Living in Thailand As A Remote Worker Or Digital Nomad – that will be the topic of today’s article.
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Thailand is not only popular among tourists, but it has remained a popular destination of digital nomads who come to the country to take advantage of the sun, life, and above all, low maintenance cost. It is a great option for those who are just moving to the country for the first time and want to develop skills.
Guess what! I started my adventure with digital nomadism in Thailand, and as of today, I’ve been able to achieve greatness. After spending two long years in Thai school, I have had enough, and ever since then, I’ve started working on the internet. The Land of Smile (Thailand) turned out to be very friendly to digital nomads, and it’s no wonder their capital city has become their Mecca.
If you’ve been surfing the internet, trying to get the latest information about living in Thailand as a remote worker, look no further as we’ve got you covered. However, do not miss the links to another post regarding the Dating in Thailand expat guide. This will prepare you for your next trip to living in Thailand.
As we’ve compiled the pros and cons of living in Thailand as an expat, we would love to examine the factors to consider when finding remote work. Imagine swapping your view of an office building for the pristine beaches of Thailand; you could skip your early morning commute and enjoy your work here.
Nonetheless, we will extend our explanation from living in Thailand expat guide to living in Thailand as a remote worker or digital nomad. This concept entails the relationship between working from home and working in the office. In the era of the COVID-19 pandemic, how do you cope with this factor? Read further!
Understanding Remote Legal Work in Thailand
In Thailand, you can enjoy collecting wages of about $50 per week from the comfort of your home. While doing this, you can explore different cities during the weekends. To top it off, you can work the same job in the office for the same pay. While this kind of lifestyle is amazing, it’s only restricted to the digital nomads in the country. With that being said, what is the status of remote workers in the Land of Smile?
Well, without a work permit, having a good job in Thailand may seem complicated. In fact, it’s hardly a surprise that Thailand is one of the top locations for digital nomads and remote workers. According to the overall ranking by Nomad List, there are up to five countries in the top 100 nomad location list.
Among these cities are Chiang Mai, Ko Pha Ngan, Bangkok, Phuket, and Krabi. And, of course, these rankings are to be taken with a pinch of salt. This is because; it depends on the kind of lifestyle and experience you’re looking to get in those cities mentioned. Now, what’s remote work in Thailand?
Well, Thailand is a good bet if you’re looking for a relatively lower cost of living. As mentioned in our previous articles, your money goes a long way even while you reside in Bangkok, one of the most expensive cities in the country. What’s more, you can always count on friendly locals, sunshine, and even great foods. Aside from that, it’s a world-famous nation for its cheap and delicious street eats.
Furthermore, if you choose to live in big cities like Bangkok, be aware of crowded traffic and air pollution. And always remember that a well-connected subway and train system isn’t the country’s strong suit either, and foreigners may also struggle with tropical diseases if you live I the rural areas.
Work Permits/Visas for Digital Nomads and Remote Workers
When it comes to digital nomad visas or freelance work permits in Thailand, there’s a Smart Visa type to explore. This type of visa allows four years of stay in the country, but it’s currently only a proposal by the Board of Investment (BOI), which the Centre has approved of COVID-19 Situation Administration, and pending Cabinet approval.
Let’s quickly walk you through the brief about this work permit or visa for digital nomads in the country. Under the proposal by BOI, those on a tourist visa to the country would be able to transfer to a Smart Visa as long as they have the following documents.
- Proof of qualification and at least three years of experience
- Proof of employment contract with a foreign firm for at least six months and above
In addition, this Smart Visa was launched in 2018, designed to enhance Thailand’s attractiveness by drawing science and technology experts, startups, senior executives, and investors. But, in the long run, it was only a handful of foreigners that have been granted the visa due to COVID-19 restrictions, and all.
As such, the Board of Investments is hoping to loosen the requirements by allowing foreign freelancers worldwide to apply for this visa. And it will cover the majority of digital nomads and remote workers.
Working Without a Permit in Thailand as a Digital Nomads
Of course, always know that working without a permit or valid visa in Thailand is illegal. While this doesn’t stop people from working remotely in the country, you must adhere to the rules and regulations stated. This is because; many people arrive on tourist visas and do visa runs.
This goes against the immigration rules, but it is impractical due to COVID-19 quarantine requirements. Besides, it’s also a huge risk for foreigners wanting to relocate to Thailand, and we will not advise users to follow this path. With that being said, be wary of any travel agents that promise instant remote work in the country.
The Golden rule is that; the work permit office in Thailand will mainly be concerned if the work you’re doing takes away work from the country’s security, and they are affected in a wider sense. So, if you’re moving to Thailand without a permit or valid visa, it’s best to seek advice from a visa agency or immigration lawyers to avoid facing jailed terms in the country.
