The Nomad's Guide to Chiang Mai

CoCo Blog

October 31, 2019 / by Lily / In Resources

A Totally Objective and Not At All Biased Review of Facebook Groups for Digital Nomads in Chiang Mai

Facebook groups might just be the single most valuable resource a nomad new to Chiang Mai has. Nomad List kills it with all their live-feeds and data and many a wise blogger has spent time in Chiang Mai and shared their insights with the world, but still these groups are damn useful.

Getting answers from a human instead of Google is lazy feels nice, but living in a new city, you’re also likely to encounter situations which are common enough that other humans have likely been through them, but wayyyyy too specific for even those most niched-down content creator to bother with.

That said, it’s dangerous stuff wandering in the online world with strangers, and not all of them are kind or reliable. On the internets, there be trolls a plenty, and even when people are nice… They may be well-intentioned but are straight up idiots terrible at communicating.

If you’re trying to research Chiang Mai for the next stop on your nomad tour or  you’re newly arrived and trying to settle in, here’s are some Facebook groups you might consider joining and some suggestions, caveats and warnings about what they’re like.

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But before we start, we want to give you the one super useful tip that will make your life a whole lot easier and keep you on group admins’ good side. Search!

When looking at a group on your web-browser, you’ll see the search bar on the left options panel:

In mobile, this lives at the top of the page when you’re within the group:

Repetitive questions can bring down the quality of the group (and open you up to newbie-bashing by trolls). Since most situations are probably not unique to you, help others help you by helping yourself first and check that someone’s not already taken the time to provide an answer to your question.

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Chiang Mai Digital Nomads

The best place to start your foray into life as a Chiang Mai digital nomad is this aptly named group. Running since 2014, this massive Facebook community is 30K members strong an counting.

While the networking opportunities are tremendous and you can tap into a wealth of highly relevant knowledge an experience, do know that noob-trolling is likely. Before posting in this group, check Google, or you’ll bring great shame upon your house. The admins and moderators seem to have really stepped it up of late, but beware the comments can get gnarly from time to time.

Most posts in this group fall under the categories of “how to digital nomad,” “what condo should I live in,” and visa questions and gripes. Posts need to be approved by an admin before they go up which usually happens within a day, but it’s not the best for urgent questions. If you make use of the search function though, there’s tons of great answers which have been provided over the years.

  • Relevance: 5/5
  • Friendliness: 4/5
  • Trolliness: 3/5

Chiang Mai Nomad Girls

If you identify as a woman, you’re in luck. Chiang Mai Nomad Girls is one of the friendliest, most supportive, and informative Facebook groups for nomads and expats. “Girl” aside, this is an age-inclusive community and you’ll find as many long-termers in there as true nomads.

A great place to find out about events and activities in Chiang Mai, buy/sell/swap clothing and household tems, and get advice on figuring out how to live in Chiang Mai, the women in this group have each other’s backs.

Do refrain from asking for recommendations for where to get your hair done or what the best “ethical elephant experience” is because the moderators have seen that shit go down way too often and comments will get turned off.

There’s a high expectation for the quality of engagement, but as long as you’re polite and not blatantly advertising just about anything goes.

  • Relevance: 4/5
  • Friendliness: 5/5
  • Trolliness: 0.1/5

Chiang Mai Nomad Community

An attempt to recreate the magic of the girl’s group for a gender-inclusive audience, Chiang Mai Nomad Community was created in response to a low-point in the history of the first Chiang Mai Digital Nomads group.

While it definitely doesn’t have as many members, the people in this group are engaged and helpful. Conversations here tend towards events and lifestyle in Chiang Mai more than nuts and bolts of making a living online and travelling the world, but as it grows topics are becoming more diverse.

  • Relevance: 4/5
  • Friendliness: 5/5
  • Trolliness: 0/5

Thai Visa Advice

If you have visa questions, this is the place to go. The admin of this Facebook group, Tod Daniels, is ON IT and irrelevant posts will definitely get deleted.

