Chiang Mai for Digital Nomad Girls: The Ultimate Guide

Chiang Mai for Digital Nomad Girls: The Ultimate Guide

In our Digital Nomad Girls Ultimate Guide series, we introduce cities from around the world that are great places for location independent ladies. From Chiang Mai to Medellin, we’ve got you covered. The first edition is Chiang Mai for Digital Nomad Girls.

Chiang Mai for Digital Nomad Girls

 

It feels almost like a cliche to write about Chiang Mai as a nomad hotspot. After all, the Thai mountain town has become digital nomad central in recent years. But that’s for good reason. Affordability, warm weather year-round, delicious and varied food, friendly locals and a great community make Chiang Mai the perfect spot to settle down for a while and get some work done.

Whether you’re starting out or already a seasoned remote worker, Chiang Mai is not to be missed.

Where is it?

 

Chiang Mai is the capital city of a Northern Thai province of the same name. It’s located in the mountains, only a few hours from Laotian and Burmese borders.

Chiang Mai

Stats

Population: 400,000

Currency: Thai Baht (ca. 35 baht to $1, 50 baht to £1, 39 baht to €1)

What is it known for?

Known for its great and varied food, cheap living costs, friendly people and fast wifi. That’s why it’s become a nomad hotspot year-round.

When to go?

The most popular time to visit Chiang Mai is from around October to late January, when the weather is more mild and dry.

The worst time to go to Chiang Mai is during burning season, which lasts from February to April every year. Farmers around the city burn off their fields and the resulting air pollution becomes almost unbearable. Most expats, nomads and many locals leave during this period, moving to the Southern islands for a few months instead.

Climate

 

Although a little cooler than its bigger brother, Bangkok, Chiang Mai can still get very hot year round with its tropical wet and dry climate.

The coolest time is October to mid-February, although it never really feels cool unless you’re riding on a scooter at night. (lows around 15 C, highs around 30 C).

The hottest season, coinciding with burning season, is mid-February to June, when humidity is high and temperatures reach lows of 24 C and highs of 36 C.

June to October is wet season, when the old town has been known to flood.

Safety for women?

 

In general, safety is not a big issue in Chiang Mai, but travellers should always use common sense that you would at home. 

Many Thai women dress in a very modern style, often wearing shorts and summer dresses. However, make sure you dress respectfully, especially when visiting temples.

When driving on a scooter make sure you always wear a helmet, preferably a proper motorbike helmet. Random police checks of scooter drivers are quite common, with the policemen often giving out fines of 400-500 baht. In general, you should always go to the police station to pay the fine, but it’s usually less hassle to just pay the policeman there and then (albeit, not strictly legal).

Public drinking is not allowed in Thailand.

Health

 

For minor issues or check-ups, Chiang Mai’s hospitals are very well equipped. In case of emergency, you might have to be transferred to Bangkok, which has some of the best hospitals in South East Asia.

Chiang Mai Ram Hospital is located in the North-West of the old town, near Nimman and offers some of the best services. It is, however, a private hospital, and not all insurance will cover your treatment if you could have visited a public hospital instead. So, you should check with your insurance first to find out if they’ll cover your treatment there.

Dental care and other check-ups can be very affordable in Thailand, and many foreigners visit doctors there beacuse it’s cheaper than at home. You can find an overview of healthcare in Chiang Mai here.

The Bangkok hospital (in Chiang Mai) offers a Women’s Health Clinic.

Visa situation

 

Visas are one of the hottest topics when it comes to Chiang Mai. The paperwork you require absolutely depends on your nationality and how long you want to stay for. Please check your country’s visa regulations for Thailand before making any travel arrangements.

In general, most nationalities (with exceptions) can enter Thailand with a visa exemption. This is not technically the same as a visa-on-arrival, but works much the same way. The exemption allows you to stay for 30 days, after which many nationalities can apply for a 30-day extension. Last time we checked, the extension cost 1900 baht (around $53) and can be applied for at any immigration office in Thailand.

If you want to stay longer you can apply for a tourist visa in your home country or in a few other countries in Southeast Asia. The visa situation is constantly changing, that’s why we urge you to always contact your consulate or embassy for up-to-date information.

At the time of writing, there were two types of tourist visa available: the single-entry 90-day visa (which lasts 2 months but can be extended for an extra month, see above) and the 6-month multiple-entry visa, which you must apply for in your home country. While the 6-month multiple-entry visa sounds great in theory, you may have to prove that you have at least $7000 in your bank account, which may not be possible for every aspiring digital nomad.

How much does it cost?

 

Chiang Mai’s affordability is one of the main reasons it has become the most popular nomad destination in the world.

Depending on your standards, you will be able to live comfortably for around $600 a month. This would include a simple studio apartment, access to a coworking space, scooter rental, eating mainly cheap street food or in food courts, and the occasional night out.

A street food or local market meal will set you back 30-50 baht, local meals in little cafes or shacks will cost 40-100 baht. Western meals can have Western prices, with a nice brunch costing around 120-300 baht.

