Pai for Digital Nomads – The Best Place for Weekend Trips From Chiang Mai

Pai for Digital Nomads – The Best Place for Weekend Trips From Chiang Mai

If you’ve been to Thailand before, you’ve probably heard of the small town of Pai. It is located north of Chiang Mai and is a perfect destination for a trip from Thailand’s capital of the north and the stronghold of digital nomads.

How to Get to Pai?

There are different ways to get from Chiang Mai to Pai.

  1. Vans drive every half hour between Chiang Mai and Pai. They cost about 180 Baht, so about 4.50 Euro. However, the track is curvy and the five hours of driving can be quite long if you get car-sick easily.
  2. Alternatively, you can also ride a scooter or motorcycle. However, you should be an experienced driver and be aware of what you are getting into. Unfortunately, scooter riders who overestimate their driving skills or misjudge the situation around the next corner. There are regularly people dying on these roads. Therefore: Take enough time to avoid being tempted to drive fast, enjoy the scenery and make several stops. There are numerous hot springs and waterfalls along the way, so you can easily ride the whole day. You can either drive your own scooter or rent one from Aya Service, for example. They also have vans that drive between Chiang Mai and Pai and take your luggage with them. One piece of luggage per scooter is included.
  3. And for completeness, I’d like to mention you can also get there with a private shuttle. But this costs 2,000 Baht (about 45 Euro). It probably is the safest option, but also the one that a local would not choose. And we want to live like locals, don’t we?

How to Get Around in Pai?

If you came by scooter, of course, you can also ride it in Pai. This is the most practical way. Otherwise I advis,e you to rent a scooter on the spot. Almost all the sights are not within walking distance and it would be a pity if you missed them because you are dependent on group tours. Group tours are also quite expensive and you are generally not as flexible. In my opinion, a scooter is a must.

Pai itself is rather small and the small main street of the touristic city centre, also called Walking Street, can be easily explored by foot. In the evening it turns into a street food mile where you can really surrender to culinary delights.

What to See in Pai?

Pai White Buddha

The White Buddha is a bit of a must for Pai visitors. Situated on top of the mountain, you have a fantastic view of the valley and Pai itself. During sunset, it can be really crowded here.

So I set the alarm clock unusually early to see what the atmosphere is like at sunrise. And behold: My travel companion and I were the only visitors. There was only one lonely monk, immersed in prayer, who did not even move during our stay. And to see the sun rising behind the Buddha was more than worth getting up early!

Pai Canyon

This is the place I probably liked best in Pai: The Canyon. You balance over the red cliffs, left and right gorges and, in the distance, the fertile valley of the plain. Beautiful, but at least as dangerous. I only read afterward that it is also called Death Canyon.

A breathtaking sunset is guaranteed here, plus you get the thrill. Even though I have seen some Asians with flip-flops, I would clearly advise you to wear sneakers or hiking boots! And, please, listen to your guts! If you are afraid, maybe you should be content with the view you have at the entrance. You don’t have to prove anything to anyone and make it to the end of the canyon just for the sake of it. Because you might not.

Admission is free, by the way.

Pai für digitale Nomaden – Pai Canyon

Hot Springs

There are several hot springs around Pai. I went to two different ones.

The first hot springs I visited were Pai hot springs. They are located just 7 kilometers from the town and, when I was there, the entrance fee was 300 Baht.

Pai Hot Springs

The coolest feature of these hot springs is that you can either bring or buy eggs and boil them in the hot water. To do so, go to the furthest pool (the one in the following photo), which is the hottest, and place the basket of eggs in the water. I waited around 30 minutes and the eggs were still pretty liquid but eatable. And it’s definitely a fun experience.

Pai Hot Springs

During my second stay in Pai, I went to the Sa Ngam Hot Springs. These are on the way to Lod Cave (see next sight), about 20 minutes from Pai.

