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Bali vs. Chiang Mai for digital nomads?


in Chiang Mai, Thailand by @snu6ew | 4yr  | 16 comments

My girlfriend and I started our DN life this March and went straight to Chiang Mai because of itโ€™s ease of living. We love it. CM is great โ€“ we got a scooter for 2700 THB, a nice apartment for 8000 THB all in, we get our laundry done for 50 THB, eat out at nice places every day for less than 100 THB etc. Arriving here needed nearly no preparation โ€“ it just worked out all by itself.

We are still on tight budget and donโ€™t want to give up much of CMโ€™s quality of life but we want to see other places and we are now thinking about what could be our next destination. We are not really willing and able to spend more than what we spend now. Bali seems to be a good place according to what you all wrote.

How does it compare to Chiang Mai or Thailand in general?
CM can get very hot and we often acknowledge that we should have chosen an apartment with a pool here. Can I rent something in Bali for a few months with a pool for less than 250 USD?

Are there any Nomad-houses or similar projects at the moment that make it easy to connect to other people?

We donโ€™t really hang out in co-working spaces, more in cafรฉs. We source products in China and sell them to customers in Europe through e-commerce.

Any tips or experiences are greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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@working_9to5 | 3yr

Personally I wouldnโ€™t want to live in Seminyak/Legian/Kuta in Bali. So letโ€™s just take Canggu as an example.

Yes the beaches have dark sand, stray dogs and depending on the amount of rain the night before; quite some garbage.
Still the atmosphere is nice and the surfing is good.

I think food prices are on par with CM, scooter rental is cheaper, but alcohol is more expensive.
CM is cleaner and safer though.

Housing it really depends what you want, but if you want a pool it can get quite expensive (assuming you want to be sort of close to the beach). My 2br western villa with a pool about a 5min ride to the beach was about $1200/month (excl. electricity, cleaning, internet).

There are sometimes rooms available in a shared villa with a pool for as low as 3.5m/month ($225). But they are rare, your best bet is to keep an eye on the canggu community facebook group.

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@workingnomad | 3yr

Hard to compare a city with an island. I am in Bali now and its way more expensive than it ever was, but I guess thats true of everywhere.

Iโ€™d say Ubud/Kuta area was more on a par with CM whereas Seminyak, Canggu is way more expensive. I do not ride motos in Bali as the traffic and accident rate is shocking, so have not really stayed in Canggu as itโ€™s hard to get around and too spread out for my liking.

I think Bali has a better year round climate. Itโ€™s dry from May thru Nov, but even in Jan/Feb itโ€™s not too wet, indeed itโ€™s very dry on the east coast. No need for air con in Ubud and even on the coast now I do not have air con on.

There is no burning season in Bali either.

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@poppyjikko | 3yr

Climate-wise, Bali is your best bet between June and October.

Be careful though, we rescued someone once that was taken off the shore by a wave (unnoticed by anyone except his 2 passive friends who did not know what to do and never called for help and myself). I also had been in a bad situation previously (big waves, strong currents and stupid course of action). And I heard about much worse storiesโ€ฆ

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@ttasterisco | 4yr

While travelling last year, I had planned to head to CM , but opted to head to Bali instead. Like Conni (who was at the Dojo around the same time as me, hi), I stayed in Canggu due to the surfing (didnโ€™t even bother checking Ubud :expressionless:. If thatโ€™s something you want to pick up, then Bali is the place. If you just want a nice beach, you should probably stay in Thailand and head to Koh Lanta or some other island. Tourist visas in Indonesia only last 2 months, so youโ€™ll have to do some frequent visa runs or change the status if your plan is to stay there long term.

I was able to find a crappy room in Canggu for 150usd/month, 600 meters from the beach (and 300 meters from the Dojo). Itโ€™ll be very hard to find a room in a villa w/pool for 250usd, but I donโ€™t think itโ€™s impossible. Iโ€™d say that youโ€™ll have to share the villa with other people though.

