Chiang Mai, Digital nomad family hub
We spent 2 months in Chiang Mai, Thailand. It was high on our list of places to go due to it being known as a popular digital nomad hub and also a very popular location for digital nomad families.
We really enjoyed our 2 months there and hope to go back some time in the future.
It is an ideal place to be because of the great wifi, kids activities, things to do as well as the amazing food! Nom nom.
When to visit Chiang Mai
Being in northern Thailand, Chiang Mai has three distinct seasons: very hot, cool and wet. The cool season begins around November and ends in February. This is possibly one of the best times to visit as the temperature can reach around 30 degrees in the day but it can get a little chilly at night.
The temperatures start to climb around March (which is also when Thai new year takes place) and ends around June. In this period temperatures can reach 40 degrees and it is very humid.
Rainy season is between June and October and it rains most days. However, we’ve heard that the rain tends to come in short bursts so you may still find that you can get out and about during this time.
Cost of living
The cost of living in Chiang Mai is significantly lower than the UK. We were able to save money while we were there due to the affordability of most things.
We paid £600 ($845USD) a month for our 2 bed apartment and I know we could have found something for less than that if we had been prepared to look for longer.
To give you a rough idea of the cost of living in Chiang Mai here are some things we bought (in USD):
10 – 15 minute taxi journey $1
Mango sticky rice: $1
Thai green curry and rice: $2.5
Pair of elephant trousers: $3.5
1 hour massage: $6
There are loads of coworking spaces in Chiang Mai. Finding a good one is always high on our list of priorities when we are going to a new place.
Dan was able to try out going to a few of them and eventually settled on Starwork. This little coworking space has a small gym, meeting room and coffee shop. The main reason he liked Starwork was because it was one of the more reasonably priced spaces (It cost 2490 baht a month which is approximately $80USD).
We also tried some of the other more popular coworking spaces: Punspace Nimman and Punspace Tha Phae Gate were both located in convenient places but were really busy.
Camp Maya was another coworking space which is incredibly popular with digital nomads as well as students. The problem with Camp Maya is that it can get really noisy with so many people there.
Ah Thai food! Probably some of our favourite food from our wandering lifestyle so far. There is so much choice in Chiang Mai. You can get delicious local food: green curries, mango sticky rice, morning glory, pad thai etc.
It’s also super easy to find other kinds of food because Chiang Mai is fairly big and has lots of shopping centres and restaurants. So if you have kids (or adults!) who are fussy eaters then it’s is a good place to go because you can find a large variety of good food.
Fun things to do in Chiang Mai with kids
As a travelling family it’s always great to be able to find somewhere that has loads for kids to do. Definitely makes our lives as parents easier when there are lots of activities available.
Chiang Mai has all the usual stuff you’d expect to find in a small city: cinemas, bowling centres and lots of kids classes/workshops. Here are some of the other places we went to which were perfect for kids.
Art in Paradise
Art in Paradise is a 3D art museum. Get your camera and your selfie stick ready! There are lots of different pictures that you can interact with and the photos are really funny if you can just get the correct angle. A great way to spend a couple of hours.
Siam Insect Zoo
This place was a real hit with Roobs who loves all things to do with animals. You can get up close and personal with all sorts of creepy crawlies here.
She was able to hold lizards, stick insects and lots of other bugs. A great day out for the family. We loved it so much that we wrote an article about Chiang Mai’s insect zoo.
Swimming at the Shangri La
The Shangri La hotel is a very plush hotel (which we could never afford to stay in!) but you can pay to use the gym and pool. There are a couple of pools there and it was never too busy when we went.
For about $8 USD you can lounge by the pool all afternoon.
Elephant Poo Poo Paper Park
This place is a great way to support an ethical enterprise in Chiang Mai where there are sadly lots of tourist attractions which exploit elephants. The park uses elephant poop to make paper and gifts that are really quite cool.
You are shown around by a guide who will explain the process of how they recycle the poop into paper (in English) and then you get to try your hand at touching the poop(!), rolling out the paper and putting it on the frames to dry.
At the end of the tour you can pay a small amount to make various things which make for great souvenirs: cards, bookmarks, fans, purses, books etc. We spent ages on this part as Roobs wanted to make bookmarks to send home for her friends. We also made some fans for her cousins.
Okay this may not be high on our daughter’s list of fun things to do in Chiang Mai but you sort of need to visit some temples when there are over 300 just in Chiang Mai!
We visited a fair few but our faves were Doi Suthep and the wooden temple, Wat Phan Tao. Doi Suthep is the most famous temple in Chiang Mai and is located a little way out of the city. It’s on top of a mountain so you can either take the tram up or walk up over 300 steps to get to the top. It is very beautiful but often quite busy.
We met up with so many other travelling families when we were there and the sense of community was awesome. Facebook groups is one of the ways we connect with other digital nomad families.
Chiang Mai has become a really popular digital nomad hub and we have seen why it appeals to so many people. It’s a beautiful, relaxed and affordable place to spend time as a family. Looking forward to our next trip back!