Asian cities dominate list of best cities for digital nomads

Old town Hoi An in Vietnam which is a popular destination for digital nomads. Picture: Unsplash

Old town Hoi An in Vietnam which is a popular destination for digital nomads. Picture: Unsplash

Published May 17, 2024


More and more digital nomads are leveraging their flexible circumstances by travelling more or moving somewhere new due to the popularity of remote working.

According to Freaking Nomads co-founder, Irene Wang, while it may seem daunting at first, living a digital nomad lifestyle gives people the freedom to forge their own paths and enrich their lives with cultures they wouldn’t otherwise experience.

“Some people are put off by expenses and accessibility, but there are plenty of places with a lot to offer working professionals. Many of these will welcome remote workers with open arms and a sense of community,” said Wang.

With that in mind, digital nomad publication “Freaking Nomads” created an index of the best cities for digital nomads according to relevant criteria, such as broadband and mobile speed, cost of living, rent and other expenses, proximity to co-working spaces and accessibility to remote working visas.

Each city was scored on each factor and an appropriate weighting was applied to create a total index score out of 100. So here are the best cities for digital nomads.

Hoi An, Vietnam

Coming out on top was Hoi An, Vietnam, with a score of 73.94 out of 100. A hidden gem on Vietnam’s coast, Hoi An ranked 3rd for cost of living with a score of 85.48 out of 100, and joint 34th for visa accessibility with 77.78 out of 100.

As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the ancient city is home to well-preserved old buildings, colourful lanterns and winding streets that create a magical atmosphere.

Delhi, India

In second place was Delhi, India, with 73.77. India’s capital placed 1st for cost of living with 89.03 out of 100, and joint 34th for visa accessibility with 77.78.

Delhi is a dynamic melting pot of culture that has something for everyone, from its vast historic attractions, such as the majestic Red Fort, to markets offering local artisan products and diverse food from all over India.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Ranking third was Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with 72.02 out of 100. Malaysia’s capital city ranked joint 19th for visa accessibility with 83.33 and 21st or cost of living with 76.06.

Known for its instantly recognisable skyline and the iconic Petronas Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur will appeal to digital nomads seeking a friendly and invigorating atmosphere that features traditional monuments and an impressive shopping scene.

Da Nang, Vietnam

Da Nang, Vietnam, followed in fourth with an index score of 71.32. The busy metropolis ranked 10th for cost of living with 80.72 and 34th for visa accessibility with 77.84.

Da Nang is popular for its dazzling coastlines and striking natural beauty, with landmarks such as the Marble Mountains providing breathtaking views for working professionals to enjoy.

Mumbai, India

Rounding out the top five was Mumbai, India, with a score of 69.81. The financial hub placed 18th for cost of living with 77.21 and 24th for co-working spaces with 61.15.

As India’s most populous city, Mumbai is beloved for its expansive beaches, bustling street markets and delicious cuisine, cementing it as the perfect choice for digital nomads wanting to immerse themselves in a different environment.

The complete list is as follows:

1. Hoi An, Vietnam

2. Dehli, India

3. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

4. Da Nang, Vietnam

5. Mumbai, India

6. Buenos Aires, Argentina

7. Bangkok, Thailand

8. Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain

9. Bucharest, Romania

10. Las Palmas, Spain