Living as a Digital Nomad in Chiang Mai: The ULTIMATE Guide

Chiang Mai, Thailand is a popular destination for expats, remote workers, and digital nomads looking for a change of pace. With its stunning natural beauty and diverse culture, Chiang Mai is not only a perfect place for vacation travelers but also for those looking to stay long-term. In this article, we will provide an overview of what life is like in Chiang Mai for remote workers, expats, and digital nomads.

As experienced travelers and digital nomads ourselves, we’ve spent significant time in Chiang Mai, and we’re excited to share firsthand knowledge with you. From the best neighborhoods to stay in to local transportation options, cultural experiences, and more, this guide has everything you need to get a feel of what it’s like to be an expat or remote worker from Chiang Mai.

In this Chiang Mai Digital Nomad Guide, you’ll learn:

  • The ins and outs of Chiang Mai’s digital nomad scene
  • How to navigate transportation and find the best neighborhoods to stay in
  • Where to shop, eat, and explore in this vibrant city
  • Tips for taking care of your health and personal needs
  • Important safety information and emergency contacts
  • Exciting activities and things to do during your stay

Discover the benefits of the digital nomad lifestyle in Chiang Mai, from its affordable living costs and diverse community to its rich cultural heritage and outdoor adventures. Join me as we explore all that this city has to offer, making the most of your time as a digital nomad. Let’s dive in and uncover the incredible opportunities that await you in Chiang Mai!

Why be a Digital Nomad in Chiang Mai?

Chiang Mai is the second largest city in Thailand, and the largest in Northern Thailand. Its name means “new city” and it’s among the most popular destinations for digital nomads, expats, and remote workers.

Living as a Digital Nomad in Chiang Mai: The ULTIMATE Guide -

There’s many reasons why it’s been a popular destination but the big themes are food, culture, and lifestyle.

Culture and Spirituality

Chiang Mai is a city steeped in culture and spirituality. With over 300 temples, including the iconic Wat Phra That Doi Suthep and Wat Chedi Luang, you can’t help but be drawn in by the rich history and architecture. And if you’re lucky enough to be in town during the Yi Peng Lantern Festival, you’ll witness a truly magical sight as thousands of lanterns are released into the sky. Plus, with cooking classes and tribal villages to explore, you can dive deep into the local way of life and learn some new skills to boot!

Food and Drink

Chiang Mai is a culinary paradise, with mouth-watering street food on every corner and a coffee culture that’s hard to resist. From spicy noodle dishes to sweet and sticky mango with sticky rice, your taste buds will be doing the happy dance. And when you need a break from all the deliciousness, grab a coffee at one of the many trendy cafes and watch the world go by.

Nature and Wildlife

If you’re looking for a break from the hustle and bustle of city life, Chiang Mai has got you covered. Just a short drive out of town and you’re surrounded by lush countryside, towering mountains, and sparkling waterfalls. And if you’re an animal lover, you’ll adore the animal sanctuary and night safari, where you can get up close and personal with some amazing creatures.

Shopping and Markets

Shop ’til you drop in Chiang Mai! From the famous Night Bazaar to the bustling Saturday Walking Street Market, you’ll find everything from unique souvenirs to stylish clothing and accessories. And don’t even get us started on the food markets – your taste buds (and your belly) will thank you!

Lifestyle and Atmosphere

Chiang Mai is a city that’s all about relaxation and atmosphere. With its pleasant weather and peaceful vibe, you’ll feel your worries melting away in no time. Whether you’re looking to unwind with a yoga class, explore the local art scene, or simply sit back and watch the world go by, Chiang Mai has got the perfect laid-back atmosphere to make it all possible.

Chiang Mai warmly embraces digital nomads with its thriving community, budget-friendly dining, small city charm, low living costs, easy travel, and enriching cultural experiences – a compelling combination for a fulfilling remote work lifestyle.

Cost of Living in Chiang Mai

The low cost of living is among the major reasons why remote workers and digital nomads flock to Chiang Mai. If you’re curious, we’ve done the research on how affordable Chiang Mai is for long-term stays.

