Digital Nomads in Hoi An
Updated August 2022
The pervasiveness of the Internet has radically changed our lives, not least in the way we work. A few years ago a new phenomenon was spawned – digital nomads. A growing number of people began taking their online jobs ‘to go’, fulfilling their wanderlust and funding it at the same time. Others have manoeuvred their work so that their traditional office jobs can be completed at home or away. And following Covid-19 lockdowns many started working from home or at their cafe of choice and never returned to the office.
In Hoi An a number of cafes are re-emerging after the lockdowns and adapting their premises in order to become cafes for working, for travelers and locals alike. Nowadays, everyone (and their dog) is working from home or at their cafe of choice.
Below are some of the most comfortable and best-equipped places in Hoi An to drink some good strong coffee, stay focused, and type happily.
SnapStay Hoi An
Every cafe for working in this section has aircon which gives them all a big edge on the competition. And SnapStay Hoi An leads the pack with both superb facilities for remote workers and, arguably, the best coffee in Hoi An, day in, day out.
Wonderful host, Ernest, has fostered a mixed Vietnamese/International clientele, making it one of the most popular and congenial cafes in town. Indeed, everyone we know has only compliments for Ernest and his team.
Whether you wish to socialize breezily or knuckle down in front of the laptop, SnapStay will have a spot for you. There’s even a secluded bean bag room. Just five minutes walk to the center.
9 Grains Bakery & Cafe HBT
On Hai Ba Trung, just before it scythes through rice fields on its way to An Bang, 9 Grains Bakery & Cafe HBT provides a welcome, cool pit stop for those traveling to and from the beach. Wonderful sandwiches and pastries augment smoothies, juices and a first-rate coffee selection (Vietnamese and espresso).
The air-conditioned area invariably has spare tables, and while 9 Grains and Cafe HBT is perhaps a little light on ambience and atmosphere, its quality Western-style bakery, excellent coffee and truly icy aircon win the day. Mornings and early afternoon only however, with a 4pm closing.
As a cafe for working Bonte Cafe outstrips all comers in terms of facilities. The cafe’s serving area is set up on the ground floor and both the spacious first and second floors are dedicated work areas for anyone who wants to plug in. If you’re after aircon, head straight to the enclosed second floor.
The clientele is traditionally Vietnamese but Bonte Cafe has everything Westerners looking to work digitally could need (apart from main meals). Just a couple of blocks north of Hai Ba Trung on Le Hong Phong, the location is handy enough, the coffee selection is excellent, there are some pastries for rumbling stomachs, and the intriguing setting is cool and modern. The pricing is very competitive as well. What’s holding you back?
Yes, many cafes for working have a vegetarian selection, but dedicated Vegetarian Cafe, Nourish Eatery, has a varied and comprehensive menu (and quality kitchen) that keeps customers of all persuasions coming back again and again.
There’s a mezzanine level that’s been purpose built for digital work – though you can set up anywhere – and a sense of calm pervades a modern setting that is peppered with greenery. Ideal for working.
Like 9 Grains Bakery and HBT Cafe morning and early afternoon only as it closes at 4pm and special note: closed Mondays.
Hoi An Old Town (and nearby)
This cafe for working straddles both sides of the cultural divide in terms of coffee and customers. It offers several different styles of coffee, made with Dalat Arabica beans roasted on the premises, and friendly staff ensure your cup never goes empty. When expats discuss who makes the best coffee in town, Mia Coffee is invariably in the conversation. Its baked goods (such as the moist carrot cake) will also keep the fire lit.
Head upstairs – where you can plug in – if you’re planning to work. Here, the wrap-around veranda also provides a vantage to the passing parade. For those looking for a very early start Mia Coffee takes the cake as it opens at dawn! Centrally located.
Hoi An Roastery Espresso & Coffee House
The flagship location of the Hoi An Roastery establishments (135 Tran Phu), is spacious and comfortable. With an upstairs that opens on to ancient rooftops, comfortable seats and outlets near almost every table, it is an optimal (if pricier) option for cyber workers.
The beans are roasted in Hoi An, and it offers a wide selection of teas, juices, and breakfast and lunch options (both Vietnamese and Western).
Once a sprawling chain of many venues this franchise, like many, was diminished by Covid-19 lockdowns. If it implements its proven winning formula of the past, a resurgence would not surprise. Very central.
In the Garden and the Field
Rosie’s Café on Mac Dinh Chi Street is a delightful marriage of Vietnamese coffee tradition and modern aesthetics where the boundary between indoors and in-the-garden is blurred.
Rosie’s offers a wide selection of coffee and fresh juices along with a calm, cool space to have a chat, read, or work. Occupying an old tea house, the drawcard, other than the congenial hosts and superb coffee, is a sublime, verdant splendor that soothes the soul. Tranquil.
An Bang Beach
Sound of Silence
Situated at the front of a beachside homestay, Sound of Silence is true to its name.
Housed in a red brick building, with large chestnut-colored lacquered rafters, it has a misty, vibrant garden area, and sun-dappled corners. It is a serene place to buy a strong coffee and sit for the afternoon.
For digital nomads this space has the added pleasure of being right on the beach, so one can nip off for a quick swim and a mental break. The best of the seaside cafes for working.
Cosy Corner Cafe
Tucked away in the back lanes of An Bang Beach, Cosy Corner is a fabulous spot to get some serious work done with only the occasional barking dog or crowing rooster to disturb you. Another bonus in this in/out garden setting is a very strong kitchen that ranges from all-day Western breakfasts, to Vietnamese standards with a twist, to inventive vegan options. An array of weekly specials adds variety.
Choose between standard dining tables and lounge chairs around coffee tables. Both Vietnamese and Espresso coffee are on hand and you can get cracking as early as 7.30am, but note they shut up shop at Cosy Corner around 5pm.
Blackfin Restaurant & Bar
Blackfin Restaurant & Bar has a truly great menu that caters for every meal of the day, and then some. You can build your own bowl (salad, noodle or red rice) or wrap or baguette from countless options, or choose from the great selection a la carte. Smoothies and juices galore and great coffee as well as craft beer, sangria, wine and spirits.
By day it’s fairly quiet making it perfect for digital nomads or anyone who just wants to work away from home for a while. Choose between standard cafe tables on this corner block where it’s open to passersby, or comfy lounge seating in the more secluded raised back area. The menu is so diverse you might as well stay all day.
Tips and Tricks for Savvy Hoi An Digital Nomads
Be prepared: bring or buy an adapter (60,000 VND, 2.60 USD), even if you have a Western-style plug that fits most Vietnamese outlets (some outlets only have two prongs).
Power cut or lack of Wifi getting you down? Any unlocked phone can use a Vietnamese SIM card and become a handy Wifi hotspot. SIM cards with 4G Wifi and 3 GB of data, with networks such as Vinaphone, cost roughly 200,000 VND (8.60 USD) and last for one month (with highly affordable top-ups). A portable battery pack (kept constantly full) can help with power cut panic.
Wireless mouse: a cheap and easy option to mitigate wrist pain often caused by laptop keyboards.
Take breaks: working in a breezy café in a tropical location may seem relaxing for digital nomads, but the same problems exist as when you are trapped in a cubicle. Get up and take a stroll every hour or so.
Be nice to your spine: bring a cushion, or some other kind of back support. This can be surprisingly helpful, especially since most of the chairs on offer are wooden with rigid backs.
Stay hydrated: although sitting in an air-conditioned room seems like a reprieve from the heat (and fluid loss) of the day for the dedicated digital nomad, your body still needs to keep hydrated to function well and meet that deadline.