Sometimes I get asked why I'm currently living in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
There's several reasons for that and the reasons why I'm still here are not the same as the reasons why I came here in the first place.
I went to Chiang Mai for the first time in 2019 for the CMSEO conference. In my opinion this is the best conference for affiliate marketeers using SEO as a main traffic source.
I saved up some money for the trip and decided to combine the conference with a few days off to explore Thailand a bit more.
The biggest thing I learned that day probably weren't any of the things the speakers were talked about but rather the community. Seeing other people doing what you're doing was eye-opening to me. Especially since they could afford to travel full-time and work remote.
Compared to the other people attending there, I was still a noob making barely $1k/month with my own sites. But because I saw other people doing way bigger numbers, I started believing that would be possible for me as well.
Next to the conference, I was pleasantly surprised by the friendliness of Thai people and the low cost of living.
So when I got back to Belgium, I started planning everything to quit my job and spend most of my time on my own websites, combined with some freelance client work.
A few months later, I was on my way to Bangkok with a one-way ticket. That was right before covid started.
Now, these days, I'm not staying here for the cheap cost of living anymore. I agree that Thailand is a relatively cheap country for a vacation and to experience different things. But if you stay in Bangkok for a while, you'll notice that cost of living is just as high - if not higher - than in most Western countries.
Chiang Mai is definitely cheaper on some aspects, like rent. But several other things like grocery stores, alcohol,.. are just as expensive if not more expensive than in Europe and there are other costs like visa, insurance, plane tickets every once in a while to visit family,... which I wouldn't have if I stayed in Belgium.
Looking at the total cost of living, living in Chiang Mai is more expensive for me than living in Belgium. But I have to admit that my quality of life is better here.
Now the number 1 reason for me to stay in Chiang Mai: the SEO community. People all over the world come to Chiang Mai for it's SEO community. With people like Kyle Roof, Matt Diggity and Charles Floate living in Chiang Mai plus the hundreds of people who are being very succesful but prefer to stay under the radar, it's the best place to learn.
Quite often, people think Thailand is a third-world country. But it definitely isn't. So here are some things that I think are better in Thailand than in Belgium:
- Less rules for everything (taxes, permissions...): everything is more "chill"
- Better infrastructure: roads are better, internet is 10 times better while costing only a fraction of the cost in Belgium
- Weather: winters in Belgium get me depressed due to lack of sun. Almost always sunny in Thailand (hello Vitamin D)
- Friendly people: while Thais are generally