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Ultimate Guide for Digital Nomad Living in Chiang Mai

Ultimate Guide for Digital Nomad Living in Chiang Mai

So you’ve decided to become a digital nomad here in Chiang Mai—great choice! Congratulations on choosing a lifestyle full of freedom in one of the most digital nomad-friendly places in Thailand.

Chiang Mai is the ideal place for digital nomads, thanks to its many co-working spaces, affordability, fast internet, and wonderful nightlife. There are also many different outdoor and cultural activities you can do here.

With all of these things going in your favour, let’s make your remote work even better and more fruitful with this guide on being a digital nomad in Chiang Mai!

Things to Know

Currency: Thai Baht

(Check the current exchange rate)

Language: Thai

Calling Code: +66

Expected Cost of Living for Digital Nomads in Chiang Mai

If you chose Chiang Mai as your base of operations as a digital nomad, then you’re in for a great experience! 

Compared to Bangkok and other regions of Thailand, Chiang Mai is one of the best areas to be a digital nomad thanks to affordable prices and its great location.

For starters, Chiang Mai housing will only cost you around 8,000 to 15,000 THB per month compared to Bangkok’s starting price of 12,000 THB. In terms of transportation, you can also rent a motorbike for cheap at only 2,000 THB per month.

A large chunk of your budget will most likely be allocated for eating out, groceries, and food items. We did the math and on average, you’ll only spend around 2,000 THB each month (depending on where you eat and what groceries you buy, of course!)

Just a tip though — you’ll soon find that cooking in Thailand can be much more expensive compared to if you just eat out. 

Eating at local food stalls will only cost you around 18 to 70 THB per meal but you can get one for as low as 35 THB once you know where to find the local favourites!

Entertainment and travel can set you back 5,000 THB per person per month if you choose to do these leisure activities every week. Do note though, that there are tons of free things to do here like hiking to waterfalls and exploring temples and local markets.

Along with some visa expenses which cost around 2,000 to 3,000 THB, you need to spend roughly 30,000 to 37,000 THB monthly to live your best digital nomad life in Chiang Mai!

Survival Tips for Digital Nomads in Chiang Mai

As a digital nomad, you have to make sure you have a couple of essentials in order to survive and thrive while staying in Chiang Mai. These include choosing the right gear, having reliable internet, appropriate clothing, and information about the area.

Get the right tech gear

As a digital nomad, you’re going to have to work remotely, which means doing your job wherever you are at the moment. Hence, there are a couple of important gear you need to have before you embark on this digital nomad lifestyle in Chiang Mai.

Backpack: You need a bag to store all your tech and clothes in. Coose one that is easy to carry around and modular to help you organise your essentials.

Laptop: Invest in a decent laptop depending on your line of work. A more powerful laptop is needed if you’re a graphic artist and you need to do some editing or a laptop with a long battery life if you’re supposed to do tons of administrative tasks.

Peripherals: You’ll certainly need a mouse and a keyboard but you may also require a second screen or monitor, a drawing tablet, or even a laptop stand.

Phone: Most importantly, you’re going to need a reliable (or even powerful) mobile phone depending on your line of work. This nifty gadget will be your gateway to most services in Chiang Mai and will be your major source of information and internet data.

The crucial thing is to get your gear ready based on the work you want to accomplish as a remote worker in Chiang Mai.

Subscribe to a reliable internet provider

One of the best things about being a digital nomad in Thailand is that you can get the internet almost anywhere. Co-working spaces, hotels, cafes, restaurants, and some public places can actually offer you fast internet for free (as long as you’re a customer).

To ensure that you have internet wherever you go though, you need to have mobile internet when in Chiang Mai. Fortunately, there are a ton of local providers here that can give you a good deal when it comes to 4G (and even 5G!) internet connectivity.

There are three popular mobile network operators here in Thailand that you can choose from depending on your needs and your budget. There are AIS, True, and DTAC Trinet which will cost you based on your desired internet speed:

Bring appropriate clothing

Being a digital nomad means leading a nomadic lifestyle to and exploring the beautiful city of Chiang Mai and other parts of Thailand. As such, you need to make sure that you have appropriate clothing for each scenario and location.

