Conducive Cafes to do Work in Kuala Lumpur


Alright, Mr/Mrs. Digital Nomad, at some point, working at home gets quite mundane. You need a change of pace and need to find a conducive cafe to do work for a few hours that is not too far from home base.

There are a plethora of cafe choices in Kuala Lumpur, but not all are conducive to do work as a Digital Nomad. Some just look nice to hangout or take Instagram photos. Some don’t have comfortable chairs and tables to be productive.

I will be ranking each cafe according to what matters to me as someone who works on their laptop at cafes. Criteria I look for in a cafe:

  • The ambiance, staff, and crowd.
  • WiFi speed.
  • Availability of power points.
  • The comfort of the seats and the tables to do work.
  • Menu prices and selections.
  • Toilet Cleanliness.

Summary of Best Cafes to do Work

Here is the summary for my personal best cafes to work in Kuala Lumpur that is not too far from Balkoni Hijau KL:

Cafe NameDistance from Balkoni HijauRating
VCR – Jalan Galloway2 min walk80%
Sudo Brew30 min drive, RM20 Grab Ride77%
Feeka Coffee – Jalan Mesui15 min walk or RM7 Grab Ride73%
28 Fireplace15 min GrabCar ride, RM1470%
Merchant’s LaneRM6 Grab Car Ride or 30 min walk70%
VCR – BangsarComing Soon

VCR Cafe

There are 2 VCR Cafes:

  1. VCR Jalan Galloway.
  2. VCR Jalan Telawi.

VCR Cafe – Jalan Galloway

My all-time favorite cafe in Kuala Lumpur. If I would make a summary of this cafe it would be this: Trendy, awesome staff, cool crowd and a great place to meet up with someone and do online work for a few hours.

It was a restored old shop lot. They arguably started the hipster trend in this small neighborhood. Old building charm with a modern twist.

On the second floor, there’s a large glass window area to provide ample sunlight in with a nice view of the neighborhood.

CROWD: The typical crowd is office workers during lunch break, trendy youths, people on dates and travelers due to the vicinity of a lot of Airbnb accommodations in the area (Swiss Gardens, Robertsons, Casa Residency, etc.)

STAFF: What’s unique about this place is that their staff are almost all locals and have been trained to properly greet customers. Even periodically refiling up your cup of water without asking. I haven’t seen any other cafes in Kuala Lumpur doing this so I would say their customer service is excellent.

WiFi: Generally reliable and have no problems playing videos. The WiFi password is posted on the wall so you don’t have to find it on your receipt or login to some page to access the internet. Streaming videos is not a problem here. I will take a screenshot of the WiFi speed later.

Impressive results during this speed test

POWER POINTS: There are enough power points close to most tables so charging your phone or laptop is not much of a problem. Possibly the best cafe with enough power points for as many tables as possible.

TABLE & CHAIRS: All chairs are made out of wood without padding. It’s fine for me but it might be uncomfortable for more than 3 hours. Most tables are a decent size to work on except for the ones by the window that might be perfect to just catch up with friends.

COFFEE: Cappuccino and Late’s are good, but the black coffee is a little too sour for my liking (They might change this from time to time). My mistake was that I added sugar to sour coffee, making it taste even weirder. At a price of RM12 a cup, this is the entry price to do work at this cafe.

MENU: Prices on the menu are final (includes all the taxes), so what you see is what you pay. I am never a fan of cafe food personally, I usually just order coffee. But the food looks good and totally instagrammable which is why the hipsters flock to this place.

Unagi in a croissant. As hipster as it gets

TOILET CLEANLINESS: There are only 2 toilets located at the back on the Ground floor. Both with regular toilet bowls, a bidet, and enough toilet paper. The larger bathroom has space for you to place your laptop if you are worried to leave your laptop unattended on your desk while nature is calling.

SMOKING AREA: You can smoke at the entrance patio area. There’s another open smoking area terrace on the second floor. Quite thoughtful for your quick cigarette break.

RESIDENT CAFE CAT: The cafe has cats lying around and are generally friendly and not camera shy. They are not always here though and seem to have a high turnover for new cats.