Riley eating street food
  • Apartment in Prime Area: Starting at around $500 USD per month, offering quality living at an affordable price.
  • Private Room in Hotel/Hostel in Prime Area: Approximately $20 USD per night, catering to various preferences.
  • Local Transportation (Bus): About $0.50 USD, an economical option for getting around.
  • Local Transportation (Taxi or Ride-Share App): Roughly $3 USD, providing convenient travel with minimal hassle.
  • SIM Card: Around $10 USD per month, ensuring connectivity without straining your budget.
  • Coworking Space: Starting at approximately $100 USD per month, accommodating your professional needs.
  • Grocery Shopping: Estimated at $150 USD per month, allowing budget-friendly meal planning.
  • Restaurant Meals (International): About $10 USD, catering to diverse dining preferences.
  • Restaurant Meals (Local): Approximately $3 USD, a pocket-friendly option for local flavors.
  • Street Food: Typically $2 USD, offering tasty bites without breaking the bank.
  • Local Beer: About $2 USD, a reasonable indulgence to unwind.
  • Coffee: Around $2 USD, ensuring your caffeine fix without straining your wallet.
  • Activities: Estimated at $15 USD, providing leisure options within reach.
  • Gym Membership: Starting at around $30 USD per month, promoting an active lifestyle.

Budget per month (for a couple):

  • Frugal Travelers: $900-$1200 USD, catering to economical explorers.
  • Average Travelers: $1200-$1800 USD, balancing cost and comfort.
  • Luxury Travelers: $1800-$3000 USD, offering a touch of opulence.

These details paint a vivid picture of Chiang Mai’s cost of living. As a digital nomad’s dream, the city allows you to enjoy high-quality living at an affordable price. Your personal entertainment expenses, such as co-working spaces, getaways, and evenings out, depend on your monthly budget.

Best Time to Visit Chiang Mai for Digital Nomads

Living as a Digital Nomad in Chiang Mai: The ULTIMATE Guide -

The city experiences three distinct seasons: the cool season, the hot season, and the rainy season.

The Cool Season, from November to mid-February, sees temperatures averaging 28°C during the day and around 10°C at night.

Following this, the Hot Season begins in late February and extends through May, with temperatures around 32°C, occasionally reaching 40°C. Dryness during this period can lead to dust and discomfort.

The Rainy Season occurs from June to October. While temperatures drop slightly, humidity levels rise to 30-65%. Rainfall is common, often consisting of short yet heavy showers. Worth noting is the ‘burning season’ from January to April/May, causing smog due to field burning.

Optimal times to visit are the Dry Season (October-February), characterized by cooler temperatures and peak season conditions. The Hot Season (March-May) brings heat and poor air quality, best avoided.

The Rainy Season (June-October) offers affordable rates but brings daily afternoon showers, manageable with indoor work sessions.

Our Experience in February
During our visit in February, we enjoyed the cool season’s comfortable temperatures and minimal rain, allowing us to explore Chiang Mai’s offerings to the fullest.

Transportation – How to Get to and Around Chiang Mai

Living as a Digital Nomad in Chiang Mai: The ULTIMATE Guide -

There are several options available to get to Chiang Mai

  • Flights: You can book flights to Chiang Mai International Airport, easily accessible and well-connected. Consider services like 12goasia for streamlined booking.
  • Buses: Long-distance buses offer an economical option, connecting Chiang Mai to various cities in Thailand. Comfort levels vary, so research companies like Greenbus and Bangkok Busline for a suitable choice.
  • Trains: Chiang Mai is connected to Bangkok by rail, providing a scenic and comfortable travel option. You can choose from different classes, including sleeper berths for an overnight journey. Book ahead for the sleeper train as it fills up a week in advance!

Once you arrive in Chiang Mai, getting around is straightforward with these options:

  • Songthaews: Shared red trucks, known as songthaews, are a popular way to cover short distances within the city. This is the way to travel if you want to get the local experience. Bonus points for its affordability.
  • Ride-Sharing Apps: Services like Grab and Bolt offer convenient ride-sharing options, allowing you to travel around the city with ease. From our experience, Bolt is typically half the cost of Grab, but less drivers are available so that may mean longer waits.
  • Motorbike Rental: If you want to go on your own schedule, renting a motorbike is the best way to go about with it. I would highly suggest getting an insurance if you were to take this option. We always get World Nomads for our own travel insurance and can’t recommend them highly enough.
  • Walking: This is our favorite way to experience a new place while traveling and staying long-term. It’s also a great form of exercise!

