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Located in part on the Asian mainland and in part on the island of Borneo, Malaysia is one of Asia’s most underrated countries — often used by travellers as a visa run destination from the neighbouring Indonesia and Thailand. However, the country is slowly and steadily making its way onto the digital nomad must-visit list.

Why Malaysia?

Malaysia is a country of many contrasts. Split in two by the South China Sea, the peninsula is home to the bustling Kuala Lumpur, colonial architecture, and areas of fast-growing business development surrounded by chill-out beach resorts. The giant island of Borneo is covered in lush orangutan-friendly jungle and is home to small villages and some of the best diving spots in the region.

One of Malaysia’s attractions is the country’s deep running coffee culture. With the quickly growing coffee scene, more and more coffee shops and cafes appear across many cities in Malaysia — thus, offering a wide choice of working locations for visiting freelancers.

This compact diversity, rapid technological development, and the productive coffee-infused buzz of its bustling capital make Malaysia an up-and-coming destination among for nomads from all over the world.

Best cities to work from

Kuala Lumpur is the capital and largest city in Malaysia and, naturally, offers the most when it comes to urban amenities and big city atmosphere. The city’s estimated population is around 1.76 million people. KL is a sprawling Asian metropolis of modern skyscrapers, residential buildings and architectural delights. The city has all the makings of an excellent digital nomad destination — affordable accommodation, accessible Wi-Fi, and chain and local coffee shops and cafes. The only downside is a relatively small number of coworking spaces.

Penang is one of the newest emerging nomad hubs. It is Malaysia’s island-state divided into parts: Penang Island with the capital city of Georgetown, and Seberang Perai on the Malay Peninsula. Penang has been popular among travellers for its colourful architecture, diverse nature and delicious street food. However, with the development of the local start-up community, more and more freelancers are choosing the area as a low-cost destination with the necessary remote working amenities.

The internet and coworking spaces

One of the main disadvantages of long-term work in Malaysia is the slow internet — especially compared to the neighbouring Singapore. The average internet speed in Malaysia was estimated at 8.2Mbps in 2016.

You will find several coworking venues in big cities offering a variety of rent options — hot desking, daily and monthly passes, a permanent corporate desk, and more. However, the country’s pronounced coffee culture dictates a coffee shop working mode. There are plenty of spacious coffee shops and boutique cafes which provide a comfortable and laid back working atmosphere.

Coworking spaces in Kuala Lumpur

The Co. Bangsar, 8, Lengkok Abdullah, Bangsar

START Co-working Space, Level 6, Bangunan Yayasan Syed Kechik, Jalan Kapas, Bangsar,

Coworking spaces in Penang

FlexiSpace Coworking Space, 7323, 2nd Floor Jalan Raja Uda, 12300 Butterworth, Pulau Pinang,

Scoopoint, 46 Pengkalan Weld George Town, Pulau Pinang, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang

Leisure in Malaysia

Whether you’ve decided to settle down in the bustling Kuala Lumpur, the quieter Penang or a smaller island, there is a lot to see and do in Malaysia. From sampling kopi (traditional coffee) and enjoying the savoury local cuisine to visiting Batu Caves or admiring the view from the Petronas Towers. For those looking to discover more natural beauty, explore Mount Kinabalu, the ancient rainforest of Taman Negara, Gunung Mulu National Park and many others.

What to know before arriving

Residents of most countries can travel to Malaysia visa-free for a period from 14 to 90 days depending on the country of origin. If you do require a visa to travel to Malaysia, you can apply for a tourist visa at a Malaysian Embassy or Consulate in your home country.

 Useful links:

Tourism in Malaysia, official guide

Map of free Wi-Fi hotspots in Malaysia

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.