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A Comprehensive Digital Nomad Thailand Guide

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Thailand is one of the most popular countries for tourists and remote workers alike, and there is a reason for that. With a fascinating culture, world-class food, endless natural and historic sites, and legendary hospitality, Thailand has it all. Here is a comprehensive digital nomad Thailand guide covering all the bases.

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Welcome to Thailand: One of the Best Digital Nomad Destinations

Home to about 70 million people, Thailand is divided into 76 provinces with incredibly diverse landscapes, cultures, and food. 

For centuries, several major civilizations prospered on the territory of modern-day Thailand, including the Sukhothai, Ayutthaya, and Thonburi kingdoms. Since 1782, the Chakri dynasty (current royal family) has been ruling the country. 

The country’s history, royal structures, deep connection to Buddhism, and ethnic diversity are all key aspects of modern Thai society. 

Aside from that, Thailand has seen gradual development over the last few decades, fueled by a never-ending tourism boom, the growth of new industries, and agriculture. 

It has to be said that Thailand’s development is spread out unequally across the country, meaning that various places benefit from first-rate infrastructure while others have been left far behind. 

Bangkok is today one of the most developed and well-connected cities in Southeast Asia, and one of my favorite cities on the planet. 

On this basis, here are some of the major advantages for digital nomads in Thailand:

  • Incredible cultural wealth and a wide variety of historical sites;
  • Beaches, national parks, jungle, and diverse nature;
  • Highly affordable if you are from a Western country;
  • More developed than most places in Southeast Asia; 
  • Well-connected to the world;
  • Well-established as a digital nomad destination, so you’ll find a sizable nomad community here. 

Having established the country’s appeal, let’s get to some digital nomad Thailand essentials.

Bangkok night market with the skyline in the background

The Best Places to Live in Thailand as a Digital Nomad

If you’re wondering where to live in Thailand as a digital nomad, here are some of my top picks after spending a combined five months in the country. 

Bangkok: The Crazy and Amazing Capital

Home to over 10 million people, Bangkok is the capital’s multifaceted capital. It’s crazy, diverse, and incredibly addictive. It’s where you’ll find Thailand’s best museums, shopping malls, and restaurants.

The city is also highly-connected thanks to a vast network of metros and sky trains. Whatever you’re looking for, Bangkok will deliver. 

The areas of Sukhumvit, Siam Mall, and On Nut are well-suited for digital nomads while the center around Khao San Road is backpacker heaven. 

Chiang Mai: The Best City in Northern Thailand

Chiang Mai is one of the most livable cities in Thailand and an excellent location for digital nomads. 

It’s less hectic and smaller than Bangkok but has endless options when it comes to coffee shops and remote working locations. Better still, it’s located close to many stunning natural sites and temples. 

Koh Samui and Phuket: The Big Islands

Koh Samui is a large island with a lot of advantages for digital nomads. You’ll find accommodation and food for any budget and preference here as well as an endless array of sights and things to do.

Phuket is similar, but its main town, Phuket City, is larger and has a lovely old town. Phuket is also a bit more crowded and family-orientated.

Both islands are super touristy, but there’s a reason for that. They are full of fascinating sights, beaches, and nature-related attractions, so you’ll never be bored here. 

Pattaya: One of the Best Beach Cities

If you want to live in a decent-sized city on the beach in mainland Thailand, Pattaya is one of the best options. 

The city has a reputation for its shady nightlife, but there is a lot more to Pattaya and the surrounding Chonburi region. The area is seeing more development every year while retaining its affordability. It’s a vibrant and bustling area and highly suited for remote work. 

Digital nomad Thailand guide - Koh Samui
Koh Samui / Unsplash

Krabi: An Incredible Region in the South

Krabi is a popular destination for backpackers and also works as a nomad base. Less developed than Phuket or Koh Samui, the region and its main town have an incredible amount of sights and natural beauty. 

If you want a typical Thai backpacker destination and are not looking for a big city, Krabi is a recommendable choice. 