Each transportation option comes with its own advantages and considerations:

  • Flights: Fast and efficient, flights are suitable for long-distance travel but may be pricier compared to other modes.
  • Buses: Economical and well-connected, buses are a viable choice for budget-conscious travelers, though journey times can be longer.
  • Trains: Train travel offers a scenic experience and various class options, but longer travel times compared to flights should be considered.

Knowing your transportation fare is a good idea if you do not want to be taken advantage of when traveling.

  • Songthaews: Short rides typically cost 20-30 THB (Thai Baht).
  • Ride-Sharing Apps: Grab and Bolt prices vary based on distance.
  • Motorbike Rental: Starting at around 200-300 THB per day, plus fuel costs of approximately 38 THB per liter.

Best Neighborhoods & Where to Stay in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai boasts several vibrant neighborhoods, each with its unique charm.

Nimmanhaemin (Nimman) – Best for those looking for modern neighbourhood

Known as the trendy district, Nimman offers an array of cafes, boutiques, and coworking spaces. Pros include a lively atmosphere, but it can get noisy and expensive at times. If you stay here, don’t miss Nimman’s art galleries. You’ll get a sense of the modern vibe of this neighborhood.

Old City – Best for those looking for short-term stays

Steeped in history, the Old City showcases ancient temples and cultural landmarks. While it’s charming, the area can feel touristy and lacks green spaces. Don’t forget to visit the majestic Wat Chedi Luang if you’re staying in the old city.

Santitham – Best for the local experience

A quieter, residential choice with local markets and traditional Thai eateries. It might lack the buzz of other areas but offers a peaceful retreat.

Haiya – Best for convenience

Close to the Old City, Haiya provides a mix of local markets and modern amenities. The area might be quieter, yet it’s well-connected and offers a more laid-back ambiance. Highlight: The blend of old-world charm and contemporary convenience.

Chang Khlan – Best for Shopping

Known for its bustling Night Bazaar and shopping options, Chang Khlan offers a vibrant atmosphere. It can get crowded, but it’s perfect for shopaholics and those looking for a bargain and souvenirs.

Our Personal Experience in Chiang Mai’s Neighborhoods

We’ve stayed in both the Old City and Haiya. In the Old City, we enjoyed being close to the landmarks but found it a bit crowded. Haiya, on the other hand, offered a quieter environment while remaining conveniently close to the action.

Where to Stay in Chiang Mai

Here are three top hostel recommendations for your stay based on our personal experience in Chiang Mai.

Best Hostel in Chiang Mai Old City – Hostel Lullaby

Best Hostel in Chiang Mai Old City - Hostel Lullaby
  • Dorm Room Cost – Starting at $13 USD per night
  • Private Room Cost – Starting at $37 USD per night
  • Highlights – Atmosphere, Daily Activities, Free Breakfast, Comfort, Location

This may be among the best hostels we’ve stayed at – Hostel Lullaby, a favorite among travelers seeking more than just a stay. With the title of Best Hostel in Thailand (2020) proudly under its belt, it’s your gateway to a good start to a Chiang Mai experience.

Imagine this–you’re in the heart of the captivating old town, and getting the best of what the Chiang Mai has to offer. It’s all about relaxation, not wild parties. If you’re after nightlife buzz, there are alternatives. But before you book here, give the policies a quick glance. They’re strict about making sure everyone has a great stay and avoid any hiccups.

Ready to explore? Iconic sites like Wat Phra Singh and Wat Chedi Luang are a stone’s throw away from this hostel. As the sun sets, you will also be close to the Night Bazaar and the bustling Saturday and Sunday walking streets – it’s just a breezy 5-minute stroll from your doorstep.

If you need a break from the heat, the common area awaits, with lobby snacks and trusty Wi-Fi to keep you connected and entertained.

Wait, there’s more – there’s exclusive in-house activities tailored just for you. Ever thought of trying out Thai Boxing? Wednesday and Friday mornings are your chance. Learn more about Chiang Mai’s culinary scene with Thursday evening’s Cooking Class – all on the house.

Ready for the journey? Your cozy haven awaits, perfect for both travelers and digital nomads seeking both solace and connection in Chiang Mai’s heart.

