The Everything Guide for the Digital Nomad Chiang Mai [2019 Update!]

01 Jun 2019
by Danielle Thompson
Digital Nomad, Senior UX/UI Designer and a member of the Professional Association for Design.

Enriched with the generosity of a pleasantly balmy weather, garden fresh food, and gorgeous cultural monuments, Chiang Mai is regarded as the Mecca for backpackers and travelers. Lately, there’s a new group coming in droves: the digital nomad Chiang Mai has been welcoming and adapting to. Exquisite cafes for digital nomads as well as totally-equipped co-working spaces have surged in popularity! In addition to fulfilling our freelancing needs, there’s lots more reason to come to Chiang Mai. From the exciting nightlife to the lush, tranquil scenery of the mountainside, this super-cheap Thai town is hailed as one of the most livable places in Asia.

digital nomad chiang mai
Photographer: ray rui | Source: Unsplash

Chiang Mai is a great place to get a heavy dose of exotic culture. After all, the best part of traveling is having your eyes opened to new things and ideas. There are numerous Buddhist temples around the area, which are must-sees for the digital nomad Chiang Mai. The mountainous terrain also makes it a hiking hot-spot. The nature and culture alone are enough to make a trip to Chiang Mai well worth it, but the modern amenities for the digital nomad Chiang Mai make it a great place to work, as well.

The Best Cafes in Chiang Mai to Work From

Despite the ancient roots of Chiang Mai, digital nomads will have no difficulty finding a totally equipped cafe to work from. Although some cafes in Chiang Mai will have better Wi-Fi, others will have better Thai food or a cozier decor. Why not test them all out and see which one is the most productive environment for the digital nomad Chiang Mai?

AB’PETITE CAFE – Best Wi-Fi Coworking Cafe Chiang Mai

This endearing cafe oozes coziness right from the moment you walk in! From white-washed walls, floor-to-ceiling windows and hanging lights, Ab’ Petite is unarguably one of city’s gems with great Wi-Fi, a handful of outlets and freshly roasted coffee. With the steady stream of coffee and Wi-Fi, this is the best coworking cafe Chiang Mai offers (if you can find a seat). All in all, this is a great spot to kick-start your work! 

The splashes of green will give you a dose of the great outdoors.

Wake Up – 24-Hour Cafe Chiang Mai

A chic, modern café that is brightly lit for 24 hours a day, Wake Up is the perfect place to accomplish the lengthiest of your assignments while burning the midnight oil. It is a quiet space occupied by digital nomads from different corners of the world, but spacious with a plenty of seating and strong Wi-Fi to keep you going.  In fact, it’s the only 24-hour cafe Chiang Mai has to offer digital nomads. When your work keeps you going into late hours, you’ll have somewhere to stay.

Did we mention that it’s totally Instagrammable as well?

Artisan Café – The Cafe for Coffee Lovers Chiang Mai

Adding a distinctive touch to Chiang Mai’s café culture, Artisan is a super-cool place adorned with dark wooden tables, hanging plants and curated antiques. It serves a varied selection of delicious specialty coffees. They even do creative latte art, so this is definitely the go-to spot for coffee lovers Chiang Mai has on offer. Their spectacular coffee paired with a speedy Wi-Fi will keep you well fueled for your next milestone. 

digital nomad chiang mai
Photographer: Nathan Dumlao | Source: Unsplash

The Best Coworking Spaces in Chiang Mai

Digital nomads have a few different choices when it comes to choosing a co-working space. Chiang Mai is full of great cafes to work from, but there are certain projects that require total concentration. All digital nomads will eventually get tired of the clanging of the coffee machine or people chatting over lunch. Luckily, they can pop into one of the many brilliant coworking spaces Chiang Mai has in place for their digital nomad community.

