Thailand digital nomad visa guide (2023)
The Kingdom of Thailand offers not 1 but 3 visa types that digital nomads from all over the world can apply for.
Depending on your income and preferences, you can choose among the following visas:
- Thai Elite visa,
- Smart visa, and
- Long-Term Resident visa.
They all have some unique advantages, but also some distinctive requirements that not all can meet.
To help you decide if Thailand is a good destination for you and what type of visa is best for you, we have conducted research and found out more about:
- Rules and procedures when applying for a digital nomad visa,
- Types of digital nomad visas in Thailand,
- Advantages and disadvantages of living in Thailand,
- Best destinations for digital nomads in Thailand, and
- Tips and further readings for digital nomads who choose to settle in Thailand.
Quick digital nomad visa facts for Thailand
Here are some quick facts about digital nomad visas that will help you see if Thailand has a visa type you like.
|Thailand visa questions||Thailand visa answers|
|Does Thailand have a digital nomad visa?||There are three types of visas suitable for digital nomads in Thailand: |
– Thai Elite visa
– Smart visa
– Long-Term Resident visa
|When was Thailand’s digital nomad visa introduced?||– Thai Elite visa — 2003 |
– Smart visa — February 1, 2018
– Long-Term Resident visa — September 1, 2022
|Who can apply for Thailand digital nomad visa?||People from all over the world can apply for Thailand digital nomad visa as long as they meet the criteria mentioned later in the guide.|
|How much does Thailand’s digital nomad visa cost?||– Thai Elite visa — ฿600,000–฿2,000,000 (~$17,700–$59,000) in total|
– Smart visa — ฿10,000 (~$295) per year
– Long-Term Resident visa — ฿50,000 (~$1,480) in total
|Thailand’s digital nomad visa length?||– Thai Elite visa — 5 years|
– Smart visa — 2 years
– Long-Term Resident visa — 5 years
|Minimum stay requirement?||The minimum stay requirement is not specified. However, you are obliged to report to the Immigration office annually if you are a Smart visa or Long-Term Resident visa holder. If you have a Thai Elite Easy Access visa, you are obliged to report to the Immigration office every 90 days.|
|Possible to extend a visa?||– Thai Elite visa — Yes, for 5 more years.|
– Smart visa — Depending on the Smart visa type you already own, you can extend it for up to 4 more years.
– Long-Term visa — Yes, for 5 more years.
|Minimum income requirements?||– Thai Elite visa — There are no minimum income requirements. |
– Smart visa — Depending on the Smart visa type you want, requirements are from ฿50,000 to ฿200,000 (~$1,475–$5,900) per month.
– Long-Term Resident visa — ฿2.692.040 (〜$80,000) a year.
|Processing time for visa application?||– Thai Elite visa — From 1 to 3 months |
– Smart visa — 30 working days
– Long-Term visa — 30 working days
|Can I apply with family members for a digital nomad visa?||Yes, but only with your spouse and children.|
What to expect as a digital nomad in Thailand?
An increasing number of digital nomads choose Thailand as their new home, and below, you can see a detailed analysis of why they do that.
However, before we get to a comprehensive analysis, let’s check some basic information about what to expect as a digital nomad in the Kingdom of Thailand.
|Thailand digital nomad FAQ||Thailand digital nomad answers|
|Average Internet speed:||198.98 Mbps|
|Best coworking space (highest Google rating and number of voters):||The Great Room Gaysorn Tower — Coworking Space and Hot Desking Bangkok (4,9 stars from 201 votes)|
|Friendly to foreigners:||Yes, people in Thailand are used to tourists and digital nomads from all over the world, so there would be hardly any problems.|
|The most popular place for digital nomads in Thailand:||Bangkok|
|Weather in Thailand’s most popular place for digital nomads:||Average annual temperature — 28 °C (82.4°F)|
Coldest month average temperatures (December) — 26°C (79°F);
Hottest month average temperatures (April) — 30,5°C (87°F)
Rainy season between July to October.
|Type of climate:||Tropical|
|Annual air quality average:||US AQI 67 (Moderate quality)|
PM 2.5 — 3.6x the WHO annual air quality guideline value (Unhealthy for sensitive groups)
|Average cost of living:||฿26.928 (〜$900) per month|
|Average coworking space cost:||฿5,000 (〜$145) per month|
|Crime per 100k population:||69.5|
|Interesting fact for digital nomads:||According to some predictions, Thailand’s digital market will be worth around ฿690 billion (~$20 billion) by 2024.|
What types of digital nomad visas does Thailand offer?
Thailand has been actively trying to attract foreigners to work and live in Thailand ever since they introduced the Thai Elite Visa in 2003.
The first attempt has been so fruitful that even nowadays, the Thai Elite Visa is one of the most popular visas for digital nomads.
In the meantime, the Thai government has introduced two other types of Thailand visas for digital nomads.
As a result, digital nomads who want to come and live in Thailand can choose among the following types:
- Thai Elite Visa,
- Smart Visa, and
- Long-Term Resident visa.
Without further ado, let’s see what these types of Thailand visas offer to digital nomads.
Type #1: Elite visa
The Thai Elite visa is intended for people who want to work and stay in Thailand for more than 90 days.
Furthermore, it is especially attractive because there are no rigid rules you have to follow to get it.
The Thai Elite visa program offers 8 different types of Thailand visas:
- Elite Easy Access
- Elite Family Excursion
- Elite Family Alternative
- Elite Privilege Access
- Elite Superiority Extension
- Elite Ultimate Privilege
- Elite Family Premium
Thai Elite visas don’t have any income requirements, so, to apply, you just need to:
- Be a foreign citizen,
- Have the right documents,
- Have a clean criminal record, and
- Have enough money to purchase one of the visas.
The only differences among the Elite visas are in duration and privileges. More expensive Elite visas grant you:
- Longer stay,
- Assistance in opening bank accounts,
- Assistance in getting a driver’s license,
- Assistance in creating business contacts,
- Annual medical checkups,
- Access to golf courses and spas, and
- Discounts in shopping malls, hotels, and restaurants.
What are the most suitable Elite visas for digital nomads?
The most suitable Elite visa for digital nomads is the Elite Easy Access visa because it costs less than other visas – ฿600,000 (~$17,500) — and it lasts for 5 years.
On the other hand, if you want to bring your spouse with you to Thailand, the best choice would be Elite Family Excursion.