Best Hostel in Chiang Mai Haiya Neighborhood – Family Home Chiang Mai

Best Hostel in Chiang Mai Haiya Neighborhood - Family Home Chiang Mai
  • Dorm Room Cost – Starting at $13 USD per night
  • Private Room Cost – Starting at $37 USD per night
  • Highlights – Atmosphere, Group Activities, Staff, Cleanliness, Location

Have a comfortable stay at Family Home Chiang Mai, the crowned Best Hostel in the neighborhood. Their shared bunk-bed dorms offer comfort, equipped with AC or fans, power outlets, lockers, and personal lights. Beds are snug, bathrooms spotless, and Wi-Fi lightning-fast for your online escapades.

While not a party hub, they’re all about bonding. Join nightly group activities to form traveler connections that feel like family. Their common area and bar are perfect for mingling, storytelling, and planning the night. A blackboard awaits for new friends to connect, plan, and share adventures.

Their English-speaking staff are local gurus, sharing their insights about Chiang Mai and Thailand. It’s actually their staff that recommend us to use Bolt instead of Uber to get cheaper rates.

We’re excited for your stay! Here’s to safe and joyful journeys…

Best Hostel in Chiang Mai Nimman Neighborhood – Alexa Nimman

Best Hostel in Chiang Mai Nimman Neighborhood - Alexa Nimman
  • Dorm Room Cost – Starting at $13 USD per night
  • Private Room Cost – Starting at $28 USD per night
  • Highlights – Remote Work, Atmosphere, Comfort, Cleanliness, Location

Welcome to ALEXA Hostel, where impeccable beds and common areas await, and a diverse traveler community thrives. Whether you’re a tourist, backpacker, business pro, or digital nomad, hospitality and comfort are yours here.

In their spacious common zones, enjoy speedy Wi-Fi, unwind and connect with fellow travelers. Their savvy staff are your go-to for planning and exploring. And guess what? Complimentary water’s available round the clock.

ALEXA goes beyond cozy lodging. They’re your gateway to modern travel, complete with friendly faces eager to assist. Their hostel’s designed to bring the world together – swapping stories, forging friendships, and embarking on new adventures are all part of the journey.

Your Alexa Nimman experience awaits.

Finding Apartment Rentals in Chiang Mai

For apartment rentals, there are various resources and Facebook groups dedicated to helping expats, remote workers, and digital nomads find suitable accommodations. Check out groups like “Chiang Mai Digital Nomads” and “Chiang Mai Expats” for housing listings, tips, and discussions.

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Where to Buy a SIM Card in Chiang Mai

Living as a Digital Nomad in Chiang Mai: The ULTIMATE Guide -

Looking to grab a Thai SIM card? Easy, especially if your phone is unlocked. You can get one at the airport or in the city – hassle-free. If anything, I would recommend getting it at the airport for convience. Plus, they’re usually happy to help troubleshoot if you encounter any issues like I did.

The big players are AIS, DTAC, and TrueMove. Heard of TrueMove and AIS? They’re solid choices, so you’re in safe hands with either. AIS’s coverage is best, while TrueMove boasts unlimited data deals. We scored unlimited data with TrueMove for just $15 USD/month. They also offer free hotspots at many locations around Chiang Mai for higher speed. In a nutshell, you can’t really go wrong.

Stay Connected with Airalo eSIM is the ANSWER

airalo esim

We recommend using the Airalo eSIM while traveling as a digital nomad. Airalo is the world’s first eSIM store that solves the pain of high roaming bills by giving travelers access to eSIMs in over 200+ countries.

Internet Speeds in Chiang Mai

Curious about internet speeds? You’re not alone – many travelers ask about it.

On average, Chiang Mai offers around 30 Mbps for internet speed, pretty decent for your online needs. Top cafes often deliver a punchy 50 Mbps, perfect for a productive remote work session.

In apartments and hotels/hostels, speeds hover around 25 Mbps, keeping you connected and engaged.

Need faster internet? Yes, it’s possible to upgrade for faster internet – you can usually find options around 100 Mbps.

Now, let’s talk work. For smooth remote tasks, 25 Mbps is the minimum number. That’s the sweet spot for staying on top of your game.

Best Coworking Spaces in Chiang Mai

Living as a Digital Nomad in Chiang Mai: The ULTIMATE Guide -

Is there any good coworking places?
Absolutely! Chiang Mai has a huge selection of coworking spaces tailored to remote workers and digital nomads like you.

Pros of coworking spaces in general versus working in cafes: Coworking spaces provide a professional setup, a community of like-minded individuals, and dependable Wi-Fi – all essential for focused work.