There’s usually cats here and they like to hang out on top of this box

VCR Cafe Digital Nomad Score

AttributeDigital Nomad Score
The ambiance, crowd & staff5/5
WiFi speed 5/5
Availability of power points 4/5
Seat and table comfort3/5
Menu prices and selections 3/5
Toilet Cleanliness 4/5
Digital Nomad Score 80%

Location:

Distance from Balkoni Hijau: 2 min walk.

Operation Hours: 8:30 am to 11 pm.
Their website.

VCR Cafe – Bangsar

Coming Soon

Feeka Coffee Shop – Bukit Bintang

Feeka coffee shop is situated at Jalan Mesui, close to Changkat Bukit Bintang area. It is about a 15 min walk from Balkoni Hijau and would be my 2nd favorite cafe to work at.

I particularly like the green plants at the patio are that they have which is in line with the concept that I implement at Balkoni Hijau KL.

STAFF: Great friendly staff with great English as most of the clientele here are from international offices and tourists visiting the famous Bukit Bintang area.

WiFi: You’ll only get the WiFi key that is printed on your receipt after you buy something. Luckily there’s no silly login page or forcing you to like their social media pages.

POWER POINTS: Limited to seatings close to the walls.

TABLE & CHAIRS: Most tables have adequate space for a laptop and a mouse. Chairs are more comfortable compared to VCR, especially if you get the padded long benches.

However, if you want to do serious work, I suggest the isolated single tables. Even though the long benches are more comfortable, you will be sitting too close to your neighbors and if you’re unlucky, they could be too chatty and loud or on a date and you can hear all the cringy banter between the two while you are trying to concentrate.

COFFEE: Flat white costs RM11.60. Slightly cheaper compared to VCR.

SMOKING AREA: You will have to get out of the cafe and smoke out of the cafe boundary. Something to take note if you are the type that needs to have a smoke break every 30 mins.

Feeka Coffee Digital Nomad Score

AttributeDigital Nomad Score
The ambiance, crowd & staff4/5
WiFi speed 5/5
Availability of power points 3/5
Seat and table comfort4/5
Menu prices and selections 3/5
Toilet Cleanliness 3/5
Digital Nomad Score73%

Location: 15 min walk or RM7 Grab Car ride from Balkoni Hijau.

Merchant’s Lane – Petaling Street

Hipster alert. This place is full of charm and character. It was a former brothel back in the 1980s and was abandoned for several years before it was turned into this lovely cafe.

Because it was abandoned for some time, there are missing roofs and trees growing out from the wall. The cafe has been refurbished, modernized whilst still keeping the old charm there.

This place is definitely unique and I give props to the young entrepreneurs who made this whole thing happen. You can read about their media press here.

CROWD: A lot of locals love to hang out here over the weekend as it is a trendy place to update their Instagram photos. So personally to do work, avoid the weekends at all costs.

STAFF: Mostly local, great English and service. Nothing to complain about.

WiFi: Speed test coming soon

POWER POINTS & TABLES: There are not a lot of power points for your laptop in this cafe. To do work, you’ll have to get the proper pink tables upfront. The table is good enough to do work but you might have to share on a busy day. Ratan chairs are softwood so it is comfortable over a long period of time.

COFFEE & MENU: Personally, I think their selections of cold drinks are better than their hot ones. As for food, review coming soon.

TOILET CLEANLINESS: Most cafes nowadays cater to a civilized crowd so the condition of the toilet always reflects this. I’ll give it a good score of 4/5.

SMOKING AREA: There is no dedicated smoking area and you can’t do it at the open patio area as well. So if you do smoke, you have to go down and smoke outside.

Merchant’s Lane Digital Nomad Score

AttributeDigital Nomad Score
The ambiance, crowd & staff5/5
WiFi speed 4/5
Availability of power points 2/5
Seat and table comfort3/5
Menu prices and selections 3/5
Toilet Cleanliness 4/5
Digital Nomad Score70%

Location: an RM7 Grab Car ride from Balkoni Hijau.

28 Fireplace – Ampang

A cute cafe located in a quiet neighborhood in Ampang. Nice decor and ample working tables comfortable enough to work for a few hours. My favorite spot to work would be the patio area as the seats are padded and the heat from outside is not so bad in the afternoon.