In general, food is fresh, delicious, and very cheap, and if you’re on a strict budget you can easily eat well for 100 baht a day.

Room and apartment prices are changing rapidly, but a basic studio apartment with aircon, pool access and a balcony can be found for as little as $150 per month (without bills).

Some of the flashier, luxury condos can go for almost Western prices, that’s why we’d suggest talking to people when you arrive to find out where to get a good deal. Most places make you sign a one-month contract and pay a 1-month deposit that you get back at the end.

Getting there

Many Asian budget airlines like Air Asia fly directly to Chiang Mai airport, which is located only 3 km south west of the city.

Most people arrive in Bangkok and either take a short 1-hour flight or the cheaper overnight train to Chiang Mai.

Getting around

When you arrive at the airport you can either take a taxi, songtheaw or tuk-tuk. Taxis are surprisingly affordable and usually cheaper than tuk-tuks. A taxi to the Nimman area will cost anywhere from 100 to 200 baht, depending on your haggling skills.

Songtheaws (or red trucks) are the cheapest option to get around town and usually cost 20 baht per ride within the city. From the airport they might charge around 40-50 baht, which is still a steal.

The trick to riding in red trucks without being ripped off is not to ask about the price when you get in. As soon as you ask how much the ride costs, the driver knows you’re new to Chiang Mai and might try to charge you an inflated price. If you just get in, they will know that you’ve taken a truck before and know that the standard price for a ride in the city is 20 baht. Obviously, this price doesn’t apply late at night, when fares often double, or if taking a longer trip.

Renting a scooter is also very popular and gives you total flexibility. Scooters can be rented for around $60-100 per month. You will need to pay a deposit, but avoid leaving your passport as a deposit, even if they insist on it, a cash deposit is always best. ALWAYS wear a helmet (a proper helmet is best, unlike the little “soup bowls” most people in Thailand seem to wear) and we wouldn’t recommend driving a scooter if you don’t have any experience.

Renting a bicycle can also be a great way to explore Chiang Mai, but be sure to ride carefully on the main roads. Most guesthouses and many other shops rent out bicycles per day, week or month. You can try to haggle, but most pay around 60-100 baht per day, or around 300-500 baht per week for a simple push bike. Bicycle helmets are virtually impossible to find to rent, but you can buy a cheap helmet at one of the many helmet shops along the moat.

Where to stay?

 

Chiang Mai has a whole range of options for digital nomad girls who’d like to stay for a while. The easiest and most flexible way to find a place is to just show up. Book 3 nights in a hostel, hotel or AirBnB (or couch surf) and then walk around different neighbourhoods to get a feel for the town. You can walk into any of the apartment building and ask if they have availability. It’s always worth haggling, especially in low season.

 

The Old Town

Chiang Mai’s old town is basically a mile-wide square surrounded by a moat and some partially intact old town walls. Mountains lie to the west and the trendy Nimmanhaemin (or Nimman) area lies to the northwest of town. Each side of the square has a gate, which provide popular meeting places and host food markets in the evenings.

Most tourists stay inside the old town, but most of the apartment buildings for longer stays lie in the outer areas, mainly along Nimmanhaemin Road or East of the old town.

 

Around Nimmanhaemin Road

Nimman is by far the most popular area for digital nomads. Many coworking spaces and cafes can be found here, making it a popular area with local students as well. Staying in Nimman can be a lot of fun as there’s always something going on. There’s an incredible selection of restaurants and street food, and even two full-sized shopping malls with food courts, cinemas and shops.

If you’re looking for a place to base yourself in the Nimman area for a few days while looking for an apartment, Sakulchai Place is a nice, clean and affordable option (it even has a pool!)

If you’re planning on staying more than 6 months you can also find long-term homes through perfect homes.

Find more Chiang Mai hotels here.

The rent will completely depend on how much you are willing or able to spend. A nice 1-bedroom AirBnB apartment can cost $500 a month. A cheap local studio without aircon can be found for $100 a month. Most expats stay in condos and studios. Baan Thai is very popular and costs around $150 per month, although wifi and electricity bills are extra, which can easily double the price per month.

Many places also rent scooters and often provide competitive deals if you’re staying there.

 

Are there any coliving places yet?

Many nomads share houses as it’s affordable and a fun way to meet people. The first coliving space in Chiang Mai, Power Coliving, has just opened. For $999 per month you get a room, scooter, cleaner, snacks, events and more. Although definitely not the cheapest option, its an easy way to settle in if money is not an issue.

Where to work?

 

Chiang Mai certainly doesn’t have a shortage of coworking spaces and cafes.

Cafes:

Most cafes are equipped with wifi and don’t usually mind you working there for hours on end as long as you buy at least a drink. Students often work in cafes, so it is not unusual to see whole groups of young students revising until late at night.

There are so many cafes with wifi in Chiang Mai, you could work at a different one every day and not repeat yourself for months. You can find a great overview at Chiang Mai Coffee Culture.

Wawee Coffee is a chain with many branches in Chiang Mai. Their iced chocolate is great and costs around 75 baht. Their wifi is fast and AIS Super wifi is available. Socket availability depends on the branch, but is not usually a problem.