For example, if you need to attend a business meeting online, you may have to have a dress shirt in your wardrobe. On the other hand, if you plan on visiting temples, you need to make sure that you don’t wear short shorts or sleeveless shirts. 

Trekking through certain areas of Thailand will also require you to have light but durable clothes and reliable hiking shoes. If you’re planning to do some island exploration here, then you need to have swimwear and quick-drying towels.

It’s really up to you which clothes or wardrobe to bring. The most important thing is for you to dress based on the activity or occasion.

You can always buy certain pieces of clothing from the malls and stores around Chiang Mai but it’s definitely going to be more cost-efficient if you bring your own.

Make sure you have enough information about the area

To survive as a digital nomad in Chiang Mai, you need to familiarise yourself with the immediate area where you plan to operate. You may have the right gear, reliable internet, and the right clothing but you also need the right information to succeed.

First, you have to have an idea of how much the cost of living in your area is. This will include average prices of food, grocery items, clothes, and supplies, among others so that you can properly budget your finances.

You also have to know what kind of accommodation is ideal for your needs. This will depend on your budget and where you are at the moment but you can choose to rent a hotel room on a weekly basis or go more long-term and rent an apartment

Next, you have to be aware of the areas or establishments where you can work and be productive. These will include a list of co-working spaces, cafes, and restaurants where you’ll get a good WIFI connection and some filling snacks or meals.

Lastly, you also need to know what other things you can do in Thailand as a digital nomad. You can network with others like yourself, go island-hopping, go temple running, enjoy the culture and local food, and network with other digital nomads.

All of these are already listed in this handy guide of ours and if you’re currently reading this, then you’re about to get a head start in succeeding as a remote worker in Chiang Mai! 

Take advantage of digital banking in Thailand

While digital nomads are already thriving in Chiang Mai, digital banking isn’t much of a powerhouse yet compared to other Asian countries like Hong Kong or Singapore. 

We strongly recommend that you open a bank account (bank account opening in Thailand) here to make your life easier.

Once you have a bank account, you can then have digital banking access which will allow you to make purchases and book online using your debit card or any internet-connected device. 

You can also get a multi-currency account or debit card like Wise which will let you transact using Thai Baht without charging you ridiculous transaction fees. 

After arriving in Chiang Mai, you may have to stay in some of the different hotels scattered across this region of Thailand. There are a ton of options here based on your preference and we’ve listed some down for you to consider.

However, we recommend that you only book your stay with one particular hotel on a weekly basis. This will help you move around much easier and will better support your digital nomad lifestyle if ever you want to transfer to a different area of Chiang Mai.

If on the other hand, you want to stay in a specific area for longer periods, we recommend that you choose among some of the digital nomad-friendly spots in Chiang Mai which are usually just walking distance from each other.

Old City (Chiang Mai Centre)


A lot of digital nomads live in the Old City since it’s a great location for you to do your remote work. It’s a great location right in the middle of Chiang Mai where there are tons of rooftop bars, live music, co-working cafes, and Buddhist Temples (temples in Chiang Mai) for you to enjoy!

The Nimman Road


Also referred to as the Nimmanahaeminda, the Nimman Road is another location you may want to stay in if you want to pursue this kind of lifestyle. There are plenty of co-working spaces to choose from along with some bars, restaurants, and cafes.

It’s also close to downtown Chiang Mai and Maya Mall which means if you need to shop for some of your personal and digital nomad needs, you can do so easily. Plus, there’s a food court right inside the mall for when you just want to grab a quick bite.

Ban Sathaphon Neighbourhood


If you want your digital nomad lifestyle to be a bit more laid-back and relaxed, you can choose to find accommodation at the Ban Sathaphon Neighbourhood. It’s 5 minutes away from Maya Mall but it has a more local neighbourhood vibe.

It’s further away from the nightlife and bustling cafes and restaurants of the area but you’ll find tons of cheap options here for apartment rentals. This is one neighbourhood we recommend if you’re just starting out.

The Best Places Digital Nomads to Work While in Chiang Mai

Staying at cafes and restaurants (a few of which we will enumerate for you later in the article) will allow you to do some remote work. However, nothing can beat a co-working space if you’re really serious about getting that task done and beating your deadline.

