Living in the age of wireless internet has generated a frenzy of online work for creatives who have traded in their cubicles for anywhere on the map that offers inspiration. These individuals are known as “digital nomads,” and, for them, home is wherever the WiFi connects.
Hoi An is quickly becoming a hotspot for digital nomads. We at Hidden fully understand the appeal of Vietnam’s city of lanterns. The town offers history, beautiful beaches, plentiful accommodation, good weather (most of the time), and a seemingly endless number of cafes to work from. If you are an experienced digital nomad or a location independent freelancer heading to Hoi An, read on for the ultimate guide to workspaces and work-friendly cafes in Hoi An.
Why pick Hoi An as a nomad base?
While most digital nomads might be tempted to spend their time in one of Vietnam’s bigger cities, Hoi An is an alternative that has plenty to offer for the location-independent.
One of the most attractive reasons for a digital nomad to move to Hoi An is the affordability. The cost of living in Hoi An is incredibly low. It is possible for a person to live in Hoi An on a budget of 12,000,000 VND (600 USD) per month—this figure includes the cost of renting a house!
On top of the affordability of Hoi An, another important item to consider is the internet. Other small UNESCO cities might be beautiful, cost-effective bases for digital nomads, but their internet is unreliable and slow. Hoi An offers internet all over the city that you can depend on to be fast—a necessity for those working online. Occasionally, like other places in Southeast Asia, Hoi An experiences power cuts. These are rare occurrences, however, and many homestays, hotels, and workspaces around town have backup generators.
A major benefit of choosing to work online is getting to explore wherever you base yourself when you aren’t working away. Hoi An offers plenty to see and do in the city and has an abundance of day trips that include cultural sites, a waterpark, a mural village, temples, hiking, beaches, and island excursions.
Despite its quiet reputation, we believe Hoi An makes a fantastic base for those earning their income via the internet. The city has plenty to see and do and a selection of spaces to work from.
Items for digital nomads in Hoi An to consider
Charging devices – Two-prong plugs are the most common in Vietnam, so if your laptop charger is a standard British three-prong plug, you’ll need to bring or buy an adaptor. A surge protector adaptor is advised. It’s an inexpensive item and well worth any money spent for the peace of mind it provides. Electronics shops in Hoi An provide the basics, but it’s best to bring any specialist items you require with you. Otherwise, you will end up relying on what is available in nearby Da Nang. Blue Electronics is the largest of its kind in Hoi An—Find everything under one roof in Da Nang at Phi Ling Technology or the Apple specialist F-Studio.
Accommodation – If you are staying for a month or more, it’s more cost-effective to rent an apartment or house. Most rental prices include bills such as rates and water. Prices for home rentals start from 6,000,000 VND (300 USD) per month. Again, this often includes utility costs but not usually electricity.
Transport around town – Walking is, obviously, free and makes it easier to find the little nooks and crannies of the city. However, biking cuts down transportation time, which is something to take seriously when commuting in the Hoi An summer heat.
Hidden’s workspace criteria
Hidden scouted the best workspaces for remote workers in Hoi An based on the following criteria: Internet speed and quality (tested with speedtest.net), ambience, noise level, location, number of power outlets, seating comfort, and menu options. The spaces mentioned below are in addition to the many cafes and coffee shops lining every street in the city.
Dingo Deli has created a name for itself amongst the expat community of Hoi An as the premier stop for Western fare like pizza and roast dinners done right. But, along with its extensive food menu and Lavazza coffee, Dingo offers a coworking space that’s fully air-conditioned.
The space sits behind its main café allowing it to be free from distraction. The space also includes a standing desk, air-conditioning, multiple outlets, and flat-screen television. WiFi at Dingo is fast and reliable, a necessity when working online. There’s also a generator at Dingo Deli, so on the off-chance the power cuts around town, you’ll still be able to make your deadlines.
If you’re a parent, Dingo also has a garden playground within view of the workspace to keep little ones occupied while you work.
Hidden Hint: Get there early to guarantee a seat in the coworking space since they function on a first come, first served basis.
What we liked – The menu and air-conditioning allow for a full days work to be done at Dingo without having to leave for sustenance or fight others for fans.
What we didn’t like – The co-working space itself is exactly as it sounds: a room with a table, chairs, a TV, and a standing desk. Its detachment from the deli means it is quiet but can feel that it lacks a bit of atmosphere.
Dingo Deli internet speed – Download 3.16 Mbps Upload 3.9 Mbps
Hub Hoi An
Hub Hoi An prides itself as being the first coworking space in the city. Situated between Hoi An and An Bang beach in Cam Chau, Hub Hoi An is a collaborative space with a 360-degree garden view and full air-conditioning.