Parking is a nightmare here though. So you might have to park somewhere a little far away or just use GrabCar on the weekends.

RESIDENT CAFE CAT: There’s almost always cats here to accompany you during your work.

28 Fireplace Resident cat
This friendly cat that just jumped on my lap while I was working

CROWD: This neighborhood is close to a lot of embassies and international schools, so we got a good international crowd going on that frequent this cafe. Mostly small families.

STAFF: Great friendly staff with unlimited self-service tap water refills served on a trolley.

Water refills

WiFi: Excellent strong, reliable Wifi averaging around 30 Mbps which is the same as what I have at home. You might need to note that I was the only customer at the time of this speed reading:

TABLE & CHAIRS: My personal favorite is to sit outside because the benches on the left have paddings. Sit indoors only if you really need the AC. I think it is a little cramped inside for my liking.

Outdoor tables with padded benches

POWER POINTS: This cafe lacks adequate powerpoints in my opinion. There are only 2 tables that are close enough to a power socket at the patio area. So if you come over the weekends, you might have to settle with a table without a power supply, so charge your laptops up before coming over.

only 1 powerpoint on each side
1 on the left side
1 on the ride side

COFFEE & MENU: The coffee is great just like at any modern cafe. However, the food prices are on the above market side.

TOILET CLEANLINESS: There are 2 toilets in this cafe, 1 with the traditional squatting toilet and another with a regular toilet. Cleanliness is great with a touch of fragrance to keep things fresh.

SMOKING AREA: You will have to head out where the cars are to have a smoke.

28 Fireplace Digital Nomad Score

AttributeDigital Nomad Score
The ambiance, crowd & staff5/5
WiFi speed 4/5
Availability of power points 2/5
Seat and table comfort3/5
Menu prices and selections 3/5
Toilet Cleanliness 4/5
Digital Nomad Score70%

Location: This cafe is quite far away. It is a 20 min drive away and will cost you RM14 from Balkoni Hijau.

24 Hour – Sudo Brew Cafe – Subang

This cafe runs 24 hours and is catering to people who need to get work or studies done. It is not in Kuala Lumpur, but in Petaling Jaya, a suburbs where there are a lot of offices and universities. This is my go-to cafe if I want to really focus and get things done for hours on end.

CROWD: Due to its vicinity close to universities, the crowd is predominately university college students. As an adult digital nomad, doing work nearby these kids is quite annoying especially when you can hear their conversations.

STAFF: Great polite staff and will deliver food for you. But apart from that, it is mostly a self-service cafe.

WiFi: Considering that students and gamers frequent this cafe a lot, the WiFi speed is more than adequate for most people.

POWER POINTS & TABLES: This is where this cafe shines. It has plenty of tables each with its own charging station. If that’s not enough or you need absolute concentration, there’s even a library-style isolation desk

COFFEE & MENU: If you plan to come to this cafe, chances are you’ll be here late at night where most other cafes are closed. So I won’t be reviewing the coffee. I always order hot chocolate here and it is really good at a price of around RM12 a cup as your entry fee to start work at this cafe.

The menu, however, is extremely complicated and there are 2 or 3 separate menus that are confusing for the customers. Despite the confusion, the food quality is good, albeit being on the high side in price.

TOILET: There are 2 separate toilets and they are generally clean.

SMOKING AREA: You will have to walk out of the cafe and leave your stuff inside to take your cigarette break.

Sudo Brew Digital Nomad Score

AttributeDigital Nomad Score
The ambiance, crowd & staff2/5
WiFi speed 5/5
Availability of power points 5/5
Seat and table comfort4/5
Menu prices and selections 3/5
Toilet Cleanliness 4/5
Digital Nomad Score77%

Location: It is far from Balkoni Hijau. It is located in a suburb called Petaling Jaya. It will be a 28 min drive or a RM20 Grab Car ride to this place.

Wrapping It all up

I hope this list helps you to narrow down your selection for which cafes are conducive to do work in Kuala Lumpur as a Digital Nomad.

If you need a place to stay in Kuala Lumpur, check out my Airbnb rentals here.

Helmi

Business owner and online content creator for balkonihijau.com.

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