PunSpace – Quiet Coworking Chiang Mai

One of the first places to open its doors for digital nomads in the backdrop of a thriving tech scene, PunSpace offers a peaceful working environment. This popular coworking Chiang Mai is often frequented by some of the town’s most popular digital nomad gurus. The space is loaded with the goodness of a super-fast fiber optic broadband that facilitates a lively, hardworking atmosphere. 

There are group spaces and individual working areas.

CAMP – For The Creative Digital Nomad Chiang Mai

CAMP or ‘Creative and Meeting Place’ is extremely popular among Thai students and digital nomads! Nestled on the fifth floor of the Maya shopping mall, it boasts of a cheerful working environment complemented by ultra-modern amenities as well as stunning views of the city. It’s totally equipped for professional tasks and regular business, but the creative digital nomad Chiang Mai will find that it’s great for innovative work as well.

Pro Tip: After you’ve finished working, you can step next door to watch a movie at the SFX Cinema! 

The Best Bars in Chiang Mai

Part of any working professional’s life is relaxing and having fun. We have to wipe away the stress of the day somehow! Digital nomads will find tons of fun things to do in Chiang Mai’s nightlife. However, there are some things to note. Even in the best bars in Chiang Mai, closing time is at 12 midnight. The Old City in Chiang Mai is most notorious among backpackers, so if you’re looking for bars with young people, try there. There’s a red-light district as well where you might find some after bars in Chiang Mai, but beware. It’s got a seedy reputation for a reason.

digital nomad chiang mai
Thailand has a thriving nightlife. You might need your sunglasses at night!
Photographer: Frame Harirak | Source: Unsplash

Boy’s Blues Bar – Night Bazaar Chiang Mai

Tucked within the city’s Night Bazaar, Boys Blues Bar is renowned for its uber-hot live music! Visitors to this area should definitely stop to check out the Night Bazaar Chiang Mai is famous for and make your way over to Boy’s Blues Bar afterwards to really start the night! From Boy’s (the name of their premier guitarist) crazy jazz music to the cheap intoxicating drinks and a relaxed atmosphere, BBB’s lively blues promise to welcome the guests in style.

P.S. Monday’s jam night lets the visitors pick up the guitar themselves and double the fun. 

digital nomad chiang mai
The night bazaar Chiang Mai shows visitors the most authentic Thai experience possible!
Photographer: Zach Inglis | Source: Unsplash

Deck 1 – Almost a Rooftop Bar Chiang Mai

If you’re looking to escape the noisy crowds and wind down in a laid-back setting, you’re your way to Deck 1. Located on the bank of the Ping River, this sophisticated restaurant and bar gives digital nomads a peaceful, natural experience without having to hike out into nature. It’s right on the river outdoors, which makes it almost like a rooftop bar Chiang Mai has! It caters to refreshing spirits and cocktails with traditional Thai cuisines. Plus, there is live music to keep you entertained! 

Where to Find the Best Restaurants Chiang Mai

With so many new, rich flavors and an affinity for chili peppers, the food in Chiang Mai will keep digital nomads on a hunt to try every dish. It is the mecca for Thai food! On the quest to find all the most delicious dishes, make sure you hit up the best restaurants Chiang Mai has to offer. The best thing about the culture of restaurants Chiang Mai boasts: they’re all affordable! Find your favorite flavors and stay on budget while you work as a digital nomad Chiang Mai.

digital nomad chiang mai
Thai food often uses local herbs like lemongrass and turmeric.
Photographer: The Creative Exchange | Source: Unsplash

The Good View – Best Riverside Restaurant Chiang Mai

Embark on a magical dinner along the riverside at Good View. Here, an uber-luxury dining experience awaits you as you indulge in a range of Thai, Japanese and International cuisines! It is strongly recommended to try their‘Kantoke’,the city’s customary platter! 