The Elite Family Excursion visa costs ฿800,000 (~$23,280) in total for two people, and it allows them to stay in Thailand for 5 years. Another benefit of this type of visa is that it allows you to bring your children with you, with a fee of ฿300,000 (~$8730) per child.
So, for example, a couple with two children will need ฿1,400,000 (~$40,750) to get the Elite Family Excursion visas for Thailand.
Once you get one of the two aforementioned Thai Elite visas, you’ll be able to spend 5 years in Thailand without any annual fee and with privileges such as:
- Having a personal assistant at the Thailand airports,
- Having a short-haul transport service 4 times a year from an airport in Thailand to your accommodation and vice versa,
- Having a long-haul transport service 6 times a year from an airport in Thailand to your accommodation and vice versa,
- Approach to exclusive lounges at the Thailand airports,
- Faster passport control processes and formalities, and
- 24/7 Help center.
Type #2: Smart Visa
The main aim of the Smart Visa program is to attract educated and ambitious people from all over the world to work and live in Thailand.
There are 5 types of Smart Visas:
- Smart T visa (for professionals in targeted industries)
- Smart I visa (for investors)
- Smart E visa (for executives)
- Smart S visa (for startup entrepreneurs)
- Smart O visa (for Smart visa holders’ family members)
Digital nomads are probably most interested in Smart T and Smart S visas, depending whether they want to work for someone or develop their own startup.
Without further ado, let’s check the most important aspects of Smart T and Smart S visas.
Smart T visa
Smart T visa is ideal for digital nomads who have found a well-paid job in a Thai company or a company that cooperates with local entities in Thailand.
If you want to apply for a Smart T visa, you’ll need to meet the following criteria:
- To work for a Thai company, a company that cooperates with a Thai entity, or a Thai startup,
- The entity for which you work has to be endorsed by the Digital Economy Promotion Agency and National Innovation Agency,
- To earn ฿100,000 (~$2910) or more per month if you work for a Thai company or a company that cooperates with a Thai entity,
- To earn ฿50,000 (~$1455) or more if you work for a Thai startup,
- A contract for at least 1 year with a Thai company, a company that cooperates with a Thai entity, or Thai startup, and
- Experience in the industry recognized by Strategic Talent Center from Thailand.
Having a Smart T visa brings you a few useful benefits:
- No work permit is needed,
- No re-entry permit is needed,
- The spouse and children of the visa holder are allowed to stay in Thailand for as long as the holder works there,
- The spouse of the Smart T visa holder does not need a work permit to work in Thailand, and
- Fast track service is available to you at the airports.
Bear in mind that you will not be able to apply for a Smart T visa if you work for an international company that does not collaborate with Thai companies.
Smart S visa
Smart S visa is the perfect option for all entrepreneurs to live and work in Thailand.
You can get a Smart S visa that will be valid for 6 months, 1 year, or 2 years, depending on the requirements you and your startup meet.
For digital nomads who are still planning their startup, the only option is to apply for a 6-month Smart S visa.
To get a 6-month Smart S visa, you need:
- A startup plan ratified by credible Thai agencies like the National Innovation Agency, and
- A health insurance valid for as long as you stay in Thailand.
On the other hand, digital nomads and entrepreneurs who are applying for a 1-year Smart S visa must meet the following requirements:
- To have attended an accelerator or incubation program certified by credible Thai agencies or to have secured joint venture funding,
- To have at least ฿600,000 (~$17,500) in their bank account for at least 3 months before applying,
- If their spouse or children are coming with them additional ฿180,000 (~$5,238) per family member must be in a bank account, and
- To have health insurance valid for as long as they stay in Thailand (including health insurance for their family members if they are coming with them).
Finally, if you opt to apply for a 2-year Smart S visa, you need to fulfill the following conditions:
- To have set up a startup recognized by credible Thai agencies,
- To be a director of a startup or to own at least 25% of the company’s capital,
- To have at least ฿600,000 (~$17,500) on your foreign or Thai bank account for at least 3 months,
- If your spouse or children are coming with you, additional ฿180,000 (~$5,238) per family member must be on your foreign or Thai bank account, and
- To have health insurance valid for as long as you stay in Thailand, and, if family members are coming to Thailand, they need it as well.
The holders of the Smart S visa have the same benefits as the holders of the Smart T visa.
Type #3: Long-Term Resident visa
Thailand introduced a Long-Term Resident visa program in September 2022. It is mostly intended for rich digital nomads and business people.
However, this visa program is probably least attractive to average digital nomads who mostly earn less than necessary for this type of visa.
To obtain a Long Term Resident (LTR) visa, you have to meet the following requirements:
- To have a personal income of $80,000 a year during the past two years, or to have $40,000 and have your own intellectual property/Master’s degree and above/ or receive Series A financing.
- To have 5 years of work experience in your field of expertise,
- To work for a public company registered in the stock market or for a private company that has had a revenue of at least $150,000,000 during the past three years,
- To have health insurance with the coverage of $50,000 or at least $100,000 deposit in your foreign or Thai bank account that has been there for at least 12 months before application, and
- If you bring your spouse and children to Thailand, they also need health coverage in the amount of $50,000 or at least $25,000 deposit (that has been there for at least 12 months before application) per family member on your foreign or Thai bank account.
When you get the LTR visa, you can get the following benefits:
- Fast service at the airports in Thailand,
- No re-entry permit needed,
- Digital work permit,
- No taxes for income from abroad, and
- Help with registering.
What documents do you need to apply for Thailand digital nomad visas?
As you have noticed above, there are three almost equally good Thailand digital nomad visa types.
Naturally, all of those visas have their own requirements, and hence different documents are needed to apply for them.
In the following paragraphs, we bring you the list of documents you need to apply for Thailand digital nomad visas.
What documents do you need for Thai Elite visas?
You need the same documents for every type of Thai Elite visa.
However, the amount of money you’ll have to pay can vary depending on the type of visa you choose — from ฿600,000 to ฿2,000,000 (~$17,500–$58,200)
Here are the documents you need to submit to get a Thai Elite visa:
- A copy of the identification page in your passport (a page where you picture and information are),
- A filled out Thai Elite visa application form,
- ID photo in color, and
- A document proving your relationship with your spouse or children (if they are applying with you).
After your application has been accepted, you have to pay the visa fee.
