8 Best Digital Nomad Destinations in Asia

person in taipei city, taiwan
Theodore
Travel Writer

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Check out this guide to find many of the best digital nomad destinations in Asia.

I’ve stayed in (or visited) many places in Asia throughout my over 5 years abroad. I want to share some of the best spots for digital nomads based on my and others’ experiences.

I’ll cover internet speed, safety, air quality, general costs, and more information about each country.


8 Best Cities & Countries for Digital Nomads in Asia

The following sections will cover essential information digital nomads, remote workers, and expats should know about each destination. And if a country offers a digital nomad visa, I’ll cover it more in-depth.

Before continuing:

Here’s where I got most of the sources and an explanation of the sources. Don’t take the information I listed too seriously. As a million variables could play into determining each measurement.

Sources:

  • * Internet speed: median download speed for fixed broadband (wired connection)
  • Cost of rent: in city center for a 1-bedroom apartment
  • Global Peace Index (GPI): Made up of many indicators that determine how peaceful (safe) a country is.
    • Lower numbers are better.
  • Average temperature: I only listed summer temperatures to give you an idea of the extreme temperatures in each country
  • English level (PDF link): I measure by “proficiency” (Very High Proficiency-Very Low Proficiency)
  • Air quality: I couldn’t find quantitative numbers regarding air quality. Most cities/countries listed Good-Bad as average annual air quality measurements.

1. Taipei, Taiwan

Average internet download speed124 Mbps
Average temperature77–93 °F | 25–34 °C
Average air quality (AQI)Moderate
English levelLow [1] ‡
LGBTQ+ friendly?Yes
Average rent priceNT$19,000/mo.
Global peace index1.62
Digital nomad visa?No

‡ Education First (EF) appears to consider Taiwan as a part of the People’s Republic of China, which they label as “low proficiency.”

  • Currency: New Taiwan Dollar
  • Languages: Mandarin Chinese, Taiwanese Hokkien, Hakka, & some indigenous & foreign languages
  • Power sockets: Type A & B
  • Time zone: UTC+8

Coffee shops abound, affordable (yet high quality) health insurance, and enough public transportation to deter the need for a car, Taipei’s amazing for digital nomads. Despite the above source saying that Taiwan has a low English level, that’s unfair. Since they lump the country in with China.

Though English-speaking folks are hit-or-miss in Taipei, most folks I’ve encountered understand basic English. And if not, Google Translate dealt with the rest of my conversations. There’s also English signage everywhere.

You’ll likely only need a translator for visiting small clinics and dealing with landlords. Hospitals’ websites say whether the doctors speak English. You’ll likely have no issue communicating with them.

You don’t need to speak to the cashier/receptionist when checking in and paying for your visit. Hand them your health insurance card (if applicable) and cash.

I digress:

Most Taiwanese use cellular data for internet. Meaning few home broadband ISPs exist. The speeds mobile providers deliver should accommodate most online tasks. Those who need high upload speeds (e.g., video editors) will want to consider fiber optic internet. Most ISPs and mobile providers have low upload speeds.

To stay in Taiwan for a long time, I recommend one of many routes:

  • Student visa: Visa for studying Mandarin Chinese.
    • Best for those who have extra time & money.
  • Entrepreneur visa: Best for profitable home businesses.
  • Gold Card: Best for anyone with exceptional skills or awards
  • 15–90-day visa exemptions: Best for short-term stays.
    • Unless you do visa runs. Taiwan doesn’t have official policies against visa runs. I’m not saying I endorse it, but it’s something to consider.

2. Chiang Mai, Thailand

Average internet download speed203 Mbps
Average temperature73–91 °F | 23–33 °C
Average air quality (AQI)Moderate
English levelVery low
LGBTQ+ friendly?Yes
Average rent price฿11,866.67
Global peace index2.1
Digital nomad visa?Yes
  • Currency: Thai Baht
  • Languages: Thai (official), Lao, Chinese, Malay, Karen, Khmer, & some indigenous & foreign languages
  • Power sockets: Type A, B, C, F & O, 220 V, 50 Hz
  • Time zone: UTC+7

The cost of living in Chiang Mai is more affordable than Bangkok, with an average monthly expense of around $1,000. This budget includes rent for a one-bedroom apartment, meals, transportation, and leisure activities.

