360 Video Debunked – Go Fusion Camera (Interview)

360 video gopro fusion

In this episode you’re learn all about where 360 video is at in 2018 and beyond with American 360 Video expert Al Caudullo. We chat in Bangkok about everything from Gopro’s new 360 camera called the fusion and compare it to the other consumer options. You’ll learn why its time for you to start learning 360 video

Online Dating – Tinder Gold tips

Tinder Gold Dating tips

In the smartphone era online dating has a popular way to meet people you wouldn’t normally meet. As a digital nomad dating apps like Tinder are a great way to meet new friends or lovers in a new location.  In this podcast I’m going to share my tips and experience for using Tinder in Asia including the Pros and Cons of Tinder Gold. If you’re traveling solo it can get lonely when you don’t have family or many local friends in the city you’re in.

There are dating sites like POF and okcupid, but to be honest I find it’s just to cumbersome to set up a profile, search , and then you often forget about while you wait for a match to reply. Apps like Tinder and Badoo make things a lot easier. I’ve had mixed experiences with Tinder, but it is the most mainstream dating app.

I also recommend meeting people through other means like random chats, events like internations, and yes maybe even meetups. I’ve heard of people that actually end up seriously dating on Tinder, and not just hookups.

Tinder Gold is one way you can separate yourself from crowd for a small fee. If gives you the ability to swipe an unlimited times, worldwide visa free swipes, things like boost for increased exposure and more!. Check out my tips

Hanoi Vietnam Digital Nomad the high end lifestyle

Hanoi Digital Nomad

Hanoi Vietnam Digital Nomad the high end lifestyle

Hanoi Vietnam for expats or Digital nomads. There is a distinct difference between traveling and living in the old quarter and living in the high end area of Tay Ho as a local. What could we expect from Hanoi? I already knew about the old quarter and the some of gems and crazy traffic.

Accommodation

I did some research and discovered that Tay Ho is an area favored by expats for it’s location near the large Westlake. I booked a modern apartment in this area. I was very impressed by the accomodation for the luxury, value, and how spacious it was. It lacked the swimming pool and gym facities of Bangkok, but it had a washer/dryer, water machine with hot and cold water, new smart samsung tv, high speed wifi, well equipped kitchen with convection oven, and a clean toilet with bathtub. Check out the video for the tour and the price, but this was probably the nicest condo I’ve stayed for the money in years. I think this is the norm for this year. I took a walk near the lake where there is a range of accommodation options that are willing to accept 1 month short-term

Getting Connected

My Viettel Sim Card from earlier in the trip is still working fine

 

Getting Around

It is ok to walk around the Tay Ho area and you have everything that you need from cafes, hairdressers, cowork spaces, and a convenience store. Grab motorbikes and taxis are also available throughout Hanoi. I usd a car for long distance

Hanoi Digital Nomad

Wifi and Internet

The internet was fast in the apartment, cowork spaces, and cafes. There are plenty of cowork space options you can find on coworker.com. I tried out clickspace in Tayho, and Espace, and Toong in the old quarter. There are plenty of options here.

Meeting People

I reached out to the nomads group in Hanoi and didn’t manage to connect with anyone. There were some foreigners at click space, but they seemed content to stick to themselves. I also didn’t find any social events on meetup to go to. I was only here a week and managed to go to a south African BBQ wine tasting in Tay ho that I found in the Tay Ho times. I ended up meeting some foreigners that I hung out with. I had better success meeting people in Danang and Saigon.

Air Quality and Safety

The one thing that would concern me about living in  Hanoi is the air quality, which was at 160 today compared to Vancouver BC at 14.

The city feels relatively safe walking around Tay and the Old Quarter

Hanoi Digital NomadWhat to do

I enjoyed the food options here just like in Saigon and Hanoi. Picking up croissants and baguettes for breakfast. There is a good craft beer scene and even local wine that I picked up. I got a haircut i the old quarter for 100,000 and saw a UFC game and the Irish Pub Oleary’s. The West lake is a nice enough area to walk around a waterfront for exercise along with many locals and expats. It’s a good lifestyle.

