September 24, 2020 | 10 min read
A coworking space is a shared office in which anyone, including independent entrepreneurs and remote freelancers, can work. This is in opposition to more standard workspaces, which are typically staffed by employees of the same organization. Entrance can be gained either by subscribing to membership or by purchasing an hourly package.
In essence, the previously established rules of employment have gone by the wayside. Gone are the days where it is mandatory to work from nine to five in the same office for forty years. Instead, with the advent of the internet, people can now work anywhere at any time. This is critical for those who have eschewed the traditional workday, and prefer to work and when they so desire.
Are coworking spaces worth it?
Regardless of your line of work, certain people are more productive when amongst others. You may also wish to work in a space quieter than the local coffee shop or perhaps less isolating than your apartment or hotel room. For those that identify with any of those needs, coworking spaces are worth it.
With flexible and low-cost membership options, coworking spaces are ideal not only for the traveling professional, but also for the expatriate businessperson and the digital nomad. Although the best coworking spaces are complete with an array of attractive perks, the major point of temptation comes by way of location.
Although coworking spaces are a worldwide phenomenon, the Asian continent, particularly in the east and southeast, has adopted the concept in a way that’s remarkable. With options in nearly every possible country, and across cities, small towns, and beach communities, these coworking spaces have made their locations a draw in and of themselves From their point of view, not only will you gain access to awesome perks and a synergistic community at low cost, but you’ll also be able to work in the locale of your dreams.
Going back decades, if not centuries, Asia has entranced folks from around the world looking for adventure and an escape from the cyclical nature of their lives at home. Not only can relocation to Asia upend your existing status quo, but it can also revolutionize your work/life balance and cost/standard of living.
With all that in mind, your only remaining question should be regarding which country you’d like to check out. While everyone’s situations will obviously vary, we’ve compiled a list of the best coworking spaces, in no particular order, in countries expatriates typically enjoy. For the sake of consistency, we’ve omitted spaces that, as of the time of publishing, operate in more than one country.
1. HUBBA Thailand - Bangkok (www.hubbathailand.com
Located in Bangkok, away from the backpacker party hubs of Khaosan Road & Soi Cowboy, HUBBA Thailand is a modern, yet humble take on the Asian coworking spaces. Originally started in the Ekkamai area five years ago as the first of its kind in the country, HUBBA has now expanded to encompass three locations across the city.
With an eye towards entrepreneurs, freelancers, and startup businesses, HUBBA strives to do its part in leading its members to success, regardless of their specific field. Emphasizing its communal aesthetic, this company hopes to bring in people who are interested in entering into a professional network dedicated to helping one another succeed.
Along with frequent events, HUBBA offers wi-fi, hot desks, standard desks, rentable lockers and meeting areas, free coffee, and a “focus zone” on the second floor, to go along with the cost of entry. Their one day package is priced at 299THB ($9.37), while a monthly membership goes for 2990THB ($93.76).
2. KoHub - Koh Lanta (kohub.org
Koh Lanta couldn’t possibly be further away from the urban hustle-and-bustle of Bangkok. With massive white sand beaches, crystal clear water, and bright green jungle, Koh Lanta’s KoHub is truly the place in which you’ve always dreamed of working.
Not only is the surrounding ecosystem incredible, but so is KoHub’s actual facility. Though it could’ve coasted by on its location, this coworking space has pulled out all the stops. Tropical interior gardens, air-conditioned rooms, private accommodation, an open-air deck, and an in-house juice bar are just the unrelated perks; Their actual work details include 2 different internet speeds, rentable lockers, free tea, coffee, and water, private meeting rooms, rentable monitors, and universal plug adapters.
The exact cost of a KoHub membership is highly dependent on your needs, whether it be inclusive meals, private accommodation, or a monitor rental. However, broadly speaking, prices can range from 400THB ($12.54) for a single day, to 14,000THB ($439) for three months.
3. The Great Room - Singapore (thegreatroomoffices.com
Singapore is one of the major financial and business hubs of not just Asia, but the world. This, combined with its status as the third wealthiest country on the planet is clearly reflected in the The Great Room’s nouveau chic design. Simultaneously classy and modern, its acoustic aesthetic evokes that of the gentlemen’s clubs of decades past.
