Digital nomads in Southeast Asia


A digital nomad is not a job, but a work-travel lifestyle. They are a race of enterprising individuals who make a living traveling the world. They are location independent and use technology to do their jobs. Technology has allowed new forms of work environments to flourish, making formal workspaces a thing of the past.

Occupations that digital nomads typically occupy are writing and blogging, website design, software development, and occasional photography. But there are also researchers, accountants and journalists who are entering professional life. They can be self-employed, business owners or even employed by companies that venture into remote work.

In 2018, a survey by FlexJobs, a website that offers remote and flexible jobs, found that on average, digital nomads are typically married women between the ages of 30 and 40, working at least 40 hours per week. . In the same survey, 70 percent of digital nomads were women. Digital nomads often work from cafes, coworking spaces, their hotels or hostels.

Tourism market

Digital nomads tend to favor ASEAN countries such as Thailand and Vietnam for their lower cost of living (against stronger foreign currencies).


In 2017, a global survey was conducted by PeoplePerHour – a UK-based online platform that provides businesses with access to self-employed workers – to create an index of ‘digital nomads by city’. He revealed that Bangkok, Thailand came in seventh, followed by Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 11th and Singapore in 12th. This ranking, however, did not include several other Southeast Asian cities well known for their digital nomad communities.

According to – a website that ranks cities based on how friendly they are to nomads – based on factors such as cost of living, internet speed, and entertainment options, Thailand is the place to be. where millennials go for comfort, affordability and a warm climate. Chiang Mai’s digital nomadic communities are some of the best in the region. However, Bali remains one of Indonesia’s most popular destinations for its four million tourists and digital nomads.

Call for business trips

The digital nomadic lifestyle is one of the fastest growing lifestyles in the age of remote working and shared workspaces.

Technology is shaping the way young people in Southeast Asia live and work. The rapid adoption of digital technologies, growing wealth and urbanization, along with government efforts to bring together the region’s island populations, cultures and archipelagos are some of the reasons that attract digital nomads to Southeast Asia. South East.

For digital nomads, the region’s widespread internet access, deeper penetration of mobile connectivity, and stable electricity are as important as internet speeds. Tackling questionable Wi-Fi connections isn’t ideal when the deadlines are fast approaching. Thailand leads the region with the fastest average internet speeds at 15-40 megabits per second (Mbps) with that of Indonesia at 18-20 Mbps. The Internet economy in the region is worth US $ 50 billion and the market is growing every year.

However, the era of 5G could be here anytime soon. 5G is the fifth generation of cellular mobile communications and succeeds 4G (LTE / WiMax), 3G (UMTS) and 2G (GSM) systems. 5G connectivity is expected to offer much higher bandwidth and lower latency, which could save power and lower costs.

The influx of digital nomads to Southeast Asia is certainly beneficial as any type of tourism has the potential to boost economic development. However, there is also a dark side to the organized lifestyle of digital nomads. According to one digital nomad, the trendy way of life is “built on the backs of impoverished nations and on the exploitation of less privileged people.”

Digital nomads with their hard currencies can easily spend more than people in a particular area. This influx of wealth into the poorest areas of the region can damage economic ecosystems in the long run. It can also displace long-term residents due to the rising cost of living. In the end, it is important to realize that digital nomads remain tourists without any interest in the spaces they briefly occupy.

Related Articles:

Tourism could boost Indonesian economy

How 5G can transform Southeast Asia


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