Summary

Hanoi is a crazy city that doesn’t have a dull moment and will keep you on your toes. It feels a bit more manageable than Saigon, but not as small as Danang. There are plenty of gems and scenery to take footage of. It has a lot to offer for a visit, but I think it would be a little too chaotic for me. It does offer a high end lifestyle at a reasonable cost. The buildings have a lot of character especially in the old quarter for interesting architecture and mix between street food and high end options. I was surprised at the value that Hanoi does offer from wine, craft beer, western food, apartments, and more. I’m not sure if there is a digital nomad community here, but there definitely is a community of foreigners that are calling Hanoi home. For Digital Nomads Hanoi offers everything that you need especially in 2018. There are more Airbnb accomodation than ever. It offers slightly better value than Bangkok and not that much more than Chiang Mai. I’m not sure if it would be my top choice, but it is an interesting option. The only way is to give it a try.

Digital Nomad Guide to Danang Vietnam 2018 – Chiang mai with a beach

danang digital nomads

This post is a Digital nomad Guide to Danang the upscale edition. Danang feels like Chiang Mai with a beach, but it’s in Vietnam. From the short taxi ride, even an area that rivals Nimmanhaemen, prices that rival Chiang mai, and a weekly friday nomad event. Read on to see what more it offers

danang digital nomads

Why Danang?

To be honest I wasn’t sure what to expect with Danang. I heard about this beach city from other Chiang Mai nomads and there wasn’t a whole lot of inspiration and informative content out there. I was pleasantly surprised. Danang is a city on the rise. It offers a nice white sand long beach with palm trees and mountains and a whole lot more. This is no backpacker town, it is ready to service people looking for a beachfront, low cost living all-around, slow pace, the best of Vietnamese cuisine, craft beer, and fast wifi. In short this looks like Chiang mai with a beach. Tourism is starting to take off and there are nomads in town, but this city is still overlooked

Getting In

Danang is about an hour away from Saigon using Vietjet Air. There is a grab taxi, which allows you to get to the each in about 35 minutes

Where to Stay

To be honest I’m still getting a hang of the geography of Danang, but my airbnb was located 5 minutes away from the My Khe beach and surrounded my 43 Factory Coffee and Space A cowork space. This area seems to mirror Chiang mai nimman offering everything you need from cowork space, cafes, foreign and local restaurants, a range of accommodation within a 1km radius.

Getting Connected

I got my sim card at VietTel in Saigon and it is working just as well in Danang with 4G service.

Where to Work

There are plenty of options to work from your apartment, the Space A cowork space, 43 factory, gozar, verona, and tham tham cafe. There is wifi at pretty much every space and with the new sea internet cable installed from the US to Vietnam in 2017 the speeds are fast.

What to do

The beach is the main draw. It’s a long beach that is great to walk, chill and read, have a drink, surf, yoga. You get the picture. There are plenty of cafes to people watch and massage shops. You can also take a trip to Hoi-an which is 35 minutes south of Danang. The monkey mountain is there to offer just that, a tall Buddha statue and a Pagoda.

Getting around

In my area I could pretty much walk to everywhere I needed to go with a 7 minute walk. If I needed to go further I could take grab motorbike or grab car taxi

Dating and meeting people.

It was actually pretty good for me. I met girls on Tinder, Badoo, and someone found me on facebook. I met a nice Vietnamese girl that might lead to something more in the future. We will see. I went to the nomad meet on Friday’s and actually met a friend from Chiang mai nomad basketball. We ended up hanging out quite a bit and made friends with some people from the meet. There were a lot of couples, but locals and foreigners were friendly.

