Poor infrastructure prevents Bangkok from ranking higher as a remote work destination – climate change could be the city’s next obstacle.
As the world’s most visited city before the pandemic, Bangkok has long been considered a hub for digital nomads. So how does Bangkok score as a city to work remotely?
Bangkok’s T.B.O. Remote Work Score = 6
There are certainly perks to living in Bangkok, including incredible food, countless coworking spaces, and great cafes. Still, daily life in this chaotic city also offers a fair number of headaches.
The constant traffic and urban sprawl can hinder productivity for remote workers as they fight for space to navigate through the crowded city.
Bangkok’s Livability Issues
A city underwater – Climate Change
Formerly known as the “Venice of the East,” rapid urbanization in Bangkok has paved over many of the city’s waterways for development.
This results in Bangkok having only 3.3 square meters of green space per person, which is 10x less than the regional standard and makes the city prone to significant flooding that’s only getting worse.
Experts predict Bangkok may be entirely underwater as early as 2050, putting the city’s population of over 10 million people at risk of losing their livelihoods. Yet, despite these warnings, little action has been taken to address the city’s flooding and climate change issues.
In a recent study conducted by WorkMotion, Bangkok ranked #68 out of 80 remote work hubs globally. Areas that caused the low ranking include difficulties with access to good accommodation, political instability, and a low score of 137th in the world for freedom of speech.
Although Thailand’s world ranking is 46th for being gay friendly, Bangkok is a Mecca for LGBTQ people around the world. While laws are a bit behind, the Thai culture is very accepting.
There are not many cities in the world where you can get served in a restaurant by ladyboys and no one blinks an eye.
Nomad Visa Obstacles
Another common issue throughout Thailand is the lack of a digital nomad visa, which forces many remote workers to navigate precariously through the visa process to remain in Thailand long term.
If not Bangkok, where?
Although there are many downsides to living in Bangkok, it will continue to be a popular hub for remote workers due to the city’s dynamism.
Looking ahead, there are appealing alternative hubs within Thailand that will challenge Bangkok’s popularity. This is particularly true for those looking to lead a healthier lifestyle away from a congested and often chaotic city.
Other places in Thailand worthy of consideration and popular with digital nomads:
- Rawai: the southern tip of Phuket is a digital nomad paradise with a pristine ocean, excellent food, healthy air quality, a fitness mecca, and coworking spots.
- Phuket Town: a touch of Portugal in Thailand? Yes, you will find such a place in Phuket Town. Home to popular coworking destination HOMA.
- Koh Phangan: it has become a hotspot for digital nomads, beyond the monthly full-moon parties.
- Chiang Mai (April to December only): the city could be a digital nomad paradise if not for the severe months of poor air quality – reaching a PMI as high as 500 during the “burning season”.