Upon receiving the payment, Thailand authorities will register you in the Thai system and send you the Elite card by post.
What documents do you need for Smart visas?
After meeting the requirements mentioned above and having the appropriate documentation required for Smart S or Smart T visas to prove it, you get to the second phase of application where you need to send other documents.
To obtain any of the Smart visas, you’d need to submit the following documents:
- Passport and a copy of the passport,
- Board of Investment’s valid notification letter to the Immigration Bureau,
- ID photo,
- A filled out Smart Visa application form,
- A filled out document called Criteria and Conditions Acknowledgement Form For the Temporary Stay Permit in the Kingdom,
- A filled out document called The Acknowledgement of Practices for Recipients of Smart Visa,
- A filled out document called The Acknowledgment Form of Penalties for a Visa Overstay,
- Proof you have spent at least 90 days in your current residence — the residence where you live at the moment of applying for Smart visa (if you have ever had Thai non-immigrant visa that has been extended), and
- Work visa if you are a holder of Non-Immigrant Visa B.
These documents have to be submitted at Thailand embassies, consulates, or The Immigration Bureau in Bangkok.
What documents do you need for LTR visas?
To get the LTR visa, you need to submit the following documents:
- A copy of the identification page in your passport,
- Your ID photo,
- Your CV,
- Proof that you have 5 years of experience in the related field,
- Health insurance with coverage of no less than $50,000 or evidence that you have social security that can cover the potential expenses or evidence that you have had at least $100,000 in your bank account for the last 12 months,
- Proof that you are employed, where your position, income, and contract term are stated,
- Bank statement for the last 12 months,
- Bank statement showing you have earned at least $80,000 or $40,000 per year in the last two years,
- A completed employment certificate (WP.46) (in case you need a Thai work permit),
- A criminal record certificate, if necessary, and
- If applicable — Master degree or above, evidence of owning intellectual property, or of receiving funding of no less than $1,000,000.
Bear in mind that you can submit a document proving you have paid for health insurance coverage in the later stages of your application as well.
As long as it is before the notification letter is issued, you are fine.
Who is eligible to apply for Thailand’s digital nomad visa?
You are eligible to apply for Thailand’s digital nomad visa, as long as you:
- Are not a resident of Thailand,
- Meet the criteria we mentioned above, and
- Have provided adequate documentation.
For some visa types, such as the Elite visa, there are almost no requirements.
On the other hand, for Smart Visa and LTR, there are many conditions you need to fulfill before you can obtain the visa.
In any case, it is paramount that you check all the documentation before you apply for the visa to ensure no procedural mistakes ruin your chances.
Are you eligible if you are a United States citizen?
Yes, as a US citizen, you are eligible for the Thailand digital nomad visa, as long as you provide all of the required documentation.
Are you eligible if you are a US Green Card holder?
Yes, as a US Green Card holder, you are able to apply for a Thailand digital nomad visa.
However, as we say to all the potential applicants who have Green Cards, think carefully before spending more than 1 year outside the US because your Green Card would expire.
Furthermore, the process of getting another Green Card is not easy at all.
Are you eligible if you are an EU citizen?
Yes, as an EU citizen, you are eligible for Thailand digital nomad visa.
As far as you provide the required documentation, you can choose the visa type you prefer.
Are you eligible if you reside in any other country?
Yes, you are eligible to apply for Thailand digital nomad visa even if you reside in any country other than the US or EU countries.
However, check if you would automatically lose residency in your current country if you apply for a Thai digital nomad visa.
Can I work remotely in Thailand on a tourist visa?
No, it is illegal to work remotely in Thailand on a tourist visa.
If you want to go to Thailand and work, pick either some of the digital nomad visas we mentioned or some alternative type of visa, such as a Non-Immigrant B visa.
How do I get a digital nomad visa for Thailand?
After you have collected all the necessary documents, it is time to submit your application.
You can do it online by visiting the official websites of each visa:
If you don’t want to apply online, you can also visit some of Thailand’s embassies and submit your application in person.
Also, bear in mind that documents in the second phase of application for a Smart visa have to be submitted at the Thailand consulates, embassies, or The Immigration Bureau in Bangkok as we stated above.
Which Thailand visa type is best for digital nomads?
All things considered, the best visa type for digital nomads is the Thai Elite Visa because it does not have any income requirements.
On the other hand, if you earn enough money ($80,000 per year), you can choose an LTR visa too, due to the great benefits it offers.
If you have a good business plan for creating a successful startup, a Smart S visa might be perfect for you.
The Smart S visa is projected to follow the trajectory of your startup’s growth and help you create a successful enterprise.
Costs you need to consider as a digital nomad in Thailand
Life in Thailand is not so expensive for digital nomads — prices are mostly lower than in North America and Europe.
Depending on the city you live in, around ฿27,500 (~$800) would be enough to cover the basic costs of accommodation, groceries, utilities, and transportation tickets.
Of course, if you enjoy going out to clubs, bars, or restaurants often, your expenses might be higher.
Bangkok, as the capital, is the most expensive city in Thailand. However, during the tourist seasons (from November to February), expenses in cities such as Phuket and Pattaya might become slightly higher, as well.
Now, let’s see in detail what costs you need to consider as a digital nomad in Thailand.
Expense #1: Аccommodation (or rent)
In Thailand, a single digital nomad can find a studio or 1-bedroom apartment for an amount that wouldn’t be enough to buy monthly groceries in some European countries.
Here is the list of average prices for 1-bedroom apartments in the most popular cities for the digital nomads in Thailand that confirms the statement from above:
|Place in Thailand||Accommodation costs|
|Phuket province||฿13,750–฿20,600 (~$400–$600)|
|Chiang Mai||฿7,000–฿8,000 (~$200–$300)|
|Krabi province||฿7,000–฿8,000 (~$200–$300)|
|Samut Prakan province||฿8,000–฿10,000 (~$230–$290)|
|Mueang Nonthaburi||฿5,000 (~$150)|
Expense #2: Groceries
Due to inflation, prices of some goods in Thailand have surged and become similar to the prices in Europe.
However, some other goods are still slightly cheaper than we would expect.
