We got a chance to speak to Sarah Kuhlemann, the founder of Hub Hoi An, which is a co-working space in Vietnam. It is located in Hoi An, between the UNESCO World Heritage Site and the beautiful An Bang beach. They have a glasshouse, a quiet room & a meeting room which hosts a vibrant community of Digital Nomads.
1. How did you decide to start a co-working space?
I was traveling the world last year working remotely as freelance business plan and copy writer. I lived the digital nomadic lifestyle, went to Coworking spaces here and there, worked from cafés and got nervous breakdowns whenever there was something with my laptop. My laptop screen blurred in Fiji and New Caledonia and my computer couldnt connect to any internet connection in Myanmar. All times with customer deadlines and travel plans. When I was in Vietnam, I experienced one of the best times during my travels. Here in Hoi An I made good friends, had delicous food and the cost of living is cheap. There was everything a traveler needs: beach, tropical weather, a cute little town, many cafés, good food, clean and cheap accommodations and some good bars with live music for the evenings. It turned out that I was working from a restaurant near the beach. The only place where I liked the music. The problem in Hoi An is, that every place is loud and noisy. And if you’re really unlucky you have a karaoke place next door. One day I was thinking back of my time at Kohub and Punspace and wrote a business plan for myself, this time with the Headline: Hub Hoi An.
I continued my travels until December 2016, flew back to Germany said good bye to friends and family and came back to Vietnam with 2 big pieces of luggage. I applied for a 100% foreign owned company, got the license, changed a private Vietnamese house into a business and opened the doors in April 2017. This is the short version which sounds pretty easy but I experienced all nightmares including water damages, power cuts and never ending road constructions. Today, the garden is lush and green, the house transformed into a modern work place with vintage style furniture and a great Barista coffee machine.
2. Could you tell us more about Hub Hoi An.
Hub Hoi An is the first and only Coworking space in Hoi An and the only tropical coworking space in Vietnam. We offer 24 hours access to our members, a 360° garden view from our glass house in the back, a healthy and fresh menu with home made meals from our French and Vietnamese chefs and a bunch of side events. The centre in the house is our open kitchen. We believe that you can be only productive when you have good and healthy food all day. Cofffees and sugar-free smoothies are ready after 9am in the mornings and we have lunch always together at our big lunch table in the garden. If coworkees travel without mice, keyboards or laptopstands we do provide all of this for free. As community is one of our conceptional core pillar, we organise business related and social events. From movie nights to pub quizzes, dinners, mediation or excursions, we love to show our members the hidden gems of Hoi An and the beach. We partner with selected homestays near by, offer airport pick up and provide 4G sim cards with 3GB data if requested.
3. How is Vietnam as a country for Digital Nomads?
Vietnam is highly underestimated for digital nomads. By googling Vietnam + Internet, you will receive many complaints and bad reviews about the wifi. But Vietnam is the fastest growing country in South East Asia and we do have better internet than many European countries. Our wifi at the Hub is about 65mbps download and 62mbps upload and so far, nothing to complain. Hoi An is UNESCO World Heritage site and offers international food from Greek to Spanish, Italian, Thai or Indian. The local food scene is healthy, seasonal and affordable. At the moment, lots of new venues pop up nearly every week. Vegetarian places enjoy a high demand of customers. Hoi An has a very good gym, a Yoga base and a healing/meditation centre as well. The countryside offers from white sandy beaches, green hilly peninsulas and islands also one of the most stunning passes in South East Asia - the Hai Van Pass which connects Da Nang with Hue. Nearby and recently discovered, Central Vietnam is the place of the biggest cave in the world, the mountain range to Lao border is georgous and Da Nang has an upcoming night life scene. All is reachable within hours and makes Hoi An to a pretty cozy base for Digital Nomads.
4. What do you think of the Digital Nomad community?
The Digital Nomad community is an interesting growing international phenomenon and I am very happy to be part of it. The lifestyle gives freedom, flexibility and location independence which is topped with travel adventures and sightseeing. It is hard to survive the first years as a digital nomad as traveling can be expensive when you just opened your own business or start with freelancing. Therefore I would recommend - from my own mistakes - to start your trip with a decent customer base or an employment that allows you to work remotely.
5. How do you find places in a new city as a Digital Nomad?
When I travel, I mostly travel to a specific place to experience the culture in its wide facetts and not because of a coworking space. But there are exeptions. It was always on my list to stay at Hubud in Bali, Kohub in Koh Lanta or Dojo in Canggu. When I have made the decision which is my next destination, the next step is to have a look online if there are cool coworking space to join. Moving Nomad is definatly one option people should have in mind by finding a good office space. Alternatives are google rankings, Facebook reviews and of cours digital nomad Facebook groups.
Learn more about Hub Hoi An.