cost of living in Kuala Lumpur is around $1,100 per month if you rent an apartment in the city center.
Coworking spaces in Kuala Lumpur are plentiful and offer affordable monthly packages for digital nomads. Getting around Kuala Lumpur is also fairly easy, especially with the Monorail, LTR, and MRT networks.
If you fall in love with this destination and work in the digital domain, then you may qualify for the Malaysia digital nomad visa. This visa allows you to live in the country for up to two years.
Hanoi is a digital nomad’s dream city. Equipped with hundreds of cafes and coworking spaces, friendly people, and delicious food, this Vietnamese city has plenty to do and explore.
You could literally spend your entire trip in Hanoi enjoying the culinary delights throughout the city – and for cheap! For just around $2 per meal, you can save money while eating exceptionally well as a digital nomad in Hanoi.
The cost of living in Hanoi is less than $1,000 per month, even with an apartment in the city’s center.
Some digital nomads describe Hanoi as a large village rather than a city, which is great for remote workers looking for some excitement but not the overwhelming chaos of a capital city.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
One of the best digital nomad cities in Asia is Chiang Mai, Thailand. Located in the northern part of the country, Chiang Mai is where all of the digital nomads go to gather, especially those who work in tech.
With daily night markets, incredible street food, and gorgeous temples throughout the city, Chiang Mai is a fun and bustling little city in Thailand perfect for digital nomads.
The cost of living in Chiang Mai is around $900 per month when you rent an apartment in the city’s center.
Vibrant Cebu, Philippines will greet you with a warm, tropical atmosphere. The city is bustling with a rich cultural heritage featuring centuries-old churches and culinary delights, offering plenty to explore during your downtime.
Coworking spaces are sprouting up, giving you the perfect place to plug in and connect with a community of like-minded individuals. However, outside the city center, WiFi speeds may dwindle.
Nevertheless, this teeming city provides an enticing blend of work and leisure opportunities for the agile, global worker.
With a cost of living of just $1,100 per month with a center city apartment, digital nomads quickly fall in love with Cebu. Plus, it’s a great starting point to visit some of the thousands of islands that make up the Philippines.
If you fall in love with the country, we have good news! There is a proposed Philippines digital nomad visa that is expected to launch this year, allowing remote workers to live there for up to two years.
Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
Noted as a hotspot in Asia, Ubud, Bali is home to a large, vibrant, and diverse international community of digital nomads.
Whether you’re exploring the city’s distinct cultural heritage or networking at one of many coworking spaces, there are plenty of opportunities to connect and collaborate. Ubud’s lush landscapes and tranquil temples are also ideal for those seeking inspiration or a dose of tranquility amidst their work.
Yet, it’s worth noting that the cost of living in this digital paradise has risen somewhat over the years, so don’t expect Bali to be as cheap as it was. However, the cost is justified by the high quality of life and the array of experiences at your disposal.
From yoga classes to traditional art markets, to a progressive food scene, there’s indeed so much more to Ubud than just a perfect workspace. It still remains a genuinely captivating and beautiful destination that offers great value for digital nomads.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
As a digital nomad, you’ll find your paradise in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Offering a low cost of living (around $1,050 per month) that’s hard to beat, it’s an idyllic destination for tech-savvy nomads seeking affordability without skimping on lifestyle.
Speaking of dining, you’re in for a treat with the local food scene. Considered a gastronomic capital, Ho Chi Minh City packs a punch with its eclectic street food offerings to high-end local dishes, providing a sensational culinary journey at pocket-friendly prices.
One significant aspect that sets the city apart for digital nomads is its reliable Wi-Fi. Whether you’re working from a cozy café, your rented apartment or even public spaces, fast and reliable internet is typically standard, making uninterrupted work a breeze.
But it’s not all work and no play. The city is well-known for its vibrant nightlife. Come sundown, the city transforms into a bustling hub of entertainment with a plethora of bars, clubs, and live music venues offering a taste of the local culture and perfect opportunities for networking and socializing.
If you aren’t worried about a budget, consider Tokyo, Japan as your next digital nomad destination.
It’s a bustling city teeming with life, history, and technology. Though the cost of living leans toward the higher end, around $2,500 per month, it’s a justifiable trade-off for the quick and reliable Wi-Fi speeds averaging 70 Mbps.
The city prides itself on efficiency, providing plentiful internet cafes, as you traverse its well-structured streets and high-speed rail lines.
Beyond work, Tokyo offers plenty of cultural, gastronomic, and entertainment diversions. From exploring ancient temples, sushi sampling at Tsukiji Market, to the nightlife in Shibuya, you’ll find it hard to be bored. Plus, the locals are courteous and polite, making it a conducive environment for digital nomads.
