By now, you must have an idea of the best places for digital nomads to work, based on your own traveling experiences. I know I do! My personal criteria include several practical things (as well as more trivial ones, if I were to be perfectly honest). Aside from having steady WiFi in the premises – or at least a reliable internet connection, I prefer places where there are coworking spaces (and other digital nomads), encourage a good work-life balance, and won’t make my wallet hemorrhage because of the high cost of living.
A decade ago, this might seem like a tall order. However, I am happy to report that after a couple of years of being a freelancer, I discovered some of the best cities for digital nomads. I have to admit that a lot of countries and cities made it to my shortlist. However, I managed to whittle down the list to ten of the most practical, exciting, and friendliest places in two continents where I could work remotely. So in no particular order, here they are. I hope you find this list useful, in turn.
When I was making this list, I asked some of my digital nomad friends about which county is the best place to work remotely, and the majority of them mentioned Thailand. This sun-warmed South East Asian country is also a personal favorite for several reasons. Aside from the delicious cuisine, gorgeous beaches, friendly people, and a rich, colorful history, Thailand offers up several cities that are digital nomad-friendly. Here are three of the best ones based on my experience:
Bangkok is one of the friendliest Asian cities for tourists and expats, with a thoughtful tourism industry that caters to just about any rest-and-relaxation demand. This kind of thoughtfulness translates into the perfect digital nomad experience, including high-quality hotels and inns with a business-class internet connection, plenty of coworking spaces, and (my personal favorite) some of the yummiest and most affordable street food ever!
A second favorite Thai destination of mine is Chiang Mai. As a digital nomad, I’ve hardly experienced any problems here when it comes to connecting with my overseas clients and even family members. A lot of expats like staying for long periods here, thanks to the proliferation of coworking spaces and the inexpensive cost of living that still feels like a vacation (for the most part).
Though not as popular as the first two Thai destinations I mentioned above, Koh Lanta nevertheless makes it to this nomads list for a particular reason. It’s fast becoming a hotbed of coworking spaces set in a tropical resort-like backdrop that expats and adventurous backpackers find irresistible.
Bali’s lush, tropical appeal doesn’t belie the fact that it is now a preferred remote workplace for a lot of digital nomads like you and me. What used to be a place where you can set your body to full vacation mode is now also known for its thriving digital coworking community, where private tiled poolsides surrounded by greenery are now favorite places to sip a cocktail while tapping away on one’s laptop.
Singapore has a reputation for being a reliable digital hub for vacationers and business folk alike. In fact, it is aiming to be Asia’s digital capital; offering an ecosystem with one of the fastest internet speeds in the continent – apart from a free, island-wide hotspot service that offers round-the-clock convenience.
While Taipei doesn’t exactly have the fastest Internet speed in Asia, I would venture to say that it’s reliable enough to meet deadlines for work. There is free WiFi in the city which makes it convenient for anyone who needs to connect online while walking around (it’s incredibly walkable, and there are plenty of yummy food places to go to!).
Hands down, some of the best countries for digital nomads can be found all over Europe. Not only is the continent steeped in unique history and culture; it also offers plenty of conveniences and attractions for those who prefer the digital nomad lifestyle. With that in mind, I’ve rounded up four of my favorite cities in Europe where I can work remotely (while still be on vacation mode).
I’ve read up on so many digital nomad guides in Europe, and every one of them mentions Berlin as a top destination. Short-term rent is relatively affordable, and there are plenty of coworking spaces and coffee shops to conduct your business.
To be honest, Lisbon was never a destination I would think of visiting, if not for a conference I had to attend for a client. But when I was there a couple of years ago, I was pleasantly surprised. Not only did it have an old-world charm that instantly appealed to me; Lisbon also proved to be the perfect destination for digital nomads. In fact, I was amused to discover that there are actually regular digital nomad “meetups” all over Lisbon!
Though a bit late to the digital nomad game, Prague is fast becoming a favorite “work destination” for those who like a good mix of gothic architecture with a nightlife that’s exciting and colorful (strange combo but it works, trust me!). I was happy to discover that there are many coworking spaces here, filled with other friendly digital nomads willing to give me impromptu tours of the city. Best of all – their beer is good and extremely cheap!
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
If you like warm weather and an overall island vibe, I cannot recommend Las Palmas de Gran Canaria enough. It’s no wonder there’s a thriving community of expats here, what with the heady combination of beaches and heritage establishments, plus lots of coworking spaces to choose from. It’s exotic but welcoming, and definitely an exciting place for any digital nomad at any time of the year.
So there you have it – ten of the best digital nomad cities I would actually recommend for other digital nomads to visit! Though some of them don’t typically make it to others’ list of remote places to visit, I thought long and hard about why they made it to mine. They all meet my simple criteria of being able to connect on the Internet at any given time, and having a friendly laid back vibe that is conducive to a work-life balance. Best of all, they won’t punch a big hole in my travel and work budget!