Latest Inside Update: Digital Nomads Working in Thailand

As one of the 18 digital nomads detained by military police  during the coworking space raid in Chiang Mai a few months ago I've had the incident in the back of my mind ever since. There are always rumors going around, and recently the 17 Foreigners arrested for teaching English over Skype got people worried as well.

So I asked a well connected Thai guy I know  to speak to immigration and ask what's the deal.  Here is what he said.

digital nomad thailand

Here's the conversation:

Johnny: Hi ______, just wanted to ask you personally if the rumor that immigration is planning to raid and deport digital nomads again is true. Can you please talk to immigration and find out. Thank you

oh, I haven't heard the rumor but sure I will check with them but shouldn't be true as last raid was a misunderstanding. the rumors like this has spread around for years.

Johnny: Thanks for checking, I haven't mentioned the rumor to anyone else as I don't want to scare everyone off. I appreciate you taking a look and keeping me updated.

hi, I've checked with the immigration, they said they are not interested in digital nomads in particular but they are looking for foreigners that do illegal work like selling/exporting goods from Thailand online eg. selling tables/furniture from baan tawai.

immigration said it's bcoz we're under the military internal security act, they are forced by the military to be more strict

so there still might be a chance for them to go check. but it's not like they're going to deport digital nomads

baan tawai importing


That's great news as my sister and parents are coming to visit me next month and I rented a villa in Koh Lanta and didn't want to risk getting deported before then as the deposit is non refundable =)

Don't import/export Thai handicrafts or goods without a business permit.
Don't start a business, hire employees and convert the bottom floor of a building into an office.
Don't do anything that's not location independent.
Don't stress out about the rumors, stop wasting time on facebook.

digital nomad options

The Solution: Have Options

My only guarantee and the reason why I am not the least bit worried (aside from missing my family vacation) is because I have spent the last year and a half building a location independent business, saving money, and now have enough income and cash reserve to live anywhere in the world.  

When I wrote 12 Weeks in Thailand: The Good Life on the Cheap I had such a tight budget that if I had to leave Chiang Mai I would have been f#cked. If I had decided to import/export locally made Thai goods through Amazon FBA I would be worried. But since I drop ship my goods to and from the U.S., my business has nothing to do with Thailand so I can rest assured, and know I can simply buy a plane ticket and move next week if I wanted to.

My suggestion to everyone is to enjoy Chiang Mai and Thailand as it truly is the best place in the world (and cheapest) for digital nomads, focus on building your streams of online income, and don't worry about any of the rumors or bs as it's a waste of your time, because the fact is, if something happens, it happens, if it doesn't it doesn't. There's really nothing we can do about it so no need stressing over it. This is why we are nomads.

Warm Regards,

Johnny - Read my book to see how I got started.

Enjoy this post? Share it with your friends!

Like This Post? Share It!

thailand 2092272328392875727

Post a Comment

  1. 2018 Update: It's been 3 years since the raid and i've been working out of coworking spaces here in Thailand along with hundreds of others digital nomads and nothing has happened. It's still a grey zone, neither technically legal or illegal.

    But just like the hundreds of thousands of tourists who come to Thailand each year and do work related emails, have meetings, conference calls, or work from their laptops in between day trips and cooking classes, or the doctor who takes a skype call consultation while on vacation, as long as we're not hiring local employees, import/exporting to Thailand, and our businesses have mostly nothing to do with the Thai economy. No one cares.

    Keep doing what you do.


Please take a second to log in before you comment. I've turned off the anonymous commenting option. I'm open and respectful with you, please be the same back. Stay positive, trolls and spam comments will be automatically deleted.


Home item

Blog Archive

Are you an Insider yet?

Search this Blog

Keep in touch


Any product or service I recommend on this blog I personally use and would recommend to both friends and family. All links on this site are affiliate links so please use them in the resources page or anywhere on the blog if you want to give me credit for referring you.

If you want to learn more about how to start your own blog and make money as an affiliate by earnestly recommending products, check out my course Income Boss.

Featured Post: Read Me!

2020 Travel Plans and 2019 Recap: 11 Countries Traveled!

Want to start an online business?

Want to start an online business?
A post written for friends and family - Step by Step instructions on How to start your own online store.