Here is a detailed list of prices of some most commonly bought groceries:
|Groceries||Grocery prices in Thailand|
|A baguette||฿32 (~$0,93)|
|Water 1.5 l||฿17,9 (~$0,50)|
|Milk 1 l||฿61 (~$1,77)|
|Chicken breasts 1 kg (~2,2 lb)||฿124 (~$3,60)|
|Cheese 1 kg (~2,2 lb)||฿584 (~$17)|
|12 eggs||฿76 (~$2,21)|
|Apples 1 kg (~2,2 lb)||฿88 (~$2,56)|
|Potatoes 1 kg (~2,2 lb)||฿55 (~$1,60)|
Expense #3: Utilities
The prices of utilities in Thailand are moderate, if not low, for digital nomads who come from well-developed countries.
If you spend around 100 kW/h of electricity per month — you’ll have to pay approximately ฿404,28 (~$11,7).
Electricity bills can be higher if you use air conditioning often during hot summer days or chilly nights in the monsoon season, as most Thailand apartments do not have heating systems installed.
Another utility bill you’ll have to take into account is for water.
An average person spends around 4.3㎥ of water per month — converted into money, that means you’ll have to pay between ฿50 and ฿100 (~$1,45–2,90) per month per 4.3㎥ of water. Of course, the aforementioned price can change, so you have to be in touch with the latest water prices in Thailand.
The third bill that comes to the address of every Thai resident every month is the one for garbage. The waste disposal fee varies from ฿20 to ฿80 (~$0,58–$2,32), depending on where you live.
Of course, if you come to Thailand with your family, you can expect the bills to be higher.
Here are the detailed prices of utilities in Thailand:
|Utilities||Costs of utilities in Thailand|
|Electricity bill||฿4,04 (~$0,117) per 1 kWh|
|Water bill||Between ฿50 and ฿100 (~$1,45–2,90) per month per 4.3㎥|
|Waste disposal fee||Between ฿20 and ฿80 (~$0,58–$2,32) per month|
Expense #4: Gas and public transportation
Although we do not recommend you drive too often in Thailand, due to the high number of road accidents, sometimes you might wish to go somewhere by car.
Therefore, it is good to know how much gasoline is, especially if you plan to drive from one city to another.
Here are the current petrol prices in Thailand:
|Gas||Gas costs in Thailand|
|Diesel||34,74 ฿/l (~1,01 $/l)|
|Gasohol 91||36,94 ฿/l (~1,06 $/l)|
|Gasohol 95||37,24 ฿/l (~1,08 $/l)|
|Gasohol E20||34,64 ฿/l (~1,00 $/l)|
When it comes to public transportation, the following options are the most popular in Thailand:
- MRT (Mass Rapid Transport) subway in Bangkok,
- Baht buses,
- Ferryboats, or
However, public transportation is not the same in every city — some cities do not have subways or organized city bus systems.
Bangkok, as a capital, has the best-developed public transportation system.
Here are the prices of public transportation in Bangkok:
|Public transport||Public transport costs in Bangkok|
|Taxi||Starts at ฿35–฿40 (~$0,58–$1,15) and rises at the rate of ฿5 (~$0,14) per kilometer|
|Bus||For buses with air conditioning: ฿800 (~$23,30) per month|
For buses without air conditioning: ฿400 (~$11,65) per month
|MRT subway||฿1400 (~$40,80) per month|
|Tuk-Tuk||฿30–฿60 (~$0,87–$1,75) per ride|
In Pattaya, Krabi, and Phuket provinces, as well as in other coastal cities, you’ll most likely use ferryboats and river taxis for transportation to nearby islands or cities.
Here are the means of transportation in other Thailand cities and their ticket/ride prices:
|Transportation||Transportation costs in Thailand|
|Taxi||Starts at ฿40 (~$1,15) and rises at the rate of ฿6 (~$0,17) per kilometer|
|Public bus (in Chiang Mai)||฿10 (~$0,29) per ride|
|Ferryboat (in coastal cities and provinces)||฿9–฿19 (~$0,26–$0,55) depending on the distance|
|River taxi||฿2–฿50 (~$0,05–$1,46) depending on the distance|
|Tuk-Tuk||฿30–฿60 (~$0,87–$1,75) per ride|
Expense #5: Bars and restaurants
The prices in bars and restaurants in Thailand are reasonable.
Taking into account how good the food in Thailand is, we may say that they are even lower than they should be.
Thailand is well-known for its street food. You can have local fast food noodles, salads, rice, fried chicken/squid, and curries for between ฿34,4 and ฿137,5 (~$1–$4) per meal.
If you want to go to restaurants, be prepared to pay around ฿150 (~$4,40) per meal. Of course, if you go to some more exclusive restaurants or eat international specialties, you can expect higher prices.
Also, portions in Thailand are pretty small by European and American standards, so it is probable that some of you will ask for another meal.
If you decide to go to a bar after enjoying a meal to have an espresso, you’ll pay between ฿34 and ฿52 (~$1–$1,5) for it.
For those who like to end the night with an alcoholic beverage, the prices in bars/clubs are the following:
|Drinks||Drink prices in Thailand|
|Beer 0,5 l||฿80–฿140 (~$2,33–$4,10)|
|A bottle of good wine||Around ฿700 (~$20,5)|
|Shot of vodka||฿150 (~$4,37)|
|Glass of whiskey||฿150 (~$4,37)|
|Shot of tequila||฿145 (~$4,22)|
Bear in mind that prices in bars vary depending on the location. Therefore, prices in, for example, Chiang Mai might be much lower than in Bangkok, Phuket, or Pattaya during tourist season.
Expense #6: Coworking spaces
Since Thailand has become a hotspot for digital nomads, there are more and more coworking spaces available all around the country.
The average price for a desk in a coworking space in Thailand is around ฿5,000 (~$145) per month.
Naturally, Bangkok has the most coworking spaces, while additional capacities are needed in Krabi province and Pattaya.
Expense #7: Internet
Although the average internet speed in Thailand is good, some cities still have slightly slower internet speeds than expected.
Therefore, the only solution for digital nomads is to buy a strong and fast internet package that will enable them to work without any connection failures.
The average price of an 8 Mbps internet package is around ฿540 (~$15,75).
Do digital nomads pay taxes in Thailand?
Yes, digital nomads pay taxes in Thailand.
Personal income tax depends on the amount you earn.
Here is a table where you can see how taxation works in Thailand.
|Net Income in ฿||Personal Income Tax (PIT) Rate|
|Over 5,000,001 (~$144,555)||35%|
If you receive money from abroad, it is taxable from the moment you:
- Send it,
- Pay with it or
- Raise it from an ATM.
