Best Cities for Digital Nomads in Asia (2024)

edited January 8 in Lifestyle

The digital nomad phenomenon only continues to pick up steam into 2024. More and more people are attracted to the digital nomad lifestyle, valuing the freedom and flexibility it gives them to explore the world while maintaining a steady income.

As more people strive to become digital nomads, the landscape around it will also evolve. In particular, more countries will likely implement short-term residency visas that cater to digital nomads’ needs in an attempt to attract this talent. Companies as well will begin to understand that remote work is a relatively inexpensive perk to offer and will expand this option accordingly.

In this rapidly changing landscape, it’s important to reassess which destinations have proven themselves most suitable for the digital nomad lifestyle. Let’s take a look at the best digital nomad cities in Asia in 2024.

1. Busan, South Korea

South Korea’s second city, Busan combines the conveniences of city living with easy access to nature. The city is known for its beaches, such as Haeundae and Gwangalli, which are considered some of the best beaches in the country. As a remote worker in Busan, you’ll be able to enjoy its splendid beachside cafes where you can get some work done while taking in the breathtaking views. Plus, thanks to the widespread cafe culture in Korea, you won’t feel out of place taking your laptop to a cafe to stay the whole day. 

Fans of hiking will also be spoiled for choice in Busan: unlike in sprawling Seoul, plentiful hiking trails provide an easy and accessible escape from the pressure of city life. For digital nomads in Korea who don’t want to compromise between urban amenities and natural scenery, Busan is a place to keep in mind. If, however, you visit and find it’s not for you, hop on a ferry to check out the next destination on this list!

2. Fukuoka, Japan 

Fukuoka, Japan, located only a 3 hour and 40 minute ferry ride away from Busan, is one of Japan’s hidden gems. Due to its relative proximity to mainland Asia, Fukuoka has always had a regional culture distinct from the rest of Japan. For example, it was the landing place of the first Zen Buddhist temple in Japan as the sect was brought over from China.

Today, however, Fukuoka is most well known for its yatai, or food stalls. These stalls serve a wide range of dishes at affordable prices, including the region’s own distinct take on ramen.

Though Japan is an appealing destination for many digital nomads, some are scared off by high prices and cramped living in cities like Tokyo and Osaka. If you’re looking for a digital nomad experience in Japan with more affordable prices and a distinct regional identity, Fukuoka might be the place for you! 

3. Taichung, Taiwan

Though you may not have heard of Taichung before now, there’s plenty of reason for you to put it on your radar. Once described as Taiwan’s most liveable city by CNN, Taichung is growing quickly. In comparison to Taipei, Taichung stands out for a much more affordable cost of living, particularly in terms of housing. Plus, its central location on the island makes travel convenient, whether you want to have a night out in Taipei or chill out on the beaches at Kenting National Park.

Though Taichung may be more affordable than Taipei, that doesn’t mean it comes up short in attractions and cultural amenities. The Taichung Fine Arts Museum, for example, is one of the largest art museums in Asia, and the Taichung Metropolitan Opera House is a stunning piece of architecture that attracts world-class performances.

Those looking to stay in Taichung or anywhere else in Taiwan may want to consider the Taiwan Gold Card, Taiwan’s answer to a digital nomad visa for professionals in specific fields. It should be noted, however, that the requirements are relatively strict, requiring you to hold a senior position or work in a specialized field.

4. Hoi An, Vietnam 

Hoi An is a smaller city on Vietnam’s central coast, near the larger city of Da Nang. It’s mostly known for its well-preserved ancient town that reflects Hoi An’s past role as a trading hub.

Remote workers may be interested in Hoi An if they want a slower pace of life. Unlike in Hanoi or Saigon, traditional rice paddies are plentiful in the area. Though there are fewer digital nomads in Hoi An compared to the larger cities, there are still plenty of cafes to count on, and even a recently renovated co-working space.