Sa Ngam Hot Springs

The pool is much bigger, but there are several in the Pai Hot Springs. I have not had to pay for admission to these springs, but I do not know if this is always the case. At the beginning of the small road leading to the springs, there was a hut and a sign for entrance fees. But there was no one there to collect. At the springs themselves were open stalls, where I also bought something to eat and drink. But nobody complained about a missing ticket.

Sa Ngam Hot Springs

Lod Cave

Lod Cave is about 1.5 hours from Pai. I went there on a motorbike with a friend and he really enjoyed the ride. So if you are also into motorbike trips, you should not miss this route.

Lod Cave

I read on the Internet that it used to be possible to visit the cave alone. Today you can’t avoid a guide. He takes you on a tour of about an hour through the cave, which is divided into three parts. The first and last part are for walking through a world of stalactites and stalagmites. In between, you will be taken on a bamboo raft over a river through an impressive cave, whose ceiling you can only guess at best.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t take a good picture of it, because there wasn’t enough light.

Where to Eat in Pai?

In the evening, Walking Street turns into a Street Food Mile. Here you will find everything to eat and drink that your heart could desire.

And if you don’t feel like a walk and street food, you can choose from numerous restaurants offering everything from local to international cuisine. I always went to the Blue Ox to have dinner. The food is incredibly delicious and also offers vegetarians a good selection of Thai and Western food. I ate Thai every time and was always very happy.

For the big appetite, Burger Queen offers big and delicious burgers. And if you want to go for Thai food, Pen’s Kitchen is supposed to be unbeatable.

Where to Stay in Pai?

There are countless possibilities to stay in Pai. I was at a resort on the other side of the river both times. If you go to the end of Walking Street, there’s a bamboo bridge. You cross it and have the choice of several resorts with small huts. I loved it there! A hut costs around 500 Baht, so it is even quite affordable if you’re alone. As a couple or with a good friend (note: there is only one bed!) this is, of course, all the better.

Barbara in Pai – Pai for Digital Nomads

There are also some hostels and possibilities for backpackers or budget nomads to find super cheap accommodation. About DeeJai Pai Hostel, for example, I have heard only good things.

My Final Thoughts

Pai is worth more than a short trip. I know digital nomads who flee the “big city” Chiang Mai every weekend to go offline, enjoy nature and simply disconnect. And I think I will make it my tradition to visit Pai at least once during every Chiang Mai stay.

Have you ever been to Pai?

The Chiang Mai Guide for Digital Nomads

Chiang Mai Guide for Digital Nomads

Live Like a Local

Are you searching for a cool spot for digital nomads in South East Asia? You should check out the world's digital nomad capital Chiang Mai!

Subscribe to my newsletter so I can keep you posted about my life of travels and as a digital nomad! You will never miss a new blog post, a new ebook or where my next adventure is going to bring us. Because it’s never going to be boring!

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Wat Phra That Doi Suthep – Tips For Your Day Trip From Chiang Mai

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep – Tips For Your Day Trip From Chiang Mai

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep – What is it?

If you come to Chiang Mai you will hear a lot of people talk about Doi Suthep. Most of them are talking about the Buddhist temple, namely Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, in which the last two words describe the mountain area itself. From Chiang Mai, it is only 15 kilometers to the holy grounds, where you get a live experience of the culture and simultaneously enjoy a fascinating view of the valley. All around is the national park Suthep-Pui with an area of 261 km2 and four waterfalls.

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep – How do I get there?

There are several ways to reach Doi Suthep:

  1. With a public Songthaew: From different areas in Old Town, i.e. the North Gate or the university and the zoo, you can get one of the famous Red Cars to take you up to Doi Suthep. The cost varies depending on where you get in. From the zoo, I paid 80 Baht for a return ticket. The downside was, that I was dependant on this specific Songthaew then and couldn’t stay there as long as I wanted. If you want to stay longer or only really short, I suggest a different option.
  2. With a rented Songthaew: If you know people that would love to join your trip to the temple, you can rent a Songthaew. Prices depend on the number of people in your group and normally are about 100 Baht per person. The advantage is, that you can stop at any point of interest on the way, such as small temples or nice viewpoints.
  3. By Grab: The Grab ride will probably be around 400 Baht. However, it offers the most flexibility and you also have a local driver right next to you. Most of them speak English quite well and are more than happy to tell you about their country and its people. My advice: If you get to know a very friendly driver ask him for his number or business cards. These kind of contacts are worth a lot and can improve any day trip!
  4. By rented scooter: Most digital nomads rent a scooter as soon they get to SEA. Of course, you can get to Doi Suthep by scooter. But be careful, as the road is steep and has a lot of slopes.
  5. By foot: Personally speaking, I’m not a big fan of hikes. Therefore, I did not do the trail to Doi Suthep. However, it is said to be very beautiful and worth the effort. Especially the last part is supposed to be very steep and tiring. Please don’t forget to bring sunscreen and enough water.

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep Songthaews

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep – When is the best time?

There are two times a day that I can wholeheartedly recommend:

  1. After sunrise: When the monks start praying and the tourists are still sleeping, it’s the perfect time to explore the temple and take some marvelous pictures. At that time, the atmosphere is extraordinary.
  2. Before sunset: The sun is setting on your right if you’re on the panorama terrace of the temple and looking down on Chiang Mai. The view is breathtaking and the monks are praying at sunset as well. However, there are still a lot of tourists around so you have to share this magic moment with them.

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep – What is there to see?

For me personally, the view is the highlight of the temple. Especially at dusk, I couldn’t take my eyes of the sun disappearing behind the mountain range and I could have spent hours watching it.

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

The Naga Stairs

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep Naga-Treppe

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep Naga-Treppe

The Chimes

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

The Clock Tower

The Statue Of The White Elephant

The Colonnade

The Golden Chedi

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep Chedi

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep Goldene Chedi

My Conclusions

I’ve been to Doi Suthep twice to visit the temple. And I would love to go there at least two more times. Once for the praying monks after sunrise and once more to do the hike. It is definitely possible to combine these two but I would rather split it into two separate occasions. I love being up in the mountain, even if Chiang Mai has similarly beautiful temples right in its center – and with free entry. To experience Wat Phra That Doi Suthep you have to pay 40 Baht (if you are not a local, who can get in for free of course). Anyway, this is not an unreasonable price and I think it is a must-do in Chiang Mai, to go up to the temple at least once.

The Chiang Mai Guide for Digital Nomads

Chiang Mai Guide for Digital Nomads

Live Like a Local

Are you searching for a cool spot for digital nomads in South East Asia? You should check out the world's digital nomad capital Chiang Mai!

Subscribe to my newsletter so I can keep you posted about my life of travels and as a digital nomad! You will never miss a new blog post, a new ebook or where my next adventure is going to bring us. Because it’s never going to be boring!

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How To Maintain a Great Work-Life-Balance in Chiang Mai

How To Maintain a Great Work-Life-Balance in Chiang Mai

GUEST POST ABOUT HOW TO MAINTAIN A GREAT WORK-LIFE-BALANCE IN CHIANG MAI BY CAL BAILEY

Chiang Mai is the largest city in Northern Thailand and has become a popular place for digital nomads. With its cool climate, clean air, and picturesque scenery, it’s not hard to see why it attracts people from all over the globe.

But how easy is it to get work done and enjoy quality of life at the same time? After all, that’s the whole point about being location independent. As well as earning a living, you should have the time to explore new destinations and immerse yourself in different cultures.

Getting work done

Where you work often comes down to personal preference. Some people are happy to pay coworking membership fees as they offer the chance to meet other people and get out of the house. Others will prefer to pay slightly more for their accommodation to benefit from reliable internet.

Wherever you prefer to work, Chiang Mai certainly has a lot to offer. There a plenty of coworking spaces dotted around the city, each with its own pros and cons. Cheaper ones require a small minimum spend at their cafe in return for an internet coupon, whilst others charge daily, weekly, or monthly fees. You can expect to pay between $80 and $100 a month at some of the most popular spots.

