Ten of the Best Digital Nomad Hotspots in the World
Could you be a "location independent worker?" There's currently a boom in digital nomad hubs worldwide, all offering a place to do work remotely with fast internet, collaboration rooms, and a decent cup of coffee. Artists, writers, entrepreneurs, and all kinds of other people are finding creative ways to travel while they work, or vice versa.
Some are perpetual travelers and freelancers trying to stretch their income to the max, others are products of new remote work policies that enable tech startups to swerve Silicon Valley and instead become remote companies, using teams of coders, programmers and content creators recruited and located worldwide, all co-working in hubs and across the web.
It's estimated that there are already 500,000 digital nomads worldwide, which could grow significantly over the next few years. And it's all predicated on one simple premise: you get to choose where you want to work and live from. So where will you choose?
Co-working hotspot Hubud Bali, located alongside paddy fields on the edge of Ubud, offers more than just a view to die for, from frequent presentations and skill-sharing to feedback sessions.
“To get this sort of environment a company would pay millions of dollars," says director Chris Thompson, who sees the co-working space as one of the most significant social movements ever. "It's catching the attention of the corporate world, HR companies, schools, and centers for learning, non-profits and others."
You can even make bookings here using the crypto-currency Bitcoin. Prices start at $20 for a day pass.
Although the life of a digital nomad is often painted as a rural idyll plus laptop, most of the world’s 8,000 co-working spaces are in urban areas. This co-working space in the Indonesian capital has work areas with fiber-optic internet as well as private offices, meeting rooms, and even an auditorium that can hold 125 guests for workshops and lectures.
"Jakarta is buzzing with creative energy, but the lack of infrastructure often gets in the way," reads its website. "We want to build a place where independent creative entrepreneurs and professionals can gather, communicate and support one another."
It costs just $7 per day.
Woolf Works, Singapore
It's named after A Room of One’s Own author Virginia Woolf, which might give you a clue about this new shared workspace's special characteristics: it's quiet—and it's exclusively for women.
A rooftop office opposite Clarke Quay MRT Station in central Singapore, the first women-only co-working space in all of Southeast Asia has fast Wi-Fi, permanent and hot desks, meeting rooms and a kitchen. "We know working from home can be lonely, full of distractions and really uninspiring," says the Woolf Works website.
Access costs from $140 per month for one weekly visit, so this is more an option for semi-permanent visitors with a project; there's no daily rate.
Pod Works, London
Iconic they may be, but the U.K.’s famous red telephone boxes have now mostly been squeezed out by smartphones. Cue a tech revamp by Bar Works, which is retro-fitting them with 25-inch screens, Wi-Fi hotspots, plug sockets, wireless mice, printers, scanners, VOIP phones with free U.K. calls, and even free coffee and tea.
Bat Haus, Brooklyn
What if you’re an artist and you're feeling inspired to paint a nude model, but you’re also thirsty?
The Bat Haus workspace in Brooklyn clearly saw you coming, since every Wednesday evening it charges $10 for all-you-can-drink Brooklyn Brewery beer and two hours of drawing time with a nude, professional model.
Elsewhere its offerings to digital nomads are more standard, with high-speed internet, conference rooms, and storage for both accessories and bikes. Prices start at $25 per day.
“Imagine you look up from your laptop and the first thing you see is the ocean,” says Magdalena Hermann, who runs SunDesk in the small fishing village of Taghazout in southwestern Morocco. “You can focus on work projects without any distraction...start in the morning with yoga and end the day with a surf.”
It sounds idyllic, but SunDesk is very much focused on work, with high-speed internet, printing, and a private Skype room. “Taghazout is not a party village and alcohol is scarce,” says Hermann.
As with many digital nomad hotspots in less developed countries, SunDesk also has rooms from $23 per night, so it's perfect for a writing retreat.
Why go all the way to Asia or Europe when you can just as easily go remote in LA? Here there’s an obvious understanding of the needs of entertainment industry startups, with WeWork’s offices on Hollywood Boulevard providing a couple of screening rooms.
A hot desk costs $350 per month, a fixed desk $450, and a private office from $670-$800.
A five-minute walk from the LA metro’s Red Line, WeWork’s three floors in a six-story building are even dog-friendly. WeWork also has offices in New York City, London, San Francisco, and Sydney.
Tramshed Tech, Cardiff
UK tech and creative types tend to center on London, but Cardiff is the U.K.'s next largest media center ("Doctor Who" is made here). The capital of Wales, it's just two hours by train from London, and has a unique combination of Victorian shopping malls, a massive castle right in its center, and a growing media scene.
Close to the action is Tramshed Tech, a co-working space ($18 per day) that offers 24-hour access, super-fast internet, HD projectors, meeting rooms, printing, and tea and coffee. It's currently home to regular Google Digital Garage sessions.
Digital nomads flock to Thailand for its fast 4G internet, cheap rents, and Hubba Thailand in Bangkok, which hosts courses on coding, digital marketing/branding, and design.
“I keep coming back even though I'm not a big fan of huge cities,” says remote worker Youjin Do, who's making a documentary about digital nomads called One Way Ticket. “Hubba has a unique community which has a combination of locals and digital nomads, and everyone in Hubba is so friendly and helpful so it makes me feel like I'm back home.”
There are daily, monthly, flex, and yearly rates ranging from about $8.50 to $84.50.
The Coffee House, Hong Kong
In Aberdeen on the southern side of Hong Kong island, Coffee House is a dedicated co-work space for entrepreneurs, freelancers, and small businesses that’s well away from chaotic center.
“Aberdeen's slightly off-grid location offers a more relaxing and low cost work-life style with shorter commute, and it is an excellent alternative to the traditional business areas, yet you can reach most parts of Hong Kong Island within 30 minutes by public transportation,” says Ben Lui, director and owner of Coffee House, which has meeting rooms, social areas, private offices, fixed desks, and hot desks as well as Wi-Fi, printers, scanners and lockers.
A day pass costs $15.