To avoid paying taxes, you would have to wait until it has been in your bank account for at least a year.
However, if you get an LTR visa, you would not have to worry about such things.
With the LTR visa program, you can receive, send, and raise money from abroad whenever you want, without fear of taxation.
Documents required for paying taxes in Thailand
There are a few documents you need for paying taxes in Thailand.
At the end of each year or whenever you terminate your contract, you receive a document called 50 Tawi (withholding tax certificate) from the employer.
In this document, it is stated how much money your employer has paid for your personal income tax and social security.
That is crucial because you’ll have to write in the same amount stated there when you fill in your personal income tax return.
If you have additional sources of income, you’ll have to fill in a slightly different personal income tax return.
Finally, when you have paid your taxes, you’ll have to request the so-called Tax Clearance Certificate before leaving Thailand, as evidence that you have paid all the necessary taxes.
What are the benefits of being a digital nomad in Thailand?
Thanks to Thailand’s digital revolution, a lot of Thai people have come back to their native country, but also, a plethora of digital nomads have chosen Thailand as their destination.
Here are some of the most attractive benefits of being a digital nomad in Thailand.
Benefit #1: Acceptable safety
Overall, Thailand is a safe country.
Thai people have a long tradition of welcoming foreigners, so they are used to different cultures and races. We doubt anyone would have any problems there as long as they obey the law and respect the local culture.
According to statistics, there are 69.5 crimes per 100k people, which is lower than in many US states and European countries.
Just like in many other tourist places, the majority of crimes in Thailand are tourist scams and offenses against property, such as bag snatching or pickpocketing.
Therefore, keep your valuables out of sight in big cities such as Bangkok.
Also, avoid being in the streets during protests.
If you like to party, watch out for drink spiking, especially in coastal towns.
Thai police (in most cases) do their job properly, especially if the foreigners are the victims.
They really care about their image in the eyes of foreigners, so they do everything in their power to prevent any crimes. Even if it comes to that, they’ll make sure the stolen goods are returned.
Violent crimes rarely happen in Thailand. That is because Thailand has pretty strict laws, and a perpetrator of such crimes might face heavy repercussions. Even when violent crimes happen, they seldom involve foreigners.
The last violent crime that involved foreigners occurred in 2018.
Benefit #2: High-speed internet service
According to various sources, Thailand has one of the fastest fixed broadband internet services in the world.
The Ookla’s internet speed ranking puts Thailand in 6th place with a median speed of 198.98 Mbps.
Moreover, Thailand’s government does everything it can to further develop internet service by adopting new policies and plans for improving fixed broadband internet connections all over the country.
Therefore, if you opt for Thailand remote work visa, you will not have to worry — Thailand has and will have reliable and fast internet.
Benefit #3: Vibrant social life
Social life is one of the main benefits of living in Thailand.
From day one of your arrival, you will notice how polite and friendly the Thai people are. It is common for them to greet you in the street with the traditional salute called “wai”.
Since they are sociable, do not be surprised if some of your Thai colleagues or friends invite you to their houses sooner than you expect.
If your idea of fun is to eat out with your friends, you’re in the right place — Thailand is famous for its cuisine. Noodles, soups, salads, and curries are just some of the wonderful dishes you can have either in luxurious restaurants or worldwide famous fast foods.
On the other hand, if you want to eat international food, you should have a meal in one of the various Turkish, French, Italian, Belgian, or German restaurants.
Finally, we know that many digital nomads are especially interested in Thailand’s nightlife. And we understand why — there is something for everyone.
You can go to regular pubs and bars, or you can try something new and visit buzzing seaside nightclubs and bars.
Whatever bar or club you choose, we are sure you’ll have a good time.
🎓 Pumble Pro Tip
While working in Thailand, you will meet and work with various interesting people from all over the world. Therefore, we recommend you check some basic rules of communication in diverse workplaces:
Benefit #4: Amazing architecture
When our hunger is satiated, we like to take a stroll. We recommend you do the same because Thailand and Bangkok especially have some amazing places worth visiting.
If you are in Bangkok, visiting The Grand Palace and Chakri Mahat Prasat Throne Hall is a must. Afterward, you can continue your stroll and visit various religious and historic sites, parks, and museums.
One of the museums that have caught our eye is the so-called Jim Thomspon House, where you can find various exhibitions and meet the Thai culture better.
Benefit #5: Low living costs
Overall, the cost of living in Thailand is lower than in the U.S. and many European countries, and that is yet another reason why many digital nomads chose to apply for Thailand remote work visa.
However, food and accommodation prices in Thailand’s most attractive cities for digital nomads such as Bangkok and Chiang Mai, have been on the rise recently.
Because of the high inflation rate, the prices of some groceries like bread and milk have become equal to or even more expensive than the prices of the same goods in Europe or the USA.
On the other hand, in Bangkok, the most expensive Thai city, the accommodation prices have remained almost intact.
You can find a solid 1-bedroom apartment in the middle of the city (not too close nor too far away from the city center) for between ฿13,350 – ฿20,100 (~$400 – $600).
Rent prices in some summer resorts and touristy cities like Pattaya and Phuket can be slightly higher, but still, you can find some hidden gems for the same amount of money as in Bangkok.
When you add other costs for utility bills, internet, transport, and other pleasures, you see that one needs between ฿26,700 – ฿30,050 (〜$800 – $900) for a comfortable lifestyle.
Benefit #6: Great healthcare system
According to the available data, Thailand spends around 4.9% of its GDP (around $25 billion) on the healthcare system.
Constant investments in the healthcare sector make Thailand’s healthcare system one of the best in Asia and equal, if not better, than many Western countries.
Most Thai citizens have universal healthcare coverage and can get treatments in state-of-the-art hospitals if needed.
On the other hand, digital nomads who opt for Thailand long-term visas, such as Long Term Residents visas or Smart S visas, must purchase private health insurance.
Private health insurance enables digital nomads to go to both private and public hospitals. However, most expats opt to go to private hospitals in big cities, because there is more English-speaking staff.
In any case, we hope you’ll never need services in the Thai healthcare system, but if you do, don’t worry, you’ll be in safe hands.
Benefit #7: Breathtaking summer holiday resorts
One of the main reasons why digital nomads want to get a work visa for Thailand is the beauty of the country itself.