Another popular option for digital nomads is working in cafés and coffee shops. Again, there are plenty of spots to choose from in the city, and some even offer a similar structure to coworking spaces.

One of the most convenient places to work when you’re on the road is your own residence, but depending on your budget, reliable internet may not be part of the deal. If you think that working from home is the best option for you, research accommodation offering business centres or meeting rooms with good internet. Note that these will probably be pricier than most places.

Finding a place to live

If you’re considering Chiang Mai as your next destination, you’ll need to find a place to live. The good news is there are plenty of options to suit every budget, from apartments which include luxury amenities to cheap and cheerful backpacker hostels. But first, you need to consider how much time you’ll be spending in your residence, how long you’re planning on staying in the city, and how comfortable you want to be.

Beware of articles stating you can easily live off $300 a month. Although cost of living in Chiang Mai is considered cheap by western standards, you should be aware that by the time you’ve covered visa fees, food, and rent, you’ll likely be looking at a higher monthly cost.

One of the most important things for digital nomads is having access to high speed internet. So think about how you prefer to work, and consider joining a coworking space or splashing out slightly more on your accommodation.

Meeting new people

This city offers great opportunities for meeting other people. There are always plenty of events scheduled during the day and night which will suit most people’s interests. Coworking spaces often run their own events too and offer weekly social meetups, so there’s a great mix of social and entrepreneurial events.

Couchsurfing.com, meetup.com, and local Facebook groups are also good places to start building a social life.

Finding a balance

With an abundant digital nomad community, it can be easy to get locked in miss out on opportunities to explore other areas. The best part about being location independent is discovering amazing places and enjoying experiences you simply can’t get in other countries.

The key to striking a good work-life balance when you’re traveling is scheduling your work when you’re most likely to be productive, getting as much work done as you can during your scheduled work hours, and using your free time to go exploring. Here are some of the top things you can do in and around Chiang Mai:

 

  • Visit an elephant sanctuary
  • Be adventurous and go zip lining
  • Visit one of the many temples
  • Have fun at the Grand Canyon waterpark
  • Go to an MMA event
  • Experience a Thai massage
  • Venture to neighbouring cities
  • Enjoy the nightlife in the many cool bars, clubs, and lounges

Final Thoughts

Earning money whilst you travel the world sounds like an ideal lifestyle. However, it’s not always easy. You need to be incredibly strict with yourself when it comes to getting work done, even when most of the people around you are on vacation and having fun.

Chiang Mai is easily accessible and a great base for discovering northern Thailand. You’re sure to enjoy great food, meet new people and make lasting relationships, and you have plenty of options when it comes to getting your work done. As it is such a popular destination for digital nomads, the hard part is often remembering to switch off and enjoy the amazing experiences Thailand has to offer.

About the Author

Cal Bailey blogs at Mountain Leon – a travel blog he started after his two-year backpacking journey around the world. If you would like to read more about his adventures and expert travel tips, read his latest blog posts here.

Subscribe to my newsletter so I can keep you posted about my life of travels and as a digital nomad! You will never miss a new blog post, a new ebook or where my next adventure is going to bring us. Because it’s never going to be boring!

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5 Reasons Why Koh Chang for Digital Nomads is Paradise

5 Reasons Why Koh Chang for Digital Nomads is Paradise

If Koh Chang for digital nomads is a great place?

That’s what I was wondering when I traveled to Thailand this time without knowing that I would be able to answer it shortly after. I had been to Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, and Koh Lanta before. But I knew Koh Chang only from beautiful photos that friends had taken. So the Boonya Resort invited me to explore the island and test the resort I was more than happy to agree!

The island is the second or third largest of the country – depending on whether you count Phuket an island – and is located in the Gulf of Thailand, near the border with Cambodia. You can even see Cambodia on clear days.

I left Chiang Mai on a hot weekend in June and made my way to the south, taking the night train to Bangkok. From there it’s about six hours to Trat with the minivan. The ferry from Trat to Koh Chang runs every 1.5 hours between 7 am and 7 pm. I stayed for four nights on this fantastic island. But what exactly did I like so much and why do I think Koh Chang for digital nomads is perfect?

