Mention the phrase ‘digital nomad India’ and I’m sure that some of the first things that come to your mind are colorful scenes, crowded trains, the hustle and bustle of Indian cities, and most of all, the diverse range of people from all over the country.
India has a myriad of experiences, especially so because of the different cultures that are set against a vast historical background. That being said, India is unique because of its smooth blend of staying true to its traditions and warmly welcoming the modern world with open arms.
As such, India is the perfect location for digital nomads from all over the world.
With the global work landscape changing rapidly, digital nomad culture is most certainly on the rise, with India being one of the many countries expanding its infrastructure to accommodate for and cater to the needs of digital nomads.
Read on as we swing into what it is like to be a digital nomad in India, including:
- Why India is one of the best up and coming destinations to be a digital nomad
- Digital nomad visas in India
- The best places to live in India for digital nomads
- How to get around in India
- Tips and tricks to being a digital nomad in India
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Why Become A Digital Nomad In India
By default, India is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. It is the 7th largest country in the world and with that, there is plenty to see and experience.
Whether you are a mountain-climbing enthusiast or prefer to spend your time at a digital nomad retreat, there is something for every personality in India.
Being such a massive country, there are plenty of states to visit. While it may not be possible to go into detail for each and every state, here are just some of the reasons why India as a whole is a worthwhile digital nomad destination.
- Being A Digital Nomad In India Is Affordable
This is probably one of the biggest advantages of being a digital nomad in India.
The cost of living in India is relatively low when compared to other digital nomad destinations. You can most certainly lead a semi-luxurious digital nomad lifestyle as accommodation, food, and co-working spaces are extremely affordable.
- Easy Access To IT And The Internet
India is well-known all over the world for its expertise in all things technology. For digital nomads, this means that it is extremely easy to have access to good Wi-Fi and data packages to cover you while you work on the move.
- Easy To Get Around
India has a vast network of transportation systems set up to make getting to any place in the country easy.
After all, isn’t that what being a digital nomad is all about?
To constantly be on the move while working remotely. I can’t think of a more perfect place to do that than India!
Cost of Living In India
As mentioned above, the cost of living in India is generally quite low. Of course, at the end of the day, it really does depend on which part of India you are based in.
According to Numbeo, the world’s largest cost of living database, estimated monthly costs for a single person is about $325, excluding rent.
Rent for a 1-bedroom apartment in the city center is calculated to be about $158, while the rent for the same type of apartment outside the city center is about $99.
Of course, it must be emphasized that these are estimates to give you a rough idea of how much you would need monthly as a digital nomad in India. The actual cost of living will depend on which city you are based in.
For a more comprehensive list of the cost of living in India, as well as commonly purchased items, check out this India cost of living database on Numbeo, where you can get cost of living details of specific cities in the country.
Weather In India
India’s weather can be rather extreme, depending on the time of year. As such, it is most certainly best to plan your travels to and within India based on that!
Again, because of the vastness of the geography of the country as a whole, the weather will very much be based on your destination of choice.
Generally, however, the southern parts of India such as Chennai (previously known as Madras) and Kerala are much hotter and more humid than the northern parts of the country. The country enjoys 4 seasons, namely:
- Winter – This is from December to February where temperatures can range from 10 to 25 degrees Celsius, depending on which part of the country you are located
- Pre-monsoon – this lasts from March to May, with temperatures ranging from 32 to 40 degrees Celsius. The pre-monsoon heat can get quite intense.
- Monsoon – this is usually from June to September and is India’s rainy season.
- Post monsoon – From October to November, the country becomes dry and cool.
India is also prone to some natural disasters such as droughts, floods, and tropical cyclones, together with occasional extreme temperatures.
Once again, it must be said that generalization of the weather in India is rather difficult so don’t forget to check the weather reports as you plan your trips!
Nomad Visas In India
This is an important factor to consider when you are thinking about becoming a digital nomad in India.
That being said, it is relatively easy for nationals from most countries to obtain long-term visas for stays in India.