With such affordability, you could focus on your work and experience the local culture without financial stress.

Chiang Mai is well-known for its abundance of coworking spaces, providing digital nomads with various options. High-speed internet is common in these spaces, ensuring a seamless work experience. Additionally, Chiang Mai has a strong digital nomad community. Making networking and making new friends easy.

To maximize your Chiang Mai experience, take note of these highlights:

  • Laid-back vibe: The city’s relaxed atmosphere encourages a healthy work-life balance.
  • Cultural immersion: Explore temples, traditional markets, & partake in local festivals.
  • Thriving community: Connect with fellow digital nomads through meetups & social events.
  • Outdoor adventures: Visit nearby natural wonders like Doi Inthanon & Doi Suthep.
  • Delectable cuisine: Indulge in Northern Thai specialties & diverse international food options.

Thailand does offer a specific visa for digital nomads. To qualify, you must have medical insurance that covers no less than $50,000 (USD). Having $100,000 in your savings account could be a loophole for this requirement.

Here’s basic information about Thailand’s digital nomad visa:

Program Cost$1,520 (50,000 Baht)
Minimum Income Requirement$80,000/yr.
Stay Duration10 years: two 5-year periods
Health Insurance Required?Yes

Income requirements will vary by category chosen. Read here to learn more.

I’ve never lived in Thailand. Everything I’m providing is based off what family and friends who’ve stayed there for long periods have told me.


3. Bangkok, Thailand

Average internet download speed228 Mbps
Average temperature77–93 °F | 25–34 °C
Average air quality (AQI)Moderate
English levelVery low
LGBTQ+ friendly?Yes
Average rent price฿22,328.95
Global peace index2.1
Digital nomad visa?Yes

On average, you’ll spend about $1,500 monthly. This includes rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center, meals, transportation, and entertainment.

This affordability allows you to maintain a comfortable lifestyle without breaking the bank.

Bangkok boasts an extensive array of coworking spaces to suit your working style. From quiet, minimalist spots to lively hubs with networking events, there’s something for every digital nomad. High-speed internet is widely available, making staying connected with clients and colleagues easy.

To make your stay in Bangkok even better, consider these key factors:

  • Culinary delights: The city offers an incredible variety of local & international cuisine.
  • Cultural richness: Immerse yourself in Thai culture through temples, festivals, & markets.
  • Networking opportunities: Join local meetups & events to connect with like-minded digital nomads.
  • Transportation options: Navigate the city easily with public transportation, such as the BTS Skytrain or MRT subway.
  • Access to nature: Discover nearby escapes like Ayutthaya, Kanchanaburi, or Khao Yai National Park for weekend getaways.

Refer to the previous section about Chiang Mai to learn more about Thailand’s digital nomad visa.


4. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Average internet download speed94 Mbps
Average temperature77–89 °F | 25–32 °C
Average air quality (AQI)Moderate
English levelModerate
LGBTQ+ friendly?Sort of; just avoid PDA §
Average rent price11,940,000.00 ₫
Global peace index1.79
Digital nomad visa?No
  • Currency: Vietnamese dong
  • Languages: Vietnamese (official), Tay, Muong, Cham, Khmer, Lao, Chinese, & some indigenous & foreign languages
  • Power sockets: Type A, C, & F, 220 V, 50 Hz
  • Time zone: UTC+7

Living costs in Ho Chi Minh City are affordable, with average monthly expenses of approximately $1,200. This budget covers rent for a one-bedroom apartment, meals, transportation, and recreational activities.

With such low costs, you can concentrate on your work while enjoying the city’s vibrant lifestyle without straining your finances.

The city offers a plethora of coworking spaces, equipped with high-speed internet and various amenities to cater to digital nomads. Additionally, Ho Chi Minh City has a growing community of remote workers and expats, providing ample opportunities for networking and socializing.

To make the most of your stay in Ho Chi Minh City, consider these key points:

  • Diverse food scene: Enjoy Vietnamese cuisine & a wide selection of international dishes.
  • Historical sites: Visit landmarks like the War Remnants Museum & Reunification Palace.
  • Lively nightlife: Experience the city’s energetic bars, clubs, & live music venues.
  • Convenient transportation: Get around quickly with Grab bikes, taxis, & buses.
  • Exciting excursions: Explore nearby attractions like the Mekong Delta or Cu Chi Tunnels.

