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Chiang Mai Digital Nomads (Digital Gonads and Why I hate on them)

I have a close friendship with about 20 people in Chiang Mai. We're either programmers, hackers, marketers, local businessmen, bloggers, and designers. All from different countries, languages and backgrounds nearly everyone has been here for years and what I think really what we all have in common is the hate of Digital Nomads.

The term "Digital Nomad" or what I came up with "Digital Gonads or Nonads" used to be a real idealistic term something you would strive to become. Living and working where you want and on your pwn terms. Nomad, didn't mean you had to keep moving around rather than you could if you wanted to. For all intensive purposes we probably are all digital Nomads. Then why do we hate the term?

Something Changed a few years ago, what was a strong community of people actually doing it morphed into these snake oil salesmen encouraging people to uproot their lives and come to Chiang Mai so they can "mastermind" with successful people who are actually doing it.

The problem is though most of these people are not successful at all, some which you're about to learn have not even made a dime online except to swindle people out of their money with mastermind retreats and Free meetups where they try to sell you more stupid shit.

The people whom I'm close with have never paid for some course on "how to live in Thailand and become a digital nomad". They never consulted "masterminds" and "gurus". They just do it. To be completely honest with you if you messaged most of the people here and offered them a free Steak Dinner they would probably just meet you then you can ask them whatever you want, no need to buy some stupid course or go to some boring meetup or yoga retreat. For example if you buy me a bottle of red-label i'll take you on the craziest night of your life in Chiang Mai!

Is the Digital Nomad Scene in Chiang Mai a scam?

This video pretty much sums it up and you will do well to watch it or follow the reddit thread. I've been saying the same thing for years.

A few months ago I started dropping negativity in the groups about these gonads, and found out I wasn't alone. The people who also feel the same as I do are in fact digital nomads themselves but they feel that people are using the term itself for their own financial gain. The self proclaimed biggest gonad of them all and former pickup artist responded with a post about negativity. Which was strange because being negative about negativity is still being negative. He would have been better to write a post about why you should be positive. At least for me, my negativity is not baseless which you'll find out why now.

Digital Nomadness

This is just one example of 100's I've witnessed over the past few years which has made me cringe about the label Digital Nomad. I went to the meetup a few weeks ago to find almost a hundred people hanging on every word as some 20y/o kid talked about how he's crushing it making $2000 a month that affords him to become a nomad and how you should come to their upcoming mastermind group.

Says it all really. Why would anyone pay good money to learn from some kid who's barely making minimum wage. What is even more sick is the fact that the people who were running this event were accused of sexual molestation. Oh here's some choice words from one of the organizers:


Following the thread on Chiang Mai Digital Nomads group it quickly becomes apparent that if you don't be negative and question what these people are up to they'll just keep scamming people. Actually I'm quite inspired by some of the acts of digital nomads, for the majority they are good people.

There is a growing rift however between expats like myself and the Digital Nomad scene on Nimman. The main reason is that the digital nomads just use this place and provide no value to the locals. They don't care to speak the language, make Thai friends (that they don't actually fuck) and believe that spending money here is their best contribution. The people who started this Nomadness have had no success online, one teaches English to Chinese students to make money and pays for a 500 baht for a bus ride to get his tourist visa renewed while trying to sell seats at a fictional Nomad campus. The whole thing makes me sick and give the people i know a bad name.

If you are a digital nomad that's great do it, be it. Just don't be dickheads like these guys. Would love to know what you think?

This is what a Digital Gonad scam looks like.

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About Chris

Chris founded LivingThai.org in 2011 and has received over 3 million visitors. He has lived here for over 10 years and speaks reads and writes very good Thai.

11 Responses to Chiang Mai Digital Nomads (Digital Gonads and Why I hate on them)

  1. John January 18, 2017 at 9:11 am #

    This post seems kind of personal towards a few people rather than a generalisation towards the digital nomad scene. Your grammar is terrible btw.

    • Cacogen July 21, 2017 at 12:34 pm #

      “For all intensive purposes …”

      It’s “for all intents and purposes …”

  2. Jim February 6, 2017 at 11:35 pm #

    When your in BKK I’ll buy you a bottle of black label 🙂

    • Chris February 11, 2017 at 11:34 am #

      I rarely go anywhere but if i head that way i’ll hit you up thanks for the offer.

  3. Dr. Wasi Saleem February 10, 2017 at 1:04 am #

    Newest scam…”Authentic Attraction”….spread the news. This is so inappropriate on so many levels. It’s important to do your research and don’t believe everything you read or hear.

  4. Gerald February 14, 2017 at 7:48 am #

    Pinch my coined phrase and claim it as your own why don’t you!! “nonads” I will give you, but gonads…………. Fuck no

    • Chris February 14, 2017 at 11:55 am #

      lol, it’s possible we had both started saying it. At least in my circles I was the first perhaps in your circles you were the first too.

  5. Kenneth February 20, 2017 at 10:00 pm #

    Hey Chris, Love the website, just found it recently whilst hoping to plan a holiday to Thailand, do you think its necessary to learn the langauge before I go; enough to converse?

    • Chris February 21, 2017 at 2:03 pm #

      Nah you don’t need to speak the language especially if you go to one of the big cities. Thanks for reading if you head to chiang mai hit me up.

  6. Nathan Williams March 7, 2017 at 8:46 pm #

    Damn I miss Chiang Mai sometimes and ranting about the digital gonads! I pretty much just avoided them completely for my entire 5 years there. So it is a bit hilarious reading about how they are scamming each other now. Luckily it is still easy to find the real expats, who vastly outnumber them, if you stay away from Nimman.

  7. john May 18, 2017 at 4:15 pm #

    Hey awesome post, I totally have to agree with you that the term digital nomad sickens me. Although I personally haven’t been to chiang mai, I’ve read around a lot and I’ve come to realize most digital nomads don’t really know much about making money.

    With that said, i’m 20 and i’m actually coming to chiang mai 5/20/2017 to meet some nomads as well as just have a great vacation. I’m wondering if you could tell me some good places to visit! Thanks.

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