Summary

Danang took me by surprised. This is a chill beach city that offers a lot at great value. It’s a very nomad friendly city offering newly developed and cheap accomodation within walking distance to a beach. The Internet is plentiful and fast. There are plenty of options to eat and places to work.

Danang Vietnam Digital nomad Retreat

I’m thinking of organizing a Digital nomad retreat in 2019. The best weather is in Spring when the air is the worst in Chiang Mai. I want to offer an opportunity to experience Danang, the beach, coworking, networking, BBQ’s on the beach, a chance to learn from others in a week long retreat.  Take a break from your stressful life and enjoy the good life in Danang and get some work done! Leave your details in you’re interested

Danang 2019 Retreat

If you’re interested in Experiencing Danang, Coworking, Learn from other Nomads and Entrepreneurs, BBQ on the beach and more. Leave your details

 

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Digital Nomad Saigon Vietnam 2018

digital nomad saigon 2018

Vietnam is one of the fast developing Countries in South East Asia. As a location independent and Digital nomad it appears as though this is the golden age to visit this Country as of October 2018. Saigon is the largest city in Vietnam and also has a reputation as being fast paced and overcrowded.

I returned after 3 years to sample a local life as a Digital nomad and expat. I booked a well reviewed High Class Studio Airbnb in District 4. After a week I was pleasantly surprised to see how Saigon (Ho Chi Minh) offers a good quality lifestyle for Digital Nomads especially if you’re seeking good comfort and value. Saigon offers all the essentials Digital nomads look for plus some pleasant surprises such as the established craft beer scene, fast internet, awesome food, and the best bread in Asia.

On my digital nomad journey I’ve lived in Taiwan for 2 years, Thailand for 3 years, and a growing amount of time in Malaysia. Watch my video series to learn the essential. Watch the video to learn more. How to get into Vietnam as it can be a bit tricky.

Digital nomad Saigon Digital nomad Saigon

Kuala Lumpur Malaysia Digital Nomad – Is this the most overlooked destination?

I’ve visited Malaysia many times, but I’m on the eve of wrapping up my month and a bit living in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia. I wanted to share some updated information on Kuala Lumpur from a 40 yr old bachelor perspective who has spent 3 years in Thailand and 2 years in Taiwan OMG. There are a lot of general posts about KL already so I’ll try to add something unique.

 

kuala lumpur malaysia digital nomad

Who is Kuala Lumpur Malaysia for?

It’s for the location independent that is bit more established, values modern apartments that are comfortable, great variety of food, weather, and most of all locals that can speak English. I’ll cut to the chase if you’re a young single person in your 20’s you’ll have a lot more fun in Thailand. Costs are cheaper in Thailand as well. However, I’ve come to the realization that once you’re out of the Chiang Mai bubble, you will have to learn Thai to function successfully in Thailand long term. As a 40 year old I’m trying to slow down my travel (unsuccessfully) and settle down in a location for 1-3 months. It’s better for business, forming better and longer relationships, and your health. Kuala Lumpur is a good place to chill out. To be honest it can be boring as despite the happy hours and nightlife areas in Bukit Bintang and Bangsar Village Jalan Telwai this is still a conservative country with boundaries.  People of different cultures are very respectful and seem to co-exist peacefully. I feel like I could belong here. In Thailand, although I felt welcome I still feel like a farang and an outsider even though they think I look thai. This is mainly because of the language. Kuala Lumpur is a city that is a good size, but not as overwhelming as Bangkok. It isn’t as small as Chiang Mai or Penang. If you’re looking to focus on your business you’ve got everything you need here minus a strong organic digital nomad community.

Essentials

There are plentiful choices of airbnb condos in downtown KLCC and in the upscale suburb of Bangsar. There are many tall condos that sport legit facilities and yes if you select a newer condo with TIME as the provider (100MBPS) you will be flying. It’s very common to have great gym, pool, wifi, apartment, and restaurants in the same building or nearby. Sim Card plans by Digi are easy to get and easier to self manage through the app. There are cowork space options like Uppercase in Bangsar and the chain Common ground. The most refreshing thing was being able to speak English with the locals. Yes Malaysia is more expensive than Thailand for some things, but you can consider the extra cost the premium for having an affordable country where locals speak English.