India offers many different types of visas. The most suitable and versatile type of visa for digital nomads in India however is likely to be the Tourist Visa.
It is important to note at this point that strictly speaking, you are not allowed to work on a tourist visa. So if you are a digital nomad on this visa, you may not want to mention the fact that you will be working remotely from the country if you get asked by the authorities.
Depending on your nationality, the multiple-entry tourist visa can last between 5 and 10 years. You can then stay in the country for a continuous period of between 90 and 180 days, once again depending on your nationality.
At this juncture, it is important to note that if you plan to reside in India for more than 100 days, you will need to register your details with the Foreign Regional Registration Office (FRRO) within 14 days of your arrival in the country. You can also do this online.
As you can see, ease of entry and residence is another great reason why India is one of the best places to be a digital nomad!
Best Places To Live In India For Digital Nomads
India’s diverse locations make the country a digital nomad’s dream! From the mountains to the oceans, to the backwaters of Kerala, there are most certainly no shortages when it comes to the best places to live in India.
Depending on the type of digital nomad you are, your interests, and your personality, you are bound to find the perfect digital nomad location in India.
Let’s take a look at some of the more popular digital nomad locations in India.
This destination is a digital nomad favorite. And it is easy to see why.
With long stretches of white sandy beaches and a reputation for having parties until the sun comes up, Goa is popular among young digital nomads who are looking to have a good time.
That doesn’t mean there is no room for work!
Goa has plenty of luxury villas and beach huts for you to huddle down and focus on work, all the while enjoying views of clear blue skies and immaculate waters.
Known for its water sports, Goa is also a great place to live in if you are the adventurous type of digital nomad.
As a Goa digital nomad, you are bound to find this a charming place to be!
If this sounds familiar, you may be thinking of Darjeeling tea. And you are absolutely right! This place is well-known for its tea industry and extensive tea plantations.
As a digital nomad, this is perfect as there are plenty of cool and quiet places that you can be in to focus on your work. As a bonus, there are also some great co-working spaces with stunning views in this area.
You can also travel internally on the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway and take a break from work while taking in the beautiful scenery as the train rumbles by.
This city is located in Rajasthan and is one of the best digital nomad cities in India.
It is known as the ‘City of Lakes’ and has stunning bodies of water that are a mesmerizing shade of blue.
This city has some amazing architecture that will leave you feeling spellbound.
Udaipur also attracts plenty of digital nomads due to the ease of internal travel, and more importantly, cheap digital nomad accommodation.
If you are a water nymph who has been reincarnated, then the backwaters of Kerala are the perfect digital nomad location for you.
If you want to, you can choose to work from a houseboat as it glides quietly and peacefully over the calm waters of Alleppey.
Known as God’s Own Country, Kerala is a unique blend of modern and traditional cultures. Cities such as Cochin are a hub of entertainment and activity, perfect for the social digital nomad
If the hustle and bustle of the city is more your thing, and you need to be in a more modern landscape, then Mumbai is the place to be.
With a vibrant night scene and travelers from all over the world, you are bound to run into fellow digital nomads.
Located in the state of Maharashtra, this city was formerly known as Bombay. In fact, some people still refer to it by this name.
It has a cosmopolitan feel and for digital nomads in India, there are plenty of cafes and coworking spaces where you can work from.
This destination seems to be on the wish list for most digital nomads from around the world.
Located near the Himalayan mountain ranges, this small scenic town is a peaceful and calm place to be. This is probably because it is the home of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who is the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism.
There are plenty of opportunities for the busy digital nomad to find some stillness away from the bustle of work.
Don’t be fooled by the remoteness of the location though. This place has excellent digital connectivity and fantastic access to high-speed internet. All essentials for the digital nomad in India!
Banglore is another wonderful option for digital nomads. This is one of the more modern cities in India with great access to coworking spaces and digital nomad accommodation.
With a wide network of internal transport systems, it is easy to get around within and outside of this megacity.
