Digital Nomad, Guides, Inspiration, Travel

How Much Does It Cost to Live in Chiang Mai For A Digital Nomad?

So How Much Does It Cost to Live in Chiang Mai For a Digital Nomad?

I’m listing everything that I spend in my first week as I think it will be helpful to gain a better picture of what it is like to live in Thailand.

I hope that documenting what I am doing will help anyone else who is looking to make the jump to be a Digital Nomad.

I know for me it would have really calmed my nerves knowing exactly how much everything would cost.

Even though I have been to Chiang Mai before. Cost of apartments and Co-working spaces were pretty unknown to me. As I was just backpacking last time.

So let’s jump in.


Monday – Traveling to Chiang Mai

I arrived in Chiang Mai after traveling from Belfast -> London (stayed there for 4 days seeing family) -> Stockholm -> Bangkok -> Chiang Mai.

My whole journey cost me under £250 | $330..!

You can read about how I traveled so cheap in my blog post “One way flight to Bangkok for under £200” where I explain how I find the best flight deals.

I also wrote about what I packed “Digital nomad packing checklist”.

I arrived in Bangkok airport I headed straight to the food court as I hadn’t ate in over 14 hours. I got Subway ( 380baht | £8.50 | $11 ). Trust me I am not proud that this was my first meal in SE Asia 😅 . But I was sleep deprived, starving and had to rush to catch my flight to Chiang Mai

When I got to Chiang Mai I grabbed a taxi to my hostel. These prices can range from 100-200baht depending on the season and if you take a hire car or can find a cheap tuk tuk.

At this point I wasn’t bothered about saving extra money, I just wanted to shower, brush my teeth and sleep. So I went to the first office stand and got a private taxi for 180baht | £4 | $5.

I arrived at Rimnim hostel at 11. But couldn’t check in until 2 so I just grabbed a coffee ( 50baht | £1 | $1.5 ) and explore the area and got some toiletries that I didn’t bring.

I bought but it was all the essentials like razor, toothpaste, shower gel, deodorant etc it all came to ( 550 baht | £12 | $16 ).

I then signed up to the co-working office Punspace where I plan to do all my work from. You basically get really good internet in a cool environment surrounded by other Digital Nomads that is open 24/7. I had heard about it a lot before I got here so I knew that this is the place where I wanted to work and meet people.

A 3 month membership cost me ( 8999 baht | £200.5 | $260 ).

This is actually pretty expensive in comparison to most things in Thailand but I know that I’ll be in Chiang Mai for the next 3 months and I want a place where I know I get get my head down and get a load of work down and hopefully connect with some cool people while I’m here. Alternatively you could work out of the place where you stay or out of cafes. But I imagine this to be pretty lonely and you also have to rely on those places having a good internet connection which is hard to find in SE Asia.

After signing up to Punspace I checked into Rimnim hostel it cost me ( 918 baht | £20.5 | $26.5 ) for 3 days.

I really liked this hostel it was modern and clean I think it has only been open for arounds 8 months.

The owners were awesome Tony is such a cool guy who is super helpful and he even took us out to a local Thai club!

Another bonus about staying here which I later found out is that it is really close to the workspace I wanted to join Punspace and the Nimman area which is the cool hipster-eque area of Chiang Mai.

If you are interested in staying at the same hostel use my agoda link. You get it for the same price but I get a couple of baht for referring you win/win 🙂

After getting myself sorted and recharging my batteries.

My body was craving something healthy at this stage so I jumped on TripAdvisor and found that there was a good salad bar round the corner called The Salad Concept

The food here was amazing! You basically build your own salad. You pick 5 items to go with your lettuce, you can add extra meat or avocado 🙌  , then you choose a dressing. I also got a wheatgrass shot to give me a boost after my long and give me all them sweet sweet minerals, but man that stuff is rough to drink.

For this killer salad, wheatgrass shot and a bottle of water it only cost ( 180 baht | £4 | $5 ). This is why SE Asia is so great and Chiang Mai in particular, you can eat at amazing places and restaurants for a fraction of what it would cost back at home. Alternatively I could have got a local thai meal for around ( 40baht | £1 | $1 ) but I just wanted to kickstart my body with some healthy food to start with.

Back at the hostel I made some friends with 2 American’s and a German girl. Drank a 2 big Lao beers (500ml) that we got at the local shop 7/11 for ( 56baht | £1 | $1 ). That’s what I love about hostels you get to hangout with people from all over the world.

That night the owner Tony took us to the local Thai club/bar Warm Up Cafe (Free entree). It was pretty much full of local Thai students. Which is a nice change from a load of smashed backpackers. But it was an awesome night. Thai people seem to love live music so there was a live band who were playing some cool rock songs Rage Against The Machine sung by a tiny Thai guy who actually nailed it. Then at the back of the club there is a club section and the DJ in there was on fire! Overall it was great night. Fun way stave off the jet lag.

