The land of smiles, ancient pagodas dating back centuries, breathtaking nature, and of course, high affordability, Asia seems to be on the radar of every digital nomad currently, considering life down there is usually a lot cheaper than in the Western World.

As incredible as it may be, not all of Asia is receptive to expats, with many suffering from lackluster expat services in some cities, or finding it literally too hot to live in certain places, despite the lower prices, or even being hit with strict visa requirements.

If you’re planning on working remotely from the far Orient, planning ahead in advance is key: no matter how popular, not every metropolis will be friendly towards foreigners, and as cheap as it may be, there’s no use relocating somewhere the social scene is dead, or the cultural offer is limited.

With that in mind, we’ve brought you 5 Asian destinations that not only are very affordable but you’ll actually want to live in:

Ubud, Indonesia

Ubud Bali rice fields jungle and mountains

The nomad hotspot of Bali, Ubud is a laid-back village located in the midst of the world-famous rice paddies, with restaurant-lined ‘Monkey Street’, as it is known among foreigners, catering to international crowds, coworking spaces and nature reserves galore.

It is Bali’s leading destination for savoring the local culture and beating the coastal crowds, as it is located inland, in an uphill location, and despite the growing number of expats, it remains one of the most traditional and quaint municipalities on the island.

As Nomad List respondents noted, Ubud and its historic temples, vast plantations and hiking trails are perfect for nomads aged over 35 who are ‘over’ the party scene, and the best thing is, you can have all this peace and quiet for $1,860 per month, accommodation included.

Hanoi, Vietnam

French Quarter In Hanoi, Vietnam, Southeast Asia

The national capital of Vietnam, Hanoi has an eclectic architecture that combines elements of native Indochina, French colonial, and socialist-derived brutalism, countless Western-style cafés, and vast green spaces parks that provide some relief from the (at times) oppressive urban landscape.

It is a vibrant city over 5 million people call home, and it’s one of those metropolises that never sleep: day or night, you’re sure to find tourists cramming into the winding streets of the Old Quarter, bars spilling out onto the busy pavements, and rows upon rows of food stalls lining the scenic Hoan Kiem Lake.

It would take you several weeks to explore Hanoi in depth, and even then, you might feel as if you’ve barely scratched the surface; lucky you, you can now stay an entire three months in Vietnam as a tourist, and living in the capital will set you back by $1,040 monthly.

Penang, Malaysia

Kek Lok Si Temple on Penang island, Georgetown, Malaysia

Third on the list, George Town is the capital of the Malaysian island of Penang and possibly the country’s best-kept secret: it’s got stunning buildings dating back centuries, as well as modern high-rises, not to mention it straddles a warm, azure ocean and it’s incredibly multicultural:

It’s British-era forts, ornate Chinese temples, Muslim-built mosques and beachfront resorts all in one, the sun shines year-round essentially, gorgeous lookouts and natural sites are always a short hike away, and the food scene is truly unrivaled, reflecting the island’s diverse heritage.

In total, nomads will spend on average $960 living in George Town, with modest central apartments available to rent for $326, fully-furnished Airbnbs starting from $20 per night, and the price of a full meal at a mid-range restaurant averaging $13.49 based on Numbeo estimates.

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Wat Phra Singh Temple In Chiang Mai, A City In Northern Thailand, Southeast Asia

At the runner-up slot, Chiang Mai is nestled in the hinterlands of Northern Thailand and a UNESCO-listed city over 700 years old, easily distinguished by the whopping 300 temples (or more) that are scattered around its walled Old Town.

It is surging in popularity as a nomad hub lately thanks to its off-path appeal—it’s not coastal, nor bounded by teal-colored waters, so you’re unlikely to find the Koh Phi Phi Instagram wonders here—welcoming locals, and irrevocable status as a cultural capital.

Besides its historical charm, Chiang Mai is also among the cheapest cities to live in Thailand: unlike the dollarized islands, you can live here for an inexpensive $965 per month, with rent, utilities, groceries, and food expenses covered.

Bangkok, Thailand

Tourist Admiring The View Of A Temple Across Bangkok River, Bangkok, Thailand, Southeast Asia

The Digital Nomad Capital of Asia, Bangkok is where a majority of nomads are headed this year: it’s currently number one on the Nomad List, amassing rave reviews, and it’s indisputably Thailand’s most vibrant and exciting city break by a mile.

If you’re a culture buff, there are magnificent Buddhist temples and imperial palaces lining the Chao Phraya to tick off; are you a devoted foodie?

Take the BTS Skytrain straight to Chinatown—literal street food heaven—for the best pork & shrimp noodles you’ll ever try.

Heading out at night? Some of the most riotous nightlife scenes unfold in expat-frequented Sukhumvit Soi 11, where there are plenty of clubs selling cheap beer for less than a dollar and hospitable locals looking for a good time: you’ll soon realize life in Bangkok is a forever weekend.

When it comes to nomad infrastructure, there’s no shortage of work-friendly cafés and coworking centers to choose from, either, and it’s pretty easy to get around the place if you’ve mastered the art of navigating the metro (or you don’t mind spending only a few dollars more on a Grab taxi).

Overall, remote workers spend $1,313 per month in Bangkok, making it one of the most affordable national capitals in Asia, as well as the entire world, and a nomad hub of the first order.

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