Traveling to Southeast Asia: Night train to Chiang Mai, the unofficial world capital of digital nomads

3년 전

The flight to Bangkok was not very exciting. I arrived there around noon. The night train I had booked prior to leaving for Myanmar was leaving at 6pm the same day. So I had to kill six hours and had no hostel or place to stay.

P8182198.jpgI actually just wanted to shoot the sign, but that guy just drove right into my shot and stayed there. Now I like it even better, because it represents Chiang Mai and Thailand even better
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P8182193.jpgWhat I really love about the temples is the amount of bright colors. It brightened up my mood every time I saw it.
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Knowing this I had downloaded a movie and several episodes of "That 70s show" however as I found out on the trainstation my powerbank was dead. I checked every single outlet there but they were all shut down. So I simply got to the next coffeshop and charged up my phone and powerbank there.

Contrary to my expectations the train was quite new, to my relief it even had USB outlets so I could charge all my devices and watch all the downloaded Netflix content. Most passengers in my carriage where tourists, just like me. The majority were families with more or less (actually more) loud and annoying kids. Opposite of me there was a german family. I was not really in a mood for a superficial conversation just based on the fact that we shared the same language, so I got my headphones and spent the evening just on my own. It was pretty funny to listen to them talking about me as they clearly thought I couldn't understand them. I know it may sound strange, but I usually don't like meeting Germans or Austrians while travelling. The reason is, because pretty often they behave not very good, like demanding lots of stuff or being ignorant to local customs. After a great, but cold (damn acs) night in the train I arrived pretty well rested in Chiang Mai at 7am.

P8182067.jpgBeautiful temples everywhere with some rainy sky in the background
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P8182224.jpgSome fancy hotel driveway, it looked even better at night when they light up lights inbetween the bamboo!
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P8192232.jpgIn case you wondered what Tuk-Tuks are: This is one. They are usually a little more expensive than the "red cars" which are the main public transport in Chiang Mai and many other Thai cities.
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The plan was to meet up with my friend Moritz and his girlfriend Lena, who I knew from Austria. Unfortunatelly they were ziplining the whole day so I had the whole day on my own. At the guesthouse I got a big breakfast after settling down from the 24 hours of travel. During breakfast in the garden, I met a guy from belgium. He was in Thailand for a work trip and told me about digital nomads and that Chiang Mai is extremely popular among them. He sparked my curiousity, so I kept asking him and he seemed quite happy to answer all my questions. This is the result of his answers and some research afterwards:

Why Chiang Mai is the world capital of digital nomads

Since as a digital nomad all you need in order to be able to work is a proper internet connection digital nomads don't depend on job offers in certain places. They just wander around (there is a reason they are colled nomads) and stay at the places they like best. Chiang Mai has very low living costs, and at the same time offers tons of well equipped co-working spaces. Healthcare is easily among the best in Southeast Asia and the city has a really nice international vibe. The beautiful temples and and bustling markets are also very popular. The great food you can find in Thailand is only part of the topnotch cuisine to be found in the city. I ate some Pizza which was nearly on one level with Pizza in Italy!
So Chiang Mai is cheap, has great food, great healthcare and a wide variety of leisure activities waiting for you. Digital nomads, you know where to go ;)

I spent the rest of the day walking around in the inner city admiring the temples in the occasional showers of rain.

P8182190.jpgA rare glimpse of sun that day
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P8182088.jpgMost of the temples had beautiful gardens with hardly any people around
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P8182079.jpgLoads of cats and dogs walking around and inside the temples
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In the evening I finally met up with my friend and as a party of 3 we explored the night market of Chiang Mai. The food was great and the company better. It was refreshing to be able to talk to people in my first language who weren't my sister. At the night market there was a great food court and a band was playing. The vibes where great, but after about half an hour it suddenly started raining like nuts. Luckily the part of the market where we where was covered, however Lena didn't want to eat anything from there. She wanted Pizza so we had to run through the pouring rain to get the expensive and delicious peace of food. I did not take my camera with me that evening hence no pictures of the market..

P8182123.jpgThe biggest temple of Chiang Mai (also the only one I found where one had to pay in order to get in)
1/1250 Sek. f/5,6 14 mm ISO 320

P8182132.jpgThe jawdropping inside of the temple
1/8 Sek. f/5,6 14 mm ISO 200

P8182175.jpgLooking out of the museum of writings right onto a huge old buddhist building (I forgot what it was exactly)
1/2500 Sek. f/5,6 14 mm ISO 320

Since Moritz and Lena were on a thighter schedueal than me they already planned to take a minibus to Pai the next day. I checked my guide book about Pai and decided to join in. I hadn't explored Chiang Mai properly yet, but in order to get back from Pai the busses all go to Chiang Mai so my plan was to check out the rest as soon as I got back.
In the end I was 3 times in Chiang Mai but more on that later.

In the next chapter Moritz, Lena and I will be scooting through the beautiful nature surrounding Pai. Waterfalls and rice fields included ;)
Stay tuned!

All shots in this post were made with my Olympus OMD EM-10 Mark II with a 14-150mm lense in manual mode.