Consider obtaining a Temporary Resident Card (TRC) or a Business Visa (DN) for long-term stays in Vietnam. TRC suits foreign employees and investors, while DN Visa caters to those conducting business or working with Vietnamese partners.


5. Seminyak, Bali, Indonesia

Average internet download speed31 Mbps
Average temperature25–87 °F | 25–31 °C
Average air quality (AQI)Moderate
English levelLow
LGBTQ+ friendly?In Bali, yes; but don’t do PDA
Average rent price7,333,333.33 Rp
Global peace index1.8
Digital nomad visa?No
  • Currency: Indonesian Rupiah
  • Languages: Indonesian (official & national), Javanese, Sundanese, Madurese, Minangkabau, & many other indigenous & foreign languages
  • Power sockets: Type C & F, 230 V, 50 Hz
  • Time zone: Western Indonesia Time (WIB), UTC+7; Central Indonesia Time (WITA), UTC+8; Eastern Indonesia Time (WIT), UTC+9

Seminyak features a variety of coworking spaces to suit your needs, with reliable high-speed internet and inspiring environments. Additionally, the digital nomad community in Seminyak is thriving, providing networking opportunities and social connections.

To make your stay in Seminyak unforgettable, consider these highlights:

  • Stunning beaches: Relax & soak up the sun on world-class beaches.
  • Culinary scene: Indulge in delicious Indonesian & international cuisine.
  • Laid-back lifestyle: Embrace the island vibes & friendly local culture.
  • Yoga & wellness: Rejuvenate your mind & body with a wide range of wellness options.
  • Nearby attractions: Explore the rest of Bali, including Ubud, Uluwatu, & the Gili Islands.

What’s the difference between Ubud and Seminyak Bali?

Ubud, Bali, is known for its lush landscapes, cultural attractions, and focus on wellness. Seminyak, Bali, boasts stunning beaches, trendy nightlife, and a more cosmopolitan atmosphere.

Ubud offers a tranquil, nature-centric experience and Seminyak provides a livelier, beachside vibe.

For long-term stays in Bali, Indonesia, consider obtaining a Social Visa (B-211) or a Temporary Stay Visa (KITAS). Social Visa allows a six-month stay with monthly extensions. KITAS suits those with employment or family connections in the country.


6. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Average internet download speed93 Mbps
Average temperature73–91 °F | 23–33 °C
Average air quality (AQI)Moderate
English levelHigh
LGBTQ+ friendly?No
Average rent price2,136.36 RM
Global peace index1.47
Digital nomad visa?Yes
  • Currency: Malaysian Ringgit
  • Languages: Malay (official & national), English, Mandarin, Tamil, & some indigenous & foreign languages
  • Power sockets: Type G, 240 V, 50 Hz
  • Time zone: UTC+8

Average monthly expenses sit around $1,300. This budget covers rent for a one-bedroom apartment, meals, transportation, and leisure activities. The city’s affordability ensures you maintain a comfortable lifestyle without financial stress.

Kuala Lumpur has numerous coworking spaces, which provide high-speed internet and diverse working environments. Additionally, the digital nomad community in the city is growing, offering opportunities for networking and socializing.

To make your Kuala Lumpur experience memorable, consider these highlights:

  • Multicultural atmosphere: Embrace the blend of Malay, Chinese, & Indian influences.
  • Food scene: Savor a wide range of local & international cuisines.
  • Historical sites: Explore landmarks like Batu Caves & Merdeka Square.
  • Easy transportation: Get around with the city’s trains, buses, & taxis.
  • Regional travel hub: Discover nearby destinations in Malaysia & Southeast Asia.

