Chiang Mai, the cultural heart of northern Thailand, has become a mecca for digital nomads in recent years, thanks to its low cost of living, vibrant community, and stunning natural beauty. Its vibrant street life, ornate temples, and stunning natural beauty create an unforgettable tapestry of sights and sounds that will leave visitors in awe
With numerous co-working spaces and cafes, Chiang Mai is an accessible destination for digital nomads of all budgets. Whether you're looking to explore the city's vibrant culture or escape into the nearby mountains for a bit of adventure, Chiang Mai is an exciting and welcoming destination for remote workers from around the world.
How Much Does It Cost To Live In Chiang Mai Per Month?
As a digital nomad, how much you spend per month no matter where you live will deeply depend on a range of factors and lifestyle choices. If you choose to live in Chiang Mai, Thailand, you can expect a lower living cost than other popular digital nomad destinations. The average cost of rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center is around ฿10,000-฿15,000 ($300-$450 USD) per month. Eating out is relatively inexpensive and often more affordable than buying groceries. A meal at a local restaurant generally costs around ฿50-฿100 ($1.50-$3 USD), but if you add in a few beers expect to pay a bit more.
Getting around the city on foot is relatively easy. However, sometimes it is easier just to hop on public transportation. Transportation costs are low, with a one-way ticket on public transport costing around ฿20 ($0.60 USD). You can also download the app Grab to easily call a taxi whenever you need a ride. If you’re planning on staying for an extended time in Chiang Mai though, it may be worth renting a scooter. On average, you can expect to pay around ฿2,500-4,000 ($75-$120 USD) per month for a basic scooter rental. However, some rental agencies may require a deposit or additional fees for insurance, maintenance, or accessories. Keep in mind though, it is important to shop around and compare prices from different rental agencies to find the best deal. Additionally, it's important to note that driving a scooter in Chiang Mai can be challenging and dangerous, especially for inexperienced drivers, so it's recommended to take proper safety precautions and wear a helmet at all times.
Of course, as a digital nomad, you will want to stay connected. For a phone plan with data expect to pay around ฿300-฿500 ($9-$15 USD) per month. If you don’t love working in coffee shops and prefer a coworking space, the good news is coworking spaces are abundant. Prices range from ฿2,000-฿6,000 ($60-$180 USD) per month.
Overall, weekly Thai massages included, it is realistic to live comfortably in Chiang Mai, Thailand as a digital nomad for under $1000 USD.
✈️ Pro Tip: Leave the hustle and bustle of Chiang Mai and Go Island Hopping in Thailand instead.
Co-Working Spaces In Chiang Mai
Co-working spaces in Chiang Mai offer affordable, flexible, and professional work environments that cater to the needs of remote workers. They also offer great opportunities to meet other digital nomads and build community while abroad. As previously mentioned, prices for coworking spaces in Chiang Mai vary depending on the location, facilities, and services offered, but typically range from ฿2,000-฿6,000 ($60-$180 USD) per month.
Co-working spaces offer high-speed internet, comfortable seating, meeting rooms, printing services, and access to a community of like-minded professionals. Co-working spaces in Chiang Mai provide a cost-effective and convenient solution for remote workers seeking a productive and social workspace.
Punspace Co-working Space
With multiple locations throughout Chiang Mai, Punspace offers flexible coworking options for remote workers at an affordable price. Monthly membership plans start at ฿3,299 ($95 USD) and include access to high-speed internet, meeting rooms, printing services, and free coffee and tea. Punspace also hosts regular networking events and workshops for its members.
Hub53 Co-working Space
Located in the trendy Nimmanhaemin neighborhood, Hub53 is a modern and stylish co-working space that offers a range of options for booking. Memberships can be booked by the day or hour with an all-access pass costing ฿3,299 ($95 USD) per month.
The space features high-speed internet, private meeting rooms, printing services, and a fully equipped kitchen. Hub53 also offers a range of events and workshops, including language exchanges and networking events, as well as a rooftop terrace with panoramic views of the city. The space is designed to promote collaboration and creativity, making it a great choice for remote workers looking for a dynamic and inspiring workspace.
Planter's Co-working Space
Planter's Co-working Space offers a unique and eco-friendly workspace for remote workers looking to connect with nature. The space is designed with plants and greenery throughout, creating a refreshing and inspiring atmosphere. Membership plans start at ฿3,500 ($105 USD) per month and include access to high-speed internet, private meeting rooms, printing services, and a communal kitchen.
Planter's Co-working Space also offers a range of events and activities, including weekly networking events and skill-sharing workshops. The space is designed to promote a healthy and sustainable lifestyle, with features such as an outdoor garden area and a focus on reducing waste. With its natural and welcoming environment, Planter's Co-working Space is a great choice for remote workers looking for a unique and refreshing workspace.
What Are The Best Cafes To Work At In Chiang Mai?
If you don’t want to dish out the dough to use a co-working space, working from a cozy coffee shop is the perfect way to get your digital nomad duties done. The following coffee shops are some of the best for getting work done in Chiang Mai.
