Chiang Mai For Digital Nomads: The Ultimate Remote Work Paradise

The kingdom of Thailand, commonly known as the “land of smiles” has a lot to offer. Its beautiful and spiritual city, Chiang Mai is one of the many specialties.  

Chiang Mai’s evolution from a quiet religious town into a popular tourist destination has certainly attracted several digital nomads to move here. Before you make a final decision, make sure to go over this article and learn what it’s like to live in Chiang Mai as a digital nomad.

Where is Chiang Mai Located?

Chiang Mai is the largest city in northern Thailand and the second largest overall. It is located in upper northern Thailand, in a mountainous region known as Thai highlands. This city is situated on the Ping River, about 700 km from bangkok.

Fact: Did you know that Chaing Mai has a population of 1.78 million people?

Why Choose Chiang Mai as a Digital Nomad? Pros and Cons

A lot of people say that Chiang Mai is the most desirable destination in Southeast Asia. Let’s go over some of the pros and cons to see if it’s really true.

Pros Cons 
Rich Thai culture and religion Long-term visa difficulties 
Reliable internetLanguage barrier 
Safe city Overcrowded 
Low cost of living Burning season
High quality of living Dangerous roads
Welcoming community Traffic congestion 

While these pros and cons are influential factors, make sure to remember that Chiang Mai has a lot to offer. Digital nomads can overcome these cons and stay in this city for a long time quite easily. 

The visa problems, to be specific, have various solutions as Thailand is insistent on attracting more and more remote workers. 

How to Get to Chiang Mai?

Mainly, there are two ways to get to Chiang Mai. either you can get here from bangkok or travel from the Chiang Rai region.

From within Thailand 

You can get to Chiang Mai from Bangkok through various means. Depending on your affordability, preferences, and convenience, you can travel via tourist bus,  VIP bus, train, or flight. While direct flights can take mere hours, bus travel can have you struggling all night. Either way, the bus network is reliable and comfortable so you won’t face much trouble.

As for Chiang Rai, you can travel via bus and get to Chiang Rai in a short period of time. The journey will be comfortable and safe.

From abroad 

If you are coming from abroad then the only suitable way is air travel. You can get direct or connecting flights to land in Thailand. The international flights tend to land at Chiang Rai airport which is 8km away from the city.

Services like Airasia and Scoot offer 15-20 flights each day from southeast Asian cities to Chiang Mai. Make sure to compare prices before selecting a service. 

Transportation and How to Get Around Chiang Mai?

Once you are in Chiang Mai, you can get around via several means.


One of the most common means of transport in Chiang Mai is Tuk-tuks. This is a unique three-wheeled vehicle that is just as safe as it is adventurous. It is also affordable as a short trip around the city can cost as little as 2$ (1.84€)


Even cheaper than the tuk-tuks, Songthaew is another common transport used around the city. These are converted pickup trucks with seats facing each other. You can directly reach your desired spot for a small fee. Songthaew is widely and easily available which makes it an accessible form of traveling.


Even though there are not a lot of taxis within the city, one can find a ton of them at the transport stations. Unfortunately, taxis are not a reliable means of transport as they are less likely to be available in the first place. However, Uber and Grab are widely available and they cost way less! 

3 Best Accommodation Options in Chiang Mai?

There are a bunch of decent neighborhoods in Chiang Mai and each has its own specialties. Take a look at some of these and see which one suits your preferences. 

Ban Sathaphon

Chiang Mai is a cozy city and the neighborhood of Ban Sathaphon goes well with that vibe. If you want to stay in a quiet town, then this neighborhood is a great option for you. You’ll also be able to live among beautiful Thai architecture and a welcoming community. To top it all off, the place isn’t too far from the bustling city and nightlife scene.

Old City

Another best accommodation option is located right in the heart of the city. The neighborhood, the old city is a great location for you if you prefer the hustle and bustle. This place is the ultimate city center and houses various Airbnb’s, restaurants, boutiques, and hotels. This means there is a bunch to do and the old city is the root of several activities.


Nimmanhaemin is also one of the best areas for digital nomads to settle in. This place has a lot to offer including bars, restaurants, shopping malls, coffee shops, and various clubs. Basically, this place has everything a digital nomad could possibly desire.

The public spaces here offer a cozy and safe atmosphere along with a fast internet connection. You will also find a vast and growing digital nomad community in this part of the city.

You can look for property listings by either visiting your desired neighborhoods, getting in touch with realtors, or looking at some of the Facebook groups. We recommend some groups like Farang Chiang Mai Real Estate and Real Estate Chiang Mai.

Internet Connectivity in Chiang Mai

One of the best things about Chiang Mai is its high-speed internet. Remote workers would be thrilled to learn that they can get an average of 200 Mbps download speed and 50 Mbps upload speed for just 30$ (27.54€) per month!

Local SIM cards are also inexpensive on a digital nomad budget. In fact, 5GB per month can cost as little as 3$(2.75€).