Kuala Lumpur is fairly safe especially being in Bangsar. In downtown KLCC it is still safe, but did with such as mix of culture, tourists, and crowds you should still stay on alert. I used the Maybank and Alliance ATM’s to withdrawal from the North American bank account. Bangkok bank has no relationship to the one in Thailand, and opening up a bangkok is not possible as far as I know without an employment pass.

You can use Grab app taxi to get around. The train system is easy to understand and is worth taking if you’re trying to commute between downtown and Bangsar during rush hours.

Nightlife

Like I said you can go to Bukit Bintang. I had a chance to sample many of the popular spots like Havanna Social, Taps Room for Craft Beer, and Pisco Bar. You can get a high end experience at Ren at the Mandarin Oriental. If you like sheesha and loud music try the Trek nightlife area. Bangsar offers the APW area with more casual options as well as the Bangsar Village Jalan Telawi area (La Cave, Rock Bottom). There are the spots with viewpoints like the Heli Lounge and Traders Skybar. The Pavillion offers many spots like the Barn, La Bodega, and Johnny Rocket to name a few spots to eat and drink. I guess I did my fair share of eating and drinking. The name of the game is happy hour, maybe some pre-gaming a bottle from the grocery store for a big night. Try unique experiences like rent a vape or sheesha. You will find the local beer taps to be Carlsburg, Guinness, and Tiger. I got tired of it quickly and tried some craft beer spots like the Great Beer Bar in Uptown Daminsara.

I met some good people from Internations.org. I didn’t have a chance nor a strong desire to go to couch surf events or meetups. Unfortunately events can be quite far out sometimes. One interesting event I went to was called Drinkentrepreneur. I hope to do that it. On average the locals are quite friendly compared to a city like Bangkok. It’s nice on a daily basis to talk with your taxi driver, or the guys at the coffee shop, or occasionally to be called “boss”.

Summary

I plan to return here and use Kuala Lumpur as a base. On paper it appears to be an ideal place for myself and perhaps others to settle long-term. I even found a cheap storage spot to store my things here while I travel. I got a lot of work done while I was here. No fighting for space at the cowork space or looking for legit meeting rooms to record. Kuala Lumpur might not be a good fit for some long-term, but perhaps a visit. Kuala Lumpur is itself a great travel hub being home to Air Asia. I hope to visit Nepal and Sri Lanka While I’m here. Malaysia is also a huge country with spots like Langkawi, Sabah, Malacca, Penang, and more to visit.

What we can learn from Food Youtube Superstar Mark Wiens

What we can learn from Mark Wiens

As a Videographer and Entrepreneur what can we learn from Food  Youtuber Mark Wiens, based out of Bangkok Thailand? Mark started posting regular food videos about street food mostly in South East Asia in 2011. This is long before the vlogging gained popularity. 7 years later he has well over 1.7 Million subscribers, which has made him very successful in the travel food space and earning a good living. I’ve studied Mark and these are some of the key tips I think we can learn from him:

Learn from Mark Wiens

  • Get the right gear to produce videos and focus on a niche (In this case food travel videos in Asia)
  • Post consistently good content. Mark posts videos twice a week
  • Be interesting and passionate in the videos and smile a lot
  • Use your large following to monetize on products like merchandise. Mark sells his red pepper logo on his own line of hats and t-shirts

Mark has given me inspiration to create more Youtube videos consistently and trying to incorporate my love of food in my videos.  He is also currently living in Bangkok with wife and a kid. I think he is a great role model for travel videographers today.

Check out the Podcast for more of my thoughts on Mark’s success.

