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The surprising city 6,000 miles away from UK named the best to work abroad

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A surprising city has beaten the competition and taken the top spot as the best city for digital nomads, for reasons including internet speed and visa options.

The lure of remote working is increasing year on year, with more people looking to take advantage of its flexibility to travel more and move wherever they want.

In fact, Working From Home Research (WFH) found that 12.7 percent of Americans employed in full-time roles worked remotely as of 2023, a figure which is expected to increase to 22 percent by 2025.

This has become such a craze that the digital nomad publication, Freaking Nomads, has created an index of the best cities according to relevant criteria.

This includes internet speeds, availability of co-working spaces, accessibility to remote working visas, cost of living and rent.

Each of the nine criteria that influenced appeal was scored and given an appropriate weighting out of 100, with varying percentage weights, including visas (30 percent) and several prices compared with NYC including cost of living, rent and groceries, varying from 10 to 15 percent.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia earned third place, with an overall index score of 72 out of 100. It earned joint 19th place for visa accessibility, a score of 83.3 and was 21st for cost of living (76.1). It was described as having a friendly and invigorating atmosphere, which features traditional monuments and an impressive shopping scene, on top of its iconic skyline which features the Petronas Twin Towers.

Delhi in India was second, with an overall score of 73.8. I was the number one city for cost of living at 89.0 and joint 34th for visa accessibility. It was described as a “melting pot” of culture, ranging from historic attractions such as the Red Fort to markets offering local artisan products and diverse food options from across the country.

The crown was given to a rather unexpected choice, Hoi An in Vietnam, which gained an index score of 73.9. The UNESCO World Heritage site was awarded third place for cost of living at 85.5 and joint 34th with Delhi for visa accessibility. The city is home to many well-preserved old buildings due to its status, quaint historical charm and colourful lanterns.

If you cannot view the poll below, click here.

Other cities that made the top ten included:

  • Da Nang, also in Vietnam (71.3)

  • Mumbai, also in India (69.8)

  • Buenos Aires, Argentina (69.4)

  • Bangkok, Thailand (68.2)

  • Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain (68.1)

  • Bucharest, Romania (68.0)

  • Las Palmas, Spain (67.9)

All these cities were praised for their blend of traditional and historical neighbourhoods, including galleries, parks, beaches and carnivals.

Irene Wang, co-founder of Freaking Nomads said: “While it may seem daunting at first, living a digital nomad lifestyle gives people the freedom to forge their own paths and enrich their lives with cultures they wouldn’t otherwise experience.

“Cities such as Hoi An, Delhi and Kuala Lumpur are ideal spots that have an ease of access and won’t break the bank.

“The monotony of day-to-day life can leave people feeling stagnant and uninspired, but travelling more, exploring curiosities or expanding our horizons doesn’t have to be limited to a vacation. Being a digital nomad provides endless possibilities, and these cities are sure to make anyone feel at home, no matter where they’re from.”

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