Coworking Spaces For Digital Nomads In India
With the rise of digital nomad culture in India, there has been an increase in the concept of coworking spaces in certain parts of the country.
Most co-working spaces are located in the city centers. These include Mumbai, Delhi, and Bangalore.
Here is a quick list of some of the best co-working spaces in India:
This modern coworking space has all the essentials you need for work as a digital nomad.
There are various options to choose from such as a flexible desk or dedicated desk arrangement. If you want a little more privacy, they also have individual rooms.
Depending on which desk option you choose, prices can range from USD37 to USD82 a month, while a private office will cost you about USD270 a month.
This co-working space operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They have an in-house kitchen with an unlimited supply of coffee you give a boost when you need it the most!
More importantly, this co-working space has a special freelancer plan where they drive work to the freelancers. Now that is thoughtful indeed!
The cost of using this co-working space ranges from USD60 to USD485 per month, depending on which of their desk or office options you choose.
This is a popular co-working company that has locations all over India. They have the option of private cabins or desks, depending on your needs and budget.
They operate around the clock so you can use the place at any time.
If you don’t want to commit to any plans that they have, they also have a useful pay-as-you-use option.
In fact, you can get a day pass for just USD6 while a flexible desk option is likely to cost you about US70 per month.
Located in one of the bigger and probably busiest cities in India, Innov8 has premium office spaces. Some of their best clients are digital nomads and freelancers.
Their hotdesk arrangement starts at about USD80 per month, while a dedicated desk just for your use starts at USD92 per month.
It prides itself on being a place for people to connect.
As such, this is a great place to meet other digital nomads and build up your digital nomad community.
The Bangalore Alpha Lab is a no-nonsense coworking space in the city. They have dedicated desk and hot desk plans, with access to meeting rooms as well.
There is high-speed internet and a lounge area for when you are looking to take a break or get to network with other members of the coworking space.
It is also probably one of the cheaper co-working spaces in India with prices starting at about USD54 per month for their basic facilities.
You can also check out this detailed list of coworking spaces for digital nomads in India to look for the best coworking spaces in the destination of your choice!
Digital Nomad Accommodation In India
Accommodation in India is generally easy to get and more often than not, affordable in its price ranges.
While it is difficult to narrow in on the exact accommodation available in India, Anyplace is a great way to look for digital nomad housing or digital nomad accommodation in India based on which city you plan to be staying in.
This platform has been designed specifically for the needs of digital nomads and remote workers.
When you book accommodation through Anyplace, you can rest assured that everything is taken care of, including any utilities, WiFi charges, and housekeeping!
Now that is hassle-free digital nomad accommodation right there!
Cheap hotel rooms in India are also relatively easy to find. While you can find hotel rooms for $2 in some places, it is best to spend a little more to ensure that you are in a safe place.
Airbnb is another popular platform for digital nomad accommodation in India as plenty of homeowners post up their places for short-term and long-term rentals at affordable prices here.
Best Food To Try In India
Now, I must admit that this is extremely difficult to write about. India is considered to be one of the biggest food havens around the world! So how can I possibly choose what is the best food to try in India?!
I shall attempt to do so nonetheless!
A substantial number of people in India are vegetarians. As such, it is easy to get meat-free dishes anywhere in the country. With it being a Hindu-majority country (who considered cows to be sacred), beef is also rarely found.
With that in mind and the caveat that this list is nowhere near exhaustive, here are some of the most popular dishes to try in India:
This is a creamy stew-like dish that can be made with either meat or just vegetables.
Filled with warm spices like saffron, turmeric, and coriander, this is comfort food at its best!
This curry is usually served with rice or Indian flatbreads such as chapatti, parathas, or naan.
These unique steamed rice and lentil cakes are usually served during breakfast in South India. You can have them with curries or chutneys.
Alternatively, if you have more of a sweet tooth, you can have them with sugar and clarified butter (ghee).
Add on a cup of Indian spiced tea (chai) and you’re set for the day!