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Bangkok Thailand – Tips for Digital Nomads Location Independents

Bangkok Digital Nomad

Bangkok Digital Nomads Bangkok is the capital of Thailand and also a great place to experience as a local independent entrepreneur or Digital Nomad.  I’ve lived in Bangkok a total of 3 months and visited on many occasions so I feel like I’m beginning to know the city fairly well. As the big city, Bangkok has a lot to offer in terms of food diversity, great food, world class co-working, awesome condos,  great rooftops, public transport, great travel hub, and nightlife. It may take some time and good information to navigate this concrete jungle to shape your experience. Bangkok is often overlooked as a place to settle. Often seen as place to visit as a tourist, or a spot to short visit before jumping off to the beach islands of Phuket or if you’re a nomad perhaps Chiang Mai.

Who is Bangkok for and Why?

Bangkok is going to cost a bit more than Chiang Mai for sure, but is going to offer a bit more. Bangkok is for a more established Entrepreneur that is look for more excitement, convenience, and opportunities of the large city.  Great  Public transport, more dating options,  more shopping malls, and more food options and so forth.  Personally I’m on track to spend about $1200 US for the month for a comfortable lifestyle. I might spend $200US less staying in Chiang Mai.

You could spend more or less by making different choices like staying further away from town, apartment choices (studio vs 1 bedroom), less drinking, cheaper food, and no cowork space. There are always trade-offs to these decisions. Bangkok is not the best place if you’re bootstrapping starting out looking for a shoestring budget. Chiang Mai is better suited for bootstrapping. Bangkok does have a hardworking hustle culture so while you’re spending more the environment has the potential to put an energy jolt into your business, and hopefully translate into higher earnings. This is assuming you have the discipline to develop a work routine and stay away from the distractions of of the city.

Getting In

From Bangkok International Airport (BKK) you can take a metered taxi. They are pretty fair and you can expect to pay between 300 to 500 baht to get into the city. You can take an Uber or Grab and you’ll pay a similar amount, but will have to deal with waiting. If you don’t have a lot of luggage you can take the airport link. It is fast and the closest station to the city is Makasan. You will pay about 35 baht and it will take about 20 minutes. From here you can take a taxi or Grab, which will take cost about 100 baht. You can also do also this method to go to the airport. The airport link connects to the MRT by crossing the road.

Getting Around

Once you are in the city you have so many options to get around. If you are visiting the tourist attractions then base yourself near the chao phraya river near the temples. You can take the boat or ferry up the river and save time to see many of the tourist attractions, which are near the river. If you are here for coworking then base yourself near the many cowork spaces and the BTS train line or MRT train line. The BTS and MRT are 2 different train lines. The BTS covers sukamvit (On nut, phrakanong, ekamai, asok) and the MRT covers (Silom, Lumphini, phra ram 9).

If you see guys in orange vests hanging around anywhere in bangkok or near the train station they are the motorbike taxis. A bit of a scary ride especially weaving through traffic. They can save you at a 10 minute walk to your final destination. Sometimes Bangkok is hard to walk because of no or narrow sidewalks and the heat.

You also have the choice of metered taxis, ubers (soon to be Grab), or grabs. Avoid the Tuk tuks unless you are desperate or want the tourist experience.

Getting Connected

It is easy to get a pre-paid sim card. I prefer AIS as a provider. True is another provider but, the customer service isn’t as good. If you have a sim from Chiang mai then you can to can continue to use it

Where to Stay

This is often the problem. Bangkok if such as a large city. If you are starting out I would recommend to stay in Ekamai, Phrakanong, or Onut. These areas are central along the Sukamvit line and close to malls, coworking, nightlife, and the MRT line.

If you want to experience the business district you might want to try living in Silom. This is the Business district, and also is home to some good areas like Sathorn. This is close to Lumphini park, the largest park in Bangkok.

It is harder to find short-term accommodation (1 week to a month) at great value like Chiang Mai. The best deals come at 6 months or longer. Another strategy is to use an Airbnbn and then check the local rent prices with the office or postings on the board.

