Top countries for digital nomads:
Where to work while travelling in 2021

As more of us work from home and say goodbye to cramped commutes and limp office plants, the idea of switching home offices for sunshine, lush landscapes and an explosion of culture is becoming increasingly popular.

This desire to roam whilst working remotely has led to a rise in digital nomads - people who travel the world whilst working virtually. That’s why Club Med has created an index of the best places and countries around the world to become a digital nomad.

This data was collected and assessed with the growing demand for the nomadic lifestyle. We consciously put beautiful landscapes before bustling cities to limit and restrict stress, allowing workers to fully embrace the world - the ethos behind digital nomadism.

The top countries in the world to live as a digital nomad

In this study we looked at cost of living, safety, average internet speed, presence of nature and wellness spots, as well as the number of both relaxing and adventurous activities in each country.

In doing so we allocated each place a total ‘digital nomad score’ which we used to rank both the best countries and the best areas for remote working.

Thailand leads as the world’s top country for digital nomads

Our study found that Thailand is the best country in the world for digital nomads. Shaking off its party island reputation over recent years, the southeast Asian island is now becoming known as a digital nomad’s paradise.

In doing so, Thailand has become a place where visitors can enjoy the serenity of the island, leaving minds as clear as the crystal-coloured waters. Travelling to work in Thailand is a great opportunity for those pursuing life as a digital nomad as other parts of the continent are easily accessible.

From Thailand, flights to neighbouring countries such as Malaysia, Taiwan, Indonesia and Cambodia (all of which ranked in the top fifteen countries for digital nomads) are relatively cheap and quick. Offering ample opportunities for people to expand their adventures to nearby countries. Those doing so would benefit from sprawling landscapes with many calming activities to enjoy such as mountain trekking, swimming and observing exotic animals in their natural habitats.

The colourful country of Sri Lanka is a paradise for nomads

Sri Lanka came high up on our list as the second-best country for digital nomads to visit. With low living costs and a beautiful working backdrop of lush green mountains, coral reefs and powdery sand, it’s clear to see why Sri Lanka offers such a great remote working experience.

The country had a total score of 238 out of 320, boasting average temperatures of 30°C along with ample activities and landmarks for visitors to enjoy.

Singapore is a sensational home for remote workers

Coming third in our study is Singapore, a country that will offer those working there a truly unique experience. Although one of the world’s tech hubs (with the fastest internet speed in our index), Singapore is also known for its vibrant green spaces such as the futuristic Gardens by the Bay, showing the island’s true appreciation for nature’s beauty.
Its total score of 232 out of 320 is a great reflection of what the sovereign island has to offer digital nomads.

Cambodia’s culture snagged it forth place on the digital nomads index

Our study found Cambodia to be the third-best country in the world for digital nomads. With its world-renowned architecture and ancient temples, Cambodia offers working travellers a chance to immerse themselves in a world of wonder.

The country’s low living costs further add to the appeal, meaning that visitors can enjoy the wealth of experiences on offer on the island without spending too much of their earnings. From the elephant sanctuaries to the mountain-top templates, Cambodia is thriving and well-deserving of its 216 out of 320 score.

The dreamy shore of the Maldives proves a paradise for nomads

A haven for lovers of luxurious surroundings and experiences, the Maldives is the fifth best country in the world for digital nomads. Known globally for its white powdery beaches, turquoise waters and towering palm trees, the Maldives offers more than just breath-taking surroundings for its thriving population.

Those who visit the island to work virtually are spoiled for choice, with a plethora of adventurous activities to choose from. From snorkelling with tropical fish, sea turtles and manta rays to clear bottom kayaking giving you glimpses of the ocean floor, the Maldives is full of opportunities for those once in a lifetime moments. The definition of paradise islands, the Maldives scored 187 on our index.

From tropical islands to leafy suburbs - the top places in the world for digital nomads

As well as looking at the best country, we also discovered the best places overall for digital nomads to live. From tropical islands to leafy suburbs, no location was out of bounds.

Phuket, Thailand is crowned the best place in the world for digital nomads

We found that Phuket in Thailand is the best place to venture if you’re looking to become a digital nomad. With Thailand being ranked as the best country for digital nomads, it’s no wonder that the beautiful island of Phuket is crowned as the best place overall.

The southern province of Phuket consists of 33 islands, including the largest in Thailand. Alongside 30°C heat, the aesthetic appeal of such a paradise is just one of many factors that helped Phuket earn its title.

