Life as Digital Nomad in Langkawi, Malaysia
by Josien - 15 May, 2019
Langkawi Island is Malaysia’s most northerly island and is closer to Thai Koh Lipe than Penang in Malaysia. It is the largest island of the archipelago of the same name and has enough to offer to keep you entertained for at least a week. But what is life as a digital nomad like in Langkawi? I have tested the waters and this is my review:
Pro 1. Cheap destination
Ok, Langkawi is probably best known for its tax-free regulation. There is no tax, at all. Tho that doesn’t mean the prices are WAY lower than the rest of Malaysia. They just simply make more money.
It’s easy to find a place to stay for less than € 20 EUR a night, hotels and Airbnb’s. Breakfast in my hotel was around € 3 EUR.
Flights from KL to Langkawi are cheap too. With AirAsia you fly to Langkawi from € 30 or maybe even less.
So, if you’re short on money for a little while, you will love Langkawi as Digital Nomad.
Pro 2. Friendly and trustworthy people
As well as the locals as the other tourists: people really leave you be. There are no street sellers bothering you with their products, no strangers at the beach trying to get you into a bar. You can easily lay at the beach all you speak with all day is Sam (in my case), the guy who rents out the sunbeds. He will keep an eye on your stuff when you’re in the water, but nobody bothers to even think about stealing your belongings. No stress!
Waiters, hotel services, bartenders, other locals: everybody speaks English and is super friendly and helpful with whatever it is you need. For someone who doesn’t speak Malay, this was perfect!
Pro 3. Tropical Paradise
Did I mention it’s a tropical island in the Andaman Sea with average temperatures of 30 C degrees? It has beautiful long beaches and spectacular inland nature. And no smog! Which is pretty important if you’re coming from Kuala Lumpur or Bangkok.
Con 1. Wifi Connection at Langkawi
There is wifi in almost every restaurant, but it’s not strong enough for an average workday of a digital nomad. They only offer it because of tourists who check their socials. Most restaurants wifi connections aren’t strong enough for Skype calls or run massive reports. You also don’t see people working from their laptops in restaurants, so it’s an absolute holiday island.
If you need strong wifi: your best chance is the hotel lobbies. Not the greatest place to work, but you get your stuff done.
Con 2. No co-working spaces
There is no coworking community at the island (2017), but that’s not really a surprise I guess. It’s not common to sit at restaurants with your laptop or work at all. Better to just read that book you still need to finish at the beach!
Con 3. No other digital nomad at Langkawi
Everybody on the island, local and/or tourist, is on a holiday. The only persons you see working are the ones in tourism. It makes the island slow, laid back and at peace. Nobody will understand that you try to work there.
So about Langkawi. Go there as a break from your long stay at Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur or maybe even Singapore. Just don’t go for the long term, it will slow you down and probably very spoiled…