Akha Ama Coffee
Akha Ama Coffee is a cozy cafe in the heart of Chiang Mai's Old City. This family-owned cafe specializes in single-origin coffee and offers a range of baked goods and light snacks. While you work, try out their signature drip coffee and freshly made croissants. The cafe's friendly staff and relaxed atmosphere make it a great spot to work for hours on end.
Ombra Caffe No. 3
Ombra Caffe No. 3 is a cozy cafe located in the heart of Chiang Mai's Old City. The cafe serves up delicious coffee, pastries, and light bites in a relaxed atmosphere. There are plenty of plugs available throughout the cafe, so you don’t have to worry about your devices dying while you work.
Free Bird Cafe
Free Bird Cafe is a social enterprise cafe located in the trendy neighborhood of Santitham. The cafe serves up delicious vegetarian and vegan food made with organic, locally sourced ingredients. What makes Free Bird Cafe stand out is its commitment to supporting refugees in the area through its art program. The walls are adorned with beautiful artwork created by refugees, and the cafe offers art workshops and other programs to help support the community. Try out their fresh-cut coconut mixed with espresso to get the energy you need to get all of your work done.
My Secret Cafe in Town
This hidden gem of a cafe is located in the heart of the Nimmanhaemin neighborhood, tucked away from the main road. The cafe is small but cozy, with a few tables and a comfortable seating area. There are a few power outlets available to charge up as you work.
Into the Woods
Into the Woods is a charming and cozy cafe located in the Old City neighborhood. The cafe's decor is rustic and natural, with plenty of greenery and wooden furnishings. Their menu features a range of coffee drinks, teas, and healthy food options, as well as delicious homemade cakes and pastries. Their banana cake is the perfect treat to enjoy while you work. The cafe has a quiet and peaceful atmosphere, making it a perfect spot for digital nomads to focus and work. Plus, there are plenty of power outlets and high-speed internet available.
✈️ Pro Tip: Avoid getting travelers tummy while in Thailand by making sure you have all of these Medications You Should Always Pack When Traveling.
What To See & Do While Living In Chiang Mai
Part of the fun of being a digital nomad is working in a new city and exploring in your free time. When you’re not tucked away behind your laptop, head to the following must-see sites in Chiang Mai.
Visit Wat Rong Khun - White Temple
Wat Rong Khun, also known as the White Temple, is a stunning temple located just outside of Chiang Mai. The temple's unique design incorporates traditional Buddhist elements with modern art, creating a one-of-a-kind experience for visitors.
Explore the Old City
The old city of Chiang Mai is a walled square that is filled with temples, markets, and local shops. It's a great place to walk around and soak up the atmosphere. Stretch your legs after a busy day sitting behind your laptop and wander around the old city.
Attend a Cooking Class
Chiang Mai is known for its delicious cuisine, and taking a cooking class is a great way to learn how to make some of the local dishes. Mama Noi Cooking Class is a popular choice among visitors, myself included, to Chiang Mai, offering a personalized experience with a focus on using organic ingredients and traditional cooking techniques.
Visit the Elephant Nature Park
When doing any type of animal tourism, it is always wise to do your research first before you book an experience. If you’ve researched visiting Thailand, you’ve likely seen photos of people playing with tiger babies, who unfortunately have been heavily sedated and mistreated. However, there are a few elephant sanctuaries that provide an ethical tourism experience, like BEES Elephant Sanctuary, for retired work elephants that allow you to feed, bathe, and play with the elephants.
Explore Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
This stunning temple is located on a mountain overlooking Chiang Mai. Arguably one of the most famous and revered temples in northern Thailand, Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is sure to leave you speechless.
The hills surrounding Chiang Mai offer some of the best zip-lining experiences in Thailand. Fly through the trees and enjoy the stunning views of the surrounding countryside. Let your inner adrenaline junky out at Flight of the Gibbon, one of the best zip-lining experiences in Chiang Mai.
Get a Thai Massage
Thailand is famous for its massage, and Chiang Mai has some of the best massage places in the country. The typical price for a Thai massage in Chiang Mai can range from ฿150-500 (around $5-15 USD) per hour, depending on the location, type of massage, and level of luxury. You’ll leave your massage feeling like a whole new person.
Shop at the Night Bazaar
Get ready to barter at the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar. The Night Bazaar is a bustling market that is open every night. It's a great place to find souvenirs, clothes, and handicrafts.
Visit Doi Inthanon National Park
After a lot of screen time working away as a digital nomad, you will need a break in the great outdoors. Located about an hour outside of Chiang Mai, Doi Inthanon National Park is home to Thailand's highest mountain and offers beautiful views, waterfalls, and hiking trails.
Attend The Famous Lantern Festival
Attending the Yee Peng Lantern Festival in Chiang Mai is a must-see event for visitors. The festival takes place in November and features thousands of paper lanterns being released into the sky, creating a stunning display of light and color. The festival is truly a magical experience.
Whether you're looking to work remotely, explore a new culture, or just enjoy some delicious food, Chiang Mai has something for everyone. With its stunning temples, delicious street food, and welcoming community of digital nomads, it's no wonder that Chiang Mai has become such a popular destination for remote workers. So if you're a digital nomad looking for your next destination, be sure to add Chiang Mai to your list.