One of my favorite cities in the world for many reasons – the people are friendly, and it’s very multicultural, so you have a mix of Chinese, Indian, and of course, Malay people living and working there, resulting in an impressive food scene that stands out from any other country in SE Asia.
WiFI speeds are very fast and reliable. If you have an unlocked phone or MiFi, I’d recommend purchasing a Hotlink sim card by Maxis or U Mobile, which offers unlimited internet at an excellent price. Other options are Digi and Celcom.
Kuala Lumpur has a great coffee scene, and there are tons of cafes that you can work from; my personal favorites are Eight Ounce Coffee Co, Feeka Coffee Roasters, and LOKL Coffee Co. All have free WiFi and comfortable seating.
Getting around the city is easy using the LTR, MRT, and Monorail – although, I would avoid buses and taxis within the city due to traffic congestion.
Malaysia has an excellent bus network, so you can quickly get from KL to other cities if you want to take a trip elsewhere for a few days. The airport terminals are only 25 minutes from KL Sentral, so it’s an excellent hub for the rest of Asia.
It’s challenging to come up with any negatives about living in Kuala Lumpur as a remote worker. However, ensure you wear mosquito spray, especially when out of the city center and in more residential areas, as dengue fever is an issue here.
Seoul is what you would expect, an immaculate city full of bustling markets and fantastic street food. While the language barrier can be an issue, the people are very approachable. Public transport with the metro is so easy to navigate when you figure out which exit to choose because there are so many.
There’s so much to see here; impressive temples, some of the best parks in the world, and walking hikes that will keep even the more serious hikers challenged.
While English isn’t widely spoken, many of the signs are in Korean and English but forget to use Google Maps here for walking directions; instead, use an app like Kakao Maps. Navigating your way around can be a challenge.
WiFi is high-speed, and you will not have an issue finding a coffee house to work from. Most students spend their time in cafes, so free WiFi is aplenty, but remember that many of them are incredibly busy.
It’s a city that springs all of your senses into action – flashing lights, the smell of incredibly delicious street food, and noise from the busy streets. Don’t be offended if a little old lady pushes you out of the way – the older generation can be a little, err, impatient if you are dawdling and walking around!
If you are used to living and working in Chiang Mai, then this isn’t the city for you because it’s costly but well worth spending time here, especially during the Autumn season when the trees change color, and the parks are just absolutely stunning with the red and brown leaves.
One of the biggest surprises on my recent Asia trip was Kuching, and it wasn’t going to be included on this list because it needs to be kept a secret!
Malaysians are known to be passionate about their country, but the locals here take it to another level with their warm welcome.
It’s not a huge city so you can quickly get around on foot but it’s worth noting that the public transport is poor (there are bus services but no times or route maps can be found at the stops) so you have to rely on Uber taxis.
Surprisingly, the WiFi was high-speed and much more reliable than in Kota Kinabalu on the other side of Borneo Island. There are many coffee houses to choose from, many very quiet during the week.
Recommend visiting The Coffee Clinic and The Coffee Factory for great coffee and plenty of seating to work. When it comes to food, you have to eat Sarawak Laksa (best served in the morning).
The food is incredible, with dishes you’ll not find anywhere else, and sorry, my Penang friends, but Sarawak Laksa beats Penang Laksa!
It would be wrong not to mention what is on your doorstep while staying in Kuching – yes, Sarawak awaits you with the national parks, jungle hikes, nature, and wildlife. It’s a great part of the world, and hiring a driver who will take you around the best parts of this incredible state is a good idea.
Prague is becoming a popular city for expats and remote workers, and you can understand why. The city has incredible architecture and lots to see.
Walk across the stunning Charles Bridge (to avoid the crowds go early in the morning or the evening) and admire incredible views from Prague Castle. Getting around the city is easy with the metro system and tram service.
The city center is also very walkable, wear comfortable shoes because you’ll find many cobbled streets. WiFi throughout the city is great, fast, and reliable, with many cafes and co-working spaces.
The downside, in my opinion, is the sheer number of people in the city. Tourism, especially stag and hen parties, has drastically increased in the last decade.
Popular tourist attractions, such as bars and clubs, will be bustling, so you might want to consider visiting outside of the summer.
Also, due to the number of tourists and people visiting the city, accommodation prices have drastically increased, so it’s best to stay outside the city center to get the best value for your money.
