Chiang Mai digital nomad guide 2021-2022 – that will be the topic of today’s article.
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The term “digital nomad” can be found everywhere today and is arguably one of the fastest-growing lifestyles of the past decade. Anyways, many of us can be still confused with the term ‘digital nomad’, long-term traveler, or online worker. What is a digital nomad? What is the definition of a nomad and how they live? If you’re as confused and curious as they are, read on!
Before you get the answer of the “what is a digital nomad?” question, let’s first get acquainted with the term “nomad”. The meaning of a digital nomad in a more simplified way is a person who does not have a permanent location, but rather moves from one place to another. There is no clear definition of how long you need to be “on the road,” or how fast you need to move, or where you need to go to be considered a nomad and not just a long-time traveler.
However, except for being travelers, digital nomads usually travel for a very long time, sometimes it can last their entire lives. During that time they have to make money along the way. They take local jobs, such as farm or hospitality jobs, so they can buy supplies and move elsewhere. Some people prefer to stay in certain places longer, the so-called “slow travelers”, some people move to the next place faster.
Nomads who do not work locally to live stable and travel, but work on the Internet, are called digital nomads. They use their laptops, smartphones and tablets for location-independent work and thus make money. Thanks to their technology and the Internet, they can simply take their work with them wherever they go and work from hotel rooms, libraries, cafes or coworking spaces. While all digital nomads work on the Internet, their work can vary greatly and can be divided into three categories:
Corporate remote worker
At the moment a lot of companies suggest their employees to work remotely. It doesn’t matter if the employee is sitting at home doing their job or traveling. Such remote work basically provides a stable and reliable income with the flexibility to choose your own workplace.
A digital nomadic freelancer does online work for one or more clients. Such jobs are often related to web design, social media management, or content writing. A freelancer can work from anywhere in the world if his clients agree that he is physically unavailable in their company. He often finds his clients on specific freelance platforms like Upwork, Fiverr or Freelancer.
Some digital nomads have startups and can run their entire business online. Others make money by trading online services. And very few people manage to make a living by the nomadic way of life itself, such as travel bloggers or photographers.
Later in this article we will talk about life of digital nomads in one of the attractive cities of Thailand – Chiang Mai.
Asia always wins the hearts of travelers with its unique originality, the beauty of the traditional flow of life, forgotten by the Western world behind the curtains of the modern age. Usually, people say that if you are looking for materialism, you are traveling west, if you are looking for spirituality, your way is east.
Thailand is one of the most special locations where your mind leaves you and your heart starts to work and experience every moment. You probably know what will await for you in Thailand – many Buddhist monasteries, hundreds of temples and thousands of monks.
As we know, Bangkok is the capital of Thailand, but especially Chiang Mai is the soul of Thailand and even the heart of the whole Southeast Asia. Chiang Mai is located in the north of Thailand, it is 700 kilometers far from Bangkok, it has a beautiful nature, surrounded by mountains, and with the sea. Chiang Mai is the second-largest city in the country, as well as the capital of the province of the same name.
Over the past years, Chiang Mai has upgraded from a quiet religious town to a lively active and developed, usually crowded city full of tourists and nomads from all over the world. The richness of culture and the surrounding nature of the city attracts millions of tourists every year. A loyal immigration system allows almost anyone who wants to stay in the country for an insanely long period of time only on temporary visas.
Chiang Mai has an excellent developed infrastructure and facilities for those people who travel there and stay, especially as a digital nomad. The city is full of digital nomads and, as you know, demand creates supply, which is why many cafes, coworking centers, hotels, and hostels have opened to delight visitors to the city.
If we talk about one of the best cities for digital nomads, then Chiang Mai is at the top of the list. There is much more to this place than you might imagine. This land is incredibly beautiful and offers many opportunities to live and work in harmony with nature. Whether it’s the majestic mountains or evenings by the river, there are experiences to be experienced at least once, if not more.
Chiang Mai, a city in the north of Thailand, is rich in history, culture, and traditions. Capital of the former kingdom of Lanna, this historically important place has now evolved to welcome foreign freelancers and entrepreneurs to stay and prosper while keeping their roots intact.
Visa to Chiang Mai
Whether you are visiting Thailand on vacation or permanently staying in Chiang Mai, you will need a certain type of visa. For many citizens, a visa waiver is issued upon arrival, although those who wish to reside here for more than a couple of months must go through a visa impasse.
