Thailand has been on top of every list for digital nomad destination ranking. It has everything nomads look for, from warm weather to affordable cost of living and great landscapes that cater to every taste.
However, when COVID-19 hit and travel was restricted, Thailand’s main digital nomad hubs suffered, and now as the restrictions lift and nomads get back to Thailand, how are they coping?
We spoke to Elie Assuied, founder and CEO of Remote&Digital, a network of coworking and co-living properties on the island of Ko Pha-Ngan in Thailand.
Elie founded Remote&Digital in 2019 with his wife, their first property was originally a resort including a restaurant and a hostel for tourists. They then noticed a lot of digital nomads and remote workers moving down to Ko Pha-Ngan from Chiang Mai during the burning season. They quickly saw the opportunity to grow their audience and implemented a remote-work concept to their properties.
Elie stated that their values are centered around certain pillars, like coworking, co-living, community and wellness. Their vision is to provide a place with a high standard of living, where people can achieve as much work-life balance as possible. “Through optimal happiness and wellness comes optimal productivity”, He added.
He told us how he fell in love with the island since he visited it on his honeymoon and how there are myth and beliefs about the island, one of which is that due to having crystals in its rocks, it is a place with incredible energy.
“When COVID-19 hit, many people decided to extend their stay in Thailand instead of going back home” Elie said. It helped them discover Ko Pha-Ngan in a different light.
With fiber optic internet connection on the island, low cost of living, lots of places to discover and activities to do, digital nomadism is rising in Ko Pha-Ngan and becoming a part of the island’s culture.
Elie and his wife responded to the pandemic by making co-working spaces free for 18 months. And now, after the pandemic restrictions were lifted, they were hoping for 100 members across all 3 properties and they ended up with almost 500!
It also helps that Thailand has a digital nomad visa, you can also get travel medical insurance that covers Covid-19 and is made for nomads from providers like SafetyWing.
Elie added that digital nomadism is breaking a lot of notions we took for granted. People can self-actualize and develop in their career without needing to be in a big city. His tip for aspiring nomads was “find it in yourself to do it and see what amazing things can happen”.