The space itself has many rooms and a variety of seating styles (standing desks, outside garden sofas, cushioned chairs). Hub also has an onsite cafe with a full coffee list and rotating food menu. Digital nomads, freelancers, and location-independent entrepreneurs have a truly picturesque space to work. Hub Hoi An has thought of everything in terms of extra amenities, including printers, scanners, extension cords, laptop stands, and extra keyboards.
Hub Hoi An believes in the power of collaboration and community, thus its weekly workshops and events like Community Lunches where digital nomads can gather over delicious food made on-site in the Hub’s kitchen.
You are required to get a membership or pay for each day you use Hub Hoi An’s facilities. The passes begin at 210,000 VND (9 USD) for one whole day. This includes unlimited tea and water, as well as five black and white printed pages. The 7-day pass costs 1,300,000 VND (57 USD), includes unlimited printing, and can be used Monday to Monday or Thursday to Thursday. The 1-month pass will set you back 4,000,000 VND (175 USD), but it comes with everything the other passes do plus A drink of your choice each day. Payment is accepted in cash, crypto currency, Paypal and bank transfer.
Hidden Hint: Vietnamese citizens receive a 50% discount
What we liked – Hub’s location makes it easy to avoid distractions you might find if you were more central to the city practically guaranteeing you’ll be productive.
What we didn’t like – The price is steep, making it only cost-effective if you always go to work at the Hub…which kind of defeats the purpose of being location independent.
Hub Hoi An internet speed – Download 63.3 Mbps Upload 64.6 Mbps
Vietnam Sustainability Space
The Vietnam Sustainability Space (VSS) is a co-working space with a community centre vibe. There are workshops open to the public whose topics vary from day to day and are listed on their Facebook page as well as the chalkboard in front of VSS. The Vietnam Sustainability Space is a social, people-driven space whose primary mission is to introduce sustainable development models to the local community.
VSS offers free drinking water, accessible to all its patrons as well as teas and coffees for sale. Since the space is a non-profit work environment, the profits from anything sold on-site are donated to the Khu Kho Hoc foundation.
Hidden Hint: Speak with the staff about reserving a table in advance if they don’t have a community event or workshop taking place on the day you wish to work. This is an ideal option for those wanting to guarantee they’ll have a place to work.
What we liked – The community-driven atmosphere makes you feel like you’re apart of something even if you’re working independently.
What we didn’t like – There are definitely more tables than outlets at VSS, often making it a matter of charging your device or having a fan on you.
Vietnam Sustainability Space internet speed – Download 23.3 Mbps Upload 22.3 Mbps
Mia Coffee is, in fact, a cafe, but it makes Hidden’s list of workspaces thanks to it being such a suitable space for informal work and business meetings. There is an abundance of outlets to guarantee your devices never run flat and fans to ensure the space always stay breathable. While the food menu is limited, Mia does provide pastries and sandwiches to keep you fully fueled, as well as excellent coffee.
Hidden Hint: The WiFi works best from the back room upstairs (that’s where the router is). This same room also has multiple fans and outlets.
What we liked – You’ll surely impress business partners with your fantastic taste in local coffee if you plan meetings at Mia.
What we didn’t like – It’s one of the busiest cafes in town, which isn’t good if you’re easily distracted by other nearby cafe patrons.
Mia Coffee internet speed – Download 4.03 Mbps Upload 4.05 Mbps
3A is, like Mia Coffee, technically a cafe. However, it makes our list thanks to its quiet setting and spacious tables perfectly suited for working. 3A is built out of shipping containers making its atmosphere cool and modern. Thanks to the space 3A provides its patrons, it doesn’t feel rude to spend an afternoon hogging a table. In fact, 3A makes such a good workplace that some businesses rent out permanent spaces in their very own shipping containers. It’s also the cheapest place to grab a coffee out of all the workplaces that make this list, setting you back only 15,000 VND (.75c USD) for a cafe sua da.
What we liked – The variety of spaces at 3A gives flexibility while working
What we didn’t like – At times, 3A becomes a busy hang out space for young Vietnamese which can make it noisy.
3A Cafe internet speed – Download 44.5 Mbps Upload 45.7 Mbps
Ultimately, if you are looking for a space out near nature to connect with other like-minded individuals and don’t mind the price tag, Hub Hoi An is the creative workspace for you. However, if you’re on a tighter budget, hoping to be closer to the city centre, Dingo Deli’s Coworking Space offers great food and a quiet, air-conditioned atmosphere.