Into the Woods is a fairytale themed cafe near the North Gate that’s surprisingly affordable and definitely worth a visit. Wifi can be a little hit and miss sometimes.

Wake-Up Cafe on Nimman is open 24 hours and has great coffee and cocoa. The also have cute seating pods and swing chairs.

Coworking Spaces:

 

Punspace Nimman is one of the most popular spaces and can get quite busy at times. Their wifi is great, and they are open 24 hour, offering free coffee, water and biscuits.

Punspace Tha Pae Gate is a second Punspace location providing much the same service at a bigger location east of town.

CAMP is a huge working space/cafe on top of Maya Mall in Nimman. It is very popular with students and remote workers, so make sure you get there early to get a spot. The wifi is very fast if you have access to the AIS super wifi (free when buying a compatible AIS sim card and topping up with a few dollars).

Addicted to Work is located near Maya mall and is a cosy space with flexible payment options.

Mana is tucked away on a little side street in Nimman and has reasonable daily and weekly passes that include drinks.

Starwork is relatively new and is located in the Northeast of the city, near Central Festival Mall.

If you want more in-depth info, here’s a great guide.

What and where to eat in Chiang Mai

 

Chiang Mai is every foodie’s dream. Local markets, cheap street food, Western restaurants, hipster cafes – there’s something for everyone.

The South Gate and North Gate markets are open daily from around 4 pm and have a great selection of food and drinks. Fresh fruit shakes start at 25 baht – they are so good you sometimes need two. The best shakes in town can be found at Ms, Pa’s stand at the South Gate market, she is almost a celebrity in Chiang Mai.

Chiang Mai offers many excellent vegetarian and vegan options including Morning Glory, Anchan, Taste from Heaven, Imm Aim and Free Bird Cafe.

 

Signature Dishes

The most famous Northern Thai dish is Khao Soi, a thick, yellow curry noodle soup with fried egg noodles on top. It usually contains chicken, but most places also have a veggie version. It’s always served with lime, onions and pickles, and can be pretty hot, but it is so verrrrrrry tasty. 

For fruit lovers, Chiang Mai is like heaven. You can find an array of tropical fruits for just a few dollars per kilo. Try mangosteen, rambutan, lychee, mangoes, papayas, snake fruit and, well, everything else really.

Also, don’t forget to try mango sticky rice! You’ll know why once you’ve tried it.

 

Thai Food

Thai food is diverse, flavourful and fresh. You can find excellent food on literally every corner. Don’t be afraid to try the street food, just make sure you order from a popular place. The markets are perfect for trying out different dishes, but many of the street shacks dotted around town are worth a look.

Here are just a few of our favourite restaurants:

The Burmese Place located near Anchan is very popular, incredibly cheap and offers Thai food as well as Burmese fare.

The food court in the basement of Maya mall has a great selection of different food stands.

Ongtong Noodle: located just down the road from Punspace Nimman, this is a great lunch option. Their Khao Soi is amazing, as is the butterfly pea flower juice.

Western Food

There is a huge amount of excellent western food to be found in Chiang Mai. Some of our favourite places are:

Dukes: a proper American restaurant with a huge menu and huge portions. It can be a fun place to celebrate Christmas or Thanksgiving. They have multiple branches around town.

Butter is Better: a diner in the south of the city, known for its delicious breakfasts and great mac and cheese.

Rustic and Blue: cute hipster cafe in Nimman that has lovely breakfasts and lunches. Their coffees are also excellent.

Smoothie Blues: great western breakfasts and lovely smoothies. The bagel is a very affordable option.

Salad Concept: a popular place that offers (yes, you guessed right) salads and wraps. You can build your own or pick from the menu.

Croco Pizza: weird name, great pizza.

 

Other Asian Food:

Ninja Ramen: out of this world butter salt ramen and other Japanese dishes.

Taiwan Restaurant: a simple little place that makes incredible Chinese dumplings.

Hong Kong Lucky Cafe: excellent noodle and soup dishes.

Kabab House Indian Food: delicious Indian food and great lassis in the old town. Doesn’t look like much from the outside, but it’s friendly, tasty and affordable.

What not to miss

 

Chiang Mai is home to over 300 temples! They vary in size and style, but are all free to visit. Please dress appropriately by covering your legs and shoulder.

Traditional Thai massages are a definite must-try during any visit to Chiang Mai, you can find information on different types of spas here. The most famous massage can be found at Lila’s, and is performed by former female prisoners. It’s a great experience and you support a great cause.

One of our favourite things to do is watch a real Muay Thai fight in the Tha Phae Gate arena. Tickets start around 400 baht, and you get to see around 6 fights in different weight classes. It might sound weird, but it’s a really fun way to spend an evening with friends.

 

Trips

A visit to Doi Suthep temple on top of the mountain is a must. Please wear a helmet if you’re driving there on a scooter.

Sticky Waterfalls is a popular destination about one hour outside the city by Songtheaw. The rocks on the waterfall are very porous and so algae don’t stick to them, resulting in a very rough surface that isn’t slippery at all, meaning you can climb all the way to the top.