Areas like Prague 4, 6, and 8 are good areas, with easy access to the city.
What was said about Prague can be repeated here in Budapest; other than you can find quiet spots, it’s still a popular city for tourists, especially in the peak season, so bear that in mind. It’s a cycle-friendly city with many bike lanes so you can get around easily; this is recommended to avoid crowds.
On my most recent visit, it did feel that they were fewer cafes to work in, and many still allow smokers to light up indoors, which put me off from visiting.
Public transport is affordable and reliable, with trains (one of the oldest networks in the world), trams, and buses.
Be wary of using taxis; they have a reputation for being rude and will try to rip you off; sadly, you don’t have the convenience of Uber here.
While many visit Chiang Mai to work remotely, my preferred city is Bangkok. It’s wild and busy, but that’s what I love about it. I’ve lived in various areas, but my favorite is On Nut, simply because it’s only a short journey into the center of the BTS, and there is everything you need on your doorstep.
Getting around the city is easy, provided you are within walking distance of a BTS or MRT station. The buses are a cheap form of transport but expect to be caught up in the traffic because, like most SE Asian cities, there’s a lot of congestion.
You will find a wide range of co-working spaces and an abundance of coffee houses; some of my favorite coffee places are in Bangkok. Highly recommend a visit to Factory Coffee and Gallery Drip Coffee; both are great spaces to work, but they become swamped around lunchtime.
WiFI speeds are very fast and reliable. If you have an unlocked phone or MiFi, I’d recommend purchasing a sim card from True Move, DTAC, or AIS, which all offer internet packages at an excellent price.
With all of these networks, you will find a ton of hotspots throughout the city that you can also use for free.
The negative about Bangkok is the sheer amount of scams and locals who will try to rip you off. As with visiting any place, it is vital to do some research before you arrive, so you are informed of the types of scams that could occur.
Recommended is to take a copy of your passport and keep it on your mobile phone or print it out just in case the police ask you for it.
Having heard good things about this city from other remote workers, it was time to check it out. Firstly, consider that accommodation is expensive here, so factor that into your costs – what you will find when you arrive is that the general day-to-day cost of living is no different than in the UK or the USA.
It’s a fascinating city with so much to capture – it feels rough around the edges, but it’s incredibly safe, even when walking around at night.
You must head to a night market to sample the local street food (which is fantastic!) and walk around the streets. Temples, and beautiful parks, are just the tip of what this city can offer a remote worker; it truly surprised me.
Internet is super fast, and you will not find any shortage of coffee houses, although the issue is that most of them allow people to smoke, so they aren’t the best places to work. WiFi hotspots are everywhere, and you also have a good selection of mobile providers in Chunghwa Telecom, Taiwan Mobile, FarEastone, and T Star.
Regarding buying SIM cards, I recommend purchasing them at the airport because you only need to show your passport, whereas if you go into the city to buy one, you have to give them additional ID, like your driving license.
Getting around is easy with the metro system, but there are buses if you are prepared to wait around in traffic. While congestion is not as bad as many countries in SE Asia, it is still a problem.
An unusual choice, you might think, when there are cities like Barcelona and Madrid, but Malaga has many positives. Firstly, it has a great mix of culture, hiking, beaches, and you can easily travel to amazing cities like Granada and Seville by train or coach.
During the winter, the weather is warmer than in the rest of Europe, and it’s great to sit outside with a beer and sample the local tapas while people-watching.
Most people speak some level of English here, and for the most, the locals are friendly. It’s a very walkable city, so you don’t need to use public transport, but there are buses and trains to travel along the Costa del Sol.
Internet speeds are pretty decent, and there’s a good selection of mobile networks like Orange. Movistar. Vodafone. Yoigo, who all offer reasonably priced internet packages. There’s a great coffee culture here, so you will not have any problems finding coffee houses where you can work from.
For me, this city has a massive appeal for a winter destination in Europe where the accommodation prices are considerably lower than the peak time of the year where British and Scandinavian tourists arrive in their thousands.
It’s worth pointing out some advice for digital nomads here.
Purchase SIM cards at the airport because you will often find that they speak good English, whereas, in the city center, it might be more of a challenge.
If you plan to spend a month in any of these cities, consider purchasing a monthly public transport pass because you could save money depending on how often you plan to use them.
Hopefully, this list will give you an idea of the best cities to live and work remotely.