When looking for the perfect spot to work, I have three main criteria: reliable Wi-Fi, good coffee and comfy seating. Despite Hoi An’s abundance of beautiful cafes, it’s often hard to find one that isn’t jam-packed with noisy tourists and that has a back-up generator for the inevitable power cuts.
One of the things I love most about Vietnam is the coffee shop culture, mostly because it differs so much to that back in England. Here in Hoi An people can easily spend an entire afternoon sipping on a cup or two of coffee, whereas back in England I usually got my coffee to go as I was always rushing back to the office/a meeting/an event. Nowadays, if I’m not at the Language Centre teaching English, I’m usually at one of my favourite digital nomad spots, planning lessons, writing or creating marketing plans. If you’re a fellow digital nomad, be sure to check out one, or all, of my suggestions below.
Dingo Deli: The quiet, professional one
Address: 277 Cua Dai, Hoi An
Dingo Deli have recently opened a Digital Nomad Hub, which is Hoi An’s solution for freelancers and business owners alike. The hub consists of a few tables, air conditioning and a large screen for presentations, or impromptu Skype meetings. You don’t even need to worry about bringing an adaptor for your laptop, as Dingo Deli provide various 2-pin and 3-pin sockets. Unlike the main restaurant, there isn’t any music playing so it provides a quiet space to get your work done. It’s also a great place to meet other people and to potentially find a new business partner!
In terms of food and drink, a regular sized cup of Lavazza coffee costs 55,000vnd (approx. $2.50) at Dingo, so I’d recommend going there for one of their delicious all-day breakfasts (my favourite is the French toast which costs 85,000vnd/$3.70). Each breakfast dish comes with unlimited filter coffee for free, so it works out cheaper than buying a cup of coffee and a meal separately. As a word of warning, the restaurant has a back-up generator so when the power goes out, the whole of Hoi An seems to descend upon the deli. It’s worth checking the power cut schedule and securing a spot at Dingo Deli early in the day if you have work to do online.
Highlands Coffee: The typical coffee shop one
Address: 83 Tran Hung Dao, Hoi An
When I first arrived in Hoi An, it was 38 degrees Celsius. As I was coming from England, where it was barely in the 20s, it took me a while to acclimatise. I therefore spent quite a bit of time hunting around for cafes with air conditioning. That’s when I found Highlands Coffee. Not only does the coffee shop have air conditioning, but there’s plenty of seating so it’s not hard to find a comfy spot to set-up an office for a few hours.
Although Highlands Coffee isn’t the most attractive coffee shop in Hoi An, it meets my criteria for a suitable digital nomad spot. Much like well-known coffee shops such as Starbucks, Highlands Coffee is a franchise, so it’s not surprising that its interior provides some home comforts for days when I’m missing the UK.
In terms of cost, Highlands prices are fairly reasonable for the centre of Hoi An, with a large, decadent iced coffee – complete with whipped cream – setting you back 55,000vnd (approx $2.40).
Soul Kitchen: The alternative one
Address: Hai Ba Trung, An Bang, Hoi An
Soul Kitchen isn’t the most conventional of digital nomad spots, but it’s one of my favourites. Who wouldn’t want to spend the day working at the beach? I’ve always found the ocean air to have a calming effect, so for me working at the beach is a great way to restore the work/life balance.
The beach bar has good Wi-Fi and a number of modems, which even reaches the sun beds down on the beach front. Soul Kitchen has the comfiest seating out of my three top digital nomad spots, with the option of table and chairs, or cushion clad bamboo loungers. I can easily spend a whole day at Soul Kitchen, stopping work for swim breaks or a nap.
The coffee at Soul Kitchen isn’t the best, but it still provides a decent caffeine buzz and they’re happy for you to make it last for a few hours without any pressure to buy food. Soul Kitchen also make great mojitos. As soon the sun starts to set and my laptop is back in my bag I can instantly unwind with a cocktail and some great live music.