Other than that, almost all the cafes, restaurants, and shops offer free wifi with a good speed. 


As a remote worker, the need to keep things digital can be quite paramount sometimes. If you want to avoid the hassle of a physical SIM card then consider opting for an Esim.

Take a look at the providers listed below and be sure to compare packages. 


Data Days Price 
Unlimited 5 days 21$ (19.51€)
Unlimited 7 days 29$ (27€)
Unlimited 10 days37$ (34.37€)
Unlimited 20 days 62$ (57.79€)
Unlimited 30 days 75$ (70€)


Data Days Price 
50 GB10 days9.90$  (9.20€)
Unlimited 15 days 19.95$ (18.53€)

5 Best Places to Work from in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is also popular among digital nomads because it promotes a good working atmosphere for remote workers. There are a ton of good cafes and excellent coworking spaces where you can comfortably work for hours.


CAMP is one of the best coworking spaces in Chiang Mai. located on the top floor of Maya Mall, this place is available 24/7. A good thing about this place is that it has a “no talking aloud” policy and the customers are encouraged to use headphones for the sake of privacy.

The entry is free but the free wifi is only available if you spend more than one hour and order over 1.60$(1.47€). You’ll find a wide range of students and freelancers here as the place really encourages productivity. This is the perfect place to go for a dedicated workday.


Punspace is also a great place to work from. This coworking space is famous among the digital nomad community as it has a lot to offer. One of the most desirable things about Punspace is that it has two locations; both located in the heart of the city. Each location is beautiful with unique architecture, good wifi connection, and comfortable seating.

You can choose either of them based on your preference and be sure to remember that they are available Monday-Friday 24/7. You can get a one-day pass or a monthly membership and you get to enjoy a free supply of coffee upon membership.


Alt Chiang Mai is a good two-in-one deal as this place is a coworking space and a coliving space simultaneously. It is a good option for digital nomads as it would make things more convenient. This co-working space offers private desks, hot desks, cold desks, and even private offices.

Other than that, this place also offers phone booths, quiet zones, meeting rooms, and conference rooms. As apparent, Alt_ChiangMai is a great place for working as it has a variety of options for digital nomads and remote workers. You can also participate in one of the many community events to network with like-minded individuals. 

W8 X Viangpha Cafe

Located in an old city, this cafe is not only well-known but well-liked as well. You can get a delicious cup of coffee while enjoying the open space architecture. This place has two floors and wooden furniture occupies each, giving the cafe a classic vibe. One of the best parts is that the food here is extremely affordable.

Story 106 cafe

Story 106 Cafe is one of the best coffee shops to work from. This place has everything a remote worker would need; fast internet, brunch menu, lunch menu, and delicious fresh-baked items.

While you can network and interact downstairs, the upper portion is reserved for working. You’ll also enjoy the architectural structure, air conditioning, naturally flowing light, and the spaciousness of this place.

Cost of Living in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is a great place for several reasons and its low cost of living is also an attractive feature. Here is a rough breakdown of monthly expenses and the affordable prices.

Meal at a restaurant1.44$ (1.32€) 
Beer 2.01$(1.84€)
Internet 19.08$(17.51€)
1-bedroom apartment (city centre)341.33$(313.31€)
Fitness club35.88$(32.93€)
Basic utilities 57.50$(52.78€)
Coffee 1.65$(1.51€)

As apparent, Chiang Mai has an extremely affordable cost of living and reasonable prices. Digital nomads can live here on a tight budget and still enjoy a high quality of living. This city is about 63% cheaper than New York and allows remote workers to live a quiet life.

Culture, Nature, and Food in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai was previously a quiet and religious town but that status has changed over recent years. Now, this beautiful city in Thailand is known for so much more than its spirituality. Chiang Mai is a perfect combination of rich culture, remarkable history, and tranquility. 

Silver Temple in Chiang Mai

Under the bustling city hides the peaceful nature of Chiang Mai. Digital nomads and other tourists seeking that lifestyle can find it on one of the many mountain tops and Buddhist temples.

As for the cuisine here, Thai food is popular all around the world. You can enjoy the delicious local food, flavorful street food, and culinary delicacies during your time here.

Since the city is surrounded by mountainous regions, you can start your morning by going on a hike and spending the evenings engaging in the nightlife scene. The bustling environment surprisingly mixes well with the tranquil nature of the town.

Best Time to Visit Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is a good place all year long but the best time to visit is during the peak season. Since the city has a tropical climate, its weather situation can be distinguished in the hot season and the rainy season.

The hot season begins in March and stretches all the way to late May. The heatwave and burning days are certainly difficult but it’s nothing compared to the heat in Phuket and bangkok.

As for the rainy season, it lasts from June to October. This period also brings consistent rain showers and fresh breezes to cool things down. It is a good time to explore the city.

12 Best Things to Do in Chiang Mai

One thing about Chiang Mai is that you won’t be bored during your time here. There are a lot of things to do but here are the 12 best ones.