The Gallery – The Best Thai Food Chiang Mai

Concealed in one of Chiang Mai’s oldest wooden buildings built back in 1890’s, The Gallery is where art meets cuisine! While the entrance leaves you spellbound with Aladdin’s cave of treasures, their spicy curries are not to be missed. Contrary to some of the street food in Chiang Mai, The Gallery offer traditional dishes that won’t intimidate tourists and digital nomads. It’s definitely the best thai food Chiang Mai restaurant and the atmosphere will make you sure of it!

How to Get a SIM Card Chiang Mai

There are three major network providers in Thailand and their signal strength and network coverage are more or less the same. So, it is wise to go for the cheapest option that is provided by AIS’s traveler SIM (excluding VAT) available for 599 THB or $18, with the benefits of an unlimited internet for 15 days, 6GB at maximum speed, and 100 THB call credit. Don’t stress about how to get a SIM card, Chiang Mai has lots of 7/11s and small shops which sell them and top them up.

digital nomad chiang mai
Photographer: Geoff Greenwood | Source: Unsplash

Tips for Transportation in Chiang Mai

Walking around is inarguably the best way to get around Chiang Mai and absorb all that the city has to offer. It seems like your feet are the best method of transportation in Chiang Mai! Additionally, tuk tuks are also convenient to travel around, simply because they’re fast and cater to an all new Thai experience. Be wary when taking tuk tuks though, as they sometimes lead tourists on long, drawn-out routes.

Pro Tip: You’ll need to negotiate a fair price beforehand.  Plus, it’s always a good idea to to map out your route as you’re riding it.

digital nomad chiang mai
Tuk tuks in action!
Photographer: Florian Wehde | Source: Unsplash

Moreover, you can traverse short distances via bright colored local taxis or the pick-up service app like Grab. Now that Uber has officially thrown in the towel in Thailand, Uber in Chiang Mai is no more. Grab is the leading taxi service and makes it quick, affordable and hassle-free to get around Chiang Mai.

The Best App for Food Delivery Chiang Mai

FoodPanda is your food companion app that allows you to savor your favorite cuisines without ever having to leave the comfort of your accommodation. They’ll bring your food delivery Chiang Mai straight to you, whether you’re still at the co-working office or sitting alongside the river after a day of sight-seeing.

digital nomad chiang mai
This curry from Chiang Mai looks so fresh, you can see the coconut bits!
Photographer: Elli O. | Source: Unsplash

Whenever you get the chance, however, you should be daring and try out some street food Chiang Mai. While it isn’t always foreigner-friendly (read: it gets spicy!), you might find the most authentic Thai-dining experience of your life! After all, trying new things is all part of the experience of a digital nomad Chiang Mai.

The Cost of Airbnb – Where to Stay Chiang Mai

A modern, fully-furnished one-bedroom apartment costs around US $375 a month. That’s a really great price! The best areas of where to stay Chiang Mai are also the most popular areas: the Old City, the Riverside, and near the Night Bazaar. However, for the digital nomad Chiang Mai, make sure to check out the services of your co-working space. Some co-working spaces also offer co-living deals as a package deal for their subscription.

If you go the Airbnb route, get $30 off your first Airbnb by using this link.

How is the Wi-Fi in Chiang Mai?

Digital nomads won’t have problems here! The average broadband speed in Chiang Mai is 20 mbps. The company AIS provides the best Wi-Fi in Chiang Mai, so if you are choosing your own company, go with AIS. There are also some AIS hotspots scattered around Chiang Mai, so if you need an extra boost, you can easily find a spot.

digital nomad chiang mai
Photographer: John Schnobrich | Source: Unsplash

Connect with the DN Community – Digital Nomad Chiang Mai 

Join the Nomad Coffee Club that organizes weekly digital nomad Chiang Mai meetups, featuring guest speakers, live Q&As, and much more. Moreover, there are number of Facebook groups including ‘I Love Chiang Mai’ which is ideal for meetups, discussion and much more!

Do you already have your digital nomad bags packed? Or are you just starting to dream of heading to Chiang Mai? Save this pin to your Travel Plans Pinterest board to access our complete guide whenever you need to.


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