 

#1 Koh Chang has Fast Wi-Fi

What makes a digital nomad smile? Correct: If he does not have to worry about slow Internet! Clearly, as everywhere in Asia, there are also periods on Koh Chang when Wi-Fi is not the best. The funny thing was that right on my first evening, Wi-Fi was pretty bad and I had to work with my hotspot. But fortunately, from the next day on the internet was perfectly usable and for an island definitely fast. Both in my accommodation, the Boonya Resort, as well as in the various beach bars I went, I had no more problem with working online. And so we come to # 2:

 

#2 Koh Chang has Great Places to Work From

During my three weeks on Koh Lanta two years ago, I’ve been working in beach bars. I was pretty disappointed that I didn’t find beach bars like those ones literally anywhere in the world: Not in the Caribbean, not in Brazil, not in Europe. In Mondello, Italy, it was ok, but still not what I knew from Koh Lanta: a quiet environment, good Wi-Fi and power outlets at the beach. In Koh Chang, it’s similar to Koh Lanta: one beach bar after the other! I’m sure there will be one for you, too.

Koh Chang for Digital Nomads

 

#3 Koh Chang Offers the Perfect Work-Life-Balance

Most digital nomads love to have the possibility to jump in the ocean for a refreshing swim after waking up early or start the day with a meditation with the sound of the waves in the background. Long walks in the sand or relaying in a hammock with sea view: No problem on Koh Chang! But my personal highlight are the sunsets: There is nothing better than watching the sun go down after a successful day at the computer. They simply make me happy and load me with new energy! In the regard Koh Chang for digital nomads is just perfect.

Koh Chang for Digital Nomads – Sunsts for your work-life-balance

If you need more action: No problem either! You can go on a jungle trekking tour and refresh yourself in one of the lagunes at a waterfall afterward. Are you searching for a spot with a vivid nightlife? Sure! Lonely Beach is known for the legendary parties right at the beach that last the whole weekend.

 

#4 Koh Chang Offers Beautiful Accommodation

Most of all during offseason Koh Chang is a great place to stay for a month and get a cozy bungalow. I had an awesome time at the Boonya Resort and would love to stay for a few weeks next time. It was pretty humid, I have to admit, but that’s a problem that I know from Bali. Unfortunately, that happens a lot in Asia.

I loved to work at the pool and jump on a scooter to be at the beach a few minutes later whenever I wanted. In total, I would say I prefer Koh Chang over Koh Lanta since I was staying in a guesthouse without a pool or any other special feature in Koh Lanta although the price was similar.

 

#5 Koh Chang is not a Tourist Trap (Yet!)

On Koh Chang you can still witness the original life of Thai people. Since the island was opened to public only a bit less than 20 years ago – before that it was a military base – the development of tourism is still in the beginning. Let’s quickly compare this to Koh Samui, where the first hippies and backpackers arrived around 1975 and started the era of tourism! Already in 1980 the Tourism Authority took over the matter and promoted the island as a dream holiday destination. Koh Samui is more than 20 years ahead of Koh Chang. And you can feel it! Iif you like to have a local experience but still want to be connected, Koh Chang offers the perfect mix.

 

Koh Chang for Digital Nomads – My Conclusion

Four days are unfortunately not enough to get to know a place and I have by far not seen everything I would have liked to see. But during my stay, I went to different beach bars to see how it is to work there and tried to understand if Koh Chang for digital nomads is the right place. And I’m sure I’ll be back! I really liked it and I was thrilled that finally, an island could keep up with Koh Lanta!

PS: The Boonya Resort invited me to stay for four nights. I didn’t get any financial compensation for writing this blog post or any other service. My opinion is my own though and is not influenced by this collaboration.

The Chiang Mai Guide for Digital Nomads

Chiang Mai Guide for Digital Nomads

Live Like a Local

Are you searching for a cool spot for digital nomads in South East Asia? You should check out the world's digital nomad capital Chiang Mai!