Amazing landscapes, beautiful beaches, and breathtaking summer holiday resorts will leave you in dilemma about what place to go to see first. Even in the coldest months like January and February, you can enjoy swimming, thanks to the average sea temperature of around 27℃ (80,6℉).
For those of you who have slightly deeper pockets, we recommend visiting an island called Phuket and a neighboring town called Krabi. They are two of the five most popular summer holiday destinations in Thailand.
On the other hand, if you are not willing to spend much money, or simply do not enjoy glamorous destinations such as the two mentioned above, check out destinations such as Koh Yao Noi, Similan Islands, and Koh Samui.
Wherever you go, we believe you’ll have a good time and understand why around 40 million tourists visited Thailand in the year before the pandemic.
What are the drawbacks of being a digital nomad in Thailand?
Although Thailand looks like an ideal destination for digital nomads, those familiar with the situation in the country know there are disadvantages to living there too.
Therefore, after diligent research, we have made a list of the drawbacks of being a digital nomad in Thailand.
Drawback #1: Bureaucracy
Thailand’s legal and bureaucratic systems are still not quite efficient, although Thailand has become one of the most developed countries in Asia.
According to the Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI), the country still has to go a long way until it develops an efficient system that will cut red tape and serve its citizens.
Until the reform of the bureaucratic system, a digital nomad who has a work visa for Thailand needs to get used to the following:
- Lack of cross-agency teamwork.
- Ineffective e-service and e-government platforms.
- Centralized system — some business ventures in rural areas might wait for the “green light” from the capital.
These things can be frustrating and significantly slow down every process of getting public service or registration.
We hope new progressive laws and regulations are underway, because bureaucratic reform is pivotal for Thailand’s future.
Drawback #2: Potential political unrest
You do not want to end up in prison in Thailand. Therefore, be careful not to be involved in or caught at the scene of mass protests that are common in big Thai cities.
Namely, in recent years there have been a few protests mostly because of:
- The lack of freedom and democracy,
- Persecution of activists,
- Obstructed and slow reforms, and
In most cases, the results of protests are:
- A vast number of arrested activists,
- Political unrest, and
- Harsher laws against dissenting voices.
Due to the often tense political situations and the suffering of those who fight against oppression, Freedom House has labeled Thailand as a “Not Free” country.
However, there are no recordings of foreigners and expats arrested during the recent political unrest.
As long as you don’t do anything illegal, stay out of trouble, and do not comment negatively about the Thai political system or royal family, you will have no problems with the authorities.
Besides, times of political unrest might be a perfect opportunity for those of you who live in the centers of protests, like Bangkok, to visit family in your native country or to go to some other cities until the fuss dies down.
Drawback #3: Tourist scams
You could get robbed if you are not careful.
Unfortunately, some of the locals spoil the picture of good and welcoming Thai people by earning money through tourist scams.
Naturally, after spending some time in Thailand, you easily notice if someone wants to trick you and get your money.
However, during your first months as a digital nomad there, it would be best to follow these instructions and avoid becoming a victim of tourist scams:
- Do not buy any kind of cheap gems that you could re-sell in your native country for a high price. Most of them are copies and worth nothing.
- Do not believe the claims that there are “one-day-government-sponsored sales” in gem shops or jewelry. The Thai government and the royal family do not sponsor any shops, so do not fall for those claims.
- Always give precise instructions to the tuk-tuk and taxi drivers. If you do not do so, they might take you somewhere you do not want and ask for more money.
- If you want to rent scooters, cars, or jet skis, check if the rental company is reputable.
- Do not donate or lend large sums of money to unknown people.
- Always check the exchange rate if you want to pay with foreign currency or change it to bahts.
Drawback #4: Unpredictable weather (during some periods) and bad air quality
Weather in Thailand could be perceived as both an advantage and disadvantage, depending on the season.
For most of the year, the weather is amazing and one of the main reasons why many tourists come to Thailand.
However, during some parts of the year, the weather can be unpredictable and cause a lot of trouble.
From September to November, typhoons might occur and bring heavy wind and rainfall that can cause floods and other inconveniences.
Also, do not be surprised if a beautiful sunny day gets quickly spoiled by a downpour that might occur from time to time between May and October.
To be sure that the weather would be on your side, we recommend you check reliable weather forecasts often.
Although weather can be unpredictable, it is not as huge a problem as air pollution.
Thailand has been fighting unhealthy levels of PM2.5 concentration in the air for a long time.
Unfortunately, it looks like it is losing the battle at the moment because the authorities advise citizens to work from home and leave their homes only if necessary.
Therefore, if you choose to live in the central and northern parts of the country, prepare yourself for bad air quality, especially during the dry season, which lasts from December to February.
The only options during the peak of air pollution are to:
- Stay at home,
- Wear a mask when you go outside, or
- Find accommodation in some other part of Thailand that has better air quality.
Drawback #5: Locals’ English proficiency
English proficiency is not one of the Thai people’s stronger sides.
In the 2022 English proficiency rankings, Thailand took 97th place — meaning the Thai people have a very low English proficiency level.
As a result, you might find yourself in a pretty difficult situation during everyday communication with Thai people who do not speak English, whether it’s face-to-face or virtual communication.
If you do not use body language and alternative ways of communication properly, communication breakdown might ensue, leaving you and your plans between the devil and the deep blue sea.
To avoid miscommunication and frustrations, we recommend you slow down your speech and use appropriate gestures that can replace words whenever you see fit.
Also, if you want to live in Thailand for a long time and cooperate with the locals, it would be great if you could learn the Thai language.
🎓 Pumble Pro Tip
Using emojis is a great way to clearly state what you think while communicating with people who do not speak English. However, even emojis meaning varies from culture to culture. To make sure your message will be clear enough to others, check out our article:
5 Best destinations for digital nomads in Thailand
Is there such a thing as the perfect city? We sincerely doubt.
However, every city has its own magic that can make you fall in love with it before you even notice it — and trust us, Thailand has a plethora of such cities to offer.
So, here you can see 5 cities that we believe would be the perfect destinations for digital nomads in Thailand.
Bangkok — The most popular city for digital nomads in Thailand
City area: 606 mi² (1,569 km²)
Time zone: UTC +07:00 (ICT)
Average internet speed: median download 225.40 Mbps/median upload 191.27 Mbps
Average cost of living: around ฿27,500 (~$800) per month (with rent, utilities, groceries, and public transport fee)
Average cost of rent: ฿13,750–฿20,600 (~$400–$600) per month
Biggest advantage: Metropolis where you have everything you need
Biggest drawback: Air pollution
Bangkok is one of the biggest cities in Asia.
