Looking back at my past trips to Thailand, it’s always my first workcation to Chiang Mai that stands out amongst the rest.
I will never forget that first buzz of excitement I felt whilst travelling to Chiang Mai, Thailand; it was a real adventure that I was craving for.
For me, it was more than a trip, it was a chance to try something different after university, and I was ready for a new adventure and chapter in my life.
I had heard about this remote working lifestyle and wanted to give a workcation holiday a shot.
Chiang Mai is a global hot spot for the Digital Nomad scene, which was what attracted me to the city in the first place.
Chiang Mai is a mountainous city located in northern Thailand. The Old City area still retains remains from its past such as being surrounded by ancient walls, moats and hundreds of Buddhist temples, including 14th-century Wat Phra Singh and 15th-century Wat Chedi Luang.
One thing for sure, the moment it’s safe to travel again, I can’t wait to fly back to Thailand.
Here are my top reasons why Chiang Mai, Thailand, is a perfect location for a workcation:
First, what is a workcation and why Chiang Mai?
As a freelancer who works in the digital creative space with no need for an attachment to a set location, my office is my oyster.
This can almost be anywhere in the world, so why not change your office location?
Due to the current wave of lockdowns in the UK due to the pandemic, a rise in working remotely has been on the up.
Now we’re more geared towards working from home; why does it have to be from the kitchen table?
In recent years, Chiang Mai has focused on development, bringing the city into a new digital age with fast fibre broadband, co-working spaces, shopping malls and a large selection of short term rental condos, making Chiang Mai, Thailand a perfect mixture of old vs new.
It’s easy to get a long term apartment in Chiang Mai
One of Chiang Mai’s highlights for me was how easy it was to find a short-term, affordable rental apartment.
I managed to find one within a day of arrival with all the amenities you could ask for WiFi, double bed, air-condition, swimming pool, gym access and washing machine facilities.
Comparing the price I paid in Chiang Mai to London’s high rental prices, it’s a no brainer really for a fraction of the cost.
You can use your savings to enjoy a long term holiday and extend your vacation to explore more surrounding Thailand.
Does Chiang Mai have good wifi?
This is the biggest question on everyone’s mind when planning a workcation. Is the WiFi connection good in Chiang Mai?
Surprisingly, I quickly discovered a connection of 650 megabits per second with AIS Super WiFi in Chiang Mai. You can easily access it with a monthly data sim for an additional fee that didn’t break the bank.
Having this type of speed available when you need it helped out big time with productivity and made Chiang Mai a reliable city for WiFi.
You can also find a large selection of co-working spaces around Chiang Mai if you’re looking for a working desk with a reliable internet speed.
Some are based on a membership subscription, whilst at others you can use the facilities as long as you purchase a drink.
Chiang Mai has a great workcation community
Chiang Mai has an incredible community of remote workers, so it won’t be long until you make new friends. Chiang Mai is also a university city with a large student population with loads of events and entertainment going on frequently.
I found it to be a relatively quick experience making new friends in Chiang Mai, and it’s easy to form your community to work with and eat/party with once you’ve packed your laptop away for the evening.
It’s essential that you look into your Thailand visa situation before you travel
If you travel to Thailand from the UK by air, you can gain a 30-day tourism visa exemption entry stamp on arrival. Maybe 30 days works well for you, and it is enough time for you to enjoy Chiang Mai.
If you plan to stay longer, you can apply for a visa at the Royal Thai Embassy, London before you depart. Another possible option is to extend your stay in Thailand by visiting an immigration office before your visa expires to extend your visa for a fee.
This is an excellent option if you wish to explore more of Thailand, such as the Thai islands of Phuket or Koh Phangan in the south.
For UK visitors to Thailand, it’s best to look at the Royal Thai Embassy, London website to look into your best visa options to match your needs.
Northern Thai food in Chiang Mai is incredible
Not only is Northern Thai food incredible, but it’s also affordable. Find a local street food vendor, pull up a plastic stool and tuck into a tasty bowl or two.
I hope you like your food with a spicy kick as this is often the theme found in Northern Thailand.
Compared to the rest of Thailand, you will soon discover less coconut-based curry and more focus on BBQ, sticky rice and chilli dip.
Every day you can go on a different food adventure in Chiang Mai with many flavours to explore, so be sure to make the most out of the opportunity.
Northern Thai dishes I would recommend trying in Chiang Mai:
– Krabong – A sort of tempura vegetable dish with a lovely tangy dip.
– Khao Lam – BBQ sticky rice cooked inside a bamboo stick.
– Khao Soi Gai – my favourite dish to enjoy on a lunch break, noodle chicken curry with a side of lime and pickles.
– Sai Oua – a spicy sausage made with pork and red curry chilli paste which packs a kick.
And if you can go to one of the Thai BBQ buffets in Chiang Mai one evening, you won’t be disappointed!
What I would do for sticky mango rice at the moment, so fresh, so tasty!
Travelling around Chiang Mai and Nothern Thailand
If you would like to explore more of Northern Thailand, Chiang Mai is a fantastic gateway to the region.
You can easily arrange many day trips in and around Chiang Mai.
Here are some of my favourite highlights:
– Trek into the jungle and bathe with elephants at the Elephant Nature Park rescue and rehabilitation centre.
– Visit Doi Inthanon National Park to explore the beautiful pagodas and the tropical mountain backdrop. Known as the rooftop of Thailand, this spot is the highest point in Thailand.
– Start your day early and enjoy sunrise at Wat Phra That Doi Suthep overlooking Chiang Mai from the foothills above.
– Take a day trip to Chiang Rai to explore Wat Rong Khun, also known as the White temple and the food markets in the city at night time.
– Head to Doi Suthep-Pui National Park to experience the ten levels of Mae Sa Waterfalls.
– Northern Thailand is also where you will find the golden triangle where the borders meet Laos and Myanmar. From here, you can enter Laos and take a boat trip along the Mekong river.
– Or, why not take a weekend escape high up into the winding hills to explore the town of Pai, with its lush tropical forests and rugged mountain landscape.
As you can see from all listed above, Chiang Mai is a beautiful starting base in Northern Thailand to explore its surroundings and beyond.
And don’t forget to spend some time exploring within the old walls of Chiang Mai, especially the night bazaar and food market.
Thank you for reading my blog post all about Chiang Mai
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading all about my first trip to Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand and why it’s a perfect location for a workcation.
If you’re looking to change your working location, then Chiang Mai is a perfect workcation holiday destination with loads to offer.
It’s a trip that I will never forget, and I’ve returned to Thailand many times since.
If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me; I’m more than happy to help.
Wishing you all the best with your future workcation trips to Thailand.
This blog post was part of a #ThrowbackThailand campaign put together in collaboration with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).