Maybe that seems initimidating, but it actually means lots of high quality answers to search through and great responses to new questions.

The group is geared more towards expats and the long-term community, but also accommodates digital nomads. Because Thailand’s visa and immigration situation is so irregular and prone to changes, this visa advice group is absolute gold.

  • Relevance: 5/5
  • Friendliness: 4/5
  • Trolliness: 0/5

Chiang Mai Events

An excellent repository for events in Chiang Mai, this group definitely beats whatever new features Facebook is trying to flog with it’s new Local app.

If you’re trying to find what’s happening in the city, you’ll see restaurant and bar promotions, parties, arts and cultural activities, workshops and professional events, conferences, and more in this group.

The admins are strict about how often people post in the group so do be mindful of the rules if you’re using it to promote an event, but the quality of posts and interactions in this group are generally good.

  • Relevance: 5/5
  • Friendliness: 4/5
  • Trolliness: 0/5

Chiang Mai Eats

If you’re a foodie, you’ve absolutely gotta join this group! A few long-time expats and locals contribute the vast majority of restaurant reviews in this group, but all are welcomed to share their food experiences and reviews in this Facebook group.

The admins do ask that you include the name of the restaurant and an address when sharing a review, and they will also vocally remind you to be careful about negative reviews because Thailand’s anti-defamation laws are no joke, but other than that it’s a chill and enthusiastic vibe.

Check this group for new restaurant alerts and dining promotions. They also regularly do a “Chiang Mai Food Fight” and awards for categories like best burger, best khao soi, or best cheap Thai eats.

  • Relevance: 5/5
  • Friendliness: 4/5
  • Trolliness: 3/5

Chiang Mai Entrepreneurship Association

Created by the hosts of the monthly Chiang Mai Entrepreneurs Meetup, this private Facebook group is a place for networking and sharing jobs and opportunities.

Pionering a “public networking” mentality, they encourage people to post in the group when they’re in search of support or professional services instead of just messaging people one-to-one. Afterall, loads of entrepreneurs and aspiring business-owners probably want access to some of that same information.

Doing business in Thailand depends on who you know even more so than in many other countries, so this is definitely a useful group if you’re thinking to start a local business or put down roots in Chiang Mai.

  • Relevance: 5/5
  • Friendliness: 4/5
  • Trolliness: 0/5

Chiang Mai Digital Jobs

Does exactly what it says on the tin. This Facebook group is for advertising job vacancies and promoting your professional services. You can, of course, do this in the main nomads group and others as well, but it helps that this one is a bit more focused. 

  • Relevance: 5/5
  • Friendliness: 4/5
  • Trolliness: 4/5

Farang Community Chiang Mai

Oh boy… This group can be super duper useful because the network taps into a lot of long-term residents, but that same network has a lot of middle-aged dudes with nothing better to do than sit at home on their computers all day and blast their opinions online.

Literally nobody asked you for your opinion on Thai women and how Thailand is changing for the worse or otherwise Dave! The OP asked where she could buy running shoes in Western sizes….

Proceed with caution and be prepared for vitriol and misogyny. Under no circumstances admit publically that you’re a digital nomad or face vast quantities of judgement from old dudes who can’t cope with a world that’s making them less and less relevant.

  • Relevance: 2/5
  • Friendliness: 2/5
  • Trolliness: 5/5

SECONDHAND CHIANGMAI

Buy things! Sell things! The sharing economy in Chiang Mai is very well facilitated by this ginormous group. The admins have A LOT on their hands so they can get a bit finicky about the rules and taking down old posts so give them a hand why don’t you and put in the effort to be a quality seller.

Whether you’re on the hunt for furniture, a motorbike, a house or some electronic geegaws, this group is better than eBay. Do mentally prepare yourself for people asking questions that were already answered in your descriptions and attempting to low-ball you.

  • Relevance: 5/5
  • Friendliness: 2/5
  • Trolliness: 2/5

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And there you have it. Remember to proceed with courtesy, try to give more than you take, and do the decent thing and search before you ask. Happy Facebooking!