Here’s the gist of Malaysia’s DN visa:

Program Cost$221$110: per dependent
Minimum Income Requirement$24,000/yr.
Stay Duration3–12 months
Health Insurance Required?Yes

And here’s what you’ll need:

  • Clear criminal record
  • No minimum coverage amount for health insurance
  • Personal bond form: shows your intention of staying in Malaysia (download here)
  • Your resume
  • Proof of relationship with dependents

7. Seoul, South Korea

Average internet download speed142 Mbps
Average temperature62–82 °F | 17–28 °C
Average air quality (AQI)Moderate
English levelModerate
LGBTQ+ friendly?No
Average rent price1,012,041.70 ₩
Global peace index1.78
Digital nomad visa?No
  • Currency: South Korean Won
  • Languages: Korean (official & national), English, Chinese, Japanese, & some other foreign languages
  • Power sockets: Type C & F, 220 V, 60 Hz
  • Time zone: Korea Standard Time (KST), UTC+9

While living costs in Seoul are slightly higher than in other Asian cities, with average monthly expenses of around $1,800, the quality of life is exceptional. This budget includes rent for a one-bedroom apartment, meals, transportation, and leisure activities.

Seoul has numerous coworking spaces, featuring state-of-the-art facilities and ultra-fast internet connections. Additionally, the city has a burgeoning digital nomad community, creating ample opportunities for networking and collaboration.

To make your stay in Seoul memorable, take note of these aspects:

  • Advanced infrastructure: Experience the city’s technological prowess & efficient public transportation.
  • Cultural immersion: Discover traditional Korean culture through palaces, markets, & festivals.
  • Delicious cuisine: Savor Korean dishes, street food, & a diverse array of international fare.
  • Networking opportunities: Connect with fellow digital nomads & expats at events & gatherings.
  • Outdoor escapes: Enjoy nearby natural attractions like Bukhansan National Park & Nami Island.

To stay long-term in South Korea, you might opt for a D-10 Job Seeker Visa, E-7 Special Occupations Visa, or F-2 Long-Term Resident Visa. D-10 is for jobseekers, E-7 targets professionals with specific skills, and F-2 suits qualified long-term residents.


8. Singapore

Average internet download speed237 Mbps
Average temperature78–87 °F | 26–31 °C
Average air quality (AQI)Good-Moderate
English levelVery high
LGBTQ+ friendly?Kind of; so long as there’s no PDA
Average rent price4,792.04 S$
Global peace index1.33
Digital nomad visa?No
  • Currency: Singapore Dollar
  • Languages: English, Malay, Mandarin Chinese, & Tamil (official); Malay (national)
  • Power sockets: Type G, 230 V, 50 Hz
  • Time zone: Singapore Standard Time (SST), UTC+8

Although Singapore is known for its high living costs, with average monthly expenses of about $2,500, the city’s unparalleled quality of life and world-class infrastructure make it worth the investment

This budget covers rent for a one-bedroom apartment, meals, transportation, and entertainment options.

The city boasts numerous coworking spaces with top-notch facilities and high-speed internet connections. Singapore’s digital nomad community is growing, providing opportunities for networking and collaboration with like-minded individuals.

To make your Singapore experience unforgettable, consider these key factors:

  • Multicultural atmosphere: Enjoy a unique blend of Chinese, Malay, Indian, & Western influences.
  • Food paradise: Sample delicious local & international cuisine in hawker centers & fine dining establishments.
  • Efficient transportation: Navigate the city effortlessly with the MRT, buses, & taxis.
  • Green spaces: Unwind in beautiful parks & gardens, like Gardens by the Bay & the Botanic Gardens.
  • Regional travel hub: Take advantage of Singapore’s strategic location for exploring Southeast Asia.

To stay long-term in Singapore, consider obtaining an Employment Pass, EntrePass, or Long-Term Visit Pass. Employment Pass suits professionals with a job offer, EntrePass targets entrepreneurs, and Long-Term Visit Pass is for family members of residents.


Footnotes:

* Internet speeds don’t include upload speeds or latency. The latter determines whether you’ll have lag during video calls and online gaming sessions. The former is what you’d use when sending files over the internet.

† These are average rent prices within city centers. These may change at a moment’s notice. Don’t rely on these numbers. Instead, look at real estates in the country you’re considering.

§ PDA = Public display of affection. Examples of this include kissing. Many countries frown upon PDA, regardless of sexual preference. Thus, it’s best to avoid it.


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person standing on top of Taipei 101 tower in Taiwan City, Taiwan

About Theo

Theodore began first experienced the wonders of traveling when visiting Vietnam. Afterward, he went crazy and ventured to at least… More about Theo