Here’s everything you need to know know about living ad working in Thailand as a digital nomad.
Being a digital nomad in Thailand offers many opportunities. It’s a welcoming country that offers a comfortable lifestyle and various experiences to cater to almost any remote worker.
In this guide, we’ll share what it’s like to work remotely in Thailand, the best cities to live in, and answers to other common questions.
Thailand is home to friendly locals, delicious cuisine, fun activities, and gorgeous scenery. Whether you’re looking for a lively destination or a relaxed atmosphere, there’s something for every digital nomad in Thailand. Best of all, the cost of living is low, making it easy to have an optimal work-life balance and time to enjoy this incredible country.
Continue reading to learn all about working remotely in Thailand.
Is Thailand good for digital nomads?
Thailand is one of the best countries for digital nomads because of its beauty, kind locals, affordability, and endless experiences.
The diverse mix of picturesque landscapes, delicious cuisine, rich culture, and remote work opportunities makes it a wonderful place to travel and work.
Here are some reasons Thailand is ideal as a digital nomad destination:
- Natural beauty: Thailand is one of the most stunning countries, with beautiful beaches and lush jungles.
- Many activities: Whether you prefer relaxing, enjoying adventure, or a mix, there are many things to see and do.
- Kind locals: Thailand is also known as the Land of the Smiles because most locals are always happy and friendly.
- Delicious food: Thai food is some of the most flavourful food I’ve ever had. Food in Thailand often has various ingredients that taste amazing together. It’s also easy for vegetarians to find excellent food options.
- Affordability: As one of the most affordable countries, it’s not difficult to live comfortably as a digital nomad in Thailand.
- Expat community: Thailand has many remote workers and travellers, making meeting like-minded people relatively easy.
Is it legal to work remotely in Thailand?
It is legal for foreigners to work remotely in Thailand, and there are various visa options for digital nomads. In fact, the Thai government is working towards boosting its economic development with a new Thailand remote work visa.
The Thailand digital nomad visa is officially known as the Long-Term Resident Visa (LTR). With the LTR visa, you can live in Thailand for up to 5 years and have the option to extend an additional 5 years.
If you’re a remote worker visiting Thailand for leisure, you can also visit visa-free for up to 30 days. Learn more here about the Visa Exemption Rule and the 64 countries permitted to enter under this option.
Related read: The Best Asia Visas for Remote Workers (and how to apply)
Best Places in Thailand for Digital Nomads
Digital nomads in Thailand enjoy various wonderful cities, including Chiang Mai, Bangkok, Krabi, Koh Lanta, Phuket, and Koh Samui.
These cities have a low cost of living and offer a comfortable lifestyle for remote workers. The best places in Thailand for digital nomads provide something for everyone.
Chiang Mai is a charming and affordable city in Northern Thailand. There’s something for almost everyone, from coffee shops and temples to nearby retreats and hiking opportunities.
I lived and worked remotely in Chiang Mai’s Nimman neighbourhood for about three months a few years ago. It was one of my favourite experiences as a digital nomad.
Chiang Mai has an excellent digital nomad scene and various coworking spaces, making it easy to network and find people to work and explore with.
Bangkok is Thailand’s capital and the perfect destination for nomads who enjoy a bustling city and a vibrant nightlife scene.
Some travellers find Bangkok too chaotic, while others enjoy how much there is to see and do. From endless shopping opportunities and dining options to coffee shops and coworking spaces, staying busy and meeting new people is not difficult.
Like most places in Thailand, Bangkok is affordable. Its international airport also makes travelling to and from the city relatively straightforward.
Krabi is a stunning province in southern Thailand known for beautiful beaches, lush jungles, and delicious food. The town of Ao Nang, a short drive from Krabi Town, is also a popular digital nomad destination for those who enjoy a more touristy vibe.
Krabi always has something to do including beach activities, local markets, and outdoor adventures. This makes it easy to meet others, and locals are also friendly and ready to socialize.
While there aren’t many coworking spaces in Krabi, there are plenty of cafes with internet for working.
Koh Lanta, an island off the coast of Krabi, is perfect for digital nomads in Thailand who prefer a relaxed atmosphere.
The quaint island is a nature lover’s paradise with picture-perfect beaches and jungle landscapes. Even though Koh Lanta is small, it always feels like there’s something to do if you enjoy being outdoors.
When it’s time to work, you can find reliable internet and places to set up your laptop in Koh Lanta. It’s also nice to connect with the island’s large expat community.
Phuket is another popular island in southern Thailand for digital nomads. It’s similar to Koh Lanta, with beautiful beaches and a laid-back atmosphere but somewhat touristy.
Because Phuket is more westernized to cater to tourists, the prices are slightly higher than other Thailand destinations. That said, Phuket is still reasonably affordable.
With fun outdoor activities, exciting nightlife, and a thriving remote work scene, a healthy work-life balance is attainable in Phuket.
Known as a resort island for years, Koh Samui is becoming a popular spot for digital nomads in Thailand. It’s a little less lively than the other Thai islands but ideal for those who want a calmer, more luxurious setting.
Koh Samui is an excellent place to relax on a stunning beach with incredible temples.
