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A Guide to Living in Chiang Mai for Expats and Digital Nomads

Chiang Mai, located in [Northern Thailand] has in the last few years become a popular location for digital nomads, retirees, and expats who come here after being tempted by the exotic locations, familiarity blend, and the low cost of living in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

This is a location that has everything you may need to live a comfortable life from international cuisines and shopping malls to cinemas showcasing the latest western films. Expats and digital nomads in Chiang Mai are often fascinated by the local culture which comprises of hundreds of Buddhist temples, lots of vegetarian restaurants, and captivating Buddhist festivals.

Apart from its low cost of living Chiang Mai is compact and easy to get around as compared to the chaotic scenes experienced in Bangkok. You can escape to the lakes, waterfalls, and mountains surrounding Chiang Mai at a moments’ notice, a fact that explains why many tourists often end up staying longer than they had initially planned.

Chiang Mai digital nomads

Another important factor to point out is that Wifi is abundant while apartments are very easy-to-find. However, you will need to have a Chiang Mai city guide book with you if you do not want to end up getting lost during the first few days. If you are planning on moving to this region, the following are a few factors that you should know:


The expats in Chiang Mai will willingly inform you that the country offers a thirty-day free visa to all visitors. The visas are provided on arrival at a land border post or at the airport. You can easily renew your visa at any Thailand immigration office or a Chiang Mai Immigration office. The renewal is for an additional thirty-day stay and should be done three to seven days before your current visa is due to expire.

If you are planning to [stay for a longer period], consider applying for a sixty-day single entry tourist visa before leaving your home country. The visas are available at the local Thai consulates. If you do not have one in your country, you can visit a neighbouring country to do the same.

Local Weather

The best time to visit Chiang Mai is during the cool season which starts in the month of November and ends in February. It is recommended that you carry some warm clothes as the period between December and January is characterized by very cold mornings and nights. The temperatures in the afternoons range around 28-32°C.

Chiang Mai experiences a hot season in the period between March and June. However, expect the city to be a little bit smokey from mid-February to March as this is a time when many farmers are burning their fields. Many expats in Chiang Mai choose to head out of the city during this period, opting to instead visit the surrounding islands or check on friends and family back at home.

July to October marks the start of the rainy season. This is considered to be one of the best times for you to visit the city. This is because there are fewer vacationers, the skyline is clear, and the vegetation is completely green. This is the best time to arrive and start your search for an accommodation before the high season begins.

Chiang Mai digital nomads


As of early November, the Thai baht was trading at $1= 32 Baht. You can access your money through the numerous ATM machines located all over the city. You should, however, note that the local banks charge a 200-baht fee for those using international cards to withdraw money from the ATMs.  As mentioned earlier, living in Chiang Mai Thailand is relatively cheap and you can easily survive on $500 a month.

A great way to supplement your income would be to [become an English teacher in Chiang Mai]. This is not only a great way for you to earn some extra spending money, but it also provides you with a unique opportunity to interact with the local residents. It is a great way for you to [learn their language, culture, and even make new friends].

But before you start making plans on how you will be spending your free time in the city, there are a few things you need to understand about teaching English as a foreigner in Chiang Mai. You must have your TEFL course certification before you can start applying for teaching jobs.

This means that you must spend about 120 hours taking this course. Once complete, consider your options, i.e., do you want to work in a language school, private school, or international school? All these schools pay their teachers differently, and it is upon you to do your research in advance and find a school that meets your financial needs.


This is one of the main reasons why this city has become very popular with expats and nomads. As you [continue looking for an apartment], it will be safer for you to stay in a guesthouse or hotel. If you are only planning to stay for a month, the best thing to do will be to negotiate for a better rate with your preferred guest house or look for a serviced apartment.

As a digital nomad looking to get away from your everyday life, Chiang Mai easily stands out as a good location to visit thanks to its cuisine, local culture, and high-quality living. The fact that you can get anything you would want to further simplify your life makes it even more appealing.

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