✨ Recommended destinations
This is an algorithmic recommendation based on @g4k's trips history to find places people they haven't been to yet that other people with similar travels as them also went.
It's possible to live in Hong Kong on the cheap. You've got to live far out in the New Territories, or on an outlying island. I spent a summer living happily on Lamma Island for ~$500USD/month in rent for one bedroom in a shared flat. Rent is really the only tricky part--everything else is relatively cheap.
Surprisingly expensive compared to many other places and there is a major language barrier for most western folks. You often end up hanging out with other nomads or expats for sanity. It's expensive to drink, and it's not really to make many local friends and very few speak English or any western languages. The internet is the killer for most folks and China is slowly closing down all the VPN connections from the commercial services, so it's getting harder and harder to find a way out for things like Gmail or even Google searches and even when it does work, it's really unpredictable. Some of the hotels and workspaces have always-on VPN connections to Hong Kong for your internet handoff which eliminates the blocking and is a big help, but this is usually at a cost that is passed on to you. I like Shanghai, but I find it very "showy". People want to make it clear if they have money, so you see lots of flashy cars, expensive clothes and "be seen" places. It's also amazing that you can go to a great restaurant and the table next to you will have six people sitting in complete silence because they are all on their phones. As others have said, you need to figure out a way to get Alipay or Wechat pay money on your account so you can pay for things. Even people selling vegetables in the market have a QR code so you can pay them with your phone. Didi is the local uber-like take service, and you can use western credit cards with it on your phone, and it's pretty cheap by western standards. Public transportation is good and cheap, too. Cool place, but not inexpensive unless you are out a way and a serious language barrier and a bit of indifference to customer service or dealing with westerners in general.
Nomad-ed here for a month. A totally ok place if you have the budget for it. Coworking spaces are good, 4g everywhere, transportation is effective. Lots of things to do. I was able to find friends. Lots of international people, very few digital nomads. If you're there, consider not renting in the center (as it gets expensive fast) and being creative with places to eat to find cheap options. Be prepared to use cash unless you live in a luxury.
One of the most well known cities, few will be surprised by what they see and experience. Very high cost of living can make it tough for many nomads. A lot of things to see and do but most of that costs money. Can feel overwhelming and oppressively business oriented (ie, full of very serious yuppies and places catering to them), especially in Manhattan south of Harlem. Ton of single people, which is good on paper but means everyone you date will get distracted by another person, or multiple, unless you are extremely exceptional, before you have a chance to meet again, never ends. Weather sucks hard from July to August and January to March/April. It's an okay city if you're a biker and varies a lot. Some areas are quite protected, others have no bike lanes. In general, it can be dangerous if you want to commute by bike, it's not Amsterdam. Friendliness of the people varies a lot. I think income/wealth, where they grew up, where they live within NYC, their job, etc. can often give you an idea of what to expect. Service at stores is usually pretty unhelpful and unfriendly but, again, it varies, even within the same store. Internet is fast for the most part. Great selection of food, just a bit pricey besides some of the cheaper pizza slices. Transportation system is good, no need for a car. However, the subway lines are notorious for having issues during rush hour and are usually jam packed. Also, the stations look decrepit and are way out of date. It's pretty safe. Street scams are more prevalent in tourist areas, pick-pocketing and random phone snatching isn't really anything most people worry about. Can be very noisy depending on where you live. You may wake up to extremely loud construction every morning.
Bangkok has some of the best private hospitals in the world. Which is interesting if you're in Asia a lot and you want medical care better than you can get in your home country. Bumrungrad Hospital in Bangkok is ranked #7 in the world. I did an executive health checkup there and it was great. Prices range from $250 to $750 depending on how many checks you want. You can get blood count, X Ray, ultrasound, hormone check, etc. They also have most other medical disciplines. I also got vaccinations renewed. The hospital is private so it's so much better than the overloaded public healthcare systems of Europe, Canada and UK where everyone tries to avoid helping you, is overworked and angry. In Bangkok they're super nice and helpful and you can make appointments straight with a specialist. Not blocked by a GP like in your home country.
Not a very "freelance/artist" friendly city. The look of someone working inside a coffeeshop is still unusual and unappreciated. Extremely not accessible and not disable friendly (Metro, bus, building, coffeeshops and restaurants...)
Great place. You can avoid the dropshipper, FBA and MLM webinar course people who have infested the coworkings here for years, by, well, just not visiting the coworking spaces here.
The GFW is a *huge* bother in daily work. VPN is not a perfect mitigation as it is throttled and frequently completely blocked (Have tried shadowsocks, outline, lantern, openvpn and expressvpn to about equal success). The VPN availability seems to fluctuate with the political climate (for example if there is a party conference or such). The air quality is so-so. Worst in winter time. The streets seem very safe and their is little crime (Except maybe in tourist areas, beware the scammers). It is super easy to get by with a little English and a translation app. Metro system is super easy to use. Food is fairly cheap, and it can come as cheap as you want... but sometimes of questionable quality.