They are issued on arrival and are valid for 30 days unless you are arriving by ground, in which case only 15 days are given. Representatives of more than 40 nationalities are participating, including citizens of the UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Ireland, EU countries, Switzerland, South Africa, Japan, Singapore, Canada and other countries.
Visitors from 20 more countries are allowed to enter Thailand without first applying for a visa and are issued a 15-day tourist visa worth 1,000 baht upon arrival.
Those who are not from one of the 60 countries mentioned above can apply for a tourist visa giving them a 30-day stay in the country. Citizens of 36 countries who have been denied visas can also apply for a tourist visa, allowing them to stay in the country for up to 60 days. Prices vary at different embassies.
The tourist visa can also be renewed once by the local immigration office (at their discretion), giving you another 30 days for a stay for 1900 baht. Multiple entry tourist visas are also available, allowing up to three entries (60 days each) for six months.
Those entering the country on these visas may be asked to prove that they have 10,000 THB (equivalent) for a 30-day stay, although in practice this is mostly the case for those traveling by land and immediately re-entering Thailand. In addition, those who have repeatedly applied for a tourist visa at consulates near Thailand may be refused for up to 90 days.
Nonimmigrant visas in Chiang Mai
This type of visa is required to obtain a permanent residence permit here either on the basis of a work permit, spousal agreement, religious work, journalistic position, or to investigate business investments. They must be filed outside the country with supporting documents (marriage certificate, job offer, etc.) and allow you to stay in Thailand for 90 days while you collect various documents and send them to your local immigration office. An embassy-specific fee is charged.
Many permanent residents use a non-imperial visa as a means of permanent residence. It’s not hard to get it, but converting it to a legal 12-month visa involves a paper chase and some stringent conditions that many never meet. Having received a multiple entry non-imperial visa, such people are allowed to leave and re-enter the country in order to obtain another three months, for a total of 12 months. Most Thai consulates and embassies in different Asian countries will issue only a single entry visa to the visa applicants, which are the digital nomads.
Where to live?
Chiang Mai is Thailand’s largest northern center, one of the greatest destinations in the Land of Smiles, and certainly a field worth checking out on every traveler’s wishlist – in fact, it is a real city with a small center, rich in history and many southern districts. – blocks around it. Chiang Mai covers an area of about 8,000 square meters and has a population of only 1.8 million, excluding expats and undocumented foreigners from neighboring countries. There are several areas that should be considered as a foreigner in order to stay for a few days or, as is often the case in Thailand, for a long time. some years.
If you are planning a short visit to Chiang Mai, you can consider the city center for staying – Old City – the best match for starting point for all your Chiang Mai adventures. In the heart of the city, there are many comfortable bed and breakfast hotels, Airbnb accommodations, hostels and boutiques. The good side is that you don’t have to go anywhere, everything you need is right in front of you! The downside is that it’s worth looking outside the walls of the Old City to see what else the northern capital and its surroundings have to offer.
The second most rated area by expatriates is the Nimmanhaemin area. This is the perfect place for the absolute digital nomad as it has all the upsides: trendy shopping malls, cozy cafes with fast internet, delicious restaurants, lots of bars and clubs to go to. It is located in the northwest of the Old City along Huai Keo Street. There are good apartments for long term rentals, both for short stays and for homestays.
The area is very popular with newly arrived digital nomads, and of course, you won’t feel lonely in a crowd of like-minded people. The Maya Mall is the best landmark for those looking to stay in the area. You can easily find suitable apartments or rooms nearby.
How to find an apartment?
It can be quite difficult for a foreigner to find an apartment in an unfamiliar city, but in reality in the Land of Smiles it is not so. Firstly, the reason is that Thailand is adept at adapting to the needs of tourists, since a significant part of the national income comes from tourism. This is why Thailand’s most popular cities and islands (eg Phuket, Pattaya, Chiang Mai, Koh Samui, etc.) offer a variety of offers for crowds of foreigners who want to stay for a long time.
Secondly, Thailand is usually a very hospitable host – people are friendly and happy to be with us. So where to start looking for an apartment in Chiang Mai? Start in trendy neighborhoods like Old Town and Nimmanhaemin, where you can definitely find anything from simple and cheap to complex and expensive.
This is not difficult, as the Old Town and Nimmanhaemin districts are usually packed with everything you need for tourists. Many newcomers usually start with short-term stays like hostels and hotels and then move on to their dream condominium.
Depending on the season: low – from April to October, high – from November to March, you can come to Chiang Mai even without prior booking. After checking into a local hotel or hostel, it will be easier to arrive. looking for a long term rental. In my own experience, Facebook groups and marketplaces work best. Thais usually post pictures of their apartments and offer prices for one-year contracts.
