First, an announcement: we will soon be reviewing this cool-looking product, the MEEM Memory Cable, something which could be quite useful for us digital nomads. Find out more at the bottom of the post.
Chiang Mai may be the original digital nomad hub. With pleasant weather most of the year, cheap and fast wifi, a relatively low cost of living and an international airport with many accessible locations in South East Asia and beyond just a short flight away, it’s understandable why so many people who work remotely go there.
We spent two weeks in Chiang Mai back in January, where we rented an apartment with Airbnb (use this link to sign up and receive €20 off your first booking!) and we tried out several co-working spaces. Surprisingly, this was a first for us, but we’ve now been converted! All the places we tried had their own merits, and we would in fact recommend all of them, but for slightly different reasons.
The very first co-working space to open in Chiang Mai, this modern building in a leafy side street of the hip Nimmanaheminda Road has a laid back but productive atmosphere. Inside, it feels like the office of a young startup. Silence is not enforced, but there is no music playing, tables can get crowded and people talk to their neighbours so it’s perhaps not the best place if you want to work quietly and get your own desk.
There are two levels, with the main open plan area downstairs and several private offices upstairs. These can be booked separately, but are available to anyone if they are currently free. All chairs are adjustable in height and there are extension cables everywhere. There’s a tiny Skype room (though it doesn’t provide much audio privacy) two toilets, a small kitchen area and a shower.
Best for…networking opportunities with other digital nomads and a calm location away from the busy main road.
- Address: 14 Siri Mangkalajarn Lane 11, Chiang Mai 50200
- Hours: To purchase a day pass, the front desk is open 09:00-18:00, Monday to Saturday, though you will be able to stay later than 18:00 but doors are only openable to exit. If you buy a month pass or longer, you’ll get 24/7 access.
- Food and drinks: Self service water, tea and instant coffee are included in the price as well as a few sugary snacks. Other cold drinks are available to purchase on an honesty system (take from the fridge and leave the money in a box) as well as some instant noodles.
- Wifi: The day pass allows access for one device only; the month and yearly pass allow it for two devices.
- Cost: There are multiple pricing options, but basically it’s 229฿ for a day pass, 1,499฿ for a week, 3,499฿ for a month or 27,999฿ for a year. Payment by cash or PayPal.
- Demographic: Purely foreign digital nomads. Almost all white and male.
- Foursquare; Facebook; website
Punspace Tha Phae Gate
The second branch of the popular Punspace in the Old Town, while similar to its big brother, is distinct. It is much quieter, more spacious and with single desks arranged in fours. There are no shared desk spaces, and people definitely do not talk to each other.
It’s spread over two levels, with private offices, Skype booths (which apparently seem to amplify your conversation rather than block it out) and a nice, hipster café with drinks for purchase downstairs. Toilets are unisex.
Upstairs is the main working space, with space for around 30 people to work at full capacity. Most desks are regular sit down desks with comfortable, height adjustable chairs, but there is also a standing desk as well as two sofas and a couple of comfortable armchairs.
Best for…space and silence.
- Address: Rachadamnoen Rd Soi 4, Chiang Mai 50200
- Hours: Same as the Nimman branch.
- Food and drinks: Self service water, tea and instant coffee are included in the price as well as a few sugary snacks.
- Wifi: Same as the Nimman branch.
- Cost: Same as the Nimman branch.
- Demographic: Same as the Nimman branch.
- Foursquare; Facebook; website
Something between a café and co-working space, CAMP inside the MAYA shopping centre is busy pretty much all the time. There is a variety of seating, standing desks and places to lounge and there are plenty of power sockets everywhere. Most chair seats are not padded, but you might be able to find a cushion.
The space is large and the atmosphere is very work intensive. It is neither silent nor especially noisy, and no music is played. There are shelves of books to browse if you wish, but seem mostly just to be there for the aesthetic.
Best for…a cheap and convenient place to work if you like to be in a bustling environment.
- Address: 5th Floor, MAYA Lifestyle Shopping Centre, Chiang Mai 50200
- Hours: Open 24/7.
- Food and drink: There is a range of (reasonably expensive) hot and cold drinks and they usually have soy milk. There is also a selection of cakes and savoury dishes of questionable quality, but not much vegan friendly, except chips. Coffees are small, but the smoothies are huge. You order and pay at the counter and collect your order when your number flashes up on the screen.
