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This Super Affordable Ancient Town Was Just Named Best Destination For Digital Nomads

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Affordability is a major factor digital nomads take into account when picking their next home base, but so are cultural wealth and tourist offerings.

You don't want to move to a new foreign city and stay locked up in your Airbnb as there's nothing to see or do.

Young Woman Admiring The Old Town Of Hoi An From Across The River, Vietnam, Southeast Asia

Let's face it, though: it's not always easy to ‘hit the jackpot' when all of the most popular cultural hotspots, namely London, Paris, Rome, Tokyo, and New York, are not exactly… affordable.

So where could nomads go that are both cheap, whether they're coming from well-off countries or not, and not mortally boring?

Well, there's this ancient, inexpensive town in Asia that's been gaining quite the traction lately, drawing in ‘workcationers' from all over.

According to new research published by Freaking Nomads, Hoi An in Vietnam is the best destination for nomads, and in this article, we'll briefly look into some of the reasons why.

Why Is Hoi An The Number One Nomad Hotspot Right Now?

Colonial Old Town Of Hoi An, Vietnam, Southeast Asia

First of all, Vietnam as a whole is an incredibly trendy destination for Westerners currently:

Thanks to the attractive consumer prices, they are able to have a much higher quality of life relocating to this Southeast Asian country, and the relaxed visa policies have made it easier for them to stay longer without resorting to once-a-month visa runs.

Vietnam is full of gorgeous resort cities, nature preserves, and vibrant metropolises, including Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, to name a couple.

So the fact that Hoi An, of all places, has topped this particular ranking begs the question.

Vietnamese Woman Pushing A Bike With A Basket Of Fruit Through The Streets Of Hoi An, Vietnam, Southeast Asia

However, it takes only a day of strolling around its maze-like, yellow-washed Historic Zone and getting acquainted with the hospitable locals to figure out why remote workers are flocking in here in droves.

Hoi An is probably the prettiest town in Vietnam, with a UNESCO-listed Old Town traversed by a scenic river and oozing Old World charm:

A Historic Town With An Eclectic Architecture

It's been under the control of several different empires over the centuries, and the Chinese, the Japanese, and the French have all left their mark.

It is an eclectic townscape, meaning you're as likely to stumble upon pagoda-topped, covered nipple bridges as you are European-built, colonial-style houses.

Young Woman Wearing A Red Dress Admiring The Japanese Covered Bridge In Hoi An, Vietnam, Southeast Asia

There are so many ornate temples to visit that you're unlikely to see everything, regardless of how long you stay.

Hoi An's location near the sea, within short driving distance of unspoiled beaches, and the verdant hills of Central Vietnam make it a prime destination for nature lovers.

Picturesque doesn't even begin to cover it, and then there's the fact that on every corner you turn, you can find a quirky, visitor-friendly cafe catering to the Western clientele, equipped with AC, power sockets, WiFi, and serving a wide variety of local delicacies and freshly-squeezed, tropical juices.

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In the new study, Hoi An posts a score of 73.94 out of 100, the most out of all destinations assessed, and as expected, the Vietnamese gem is commended for its low cost of living, with particularly low prices observed for food and rent, plethora of coworking spaces, and friendliness towards guests.

None of Hanoi's crazy traffic, much less Da Nang's unruly, Russian-dominated nightlife scene:

The Old Town is entirely walkable, and the social scene is indeed vibrant, but it's more laid-back, and life here unfolds at a much slower pace compared to the bigger cities.

This Is Why Nomads Love Living Here

Smiling Remote Worker, Digital Nomad Checking His Phone As He Works From His Computer In A Cafe Setting, Unspecified Location

In Nomad List, the most reliable platform for tracking digital nomad trends, Hoi An has received near-perfect ratings for its amazing, balmy weather, food safety, which is a big concern for travelers across Vietnam where food poisoning is a common concern, and lack of crime.

Nomads, whether they're male or female, face minimal, if not zero risks of being harassed, experiencing any sort of crime or violent acts, and even scamming:

Vietnamese locals are truly some of the most welcoming, kind people in Asia, and irrespective of their economic situation, they have unshakable moral standards.

Hoi An In Vietnam, Southeast Asia

Of course, nomads love Hoi An in particular for how cheap it is to live in: we're talking $840 a month, accommodation and daily expenses included, and that's far less than rent alone in any popular U.S. or Western European city.

A generous bowl of pho will cost you less than $2; you're unlikely to spend over $150 in groceries per month, utilities cap at around $47, and renting a one-bedroom apartment in the city center with a local real estate agency can cost as cheap as $248 (according to Numbeo).

Traveler Holding USA Passport At Airport

You can stay 3 months in Vietnam as a digital nomad on a tourist visa, so that means your total expenses will be only $2,520: for a one-month stay in Tokyo, Japan, you should be prepared to fork out $2,961, and an eye-watering $4,233 in Singapore.

Now you know why digital nomads love Hoi An:

  • It's beautiful
  • It's historic
  • It's cheap
  • It's safe

It's still only one facet of a surprisingly diverse, fascinating country you can learn more about here.

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Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

Rick Belicek

Wednesday 15th of May 2024

Da Nang? Unruly and Russian-dominated? I think you might mean Nha Trang! I've just been to Da Nang twice in the last twelve months and it's an absolutely chill coastal city by the beach, there's nothing unruly about it nor did I come across a single Russian. No idea where you got that description of Da Nang from!


Wednesday 15th of May 2024

I was lucky enough to visit in December 2022 when Vietnam was still only offering 30 day visas. Hoi An was not only somewhere you could get a high quality piece of tailored clothing but the locals were very welcoming, the weather was great and I was completely unprepared for the historic and natural beauty of the place

However, did I ever foresee it becoming a 'dIgItaL nOmAd hUb'?! Not in a million years. It's a tiny little delicate town and not really suited to insufferable westerners settling there en masse. Da Nang, HCMC, and even Can Tho are probably more suited for that purpose

I would highly recommend you to visit Hoi An but avoid setting there because then you'd just turn it into another overpriced place like Bali

This is a nice article but it does a disservice to Hoi An and spreads misinformation about it's suitability to this modern malaise of digital nomadry

Al LeFeusch

Tuesday 14th of May 2024

This is a case of reality and internet glorification being at extreme odds with each other. Hoi An is not some sort of idyllic paradise as seen in the carefully curated pics in this article. It is a city that is overrun with unfettered tourism and digital nomadism-- which have had increasingly negative impacts on the prices of housing and food for locals-- and it is a congested, polluted city that is busting at the seams with vehicle traffic and hoards of pedestrians trying to navigate an infrastructure that is largely hostile to pedestrian mobility. Its status as "the number one city for digital nomads" is simply unwarranted and is actually harmful to the local population.


Tuesday 14th of May 2024

I have to politely disagree. Hoi An is a town overrun by tourists and the Instagram crowd. Nothing close to the real Vietnam. The only thing missing is a cruise port. Canned tourism is the worst kind of tourism.


Tuesday 14th of May 2024

You are not legally allowed to work in Vietnam and there is no nomad visa available.