Cons of coworking spaces in general versus working in cafes: Keep in mind, coworking spaces often come with a price, and the very friendly atmosphere might not align with everyone’s work style.

Top 5 coworking spaces:

  1. Punspace Nimman: Located in the Nimman community, it starts at around 500 Baht ($15 USD) per day.
  2. CAMP: A cozy Old City coworking space, priced at 200 Baht ($6 USD) per day.
  3. Mana Co-Working Space: One of the best in Santitham, beginning at 100 Baht ($3 USD) per day.
  4. Yellow Coworking Space: A Nimman gem, offering a dynamic workspace.
  5. Hub53: Flexible spot with rates starting at 189 THB ($6 USD) daily, complete with free snacks, massage chairs, and a nap room.

Free coworking zones: Some malls often house free coworking zones, giving you the perfect balance between work and leisure.

As Chiang Mai has become a digital nomad hotspot, coworking spaces are cropping up across districts, enhancing the city’s modern coffee shop scene.

Best Cafes in Chiang Mai for Remote Work

Living as a Digital Nomad in Chiang Mai: The ULTIMATE Guide -

If you’re not convinced that you need to book a coworking space, you’re most likely thinking of finding a nice cafe to work from.

Pros of working in a cafe: A no-commitment way to get your work done. Get ready for good coffee, a buzzing ambiance, and a change of scenery – all fuel for your productivity.

Here are five standout cafes:

  1. Cool Muang in the Old City Neighborhood: A serene oasis amidst historical charm, perfect for focused work.
  2. Stories in the Old City Neighborhood: A cultural haven that combines great coffee with inspiring surroundings.
  3. BeansLiquor in the Nimman Neighborhood: A quirky gem offering a creative atmosphere, perfect for brainstorming.
  4. The Baristotel in the Nimman Neighborhood: A cozy spot with artisanal vibes and quality brews.
  5. Artisan Cafe in the Haiya Neighborhood: A laid-back hangout blending Thai charm with work-friendly amenities.

Essential things good cafes need for digital nomads: Reliable plug-ins, strong Wi-Fi, friendly baristas, comfortable workspace, ambient temperature, reasonable prices – these make the perfect recipe for a productive cafe haven.

Is There a Digital Nomad Community in Chiang Mai?

Living as a Digital Nomad in Chiang Mai: The ULTIMATE Guide -

Chiang Mai boasts an active and welcoming community of like-minded remote workers, expats, and digital nomads.

Jumping into the digital nomad lifestyle comes with challenges, but having a community brings immense value. It offers support, camaraderie, and opportunities to connect with people sharing similar paths.

The local digital nomad community is diverse and inclusive. It’s a mix of seasoned travelers, startup enthusiasts, freelancers, and more, all converging to share knowledge and forge connections.

For mingling, explore cafes, coworking spaces, and local events. These spots are hubs for meeting fellow digital nomads and expanding your network.

Join these Facebook groups to dive right into the community:

As Chiang Mai’s digital nomad scene evolves, expect enhanced resources and a growing network. The city’s future as a vibrant digital nomad spot is on the rise.

ATMs & Making Payments in Chiang Mai

Living as a Digital Nomad in Chiang Mai: The ULTIMATE Guide -

While many places accept credit cards, many still prefer cash payments.

Cash is king in smaller establishments, such as local markets and street vendors.

Credit cards are widely accepted in hotels, upscale restaurants, and modern shopping malls.

It’s advisable to carry around 1,000 to 2,000 Thai Baht in cash for small purchases and emergencies.

Common and fee-friendly ATMs are found throughout Chiang Mai, including those from Bangkok Bank, Kasikorn Bank, and CIMB.

For savvy travelers, using the Wise credit card offers benefits like low foreign exchange fees and real-time exchange rates. This smart choice simplifies international transactions.

For fee-less transactions, opt for ATMs from major Thai banks like Bangkok Bank and Kasikorn Bank, which often have the best withdrawal terms for foreign cards.

Want to Know a Secret?

Living as a Digital Nomad in Chiang Mai: The ULTIMATE Guide -

The Wise Credit Card is a traveler’s ally, offering a host of benefits tailored to globetrotters. With just one card offering competitive exchange rates in 160 countries, it ensures seamless spending abroad for a worry-free journey. This is the card we use while traveling as it offers the best rates and lowest fees.