Beware, though, that the power cuts common throughout Vietnam also sometimes happen in Hoi An, which turn off electricity about once a month for as long as a full day.

5. Cebu, Philippines 

Cebu, located in the Philippines’ Central Visayas region, is the sixth-largest city in the Philippines. Though the entire country of the Philippines was once under Spanish control, remnants of the Spanish colonial past are particularly strong in Cebu, visible in monuments like the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño church and Fort San Pedro. Cebu also has a highly distinct regional identity, with its own language different from Tagalog.

Cebu has a lot to attract digital workers. Its downtown is full of vibrant cafes and co-working spaces that make working and networking a pleasure. When you want to get out of the city for fun, you also have a lot of options: the Tumalog waterfalls, Hinagdanan cave and Chocolate Hills are all easily reachable from the city. Its also famous for diving and swimming with whale sharks!

6. Chiang Mai, Thailand 

Chiang Mai, located in the mountains of northern Thailand, is a city known for its wealth of temples and religious monuments. Thailand is known as a digital nomad country, and for good reason: Chiang Mai offers a high quality of life to cost of living ratio that few places can beat.

Because of its high reputation as an ideal location for remote work, the digital nomad community here is thriving. There is a larger sense of community here, with regular meetups and an abundance of co-working spaces to chat and network. If you’re a highly social person or a first-time digital nomad looking for community, Chiang Mai could be a great place to start.

Though there is no specific Thailand digital nomad visa, there are some long-term work visas available.

7. Dali, China

Dali, China, has in recent years become a hub for Chinese digital nomads. As young Chinese workers grow disillusioned with city life, many have flocked to this city in the western province of Yunnan, not too far from the border with Myanmar. 

Its reputation for a chill, anything-goes culture combined with a mild climate and a growing tech scene has led to the new nickname “Dalifornia.” Though Dali is facing some issues that typically arise when a relatively small city suddenly absorbs thousands of outside residents, it’s a city to be watched.

8. Seminyak, Indonesia 

Seminyak is one of the main areas of Bali. Along with Legian, Canggu, and Ubud, it’s one of the most well-known and developed areas on the island. For this reason, it’s also where most tourists tend to stay.

Seminyak offers a lot in terms of dining, shopping, and nightlife. Accommodation is available for a wide range of budgets, though in general it’s considered to be a bit more upscale. If you’re looking to have easy access to cafes, restaurants, and malls, Seminyak is a great choice. 

9. Jodhpur, India 

 Jodhpur, India, located in the desert state of Rajasthan, is a bit of a hidden gem. Located outside of India’s “Golden Triangle,” which includes the well-traveled Agra, Delhi, and Jaipur, Jodhpur is a nice place for those looking for a more authentic experience.

The city lacks Western establishments like Starbucks, meaning it’s easy (and essential) to get familiar with the local restaurants. Despite its relative isolation, Jodhpur still offers everything that digital nomads need, from fast Wi-Fi and affordable accommodations. 

10. Johor Bahru, Malaysia

Johor Bahru, located only a few miles from the border to Singapore, is a city in Malaysia that is attracting more and more digital nomads. One of its main benefits is, of course, its affordability: although being only a short train or bus ride away from Singapore, its living costs are much lower. With the newly implemented DE Rantau Nomad Pass, it’s also very convenient to apply for a residency permit in Malaysia.


When it comes to choosing a digital nomad destination, it’s important to consider a variety of factors. Personal preferences play a large role, of course: weather patterns, population size, location, all of the factors that make each place unique.  

It’s also important, however, to consider what visa options each destination offers and how they line up with your goals. That way, you can have the digital nomad experience that you’ve been dreaming about in 2024.

Matthew is a freelance content writer whose work has previously appeared in well-known language-learning blog Fluent in 3 Months and The Happy Self-Publisher. His creative work has also appeared in Otoliths, CafeLit, and the Eunoia Review. He is currently based in Taipei, Taiwan, where he is studying for a master's degree in Chinese Literature.



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