- Wifi: You get a code for 2 hours of wifi access for every 50฿ spent on food or drink. You can keep these codes and use them later.
- Cost: To enter and sit is free. Wifi is not.
- Demographic: Majority young Thai students with a handful of foreign digital nomads.
- Foursquare; Facebook; website
This so-small-you-might-miss-it place right below the Anchan Vegetarian restaurant is a nice little den to get work done in. The vibe is quiet and industrious and even though it’s small, it doesn’t feel crowded. There is space for about 8 people to work there comfortably, 12 at a push. Most of the chairs are height adjustable and though tables are a little small, there are plenty of power sockets and wifi is reliable.
There are also two private rooms that can be rented by the hour at a slightly higher price, but they do not have windows. Staff are very welcoming.
Best for…a quiet, cheap, cosy space near lots of nice places to eat.
- Address: 28/12 Nimmanahaeminda Rd. Soi 8, Chiang Mai 50200
- Hours: 09:30-22:00 every day except Saturday.
- Food and drink: Ice water and hot green tea are brought to you at your desk and filled up without needing to ask. Other drinks and a few cakes are available to purchase. No soy milk.
- Wifi: For unlimited devices.
- Cost: 19฿ per hour or 99฿ a day, making it the cheapest co-working space in Chiang Mai.
- Demographic: Mostly foreign digital nomads.
- Foursquare; Facebook
Addicted to Work
Located in a quiet, leafy area not far from the MAYA shopping centre, this little bungalow with windows on three sides is a bright, calm and peaceful place to work. It has some nice interior design features and the fact that you get natural light inside pretty much all day is definitely a highlight.
Facilities are a little basic, and the chairs are perhaps not the most comfortable (they are not adjustable and do not swivel) and if it gets busy, access to power outlets can be problematic. The vibe is relaxed but definitely work oriented and staff are friendly if a little scatty.
Best for…lots of natural light in the day, and late opening hours at night.
- Address: 27/3 PP&P Mansion, Chiang Mai 50200
- Hours: 10:00-00:00 every day.
- Food and drink: Self-service water is available for per hour users, while weekly and monthly users can take some basic snacks. Coffees and teas are available to purchase. No soy milk.
- Wifi: When we visited there was an outage of the wifi for about 30 minutes, and as a result were given a discount. We had the feeling this might be common. There’s no limit on how many devices you can use, however.
- Cost: 20฿ per hour, 99฿ for 8 hours (including one coffee), 990฿ a week or 2,990฿ a month.
- Demographic: A few Thai professionals and several foreign digital nomads.
- Foursquare; Facebook; website
Not really near anything else of interest in town that we could find, but not far from the train station, this very plain, office-like space is a solid co-working space. Desks are mostly independent and all chairs are adjustable in height. The air conditioning may be a little cold, but there is plenty of natural light and the play calm, instrumental music on low in the background.
It boasts a few extras too, such as a Skype room, a nap area, canteen where you can eat your own food (no food is served there) and a gym. The gym is just a few cardio machines in a small room off the main courtyard and there is a shower next to the toilets. The nap area is not separated from the main co-working space and is just a sofa, lounge chair, TV and a few magazines but people do indeed appear to use it for naps…including me.
Best for…a typical office environment with a few extras.
- Address: 87/9 Tunghotel Road, Chiang Mai 50000
- Hours: 09:00-18:00 every day.
- Food and drink: Self service water and instant coffee are available inside. Café Amazon across the street has the usual coffee and tea offerings and a limited range of unappealing snacks. No soy milk.
- Wifi: Codes for day passes are valid for up to three devices at once.
- Cost: 180฿ per day or 230฿ including any regular coffee from Café Amazon and 1,900฿ for a month with 24 hour access.
- Demographic: Mix of Thai professionals and foreign digital nomads.
- Foursquare; website
You can also download this guide in the GPSMyCity app!
As I said at the beginning of this post, we will soon be reviewing the MEEM Memory Cable, a new device that acts as both an external battery for your smartphone and also safely backs it up so that protect your data. We're excited to see what it can do for us as digital nomads and let you know all about it! Learn more on their Kickstarter page and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.