You can check out the airbnb’s I’ve used in the past. There are excellent choices in Bangkok. If you haven’t signed up for Bangkok please use my referral link (I get a small commission at no extra cost to you for doing so).

Past Airbnbs’s I stayed (read my reviews)

This is close to Bangkok International Airport. Good for a short stay.

Charming and well-located serviced apartment in Ekamai. Short walk to Hubba Cowork Space

High Rise Condo near the Center of Asok

Where to Work

You are spoiled for choice in terms of co-work spaces. I think Bangkok is the cowork space mecca in the world. I can write a whole article on this topic and you can spend 2 months visiting all the spaces in Bangkok. Spaces are closing and opening all the time so a good place to start is coworker.com. Check out the free day passes. If you want to work at a space for a day you can try the THINK Society: Co-working space in Udom Suk or the TCDC has daily and cheap annual memberships and multiple locations in the city (Phrakanong, fifth floor of Emporium).

If you are planning to be based in Bangkok for a month or longer then I recommend a monthly membership. I have experience working at Hubba Thailand in Ekamai or Workloft in Silom. Both offer excellent value for the money and 24/7 access, and are high productive environments.

The Food

Thai food is world famous and you are doing to get the whole spectrum of Thai dishes from Southern dishes like Massam curry to Northern Dishes like Khao Soi. Yes there is Pad Thai for the Thai newbies and a whole lot more to try.  As a foodie I’ve found great spots around town for all sorts of food and indulgences. For great burgers like Arnos, great Pizza in Asok, chicken rice (Silom Complex), good Taiwanese food in Chong nonsi (Yong He Dou Jiang), to great western breakfast at the corner in Sathorn. It’s easy to find a range of International foods here. Follow my Instagram to get the details on my favorite foods in Asia.

Taiwanese beef noodle and soy milk for lunch im bangkok #chongnongsi #bangkokfoodies

A post shared by Greg Hung (@greghungshowdotcom) on

A taste of #taiwan in #thailand @yongheduojiang #xiaolongbao #bangkok #silom #bangkokgems

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Nightlife

You have a ton of options for nightlife from rooftops, clubs, events, to just casual spots to drink. I’m sure everyone has a Bangkok nightlife experience to share. My preference is to chill out in the casual outdoor public market area and order some food and drinks at the W district (phrakanon).There is a healthy craft beer scene. I’ve tried wishbeer and phrakanong. There are pool halls with bars around Asok. There are sports bars to watch games and drink in this area too. I’ve tried out the MIXX Discotheque – Bangkok near Chitlom for a wedding afterparty. It’s also fun to have a happy hour drink and catch a sunset. I can recommend the Octave in Thonglor and the Continental in Asok.

What to Do

It’s really up to you. There is so much to do. I’m not going to cover the usual tourist attractions. Here are some other ideas. Rooftop and sunset hunting as mentioned in the nightlife section. You can try out the different cowork spaces around town. Take a boat ride up the canal or a boat up the chao phraya river to see the different temples. You can take the free ferry to visit the Asiatique upscale market. LHONG 1919 riverside market. Massages are also cheap. You can visit the Redlight districts like Soi Cowboy. Don’t worry they are safe for both guys and girls to check out. Nana plaza is another popular red light district. You can go for a walk at Lumphini park. I think you get the idea

Staying Fit

This is a bit trickier. Most gyms look for long term memberships and are as expensive as a cowork space membership. Not worth it in my opinion. You can play basketball or go for a run at lumphini park. I recommend paying a bit more for a condo with a decent pool and some kind of gym. For a gym with decent gear and that offers reasonable rates try muscle factory or fitness station.

Opportunities

If you’re looking for more business opportunities Bangkok will most likely have it. Bangkok is a fast-paced city with hard working hustlers involved with multiple things. As a Videographer I’ve already had a chance to meet more potential clients or customers than a smaller city than Chiang Mai or Penang. There may not be as many digital nomads, but you’re likely to meet people established entrepreneurs, startups, English teachers, or anyone in between.