Of course, sometimes one year is a lot, but you can always negotiate with the owners. There are several rental groups on Facebook, for example: Real Estate Chiang Mai, Farang Chiang Mai Real Estate, Rent & Sell House in Chiang Mai, etc. Other resources that you probably know about are Booking.com and Airbnb.com, which also have up-to-date offers for long-term rentals in this beautiful city. While it may happen that you have to pay extra for the website and the prices may be higher, it nonetheless gives some people a sense of security.
Chiang Mai is a great combination of quality and value, so if you’re on a budget, you can still afford more than just a beautiful place and live like a king. For instance, you can get a very comfy studio apartment for at least 4,500 THB per month, and a good one-bedroom, apartment with even a pool available in the adjacent area for at least 10,000 THB per month.
Lifestyle in Chiang Mai
Thanks to the warm year-round climate, nothing else is needed besides a bathing suit. It gets a little chilly at night in winter, but still reaches 80 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. In Chiang Mai, casual wear, and because of the heat, smart casual wear is all you need for dinner.
Live in the city center and enjoy everything it has to offer. You can shop in local markets and buy fresh fruits and vegetables at bargain prices. Markets throughout the city offer handcrafted clothing, furniture and everyday items for a fraction of what you would pay at home.
When the sun goes down, there is no shortage of places to hang out with friends. Dine in one of the hundreds of fine restaurants, or relax and unwind in one of the city’s concert halls. Buy a delicious meal from one of the hundreds of street vendors for as little as $ 1.50 and visit your neighbors at one of the many outdoor dining areas.
Textiles, gold, silver and ceramics are just a few of the items that are regularly exhibited in the city’s galleries. You will find different cultural events during the year where you’ll see the expats and locals work together in the community. With over thirty thousand expats living in Northern Thailand, it’s not hard to find people with interests like you. Literally hundreds of meetings and events for expats take place every month.
Chiang Mai may not be as laid-back as it was 50 years ago, but its lifestyle is still attractive and much slower than many of us have a hectic schedule. With a great climate, good shopping, great healthcare, and friendly locals, it can be great for retirement years.
Cost of living in Chiang Mai
With five huge Western-style shopping malls including cinemas, skating rinks, theaters, hairdressers, well-stocked supermarkets, inexpensive food courts, and even cosmetic surgeons, you can get pretty much anything you need. As elsewhere in Thailand, it is more expensive to buy imported goods.
Chiang Mai offers a fantastic lifestyle. People looking for a healthy lifestyle can go to gyms for as little as $ 28 a month.
Real estate prices are incredibly attractive. Depending on where you want to live, you can buy a 1,600 square foot home for about $ 83,000, or rent a modern studio apartment for just $ 253 a month.
Dedicated Wi-Fi for your room will cost around 700 baht for some reasonable speed – around 100/50 Mbps. Your electricity bill can be very low during cooler seasons when the air conditioner is not working. But suppose for a typical month when you use the air conditioner for several hours a day, it could be around 1200 baht. Your water bill can be another 100 baht per month, giving us a total of 2,000 baht (~ $ 63) for all monthly bills.
The cheapest option for your cell phone is to use a prepaid SIM card. Since you’re likely to be either at home or somewhere with free Wi-Fi almost 99% of the time, you can easily live without a data plan. In case you usually don’t make many calls, you can maintain your balance about 300 Baht per month. By comparison, the average American spends over $150 a month to pay for a cell phone.
For transportation, you can rent a scooter for 3,000 baht (~ $ 94) per month. Gasoline in Thailand is quite cheap and scooters are economical. On a typical city trip, you may need to refuel twice a week at a cost of 60 baht per refuel. This gives you a total shipping cost of around 3480 baht.
Ideally, if you want to check the cost of living in Chiang Mai, you should plan on spending at least $ 1,000 per month. Keep in mind that this is just an amount to cover your living expenses.
However, you would set your income goal much higher. If your income stays at $ 1,000 a month, you can never afford to buy new gadgets or drive home. This is one of the big challenges when moving to Thailand to become an English teacher.
On the other hand, with an income of about $ 2,500, you can spend about half on your day to day expenses and save the other half for large purchases and travel. Finally, for first-time visitors to Thailand, expect the unexpected and stock up on some cushion before attempting the jump. So Thailand is a very welcoming country where you can live and work and enjoy your life.