The Grand Canyon is another popular day trip and a great option if you want to go for a swim. Around half an hour from the city by red truck and entry is only around 30 baht.

 

Special Events

 

The world famous Loi Krathong and Ye Ping festivals are celebrated on the last night of the twelfth full moon every year, usually in November. If you like colourful lanterns and fireworks you should make sure to visit before or during the festival.

Song Kran is the Thai New Year which is celebrated on the 13th-15th April. Prepare to get soaked as locals and tourist alike will pour buckets of water over each other and shoot you with water guns. A good way to cool off in the midst of hot season.

Exercise

Chiang Mai has a whole bunch of exercise options, with gyms, Muay Thai schools and yoga schools proving very popular.

Yoga Tree, on the west side of the moat, is the most popular school, offering different types of yoga, meditation and dance classes. Follow them on Facebook to find out about their open days and events.

Wild Rose Yoga and NAMO are also very popular yoga schools.

Many expats and travellers enjoy taking Muay Thai classes and some even dare to take part in fights. Find out more about Muay Thai schools and gyms is Chiang Mai here.

Often there are unofficial meetups in the park where people bring their juggling equipment, slack lines, hula hoops etc. Ask around as dates change or just show up regularly and see what’s going on.

You can find a list of gyms here, and many apartment buildings have their own gyms for residents.

Classes to take

 

Many long-term travellers and expats in Chiang Mai like to take language classes. There is a whole range of Thai schools and courses available.

Cooking courses are also very popular, with a huge choice available. Many cater to vegetarian and vegan travellers.

Meeting People

 

Meeting people in Chiang Mai is really easy, and you can quickly build up a circle of good friends. Here are some meet-ups, events and Facebook groups to help you along.

 

Meet-ups & Events

Chiang Mai’s nomad and expat community is very active. If you want to, you can have a busy social life every single day. Find a list of the many meet-ups here.

Johnny FD organises a weekly Nomad Coffee meet-up on Fridays, which also has an active Facebook group.

Chiang Mai’s Couchsurfing scene is pretty large, and they hold regular meet-ups. Join their Facebook group for updates.

The Meridien Hotel in southeast Chiang Mai throws monthly pool parties, which are really popular and great fun.

 

Facebook Groups

The Chiang Mai Digital Nomads Facebook group is the biggest DN Facebook group out there, with over 10,000 members to date. Founder, Dan O’Donnell, also runs a group called Bored Breaker where you can find and share events around town.

There are a few groups specific to women, including the Chiang Mai Nomad Girls Group, the Chiang Mai Expat Women’s Group, and the Women’s Entrepreneur’s Group.

Blogs to follow

 

Many travel bloggers and expats call Chiang Mai their home, so there is no shortage of information about Chiang Mai available.

A good starting point, especially if you’re not a frequent traveller, is 1 Stop Chiang Mai.

Johnny FD wrote a comprehensive guide on Chiang Mai and often writes about activities in the area.

Tieland to Thailand are an American couple who left their corporate lives behind and moved to Thailand.

Paperplanes is a great resource for Chiang Mai.

 

We really hope the Ultimate Chiang Mai for Digital Nomad Girls Guide will help you plan your trip and enjoy your time in Chiang Mai. We plan to update it regularly, so please leave any tips you have in the comments. If you enjoyed the guide then please feel free to share on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!

Istanbul for Digital Nomad Girls: Destination of the Month

Istanbul for Digital Nomad Girls: Destination of the Month

In this series, we will discover new destinations for digital nomad girls every month. We’ll feature our favourite nomad destinations as well as upcoming new hotspots.

This month the lovely Fana from Istanbul Startup Girl shares her favourite places in Istanbul. If you’re planning a trip to the Turkish capital soon you can also contact our local Digital Nomad Girl expert there.

Istanbul for Digital Nomad Girls

 

Istanbul, Turkey, the only city that sits on two continents, has been my home for 2 years. My current work involves consulting for startups and other companies in the areas of marketing and content. I originally moved here for a job, and my employer allowed me to work remotely, enabling it to be my nomadic base to travel to a number of destinations in Europe and further afield. The lira’s decline against stronger currencies means the city is even more affordable now, so it’s a great time to come visit! At time of writing, 1 dollar = 2.90 Turkish lira and 1 euro = 3.30 liras.

The lira’s decline against stronger currencies means the city is even more affordable now, so it’s a great time to come visit! At time of writing, 1 dollar = 2.90 Turkish lira and 1 euro = 3.30 liras.

Istanbul bazaar colourful shoes

Source: Pixabay

The advantages for digital nomads include the cost of living, moderate weather, historical and architectural value, and accessibility. Few people know that Turkish Airlines is the largest carrier in the world, and the Middle East, Europe, and Asia are easily reachable from the city’s two airports.

My favorite thing to do here has to be to sit anywhere with a view of the Bosporus. The perspective you enjoy here can get lost in a city as crowded and hectic as Istanbul, and the water is a great place to recharge.

