Bangkok is a rapidly developing city that is a hotspot for digital nomads. Home to an estimated 9 million people, this is one of the most vibrant and exciting cities on the planet. Bangkok is famous for its delicious food, fantastic nightlife, hot tropical climate, and numerous Buddhist temples.
It is the most visited city in the world, and the 20 million visitors in 2019 make it one of the worlds most international cities.
There are many reasons why Bangkok is a hub for digital nomads. These include low cost of living, high-speed internet, western conveniences, western influence, vast coworking space, large digital nomad community and excellent location to other countries in the region.
This article will give you an insight into why Bangkok is such a terrific spot for digital nomads.
The cost of living in Bangkok
One of the most attractive aspects of Bangkok is the low cost of living. It is possible to live very cheaply in the city but still have many western comforts.
In general, Bangkok is still very cheap. The Thai Baht is getting more robust against western currencies, but it remains affordable and desirable to digital nomads. You can live well in Bangkok on monthly earnings of $1500.
This article will break down some of the most important expenses you will have to spend in Bangkok.
When you’re a digital nomad, you tend to stay in a variety of different types of accommodation. Bangkok has vast accommodation opportunities from apartments to rent, to Airbnb’s, hotels, and hostels. You can get great internet access in all of these types of accommodation that allow you to work from home.
A popular form of accommodation for digital nomads is Airbnb’s. The significant aspect of Airbnb’s is the possibility to live somewhere long term, without the hassle of signing any contracts to rent an apartment.
Airbnb’s vary in price considerably, but you can spend $60 per night and get top-quality apartments in a central location with high-speed wifi. That is an excellent opportunity for digital nomads and means nomads don’t have to worry about signing leases.
Hotels vary in Bangkok, but it’s possible to find great hotel deals for $40 per night. You can inquire about monthly discounts inside the hotels. It’s possible to get good monthly deals inside hotels that will save you money over the month.
However, if you are looking to spend a prolonged period in Bangkok, then you would save some money by renting an apartment. It isn’t easy to find apartment rental with less than 6-month contracts, but it’s possible to find suitable apartments for $500 per month.
Food in Bangkok is generally very cheap, and this remains one of the best attractions to Bangkok for many digital nomads. You can get meals on the street for $2 (60 THB), and popular dishes include Pad Thai which is rarely more than $2 per meal.
It’s possible to find a vast array of cuisine from around the world in Bangkok. Asian cuisine is widespread, and you can find Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and Vietnamese food all around the city.
Western food is very prevalent in Bangkok. But western cuisine tends to cost more than local food, and you can expect to get a burger and fries meal for around $6 (190 THB). A big mac meal will cost around $4.50 (140 THB).
Alcohol in Bangkok is relatively cheap. You can find beer for $3 (100 THB) from local shops, but you can expect to pay up to $5 (180 THB) for alcohol in bars and nightclubs.
A famous street for drinks is Koh San Road, and you can find alcoholic beverages here for $2 (60 THB). Although alcohol prices in Thailand have increased in the last decade due to the explosion in tourist numbers, it remains far cheaper than a western country.
The most popular beer in Thailand is the local Chiang beer, you can buy this for around $3 (100 THB) per bottle. You can buy European beer, but it can be slightly more expensive.
Transport in Bangkok can be very cheap. A great way of getting around the city is via the Grab app, and this app allows you to have a fixed price before you travel, which enables you to avoid haggling and getting scammed.
Bangkok is a developing city and infrastructure is rapidly improving. Therefore the BTS sky train is a great option. You can get around the city by using the BTS Skytrain at low prices. You shouldn’t be spending more than $10 per day on transport in Bangkok if you use public transport.
Benefits of Being a Digital Nomad Bangkok
The location of Bangkok is fantastic for travellers, and in the heart of Southeast Asia. You can travel to various incredible Asian destinations from Bangkok for very cheap. Flights to neighbouring countries via low-cost airliners are often below $50.
Great local destinations include Bali, Philippines, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore. Digital nomads can enjoy travelling to these destinations for affordable prices throughout the year.
There are also many digital nomad friendly places in the area such as Bali and Malaysia, which offer low-cost accommodation, travel prices and great coworking spaces. So if you want a break from Bangkok, and the ability to work somewhere else for a short while, this is very simple to do.
The weather in Bangkok is tropical, and usually very hot. That is an excellent benefit for digital nomads. The climate in Bangkok is superb and makes life far more comfortable.
There are different seasons in Bangkok. The best time to visit is during the dry season from January to May. Temperatures are regularly around 35 Celsius and sunny.
The wet season is from May to October, and it can rain very heavily. It’s also extremely humid during this time of the year, with heavy thunderstorms and sweaty conditions.
However, this type of weather might not be ideal for everyone. If you don’t like hot weather, it might be an excellent option to avoid Bangkok because, on some days, there aren’t many hotter places in the world.
