Who here is working in South East Asia?

over 5 years ago from

I'm heading to Thailand in September to stay in the region for an indefinite amount of time, who's based out there (Thailand/Vietnam/Cambodia)?

Any tips for a freelancer working from there? Things I definitely should/shouldn't do, good coworking spaces, etc...


  • Account deleted over 5 years ago


    Chiang Mai in northern Thailand seems to be the mecca of digital nomads. Thailand overall is probably the easiest place to start and will have better services and internet connections. I think. CM is a cool place, definitely worth checking out. I recommend the night train from Bangkok. See https://www.facebook.com/groups/cmnomads/ Also https://nomadlist.com/

    There are lots of remote workers there since it's cheap and nice. There are lots of digital nomad slack groups you should probably google as well. Just start googling for co-working spaces, blog posts all the stuff related to "thailand" and "digital nomad"and you'll find all sorts of coolness.

    You definitely should: - wear mosquite repellent so you don't get the dengue fever like I did. - stay sober and wear a helmet when renting a scooter - get a 3 month tourist (Thailand) visa and check out the rules

    Enjoy! :)

    3 points
    • Chip Dong Lim, 5 years ago

      I am based in Malaysia. I have heard of NomadList a while ago and would love to meet with you guys some time!

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    • Kuanysh BayandinovKuanysh Bayandinov, 5 years ago (edited 5 years ago )

      Support fully. Currently in Chiang Mai.

      Very chill city, got plenty of places to work from including co-workings, cafes. Has a bright “nomads scene”, which means you’ll meet lots of designers, developers.

      To OP: You should check out http://hashtagnomads.com as it’s been a very insightful resource for me where more experienced travellers shared their wisdom and practice.

      Overall, nothing is to be afraid of. Go for it, our work allows that kind of lifestyle.

      0 points
    • Joe AlfonsoJoe Alfonso, 5 years ago

      I'll be heading to Bangkok in less then a week for an interview with the possibility of moving there. I'll be there for about 8 days total. Is there anything that you think might help out in terms of the design culture and opportunity as well as life in general?

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  • Toby KellerToby Keller, 5 years ago

    I've lived in Chiang Mai for the past 5 years, working remotely for a US agency. There's a great coworking space here with multiple branches (Pun Space), along with excellent coffee and some of the best food in the world. And of course it's very cheap to live here.

    As others have mentioned, the trick is the visa situation. Unless you have Thai family or are over 50 (retirement visa) it can be tricky to stay long-term.

    Unlike what others have said, working without a work permit is technically legal as long as you're working for an employer abroad and getting paid into non-Thai bank accounts. It was a gray area for a long time, but in the last year or two immigration has made public statements saying it's ok. There was an immigration raid on Pun Space last year, but it turned out the immigration police misunderstood and thought the foreigners there were employees of Pun Space. When it was explained to them what coworking is, they released everyone with no charges.

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  • Joe AlfonsoJoe Alfonso, over 5 years ago

    I'm heading to Thailand in less than a week for an interview and might be moving! Maybe I'll see you there.

    0 points
  • Jon MyersJon Myers, over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

    I'm based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam - usually referred to by its old name, Saigon.

    I love it here, the community of expats working on stuff is solid and it's a fun city. I have no plans of going anywhere anytime soon.

    A few years ago, I wrote an article about Bootstrapping in Saigon, which mysteriously resurfaced on HackerNews last week.

    There's some interesting discussion on there about the pros and cons compared to other places.

    The discussion and article:


    In general, if you're more of a small town person, you might like the provincial nature of CM and access to nature, if you like big cities, you might like Saigon better.

    If you make it to Vietnam, give me a shout.

    0 points
  • Ivo MynttinenIvo Mynttinen, over 5 years ago

    I just came back to Germany (home country) after spending a full year in Bangkok.

    I will not write a lot now, everything you need to know can be found easily on all the nomad sites, the only thing I want to warn you about since you plan to stay "indefinite amount of time" is the current visa situation in Thailand.

    In terms of getting a long term visa, shit got pretty serious since the military is managing the country. My initial plan was to go there and do visa runs after that expired – however, after decades of being ok with this practice, immigration officers are now cracking down.

    My Plan B: enlist at some school to learn Thai and get an ED visa... worked out so far, but you really need to learn it. On my first visa extension (after 3 months), I had to complete a basic language test plus I had to be able to read and write basic words. After another 3 months same procedure but way harder... it somehow worked, but I just got another 2 months (instead of 3). After that test I decided that it's simply not worth the trouble and most importantly that you do simply never know if you are allowed to stay for x months longer or if you have to leave the country tomorrow...

    Btw, technically you are not allowed to work (yes, even freelance for foreign clients) in Thailand. Many do it and so far it seems like the immigration police doesn't really care about remote freelancers, but be warned. When talking with Thais or Foreigners you do not know well, better don't tell what you do and how much you make.

    I'm planning to go back, but never again for such a long time. Also next time probably just 1-2 month Thailand, and the rest in the Philippines.

    Have fun and save travels!

    0 points
    • Dave HawkinsDave Hawkins, over 5 years ago

      This post seems A little scaremongering to be honest. Not a single digital nomad has written about being denied a visa to re enter the country, and many of them have been doing it for 5+ years. You can fly to Hanoi, Vientiane or Ho Chi Minh and pick up a visa without any issues in my experience.

      Cm is full of devs, I suggest you go there to get used to SEA. I preferred bkk over Chiangmai because of its size and general awesomeness. Ho Chi Minh City is also another place I recommend you visit and possibly even stay long term, fabulous city that has a few spaces and companies with a real startup-y scene.

      If you want to meet up with likeminded people on your travels, I recommend the hashtag nomads slack channel, you have to pay to enter but will save the minute so one gives you solid advice on travel or accommodation.

      0 points
      • Ivo MynttinenIvo Mynttinen, 5 years ago (edited 5 years ago )

        Just talking about personal experience. What worked the last 5 years does not always matter, this is Thailand.

        Fact is: doing back to back visa runs is definitely not possible anymore after the 2nd time in a row (read the many report on thaivisa if you don't believe)

        Another fact is: doing an ED visa is not as easy as it was 2 years ago. Back then you just had to appear at the school for sitting in a class room while doing anything you want – now you need to learn thai, and that kinda quickly.

        That's all what I wanted to say. Yes it's still possible to stay in Thailand for a longer time, but for "indefinite" you need a better plan than flying here and there to live on tourist visas.

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        • Dave HawkinsDave Hawkins, 5 years ago

          I did 3 single entry visas this year back to back, no issues. But I agree its not a great long term plan. A triple entry visa gets you 9 months. If you think your staying longer its definitely best to look for another plan, there's a few great posts on nomadforum on how you can do that.

          0 points
  • Agus Eko Setiyono, over 5 years ago

    here are good coworking spaces in Indonesia https://id.techinasia.com/8-coworking-space-keren-di-indonesia/

    0 points