 

Hostel (3 days) – ( 918 baht | £20.5 | $26.5 )

Taxi from airport – ( 180 baht | £4 | $5 )

Toiletries – ( 550 baht | £12 | $16 )

Punspace membership (3months) – ( 8999 baht | £200.5 | $259 )

Lunch – ( 180 baht | £4 | $5 )

Breakfast – ( 380 baht | £8.5 | $11 )

Coffee – ( 50 baht | £1 | $1.5 )

Water – ( 7 baht | £0.2 | $0.2 )

Big Lao beer 7/11 x 2 ( 108 baht | £2.5 | $3 )

Big Heineken in bar – ( 140 baht | £3 | $4 )

Day 1 Total Spent = £257 / $332

 

 

 


Tuesday – Looking for an apartment

The next two days I basically spent viewing apartments that Eating Healthy @ The Salad ConceptI plan to stay in for the next 3 months. If you are planning on getting an apartment in Chiang Mai or just want to see what they look you can check out my post “15 apartments in Chiang Mai for Digital Nomads” where I filmed each place I went to and gave my thoughts and gave prices.

The first day I checked out apartments around the Nimman area as this is walking distant Punspace where I will be working everyday and it’s also the coolest area for coffee shops, restaurants etc. Looking around apartments is so easy in Thailand you basically walk into the building as ask to view some rooms. Then if you want you can just pay and move in that day!

Here’s what I spent

 

Breakfast – Spicy Noodle at local thai restaurant – ( 40 baht | £1 | $1 )

Lunch – Cooked Vegetable Oyster dish at Lemontree restaurant  – ( 80 baht | £2 | $2.5 )

Dinner Salad + water at Salad Concept – ( 109 baht | £2.5 | $3 )

Coffee – ( 50 baht | £1 | $3 )

Freshly prepared juice pineapple, mango, apple – ( 50 baht | £1 | $3 )

Day 2 Total Spent = £8 / $10

 


Wednesday – Looking at more apartments

More apartment hunting. This time I went further out from My new co working office @ Punspacethe Nimman area where places were cheaper as it is less touristy.

I was basically had 2 criteria that I was interested in when I was looking for an apartment

  1. Close enough to Punspace so I could walk there everyday
  2. Had a gym or was cheap enough that I could by a membership

Since I am only relying on my savings at the moment I didn’t want to spend loads on a apartment as I want to bootstrap for aslong as possible. I’ve probably got enough for a 6 month run way.

The price range of all the places I looked at was from ( 2,700 baht – 15,000 baht | £60 – £334 | $78 – $432 ) per month.

The cheapest one I looked at ( 2,700 baht | £60 | $78 ) per month is crazy cheap. But in all fairness though the room was very basic and didn’t have AC just a fan and was pretty far out. It really brings home the point that you could really work and travel with a small budget. I luckily worked and saved up for a year so that I didn’t have to resort to living on a shoestring budget. But you never know I could be staying there in a few months 😅

Ended off the day with a spontaneous night out to the club Mandalay. It was amazing but ended up dancing up on stage with a load of Italians 😅

Here’s what I spent

 

Breakfast poached egg, bacon salad + coffee – ( 200 baht | £4.5 | $6 ) – The Salad Concept

Lunch beef noodle + tea – ( 130 baht | £3 | $4 )

Dinner chicken cashew + Big beer – £8 ( 320 baht | £7 | $9 ) – Beer Republic

Big beer 7/11 – ( 56baht | £1 | $1 )

Contact lens solution – ( 100 baht | £2 | $3 )

Taxi to club – ( 40 baht | £1 | $1 )

Club Entree – ( 200 baht | £4.5 | $6 )

Small beer at club – ( 140 baht | £3 | $4 )

Day 3 Total Spent = £27 / $35

 

 

 


Thursday – Moving into my new apartment in Chiang Mai

My new home for the next 3 months!Time to choose an apartment. The decision was basically down to 3 options The Dome, Huay Kaew Residence and Huay Kaew Palace 1 you can see what the looked like in my other post.

In the end I went with Huay Kaew Palace 1 as it has a gym and pool. It is a bit further out than the other ones so it takes me around 30 minutes to walk to Punspace instead of a 10 minute walk. But I feel like this place is the best value for money. The extra walking won’t do me any harm plus I can always rent a moped/scooter if I feel like it is eating up too much of my time/gets annoying.

In the end I got a taxi to the apartment complex. Handed my passport and paid for a months rent and month as a deposit.

And It cost me . . .

( 5,500 baht | £123 | $158 ) for a months rent!

I am so happy with this! Back in Ireland I was paying nearly 3x this and I didn’t have a gym or pool included.

Here’s what I get with my apartment:

  • Nice wee room with ensuite bathroom – it’s nothing fancy but I definitely feel it was the best standard for the price.
  • A gym – it only has a couple of machines but it is enough for me to get a sweat on everyday
  • A pool – to be fair I probably won’t be in the pool much but it will be nice to sit by and dip into on hot days!
  • Free WIFI – a lot of other places charged extra for WIFI
  • Cleaning – they will clean the apartment 3 times a month which again you had to pay for at other places

I am so chuffed with my apartment. I would definitely recommend staying in a hostel/guesthouse/hotel first and walking about seeing all the different apartments first before you decide.