Since the Asian economic boom in the 80s, Bangkok has become one of the world’s most attractive cities for expats.
Thailand’s capital city has various attractions you can visit — from temples and palaces to modern shopping malls, and Michelin-star restaurants.
Various districts have become hotspots for digital nomads and expats in general.
Sukhumvit area is the true representative of contemporary Bangkok due to its rapid gentrification and the fact that more and more foreigners find accommodation there.
Overall, the prices of 1-bedroom apartments are between ฿15,450–฿24,000 (~$450–$700) per month in the city’s downtown.
On the other hand, in areas further from the city center, you can find apartments for as little as ฿6,870–฿10,300 (~$200–$300) per month.
Regarding groceries, you will need to spend between ฿1370–฿1710 ($40 and $50) per person per week.
Also, do not forget to try amazing Thai specialties in local restaurants or street food stalls that are so good that some of them have earned Michelin stars.
Unfortunately, there are drawbacks to living in Bangkok as well.
The main disadvantages are air pollution and huge traffic jams. Worst of all, there are no solutions for these problems in sight.
Where to work in Bangkok
There are around 160 coworking spaces in Bangkok. According to Google ratings and the number of voters (4.9 from 201 votes), it seems that The Great Room Gaysorn Tower – Coworking Space & Hot Desking Bangkok is the best place to work.
Phuket province — The best summer holiday resort in Thailand
City area: 210 mi² (543 km²) (with all islands)
Time zone: UTC +07:00 (ICT)
Average internet speed: median download 104.58 Mbps/median upload 94.35 Mbps
Average cost of living: around ฿24,050 (~$700) per month (with rent, utilities, groceries, and public transport fee)
Average cost of rent: ฿13,750–฿20,600 (~$400–$600) per month
Biggest advantage: One of the most beautiful destinations in the world
Biggest drawback: Dangerous roads
Phuket is a province in the south of Thailand that consists of 33 islands among which the largest is the island called — you would never guess — Phuket.
Although it doesn’t have too many residents, during summer holidays it has millions of guests from all over the world, so it can get crowded.
However, the beauties of the Phuket islands, wild nightlife, and the relatively low cost of living make it perfect for digital nomads who have acquired work visas for Thailand.
On average, you will need to spend around $500 per month for a 1-bedroom apartment on Phuket island.
When we combine the cost of the apartment with the cost of utilities, groceries, and transportation fees, we get to the amount of around $700 you’ll spend per month for basic needs.
Also, Phuket is well-connected to other cities and countries, due to its international airport through which millions of people go to their favorite destinations.
The biggest disadvantage of Phuket is its dangerous roads. Namely, they are so narrow and full of potholes that we recommend you avoid driving whenever possible.
In addition, a lot of people lose their lives due to careless driving, so if you have to drive in Phuket, do it with extra caution.
Where to work in Phuket
Work on beaches, in parks, and in bars! Seriously, it is so beautiful there that you should spend as little time as possible inside! If you opt for a coworking space, Grind Time Coworking Space in Phuket seems like the best choice (a rating of 4.8 from 44 reviews).
Chiang Mai — A diamond in the crown of Thailand
Population: 1,198,000 (expanded city area)
City area: 15,53 mi² (40,22 km²)
Time zone: UTC +07:00 (ICT)
Average internet speed: median download 189.80 Mbps/median upload 162.65 Mbps
Average cost of living: around ฿19,100 (~$550) per month (with rent, utilities, groceries, and public transport fee)
Average cost of rent: ฿7,000–฿8,000 (~$200–$300) per month
Biggest advantage: Low cost of living
Biggest drawback: Air pollution
Chiang Mai is located in the northern part of Thailand. It is described as a diamond in the crown of Thailand by King Rama V, so it summarizes the importance the city has for the Thai people.
As a digital nomad in Chiang Mai, you can enjoy various historical sights, museums, nearby national parks such as Doi Inthanon, festivals, and crazy nightlife.
Therefore, Chiang Mai is the perfect combination of Thailand’s past and future. The future in which Thailand strives to be one of the most progressive countries in Asia.
Another advantage of Chiang Mai is that you can rent a huge apartment or even a small house for almost the same price as you could rent a 1-bedroom flat in Bangkok.
The most attractive area for digital nomads in Chiang Mai is the Nimman area.
It is close to the city center, has a lot of bars and restaurants, and coworking spaces and shopping malls are nearby.
Also, if you like a direct approach, here is the Facebook group where you can find accommodation in Chiang Mai and maybe get in touch with other digital nomads who live there currently.
Regarding drawbacks, there is one, and it is huge — air pollution.
Although pristine nature and national park Doi Inthanoon are nearby, Chiang Mai is still affected by air pollution due to large wildfires, and according to Bangkok Post, large agriculture corporations that burn the waste from crops.
Where to work in Chiang Mai
Due to pollution, there will be times when it would be best to stay inside for some time. Therefore, it is important to pick a good coworking space near your apartment. According to Google ratings, Punspace Tha Pae Gate is the best choice (4.6 stars from 115 votes).
Krabi province — The best destination for digital nomads who enjoy working outdoors
City area: 1,818 mi² (4,709 km²)
Time zone: UTC +07:00 (ICT)
Average internet speed: median download 79,87 Mbps/median upload 76,01 Mbps
Average cost of living: around ฿19,900 (~$550) per month (with rent, utilities, groceries, and public transport fee)
Average cost of rent: ฿7,000–฿8,000 (~$200–$300) per month
Biggest advantage: Low cost of living
Biggest drawback: Lack of coworking space
Krabi province is located on the western coast of Thailand.
It is one of the most popular tourist destinations, but it is also emerging as the province where many digital nomads plan to live for some time.
As far as we can see, digital nomads in Thailand prefer to live in the main Krabi district called Mueang Krabi.
You can find an apartment there for as much as ฿7,000 (~$200) per month.
When you add the expenses of utilities and groceries, you’ll have to spend around $500 per month for the basic living expenses.
Along with the turquoise sea and natural beauty, the low cost of living makes Krabi one of the most promising provinces for digital nomads in Asia.