Where to Buy Groceries in Chiang Mai

Where to Buy Groceries in Chiang Mai - Dam Rong in Waroret market

Befor you start stockpiling food, better ask yourself – Will I be cooking at home during my stay?

Although you likely won’t cook much given the abundance of delicious local dishes readily available at budget prices, you may want to have the odd meal at home. For your grocery needs, Chiang Mai offers convenient options including Big C, Tesco Lotus, and Rimping Supermarket, all readily available around the city center and Nimman neighborhood.

Big C provides an extensive selection of items at budget-friendly prices. Rimping Supermarket focuses on quality but may lean toward higher costs.

These supermarkets offer a mix of local and imported products, catering to various tastes. If you’re after a more traditional experience, explore local markets like Warorot Market or Kad Luang, where you can find fresh produce and local snacks like Sai Oua (Northern Thai sausage), fried pork cutlets, or Miang Kham .

There’s many food options in Chiang Mai so you won’t go hungry here. Plus, it’s hassle-free, thanks to a variety of well-stocked options catering to different preferences and needs.

Our 3 Favorite Restaurants in Chiang Mai

best Restaurants and street food in Chiang Mai

Exploring diverse cuisines from around the world is one of my favorite aspects of travel.

And I’d be lying if I don’t say that Chiang Mai is in my top 3 favourite destinations for food.

During our time here, these three restaurants left a lasting impression:

  1. Khao Soi Islam Restaurant – Indulge in their signature Khao Soi, a creamy and flavorful noodle soup that’s a Chiang Mai specialty. The blend of spices and textures makes this dish a must-try.
  2. Rote Yiam Beef Noodle – Savor their mouthwatering beef noodles, showcasing tender meat and rich broth. It’s a comforting and authentic Thai dish that’s perfect for a satisfying meal.
  3. Khao Kha Moo Chang Phueak – Delight in their Khao Kha Moo, a succulent braised pork leg dish served with rice. The combination of tender meat and savory sauce is a culinary delight.

When it comes to street food vendors, Chiang Mai offers a delightful array of options. Explore Warorot Market and Chang Phueak Market for an authentic street food experience. Don’t miss out on trying local favorites like Sai Oua (northern Thai sausage) and Mango Sticky Rice for a true taste of Chiang Mai’s culinary scene.

Visa Requirements in Thailand

Living as a Digital Nomad in Chiang Mai: The ULTIMATE Guide -

For those traveling to Thailand, many visitors qualify for a visa exemption, permitting a stay of up to 30 days without the need for a prior visa application.

For extended visits, an advance application for a Tourist Visa (TR) is possible, allowing a maximum stay of 60 days, extendable by 30 additional days within Thailand. The cost of the Tourist Visa is approximately $40 USD.

Regrettably, a Thailand Digital Nomad Visa is not yet available but they do have alternatives.

It’s important to bear in mind that visa prerequisites and rules may differ based on your nationality. Therefore, it’s important to verify the most current and accurate visa information for entering Thailand by consulting the Thai embassy or consulate in your home country.

Shopping in Chiang Mai

Living as a Digital Nomad in Chiang Mai: The ULTIMATE Guide -

Markets in Chiang Mai

Explore the vibrant Chiang Mai Night Bazaar that lights up the streets from 6 PM to 11:30 PM daily, offering a mix of delectable food, souvenirs, clothing, and more at the intersection of Chang Khlan Road and Loi Khro Road. For an authentic local shopping experience, visit Talat Warorot, a sprawling market where you can find everything from affordable clothing to food and suitcases, located at the corner of Th Chang Moi & Th Praisani. If you’re there on a Sunday, don’t miss the bustling Rachadamnoen Rd for the Sunday Walking Street market, abundant with street food and souvenirs.

Shopping Malls in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai’s shopping scene extends to its modern malls. Venture to Central Festival, the city’s largest mall, reachable by RTC buses and free shuttles, or explore Maya Mall in Nimman and Central Chiang Mai Airport. These malls offer a variety of shopping options, from popular chains like H&M, Zara, to Uniqlo, and feature movie theaters and pharmacies. For budget-friendly finds and essentials, you’ll appreciate the presence of Daiso, the Japanese dollar store, and the tempting variety of homecooked Thai food in the food courts of Maya Mall and Central Festival.

Personal Care in Chiang Mai

Maintaining personal care in Chiang Mai is easy, with readily available services to keep you looking and feeling your best.

