Eat, Sleep, Work…in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is Northern Thailand’s largest city. It’s a peaceful city surrounded by mountains, with more Buddhist temples than any other Thai city. In the center you’ll find the walled city, packed with 700 years of history paired with a quirky, electric vibe—seamlessly fusing old and new. It’s a backpacking hotspot with a large expat community, so it’s no wonder that there’s been a surge of digital nomads scoping it out in recent years. Let’s dive right in.


Chiang Mai’s most famous chicken spot

SP Chicken is the place to be in Chiang Mai—so good that it’s even listed on the Michelin website and was featured in the New York Times. You can order yourself a full or half-spit-roasted chicken with a delicious dipping sauce from the charcoal rotisserie visible from the entrance, or try some other great Northern Thai cuisine. It’s located just around the corner from Wat Pra Singh, one of the city’s most famous temples.

Vegan, organic Thai food

Located inside the old city walls, Mr Green is a fully vegan restaurant that uses homegrown, organic vegetables. Dive into a veggie pad thai, homemade spring rolls or tom yum soup.

Exotic cocktails and classic Thai dishes

If ambience is your thing, a candlelit table in The Riverside Bar & Restaurant is the perfect spot to soak up the vibes while enjoying the extensive cocktail menu and classic Thai food. The menu also features some international food if you’re craving some home comforts. What’s more, it’s just across the river from the Warorat Night Market, where you can grab a smoothie or some mango sticky rice to finish off your evening.


Rooftop bar with live music

Woods Bar is a laid-back rooftop bar features regular slots from live musicians and DJs, with local beers and craft beers available. With friendly staff and affordable prices, it’s a great spot to watch the sun go down.

A creative hub with a great wine menu

The Writer's Club & Wine Bar was the brainwave of journalist Robert Tilley who wanted a writer’s hangout when in Chiang Mai and couldn’t find one—so naturally he started one himself! It’s now the unofficial hangout for local writers and media folks. With budget wines, including some upcoming Thai wines available on the menu, it’s a cosy spot to get creative and meet like-minded people. They even have a food menu too.

One for beer lovers!

Located in the Nimman neighborhood—packed with chic bars and coffee shops, is My Beer Friend. The taproom features many craft beers in bottles and cans, as well as a great selection on tap. Their own craft IPAs are a must-try.


The Old City - in the heart of it all

Chiang Mai’s centre is a walled city packed with hidden gems. The complex features some of the most important temples in the area, as well as bars, coffee shops and night markets at every turn. It’s the ideal place to stay if you want to be right in the middle of the hustle and bustle, with many things within walking distance. If you’re looking for something a little quieter, read on!

Nimmanhaemin Road (Nimman) - ‘coffee street’

The Nimman Road neighborhood is home to the famous Nimmanhaemin Road, fondly known as coffee street as an ode to the many quirky coffee shops in the area. The area is also rich in art galleries and shops, including antiques and handicrafts. The Nimmanhaemin Road Hotel five-star hotel is a slice of luxury, but there are cheaper alternatives in the area that will still have you up close to the action.


Across the river from the bustling Night Bazaars is the more tranquil Riverside
neighborhood. With restaurants lining the waterfront, and plenty of choices of hotels, including luxury resorts, this area is away from the hustle and bustle whilst still easily accessible to the city center.



Punspace is a great open-plan co-working space, with its own in-house coffee shop for your much-needed caffeine hit. It costs 289 Thai baht for the day ($8 USD) including tea and coffee, with better deals if you sign up for longer periods.


Hub53 is a flexible workspace with open-plan seating, meeting rooms, and free coffee and snacks to keep your brain fueled through the day. There’s also a nap room and even a massage chair for when you need a well-deserved break. Hub53 also offers coliving, so you can work and stay in one place. A day pass for the coworking space is only 189 baht ($5.50 USD).

Planter’s Space

Planter’s Space is a zen working spot, overlooking a beautiful garden, with plenty of greenery and natural light to offer. It also has its own in-house coffee shop, and day passes for 120 baht ($3.50 USD).

Artisan Cafe

If cafe-working is more your vibe, check out Artisan Cafe within the old city. The cafe offers stylish decor, comfy couches, and great coffee and baked goods. The cafe even has its own outdoor area for a much-needed break.

The Xym Cafe

For those that want great coffee and very fast WiFi, The Xym is the place for you. The aesthetic is very green, with plants dotted everywhere, and seating options are vast, varying from couches to benches so you can mix up your work environment a little.


Getting around

The best way to get around is by hiring a scooter or using tuk-tuks. If you want to go further afield, you can use the app ‘Grab’ (Southeast Asia’s equivalent to Uber) or negotiate a price with a local tuk-tuk or taxi driver.

Haggle your prices!

Always negotiate prices in markets and bazaars and with Tuk-Tuk drivers. Locals will often try their luck with tourists, so find a price in the middle that you’re both happy with!

Avoid the tap water

The tap water in Thailand is not suitable for consumption. To avoid getting sick, drink bottled water, avoid ice in your drinks and stay clear of salads.

Eat where the locals eat

Going to a spot that’s full of locals will guarantee you get good quality food whilst also soaking up an authentic atmosphere.

Long story short…

Chiang Mai is a vibrant and exciting city to spend some time as a digital nomad. With plenty to see and do, from night markets and bars to temples and nature, there really is something for everyone. Enjoy your Thai adventure!


Written by AC Callahan