Kanchanaburi & Nakhon Ratchasima: Lesser-Known Places to Live in Thailand

Any Thailand digital nomad looking for off-the-beaten-path, more untouristy locations can consider Kanchanaburi and Nakhon Ratchasima.

Kanchanaburi is a historic city on the confluence of the Kwae Noi and Kwae Yai rivers. The city has a sizable tourism industry but isn’t as popular among Westerners as other parts of Thailand. 

It is, however, well-developed and connected to Bangkok by train. Better still, the surroundings offer stunning waterfalls and nature parks and the local food culture is spectacular. 

Nakhon Ratchasima (commonly known as “Korat”) is the third-largest city in Thailand and is famous for its unique cultural heritage. Largely off the mainstream tourism map, it is highly developed and its cost of living is low, even by Thai standards. 

Nan & Mae Hong Soon: Two Rural and Quiet Provinces 

If you want to experience rural Thailand, Nan and the Mae Hong Soon province (famous for the town of Pai) are great choices. You won’t find state-of-the-art infrastructure or Western levels of development here, but you can experience the culture of the rural North in peace and serenity. 

Cost of Living in Thailand

Prices in Thailand have risen in recent years, but it is still a supremely affordable destination, especially when it comes to food and accommodation. Here is a breakdown of one month of digital nomad expenses in Thailand: 

  • Hotels and Airbnbs: €700;
  • Food and Drinks: €300;
  • Transportation: €50;
  • Tourist activities: €100;
  • Miscellaneous like Sim Cards, barbershops, gym memberships, and coworking: €100.

Total digital nomad Thailand budget: €1,250 (1,360 USD).

As long as you don’t eat in fancy Bangkok restaurants and rooftop bars – and stay in budget to mid-range hotels and guest houses, you can easily live in Thailand for less than 1.5k USD per month. 

Digital nomad Thailand guide - Mae Hon Son
Pai in the Mae Hong Son province

Accommodation in Thailand for Digital Nomads

Thailand being a popular destination for all types all travelers, accommodation is not an issue.

You’ll find Airbnbs, guest houses, hotels, and hostels for every taste and budget. 

Airbnb is not actually legal in Thailand (owners without a hotel license aren’t allowed to rent out their places for less than 30 days), but as with many things, there are lots of grey areas. Besides, the owner of the property – not the guest, is breaking the law. 

If you want to be 100% on the safe side, stick to hotels and guest houses that have a license. 

You can easily find them on Booking.com. As an example, I found a clean and modern guest house in Chiang Mai for less than €20 per night. 

The Airbnb question mostly appears once you try to get a short-term rental in a large condo building. 

Infrastructure and Connectivity

Thailand’s infrastructure improves every year, especially when it comes to roads and airports. 

The train network is also growing, and various stations (including Bangkok Bang Sue) were modernized. Make no mistake, these aren’t Japanese trains, but they are a cheap and simple way to get around. 

In that same vein, it’s super easy to travel across Thailand by luxury bus. One of the easiest ways to book tickets is with Asian websites such as Traveloka

Thailand has some of the best internet speeds on the planet. According to World Population Review, the average broadband speed is over 200 Mbps, which is world-class. 

That broadband internet, however, is not universally available. 

In Bangkok and Chiang Mai, internet speeds are not an issue, but once you go to the islands or the more rural areas, the speed will naturally decrease. 

When it comes to Sim Cards, many operators will sell you around 15 GB for less than 10 USD. 

I recommend True Move which is available in most international airports as well as Seven-Eleven stores.