I was spending around 600-700 usd/month in Bali, between the room, coworking, food (always ate out), board rental, bike (you can bring the price down a lot if you negotiate a long term rental, donโ€™t be surprised by the initial asking prices). I wasnโ€™t partying though (but it definitely looked like a great place to be singleโ€ฆ)

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@conni | 4yr

I wrote up a pretty comprehensive guide for Canggu in Bali (which in the end, it comes down to Ubud versus Canggu - I lived in both, both are great, but I prefer the ocean for surfing).
I included lots of reasons why Bali is awesome for digital nomads and also reasons why you wonโ€™t like it. I also compare Canggu to Ubud.
Here you go: http://www.connibiesalski.com/blog/canggu

In terms of living expenses: I donโ€™t think Bali is cheaper than CM. HOWEVER, the quality of living is better I find. Internet has improved massively, especially in the coworking spaces (Dojo and Hubud) and 4G around the island.

In the end, you have to go and find out for yourself. I love Bali as a digital nomad waaaay more than CM, but thatโ€™s just preference.

Good luck!

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@snu6ew | 4yr

I actually read that shortly after posting my question. Helped tomget a basic idea about the place. Weโ€™ll head to Canggu and decided with the help of your blog. Thanks.

Around 200 EUR (240 USD), 3 M IDR is our budget for housing. If we dont manage to find a nice place with pool for that money weโ€™d want to be no more than 20 scooter minjtes awaz from the beach. Can I ask you, is there just that black beach in Canggu? Is it swimmable? How clean is it?

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@conni | 4yr

I highly doubt that you will find a place with pool for 200 Euros a month, not in Canggu and not for short-term.
Itโ€™s dark sand in Canggu, yes, mostly surf beaches, but ok for swimming if you donโ€™t mind jumping into the waves. Dry season is coming up, so beaches and water will be clean again soon.
You will find more paradise-style beaches on the east side and down in the Bukit in the very south, like Bingin Beach etc.
I feel like maybe Koh Phangan or Koh Lanta might be better for you guys maybe?

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@chrisrdodd | 4yr

Hi Snu6ew

I would definitely say that Bali is more expensive than Chiang Mai. Everything in Bali is marked up due to tourism.

I keep a tally of all my expenses for each location and provide a breakdown on my website. Bali was definitely more expensive for us than Chiang Mai.

I also wrote a pretty comprehensive report of my time in Bali if youโ€™re interested

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@chrisrdodd | 4yr

Wow. Just checked out Conniโ€™s article and I must say mine is nowhere near as comprehensive. Hopefully you still get something out of it.

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@prof | 4yr

Interesting the opinion that Bali is cheaper than Chiang Mai.

I lived in Chiang Mai for many years but did a month in Bali at the tail end of 2015. Prices were nowhere near but we were staying in Seminyak.

Were you staying in Ubud?

I find it fascinating that such a small place has become so popular. Itโ€™s almost like a miniature Chiang Mai, right? Personally I wouldnโ€™t be keen on living in Bali if I wasnโ€™t pretty close to the beach (i.e. 10-15 mins by bike max).

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@snu6ew | 4yr

I too find it hard to find at least an apartment with comparable specs for acomparable price. Maybe we are alittle over price savvy as we are living from savings at the moment.

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@gwtiemann | 4yr

Iโ€™ve spent a few months in both Bali and CM and love them both. I agree with you on the ease of living aspect of CM as well as the quality of life. Bali is generally less developed than CM and since you were in CM in March-(dry and hot), Bali will feel quite a bit more tropical and lush but still very hot. The cost of living was very similar for me with Bali being a bit cheaper overall. The internet speed was quite a bit slower in Bali and I relied on both a 4g sim and my apartments wifi which was so-so(~5mbps but it fluctuated a lot). There are plenty of restaurants/cafes/bars with wifi but again the connection was somewhat unstable so I tended to use my sim card most of the time. There are a lot of great beaches as well in Bali so you can escape the heat to some extent. Driving is a bit crazier in Bali than in CM but more so around Kuta or Denpasar than in UBUD or less populated areas.

Overall I think Bali would be a great choice for you to check out without breaking the bank and still providing a similar quality of life.

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Bali is cheaper overall (came to CM straight from there) but the internet is worse. Most of the easy setup you mention is as easy in bali except the +1mth apt setup which I am not sure on as I moved around a bit. I prefer the weather in bali. I will say that ubud is a proper foodies paradise, even western food is excellent and while most of bali isnโ€™t great for food ubud is better than CM I feel.