These co-working spaces don’t just offer free WIFI as they also offer comfortable seating, some snacks and beverages, and the chance to mingle with like-minded people. Simply put, it’s a great location for you to be super productive!

Fortunately, Chiang Mai has a ton of these co-working spaces for you to choose from. It’s just important for you to know where they are located to ensure that you can get your tasks done wherever you may be in the city.

Punspace Tha Phae Gate


Cafes can be quite noisy at times and can distract you from getting your work done. Punspace offers you a large co-working area with fast and reliable internet, and comfortable interiors to maintain and enhance your productivity.



Hub53 in Nimman is designed to give you privacy but at the same time allow you the chance to socialise with other digital nomads. The rooms are designed in order for you to see others like yourself hustling and working on achieving their dreams.

What we liked most about this co-working space though, is that it has numerous phone booths where you can make and take private video calls if ever you need to.

Yellow Coworking


Yellow Coworking is perfect if you’re a night owl or if you need to finish a task in the middle of the night. It’s open 24/7 and you can get great value for money if you avail of their monthly pass.

It can provide you with great internet speeds, comfortable work areas, a YouTube room (if you need it), and one (1) free coffee per day if you have a monthly pass. 



This co-working and meeting place is actually located on top of Maya Mall and is perfect if you need to buy something from the mall. It offers fast internet and comfortable seating areas depending on your needs or group size.

Here, you can have a team meeting or huddle while ordering some of their delicious snacks and meals. 

It’s also easier to collaborate with other digital nomads here thanks to the great floor layout of CAMP which will allow you to interact with others within the same co-working area or table.

Cafes, on the other hand, are a great way to finish your tasks while you enjoy a wider variety of beverages and food items with others like you. We listed some of the best cafes where you can work as a digital nomad in Chiang Mai:

My Secret Cafe in Town


Imagine working on a project while surrounded by chic and modern interiors while sipping on your favourite iced coffee. Here at the My Secret Cafe in Town, you get to do just that without breaking the bank.

You get comfortable seating, unlimited WIFI connectivity, and a ton of choices when it comes to their Western snacks and beverages. We highly recommend that you try out their club sandwiches and their iced coffees!

Zohng Coffee


The perfect breakfast/ brunch spot for working does not exist– unless you’ve been to Zohng Coffee, that is! This exceptional cafe serves some amazing Western cuisine such as burgers and fruit cereals all while exuding the ambiance of a library-cum-bar.

The store will provide you with enough privacy to complete your tasks but at the same time a great laid-back vibe to help you relax and focus on your deadlines. 

Best of all, the place is really Instagram-worthy so you can take photos of yourself as you work and show it to your family or friends (or even your boss if you feel like it!).

Xym Cafe


At Xym Cafe, you can work the day away while enjoying some unique coffee flavours. This cafe uses local ingredients to add flavour to their coffee (e.g. peach coffee) so it’s something you should try once you get the chance to co-work here.

Most digital nomads also appreciate the modern and industrial look of the venue and we’re sure you’ll like it too as the interiors have comfortable seating and adequate tables for remote workers.

Plus, we also appreciate that the cafe’s perimeter is surrounded by trees. Just look out the window and appreciate some greenery before going back to your daily grind!

Transportation Options in Chiang Mai 

Car Rental: You can rent a car in Chiang Mai through various car rental companies such as Hertz, Budget, and Avis. Competitive rates are also being offered here by smaller car rental companies so we suggest that you ask around for the best price.

To rent a car, you need to present your driver’s licence and your passport. Once you get your rental, you can drive around the city with ease and convenience, especially if you’re travelling around the city with your family or loved ones.

Songthaew: Chiang Mai residents and locals will use Songthaews for their daily transportation and if you want to feel like a local, you can always take these to make your way around the city. 

They’re cheap and you can easily flag one down almost anywhere. These songthaews usually follow a specific route but if you ask the driver to take you somewhere specific, they’ll be happy to oblige (for a fee, of course).

Tuk-tuk: Considered an icon here in Thailand, Tuks-tuks are fun to take a ride in if you want to get around. They’re also a bit faster compared to the standard songthaew. 