Digital Nomad Cases for Foreigners in Thailand
To help you understand the digital nomad process well, we have revealed some of the questions and answers to help you while living in Thailand as an expat. These are the cases that could help you avoid COVID-19 restrictions and others rules while enjoying your remote work in your comfort zone.
Can a Digital Nomad works on his online shop?
Of course, as a digital nomad, you’re allowed to manage your online shop during the duration of your stay in the country without a permit. Even if some of your customers are in Thailand, you can continue to do business considered you follow the right footstep, and you didn’t go against any immigration rules.
Can a website designer offer his service to follow digital nomads?
Yes, it’s clearly stated by the immigration rules that you can work for your colleague as a digital nomad. However, it would be better to have a valid work permit. This is because; some immigration experts might request that you show your visa, valid work permit, and other documents to do that here.
Can a foreigner export product overseas?
If the products are taken from Thailand to another country, a foreigner can definitely export different products to other countries. In fact, you can also sit in your apartment and teaches Chinese students the English language online via different platforms such as Skype, Zoom, and many others, to mention a few.
Can a travel blogger write about Thailand?
Of course, travel bloggers can write as digital nomads in Thailand. Although a Thai person could have done this work but if you have where you can get the right information, you can proceed. Meanwhile, if the blogger is an international blogger writing about a different location, the government or immigration process can allow this without a work permit.
Can a businessman travel for business purposes?
YES, a business person can meet business partners, discuss business opportunities and merchandise products with potential buyers and sign contracts on behalf of his company. Also, Thailand has an agreement regarding the International Labour Organization, and the foreigners must adhere.
Can a farang-Thai couple own a restaurant?
Well, we can confidently tell you that this is common! Furthermore, if the foreigner is only sitting in the restaurant but not serving customers, not training or managing staff, they don’t need a work permit, but if the person is involved in other activities, he does need a work permit to function well.
Can a yoga teacher teach periodically in the country?
It’s no doubt that a foreign yoga teacher can teach periodically in the country. On the other hand, you might need a work permit to function well while teaching in Thailand. Not only that, but the country’s immigration might restrict you from certain things while teaching.
Can Digital Nomad play music in a bar?
Well, while you’re traveling to this country as an expat, it would be better to follow the instruction given. The digital nomad, if you have the necessary visa requirements, you can work in the country without disturbance. On the other hand, you might get kicked out by immigration if you don’t follow the rules as stated.
Pros and Cons of Digital Nomadism in Thailand
The concept of a digital nomad in Thailand has been a great concern for expat in recent years. However, the global spread of COVID-19 that kept people at home has made remote work become a normal lifestyle. With that being said, many expats have been using this opportunity to relocate to the country.
Thailand is ideally a new place to combine vacation and remote working for your new digital nomad lifestyle in 2021. Thanks to today’s technology that makes things are more efficient in all sorts of ways. Now, we are no longer tied to our office desk, which has given us more opportunities to relocate abroad.
However, it’s quite okay to weigh the benefits and negative impacts of remote work in Thailand. While the COVID-19 pandemic has strongly accelerated the communities of digital nomads, there are many disadvantages attached to these awesome online jobs. Without further ado, take a look at the pros and cons as listed below.
Digital Nomads in Thailand at a Glance
- You’ll enjoy suitable internet in Thailand
- Food is available in all restaurants for nearly 24 hours a day
- Excellent healthcare system and a rich/beautiful nature landscape
- Affordable cost of living and convenient lifestyle is available for everyone
- You’ll enjoy a variety of workspace and facility that meets your needs
- Excellent hospitality and friendly people everywhere
Favorable Weather Condition
Whether it’s in the rainy season or during sunshine, you’ll definitely enjoy working in Thailand. This is solely because; the temperature is always around 35 degrees. So, as an expat or foreigner wanting to relocate to Thailand because of its digital nomad situation, it would be better to know the weather.
Low Prices in Thailand
As mentioned earlier in our previous article, the cost of living in Thailand is relatively low compared to other Western countries. Nonetheless, the price often includes a gym or swimming pool. On the flip side, it’s not easy to stay and save despite the low cost of living in the country.
Enjoy a Comfortable Life
It’s undoubtedly true that freelancers, digital nomads, and remote workers enjoy a comfortable lifestyle in the country. In fact, this could happen, especially when they live in Thailand only for a short time, while everything seems to be easier and less complicated.
Again, foreigners or digital nomads living in Thailand will surely enjoy a large community, and it offers. There are many digital nomads in Thailand, and this has made living easier for people wanting to know more about the country’s cultural background, traditions, norms, and many others, to mention a few.