Meeting People

This part if a bit trickier. Bangkok is not the greatest place to meet Digital nomads. Maybe the higher cost deters them or that the city is more spread out unlike Chiang Mai, which is more compact.  Bangkok is a larger city than Chiang mai and it’s harder to meet like minded people like Digital nomads. That is ok if you’re not looking to make friends with digital nomads. Personally after living in Chiang Mai for 3 plus years and recently for 3 months its nice not to have daily conversations about the latest business model (crypto, Amazon, Sales Funnels). Bangkok is a transient city with people coming for short visits, so you’re likely to have spontaneous  visits from friends and then they’re gone to their next destination. I’ve tried out Internations.org, which have paid social events. I’ve met good people from here in Taiwan and Singapore. You’ve got Meetups for free events with a variety of events, but I find the quality of people you meet to be a mixed bag. Co-work spaces like Hubba Ekamai encourage social lunches so there is also a good starting point. Other than that you can try couch surf meetups, which are a good way to meet people traveling through the city.;

The X Fun Factor

As a single guy I also look for the potential to meet girls and as I approach 40 a long-term partner. Sorry ladies I can’t speak about the guy situation. I find that Bangkok has some of the prettiest and fashionable girls in the world. I’ve met Thai girls here that are more likely to have had some education abroad or had some international experience like a working holiday than thai girls in other regions.  I’ve dated some Bangkok Thai girls I met in Chiang Mai, but not a Thai girl in Bangkok. Other girls may hate on me for this, but I find Thai girls in general I find to be a bit more fun and not as uptight. The potential to meet a good girlfriend appears to be there, but we will have to see.

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Living the Luxury Chiangmai Lifestyle in the best neigborhood was it worth it?

chiang mai luxury condo

I just wrapped up living 3 months at a luxury condo in nimman, Chiang Mai. Was it worth it? read on. Since leaving Vancouver in 2013 I haven’t slept on a bed I’ve owned for the past 5 years. Why? Because I relocated in Taiwan and Thailand where it is common to find fully furnished apartments. I’ve since obtained a level of time and location freedom where I have a choice of which city to live and where I want to live. In western cities like Vancouver this isn’t really the case because it is more of a landlord/property owner market. It’s a job interview to find a place to live and the high costs limit which area and type of accommodation you can pick.

Once of the best benefits of Chiang Mai is vast amount of selection that people have choosing where to live on a short-term basis. Most apartments are ready to move in, some have weekly cleaning, and there is no interview process as long as you have money. The most desirable area is Nimman (Nimmanhamen) because of dense amount of coffee shops, cowork spaces, restaurants, and bars.  Even when my out of town friends come to visit we end spending time in Nimman. I’ve lived in Nimman since 2015 in a variety of apartments from basic studio to upscale apartment. However the Siri Condo is in a more luxurious class and feel due to the pool, image, and construction of the condo.

I paid $550 US a month for my 1 bedroom apartment, which is considered expensive for Chiang Mai Thailand. To put things into perspective I can find a nice studio nearby for $300 US. You can pay even less if you live further away (1km). So what do you get for that extra $250 US? For starters you get a decent pool and usable gym. It wasn’t the nicest pool or gym, but it was functional and convenient. Because it was so convenient over the period of 3 months I’m at a very good level of fitness. I would have need to pay at least $50 US to use equivalent facilities outside of the condo.

chiangmai skyline

The apartment

The interior has a luxury feel and is built with high end finishings. Marble flooring, and solid construction in the walls meant it was fairly quiet living here. I didn’t hear noise from the neighbors. I had a small functional kitchen with microwave, which allowed to cook. Since I had lots of practice cooking in Vancouver, I ended up cooking a lot of breakfast and late night meals for myself. The apartment included a quality washing machine (luxury), which allowed me to do laundry in my room instead of going to the public area or a shop to do it. I mentioned the amenities, but haven’t mentioned access to the sky garden area. I used this area to journal and have coffee in the mornings. I occasionally shot some talking videos on the top and some skyline scenery from the rooftop.