Appam has its origins in Kerala. It is essentially a pancake that is shaped like a bowl.
Made from rice flour, appams are a sweet dish that is usually served with brown sugar and coconut milk.
While it is a popular breakfast dish, some have it for dinner with some spicy curry as well.
Chaats are the umbrella term that is given to Indian street snacks. They are widely available throughout many parts of the country and are a great filling option if you need to have a meal on the go.
Most chaats are savory while some can be a mix of spicy and sweet.
Some of the best chats include papdi chaat, bhelpuri, and aloo chat. You can read more about the different types of chaats from all over India here!
You are bound to find some version of this wherever you are in India. This is quite literally a hug in a bowl!
Made from rice, lentils, vegetables, and some basic spices, this comforting dish is perfect for rainy afternoons.
It is usually served on its own although some people like to pair it with some plain or spiced yogurt.
How To Get Around In India
India’s transportation network is a constant hub of activity. There are plenty of options to get around the country.
It will also depend on whether you are traveling within the city or outside of the city.
In most cases, you have plenty of options to choose from depending on the distance you need to travel, and your budget.
You can travel within India by:
This is usually used for intercity travels. There are a few classes of seats that you can choose from. Here’s a detailed guide to using the train system in India.
This is probably the cheapest and most convenient way to travel. However, nighttime bus travel is probably not the safest so try to plan your bus trips for during the day.
Most taxis in India are metered. However, there can be some drivers who refuse to use them. This is when your bargaining skills will come in handy!
Alternatively, you can opt for prepaid taxis which you can book online or through a local transportation app.
- Private rental vehicles
These are also known as ‘autos’ and lately there has been the emergence of ‘E-rickshaws’ or electric rickshaws. These are a great option if you need to quickly zip to a nearby location.
Additionally, they are also cheap. You better hold on tight though because rickshaws are open vehicles and the drivers can be quite aggressive!
Check out this detailed guide on how to get around in India for more information on India’s wide network of transport systems!
Things To Know As A Digital Nomad In India
If you are thinking about embarking on a journey to India as a digital nomad, here are some tips and tricks to keep in mind as you travel.
India is a multi-religious and multi-cultural society. With that, there are also plenty of festivals to celebrate and be a part of to completely immerse yourself in the culture of India.
They are usually celebrated in public on a large scale.
With that in mind, it is important to remember that the country is conservative in nature and so it is important to dress appropriately and not reveal too much skin when you are going to places like temples or those of cultural significance.
A great guide would be to keep your knees and shoulders covered although some places will expect you to don a light headscarf or cover your ankles.
Digital Nomad Communities
With digital nomads making their way to India, you can find many digital nomad communities and digital nomad blogs that give you all the information you need while you are in India.
For example, NomadGao is a wonderful online digital nomad community that gives you resources for coliving and coworking arrangements.
The NomadGao digital nomad blog is also a great platform to share the experiences of other digital nomads from all over the world, especially digital nomads in Asia.
This is probably the biggest issue when it comes to traveling around India. Especially so if you are a woman traveling alone.
India is infamous for its attacks on women, especially foreign women. Petty thefts are also rampant, especially on public transport.
As such it is important to be hyper-vigilant about your personal safety as well as the safety of your belonging at all times.
To ensure your safety while traveling alone, check out these solo female travel safety tips.
The one thing you can be comfortable about when traveling within India is that you are unlikely to have any communication issues.
India is the second biggest English-speaking country in the world. This is because English is widely spoken in most areas in the country and as such, the language barrier is low.
This will certainly make it easy for you to get around, ask for directions, and make friends while you are there!
Is all this making you want to book the next flight to India? I hope so!
With its kaleidoscope of culture and stunning beauty in its diversity no matter where in the country you go to, India will always have a special place in your heart once you have been there.
Of course, it is not all a bed of roses as a digital nomad in India. That being said, I can almost guarantee that the good parts of India will almost always outweigh the bad, and you will want to be back there in no time!