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Kuala Lumpur ranks ahead of Singapore, Jakarta & Hong Kong among best Asian cities for digital nomads

Kuala Lumpur ranks ahead of Singapore, Jakarta & Hong Kong among best Asian cities for digital nomads


In the global rankings, Kuala Lumpur ranks 18th among cities such as Chicago, Barcelona, and Ho Chi Minh City. In the Asian rankings, Kuala Lumpur ranks third, behind Bangkok and Seoul; while Singapore ranks 31st.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, stands among the top 20 best places for digital nomads to work, according to Instant Office's Best Places to be a Digital Nomad in 2022 survey. Ranked 18th globally, it ranks among cities such as Chicago (16th), Barcelona (15th), and Ho Chi Minh City (21st).

Its Asian counterparts – such as cities Jakarta (Indonesia). Delhi (India), and Hong Kong – on the other hand, rank higher within the top 25, in the 25th, 22nd, and 23rd spot respectively. Taking the top spot is Lisbon, Portugal, followed by Bangkok, Thailand; Thessaloniki, Greece, and Dallas in the US. 

Across the border, neighbour Singapore ranks 31st.

Specific to the Asian region, Singapore takes the 11th position – ahead of cities in Japan (Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto), the Philippines (Manila), and the city of Taiwan. Meanwhile, Bangkok, Thailand continues its top ranking in first place, ahead of Seoul, South Korea; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and Delhi, India.

To understand how are the cities evaluated and ranked, the survey noted in its methodology that the rankings are calculated through Instant Office's proprietary data, along with factors including the connection speed of mobile and broadband; the number of Wi-Fi hotspots; the average yearly hours of sunshine; the average cost of an inexpensive meal and a coffee; the average cost of an Airbnb accommodation, and the quality of life.

So, Bangkok it is

The office advisory organisation explained that Bangkok's high ranking – globally and in Asia – can be attributed to its offering of "stunning local cuisine, and vibrant street-food markets" that are complemented with "more than 15,000 Wi-Fi hotspots", and "some of the most affordable accommodation of all the cities researched". According to calculations, the average cost of an Airbnb accommodation in Bangkok, for instance, is GBP27 (approximately S$46.60) a night.

For those who are willing to work farther out, Lisbon can be a city for consideration. Noted in the survey, it is "the perfect option" for "inexpensive, delicious food, beautiful weather, and scenery", and the city has "excellent infrastructure". On top of that, Lisbon is also described as "one of the sunniest places in Europe", and "a food lover's haven, with local markets and freshly caught seafood available on virtually every corner".

Not to mention, it has "more than 7,000 Wi-Fi hotspots, and an average broadband speed of 163mbps" –  labelled in the survey as "ideal for enjoying the sun and surf, while working".

What about the others?

Other than Thailand, the survey also shared that Seoul, South Korea, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Singapore, and Hong Kong are destinations that "offer captivating travel experiences, scenery, and food alongside stellar connectivity, infrastructure, and a manageable cost of living".

As such, the cities are "perfect for digital nomads who want to explore some of the world’s most iconic business centres and enjoy a continent full of exciting travel opportunities and sights", noted the survey.

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At a glance, the top 10 cities (global) are:

  1. Lisbon, Portugal
  2. Bangkok, Thailand
  3. Thessaloniki, Greece
  4. Dallas, USA
  5. San Antonio, USA
  6. Seville, Spain
  7. Seoul, South Korea
  8. Sydney, Australia
  9. Athens, Greece
  10. Budapest, Hungary

And the top 10 cities (Asia) are:

  1. Bangkok, Thailand
  2. Seoul, South Korea
  3. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  4. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
  5. Delhi, India
  6. Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  7. Beijing, Mainland China
  8. Jakarta, Indonesia
  9. Kathmandu, Nepal
  10. Shanghai, Mainland China

ALSO READSingapore ranks 9th for best cities in facilitating remote work, closely behind ANZ and European cities

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