However, the Krabi province is still tourist-oriented, so it lacks coworking spaces and bars where you can work without being disturbed by noisy music and tourists.
Also, while researching the information about the town, we noticed that occasional power outages might happen, so be prepared for that as well.
Although it has disadvantages, Krabi is a charming place, and it is a question of time when it will become as popular as Phuket.
In addition, Krabi is one of the rare cities in Thailand that is actively combating the effects of pollution by turning to 100% renewable energy.
Where to work in Krabi
There is not too much coworking space in Krabi. However, KoHub, a coworking space in Sala Dan, seems to be a perfectly fine choice among the existing spaces with an average rate of 4.8 out of 97 votes.
Pattaya — The best place to live in Thailand for expats
City area: 20,6 mi² (53,4 km²)
Time zone: UTC +07:00 (ICT)
Average internet speed: median download 94,52 Mbps/median upload 85,14 Mbps
Average cost of living: around ฿19,100 (~$550) per month (with rent, utilities, groceries, and public transport fee)
Average cost of rent: ฿8,000–฿10,000 (~$230–$290) per month
Biggest advantage: Low cost of living
Biggest drawback: Overtourism
You do not have to imagine a city that is a mix of Bangkok and Phuket, it already exists and it is called Pattaya.
Just two hours away from Bangkok, Pattaya is the most attractive city on Thailand’s east coast.
It was the third most visited city in Thailand before the pandemic, with 9,951,900 foreign tourists who stayed for at least one night there.
One of the main advantages of life in Pattaya is cheaper accommodation than in Bangkok or Phuket. For between ฿8,000 and ฿10,000 (~$230–$290) per month, you can live in a beautiful 1-bedroom apartment in Pattaya.
Groceries are slightly cheaper than in Bangkok, and you’ll spend between ฿1040 and ฿1380 (~$30 and $40) per week.
Pattaya has really come a long way from a small fishing village to one of the most vibrant cities in Thailand.
Nowadays, many foreigners pick it as their new home because they can enjoy the same things as people who live in Bangkok, but without traffic jams and for a slightly lower price.
From amazing bars and clubs to intact beaches and nearby villages where you can go for a weekend getaway if you get bored of the city itself, Pattaya really has a lot to offer.
Where to work in Pattaya
Unfortunately, there are not many coworking spaces in Pattaya, but we have still managed to find one that might be a good choice according to Google ratings — rPod Coworking Space has 4.8 stars out of 16 reviews.
Tips for digital nomads in Thailand
For people coming from the West, Thailand can be full of culture shocks.
Therefore, if you are planning to live there for some time, it is best to go prepared.
Here are our tips that might help you settle better.
Tip #1: Avoid driving
It is really dangerous to drive in Thailand because roads are bumpy and drivers are often careless.
The fact that 540 drivers have lost all of their 12 points on the first day of the application of the new points-based system best describes how crazy it is to drive in Thailand.
Of course, a car would sometimes be the only transport option, but still, be very careful when driving in Thailand.
Tip #2: Check air pollution levels often
We have mentioned above how polluted Thailand really is, hence we advise you to check air pollution levels often.
If you see that air pollution is above average, stay home and avoid going out.
Tip #3: Be careful when you go out clubbing
Great nightlife and people who earn money via tourist scams are not so good a combination.
Therefore, if you have a couple of glasses more during the night, be extra careful not to end up robbed through some of the abovementioned tourist scams.
Further reading for digital nomads in Thailand
We are glad that we can offer some more resources that will help you get more information about Thailand.
Here are some additional sources we recommend you check before or after you get to Thailand:
- Thai Revenue department, where you can find recent information about taxes you need to pay as a digital nomad in Thailand.
- Thai Revenue department e-services enable you to pay your taxes online.
- Trip Advisor Thailand tour guide.
- Complete guide for public transportation in Bangkok.
- Renthub — a website where you can find a lot of apartments for rent or sell for reasonable prices.
- Bangkok Post — one of the most popular English-language news sources in Thailand.
- Facebook group where foreigners and locals rent or sell houses and apartments in Chiang Mai.
Conclusion: Thailand is for digital nomads who feel adventurous
Thailand is for digital nomads who are ready to take on a big challenge.
Thanks to the three types of digital nomad visas we mentioned above, expats from all over the world can come and enjoy the amazing Thai culture and meet friendly people.
No matter what visa type you choose, we are sure you’ll be satisfied.
Crazy nightlife, beautiful and tasty street food, amazing landscapes, and a turquoise sea are more than enough for everyone to have a good time while living in Thailand.
After all, Thailand did not get its nickname “The land of smiles” for nothing.
Thailand digital nomads visa guide disclaimer
We hope this Thailand digital nomad visa guide has been helpful and that you enjoyed reading it. Throughout the guide, we have given you various links that might lead you to new interesting data or simply to articles that will expand your knowledge on various Thailand-related topics.
Please bear in mind that our article has been written in Q1 of 2023, so any changes that are made in the Thailand digital nomad visa procedures or laws after that time have not been included.
Before you start the application process, we advise you to consult with certified representatives, lawyers, and institutions that can provide you with all the information needed.
Pumble is not responsible for any negative responses, losses, or risks incurred, should this guide be used without further guidance from legal and other official advisors.
- IQAir. (n.d.). Thailand air quality index (AQI) and Air Pollution Information. Retrieved March 7, 2023, from https://www.iqair.com/thailand
- Statista. (n.d.). Thailand: crime rate by type 2021. Retrieved March 7, 2023, https://www.statista.com/statistics/1343016/thailand-crime-rate-by-type/
- Ookla. (2019). Speedtest Global Index – Monthly comparisons of internet speeds from around the world. Retrieved March 14, 2023, from https://www.speedtest.net/global-index
- Ltr.boi.go.th. (n.d.). LTR Visa Thailand. Retrieved March 14, 2023, from https://ltr.boi.go.th/#pri
- Smart-Visa.boi.go.th. (n.d.). About us | Smart Visa. Retrieved March 14, 2023, from https://smart-visa.boi.go.th/smart/pages/about.html#what
- Freedom House. (2022). Thailand: Freedom in the World 2022 Country Report. Retrieved March 14, 2023, from https://freedomhouse.org/country/thailand/freedom-world/2022
- Human Rights Watch. (2021, December 2). Thailand: Events of 2021. Retrieved March 14, 2023, from https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2022/country-chapters/thailand