1. Visit the Old Chiang Mai Cultural Center

The old Chiang Mai Cultural Center is a restaurant that has historical value. This place has been standing for 40 years and the food served here is truly remarkable. When in Chiang Mai, make sure to visit here and try traditional pork curry. Your meal would be complete with live music and traditional Thai dances.

2. Visit the Bo Sang handicraft village

This is a perfect place to go if you are an art fan. Bo Sang Handicraft Village displays a variety of local art that has been passed down through generations. They also display handmade artifacts and crafts that hold cultural importance. Be sure to go here and browse the diverse art!

3. Get a Thai massage

It is almost mandatory to get a Thai massage when you are in Thailand. The best part about this activity is that you can relax while having a great time. When you need a break from all the exploring and browsing, consider going to one of the massage parlors and have the experience of a lifetime.

4. Visit Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

Chiang Mai is best known for its religious importance. When you are in the city, make sure to visit one of the oldest temples and delve into the spirituality. Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is a beautiful temple. Though it can take a hike to get there, the view there is absolutely stunning and worth the climb.

5. Visit the Bua Thong Waterfalls

Chiang Mai is also rich in greenery, meaning that forests and waterfalls are abundant here. If you are looking for a fun-filled and adventurous day, consider visiting Bua Thong Waterfalls (sticky waterfalls). We recommend joining relevant Facebook groups and exploring them with fellow expats.

6. Visit the old city 

Whether you decide to live in the old city or not, be sure to visit it at least once! The old city is a dreamy place that perfectly represents the rich history and amazing culture of Thailand. You can walk along the streets, go for a stroll, and simply immerse yourself in the surroundings. 

7. Visit the elephant sanctuary

This is one of the most unique and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Visiting the Chiang Mai elephant sanctuary allows you to see a real-life giant elephant up close! It can be a really interesting memory, especially for animal lovers.

8. Visit the wiang kum kam 

Wiang Kum Kam is the old capital of the bygone independent Lanna kingdom that is now turned into an open space museum. The best way to learn about Thailand’s history is by visiting this place and spending a day among exhibits from the 13th century. You’ll also find architectural pieces and Buddhist sculptures that are truly a sight to behold.

9. Take a half-day Thai cooking class

Thai food is certainly one of the most delicious cuisines in the world. Rather than just enjoying it for a while, you can take the talent with you and relish it forever! Take some of these cooking classes and learn from the professionals.

10. Visit the Doi Inthanon National Park

If you want to be surrounded by nature then visit this wonderful national park. You can even join a guided tour and explore the region with a well-versed local. Some argue that sightseeing with a close group of people can add more fun to the activity!

11. Zipline adventure

If you are feeling adventurous and looking for an adrenaline rush then this activity is the best option for you. Chiang Mai has Thailand’s longest zipline and you can be one of the people to experience it. The centuries-old trees and dense forest certainly make the activity much more enchanting.

12. Visit the night markets

Lastly, be sure to remember that Chiang Mai is also quite popular for local markets and street food markets as well. Now shopaholics would be glad to hear that there is an abundance of markets and the shopping scene is quite big. When you are in the city, visit the bustling and vibrant weekend markets as well as night markets. You can engage in shopping, browsing, or simply people-watching. Apart from that, you can also enjoy amazing street food, a variety of products, and a vibrant environment.

Is Chiang Mai safe?

You’d be glad to know that Chiang Mai is a very safe place to live. In fact, it has been ranked one of the safest places in all of Southeast Asia. The city has a low crime rate and the local Thai people are friendly as well. Chiang Mai is also a secure place for women, children, and minorities. You can surely walk alone at night without any major fear.

However, as a traveler in a foreign country, you are always recommended to stay on guard. Make sure to take necessary precautions and remain alert at all times. If you encounter any crime or even danger of potential criminal activity, notify the relevant authorities as soon as possible.

Visa Requirements in Chiang Mai

As of now, Thailand doesn’t offer a digital nomad visa in the literal sense. However, there are several alternatives for remote workers who are interested in living here.

For starters, tourists and digital nomads can always opt for a tourist visa. They can also enter the country on a work visa or work permit. Other than that, Thailand also offers a variety of smart visas. You can look into each and see if you fit the eligibility criteria.

Lastly, you can also apply for a Thai elite visa and enjoy several benefits that come with it.


Chiang Mai is one of the digital nomad capitals in the world and we believe that the title is well-earned. The beautiful city of Chiang Mai is a combination of religion, nature, culture, and rich history. The welcoming locals, digital nomad community, and low cost of living make it a perfect place for digital nomads all over the world.

Remote workers will find the city’s fast internet and variety of co-working spaces to be attractive as well. 

If you have decided to embark on the amazing journey of settling in Chiang Mai then we wish you the best of luck on your adventure!

We hope this comprehensive digital nomad guide helped you understand the lifestyle. Contact us if you have any further queries.

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