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@snu6ew | 4yr

If you donโ€™t mind sharing numbers that would be a great reference point for me.

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I spent about $24/day per person for a couple sharing ($48 total) in CM, and $30/day ($60 for a couple) in Bali, but had very different lifestyleโ€ฆ Have been living clean in CM :wink: IN CM that was a 1 mth apt rental/ cooking 80% meals. In Bali I was eating out every single meal, drinking more (had Uk friends on 1 week holiday there who cared little about budget and loved their Bintangs) and stayed in guesthouses. To be fair itโ€™s a great quality of living in both - Bali 9/10, CHiang Mai 8/10, but the food in Ubud and the level of luxury you get for the cost puts it over for me.

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@snu6ew | 4yr

I still use a scratchless iPhone 4 that doesnโ€™t even connect to 4G. So my expextations are low.In my experience WiFi in CM never really works in cafes. I think I am fine with just ok internet. Thanks!

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Bali to focus on attracting remote workers when the island reopens for tourism


by @levelsio | 18d 18 days ago | 0 comments

When reopening for tourism, Bali says it will focus on attracting remote workers to choose the island as their workplace:

"We will focus on a new pattern of how Bali is not just for leisure, but indeed to work in Bali as well"

thebalisun.com/bali-tourism-will-target-digital-nomads-and-those-who-work-online/

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Any Ph.D students dissertating while a digital nomad?


by @larsheather | 3mo 3 months ago | 5 comments

Anyone know of any groups or resources for Ph.D. students working on dissertation while living as a digital nomad? I know there are several virtual writing groups around, but wondered if there were any specifically for digital nomads, particularly those who are dissertating.

Thanks!

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Does international health insurance for digital nomads exist?

 

by @al_steffen | 3mo 3 months ago | 59 comments

Hey Nomads!

Iโ€™m looking for an international health insurance (no travel insurance) for my nomadic life. It should cover the basic services and at least be accepted in the EU (itโ€™s ok if itโ€™s not accepted in the US as Iโ€™m aware they rarely are). Nice to have: enter into a contract online. Anyone got a good experience or a recommendation?

Thanks in advance!

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How is the health and safety in Bali right now amid the global crisis?


by @valentineworld | 4mo 3 months ago | 1 comment

I would like to avoid having to come right back home, ya know? <3

I plan to be in Bali a lot, but if this is a terrible time to go,
it could stunt my future plans of being in Bali for an extended period of time.

Would love to see you guys! <3

@valentineworld

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I dream of being a digital nomad? How do I do it?


by @programmingmark | 5mo 4 months ago | 2 comments

Hello digital nomad!

I dream of being an independent digital nomad. But it feels very elusive & unattainable with my success rate. In full disclosure, whilst I have dreamed about making money online since high school; I have not earned a single cent making money online. $0, nada, zilch!! On the contrary, I have spent a lot of time & money on books, podcasts. Even though I have spent a lot of time reading/listening to others, I do not have anything to show for it!

I have made attempts in the past to start an online business, but these fizzle out quite quickly when I do not see traction especially when the goal I have set myself is too high.

Instead of reaching for the ultimate nomadic lifestyle goal, I want to start much smaller. Really small! I am simply looking to make $50 profit per month from a new online business. Thatโ€™s it.

I need some advice from you please!

  • Is $50 profit too low? How long did it take you to earn $50 profit per month?

  • What is a good way of achieving this goal?

Thanks
Mark
aka the $0 online business entrepreneur

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How do digital nomads pay tax?


by @rodriigovieira | 5mo 5 months ago | 19 comments

Hello everyone! Iโ€™m new here and probably this is a very newbie question, but it doesnโ€™t leave my head.

How do you, nomads, pay your taxes? I mean, if youโ€™re constantly traveling, how are you going to pay taxes for a certain country if you are going to stay there a short period of time?
Or do you return to your โ€œoriginal countryโ€ and then pay them?

By the way, this forum has very nice cool formatting features! :smile:

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Where to go and what to do for Christmas and NYE in Chiang Mai?


in Chiang Mai, Thailand by @shasha | 7mo 7 months ago | 0 comments

Hi everyone,

Iโ€™m currently in Chiang Mai and will be here for Christmas. Maybe for NYE too. Planning to go out and meet people and enjoy the holiday season. Any events or places to recommend?