Subscribe to my newsletter so I can keep you posted about my life of travels and as a digital nomad! You will never miss a new blog post, a new ebook or where my next adventure is going to bring us. Because it’s never going to be boring!

THAILAND

DOI SUTHEP

THAILAND

PAI

THAILAND

STICKY WATERFALLS

 

Bangkok – City of Angels

Bangkok – City of Angels

Not only Los Angeles is called The City of Angels, but also the Thai capital Bangkok – at least the Thai call it by that name. I arrived at the early evening at the airport and made my way to the hostel. Changed trains once and the rest of the way by Tuk Tuk. Not that hard! But with almost 40 degrees Celsius, the 15kg on my back seemed a lot heavier than they did back in autumnal Australia. And I already realized – when people talk about Thais being friendly, they are definitely not exaggerating! Even if they don’t understand you, they always put a smile on their faces! If you know me well, then you also know that I love warm temperatures! I just love the sun and temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius. Only then I feel really comfortable.! My first day in Bangkok, however, was apparently the hottest day in the last 55 years – 46 degrees Celsius in the shade. Even I got a little uncomfortable then… During the day, it was bearable though. I got a Tuk Tuk and for around 3 EUR the driver took me to all the important attractions for the next four hours. Tuk_Tuk

Tempel in Bangkok

Tempeldach in Bangkok

In Bangkok that means visiting countless temples with hardly pronounceable names and even more Buddha statues (big, small, chubby, skinny, standing, lying down).

At the end, the Tuk Tuk driver took me to Golden Mount – a small hill with a temple on top. You can reach it via a circular step that leads you around the hill. From there, you have a fantastic panorama of Bangkok.
Ausblick_auf_dem_Golden_Mount_2

Ausblick_vom_Golden_MountClimbing up the stairs and staying on the scorching hot rooftop for a few minutes finally finished me off – it was just too hot. I wanted to get back to the hostel. However, I soon realized that a room without an AC wasn’t the best place to spend your time on this day. The air was so hot, I could barely breath. So I waited in the shade outside the hostel until 11 pm, enjoyed the atmosphere and planned moving into an air-conditioned room (definitely worth the 3 EUR more!). The next day, I got a private tour! One of my followers from Barbaralicious volunteered as guide when he saw that I arrived in Bangkok.Timo_und_Ich_auf_der_Khao_San_RoadWe took the ferry along the Chao Phraya River up to the kings palace.
Unterwegs_mit_der_Fähre_in_Bangkok Because of the unbelievable masses of people – that you normally never notice in this kind of metropolis – and the entrance fee of 15 EUR we decided to marvel at it from the outside and continue our ferry trip until the final station.Der_KönigspalastFrom there, we took the Skytrain until the Siam Paragon Mall, also called “The pride of Bankgok”. On the ground level, you will find a lot of food stands and you can eat your way through Thai cuisine buffet-style. The biggest advantage – you know the food is clean and hygienic here. Siam_Paragon

We spent the rest of the evening in the illustrious China Town and finally on Khao San Road. 

Essen_in_China_Town2

Khao San Road

Whoever is brave enough to try fried maggots, scorpions or other bugs can get them here. And if you’re looking for souvenirs, new beach clothes or simply a beer with live music, this is the right address.

 

What do you think? Too much “hustle and bustle” or rather a lot of fun? Leave a comment!

The Chiang Mai Guide for Digital Nomads

Chiang Mai Guide for Digital Nomads

Live Like a Local

Are you searching for a cool spot for digital nomads in South East Asia? You should check out the world's digital nomad capital Chiang Mai!

Subscribe to my newsletter so I can keep you posted about my life of travels and as a digital nomad! You will never miss a new blog post, a new ebook or where my next adventure is going to bring us. Because it’s never going to be boring!

THAILAND
DOI SUTHEP
THAILAND
PAI
THAILAND
KOH CHANG