Remote work coach, Darren Cronian

About the author

This guide was written by Darren Cronian. Over the last 7 years, he has secured numerous remote jobs and built a successful freelancing business. Frustrated at automated rejections or struggling to find freelance clients? Your remote work coach is here for support.

List articles like this can be very subjective because it is down to personal preference. This list of the best places to live and work remotely is based on my own preferences as a remote worker.

All of these cities have felt like home but no place is perfect so the pros and cons of each place is included. Also bear in mind that my focus is not on nightlife, but more on exploring the place and being connected to get work completed. 

Best Places to Live and Work Remotely
Kuala Lumpur

One of my favourite cities in the world and 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 in my opinion stands out from any other country in SE Asia.

WiFI speeds are very fast and reliable. If you have an unlocked phone or MiFi then I’d recommend purchasing a Hotlink sim card by Maxis, or U Mobile who offer unlimited internet at a really good 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 favourites being 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.

That said, there is a great bus network in Malaysia so you can easily 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 away from KL Sentral, so it’s a great hub for the rest of Asia.

It’s difficult to come up with any negatives about living in Kuala Lumpur as a remote worker, but make sure that you wear mosquito spray, especially when out of the city centre and in more residential areas, as dengue fever is an issue here.

Seoul

Seoul is what you would expect, a very clean city, full of bustling markets, amazing street food and while the language barrier can be an issue, the people are very approachable. Public transport with the metro is so easy to navigate around when you figure out which exit to choose, because there are so many.

There’s so much to see here; amazing 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, a lot of the signs are in Korean and English but forget using Google Maps here for walking directions, instead use an app like Kakao Maps. Navigating your way around can be a challenge but you quickly get used to it.

WiFi is incredibly fast and you will not have an issue finding a coffee house to work from. Most students spend their time in the cafes so, free WiFi is aplenty but bear in mind that many of them are incredibly busy, so wear noise cancelling headphones.

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 of cars and people.

A word of warning, 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 walking around!

If you are used to living and working in Chiang Mai then this isn’t the city for you because it’s incredibly expensive but well worth spending time here, especially during the Autumn season where the trees change colour and the parks are just absolutely stunning with the red and brown leaves.

Kuching

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 easily 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 very fast and much more reliable than in Kota Kinabalu on the other side of Borneo Island. Lots of coffee houses to choose from, many of them very quiet during the week.

Recommend is a visit to The Coffee Clinic and The Coffee Factory for great coffee and plenty of seating to work. When it comes to the food, you have to eat Sarawak Laksa (best served in a morning but is available in some places through the day).

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 an incredible part of the world, and it’s a good idea to hire a driver who will take you around the best parts of this incredible state.

Prague

Prague is fast becoming a very 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 in the evening) and admire incredible views from Prague Castle. Getting around the city is easy and affordable with the metro system and trams service.

The city centre is also very walkable, just wear comfortable shoes because you’ll find lots of cobbled streets. WiFi throughout the city is great, very fast and reliable, with a good number of cafes and co-working spaces.

The downside, in my opinion, is the sheer number of people in the city. Tourism has drastically increased in the last decade, especially, stag and hen parties.

This means popular tourist attractions are going to be very busy, as are the bars and clubs, so you might want to think about visiting outside of the summer season.

Also, due to the number of tourists and people visiting the city, prices for accommodation have drastically increased, so it’s best advised to stay outside of the city centre to get the best value for your money.

Areas like Prague 4, 6 and 8 are good areas to live in with easy access to the city.

Budapest

What was said about Prague can be repeated here in Budapest, other than you can find more quiet spots but 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 lots of bike lanes so you can get around easily, this is recommended to get away from the 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 very 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.

Bangkok

While many visit Chiang Mai to work remotely, my preferred city is Bangkok. It’s crazy and manic but that’s what I love about it. I’ve lived in various areas but my favourite is On Nut, simply because it’s only a short journey into the centre on the BTS, and there is everything you need on your doorstep.

Getting around the city is easy providing you are within walking distance to a BTS or MRT station. The buses are a really 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, in fact, some of my favourite coffee places are in Bangkok. Highly recommend is a visit to Factory Coffee and Gallery Drip Coffee, both are great spaces to work, but they do become incredibly busy around lunchtime.

WiFI speeds are very fast and reliable. If you have an unlocked phone or MiFi then I’d recommend purchasing a sim card by True Move, DTAC or AIS who all offer internet packages at a really good price.

With all of these networks, you will find that there are a ton of hotspots throughout the city that you can also use for free.

The negatives about Bangkok is the sheer amount of scams and locals who will try to rip you off. As with visiting any place, it is important to do some research before you arrive, so you are informed of the types of scams that could occur.

Recommended is taking a copy of your passport and keeping it on your mobile phone or, print it out just in case the police ask you for it.

Taipei

Having heard good things about this city from other remote workers it was time to check it out. Firstly, bear in mind that accommodation is expensive here so factor that into your costs – what you will find when you arrive though is that the general day-to-day cost of living is no different than the UK or USA.

It’s an absolutely 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 amazing!) and spend some time walking around the streets. Temples, 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 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 would recommend that you purchase 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 licence.

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.

Malaga

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 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 big coffee culture here so you will not have any problems finding coffee houses where you can work from.

For me, this city has a huge appeal for a winter destination in Europe where the prices for accommodation are considerably cheaper than the peak time of the year where British and Scandinavian tourists arrive in their thousands.

Kiev (Kyiv)

The latest addition to my list of places to visit as a remote worker, and at the time of writing this, the city is my home.

The big benefits are the cost of living here, which is considerably cheaper than the rest of Europe and SE Asia. From £300 per month, you can rent a one-bedroom apartment on the outskirts of the city.

Getting around is difficult if you are not located within walking distance of a metro station. You will have to travel on a bus or Marshrutka (minibus) to get to the nearest metro stations, but, the cost is incredibly cheap.

The three mobile networks in Ukraine are Kyivstar, Vodafone and Lifecell. On this trip, my preferred provider was Kyivstar and have to say the 4G speeds are very good and you are able to tether to your laptop easily.

The unlimited option only cost around £9, which is ridiculously cheap.

There is no shortage of coffee places in Kyiv, but two of my favourites are One Little Coffee Shop and Takava Coffee. Make sure you read reviews though because some places do not have WiFi, and are too small to work in.

The locals can be a little abrupt when you try and engage with them, and the language is a barrier but don’t let that put you off from visiting.

General advice

It’s worth pointing out a few pieces of advice.

Purchase SIM cards at the airport because you will often find that they speak good English whereas, in the city centre, it might be more of a challenge.

If you are planning to spend a month in any of these cities then look into 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.

Share This Guide

Struggling to find remote work?

Join 1,000+ subscribers and receive our free remote work coaching email. Not sure where to start? Frustrated by automated job rejections? Struggling to find freelance clients? We’re here to help and support you.

Sign up for free coaching

Continue Reading