Digital Nomads will enjoy the incredible nightlife of the city. The famous backpacker district Koh San Road is a trendy party district that is full of epic bars and clubs, on big occasions like New Year’s Eve it’s unlikely that you will see a crazier party in your life.
There are other good nightlife spots around the city, but this is without a doubt, the best area for nightlife.
The city has fantastic shopping malls and markets. The Central World shopping mall is an epic shopping mall based in the heart of Bangkok, and you can get some incredible bargains.
Digital Nomads who like to get deals will love Bangkok’s numerous markets, Chatuchak Market is one of the biggest markets in the world and a must-visit for any digital nomads.
Downsides of Being a Digital Nomad in Bangkok
Traffic and Pollution
Undoubtedly, Bangkok is one of the most polluted cities in the world. Due to the extreme amount of traffic, smog can cover Bangkok in a thick layer of pollution.
If you’re not keen on the idea of noise, traffic, and not always breathing in clean air, then Bangkok might not be the best place to be a digital nomad. There are many quieter spots in Thailand with good wifi.
If you like to drive around a place by yourself, you will have to prepare yourself for insane traffic and a lack of law enforcement on the roads. The roads in Bangkok are hazardous; they are some of the worlds worst.
Many digital nomads will opt to use taxi’s to get around Bangkok, instead of driving themselves. It’s possible to learn how to navigate these roads, but you will have to learn how the roads work.
Thailand has a long history of political instability. Military coups and unrest is often standard, but it’s unlikely to affect your day to day life as a digital nomad.
However, if you do run a digital nomad business that operates out of Thailand, the government can quickly implement new laws and make changes overnight. Thailand doesn’t have the political stability of an EU country, and it’s perhaps something to note if you’re setting up your business there.
Things to Note
Being a digital nomad in Thailand has always been very easy. Many digital nomads will operate there on a tourist visa, and do a visa run every three months at a local immigration office, or leave the country and come back.
In recent times the Thai government has cracked down on foreign visas, and this has made it more complex to be a digital nomad in Bangkok.
However, there has been a lot of changes recently regarding visas, and it’s essential to check your passport status as it differs from passport to passport. It’s hard to give general advice on this, as it depends on your passport.
Thailand has recently proposed some massive tax changes that affect digital nomads living and working in Thailand. If you live in Thailand for most of the year and earn over $58,000 per year, then you will need to register to pay 7% tax in Thailand.
These changes are yet to be made, but if they come into effect, it will affect the popularity of Bangkok as a digital nomad hotspot.
Currently, if you stay in Thailand for more than 180 days, then you are classed as a resident and legally should pay tax in the country. Many digital nomads have ways around this, such as living in numerous destinations throughout the year.
The reality is that Thailand is technically not tax-free for digital nomads. But neither are many other digital nomad hotspots such as Spain, Bali, or Colombia if you spend more than half the year there.
How to Find Accommodation
If you’re looking to stay in Bangkok for a prolonged period, then renting an apartment might save you money and stress. But there are some things to note before renting an apartment in Thailand.
If you’re on a budget, then a great option is 9Apartment which is a website that directly aims at foreigners. On here you can find some tremendous bargains in the city.
The most significant property website in Thailand is DDproperty. You can find so many apartments on here, with a variety of budgets from luxury to low end—a great option.
Other websites that are worth looking at are Renthub, Thai4rent, and ThaiApartment . In Bangkok, the landlord might require you to pay a large deposit upfront. Furthermore, they will likely want more extended contracts such as 12 months. And some want proof of employment, or monetary funds if you’re a self-employed digital nomad.
Bangkok is home to numerous fantastic coworking spaces. Coworking spaces are the best way to meet digital nomads. You can pay monthly for coworking spaces, or you can pay per visit.
Coworking spaces aren’t essential for a digital nomad, but they are a good option. Here are some popular choices.
Glowfish is a modern coworking space in Bangkok. The facilities include 26 serviced office spaces, three conference halls, and five smaller meetings rooms. It also has a brilliant gym next door, which is perfect for working out.
A brilliant option for digital nomads is Hubba Sathorn. This coworking space is a modern contemporary design. Featuring shared work areas, fixed desks, meeting rooms, skype call rooms, and various facilities that help digital nomads go about their work.
Launchpad is an extensive coworking space that is in the Silom area of Bangkok. It includes a vast array of facilities that range from individual lockers, kitchens, reading rooms, and standing work tables.
The location provides private offices, medium and large meeting rooms and various facilities that help digital nomads.
It’s clear that Bangkok is one of the most popular digital nomad hotspots on the planet. And there are great reasons for this that have been mentioned throughout. But it’s evident that due to visa changes and proposed tax changes, being a digital nomad in Bangkok might be a little harder than before. But it still remains one of the world’s best cities for a digital nomad and one that we would recommend.