Negative Aspect of Digital Nomad
While living in Thailand as a remote worker or digital nomad, you should be prepared for immigration challenges. Sometimes, you might be working along the street, and a uniform officer stops you. In this case, they’ll charge you to the necessary immigration bodies. However, this could lead to deportation in the long run. But you can avoid this by getting a six-month Thailand visa and go for a visa runs afterward.
Poor Internet in Some Location
Poor internet can be frustrating in some locations in Thailand. But mostly, you can get a WI-FI in cafes and apartments, which is quite fair enough. If you teach an online course, you’ll definitely need a good connection. This means you’ll have to invest in better internet to function well in the country.
Sometimes, it might be hard to make friends in Thailand if you don’t understand their language. Besides, many locals would love you to speak a bit of the Thai language to make friends. So, we advise that you learn the basics of the Thai language before you relocate to the country.
Although moving around the city is not so difficult, you could face some challenges moving to other parts of the country. The capital city of Thailand is well developed, but you might need to order a ride to get around in some of the rural areas in the country.
Extremely Crowded Cities
Well, as an expat, you should understand that getting to any country might be complicated, especially their cities. Thailand is not excluded as you might face challenges of coping with a crowded population during the day. In the long run, this could hinder your movement while exploring the country.
What Digital Nomads Should Know in Thailand
Surprisingly, there are many things to keep in mind as a digital nomad in Thailand. Before you become a digital nomad, it’s even worth getting acquainted with some facts about the local life in the country. After that, you can avoid unnecessary drama and quickly get used to the new reality of a remote worker.
You are in the Country Illegally
This factor, unfortunately, is the truth. If you’re working as a digital nomad – you’re not paying tax in Thailand, and you don’t have a valid work permit, you’re living in the country illegally. Therefore, it’s best no to speak out loud about what you’re doing to avoid the uniform men problem in the cities.
Thai people are nice locals, but you never know when you’ll recognize that you’ve lost honor and go to the immigration office with a message about a farang who works illegally in the country. Of course, there are thousands of digital nomads in Thailand, but it’s better to have legal documents.
Six-month Multiple Entry Visa
As of today, digital nomads can use a six-month multiple entry visa. On the flip side, you can apply for 90 days or enter the country through the visa exemption procedures. Also, having a tourist visa in Thailand means that you will have to enter and leave the country from time to time, which involves costs and the loss of valuable items.
Only Chiang Mai is the Capital of Digital Nomads
You must have heard already that this is one of the best places for digital nomads. This is because; there are plenty of digital nomads in the city. If you’re the type that likes company, want to meet others at workshops, this city in the north of Thailand is the right choice.
Aside from this fact, the city has a really great atmosphere, and its popularity has brought many cheats who want to put others in a bottle. Also, Chiang Mai has lost a bit of charm, but it’s gradually becoming a place where digital nomads can enjoy their lifestyle without threat from a third party.
Digital Nomads are Not Insured
It’s quite common to note that you’ll have to care for yourself while working as a digital nomad in Thailand. If you go to another country after Thailand and do not have a return ticket to your country of residence, you may have problems getting compensation from most insurers.
When writing this post, there is no official digital nomad health insurance, but some companies are making an effort to accommodate them. The cost might be lower, making it affordable for all remote workers to enroll in a private healthcare system in the country.
Prepare for Unstable Connection in the Country
As an expat planning to relocate to this country as a remote worker, it’s quite essential to know that there’s an unable connection. However, the connection may be good in some areas, but it’s better to prepare for problems. Also, rent a good apartment and buy a connection package from the best vendor.
3 Best Places to Visit for Workation
After you might have gone through the selection as stated in this article, it would be better to know the 3-best places to visit in the country. For typical travelers, Thailand is a beach and food paradise, and it’s a perfect choice for a digital nomad lifestyle. Now, let’s quickly highlight the three best places for workation.
Chiang Mai City
In today’s digital world, this is one of the best places for an expat to live an enjoyable digital nomad lifestyle. The city is a cultural hub in the north and has been a popular destination for remote workers around the globe.
Bangkok had made it to the second on our top three lists of cities for the digital nomad. This place is a crowded city, and there are lots of funs to explore. The upside for Bangkok is a super-fast internet connection and unlimited cafes with an abundance of luxury and affordable condominiums.
Koh Lanta City
This is one of the tropical island places in the South of Thailand with a laid-back and relaxing atmosphere. This city is safe, and family and friends with many beach activities will enjoy the country.
In most cases, many Digital Nomads that stay in Thailand for a long time are viewed as doing work by authorities. This means you actually need a work permit to enjoy your remote work lifestyle in the country. Nonetheless, if you think you’ve fallen in love with the content above, kindly drop your comment below. For more information, refer to our previous articles to know better.