If you’ve ever wanted to take time off from work to build a startup, or simply take sabbatical from corporate life for a short while, now’s your chance to do it…while being more productive than you’ve ever been

With the rising trend of co-working, remote work, and “workationretreats, entrepreneurial Millennials from around the world are quickly adopting the location-independent entrepreneurship lifestyle because of the prospect of reduced living costs, exciting new environments, and access to a network of other motivated and interesting creatives and entrepreneurs.

For example, Workaway, the travel agency for entrepreneurs, offers trips for 7-14 days around the world, including retreats in Italy, Spain, Morocco, Costa Rica, Tanzania, Kenya, and Russia; we heard they will be launching to Asia soon. First-time entrepreneurs intent on launching an online business see Southeast Asia as an ideal place because of the warm climates and extensive network of expatriates already living the region.

Fast growing technology startups are starting to see the benefit of remote work arrangements too. For example, the entire team at Buffer, the social media application, works remotely, and the team goes on annual trips to interesting locations for team building activities. For Team Treehouse, founded by entrepreneur Ryan Carson to teach people to code software and learn modern technology skills, working remotely is just one of the techniques they use to be more productive.

Also Read: How successful remote team leaders are keeping teams together

Alternatively, startups conducting overseas go-to-market research in Southeast Asia may need to find ways to support their employees as they work outside of the office, and require a “soft landing” base while they are expanding operations. Co-working spaces may be the best place to get things done, saves time on signing a lease for a new office, and saves money for when the company hasn’t yet dedicated budget to leasing an individual office. Co-working spaces are ideal also because they often provide a community network of local service providers.

Whether the reason to visit Southeast Asia is to build a startup and become location independent, expand an existing startup overseas, or take time off while not forsaking productive work altogether, joining a co-working space while you’re around seems to be a good idea.

In the following modified book excerpts from Digital Nomad Guide to Asia – researched and published by GoToLaunch – we explore the best places to work in four locales in Southeast Asia: Bangkok and Chiang Mai of Thailand, Ho Chi Minh City of Vietnam, and the beautiful island of Bali, Indonesia. Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City are hubs for the urban explorer who thrives in chaos and variety, while Chiang Mai and Bali are serene retreats for the mind and spirit.

Last week, we explored the top co-working spaces in Bangkok for the tech entrepreneur. This week, Chiang Mai is up.

Why Chiang Mai?

Chiang Mai is Bangkok’s calmer cousin, like San Francisco to New York, with a wide variety of different neighborhoods and many foreigners who are based permanently in the area. Chiang Mai is an unpretentious place with plenty of budget eateries and lodging options, with plenty of ways to invest in comfort and enjoyment.

Your purchasing power in Chiang Mai is almost twice as strong than in Bangkok, especially with rent costs being dramatically lower than in the capital. Flights and transit abroad from Chiang Mai are still very reasonable given a local airport and connected bus routes, though some international goods and services will be harder to find. Chiang Mai has more to offer than Bangkok in terms of daily spirituality, a more widespread focus on health and wellness, and more immediate proximity to natural beauty.


What: Punspace is a quiet, collaborative place to work that historically attracted the majority of Chiang Mai’s nomads and entrepreneurs, with a larger skew towards foreigners than most other spaces. You’ll find open desks, private booths for calls, large meetings rooms equipped with TVs, and office equipment like a printer and scanner. The office has a branch in Nimman and in Tha Phae Gate. Each location has a small outdoor area that adds a serene natural beauty to the space. Open Mon-Sat 9am-6pm.


  • Visitor Pass @ 1 or 10 or 20 Flexible Visits (199 THB | 1899 THB | 3599 THB)
  • Monthly – 3499 THB
  • Quarterly 8999 THB + 1H Meeting Room & Free Locker
  • Yearly – 27999 THB + 4H Meeting Room & Free Locker

Where: Punspace Nimman, 14 Sirimangkalajarn Lane 11, Muang, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand

Guru’s Box

What: Spacious and creative, Guru’s Box is a popular warehouse-sized co-working space for Chiang Mai’s digital workers and often hosts popular events. The majority of the space is open-desk with few offices, though there are some meeting rooms. Guru’s Box will be best for solo workers or small teams not against a fair bit of interaction with other members. Perks include free beverages, parking, and lockers for members on contract. Open Monday to Friday, 10am-midnight.


  • Day 150 THB
  • Week 1000 THB
  • Month 3500 THB
  • Discounta for Students & Longer Reservations

Where: Room 301, Kantary Terrace, Nimman Haemin Soi 12, Chiang Mai, Thailand

The author Janet Chang is VP of Marketing at GoToLaunch. She is currently taking a 3-month work vacation retreat in Bali to focus on passion projects and business ideas related to health, fitness, and biohacking, while learning to surf. Janet can be found on the web atJanetChang.com and on Twitter @JanetLChang.

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