The Best Asian Cities for Digital Nomads

Image credit: iStockphoto/Tzido

Digital nomads, or those who work remotely, have been rising in recent years. And it's not hard to see why: The barriers to entry are low, and the ability to live and work from anywhere in the world is increasingly possible.

While there are plenty of great cities for digital nomads worldwide, Asia is especially well-suited for the lifestyle. Here are the best cities in Asia for digital nomads, based on Instant Office's Best Places to be a Digital Nomad in 2022.

1. Bangkok, Thailand

The capital of Thailand is Asia's most popular destination for digital nomads. It ranks 2nd out of 77 globally and 1st in Asia. According to the study's respondents, Bangkok has stunning local cuisine, plenty of Wi-Fi hotspots, and some of the most affordable accommodation among all the cities involved.

Nomad List also considers the following as pros for Thailand: internet speed, people density, walkability, and nightlife. Meanwhile, the cons include traffic safety, lack of English speakers, and some racism.

2. Seoul, South Korea

Thanks to its strong infrastructure and excellent transport links, Seoul is in the 7th spot globally and 2nd in the region. The city's digital nomads also have access to plenty of coworking spaces and a variety of nightlife and dining options.

As acknowledged by many digital nomads, the only downside is that the cost of living in Seoul can be pretty high. Nomad List also ranks Seoul low on the walkability index.

3. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur ranks 18th globally and 3rd in Asia. Instant Office explained that Kuala Lumpur's high ranking is because it offers "captivating travel experiences, scenery, and food alongside stellar connectivity, infrastructure, and a manageable cost of living." However, Nomad List thinks that Kuala Lumpur is not good for women and the LGBTQ.

Instant Office also lauded Hong Kong (23rd) and Singapore (31st) for the same reasons they commended Kuala Lumpur. Both Hong Kong and Singapore are first-class cities. However, they are also costly places to live.

Global rankings

This year, Lisbon, Portugal, bagged the top spot for the best city for digital nomads. It has a strong showing in all the key factors that make a city attractive to digital nomads, including cost, weather, food, travel experiences, and infrastructure. On top of that, the city has more than 7,000 Wi-Fi hotspots and an average broadband speed of 163mbps.

The cities of Thessaloniki (3rd) in Greece, Dallas (4th), and San Antonio (5th) in the US have also made it to the top five.

Image credit: iStockphoto/Tzido