Everything You Need To Know About Chiang Mai’s Digital Nomad Scene

Ever since Tim Ferriss released the game-changing four hour work week a decade ago, every young guy on his game wants to get that digital nomad money and live the dream in paradise.

But the dream and reality are two different things. After living in Chiang Mai close to two years I’ve been able to see the digital nomad scene up close, and like everything there’s pros and cons.

Lately a few exposes have been written by guys who didn’t feel their expectations we’re met

  1. Here is Chiang Mai’s digital nomad scene reviewed by a sceptic
  2. Here’s another review by Brian from loser2winner.com

At the end of the day there are some great things about the scene, and some things that aren’t so great. I wanted to put something together to give you an idea of what to expect if you’re thinking of coming out. So I sat down with Brian from loser2winner.com and Phil from philhawskworth.com to chop it up on everything you need to know about Chiang Mai’s nomad scene, here’s what we cover:

– Chiang Mai digital nomad capital of the world, top rated on nomadlist.com
– Why I don’t pump up the digital nomad scene and why most guys shouldn’t come out to chiang mai
– Brian’s expectations vs. reality on the digital nomad scene in Chiang Mai
– Why nomad is a bad mentality and why most nomads don’t make money
– Minimum savings/income requirements before you come to Chiang Mai
– Dropshipping, Amazon FBA, Ali Express as the future
– Dropshipping saturated
– Why Will recommends a service based business
– Big four service based business for scaling up to six figures
– Digital nomad vs. digital expats – why you shouldn’t make digital nomad an identity
– Why most nomads are in over their heads
– Why you can’t build a business on the road
– Why Will hates to travel
– Expat vs. nomad mentality
– Failure rate on most nomads
– Why it’s hard to work in Chiang Mai
– Why you need to make your exit permanent
– Phil’s take on the Chiang Mai nomad scene
– Why networking is a waste of time
– Will’s expectation vs. reality on the digital nomad scene
Blast and cruising to success – what really works
– Why the city of Chiang Mai is cheap and awesome to live in
– Dangers/safety of Chiang Mai
– Treat money as runway/time and grind hard in the west to get it before you come and get it
– Western people’s irrational fear of Thailand/other countries
– How Thai people in Chiang Mai actually have better lives than westerners
– City of Chiang Mai is amazing/better than you expect
– Insane quality of life/value for money in Chiang Mai
– Summary of Chiang Mai, pros and cons

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  1. Haha, I really needed to hear this about 2 years ago, because the digital nomad scenario sounds awfully familiar..

    Came to Chiang Mai with 5k in the bank and a serious case of “yellow fever”. No income, no business or freelancing experience, no track record of a solid work ethic…but I thought I was gonna be a successful dropshipper like that Digital Nomad Blog Guy.

    And of course it ended with a financial ruin. Either I was gonna borrow money from my Thai girlfriend (she offered) and try that business thing one more time, or go home. My dignity didn’t let me use that first option.

    But Chiang Mai is amazing, like you said. So it was easily the best 6 months of my life. Right now I’m more determined than ever to make a comeback, and the -24 degree winter in Europe only feeds that obsession. But I’ll do it the right way this time, with revenue and discipline. And I’m learning a lot from you.

    Just curious, Will, would you ever see yourself living in a city like Bangkok or Saigon?

  2. Sorry to hear that Taavi, unfortunately it’s a common story out here. But good for you on acting with integrity and good on you for getting back on your game. Obsession is a good place to be, and hopefully you’ve checked out my stuff on service businesses, the guys I meet out here doing well are either doing copywriting, marketing, programming, or coaching – those seem to be the big four.

    As for BKK and Saigon, could see both as options for energy, activities and no burning season. Downside would be no nature and laid back pace of life, but def options. Will do the next year in CM to minimize disruptions and go HAM on new content, then consider my options.

    Keep at it my dude, you’ll make it happen and it will be a big win, I promise you that.

  3. Fantastic article Will!

    I have been toying with the idea of moving back to Asia for a few years now (served in Okinawa for 2 years, Philippines for 4 months, and Thailand for 2 months in the Marines).

    Your website and YouTube channel has made an incredible impact on me. I have been slogging through the “American Dream” fallacy for the past seven years and your content has been the kick to the nuts I needed to begin taking control of my life. Thank you.

    Currently, I have a permanent (if I do absolutely nothing at all) income of $800/mo. In your video, you set benchmarks at around $1500-$2000/mo income to live very comfortably. How would my income compare to the benchmarks you set? Would this be a viable income for living in a Thailand long term?

  4. Thanks Josiah, really appreciate it. I’d want to see you get that up to 2k a month so you can live really comfortable in thailand, plus some savings is important as well.

  5. Fantastic. I will make that my goal before I consider relocating. I have been. Building my savings steadily, as well as eliminating needless bullshit that doesn’t serve me. Minimalist lifestyle is definitely the way to go.

    Thanks again Will. I stumbled upon your content during my NoFap/Redpill journey and the knowledge you impart has easily been the most influential I have found. Some shit might be hard to swallow, but the truth of it always shines through. Much love brother!

    Semper fidelis.

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