While there aren’t as many remote workers in Koh Samui as in other locations, there are many cafes and several coworking spaces. There are also many opportunities to make friends with fellow nomads and locals.
Cost of Living in Thailand
One of the best reasons to be a digital nomad in Thailand is the low cost of living. Thailand’s cost of living is about 34% lower than in the United Kingdom and 44% lower than in the United States.
With nice accommodations at an affordable rate, incredible dining options at low prices, and the convenience of getting around, you can live a very comfortable lifestyle in Thailand.
Whether you’re a digital nomad looking to take some time off to travel on a budget or you’re planning to continue working, Thailand’s an excellent place.
Here’s an overview of the average costs for basic expenses in Thailand for digital nomads:
- Accommodation: You can rent a 1-bedroom apartment in the city centre for about $392 per month, or outside the city centre for about $221.
- Dining: An inexpensive meal is less than $3 for local Thai food, which is my personal favourite cuisine.
- Drinks: A beer costs about $3, and coffee costs less than $1.
- Transportation: There are various ways to travel (tuk-tuk, rideshare, metro, etc.) depending on where you are in Thailand, but it usually costs less than $2 for a round-trip to somewhere in the same city.
Related read: 9 Apps That Help You Budget Money (with Pros and Cons)
Cafes and Coworking Spaces in Thailand
There are many places in Thailand with public Wi-Fi and spaces to work. That said, check with an establishment before you settle in to ensure they have internet for customers.
Here are cafes and coworking spaces digital nomads in Thailand recommend working at:
Cafes and Coworking Spaces in Chiang Mai
- Artisan Café: a trendy cafe with good and coffee reliable Wi-Fi
- Yellow Coworking Space: a coworking space and cafe with various areas to work and lounge, and events for connecting with others
- Hub 53: a coworking and coliving space conveniently located close to the popular Nimman area
Cafes and Coworking Spaces in Bangkok
- Ink & Lion: a cosy cafe with plenty of space to work
- The Great Room: an upscale space to work and gather with panoramic views of the city skyline
- The Work Loft: a hip coworking space that supports productivity and networking
Cafes and Coworking Spaces in Krabi
- Café 8.98 Ao Nang: a popular cafe with internet, coffee, and food
- Lekker Café and Restaurant: a large space to work and dine
- Easy Cafe by Relax Coffee: a local, comfortable cafe
Cafes and Coworking Spaces in Koh Lanta
- Peak Café: an unassuming spot on the beach with Wi-Fi
- KoHub: a relaxing atmosphere with various workspaces, including an outdoor garden
Cafes and Coworking Spaces in Phuket
- Bookhemian: a unique cafe lined with bookshelves offering ample space to work
- Grind Time: a professional and fun coworking space
- Let’s Work: an incredibly designed workspace near the beach
Cafes and Coworking Spaces in Koh Samui
- About Cafe: a local coffee shop owned by an award-winning barista
- Flo: a modern coffee shop with a great atmosphere for working
Note: There are also a few startup coworking spaces in Koh Samui.
How to Find Long-Term Accommodation in Thailand
The best option for finding long-term accommodation in Thailand is booking a short-term Airbnb or Bookings.com rental and then finding a long-term option when you’re there. This allows you to explore the area and look at rentals. And the good news is that it’s easy to book affordable short-term and long-term rentals.
I was able to extend my Airbnb when I stayed in Chiang Mai for a few months, and the host offered a discount for long-term booking.
You might also find accommodation options on Facebook pages like Digital Nomads Thailand.
Downsides of Being a Digital Nomad in Thailand
Although there aren’t many downsides to working remotely in Thailand, the pollution and limited visa options can be challenging.
Thailand’s air quality isn’t ideal. Some areas are better than others, though. For example, the islands have less pollution than cities like Bangkok.
I recommend asking the person you rent from if they have an air purifier or can help you get one. It’s also best to live somewhere with aircon so you can keep doors and windows closed.
Another drawback is that Thailand also has limited visa options for an extended stay. However, the LTR visa we discussed is an option for those who want to stay long-term.
Read more: 5 Downsides of Being a Digital Nomad (& How to Overcome Them)
Is Thailand safe for LGBTQ+ people?
Although the Thai government is somewhat behind in equal rights for LGBTQ+ people, most locals are very welcoming. Many LGBTQ+ people share stories of visiting Thailand and feeling comfortable. There’s also a large transgender community in Thailand.
The cities we shared above are all known to be gay-friendly. Bangkok is known as one of Thailand’s most welcoming cities. Phuket is also popular for LGBTQ+ travellers who want to visit an island.
Do I need to learn Thai?
The best digital nomad cities we shared above have many locals who speak English, and learning Thai isn’t crucial. However, we always recommend learning basic phrases. This shows consideration for the culture and helps when you encounter locals who don’t speak English.
With Mondly, you can learn common Thai phrases. It’s also a good idea to have Google Translate ready on your phone to use while you’re travelling if needed.
We hope this guide to being a digital nomad in Thailand was helpful to you! You might be interested in reading this article if you’re interested in learning about working remotely in other wonderful Southeast Asia cities.