So, while Tokyo might command a steeper living cost, its potential rewards – a seamless blend of traditional and modern lifestyles, phenomenal connectivity, and a myriad of experiences – are too enticing to ignore.
Digital nomads can live in Tokyo for up to six months with the new Japan digital nomad visa.
Seoul, South Korea
Seoul is undoubtedly a hotspot for digital nomads, and there are a number of compelling reasons for this. The city boasts unparalleled high-speed wifi, making it ideal for those whose work hinges on a reliable internet connection.
Commendable modern infrastructure coupled with a dazzling array of leisure activities to explore in your downtime makes Seoul nothing short of fascinating. You’ve got everything from palaces, night markets, and karaoke bars to hiking trails.
Importantly, the cost of living remains relatively affordable, about $2,200 per month, when compared to other major Asian cities, stretching your digital-nomad dollar further.
Still, to fully immerse yourself in Korean life, it’s advisable to grasp the basics of Hangul- the Korean alphabet. English isn’t inherently widespread and some locals might feel uneasy using it, so your initiative to learn their language would undoubtedly bridge that gap, easing social interactions whilst reaffirming your cultural respect.
Seoul is also very safe, which is great for solo travelers. Some digital nomads even leave their laptops at the table while working in a cafe to use the bathroom without worrying about someone stealing it.
Digital nomads who want to live in Seoul for up to two years can apply for the South Korea digital nomad visa.
Digital nomads looking for something a little different, Penang in Malaysia should be high on your list. You’ll find this city surprisingly affordable, around $900 per month, freeing up your budget to explore and enjoy all the unique experiences it has to offer.
Another favorable factor is the language; English is widely spoken, making the transition here smoother than in other Asian cities. Think rustic coffee shops, distinctive street art, and a culinary scene that’s sure to have your taste buds dancing.
The city’s infrastructure is also well suited for digital nomads, with numerous co-working spaces available.
However, it’s worth noting that Penang has a very tropical climate. It’s hot and humid year-round, which could be daunting if you’re not used to such conditions. Although this might deter some, the overall benefits and the vibrant atmosphere more than make up for it.
A true gem in Asia, Penang is worth considering on your digital nomad journey.
Canggu, Bali, Indonesia
We have to be honest when it comes to talking about Canggu, it isn’t for every digital nomad. Back in the mid 2010s, Canggu was a digital nomad paradise; the perfect balance between Western development and local culture. Unfortunately, it has been overrun by Instagrammers and influencers and disrespectful tourists.
However, that doesn’t necessarily mean it is not one of the best digital nomad cities in Asia. There is still plenty of beauty, community, and great wifi. In fact, with more development, there are even more amenities available. However, prices have risen recently, with some of the rents comparing to Western prices.
It’s best to rent a scooter while in Canggu, as it is not the most walkable city. But this just gives you the freedom to explore further!
If you fall in love with Indonesia and want to stay longer, you can apply for the B211A visa, allowing you to stay for six months – that is until the official Indonesia digital nomad visa finally launches.
Koh Samui, Thailand
One of the main islands in Thailand, Koh Samui is an excellent tropical destination for digital nomads who want to be near the beach. With a local airport, traveling around Thailand is quick and easy too!
There is a large expat and digital nomad community in Koh Samui, making it one of the best digital nomad cities in Asia. The people are friendly and there are plenty of things to do around the island.
From chasing waterfalls to visiting Buddhist temples to attending night markets, you’ll find peace and tranquility in Koh Samui as a digital nomad.
Relocate to Asia as a Digital Nomad
There are a ton of options when it comes to staying in the best digital nomad cities in Asia. Some digital nomads realize that they feel at home in some of these cities and never want to leave.
Fortunately, with digital nomad visas being introduced in the region, you can relocate to your favorite Asian country for a year or more!
Only a handful of countries offer digital nomad visas at the moment. These include Malaysia and Thailand. However, we are expecting new digital nomad visas in the Philippines and Indonesia to launch in the next year.
For the latest digital nomad visa news, join the Nomads Embassy newsletter, to learn when these visas become available.
Apply for Digital Nomad Visas in Asia with Nomads Embassy
Does your favorite Asian country already have a digital nomad visa?
Nomads Embassy: The World’s First Embassy for Digital Nomads is here to help make your dream of living there come true!
We’ve partnered with hand-selected local immigration lawyers to assist our readers with their digital nomad visa applications. With a seamless and stress-free process, you can quickly and confidently relocate abroad.
Plus, with our innovative and secure platform, you can safely upload sensitive documents for our lawyers to review.
Are you ready to relocate and apply for a digital nomad visa?