When it comes to hair care, both men and women can enjoy quality services at affordable prices, with haircuts for men ranging from 100 to 300 baht ($3.30 to $10 USD) and haircuts for women starting at around 300 baht ($10 USD). If you’re looking for a reliable option, New York New York in Nimman is an Aveda salon that offers haircuts from 550 to 850 baht ($18 to $28 USD) for a wash and cut, ensuring you leave with a stylish and satisfactory result.

For those seeking a way to pamper yourself, indulging in a massage is a must in Chiang Mai. Thai massages are a unique and delightful experience, starting around 300 baht ($10 USD) per hour. Weekly massages can become an affordable luxury, providing a rejuvenating escape from your digital nomad routine.

Health Care in Chiang Mai & Emergency Contact Info

Living as a Digital Nomad in Chiang Mai: The ULTIMATE Guide -

Health care in Chiang Mai is generally of good quality, with several hospitals equipped to handle a range of medical needs. The nearest major hospital is Chiang Mai Ram Hospital, located in the heart of the city.

Here are some important emergency contact numbers to keep handy:

  • Police: 191
  • Hospital: 1669 (Chiang Mai Ram Hospital)
  • Tourist Assistance: 1155
  • U.S. Embassy: +66 2 205 4049

Dental care in Chiang Mai is accessible and affordable, with services ranging from cleanings to more complex procedures. A routine dental checkup can cost around 500 to 800 baht ($16 to $26 USD).

For drug and medicine providers, pharmacies are prevalent throughout the city and offer a variety of medications, both prescription and over-the-counter. Common medicines are reasonably priced, with costs varying depending on the medication.

Don’t forget to secure travel medical insurance before your trip, as it’s an essential safety net. We use World Nomads Insurance, which provides comprehensive coverage for digital nomads and travelers, ensuring peace of mind throughout your journey.

Living as a Digital Nomad in Chiang Mai: The ULTIMATE Guide -

Where to Do Your Laundry in Chiang Mai

Living as a Digital Nomad in Chiang Mai: The ULTIMATE Guide -

Have you ever had laundry issues while traveling? I definitely have!

Doing laundry in Chiang Mai is easy and convenient. Most hotels, hostels, and guesthouses offer laundry services, and there are also many laundromats scattered around the city. It’s generally better to opt for laundry services at your accommodation or reputable laundromats to ensure reliability.

Hotels, hostels, and laundromats in Chiang Mai are reliable places to get your laundry done. Prices vary depending on the establishment and the amount of laundry, but you can expect to pay around 50 baht ($1 to $1.60 USD) per kilogram of laundry.

Throughout our travels, we’ve often relied on getting our laundry done by others. While it’s usually a convenient option, there’s almost always that one item that mysteriously goes missing. It’s a small trade-off for the convenience, but it’s something to keep in mind when entrusting your laundry to others.

If your apartment doesn’t have laundry facilities, there are a few options to consider. You can drop off your laundry at local laundry shops, which usually charge by weight. Self-service laundromats are also available, some even equipped with Wi-Fi for multitasking. Another option is laundry delivery services that pick up and drop off your clothes, but make sure to clarify any hidden fees.

Do You Need to Speak Thai in Chiang Mai?

Living as a Digital Nomad in Chiang Mai: The ULTIMATE Guide -

It would have been nice to speak Thai when we were here, but it’s not necessary. Although I would still highly recommend learning some phrases even just as a sign of respect to the culture.

There are several Thai language schools in Chiang Mai that offer classes for foreigners. These schools provide structured lessons to help you learn the basics of the language.

You can get by with just English in Chiang Mai, as many locals working in the tourism industry have a basic understanding of English. Street signs, menus, and important information are often available in English as well.

While English is widely spoken, there are areas where knowing some basic Thai can be really helpful, especially in local markets, small eateries, and when interacting with non-English-speaking locals.

Being able to speak a bit of the local language can enhance your overall experience in Chiang Mai and even help you save money by bargaining in markets and connecting with locals on a deeper level.