However, we highly recommend that you haggle or negotiate the price of the fare with the driver first to avoid any misunderstanding after you get to your destination. 

You can find most of these tuk-tuks around tourist areas, hotels, and bazaars so it shouldn’t be a problem flagging one. Plus, you can take pictures or selfies with one to share with your loved ones and family back home – a truly unique ride from Thailand!

Bus: The public bus system in Chiang Mai has eight lines in total and covers around a hundred stops across the city. You can hop on and get off at Nimman,  Chiang Mai Airport, Three Kings Monument, and the Old City without spending much!

Motorbike rental: If you want to get around Chiang Mai faster, then renting a motorbike might be your best option. Plus, it’s also cheaper than renting a car and is less affected by sometimes heavy traffic Thailand is notorious for.

You can usually get 100 to 125cc motorbikes here but if you want something beefier, then you can look for other rental companies offering larger bikes like dirt bikes, touring bikes, and road bikes.

Leisure Activities in Chiang Mai

Party the Night Away

“Work hard, party harder” seems to be the motto of digital nomads in Chiang Mai as you’ll see a lot of them hustle during the day before partying the night away! 

Nimman Road is the place to be if you want to enjoy the nightlife of Chiang Mai where you can enjoy good food, live music, and a variety of alcoholic beverages to choose from. Locals themselves flock to this area so you know it’s good!

Chiang Mai is also famous for its rooftop clubs and bars where you can just sip on your favourite drink while enjoying the view of the city below. Of course, don’t forget to try out the street food all over Chiang Mai to further immerse yourself in the culture!

Go on outdoor adventures

You’re not just limited to partying here in Chiang Mai as you can also go on a cultural adventure around this Northern Region of Thailand. You can start off by visiting the nearby temples, national parks, jungles, and temples.

There are also great opportunities for you in Chiang Mai to interact with various wildlife. You can visit some elephant sanctuaries and go on a night safari to observe these majestic animals while they are in their natural habitat.

Network with other digital nomads

Chiang Mai has a vibrant and thriving community of expats and digital nomads. It’s up to you how you’d like to reach out and network with them to make your stay here as interesting and productive as it can be.

We recommend going on social media to meet other expats and digital nomads like yourself. They usually post meetups or come up with group activities based on their different interests like entrepreneurship, hiking, drinking, coffee, and board games.

Of course, you can also meet other digital nomads when you work in a co-working space, cafes, or restaurants. You never know– the next expat or digital nomad you meet here might be the next professional opportunity you’ve been waiting for!

What to Expect from Chiang Mai Weather

Cool Season: Chiang Mai’s cool season covers the months of November to February. During this time, the weather is just perfect for tourists as it is cool and comfortable enough for you and your family to tour the area.

However, the months of December and January of the cool season can bring in large throngs of crowds due to the New Year’s celebration. Expect heavy traffic and prepare to do some itinerary planning to make the most of your time during these months.

Hot Season: The hot season in Chiang Mai runs from March to May. The air can be especially dry during these months and this is also the hottest season here.

If you visit during April, you’ll notice a very festive vibe across Thailand as locals will be celebrating their Thai New Year or Songkran. To cool down, you can engage with the locals in some good old-fashioned Songkran water splashing!

Rainy Season: The months of June to October are mostly rainy here in Chiang Mai. August and September are the worst in terms of rain as heavy downpours can happen all throughout the day during this period.

You can still enjoy your time here despite the rain as the temperature is definitely much more comfortable compared to the summer season. Also, expect the greenery to be much more lush– perfect if you want that vibrant green background in your selfie!

Apps to Download for Your Jungle Adventure in Chiang Mai

Tuk: food delivery, transportation, and cleaning services

iOS | Android

Lazada: Online shopping

iOS | Android

Flush: Toilet locator app

iOS | Android

AirVisual: Air quality checker

iOS | Android

Grab: Ride-hailing, food, grocery, and delivery services

iOS | Android

Bolt: Ride-hailing app

iOS | Android

Line: Call and messaging, file sharing

iOS | Android

Klook: Book tours, attractions, tickets, restaurants, hotels, and other activities

iOS | Android

Google Translate: Translate various languages

iOS | Android

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