On new years day, 2015, I decided to say, “screw it” and booked a flight to Thailand. Ever since, I’ve been lucky to call Chiang Mai, Thailand my home. Chiang Mai has a growing Digital Nomad scene and made a perfect long stay location to try out a location independent lifestyle and boost my Travel blog. I want to share with you some highlights of my experience, to help those who are looking at doing the same.
You can read more in depth here about my reasons for wanting to move to Chiang Mai
Here is my personal experience with moving to Chiang Mai, Thailand
This was my first visit to Thailand and I had my doubts before I departed, I was taken back by the amount of people who instantly said that I was going to fall in love with Chiang Mai. This had never happened to me before and I wondered why everyone already predicted I was going to love it so much?
After much research online I quickly discovered that Chiang Mai was a growing hotspot for “digital Nomads”, a new type of location independent individuals working online and travelling the world.
Chiang Mai is one of those unique, interesting places you instantly click with. It’s incomparable and that’s why it stands out amongst other destinations.
Moving to Chiang Mai is a great choice, as the city is typically half the price of already affordable Bangkok, Thailand, but without the hustle of a major city with a more laid back feel.
Are you thinking about doing the same and moving to Chiang Mai? I say do it! Best decision I’ve made, and heres why:
Condo Apartments for next to nothing
It’s hard to believe that there is still a city like Chiang Mai that has many affordable condo apartment options. It makes you wonder why you’re going through the trouble of a European Winter when you can fly over to Thailand on a cheap flight and live the high life for next to nothing.
No contract needed, you can pay per month, lots of different price ranges to choose from and it seems like a new condo is popping up in Chiang Mai every day. I went for a basic condo apartment which set me back £120 per month. It had a double bed, power shower, Premier league, cable subscription, swimming pool and weekly room cleaning, I’m planning on returning to Chiang Mai at least for a couple of months each year, I’ve formed some sort of attachment to the city.
A tour of my Baan Thai, Chiang Mai Condo’s room
(Put together a video to best show you roughly what you should be looking for in an affordable condo in Chiang Mai)
WIFI, WIFI everywhere!
If your a MacBook jockey, need not fear, WIFI is here! If you want to work online, Chiang Mai has got you covered, based on: Standards of living vs General costs vs Internet connection = Chiang Mai comes out top trump on the global stage.
You can easily purchase a 4G, 6GB smart phone plan for around £8 with either Dtac or AIS. Endless amount of cafes and Co-working spaces to choose from around Chiang Mai, with a decent internet connection you won’t find it hard to be connected.
Nimman area of Chiang Mai is a like a hipster paradise
Nimman in Chiang Mai is sort of a Village of New York, Shoreditch of London type of place, its full of places to hang out, discover and explore, you will never get bored finding new places to chill out. I often walked down new roads I’ve yet to see, and end up finding random cat cafes or bicycle clubs, was a great place to get lost and discover new hidden gems.
Top quality, tasty Thai food for peanuts
I had never dived that much into Thai food prior to my visit, didn’t take that long to be converted. I didn’t see the appeal in Thai food before I arrived, Two months into my trip to Chiang Mai, eating nothing but Thai food has been incredible!
Chiang Mai has a huge selection of local places to eat and the more local, the tastier the food seems to be.
Not only does it taste great, it’s affordable too, you can go out with a friend, select a large handful of dishes and order a few drinks and it would never cost more that £3 between the two of you. I loved how fresh the ingredients were and, touch wood, I was never ill from Thai food either. It’s fun to explore a culture through food and Thailand simply has it all.
I’ve put together a list of my favorite eating, co-working spaces and coffee shops around Nimman, the Digital Nomad area of Chiang Mai.
Co-working space Mecca
I’ve only been to a handful of co-working spaces around the world, but Chiang Mai is like Co-working space city! I’ve never seen a place with so many Co-working spaces to work online. You are literally lost for choice, some places are better than others, it’s all about personal choice and going around, discovering and testing out what works for you. Great way for meeting others working online. I can personally recommend Camp, located on the top floor of Maya shopping center, Coffee monster and Bibie along Nimman, all places I enjoyed.
Surround yourself with others, doing what you do.
For me this was the most important reason for visiting Chiang Mai. I’d never met other travel bloggers before. We are all sort of in the wild doing our own thing, exploring the world and I was never able to make it to any travel blogger gatherings. Chiang Mai seems to have travel bloggers coming in and out every week.
I enjoyed this the most as it was nice to finally talk to others who knew what I was talking about, working on your blog day in, day out, its great to share and collaborate with others what you’re working on and learn new things, I enjoyed this part the most and made many awesome new travel blogging friends.
Loads of meet ups, your never feel alone.
Meet ups I went along to: 2 x Digital Nomad List meet ups, Travel Massive Chiang Mai meet up, Chiang Mai travel bloggers dinner, FBA mastermind meet up, Digital Nomad Summit and loads of goodbye parties which was great for meeting new people too.
That’s a lot of Meetups in two months, each time meeting new and interesting people doing loads of different things. I’m always looking at putting my eggs into different baskets, as long as the work is online and mobile, it’s something that appeals to me.
Final notes, why you should consider Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai gave me an awesome platform to bootstrap my new digital nomad, the location independent lifestyle that I wanted to create for myself, the cost of living in Chiang Mai really helped to make this long stay happen, I could live a comfortable life with what I was earning compared to what would have been impossible to achieve living in my home town of London. Happy I made the jump!
I don’t think I have ever been able to get as much done, had the opportunity to meet as many interesting people, work at awesome Co-spaces and feel at home as quickly as I did with Chiang Mai.
I no longer see it as another place, I look at Chiang Mai as a base that I can come back to from time to time, it’s sort of like a 2nd home to me now and I’m happy that I’ve discovered it.