It is in this spirit that The Great Room aims to set itself apart from its coworking space competitors. Instead of operating strictly as a workplace alternative, this space lends itself to also be a hub of discourse, contemplation, study, and socialization - all with an air of the warmest hospitality.
Getting into the nitty-gritty, The Great Room currently operates three locations throughout Singapore. Regardless of which you choose to become a member of, you’ll become entitled to wifi access, weekly networking events, mail services, free tea and coffee, private phone booths, and video conferencing areas. As these come with all membership tiers, pricing is based on your workspace requirements. Amongst these, a hot desk day pass will run you S$ 70 (US$ 52.40), while a monthly dedicated office will amount to S$ 2,500 (US $1,871).
4. Hub Hoi An - Hội An (www.hubhoian.com
When most people think of Vietnam, the major cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) are what come to mind. However, there’s a beautiful country ripe for relocation. At the forefront of the many options is Hội An, an immensely picturesque colonial town with Chinese, French, and Vietnamese influences, which located on the coast almost exactly halfway between the two major cities.
Illustrating this confluence is Hub Hoi An, a coworking space that is operated and occupied by foreigners and locals alike. As the first of its kind within the Hoi An region, this space seeks to take advantage of such a demographic breakdown by emphasizing collaboration and the promotion of location independence.
Hub Hoi An’s membership options are all about the community, as that’s the key shared benefit between the tiers. This is reflected in that, unlike other coworking spaces, Hub Hoi An does not organize its prices based on desk options; whether you’re working in the quiet room or the glasshouse, everything is communal and connected. It is similar, however, as a matter of necessity, based on the amount of time you’d like to access the facilities. With one day, one week, and one-month options, their prices will total 210K ($9.24), 1.3M ($57.20), and 4M ($176) VND, respectively.
5. TOONG - Hanoi (www.toong.com.vn
Located deep within Hanoi’s old quarter, TOONG (DAO THUY location) best caters to those professionals who enjoy the inherent energy associated with capital cities. Although Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) is the larger, and more developed, of Vietnam’s two major cities, we feel that Hanoi carries with it a certain old-world authenticity. That is why, for these purposes, we will be focusing on TOONG’s Hanoi locations.
As the first coworking space to have been founded in Vietnam, TOONG aims to not only be on par with its international compatriots, but to also push their service offerings to new and unique places. Nap rooms, a bar, and an entertainment space all represent this push into the unknown. This doesn’t mean, however, that TOONG doesn’t also check the standard boxes, which here include meeting rooms, free tea and coffee, high-speed internet access, and a lounge.
Without accounting for studio, event space, or conference room rentals, TOONG’s desk plans range from 120,000VND ($5.28) for a basic day pass, to 8,000,000VND ($352) monthly for a private serviced office. With such a span, TOONG’s offerings can fit those of any need.
6. WORQ - Kuala Lumpur (worq.space
As the third wealthiest country in Southeast Asia, behind Singapore and Brunei, Malaysia has become a hotbed for startup companies in recent years. Nowhere is this truer than in its capital, Kuala Lumpur, where the sheer cavalcade of innovation and collaboration is staggering.
WORQ seeks to take advantage of such a transformative environment by not just providing a coworking space, but a pseudo community center as well. With its three to five weekly social events, WORQ aims to be more than just a run-of-the-mill collective of professionals. Couple this with a plethora of free amenities such as 13 wifi access points, 24-hour availability, showers, gymnasium access, gaming area, massage chairs, and sleeping pods, it’s fair to say that WORQ is doing the best it can to achieve such a lofty goal.
Although it goes above and beyond in many, WORQ also offers perks that fall within the industry standard. Meeting room, printer, scanner, and coffee fall into that category. In terms of pricing, WORQ operates on a monthly structure, based on your workspace preferences. While a hot desk will run 300RM ($76) a month, a private suite and dedicated desk will cost 500 ($126.64) and 600RM ($152), respectively.
7. FutureWard - Taipei (futureward.com
Despite its nebulous political status, Taiwan has thrived over the past decade or so and has achieved global recognition in other ways, including infrastructure, telecommunication, and a successful startup ecosystem. While the latter is still in its nascent stages, the number of startups in Asia’s tenth wealthiest country would be surprising to those not in the know.