Iโ€™d love to meet new friends too. Leave me a message if you are interested in hanging out.

Cheers! :cocktail:

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Where to go and what to do for Christmas and NYE in Chiang Mai?


in Chiang Mai, Thailand by @shasha | 7mo 7 months ago | 0 comments

Hi everyone,

Iโ€™m currently in Chiang Mai and will be here for Christmas. Maybe for NYE too. Planning to go out and meet people and enjoy the holiday season. Any events or places to recommend?

Iโ€™d love to meet new friends too. Leave me a message if you are interested in hanging out.

Cheers! :cocktail:

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Best place for Digital Nomad in Latin America?


by @rose_davis | 7mo 7 months ago | 7 comments

Hi!

I am planning to move to Latin America for 3-4 months (Oct-January). Iโ€™ve narrowed down 6 different places that I want to visit before committing to settling down, but Iโ€™d love to get some community input.

Here are the cities Iโ€™m considering:

  • Quito, Ecuador
  • Cuenca, Ecuador
  • Medellin, Columbia
  • Cartagena, Columbia
  • Antigua, Guatemala
  • San Marcos La Laguna, Guatemala

The most important things Iโ€™m looking for:

  • Fast/easily accessible internet
  • Easy to meet other nomads/make friends in general
  • Safe for women
  • Some sort of spiritual community (Iโ€™m also a yoga teacher)
  • Easily walkable city

Anyone have any experience with these places and can give some insight? Iโ€™m also completely open to other recommendations.

Thanks!
Rose

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How do we solve housing for digital nomads?

 

by @levelsio | 8mo 7 months ago | 61 comments

Thereโ€™s been a lot of discussion on this recently.

Nomads usually stay in hostels, hotels and short-term apartments. But itโ€™s all not very optimal.

Iโ€™ve heard people suggest getting funding and building a network of houses you can stay at for a subscription price (e.g. Bruno Haid is working on that).

I donโ€™t want do physical stuff, so Iโ€™m thinking of building a platform around making housing better for nomads.

What are the housing problems nomads face? And how can we solve them with products/services?

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How do we solve housing for digital nomads?

 

by @levelsio | 8mo 7 months ago | 61 comments

Thereโ€™s been a lot of discussion on this recently.

Nomads usually stay in hostels, hotels and short-term apartments. But itโ€™s all not very optimal.

Iโ€™ve heard people suggest getting funding and building a network of houses you can stay at for a subscription price (e.g. Bruno Haid is working on that).

I donโ€™t want do physical stuff, so Iโ€™m thinking of building a platform around making housing better for nomads.

What are the housing problems nomads face? And how can we solve them with products/services?

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How is Sicily for digital nomads?


by @gaelm | 9mo 9 months ago | 15 comments

Hi all, I was looking for a cool spot in Southern Europe for winter and Iโ€™m considering Sicilyโ€ฆ Have you ever been there? If yes, how was your experience? If not, why?
thanks!

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How is Sicily for digital nomads?


by @gaelm | 9mo 9 months ago | 15 comments

Hi all, I was looking for a cool spot in Southern Europe for winter and Iโ€™m considering Sicilyโ€ฆ Have you ever been there? If yes, how was your experience? If not, why?
thanks!

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How is Bari, Italy for digital nomads?


in Bari, Italy by @mitch_dina | 9mo 9 months ago | 7 comments

Greetings!
Does anyone have experience in Bari, Italy please? We are thinking of going from Dubrovnik, Croatia to Bari by boat in mid-March. Has anyone taken a boat across? Is it nice or can it be choppy? (We are trying to avoid planes, to reduce our carbon footprint, so adding more surface travel.) Also, any info you might be able to offer about Bari and the surrounds? Next step will likely be trains up Italy as the Spring progresses.

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How is Bari, Italy for digital nomads?


in Bari, Italy by @mitch_dina | 9mo 9 months ago | 7 comments

Greetings!
Does anyone have experience in Bari, Italy please? We are thinking of going from Dubrovnik, Croatia to Bari by boat in mid-March. Has anyone taken a boat across? Is it nice or can it be choppy? (We are trying to avoid planes, to reduce our carbon footprint, so adding more surface travel.) Also, any info you might be able to offer about Bari and the surrounds? Next step will likely be trains up Italy as the Spring progresses.

