What are the best places for digital nomads and entrepreneurs?

I have had a number of people asking me what are good places to stay and work remotely for an extended period.

Nomad List is a great place to start your search for the best places for digital nomads and entrepreneurs.

The likeliness of a place to be considered usually depends on these factors:

– the city should be cheap, clean and safe
– infrastructure should be reasonable and internet speed should be fast
– the weather should be warm (unless you like skiing)
– the locals should be friendly and speak English
– other expats should be around to make friends and network with

Here are some of my favorites that I have been to (and can vouch for):

1) Bangkok

The city isn't really cheap anymore, but it has all the ingredients of a global metropolis (incl. the traffic) but at prices you'd pay in Kansas. The city can be really hot though and the food isn't really cheap anymore either. But the expat community, the reliable infrastructure and the street food will make you want to stay forever.

Long stay visas are required since the Thai authorities have found a system to discourage 'visa runs'.

2) Kuala Lumpur (KL)

KL is a somewhat grayer cousin of Bangkok. Most of the pros and cons for Bangkok also apply to Kuala Lumpur. It is a bit more expensive but infrastructure is usually even better. Air Asia has its primary hub there. It's also a bit more diverse, with ethnic Malay, Indian and Chinese all well-represented with their food in the city.

However, the city lacks the excitement Bangkok offers a bit. I worked from KL for two months and loved it.

3) Jakarta

Jakarta is somewhat similar to the other two mega-cities, but has huge traffic issues. Don't even think about going anywhere during rush hour (which last 12 hours a day). There is no mass transit system and the road infrastructure ranges from excellent to non-existent. All of Indonesia also has big trouble providing speedy internet.

Nonetheless, the city is cheaper in rent and food than other big cities. The food is fantastic and cheap and the locals speak the English language almost as their first language.

4) Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a great place to stay for a bit longer. While it's small, there is so much to discover on this group of islands. Rent is sky-high, so you will need to go into the suburbs and likely share a room. However, the train system is excellent and most suburban apartment towers come with a 100 MBit line free of charge.

Food is great, especially if you like the Cantonese variant of Chinese food. It's also rather cheap once you know your way around.

5) Yogyakarta

Yogyakarta does not appear on most of the 'typical' lists but has a lot of appeal. It's a smaller city with lots of culture like Borobudur and Prambanan. The food is fantastic and even upmarket Yogyakarta restaurants deliver sub-$5 delicious and fresh meals.

Rent is cheap and transport easy (though there is a bit of traffic). It's also just about an hour from the beach.

The biggest headache is likely the slow internet and it takes time to find a line that works for you.

6) Prague

I actually grew up just 75 miles from Prague (on the German side) so I hold the city close to my heart. The weather isn't my favorite and the summer tourist crowds can be menacing. but it still has rather cheap rent and food as well as super fast internet. Public transport is plentiful and inexpensive. While Prague isn't a major airline hub, it's very centrally located and a great base to explore Central and Eastern Europe.

7) Miami

If you grew up in the US, then Miami is maybe a bit too close to home and not exotic enough. However, the city has (or has boasted) cheap housing, great weather and a cool Latin accent.

It's a great place to enjoy life and forget about work.

8) Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv (where I am currently, thanks to this fare) is a great Mediterranean city by the beach. The food is awesome and the locals speak English without accents.

While it's close to a number of political hotspots (some might argue it is one itself) it's also a very safe place. The internet is fast too. The biggest drawback is cost – many parts are as expensive as most US cities.

9) Kyiv (Kiev)

Kyiv is probably my favorite place in the former Soviet Union. Lots of English and Russian speakers here (the official languages is Ukrainian though) and although the war has shaken Eastern Ukraine, Kiev isn't too much affected. The currency has tanked, though, and things have gotten cheaper. During my last visit in June 2014 it was already pretty affordable and this will only get better.

The internet is super-fast (every tiny coffee shop has a 20Mbit connection). Rents are cheap. This isn't a place for foodies, though, and there is considerable political risk left.

Some more interesting cities that have appeared on that list, although I haven't been myself:

Kigali

The 'Switzerland of Africa' gets rave reviews on safety and stability, but I have't been so can't provide much of an inside view.

Lviv

See Kyiv – just fewer options but even lower prices.

Las Palmas

The Canary Islands are a big hit with European tourists and expats. They are barely known by most American travelers. The weather is perfect and the infrastructure is as good as it gets. It is not super-cheap though.

Nairobi

A big question mark for me. I hear stories with lots of good and bad. As with most of Africa, it's also not really cheap for tourists and expats.

Picture courtesy of Mandarin Oriental, Wikipedia, infinitephotos.wordpress.com, sils.unc.edu, eci.com, http://fineartamerica.com

If you like this post – subscribe via email or follow us on Twitter.


We have posted 6,842 articles since January 2013 at Mighty Travels - click to see all categories: