Living in New Delhi as a Digital Nomad
Check out our podcast version about living in New Delhi as a digital nomad. Spending two and a half weeks in India was a wild ride. Not only is India a super unique experience, but we were also in the country as things started to get real with the coronavirus. So needless to say, our visit coincided with a strange time in the world. The main reason for visiting India was to spend some quality time with family, to celebrate Holi, and to do a bit of traveling around India. Although we did not spend a ton of time there, such as we did in Medellin, we thought we’d be remiss not to touch upon some of our pros/cons when it comes to living in New Delhi as a digital nomad. Overall, New Delhi is a good tourist spot with respect to history and culture but not a place to construct a life routine.
We both have two different perspectives on the city. Gabrielle, having never been to India, was fully inundated with an entirely different cultural experience. Abhi, on the other hand, grew up in Delhi but hadn’t been back in 5 years. He was actually expecting more to have changed in the country than what he actually found. While the food and the family were amazing, we were excited to leave New Delhi to get back to our preferred routine. We decided to stay for one month here but ended up leaving after just two and a half weeks.
On the bright side, New Delhi has incredible cultural and religious experiences. It was also a learning experience for us as we learned to navigate uncomfortable or frustrating experiences. With this lifestyle, it’s not always glorious. Facing a situation that wasn’t totally ideal turned out to be a huge learning opportunity.
Before stating Pros/cons I would give a quick disclaimer that this review is based on our personal experiences while staying in New Delhi for two weeks. Our Review is not the law of the land and it can contradict from fellow nomad’s experiences.
Pros of Living in New Delhi as a Digital Nomad:
Pro #1: Traveling
Traveling is the best part of New Delhi. There are lots of cool places here to visit. We visited New Delhi and Rajasthan as well. There is a number of forts which have been built around 1200 A.D. Actually the whole city was a fort which was built around 800 years ago. Then we visit Rajasthan, which was an ancient desert region like Nevada. A lot of Muslim influence can be found in Rajasthan as many forts contain Urdu scriptures. Rajasthan has a full rich culture with especially music, singing, and dancing. The food is great and the people were also nice. A digital Nomad loves to travel so India is a highly recommended tourist spot for them. The transportation is not expensive so for a digital nomad it is in the budget.
Pro #2: Food
You can find so much variety of Food in New Delhi. The good thing is that the food is cheap and it is amazing as well. You can also find International food chains like Starbucks, MacDonald’s, and KFC. But the taste of the MacDonald’s here will not be the same as the MacDonald’s in the US. This tasty and cheap food will help the digital nomad to spend money on other things. The digital nomad will find out dining much more affordable as compared to purchasing groceries and preparing meals himself.
Pro #3: Affordability
The lifestyle here is extremely affordable. The cost of living and food is so cheap. You can easily buy tasty street food in 2-3 bucks. And you can eat cuisine in good restaurants at a very affordable price. A residence with a gym, malls, and grocery in close proximity will only cause you $250/month. Moreover, people here can speak English which a good thing for digital nomads.
Pro #4: Transportation
Lastly, the transportation here is very good. With cheap Ubers and new metro lines, it is easy to get around. As for the 45 minutes ride you only have to pay $8. If you know to drive then you can go anywhere in India.
Overall, New Delhi is the perfect starting point to experience a new culture and a new country. However, we still didn’t find the city particularly optimized for Digital Nomads.
Cons of Living in New Delhi as a Digital Nomad:
Con #1: Not Optimized For Digital Nomads
As such a huge, sprawling city, New Delhi is not optimized for the Digital Nomads lifestyle. This was the main reason we leave early after two and a half weeks instead of a month. The facilities and services like the gym, malls, and grocery stores were not easily accessible and required a drive. Therefore during our stay, we stuck at home most of the time and can’t go out for a meal. The availability and quality of WiFi were also very stagnant and poor. Poor wifi makes work completion very hard as we can’t focus effectively. Moreover, you need to have a local mobile number to connect to the public Wifi which itself is a big problem. This becomes more drastic as you can only connect to one device by one number. It was frustrating working conditions. This made our stay stressful and we contemplated leaving early.
Con #2: Lack of working space
Many blogs told us that we can find workspaces in New Delhi easily. But there was a lack of workspaces and even Cafes with Wifi connection as well. We found a coworking space with good WiFi. However, as it was Saturday, they told us we could only use the Wifi for 15 minutes? What! The coworking space we did visit was noisy and distracting. Other cafes, such as Starbucks and local coffee shops, require a working Indian phone number to use their wifi.
Con #3: Workability
There is almost zero proximity to nature and activities. Exploring nature and hiking is impossible in New Delhi as you cannot find such places here. The city is also less peaceful there is too much noise and you find people peeping. Therefore it is hard to focus on work here. Moreover, the temperature in summer can rise above 45*C which further restricts the workability of a digital nomad.
Con #4: Traffic Issues
People in New Delhi do not follow traffic rules. While driving you also have to focus on not getting any accident. People drive however they want, lines and lanes be damned. If it’s your first time in Delhi, please, PLEASE do not drive around the city.
Con #5: Air Quality
One of the most important things is that the quality of air in New Delhi is very bad. This city has the most polluted air in the world. This polluted air contains dust that may hurt eyes and cause cough.
Overall India can be a good visiting place due to its enriched history, overwhelming culture and variety of food. But for constructing life it is honestly not an ideal place. Our review is basically about New Delhi. The thing in other parts of India may be better than this.
Living in New Delhi as a Digital Nomad: The Year Disrupted Rating
We developed these ratings specifically for digital nomads. Check out our Year Disrupted for New Delhi (Out of 100)
Cost of Living – 8/10
Places to Work (co-working/cafes) – 3
Digital Nomad Community – 2
Nightlife – 7
Outdoor Recreation – 4
Safety/Female-Friendly – 6
Modern Facilities – 6
Food – 8
Weather/Air – 1
Composite score: 51/100