Here are some key phrases in Thai that can be useful for digital nomads:

  • Hello/Goodbye: สวัสดี (sawasdee) / ลาก่อน (laa gòn)
  • Thank you: ขอบคุณ (kòp kun)
  • How much is this?: นี่เท่าไร (nîi tâo rai)
  • I want…: ฉันต้องการ (chăn dtông gaan) + [item]
  • Where is…?: ที่ไหน (tîi năi) + [place]
  • Can you help me?: คุณช่วยหน่อยได้ไหม (kun chûay nòi dâi mái)
  • I don’t understand: ฉันไม่เข้าใจ (chăn mâi khâo jai)
  • Yes/No: ใช่/ไม่ (châi / mâi)
  • Excuse me: ขอโทษ (kŏr tôht)
  • Restroom: ห้องน้ำ (hông nám)


Is Chiang Mai Safe for Digital Nomads?

Chiang Mai is generally very safe for digital nomads, making it a popular choice among retirees, solo female travelers, and the thriving digital nomad community.

Before visiting or settling in Chiang Mai, keep in mind a few safety tips. Ensuring your vaccinations are up-to-date and having comprehensive travel insurance is essential. Check air quality reports, especially during certain seasons, and take precautions to protect your health. Traffic accidents are a concern, particularly for scooter rentals. Only rent a scooter if you’re experienced and remember to wear a helmet.

Living in Chiang Mai is generally secure, with a low risk of violent and petty crime. Making informed choices is key to avoiding any risks. The city is known for its safety record, although being cautious around traffic and avoiding the drink-and-drive culture is advisable.

Best Activities & Things to Do in Chiang Mai

Living as a Digital Nomad in Chiang Mai: The ULTIMATE Guide -

Wondering what activities and experiences this vibrant city has to offer? Here’s a rundown of the best things to do in Chiang Mai that will help you create lasting memories during your stay:

  • Explore the Old City: Discover ancient temples, charming cafes, and local markets within the historic city walls.
  • Visit Doi Suthep Temple: Climb the 300 steps to this iconic mountaintop temple for stunning views of the city.
  • Attend a Thai Cooking Class: Learn to prepare traditional Thai dishes and enjoy your culinary creations.
  • Experience the Night Bazaar: Shop for souvenirs, enjoy street food, and immerse yourself in the bustling night market.
  • Explore the Nimmanhaemin Road: Stroll through this trendy neighborhood known for its art galleries, boutiques, and cafes.
  • Hike to Sticky Waterfall: Trek to this unique waterfall where the limestone deposits allow you to walk up the cascades.
  • Participate in a Monk Chat: Engage in meaningful conversations with Buddhist monks to learn about their way of life.
  • Relax with Thai Massage: Indulge in traditional Thai massage to unwind and rejuvenate.
  • Chiang Mai Hill Tribe Trek: Embark on a multi-day trek with Piroon, exploring the picturesque hill tribe villages, lush landscapes, and immersing yourself in the local way of life.
  • Explore Chiang Mai Zoo: Visit the zoo, home to pandas and various exotic animals, set in a lush environment.
  • Discover Chiang Mai’s Nightlife: Experience the vibrant nightlife scene, from live music venues to rooftop bars.
  • Explore Doi Inthanon National Park: Venture to the highest peak in Thailand, explore waterfalls, and enjoy nature trails.
  • Join a Yoga Retreat: Engage in a wellness retreat to nourish your mind and body in a serene environment.
  • Participate in a Meditation Retreat: Immerse yourself in mindfulness and meditation practices for personal growth.
  • Visit Elephant Nature Park: Support ethical elephant tourism by spending a day with rescued elephants.

Is Chiang Mai a Good Place to Be a Digital Nomad?

Absolutely, Chiang Mai offers a vibrant and welcoming environment for digital nomads looking to balance work and exploration. With its affordable cost of living, diverse community, and numerous attractions, this city has become a hub for remote workers seeking a fulfilling lifestyle. Here are some highlights:

  • Affordable living costs, from accommodation to food and transportation.
  • Thriving digital nomad scene with ample co-working spaces and networking opportunities.
  • Abundance of cultural experiences, from ancient temples to traditional markets.
  • Access to nature and outdoor activities, such as hiking, trekking, and exploring waterfalls.
  • Delicious Thai cuisine and local street food options at every corner.

Chiang Mai has all the ingredients for a successful digital nomad journey – a place where work, adventure, and community seamlessly blend to create a unique and enriching experience.

So, if you’re ready to start on an exciting journey as a digital nomad, consider making Chiang Mai your base. With its charm, affordability, and opportunities for personal and professional growth, this city might just become your new home away from home.

Feel free to leave a comment below if you have any questions, and we hope you have an amazing experience in Chiang Mai and Thailand!



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