The best Chinatowns in the world to visit as a freelancer

The Year of the Rat is here, so why not scurry off to a part of a city that’s guaranteed to inspire? Join us on a tour of the world’s best Chinatowns…

This lunar year, grab your laptop, gather up your portfolio and find a quiet spot to work in of the world’s best Chinatowns. Here’s our pick of the top 5…

Manila, Philippines
The Filipino capital is home to the world’s oldest Chinatown. Binondo, as it’s officially known, was established in 1594 by Spanish settlers for Chinese Catholics. Today, the Binondo Church sits alongside the Buddhist Kuang Kong Temple and visitors make pilgrimages for quality street food. Freelancers head here for the affordable living costs and English-speaking possibilities.

San Francisco, United States
There’s no question about the Californian tech capital’s freelance appeal – excellent Wi-Fi and an innovative culture puts San Fran top of every digital nomad’s ‘must-live’ list. However, few mobile workers are aware of the city’s Chinese connection. The largest Chinatown outside of Asia boasts more visitors than the Golden Gate Bridge and a fortune cookie factory named after the famous landmark.

Lima, Peru
The Peruvians know a thing or two about food, so it’s no surprise they get on well with the gastronomical Chinese. Lima’s Barrio Chino has even given rise to a unique fusion of Chinese and Peruvian food called chifa. The district grew as a result of Chinese immigrants who arrived to work in the country’s sugar plantations. Their South American descendants now manage some 6,000 Chinese restaurants around the city. Base yourself here for cheap living costs and a variety of places to work from.

Toronto, Canada
Sandwiched, or should we say ‘dumplinged’, between Dundas Street West and Spadina Avenue, you’ll find Toronto’s largest Chinatown (the city has six!). The most populated city in Canada may entice you with its coworking spaces and fast Wi-Fi speeds, but the nightlife, street food and bubble tea vendors could keep you here longer than you planned. Visit in June for the excitement of the International Dragon Boat Race Festival.

Melbourne, Australia
The “Oldest Chinatown in the Southern Hemisphere” is nestled in Australia’s freelancer capital. Countless coffee shops, perfectly suited for mobile working, can be found a short distance away from the lantern-laced Little Bourke Street and its popular restaurants. Head to the Chinese Museum during quiet spells to learn about the gold rush that triggered Melbourne’s Chinese population boom and see the world’s largest dragon, The Millennium Dai Loong.


Posted by Alex Abdelaziz

Images courtesy of Press Association