Istanbul view over bosporus Digital Nomad Girls

Source image: https://pixabay.com/static/uploads/photo/2015/05/20/18/16/istanbul-775927_960_720.jpg

Things I dislike: I do wish it were easier to do business here. Dodgy practices and arbitrarily enforced laws make it difficult to be sure that your investments or deals with local companies are protected. The lack of general English knowledge is also a shock when trying to do business. Compared to the rest of Europe, decisionmaking moves at a slower speed and the cultural differences affect how negotiation is done.

“Is it safe?”

 

I hear this question a lot, and it would be silly to pretend the city is without its safety issues. A number of terror incidents in Turkey’s largest metropolis over the past few months means you should be careful, although not any more so than other large cities. Stay alert and check in with local and international news for any current problems.

After living in Istanbul for a while, a spontaneous street protest seems as normal to me as the call to prayer five times a day. Street harassment is also an issue – especially for women who are visibly non-Turkish – and visitors are seen as easy targets for scams and overcharging. The tourist police can be a great help, as can being assertive in the face of any unwanted advances.

Cost of living

 

General costs in the city can be kept down by staying outside the center and living like a local. Remember on nights out that alcohol is highly taxed. However, compared to other cities in Europe Istanbul is still on the lower end of the scale.

Rent can range from 750 lira ($260) for a room in a shared flat or 1,500 lira ($520) for an entire apartment. Private flats in popular central areas are the most expensive, often being quoted in euros and dollars, and average around 3,000 liras ($1000) including utilities. Short term accommodation is plentiful but not always great quality. My area, Galata, has a number of Airbnb options. For those on a budget, I’d recommend the hostel Stay Inn Taksim.


If you want to work at a coworking space, as an example Workinton charges 549 lira ($190) per month for unlimited use and 320 lira ($110) for a 40 hour package.


The cost of food can vary widely, but a good average is 500-700 liras ($170-240) needed depending on how much you eat out.
Transport can be approximately 100 lira ($35) a month, but if you live centrally this will be reduced. Each trip is 2.30 lira ($0.8), with reduced price transfers within 2 hours of your first trip.

 

Istanbul coworking

Source image: Journey Lounge

Best Places to Work From

 

Free libraries Ataturk Library in Taksim and SALT Galata both have amazing architecture without the noise of most cafes in the city. If you choose to work from these, you’ll be mostly surrounded by college students, and for night owls and early risers Ataturk is open 24 hours a day.

SALT Galata has the added advantage of being full of English language books you can check out when you’re not working, a rare find in Istanbul. The laid back atmosphere of bar/restaurants Journey Lounge in Cihangir and The Allis at Soho House make these my favorite for work, meetings, and drinks in the evening (sometimes all three in one day!).

For a more official space, I like coworking chain Workinton’s Sishane and Galata branches, with the former offering an unbeatable view of the Golden Horn. Day passes can be had for 40 lira ($14).

One thing about Turkey though, you can sit in any cafe for hours with a cup of tea and won’t be harassed – I’ve seen work sessions stretch into midnight and beyond.

Five neighborhoods that shouldn’t be missed

 

Super trendy hipster areas Karakoy and Cihangir, the pastel Ottoman wooden mansions of Arnavutkoy and the Asian side neighborhoods of Kadikoy and Caddebostan.

Source images: 1. http://websta.me/p/1259966920905058600_198714729 2. https://websta.me/p/1260890075443044251_1761206606 3. http://websta.me/p/1260863716350392021_2260268996

My favorite cheap street foods

 

Turkey is an interesting place to be a vegetarian, and while it can be hard, some of the best street food here is vegetarian or vegan. Of course you can stick to the doner kebab Turkey is known for the world over, but why not live a little? Take çiğ köfte, a spicy vegan wrap made of bulgur and walnuts, best accompanied by the salty yogurt drink Ayran.

Lokma, a super sweet dessert, is another. Turkish kumpir are loaded baked potatoes as big as your head, and of course, the humble and ubiquitous borek is a good breakfast and all-day meal.

4140012740_e30a4313ab_b

Source image: https://www.flickr.com/photos/qilin/4140012740  

Resources you’ll need

 

My partner always jokes WiFi is the first thing I look for anywhere I go. In a pinch, find your nearest Starbucks. Most places are happy to give you their wifi code, so you’ll always be connected. If you’ll be on the go, mobile WiFi is a hassle from the local telecommunications companies, but for shorter trips, Rent N Connect may be worth a try.

For transport an Istanbulkart, the reloadable transport card for the city, is worth the 10 lira ($0.35) deposit. To avoid taxi scams, download the BiTaksi app.

How to be Turkish

 

Make friends with the street cats! I’m no expert, but from the looks of the streets and cafes there must be at least one cat or dog per person, so take advantage of that. Turkish people’s love for the street animals is exceeded only by their love for small children.

Go further and spend a weekend among the fairytale, air balloon cave region of Cappadocia, or Izmir, the modern, laid back but forward looking second city of Turkey.

If you’ll be staying a while, learning even a small amount of the language helps a lot, try Duolingo to start. Don’t bother with Google Translate, Tureng works much better but only does one word at a time. Visit your neighborhood’s weekly market (pazar) for fresh fruit and vegetables and a taste of local life.

Fana writes about her adopted city and startups over on her blog Istanbul Startup girl. You can also find her on Twitter @iststarupgirl, on Instagram @fanreina and on Facebook.

 

Have you been to Istanbul? What is your favourite nomad destination? Please let us know in the comments below!

Digital Nomad Girls join Coboat

Digital Nomad Girls join Coboat

Digital Nomad Girls go Sailing!

A lot has been happening behind the scenes at Digital Nomad Girls recently and we’re very excited to announce many new projects over the next few weeks and months, including our very first Digital Nomad Girls Retreat.

The community is steadily growing and to celebrate our 3000th member in the Digital Nomad Girls Facebook group we have teamed up with Coboat on their inaugural trip! Digital Nomad Girls get €100 off your week’s sailing trip with Coboat!

If you haven’t been hiding under a rock somewhere, you’ve probably heard of the world’s first coworking catamaran, Coboat. While their own boat is being refitted in Thailand, they went into Pirate Beta mode.

Pirate, you say? Yep, they simply chartered a beautiful 50 feet catamaran (a Lagoon 500 called Maranthounta) and turned it into another co-working boat, as you do!

The catamaran is equipped with fast WiFi and will be sailing around the Mediterranean Sea from June to November. Can you imagine a more idyllic place to wake up every day than the turquoise coves and picturesque ports of Greece, Spain or Portugal? No, we didn’t think so.

And to celebrate with us, the lovely sailing nomads have created an exclusive offer for all Digital Nomad Girl members. When booking a full price week on Coboat, (from calendar week 27 onward) you can use our exclusive code to get €100 off. Simply join our Facebook group or sign up here to receive the code:

You will need to fill in the application form on their website and once you’ve been approved as a worthy co-pirate, you will be able to add your discount code.

greece coboat zakynthos island sailing with digital nomad girls

So where will they sail? In June and July Coboat will be exploring the turquoise seas of Greece, from Lemnos to Paros and beyond. After that, the sky (uh, sea) is the limit, but rumour has it the trip will lead to Italy, Croatia and Spain.

The days at sea will be spent co-working on your projects, networking, snorkelling, swimming, practicing yoga, scuba diving, kayaking, playing board games and more, you definitely won’t get bored. And you’ll be sharing this incredible experience with other digital nomads from around the world.

Worried you’ll get seasick or anything else you’d like to find out? Then check out their detailed FAQs here.

Now, what are you waiting for? Grab your discount code and sunscreen and sail away!

Please share in the comments if you’d love to become a digital pirate!

Copy of Digital Nomad Girl Featured Image Social Size (3)

Please note that the code is only valid from calendar week 27 onwards until the end of 2016 (might be extended).

Terms and conditions apply and can be found on Coboat’s website.

Digital Nomad Girls cannot assume any liability, please refer to Coboat’s Terms and Conditions and Liability Waiver.

Singapore for Digital Nomad Girls: Mini Guide

Singapore for Digital Nomad Girls: Mini Guide

Welcome to our newest blog post series: Digital Nomad Girls Mini Guides! We can’t always spend a few weeks or months in each destination, that’s why we’ve created these little guides for short trips. They are perfect to find a great place to sleep, get some work done and also feature some of the best things to do and eat. Enjoy! 

This post is a guest post by Ulya from Essen in Germany. 

Singapore Mini Guide

 

Digital Nomad Girls Singapore Mini Guide Featured Image Pinterest

Recently, my husband and I had a 4-day stopover in Singapore on our way back to Germany. Although we usually keep costs to a minimum, we decided to really enjoy Singapore.

The first thing I do wherever I go is to get a local SIM card. In Singapore you can easily get one right at the airport: A 5-day tourist SIM card with 4 GB of data costs about 10 €. If you need more information on SIM cards and which one to get in a particular country, the Prepaid Data SIM Wiki is a really good resource.

From the airport, we got an Uber to our hotel. Uber in Singapore works great, feels safe and is affordable.

Generally speaking, low budget hostels just didn’t seem that low budget so we just went for it and stayed at the Fullerton Hotel which is a 5-star hotel. If you travel alone this is far too expensive but if you have a good friend or are with your partner and you just want to chill and live the life for even just one night this place is great!

 

Digital Nomad Girls Singapore Mini Guide Gardens by the Bay

What to do and where to go in Singapore?

Singapore is a tiny country and I recommend you walk to explore the city-state. It is really easy to find your way around, you can also use google maps on your phone because you hopefully got your local SIM card.

My favorite activity no matter where I go is to eat! In Singapore, you can get really good food from all over the world. I loved all this variety. If you are vegetarian or vegan you will have it easier in Singapore than in most SEA countries. Food stalls are everywhere so just go pick one. Food-wise I suggest you try as much as you can!

  • Dumplings: If you are a dumpling lover go to Din Tai Fung. Well-known, tasty and affordable.
  • Shopping: I hate to admit it, but leaving empty handed was not an option with all the shopping malls. (We didn’t buy much, though.)
  • The gardens by the Bay are a lovely park where you can get away from the city and just relax. You also get to see the avatar inspired Supertrees.
  • Check out Chinatown and Little India as these parts of the city feel completely different and there is always something to discover.
  • Merlion is a mix of a mermaid and a lion. It is Singapore’s mascot and from there you have a nice view over the marina and the perfect spot to take pictures of the Marina Bay Sands hotel.

Where to work in Singapore as a digital nomad?

A new co-working space The Hive is just after opening up. It is big, clean and spacious. The staff is friendly and the internet connection is fast and reliable.

Coworking Space Singapore Digital Nomad Girls

If you have a membership you can also use their co-working spaces in Hong Kong and Bangkok. So if you are considering visiting these cities as well, a membership is definitely a good option.

There are another couple of co-working spaces in Singapore, but being very satisfied with The Hive and only staying 4 days in Singapore, we did not feel the need to check out any more co-working spaces.

We also work a lot from cafes. There is a Starbucks around every corner and cafes are always filled with people working while enjoying their beverage.

Digital Nomad Girls Singapore Mini Guide Marina Bay Sands

What impressed me the most about Singapore was how much green you find. The city planners did an incredible job integrating all this nature into their city! Plants hanging from buildings and being planted on roof tops. Amazing!

Singapore is a tiny city with over 5 million people, but it feels so safe and well organised! If you are a female solo traveller and wondering if you can go to Singapore by yourself then let me tell you: you can! If you are a travel beginner there is almost no better city to start your travels. It is not cheap though, unless you know where the locals go. We came from Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam and got a bit of a shock at how pricey life all of sudden was.

It is not cheap, however, unless you know where the locals go. We came from Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam and got a bit of a shock at how pricey life all of sudden was.

All in all, I would go back to Singapore in a heartbeat!

 

Now it’s over to you! Have you visited Singapore as a Digital Nomad? Please share in the comments!

 

Ulya writes on her blog Wondering Me and you can contact her via Twitter @ulyavuz and Instagram @oolyaverse. All pictures were taken by her husband Florian Ziegler

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item or service, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you.

So you wanna be a … Sailboat Captain?

So you wanna be a … Sailboat Captain?

In our brand new monthly interview series: “So, you wanna be a…”, we will feature a kickass Digital Nomad Girl with an interesting location independent job. We’ll find out how she got into the job, what she enjoys about it and how you can follow in her footsteps.

This month we chatted to sailboat captain Liz, a real life sailboat captain and travel blogger at Moxie & Epoxy.

Liz from Moxie & Epoxy on a boat

Who are you and how/when/why did you become a digital nomad?

Hi Ladies! First of all I want to say that I am a huge fan of the DNG group and the strength and support that comes from women of shared interests supporting one another. My name is Liz Gillooly and I am a US Coast Guard Licensed sailboat captain who is also a travel-obsessed blogger – a woman of many hats (some of them far less cute than others). When I was 18 and backpacking through Central America in 2009 I brought a video camera with me and made short videos about that experience. I became a sailboat captain two years ago and when I took my first job on a yacht sailing across the Atlantic I began sending long emails home describing my adventures and pairing them with videos I had thrown together. Somebody suggested that I turn all of this content into a blog and last year I did just that! It has been an incredible experience to begin sharing my journey with an extended audience.

What is your location independent job?

Being a sailboat captain means that I get paid to travel all over the world. I have worked on boats in the Virgin Islands, the Mediterranean and Hawaii. This summer I have my first job in NY (in my hometown) driving a sailboat with my boyfriend as crew. At this point, I have enough experience to choose any part of the world (with a sailing industry) and I can almost always find a job. The other great part about the sailing industry is that so much of the work is seasonal. I can choose a location, work one season which usually lasts only for a few months and then pick up and travel for the next six months to a year on the money I’ve saved – plus it gives me great content for the blog!

Liz from Moxie & Epoxy is a captain

How did you start out as a captain? How can others do the same?

I grew up in Long Island sailing in the summertime. As a kid, I HATED IT! I do not have a competitive bone in my body and my instructors seemed to always push me toward racing which seemed to defeat the whole point of this relaxing, quiet activity I was so fond of. When I was 20 I was offered an unpaid position on an 80ft sailboat leaving Long Island heading down to the Virgin Islands. I put college on hold (again) and sailed away. When I arrived in the VI I fell in love with the peace and quiet and ended up staying for almost four years. I got a job on a local day charter sailboat taking tourists out for snorkeling adventures. I had an amazing all female team and after two years they encouraged me to pursue my captain’s license. My path was a little indirect, and it doesn’t always have to look like this. If you’re interested in getting started in the sailing industry, please check out my new guide: How to Get a Job on a Yacht: The “No Bullshit” Guide.

Did your friends/family/colleagues think you’re a little nuts? Were they supportive?

