On the Move

5 Happenin’ Coworking Destinations in Asia

For those looking to make a move to Asia and are in need of a practical, cost-effective setup that allows you to conduct business, serious attention should really be given to coworking spaces. The upsides are numerous, but key among them are cheap membership fees, the fulfillment of your desire to work in exotic locales, and the ability to network with other digital nomads, all while staying productive by working alongside like-minded individuals. What’s not to like?


Here’s a brief look at some of Asia’s top standouts:

UBUD  (Bali)
With its lush, tropical environment, Ubud has a well-known and thriving healthy lifestyle scene, and (although perhaps less known) a small but established tech community. Take a look at coworking space Hubud, which offers a steady rotation of skill-sharing sessions, conferences, and even a local techie “boot camp,” for a glimpse of what is available in the area. Postcard-esque Southeast Asian vistas right at your doorstep—green rice paddies, coco palms, and amazing sunsets. Internet speed (at approx. 1 Mbps) could be an issue, however, so if day trading is how you plan to cover your costs then you might want to look a bit more into things before showing up with bags in tow. Otherwise, Ubud is a great place to get away from the urban grind and clear your mind, without having to check out of work completely.

CHIANG MAI  (Thailand)
A well-established favorite over the years for many an expat based in Thailand. Experience the most that Thailand has to offer minus the soul-crushing traffic, pollution, and urban sprawl of Bangkok. Having said that, Chiang Mai is the second-largest city in Thailand so there is no shortage of western amenities, nightlife, and renowned Thai street food to enjoy. Featuring a crisp, comfy decor, plenty of outdoor seating, and a newly opened second location, Punspace in Chiang Mai is a popular option worth researching.

Southeast Asia’s economic powerhouse and an extremely attractive city for those with a family. Great healthcare, education, and Internet access are all easily accessible although a bit pricey (relative to other Southeast Asia cities). Then again, top-notch infrastructure, cleanliness, and convenience always comes at a cost. Singapore’s Makespace is all about community, fun events, and those crucial little details that are often overlooked (i.e., bike parking, lockers, kitchen facilities, free coffee). Ideally situated in the Jalan Besar area.

If you can contend with the pollution (and the subsequent health concerns), China is definitely a place to consider doing business. This is especially true if you’re among those who feel there’s a bottleneck of digital nomads flocking to the ever popular Southeast Asia expat hotspots. While Shanghai may be the obvious choice for many, there are a handful of other cities throughout China with a sizable expat presence as well as considerable potential for opportunity. With an emphasis on health and urban sustainability, Shanghai’s LOHAUS is one of many options for coworking spaces around the city. Located in the famous French Concession area of Shanghai, it plays host to numerous social events and seminars.

From strictly a cost perspective, Ho Chi Minh City is generally on par with, or even cheaper than, other popular digital nomad destinations, such as Thailand and Indonesia, but with a slightly more “wild west” feel to it. It’s an emerging hub for youngish expats and boasts no shortage of reasons why this is an option to really consider—world-class cafe culture, wonderful food, beautiful natural destinations, and a large percentage of the population is young (mid-30s or under). Coworking spaces abound. One that has a more quaint appeal and artistic vibe is WORK, a French Colonial-inspired villa complete with swimming pool that’s located in Ho Chi Minh’s District 3.

Prior to packing your bags and jumping a flight, though, it would probably best serve you to get to know the site Nomad List inside and out. Easy to navigate, it covers everything from Internet speed to air quality and from meal to accommodation costs.

H/T: Hayo Magazine

  • Random Dimsum

    I prefer Manilla. Cheap everything, even sexy time.

  • tokyo chris

    i agree! manila – well, certain parts of manila — are ideal for living and coworking. regarding the last bit of your comment, though, you might want to point out the likelihood of just how little work is likely to actually get done with so many beautiful distractions EVERYWHERE.

  • Gurtis

    PI all the way.