Asia’s most refreshing long-term alternatives to Airbnb

Airbnb alternatives

Make new friends and get to know the local culture in co-living spaces. Source: Eric Nopanen / Unsplash

IF you’re a digital nomad wanting to maintain a clean and vibrant working atmosphere, or a professional in a new city but don’t know where to stay, then Asia has you covered with a mighty fine selection of co-living spaces.

Co-living spaces can range from a private bedroom to entire, self-contained serviced apartments.

What separates them from hotels, hotels, Airbnbs and normal apartments are the facilities on offer and an ethos which encourages sharing and collaboration with other residents.

Richard Yue, CEO of Hong Kong Based Arch Capital Management recently told South Morning China Post that co-living will likely provide a vital solution to the city’s prohibitively expensive property market.

And Hong Kong isn’t alone. The cost of living in some nations around Asia, such as Singapore and Taiwan are hitting graduates and young professionals hard.

Equally, for overseas working visitors wanting to explore the world, paying agency fees and signing a 12-month contract for permanent accommodation isn’t always a viable option.

Co-living spaces could thus be the answer to long and costly leases.

Take a look at where you might stay next in Asia.

Roam

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With properties in Miami, Bali, Tokyo and London, Roam is the ideal place to co-live and co-work.

If you’re a free soul and know you want to run away for a while to work and live somewhere different, then Roam will also help you to look for a job in your destination.

Roam bases itself on three main principles: comfort – to feel at home; community – to meet new people; and productivity – to get your work done in co-working space with high-speed internet.

Each room on offer comes with a private bathroom, while the kitchen, lounge area, recreational spaces and working spaces are shared.

Wifi, room cleaning, yoga space, chef’s kitchen and all utilities are included in the cost of your stay which is worked out based on when and how long you’re staying.

Roam also offers the Roam Flex package for those true wanders who want to book but can’t guarantee how long they’ll stay.

Simply deposit US$3,500 into your Roam credit account and whenever you stay in a Roam property a lesser fee will be debited than if you were to stay without being a Flex member.

  • Unique features: stylish properties combining homeliness with vacation vibes. 
  • Best for digital nomads looking to explore the world while having a secure place to work.

9floor

“Live in a community rather than a room” is the ethos behind Taipei’s chicest co-living space.

Since 2015, 9floor has been re-imagining the concept of home as local house prices soar and graduate salaries remain the same as they were two decades ago.

Taiwan is also facing a decline in marriage and birth rates and an increase in aging population, which means people are living separately and holding onto properties for longer.

9floor offers guests/tenants four living options. The Serenity Apartment is for those who want a relaxed living space with only a few other people.

The Community Apartments will home several more people with a much more social atmosphere.

In the 9floor black apartments, all you need to worry about is paying your rent and everything else will be done for you.

Finally, the Cross-Generation apartments match younger and older tenants with people of different age groups in order to provide more of a family experience.

Each of the rent prices varies from room size and duration of stay – but one thing is fixed, the feeling of a home-away-from-home.

  • Unique features: a variety of social living options to suit different needs and personalities.
  • Best for people who want to give back to the community and mix with different generations.

Share House Nagoya

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This co-living space is a brilliant place to fully immerse yourself in the Japanese way of life.

The concept behind Share House Nagoya is to create organic cultural exchange between locals and travelers.

A minimum one-month stay is necessary if you want to stay at any of the properties.

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Share House Nagoya has co-living spaces all over the prefecture with some being reserved for females only.

The highest proportion of residents in the shared accommodation are working professionals, but Share House Nagoya do accept students too.

  • Unique features: a vibrant mix of locals and expats from across the globe, particularly accommodating for solo females.
  • Best for those wanting to immerse themselves in local culture.

Hmlet

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Singapore based startup Hmlet has only been in operation since 2016 but has already found a wide following.

Hmlet is a great place to nurture your work skills but also create a healthy work-life balance.

This co-living organization puts an emphasis on connecting guests and creating a community.

Whether you’re in a private room or shared flat, Hmlet includes all costs in the monthly rental fee, including water and electricity, high-speed internet access, cleaning and ironing.

So all there’s left for you to worry about is living, working and socializing with your new housemates.

Residents here pay monthly, with a minimum three-month stay to start, but you’ll probably want to stay longer.

Hmlet has also just announced the opening of another property in District 11, Hmlet @ Sarkies, which will be entirely dedicated to co-living.

With everything from spacious Master bedrooms to cozy pocket rooms, find your next Singaporean stay with Hmlet.

  • Unique features: two entire buildings in different neighbourhoods dedicated to co-living. 
  • Best for professional expats new to Singapore who don’t want to commit to a long-term contract. 

Lyf

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“Life goes in many directions, but this way to Lyf,” is this company’s philosophy.

Lyf was designed by millennials, for millennials and is a branch of the Ascott group. The concept behind this co-living space is to connect guests with like-minded travelers while setting the stage for jetsetters and trendsetters.

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With properties in Shenzhen and Dalian in China, Funan and Farrer Park in Singapore and Cebu in the Philippines, amounting to nearly 100 co-living apartments, there is a property to suit everyone.

Each of the properties is conveniently placed in technology, media, fashion or economic districts to make it easier for tenants to engage with local businesses and start carving out a career.

  • Unique features: Lyf is has a chilled, contemporary atmosphere across several countries.
  • Best for young graduates and creative millennials.