I went to a very competitive high school in NYC. The majority of my friends from school now have serious jobs in finance, real estate and other competitive industries. I have not talked to the majority of my friends from high school since graduation mostly because our lives are so different, but some of them show support on my blog. My family is INCREDIBLY supportive. I think that after I took a gap year at the age of 18 to travel through Central America (which was definitely not the norm for people around me) they had a feeling that my life was going to be a little different. The fact that I have a blog that allows them to live vicariously through me while keeping them updated makes my lifestyle a lot easier to understand and accept.

Liz from Moxie & Epoxy working on her laptop at the beach

What has been your favorite digital nomad moment so far, or what is your favourite place?

My favorite Digital Nomad moment was definitely my experience in Thailand last October – November. I flew to Thailand to attend a Travel Blogger conference and I was able to network with so many incredible people – in fact I met my boyfriend there! Even more significant than the conference itself was the fact that around 30 of us (all of whom I’d never met before) moved up to Chiang Mai for six weeks to form a little travel blogger community where we shared ideas, held workshops and helped one another bring our blogs from very basic to totally badass from all angles. Chiang Mai will always hold a special place in my heart for the sheer amount of personal growth that I achieved while living there!

Tell us about a time you struggled with the location independent lifestyle.

Last year I moved to Maui for six months to work on sailboats during the whale watching season and I had a lot of trouble making new friends. I was newly sober and living in what I saw as primarily a party town. It was definitely a struggle that I created for myself because there are plenty of clean living people in Maui, but I just didn’t find enough of them and after a while I gave up trying. I was very lonely and I compared the island so heavily with my little home in the Virgin Islands where I had already developed a strong network of friends. Leaving Maui I thought that maybe I was getting too old for travel, but less than a year and four countries later I can say that I was just stuck in my own unhealthy mindset and I feel more inspired to travel than ever!

Liz from Moxie & Epoxy overlooking a tropical bay

How do you connect with and meet new people while travelling?

Working on sailboats is an incredible way to connect with a lot of new people every day. When I’m not sailing, I love meeting new people at hostels. I find that carrying a deck of cards is one of the best ways to start a conversation and make new friends. I love organizing adventures and inviting people to join and I am not shy about walking up to people who look like they know their way around town and asking them for advice on things to do. One of the best parts of travel is being able to connect with people outside of your immediate network and travelers are generally really friendly people who share that value!

Do you travel solo or with a boyfriend/girlfriend/friend/child/pet?

I wish I traveled with a pet – that sounds so fun! Up until 4 months ago I was a die-hard solo female traveler, and (GULP) now I travel with a boyfriend. I was pretty nervous about it at first but it turns out that we have really similar travel styles and we are good at giving space when needed. I honestly never thought that I would enjoy traveling with a partner but once you find someone special, it makes the whole experience even more epic!

Liz from Moxie & Epoxy enjoying the view

What one item should every Digital Nomad Girl pack?

A Lifestraw water bottle. This is not an item that people often think about but it is probably the item that I use most frequently. The Lifestraw bottle has a filter that allows me to drink tap water from virtually any country that I travel to (and puddles and streams when I’m on hikes). They recently went on sale from $35 down to $20 and one filter will last for up to 1,000 liters. This not only saves money while traveling, it helps to reduce the amount of waste that I produce.

What advice would you give a girl friend who wanted to start out as a digital nomad?

If you want to jump into the world of becoming a digital nomad then you are already different from most of the population. You are an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs do not thrive in typical 9-5s – they need to be challenged. If you want to become a digital nomad my advice is to start today. There will be thousands of hurdles in your way on the path to success, start jumping over a few right away.

My other advice is specific to those who want to start a blog:

  • Brainstorm your values:  Make sure that you have set of core values right at the beginning and run every single post through the list to make sure it is up to your standards. Never compromise your standards ESPECIALLY if there is money involved – your readers will see right through it!
  • Highlight what you are good at and what you enjoy: If you are a writer, don’t worry about making videos. If you are a photographer focus your attention on that. Find your strong suits and stick to them! If you HATE twitter but LOVE pinterest, focus your attention on that medium. Keep it real with your followers and they will keep it real with you!
  • Focus your attention on one thing at a time: The difference between people who get sh*t done and people who just talk about their ideas is action. The more focused your attention is, the more you can get done. Make a to do list with action items and tackle one thing at a time.

Liz from Moxie & Epoxy using a sextant on a boat

What’s next for you?

After 8 years of traveling all over I am so excited to be spending 3 months in Long Island close to family this summer. As I get older I value the time with my family more and more! The icing on the cake is that I will be driving a boat all summer (bigger than any boat I have previously captained) and making lots of money. Following the summer my boyfriend and I have talked about road tripping through Africa or potentially buying a sailboat of our own so big things are on the horizon!

And last: Do you have a favourite inspirational (possibly cheesy) quote you’d like to share?

Here’s one of my favorite quotes for aspiring bloggers:

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” – Benjamin Franklin

 

Liz writes about her epic sea and land based adventures on her blog Moxie & Epoxy. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

What about you? Would you love to be a sailboat captain? Please share in the comments!

 

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