Was jetlagged so passed out all night then got some food at a local food market

 

Dinner sushi at food market – ( 120 baht | £3 | $3.5 )

7/11 snacks – water, wasabi peas, nuts – ( 40 baht | £1 | $1 )

Red taxi – ( 40 baht | £1 | $1 )

Apartment deposit + 1 month rent – ( 11,000 baht | £243 | $317 )

Day 4 Total Spent = £248 / $320

 

 


Friday – Working at Punspace

I got up around 7am because I couldn’t sleep much but I wanted to get up and motivated to get some work done. So I did my first workout in the gym which is pretty basic all it really has is an all in one exercise machine, walking machine and a treadmill but it is all I really need to get the muscles active and to get my heart rate up. After that I grabbed an awesome breakfast at great healthy food place called Food4Thought which is just around the corner from the apartment. Then I walked to Punspace to get started on my first bit of work at around 10am.

So I did a speediest of the internet. The speed is good enough for what I need it for but you might struggle if you are doing more uploaded and downloaded such as video editing. If you need faster internet I have heard that CAMP in Maya mall is a great place as long as you have a AIS Super WIFI. But you can get 100mb upload. Which is crazy fast!?

For lunch I got some local thai food, Chicken rice and soup then went straight back into work.

Finished up at Punspace at around 7pm and went to grab dinner.

I got a okay chicken curry from a restaurant

On the walk home I got some water and a fruit mineral drink as I haven’t found anywhere that sells good fruit yet!

But that night I felt pretty home sick and lonely. I started to question what I was doing.

 

Breakfast Egg, Chicken, Avocado Salad + coffee  – ( 160 baht | £3.5 | $4.5 )

Lunch Soup, Chicken + Rice – ( 40 baht | £1 | $1 )

Dinner fried chicken curry – ( 140 baht | £3 | $4 )

Big water + mineral drink – ( 40 baht | £1 | $1 )

Day 5 Total Spent = £9 / $11.50

 

 

 


Saturday – Work and drinksCheap £1 | $1 Thai meal

I had a big sleep in as I definitely needed it from the previous few nights of sleeplessness.

I worked out.

Grabbed late breakfast/lunch at Food4Thought. A tasty falafel and a coffee.

Worked at Punspace for the rest of the day.

Grabbed a spicy pork soup for dinner.

Went out for drinks to main touristy bar area called Zoe In Yellow. It’s a fun place full of backpackers and a few local Thai people.

If you are into drinking and partying this is pretty much the main place to go for foreigners.

 

Breakfast/Lunch falafel + coffee  – ( 240 baht | £5 | $7 )

Dinner Spicy Pork soup – ( 75 baht | £1.5 | $2 )

1 Gin Tonic 80 baht + 3 Long Island – ( 500 baht | £11 | $14.5 )

Day 6 Total Spent = £18 / $23

 


Sunday

Again I started my day of with downing a load of water (as I was a bit tender from the night before).

Did my morning gym session. Which I am hoping to do every day.

I got my left my laundry with the reception who clean dry and fold your clothes all. Save so much time not having to do your own washing!

Got a Burmese wrap and coffee from Food4Thought. This was recommended by the owner.

Worked in Punspace until late in the evening.

Grabbed some dinner at a local Thai bar restaurant area called The Harbour.

Then I watched some live football. I am a big Liverpool fan so I will be making sure to watch the games every week.

Thai people seem to love the Premier league with most people supporting either Liverpool or Manchester United.

 

Burmese Wrap + Coffee  – ( 260 baht | £6 | $7.5 )

Laundry – ( 180 baht | £4 | $5 )

Spicy noodle + big beer + spring rolls- ( 180 baht | £4 | $5 )

2 big beer + 2 long island  – ( 520 baht | £11.5 | $15 )

Day 7 Total Spent = £24 / $31

 


How Much Does It Cost to Live in Chiang Mai For a Digital Nomad?

Total spent for the week =  £591 / $764

 

 

So this has been an expensive week, but this price includes my 3 months membership to Punspace and 1 months rent and deposit for a deposit. It also takes time to get settled in and find good places to eat. I also went out drinking more than I expected too but since I am just getting settled in I am trying to meet new people and make new friends. But if you don’t drink you could easily cut your daily budget by half.

But here is what I have budgeted for the rest of the time I am here.

 

Monthly budget

Rent = £123 | $159

Co-working space = £67 | $87

Living = £300 | $388

My Expected Monthly Budget = £500 | $646

 

This give me a living allowance of around £10 | $13 a day which is definitely doable. As you’ve seen on the days that I don’t drink I can easily spend less than that and still be eating really good healthy food. But what I have found this week is that just by eating local Thai meals you can spend as little as 200 baht | £4.5 | $6 a day. So if you are on a really tight budget then it is still possible. For me I will be doing a mixture of both but try to stay under £300 | $388 living money.

I say the range can be from £250 – £1100 a month

Here’s an quick infographic how the different types of budgets you can live on based on why I have experienced and what I people have told me.

Chiang Mai Budget Guide