During my latest adventures, I had the amazing opportunity to spend time in two hot-spots for being a digital nomad: Chiang Mai, Thailand, and Ubud, Bali.
These two destinations are some of the most popular places for traveling entrepreneurs, and it only took me a brief amount of time to understand why. Amazing food, an inspiring community, affordable luxury and seriously gorgeous scenery are just a few of the benefits that await.
If you’re a digital nomad looking for your next temporary office abroad, or you’re a trailblazing entrepreneur dreaming up your own epic adventure in Southeast Asia, then here’s what you need to know about working and traveling in these must-visit destinations:
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Now is a great time to head to Chiang Mai. There are currently a ton of fantastic deals available for roundtrip airfare from the US to Bangkok (with some rates even below $800.) From Bangkok, getting to Chiang Mai is as easy as a short flight or a long—but scenic—train ride away. That’s all it takes to start exploring this amazing destination!
Why Digital Nomads Love Chiang Mai
Some digital nomads live in Chiang Mai full-time, some are just passing through on adventures, and still others use it as their home base while exploring other epic destinations in Southeast Asia. But no matter the why or how long, you’re guaranteed to find amazing minds to meet, befriend or even collaborate with. I was only in Chiang Mai for a few days, but of course there was an awesome digital nomad meet-up group and pub crawl going on while I was there!
Cafes are always a great place to meet other trailblazing entrepreneurs as well as get some work done. And of course cafes (with Wi-Fi) are everywhere in Chiang Mai.
My go-to was The Nomad Coffee Club at Healthy B Cafe. This is where things were always circulating and going on. Another fab option is CAMP. This Creative And Meeting Place is a FREE 24-hour co-working space with reliable Wi-Fi. CAMP can get busy and sometimes it’s difficult to get a seat, but it’s still worth checking out.
What To Do In Chiang Mai
Other than soaking in the awesome digital nomad scene, here are a few activities not to miss: (They’re also GREAT additional ways to meet new people.)
Getting Around Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai is kind of like the countryside of Thailand, but still with a little bit of city energy to it. I stayed in the Nimman area, from which it was easy to walk or hop in a tuk-tuk taxi. There is also the Songtaew (otherwise known as bus taxis) that are essentially covered pickup trucks with comfy seats. Simply ask if the driver will take you to your destination on their way to wherever they are going and then hop in. For more on how to take a Songtaew, don’t miss this great post by Tasty Thailand.
Finding Accommodation in Chiang Mai
Many of the digital nomads in Chiang Mai love the Baan Thai apartments. At around $150 a month, they are a great option for something clean, comfortable and cheap. The apartments aren’t equipped with a kitchen, but with Thai food so tasty (and inexpensive) most prefer to eat out for the majority of their meals anyway.
Chiang Mai is cheap. Like coconut-cash kinda cheap. I rented an epic loft apartment on Airbnb for the week I was there. It only set me back a few hundred bucks, and it was absolute LUXURY. If your business is in USD, GBP or AUD, you will live in comfort while you’re here.
In many ways, Eat Pray Love put Ubud on the map for tourists and digital nomads alike. But despite its popularity on any Bali itinerary, there are still countless reasons to fall in love with Ubud.
Why Digital Nomads Love Ubud, Bali
Hubud: If you’re headed to Ubud to balance work and play, then you absolutely must start by getting a pass at the Hubud Co-working Space. Packages start at $60 for 25 hours, and it is 100% WORTH IT. Hubud is open 24-hours making it ideal to ride your motorbike over whenever inspiration (or deadlines) strike. Get a huge bottle of green juice for $3.50 and Skype away.
It’s also worth noting that Hubud is having an Unconference in February. Should be worth checking out.
What To Do In Ubud
Getting Around Ubud
I rented a motorbike, and it was worth it to get around quickly and easily. Some people are nervous about the dangers around motorbikes. Admittedly, I crashed, skinned my knee and paid a bit for the damages…but like I said, I still preferred the flexibility of my own transportation.
Find Out More Information About Ubud
Bali Spirit has TONS of resources on the best cafes to hang out with a smoothie, enjoy a raw dessert, or grab a meal with a new friend. Kafe was my favorite, while Fussy Bird was another great choice.
If you’re a digital nomad, then traveling to Chiang Mai and Ubud should definitely be on the top of your bucket list. Network with other entrepreneurs and enjoy the beauty of traveling to these two hot-spots!
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