Digital Nomad Thailand Guide: Remote Working Locations

Thai cities have lots of great coffee shops and coworking spaces for digital nomads. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Coffee Club: a chain that has many locations all over Bangkok;
  • Zohng Coffee Shop Chiang Mai: a fantastic coffee shop in the Old City of Chiang Mai;
  • Story 106 Café Chaing Mai: Close to the night market area, this cozy coffee shop offers 250mbps;
  • Xym Café Chiang Mai: another lovely Chiang Mai cafe with great Wifi speeds and a comfortable atmosphere
  • The Urban Office Bangkok coworking: a sleek and modern coworking space in Sukhumvit, Bangkok;
  • WeWork T-One Coworking Bangkok: another top-notch coworking space in the area of Sukhumvit, Bangkok;
  • Yellow Coworking Chiang Mai: one of the best coworking spaces in Chiang Mai;
  • Punspace Chiang Mai Coworking: a chain of modern and well-equipped coworking spaces in Chiang Mai. 
  • Hatch Coworking Space Phuket: a great coworking space on the island of Phuket;
  • Be Productive Koh Samui coworking: a place for digital nomads on the island of Koh; Samui. 
Chiang Mai River scene / Unsplash

Culture and People

Thailand is known as the “Land of Smiles” and it does its reputation justice. Thai people are some of the friendliest and most welcoming locals you’ll ever encounter and they will go out of their way to make your stay enjoyable.

Apart from that, Thailand is a lot more diverse than you might think. Thailand has 70 ethnic groups speaking 73 different languages, and each region has its bespoke traditions and culture.

Be aware that both Buddhism and the royal family are highly respected in Thai society and badmouthing either is not acceptable – and also illegal. 

Overall, Thailand is an open and welcoming nation and is used to mass tourism. 

Thailand has had millions of yearly visitors for many decades, so the country knows how to organize its tourism industry properly and, in my view, does a much better job than Vietnam, for example, which doesn’t have the same long-term experience with foreign visitors. 

Digital Nomad Thailand Guide: FAQ

To complete our Thailand digital nomad guide, here are some essentials and things to know before traveling.

Is There a Thailand Digital Nomad Visa?

There are several Thailand nomad visa options that you can consider, but they aren’t straightforward. 

Five types of smart visas work as a Thailand digital nomad visa but the conditions are quite steep. Thailand offers Talent, Investor, Executive, Startup, and Other business visas that allow you to stay for up to four years. 

In most cases, you’ll have to make over $80k per year and work in a specific industry. 

As such, the vast majority of remote workers do not get a digital nomad Thailand visa but stay in Thailand on a tourist visa, which is 30 days for most nationalities but can be extended to 60 days. 

If you enter the country by land, you can only get this visa twice a year but if you enter by air, there are theoretically no limits, even though the border authorities might question you if you enter more than three times in the space of one year. 

How Are English Levels in Thailand?

English levels in Thailand vary quite a lot depending on where you go. In well-established tourist hotspots, you’ll get by easily, but once you venture off the beaten path, English proficiency goes down dramatically.

As always, learning a few basic phrases in Thai will greatly improve your stay. 

Is Thailand Safe? 

Overall, Thailand is a safe destination to live and travel. As with most tourist hotspots, be aware of common scams and petty crime. In short, use common sense, and your stay will remain trouble-free. 

As always, it’s crucial not to travel abroad long-term without proper insurance coverage. 

What’s the Best Travel and Digital Nomad Insurance for Thailand?

I have been using Safety Wing for over four years, and they offer the best digital nomad insurance on the market. It’s completely flexible as you can use it for one week or an entire year, no matter where you travel.

For about 10 USD per week, you are insured in case of medical emergencies, accidents, and lost luggage. Check out Safety Wing here.

Are There Many Nomads in Thailand?

Yes. Chiang Mai, Bangkok, Phuket, Koh Samui, and Pattaya all have large nomad communities, and making friends won’t be an issue. 

Thailand being an affordable and visa-friendly destination, you’ll also find lots of remote workers from ASEAN countries as well as South Korea and Japan. 

Digital Nomad Thailand Guide: The Bottom Line

Some places are popular for a reason, and Thailand is one of them. 

The rich culture, affordability, cuisine, friendliness of the locals, and variety of sights make Thailand one of the best digital nomad destinations on the planet, and that’s really it.

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