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Could you be a digital nomad in Thailand?

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Are you a digital nomad? Working online wherever you can find a seat and wi-fi?

According to digital nomad websites, some of the most popular locations to work online around the world include Chiang Mai & Bangkok (Thailand), Budapest (Hungary), Belgrade (Serbia), Bali (Indonesia), Lisbon (Portugal) and Buenos Aires (Argentina). What do all these cities have in common? The main things is the low cost of living, a favourable climate, great scenery, cultural richness, communities of people who do the same job, and a quality quality of life for the travelling ‘nomad’.

Thai PBS spoke to 41 year old Ozzi Jarvien, the pioneer of the digital nomads in Chiang Mai. He has spent more than a decade in the north of Thailand and recalls that in 2006, just before the harsh Finnish winter arrived, he wanted to work somewhere warmer, so he moved back to Bangkok. A few years earlier he had studied in an exchange program in International Business at Bangkok University. Then, returned to his home town in Finland. But in 2007, he relocated to the capital of the northern region of Thailand and established his own company, ‘Iglu’, a remote working community with three branches nationwide. Basically, he is the real deal in the digital nomads’ world.

“The hardest part is to buy that one-way ticket. Just get the ticket and then everything else somehow sorts itself out, because it’s much easier than most people think.”

“Once they land here, it’s easy to find an apartment, you’ll never lack a place to stay. It’s easy to find food and to find people to work with. I think people imagine that it’s harder than it is. One big thing is that the internet is actually good and is everywhere. Even the mobile internet like 4G, it’s better here than in lots of EU countries.”

Having spent almost five years in Chiang Mai, the city that he loves, 37 year old Jengis Gonzalez is thinking about turning himself from a digital nomad into an expat. He used to work for giant e-commerce firm Amazon.com, which gave him the idea that there is an incredibly large online market in the US. Now he is working for a logistics company based in Chiang Mai, sending products from Thailand to the United States for e-commerce sale, primarily on Amazon.com.

He has some very practical advice for digital nomad wannabes.

“My advice would be, basically, ‘have a plan’. I’ve met so many people who come here, thinking they’re going to do something, then realising it’s not working out and they don’t have a plan B. So, they encounter a lot of issues, like what do I do now? I need to find a job or I need to go back home, or I should figure out a way to keep going’. So, I would say that it’s a very risky thing to do”.

“Don’t hesitate to contact people through Facebook about Digital Nomad groups in Chiang Mai, which are very active. You can find many people doing the same job as you, so your questions will be answered.”

29 year old Lilly has been a casting agent for movies for more than 10 years but finds 99% of her work is online these days so prefers to move around and travel, whilst working.

“I live the flexibility and the chance to travel and meet awesome people whilst earning the income to make it all possible. I hit all sort of hurdles along the way but love the adventure. Keep you mind open, make sure you DO work whilst you’re travelling and the lifestyle can be great. I tend to move around south east Asia but always end up coming back to the magical island of Phuket.”

The biggest problem of being a digital nomad is finding a visa to suit your needs. If you’re a real nomad, and spending time in multiple countries and following the weather, the seasons or the festivals, then you can probably get by with tourist visas (although, officially, you’re unable to work on a tourist visa). Being a digital nomad in Thailand you should read up about the visa options and see what is practical and will suit your lifestyle.

Read about the Smart Visa and digital nomad life HERE.

And The Thaiger even included them in our list of Top 10 types of expats in Thailand HERE.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE: Thai PBS World

 

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