The founders of FutureWard sought to spur growth in that sector by bringing local teams and international entrepreneurs together. With two locations so far, FutureWard hopes to spread its philosophy to as many innovators as possible. In its central Taipei branch, this is evident in the sheer scope of its services; Makerspaces, meeting rooms, coworking spaces, private offices, function rooms, and even a classroom allow those to follow whatever drives them.
On the practical side of things, FutureWard offers visa assistance, CPA office hours, business attorney access, central air-conditioning, high-speed internet, a full kitchen, a series of community events, lockers, mailboxes, printers, copiers, fax machines, whiteboards, recreation areas, and washrooms in order to make its members as comfortable and productive as possible.
At FutureWard, pricing is very much based on the type of workspace which best suits your needs. Hot Desk rentals are very flexible, with half-day to monthly membership tiers, costing between 300 ($10) and 5,000NT ($168). Dedicated desks and suites, on the other hand, are only available on a monthly basis, which can range in cost from 6,500 ($218.57) to over 26,000NT ($874.30).
8. Playground.Work - Hong Kong (www.playground.work
Playground’s ethos is right in their name. It reasons that if people spend a quarter or more of their day, then it makes sense to have fun doing it. With three spaces across Hong Kong, in Sheung Wan and San Po, this coworking space appears to be doing just that.
The emphasis on a positive work/life balance comes across when discovering their numerous weekly events, such as networking, seminars, workshops, and even private barbecues. These go hand-in-hand with its mail services, shower facility, lockers, internet, meeting room rentals, free refreshments, cafe, and lounge areas to form a wholesome experience.
Honing in on the Playground.Work location at Sheung Wan, prices are, per usual based on your individual needs. A one-day traveler pack, for instance, is 350 HKD ($44.59), while a full-time hot desk is at least 2500 HKD ($318.54) monthly. On the high-end side of things, semi-private and private offices are, respectively, 5,000 ($637) and 10,000 HKD ($1274.16) on a monthly basis.
9. Hubud - Bali (hubud.org
Located in south-central Bali, on the southern rim of Indonesia, lies the small town of Ubud. Here, amongst the temples and the rice paddies is Hubud, a coworking space like no other. Using a free-spritzed and natural aesthetic, Hubud hopes to attract digital nomads and remote teams from around the world to join their community and embrace digital independence.
With an emphasis on said community, Hubud aspires for everything to do in a collaborative and supportive manner, whether it’s coworking, coliving, cogiving, or colearning. With that in mind, in addition to the traditional coworking model, Hubud also offers specialized programs and retreats for those who looking to get more out of their remote experience, especially if they are short on time.
Getting into the specifics, Hubud’s facility offers storage lockers, mail services, meeting rooms, air-conditioning, Skype booths, the ‘Kantin’, and high-speed internet — all throughout the calming bamboo-centric design that permeates the space. When it comes to pricing, Hubud sets itself apart from its competitors by offering their services based on working hours rather than by desk type. On that note, a day pass is 250K Rp ($17.92), while thirty, fifty, and one hundred hours are 800K ($57.37), 1.3M ($93.22), and 2.5M ($179.27) Rp each per month, with extra tiers available for unlimited hours and night access.
10. Builtable Coworking - Manila (builtable.co
Although admittedly not the first city that comes to mind for a potential relocation to Asia, Manila has slowly begun to shift over the past few years from a hub for outsourced work to a place that develops and supports native startups.
As the 2018 winner of coworker.com
’s Members’ Choice Awards, Builtable is doing everything it can to entice new members, as well as to make their existing members as happy and productive as possible. To do this, Builtable emphasizes its location, flexible hours, events, workshops, zen areas, free cups of coffee, dedicated lockers, and internet access points.
Builtable also makes a point to promote its exceptionally reasonable prices, which are based on the number of days or months you’d like to use the facilities for. A day pass, for example, costs 300 PHP ($5.73), while a thirty-day entry pass is 3600 PHP ($68.76). On the monthly spectrum, membership costs can range from 2,400 ($45.84) to 47,600 ($909) PHP, depending on your specific needs.