Located in Northern Thailand, Chiang Mai is popular among digital nomads for its lower cost of living compared to Bangkok. The best part is that it offers city life with live music and night markets, but without the daily chaos that you would usually find in a city. If you’re looking for a calm and serene environment to reside in while enjoying some of the country’s best weather, then Chiang Mai is your best option. Even during colder seasons, the temperature stays around 77 F (25°C). The city is highly accessible and offers a variety of coffee shops, co-working spaces, hospitals, and movie theaters, making it convenient for digital nomads to work from here or make friends. There are also great opportunities here for professionals.
There are centuries-old Buddhist temples in Chiang Mai, keeping the unique feeling of living in a historic area with beautiful mountain settings alive. The hospitality here is second to none and you are likely to have friendly neighbors since the local community here is very warm and welcoming.
Digital Nomads usually live near the city and 1 bedroom studio apartment rentals in this area start at an average of around $400 USD a month. The estimated cost of living in Chiang Mai is around $900-$1000 USD per month, including rent and all other expenses.
However, there are some downsides to living in Chiang Mai. Since Chiang Mai is getting more popular each day, there might be chances of it getting overpopulated. Apart from that is the concern of the air quality during the hot season, when farmers burn their old crops to grow new ones. Even though measures are being taken to control the burning, the problem currently persists.
Also called “Coconut Island,” Koh Samui was once a coconut plantation. Digital Nomads and expats love Koh Samui for its laid-back beach lifestyle, affordable and quality healthcare, and the natural attractions it has to offer. It is a pretty convenient location considering that you will find coffee shops, shopping malls, and most western conveniences here. You can take yoga and dance classes on the island and enjoy the serene beach environment. Oh, and If you are an adventure lover, then we have news for you! Koh Samui is home to some of the best diving sites in the world. You can get your adrenaline fix here by surfing, sailing, ziplining, bungee jumping, elephant trekking, and mountain biking. Not only that, you can treat yourself to delicious local food at an affordable cost. The roads are easy to navigate and are connected to the island’s main attractions, and there is also an international airport nearby.
1 bedroom studio apartment rentals in this area are around $600- 1600 USD per month. The estimated cost of living in Koh Samui is around $1300-1,700 USD / month, depending on your lifestyle.
Even though the Island life in Koh Samui can be relaxing and fun, the downside is that it can sometimes get isolating and boring, and it can be a little expensive if you want to get off the island.
Bangkok, the country’s capital, is one of the most popular choices for digital nomads and expats for being modern and affordable. Known for its beautiful skyscrapers, luxurious hotels, and top-notch public transport options, foreigners can live here conveniently while experiencing the fun culture at an affordable cost compared to most Western countries.
Bangkok is home to a lot of activities. You can explore hipster bars, really old cafes, temples, historic buildings and attend fun festivals that take place there. The nightlife is pretty amazing too, and you will always find something to do. If you love shopping, then Bangkok won’t disappoint, it’s home to a number of North-American-style malls. Bangkok is known for its excellent healthcare facilities and is home to some of the best doctors and medical professionals. People actually fly here from neighboring countries for medical treatments. Even though It is a little expensive compared to other cities, you can still get street food for less than a dollar. The internet here is reliable and pretty fast, with 23 Mbps being the average, which means you can work remotely very conveniently.
Some of the famous districts which are suitable for digital nomads are Silom, Sukhumvit (21 to 71), Thonglor, On nut, Victory Monument, Ari.
1 bedroom studio apartment rentals in this area are around $600-$900 per month depending on the amenities of the apartment you choose. The estimated cost of living in Bangkok is around $650-$1400 per month, depending on your lifestyle.
However, the downsides are that it gets really hot in Bangkok and the city is extremely busy. The number of expats and digital nomads here is really high, which may or may not be preferable to some.
Located only three hours from Bangkok, Hua Hin offers a convenient and relaxing lifestyle for digital nomads. Its low cost of living along with the numerous dining options, fast internet, vibrant beach life, affordable shopping options, and golf course make it a popular destination for digital nomads. For entertainment, you can enjoy the amazing nightlife, go snorkeling on the beach, or just relax beside the water and indulge in some delicious cuisine. You can also head to Hua Hin Beach, which offers kitesurfing and other water sports adventures, along with a variety of seafood shacks. The annual yearly Hua Hin Jazz Festival is hosted here. It is home to the King of Thailand’s summer palace and there are plenty of amenities in this location. Condo rentals are available and there are great housing accommodations for every budget.
1 bedroom studio apartment rentals in this area are around $300-$1300 per month depending on the amenities of the apartment or condo you choose. The estimated cost of living in Hua Hin is around $1300-1500 per month, depending on your lifestyle. You are likely to find a lot of cheap and easy places to rent on Nartedarmi Road, which is the main tourist street in town. However, the quality might not be the best.
The only downside is that this city lacks the typical Thai vibe most foreigners crave and the city may feel a little congested with a lot of buildings and traffic.
With clear blue water, white sand beaches, and beautiful tall mountains surrounding it, Phuket is every nature lover’s paradise. Whether you are someone who likes to relax or party, Phuket caters to all your needs. With vibrant youth culture, cool cafes, bars, night markets, cabaret shows, and historic attractions, Phuket is a great place to live as a digital nomad. It has fewer tourists than other cities and you get easy access to the beach. You can go surfing and explore other islands by hopping on a boat. A lot of foreigners are already living here, which means that you can make friends easily. You will find a lot of high-end seaside resorts, spas, and restaurants as well. For a list of things to do in Phuket, check out our guide on 11 Things That You Need To See & Do In Phuket.
1 bedroom studio apartment rentals in this area are around $450-$600 per month depending on the amenities of the apartment or condo you choose. The estimated cost of living in Phuket is around $1300-1600 per month, depending on your lifestyle.
The downside is that you will need a motorbike to get around and it can be a bit expensive compared to other Thai cities. However, the fast internet, great hospitals, and general safety for women make up for the downsides.
Finding Accommodation in Thailand
We suggest that when you look for accommodation in Thailand, start off by deciding on an area you want to live in. You can ask around among the locals and other foreigners residing there to get an idea of the living conditions and rent in your chosen area. You can connect with locals on GAFFL who can provide you with tips and recommendations and even show you around. Even though there are listings on the internet, some of them in English even, they tend to be more on the pricier side. We suggest exploring the area yourself first. Look for nearby transportation options, pharmacies, grocery stores, your neighbors, and everything else that might be a priority to you, such as pharmacies, etc. Thai apartments usually come furnished with a bed, closet wardrobe, and vanity table with a mirror. You might also get a nightstand table and a desk and chair.
You can look for accommodation in English-language newspapers to find any potential listing, check on Facebook groups or websites/apps that deal with rentals and properties or contact a real estate agent.
Know Before You Go
Even though moving to Thailand is a great idea, there are a few factors that you need to keep in mind such as the weather, the internet, and communication. The weather in Thailand is pretty hot, and chances are that you will always look for air conditioning everywhere you go. The Internet might be slow if you use shared Wi-Fi, but with 4G, the speed and coverage are pretty good. Not everyone speaks English here, so you might have to break down your sentences for people to understand, making communication a little difficult.
However, once you get past these few things, Thailand is a great country to live in. Picturesque landscapes, exotic beach islands, national parks, and historical cities make it one of the most beautiful countries and draw tourists from all over the world. You can get high-quality medical care, a good lifestyle at a cheaper budget compared to western countries. Not only that, Thailand is known as the “Land of Smiles,” which means you will be surrounded by friendly people who always have a smile to offer.