If you want to learn more about my travel through southeast Asia you can read the previous posts here:

There is a new chapter coming each Thursday

If you want to know more about me check this out:

Thank you for reading and feel free to upvote, resteem & follow me :)

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Such beautiful photos!

This post was resteemed and curated in today's edition of The Almost Daily Sneak.

Thank you for creating quality content!


Thank you so much! I really appreciate it :)

I have great respect for people and groups like you who just search through steemit and curate without getting a lot in return. You guys are a huge help to get noticed in the huge amount of spam that is being posted!


You're welcome.

Oh, Finally I get time to read this :) and hey I am a nomad wanna be and I can learn so much more from this. You really should try hubud in Bali :)

And this statement, Oh I couldn't agree more !!!!!! I love coffee shops with fast WIFI and fast wifi is a must :)

Since as a digital nomad all you need in order to be able to work is a proper internet connection digital nomads don't depend on job offers in certain places. They just wander around (there is a reason they are colled nomads) and stay at the places they like best.


I am happy you like it :D I heard so much great stuff about Indonesia, so I will check it out for sure! It might just take me some time until I get to that part of my list ;)


I am staying tuned for the next one :) you always write a very thorough and amazing shot! can't wait for the next one ^^

@bypaul, you just received an upvote powered by smartsteem. We exclusively support quality posts and authors on steem.

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Thank you! When I read your post, memories come from my own trip to Southeast Asia.

I decided to travel around Laos with Stray Asia, as I had good experiences with them before. From Chang Mai we traveled to Laos and then took a slow boat for two days to Luang Prabang. I liked the fact that they chose a home stay in a local village oppose to staying in a guest house which you do if you travel with the regular slow boats. It was really interesting to see how the locals live and they even did a traditional ceremony for us which was an unforgettable experience. This pass offers you the option to hop-off and I would recommend you to stop in Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng and perhaps Don Det a little bit longer than suggested, as there is a lot to see and do and those are really the highlights of this trip. Otherwise you spend a lot of time in the bus. I unfortunately didn't have the time to do that, but still managed to see the highlights in the given time frame. For the time we were in Laos we had our own bus, which was super convenient and comfortable. One of the biggest hassles traveling in South East Asia is organizing your transport and then spending long hours in a full and uncomfortable bus- Stray was a great alternative for that and worth spending a little bit more money on. We did a lot of stops on the journey and visited temples, waterfalls and many more things that you would usually skip. We had a local tour guide coming with our group and since he was from Laos he could give us a lot of information about his country and help to translate in remote areas. He suggested activities, accommodation and restaurants where we could eat together, but was also very helpful when you wanted to find an alternative. The accommodation that Stray chooses are guest houses with twin or triple rooms that usually have their own bathroom. They were basic, but clean and there was nothing to complain about. As I was traveling alone I stead one night in a different place in a dorm room, for the other nights I shared the room in the Stray accommodation with people I met on the tour and shared the costs. My highlights of this tour were Luang Prabang, tubing in Vang Vieng, seeing the stunning waterfalls in Pakse, cycling around the 4000 islands and seeing the caves in Khong Lor. If you want to see places that are off the beaten track, traveling in South East Asia for the first time or don't have that much time and don't want to spend your time figuring out how to get to place- then Stray is definitely for you.


Wow that story actually deserves a post for itself. I bet you would get some nice upvotes on that :)

I also thought about going to Laos via the slow boat, but I decided against it, because I only had 2 weeks to spare and I felt like that was not enough to explore Laos properly. Instead I flew to the south of Thailand. My plan is to visit Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia the next time I get to Southeast Asia.

I never understood people who decide on their own you do not speak the same language. Once I participated in a conversation where two guys were discussing women in general thinking I don't understand them... it was eye-opening experience :D


I am always extremely cautious to talk about people when I think they don't understand me. I heard so many (pretty funny) stories about people talking trash about others without realising they can understand them ^^

German is a rather safe call in Asia, but you never know. With regards to english however I always assume people understand me.


I assume the same, although most of the people I was meeting in Indonesia this summer were German-speaking, so I wouldn't consider it safe. I was free to speak Bulgarian, nobody understands that one, hahah

Dude those pictures are awesome! Glad you keep your level where I can use you as a role model for others :P


Aww stop it! You are making me blush _
No seriously I appreciate it, you where one of the reasons why I decided to stay here on steemit :)


Glad to hear that :) Hope we will see each other on a steemit meetup in Vienna one day!


Yeah I hope I can make it soon! However uni is currently pretty stressfull so it might take a few weeks until that happens...

Btw. thanks for the resteem :D

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You got a 31.25% upvote from @postpromoter courtesy of @bypaul!

nice work you put in! fun post


Thanks :) Always nice to have someone appreciate the amount of work these posts take.


you are welcome! keep them coming

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Those pictures are beautiful @bypaul


Thank you :)

This is my next destination before home 😊


Be sure to check out the sunday night walking street! It is pretty crowded but still great :D

Amazing shots, very interesting and educative post, thank you!


Thank you :)
I always strive to make the posts as enjoyable as possible!

Chiang Mai is the best!


It really is a great city!

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Awesome photos!

This post has received gratitude of 17.74 % from @appreciator thanks to: @bypaul.