As well as scoring highly in terms of safety and internet speed, those travelling to work in the tropical paradise can take advantage of 251 relaxing experiences in the surrounding area. Those searching for more adventurous activities have 750 to explore.

After benefitting from a strong, bustling tourism trade for many years and being the largest exporter of rubber in the world, the Thai government has invested generously in preserving the landscape’s natural beauty.

In doing so, Phuket has become a place where visitors can enjoy the serenity of the island, leaving minds as clear as the waters.

The bustling city of Ho Chi Minh comes in second place

The beautiful 34°C heat combined with a vibrant culture, energetic atmosphere and low living costs of £716 a month propel Ho Chi Minh City towards the top of our index, gaining the title of the second-best place in the world to be a digital nomad, scoring 270 out of 320.
The largest and most populous city in Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City is a city that rarely sleeps. A thriving place bustling with street food vendors, markets and traditional Vietnamese art and entertainment such as the centuries-old wooden puppet shows.

You’ll never be too far from an internet cafe to work from whilst enjoying the indisputably delicious Vietnamese coffee.

Thailand’s island paradise Krabi is a hub for wanderers

A relaxing paradise on Thailand’s west coast, we found that Krabi is the third-best place in the world for digital nomads with a total index score of 272 out of 320. With its limestone cliffs, caves and lush jungles, Krabi offers incredible natural assets as well as plenty of leisure activities for digital nomads.

The perfect destination for digital nomads seeking an escape from the stresses of everyday life, the island has over 232 relaxing activities to choose from. These include traditional massages by the beach, local cuisine cooking classes, floating along the Krabi coastline in a rented boat or visiting the Thung Theo Forest for a soak in the Crystal Lagoon.

Krabi’s low average living costs of £645 a month mean that it’s easy for digital nomads to make the most of a trip to the island by truly exploring all it has to offer.

Colombo, Sri Lanka scores highly for adventurous activities

Fourth on our list of best places in the world to be a digital nomad is Colombo in Sri Lanka, with a total index score of 238 out of 320.

Those seeking excitement have over 285 adventurous activities to choose from in Colombo, such as a Tuk Tuk safari experience and heritage walking tours. The city is also an affordable destination for remote workers, with average living costs of £645 a month. Those choosing to make Colombo their new working location can do so whilst basking in the beautiful 31°C sunshine.

Coastal community Jimbaran offers a oceanfront view for digital nomads

Jimbaran is the fifth-best place in the world for digital nomads, with a total index score of 235 out of 320.

The charming fishing village on Bali’s coast is an ideal destination for those seeking to immerse themselves in Indonesian culture. From the ancient sea temples to the local fish markets on the beach, visitors will have a true taste of the vibrant local culture.

And with low average living costs of £479 a month, the island can be explored affordably, with popular activities including fishing, ocean surfing and scuba diving amongst the tropical fish and coral reefs.

It’s safety score of 4.28 out of 5 makes it one of the safest places in the world for digital nomads, making it a great option for solo or first-time travellers.

WiFi for wanderers - The top 40 places for digital nomads

How to become a digital nomad

Follow these tips to help you embark on your own digital nomad journey:

  • Assess whether you can carry out your job role remotely and use this to help decide your destination. For example, if daily meetings or client calls are a big part of your role, take into account the time difference of your destination.
  • Stay connected. Ensure that WiFi and high speed internet is available in most places you visit. Internet speed was one of the factors we considered to help us rank the destinations, with Singapore having the fastest overall.
  • Check which countries offer working visas and plan in accordance with each different policy if you’re planning to explore more than one country.
  • Budget beforehand. Visiting countries with lower living costs can help you to extend your adventure and make the most of the local activities on offer. We used average monthly living costs to help determine the best destinations for digital nomads, with countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand having the lowest.

Make sure to approach your digital nomad adventure with an open mind to truly soak up the experience and don’t forget to pack your laptop!

Feeling inspired?

Has our digital nomad index got you dreaming of a new adventure in Thailand? For a trip of a lifetime where you can create memories and embark on new experiences, explore our extensive range of holidays to Thailand.

Methodology

To discover which areas of the world are the best for digital nomads we pulled a seed list for Nomadlist.com, specifically choosing tropical locations. We then looked at average internet speed, average monthly cost of living, fun score, safety score, places to work, number of relaxing activities and number of adventurous activities which were all scored equally and allowed us to come up with a final digital nomad score. If an area did not have all data points, they were omitted from the results.