Chiang Mai is located in the north of Thailand and is known as the world capital of digital nomads. Here you can find many remote workers from all over the world throughout the year. It is a very affordable city full of cafeterias and coworking spaces where you can work and meet other people with whom you can share ideas and experiences. There are thousands of digital nomads living in Chiang Mai.
Accommodation in Chiang Mai
A studio can be found for €200/250 per month. Prices can be higher in the central neighborhoods and old town, but I recommend focusing on quality and price rather than location, as every neighborhood in the city is easily accessible by bike and a cab ride costs no more than $2. A room in a shared accommodation costs about $100.
If you do not want to complicate your life, Varada Place offers single rooms for about $150 per month (6,000 baht). The rooms are equipped with bathroom, air conditioning and daily cleaning. The accommodation is conveniently located in the Nimman district, near the historical center. Since it is a hotel, you do not have to pay a deposit, sign a contract or deal with the owner.
In any case, I would like to point to some websites for finding accommodation:
- Renthub, apartment offers for long or short stays
- Hipflat, apartments all over Thailand
- Thailand-property, real estate website
- Many Facebook groups
Cost of living in Chiang Mai
The cost of living in Chiang Mai is extremely low, you can eat local food on the street for $1-1.5 or in restaurants for $2-3. International food is more expensive ($5-6). There are also many vegetarian or vegan restaurants in Chiang Mai.
Transportation costs are also very low. A cab ride with Uber costs little more than $2 anywhere in the city. Or you can take one of the many tuk-tuks (cost 0,5 / 1 $).
In any case, the bicycle is one of the best means of transportation you can use in Chiang Mai. The city is completely flat, there is not much traffic and in about twenty minutes you can go anywhere. You can buy a used bike and sell it when you leave or rent it for $1 per day. Another option is to rent a motorcycle, which costs about $3 (100 baht) per day. It would be advisable to have an international driver’s licence and always wear a helmet. Unlike the Thais, you are required to obey the traffic laws.
Coworking in Chiang Mai
There are many coworking areas where digital nomads can work in Chiang Mai and meet other digital nomads to share experiences and ideas.
- Cafe Shadow, serves a great breakfast and you can eat there too. Always popular with digital nomads working with their computers. It has a good wi-fi connection.
- Wake up, is a chain of coffee shops, of which there are 5 in Chiang Mai, all open 24 hours. Each drink entitles you to 4 hours of internet use
- Overstand, is located in the old town. It is one of the best coffee shops in Chiang Mai. There is also a good wifi connection here.
- CAMP, on the fourth floor of the Mayan Shopping Center, is the perfect example of a coworking space. It is open 24 hours a day and is always very popular
- Punspace, is one of the most famous coworking spaces in Chiang Mai. open 24 hours a day, comfortable chairs and great internet connection. There are two offices, one in Nimman and the other in Tha Pae Gate. Price 290 baht/day 3,900 baht/month
- Addicted to work, small and cozy, with an excellent Wi-Fi connection. It is possible to pay by the hour (20 baht/hour) or by the month (3,000 baht/month)
If you are planning to stay in Chiang Mai, do not forget to get a good health insurance before you leave, which costs on average about 70/80 € per month. Remember that a simple mosquito bite or motorcycle accident can mean several days of hospitalization for which you would have to pay several thousand dollars.
Living in Chiang Mai – pros and cons
Living in Chiang Mai, pros
- Optimal size, it is a non-chaotic city with a population of about 200,000 people
- Good Internet connection
- Low cost of living
- Very welcoming local population
- Much less pollution than Bangkok
- Large international community of digital nomads
- Large selection of restaurants and cafes
Living in Chiang Mai, cons
- There is no crystalline sea
- After a while it can be monotonous
- Little-known English among the local population