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Chiang Mai ranks 5th on travel site’s list of best places for digital nomads




PHOTO: Digital nomad workplace

Chiang Mai, a city which some say is a “rite of passage” for digital nomads, is a top location in the world to work remotely, according to the global travel site Big 7 Travel. In the list of “50 Best Places for Remote Working in 2021,” Chiang Mai ranked 5th out of 50 places. The site says the city has the “perfect makeup of affordability, visa flexibility, fast internet speed and overall atmosphere.”

The travel site also notes that Chiang Mai is very affordable with studios for rent in the city centre at around $300 to $400 USD. There’s also various co-working spaces.

There’s no visa in Thailand for digital nomads… yet. At the moment, many digital nomads living in Thailand are on volunteer visas or education visas, which can both get fairly expensive. The Thai Board of Investment, or BOI, recently proposed changes to the Smart Visa to allow foreign freelancers to apply, allowing an up to 4 year stay, but are not any new developments.

As the global shift to remote working shows no sign of switching back, workers across the world are leaving behind the traditional office setup to work from home. For many, that means they can relocate. In the United States, at least, 20% of the current workforce are freelance workers and that number has been predicted to grow to 40% by the mid-2020s.

Other best places to work remotely in 2021 include Tallinn, Estonia; Bali, Indonesia; and Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Rankings took into account core data of affordability and internet access that is gathered from Nomad List alongside other variables, including countries offering specific Digital Nomad visas, and where to find the coolest co-working spaces and expat-friendly communities.

SOURCE: Big 7 Travel


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  1. Avatar


    Wednesday, January 6, 2021 at 4:28 pm

    No visas for freelancers. I am a freelancer, making about 100,000 thb a month. For a smart visa, i need 200,000 and a lot of paper. Thai Elite is expensive if compare with other country. At Cyprus I just need a bank account statement for 600.000 thb . To get an annual Visa.In Vietnam, $ 1200 for a two year resident card. Thailand does not have an visa solutions for most freelancers. This is confirmed by the almost zero demand for a smart visa.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Wednesday, January 6, 2021 at 8:29 pm

      Plenty of other restrictions on a “Smart Visa” too, not just the 200,000 per month contract.

      I wonder if Big 7 Travel’s been there around March and April …

  2. Avatar


    Wednesday, January 6, 2021 at 4:52 pm

    Its out of date – the Chiangmai Digital Nomads boat sailed a while back…
    No viable visa and too many crack downs.

    • Avatar


      Wednesday, January 6, 2021 at 5:23 pm

      Yeah that ship has sailed. But education visas are easy to get again. Too late though, the community was shrinking year after year, with the focus on hordes of short term chinese tourists. Thailand just doesn’t offer long term anything – except if you get married to a Thai.

      • Avatar


        Wednesday, January 6, 2021 at 10:27 pm

        My wife is Thai. Thailand had somewhat lost its touch for both of us, so we are both leaving. We were going to buy a house in CM, and an apartment in BKK. So many better options, government does not like farrangs, not even its own people. Sure likes Chinese, though. Better places to invest our time and money! Places where we can both get citizenships, and not have to higher prices because I am white or because my wife has a white husband.

      • Avatar

        Robert Elliot

        Thursday, January 7, 2021 at 3:21 am

        Even staying long term as the spouse of a Thai is complicated

    • Avatar

      J West

      Wednesday, January 6, 2021 at 5:26 pm

      Deluded naive kiddies getting sucked in to paying expensive “school” fees, volunteer fees, gap year home stays, visa fees and agents fees all while paying bloated costs-working’ space rent. Digital nomads aka ‘ plucked chickens’.

  3. Avatar

    Albert Zweistein

    Thursday, January 7, 2021 at 12:37 am

    Did they also consider the air pollution ?

    • Avatar


      Thursday, January 7, 2021 at 7:16 am

      Spot on. If I wanted to catch lung cancer from air pollution it may be a good option.

  4. Avatar

    Göran ROTH

    Thursday, January 7, 2021 at 5:19 am

    4 out of top 10 are in Europe including #1 and #3.

  5. Avatar


    Thursday, January 7, 2021 at 9:06 am

    It’s always had a good reputation for digital nomads. Unfortunately, there is no visa that supports that lifestyle – the capital, mandatory staffing and office requirements are prohibitive.

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