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How is Mauritius for digital nomads?


in Mauritius by @wakkos | 10mo 10 months ago | 14 comments

Hello all,

Iโ€™m planning on spending a couple of month in Mauritius Island and even when Iโ€™ve been there for a week, never rented or worked there.

Does anyone here has tips or experience to share about Mauritius?

Cheers!

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How is Mauritius for digital nomads?


in Mauritius by @wakkos | 10mo 10 months ago | 14 comments

Hello all,

Iโ€™m planning on spending a couple of month in Mauritius Island and even when Iโ€™ve been there for a week, never rented or worked there.

Does anyone here has tips or experience to share about Mauritius?

Cheers!

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Are there any digital nomad fitness retreats?


by @ryanjames | 10mo 10 months ago | 1 comment

Hey all:

Does anyone here have any experience attending a full time fitness bootcamp or a fitness resort while working? I know there is one in Cambodia for digital nomads (Fitness Retreat Resort Kep Gym), unfortunately the time difference vs my work schedule would make my life suck if I tried to go there. Iโ€™m looking for a place between US and Europe timezones that lets you live with them, kicks your butt with fitness, but would also have good WiFi/accommodate working eight hours a day. Iโ€™m also open to other tangential ideas for something close-ish to get that same experience.

Thanks for any help!

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Best place to set up a company selling digital services?


by @pras_k | 11mo 10 months ago | 10 comments

Whatโ€™s the best place?
For residency Iโ€™m looking at Portugal and they have the NHR (non habitual resident) program which would exempt dividends from foreign income.
So all Iโ€™m really looking for is the best place to actually start the company.
Biggest factors are of course low taxes and ease of setting up the company plus a business bank account that enables me to receive payments through Stripe.

What I found so far:
Hong Kong
Corporate tax rate of 16.5% (8.25% for the first HK$2 million)
โŠ•/โŠ– offshore income from outside HK is exempt from taxation but itโ€™s not clear whether this can be done in the first year and prorated or if itโ€™s only through filing the offshore exemption claim. This might take two years and requires not income from HK at all. More info on that would be great
โŠ– seems very difficult to get a business bank account
โŠ– necessary services and fees are roughly around โ‚ฌ2000 / year
โŠ– accounting requirements seem to be very strict
โŠ• Doesnโ€™t require local partner
โŠ• Agencies available that seem to handle most of the work

Singapore
Corporate tax rate of 17% (0% on the first S$100k, 8.5% up to S$300k)
โŠ– requires a local director. What are the implications of this?

Malta
Corporate tax rate of 35%
There is the โ€œfull imputation systemโ€ but I donโ€™t really understand it.
"In most cases, the tax refund to the shareholder is 6/7 of the tax paid by the company on profits distributed as dividends. The tax refund rate may be different in the following cases: " This would result in an effective corporate tax of around 5%.
โŠ– European customers would have to pay VAT and Iโ€™d have to deal with that

Cyprus
Corporate tax rate of 12.5% and there seem to be ways to lower this
โŠ– European customers would have to pay VAT and Iโ€™d have to deal with that
โŠ– requires staying in Cyprus for 2 months / year

I find it surprising how much research this requires and how much โ€œit dependsโ€ information is out there when Iโ€™d assume that there are probably thousands of digital nomads who probably have very similar requirements.

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Do you "out" yourself as a digital nomad?


by @larsheather | 11mo 11 months ago | 2 comments

When you meet new people or reconnect with old friends, do you โ€œoutโ€ yourself as a digital nomad? The simple question โ€œwhere do you live?โ€ makes us uncertain now. We wonder if some places may be less welcoming to digital nomads, or if โ€œdigital nomadโ€ has a negative connotation in some places. If you are forthcoming from the start, does your status as a digital nomad make it hard to form friendships?

We would love to hear how other people navigate thisโ€ฆ how to balance being authentic in relationships vs. withholding the context (and allowing people to assume youโ€™re on vacation, for example).

Thanks!

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