With the rise of remote work and ecommerce, it’s now possible to live and work in Thailand. One of the most beautiful countries in Southeast Asia, Thailand is a great hotspot for digital nomads for several reasons.
First and foremost, it is affordable compared to Western countries, so you can stretch your budget while enjoying good quality of living. It also has numerous cities with reliable and modern infrastructure, including high-speed internet and co-working spaces that cater specifically to digital nomads. Moreover, you can join a thriving digital nomad community where you can meet and connect with similar people via meetups and events. You can enjoy all of these while experiencing the rich culture, delicious cuisine, and stunning natural landscapes in Thailand.
Here we’ve compiled the best places for digital nomads in Thailand.
The capital of Thailand, Bangkok is a metropolitan area and a beehive of social, economic, and political activities. In 2022, it was cited by a UK-based working solutions provider (The Instant Group) as the best city in Asia and second-best city worldwide for digital nomads, following Lisbon (Portugal) in Europe.
Digital nomads staying in this city can enjoy affordability, broadband speed, good weather and scenery, and easy transport within and to neighboring cities and towns. Bangkok also has excellent cuisine, street food, and bars including one of the best rooftop restaurants in Bangkok. Those who love going out for drinks and socializing will also love staying here as it is offers some of the best nightlife in Thailand.
2. Chiang Mai
Known as the cultural capital of Northern Thailand, Chiang Mai is a laid-back city with a low cost of living, making it ideal even for digital nomads who are just starting out. Similar to Bangkok, many consider this to be one of the best cities for digital nomads.
It offers plenty of affordable accommodations, amazing food, and great cafes and co-working spaces. As a cultural hub, it offers a range of festivals, temples, and museums — not to mention the beautiful waterfalls and mountains that you can explore on your free days. Chiang Mai also has an international airport which makes traveling easy, and it is walkable and easy to get around.
One of the cons about staying in Chiang Mai as a digital nomad is that it is far from the beaches.
The largest island in Thailand, Phuket attracts millions of visitors annually and is also one of the best places for digital nomads in Thailand. It is a great option for those who want to spend their rest days on the beach. It is also home to charming cities, every commercial establishment that you need, and amazing cuisine, ranging from cheap street food to 5-star restaurants.
There are several digital nomad communities in Phuket. The most popular ones are located in Patong, Kata, Karon, and Kamala. Rawai is also a good choice for those who prefer less touristy vibes. Chalong Bay is another great area though more expensive compared to others.
It is home to different community hubs that offer accommodations, from short- or long-term apartments to luxury villas.
4. Koh Phangan
This island in the Gulf of Thailand is a popular destination for digital nomads who want to escape the city and enjoy a more relaxed, tropical lifestyle. Here you can enjoy the most amazing beaches in the country, magnificent jungle landscapes, and even fantastic night life with the famous Full Moon Party held every month.
Koh Phangan offers plenty of low-cost accommodations spread throughout the island. Due to its affordability, most digital nomads here rent a bungalow in the traditional style or Western design.
5. Koh Samui
Another island in the Gulf of Thailand, Koh Samui offers a more luxurious lifestyle with high-end accommodations and amenities. However, if you are a on a budget, worry not — there are affordable one-bedroom apartments and other living spaces you can find in the island.
Koh Samui is home to stunning white-sand beaches. From here, it’s also easy to visit the neighboring islands of Koh Tao and Koh Phangan. While there are limited co-working spaces in Koh Samui, it has plenty of cafes and restaurants with high-speed internet as well as good food.
A small town in Northern Thailand, Pai is ideal for digital nomads who want to enjoy a more relaxed lifestyle in the mountains. It is often described as a hippy town, but its reliable internet speed and great café choices for working and chilling also make it a good option for remote work. Aside from its laid-back scene, it offers various outdoor attractions you can do on weekends including hot springs, waterfalls, and mountain trekking.
There are a few disadvantages in staying in Pai. For one, it has no local or international airport and can only be reached by a 3-hour bus ride from Chiang Mai. It also has no big shopping malls or stores or Grab transport.
7. Hua Hin
Hua Hin is a coastal town located south of Bangkok that offers a quieter lifestyle for digital nomads. Although is it a bit more expensive compared to other cities and towns in this list, Hua Hin is a worthwhile option for its beautiful soft-sand beachfront, laid-back ambiance, and convenience. It is home to affordable and high-end condo units, commercial stores and restaurants, and cafes with high-speed internet.
Thailand digital nomad visa
As of 2023, there is no digital nomad visa in Thailand yet. If you want to do remote work in Thailand, you can get (a) a tourist via which will allow you to stay in the country for 60 days or (b) a Smart Visa, a recently introduced visa for remote workers and entrepreneurs which will grant you a stay of up to 4 years. The Smart Visa has stringent conditions for application, including an annual income of $80,000 a year, at least 5 years experience, and employment for a company with $150 million annual income over 3 years.
Overall, Thailand offers many great destinations for digital nomads, each with its own unique character and advantages.
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Katherine Cortes is a long-time backpacker and a freelance writer/editor. She likes beaches, snorkeling trips, and relaxing staycations (preferably with bath tubs!).