From mid-April this year, two of the biggest digital nomad communities are coming together on one of Thailand’s most spectacular islands, Ko Phangan. Outpost and Hacker Paradise, a community of remote working professionals that travel the world together for weeks or months at a time, have collaborated on a work/live adventure packed with beaches, Muay Thai, snorkeling, Phad Thai and more. But why Thailand? Read on for all the reasons why this wondrously diverse Southeast Asian nation needs to be on your nomad destination list.
Thailand’s capital, Bangkok, is one of Asia’s most cosmopolitan cities, but hidden among the skyscrapers and shopping complexes you can still find sanctums of serenity—royal Buddhist temples and lush recreational parks. Bangkok’s vibrant nightlife, world famous food, huge range of accommodation, welcoming nature towards travelers, and fast, plentiful wifi are just a handful of reasons why it holds the top spot on Nomad List.
Travelers to Bangkok have often remarked that it feels like multiple cities within one. It’s a melting pot of ethnic groups descended from early immigrants who have all made an important contribution to Thailand’s cultural and economic landscape. Bangkok’s rich and colorful heritage sits side-by-side with its remarkable modernism—the city is also home to some of Asia’s best fine dining restaurants and contemporary art events.
But if the big city life isn’t what you crave, or if you love variety among your remote work locations (who doesn’t?), Thailand also boasts some of the region’s most beautiful and relaxing white sand islands that are increasingly catering to remote workers.
Part of the Chumphon Archipelago in the Gulf of Thailand, just a little north of far more famous Koh Samui (if you haven’t guessed it yet, “koh” means island in Thai), Koh Phangan has everything you could wish for in a tropical island paradise.
Fringed with tranquil bays, inlets, coves and beaches, its mountainous jungle interior—which is protected as a national park—is also home to waterfalls that are well worth visiting in the monsoon season. Snorkeling and stand up paddle boarding in the calm, shallow waters of the Gulf are ideal ways to end your work day, and if you need to knock out some stress, Koh Phangan has several Muay Thai gyms to choose from. Evenings are for munching your way through the sizzling night markets, or dancing ‘til dawn at the monthly Full Moon Party.
Koh Samui, which lies about 38 km north of Koh Phangan, is often referred to as the latter island’s big sister. While you can still find peaceful palm-fringed beaches, dazzling coral reefs, and breathtaking sunset spots, Koh Samui is also home to shopping malls, a cinema, luxury resorts and day spas, and a centrally located airport. And, unlike its little sister, here you can access the ride hailing and food delivery apps Grab and FoodPanda.
Some travelers have said the remote worker community in Koh Samui isn’t as close-knit as Koh Phangan’s—perhaps because the island’s residential areas are more spread out—but you’ll still meet dozens of entrepreneurial location independent professionals enjoying its rejuvenating vibe.
With a population of almost half a million, Phuket is Thailand’s biggest island. It’s long been one of the nation’s most popular holiday destinations, with hundreds of resorts, delectable local food, gorgeous beaches, dramatic coastline, and long lists of watersports that drew 14.5 million tourists pre-pandemic. Although visitor numbers have yet to return to this 2018 figure, the island was Thailand’s first location to reopen during the pandemic, and its buzzing vibe is back. For digital nomads looking for a slice of both city life and island life, Phuket is pretty close to perfect. There are new coworking spaces popping up and cafes aplenty, an electric nightlife, and it also offers some of the country’s best healthcare.
In Thailand’s mountainous northern region lies a temple-filled city that has evolved into one of Southeast Asia’s most thriving hubs for remote workers, digital innovators, and tech startups. Chiang Mai, where it’s almost impossible to have bad coffee due to its proximity to arabica plantations—is home to dozens of coworking spaces, industry events, and meetups.
As Thailand’s second largest city, it’s also teeming with tantalizing street food and a wide array of restaurants plating up exquisite Thai cuisine and international favorites. Wandering around its shimmering streets in the evening while inhaling the heady mix of fragrant aromas—curry paste and coconut milk, fish sauce and chillies—Chiang Mai could easily claim the title of one of the world’s most delicious cities.
With everything it offers those in search of community and inspiration, it’s no surprise that some of the region’s leading innovators have chosen Chiang Mai to share their creations and businesses with the world. Here you’ll find Asia’s annual gathering of top SEO entrepreneurs, CMSEO; an inclusive and diverse media startup festival, Splice Beta; and a coworking space dedicated to Asia’s media landscape, Greenhouse.
With all of these destinations and more, it’s time to make Thailand your next homebase. And if it’s Koh Phangan that’s stood out most for you from this list, there’s no better way to discover the idyllic island than on our Outpost x Hacker Paradise work/live adventure. We can’t wait to see you there the next time we collaborate in Koh Phangan!
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