The business impact

The wifi in the apartment was a private connection clocking in around 30/20mbps. My first 2 years I only used the shared free wifi in my apartments. I only later gave in to get a private connection. This condo included it and having this fast reliable connection in my room allowed me to produce a lot of content. As I’m a Youtuber, Stock footage videographer, and online instructor I upload a lot of videos to the Internet. Sometimes it’s difficult to finish uploads at a public space because it may take an entire night. The fast private connection allowed me to do my work and even do uploads while going out for massages or drinks with friends.

Most apartments these days include an HD LCD tv with hdmi connection. This room was no exception and gave me access to a 40inch HD tv to connect to my laptop. It also gave me a nice dining table with solid chairs. All this added up to a great environment to work from home. During my stay in Chiang Mai I probably worked from home 70% of the time. I probably was more productive overall than going through the cafe circuit. I was also able to do voiceover recordings from the apartment because it was so exceptionally quiet for Chiang Mai. I had to make some adjustments like unplug my fridge and turn off the AC, but I effectively turned my living room into a workspace and recording studio.  I would have to pay at least $100US or more for access to cowork space and to use a room as a studio.

Location

Chiang Mai is very much a motorbike city although access to Uber and Grab are making it more convenient. As I don’t ride a motorbike anymore living in a central area of Nimman still allowed me to hangout with friends without riding a motorbike. There have been so many times I’ve gone out in Nimman where I’ve had the luxury of just being able to walk home within 7 minutes. This also ends up saving you some money on a motorbike, gas, and taxis.

Final Thoughts

As you can see I got a lot of value for the extra $250 US. Yes I was able to justify the cost. It was worth it for me. I had pretty much everything I needed except for regular cleaning for this price. I think the combination of the location of the condo and on-site luxuries ended up saving me time.  Chiang mai offers a range of accommodation from $200 for basic to $550 for luxury. Somewhere in this range I’m sure you’ll find where you are looking for. Lifestyle is a personal thing and varies from person to person. I think if you live in Chiang mai too long you start to compare prices in local currency. 5000 baht extra sounds like a lot, but if you convert it to US currency it is $160 US it isn’t. The beauty of Chiang Mai is that you have choices, and usually if you’re looking for something cheaper you can find it. This being said I believe you get what you pay for, so you have to make sure you’re not trading off something that is important to you.  Do  you need that pool? maybe not. Do you need the private wifi? No question here. As a location independent entrepreneur you have to make sure that you’ve got everything you need to live a healthy life and be productive.

Where can you find comfortable upscale accommodation in Chiang Mai?

There are plenty of blog posts that people recommend. Check out this video as a good starting point. I recommend booking an Airbnb for 2 days in the nimman area.

You can then visit these apartments in person and ask to see a room. If you’re comfortable you can rent a motorbike for a day and drive up to these apartments to look around. I usually keep the email or facebook contacts of the apartments I like so I need to to repeat this for repeat visits.

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Hanoi Vietnam Food Guide

Guide to Hanoi food

Hanoi Vietnam has amazing food like banh mi beef stew sandwiches, chicken pho noodle soup, vietnamese spring rolls, and yes even craft beer.

Hanoi is a bit chaotic at first, and faster than Chiang Mai. After settling into the chaotic traffic there is plenty of food and shopping to discover by walking around the old quarter.

Getting in and getting around

You can use Air Asia or Viet Jet air from Thailand for cheap flights from Thailand to Hanoi. You can use the Mai Linh taxis to get into town without worrying about getting ripped off. If you get a simcard you can use an uber to get around cheap and safely.

Hanoi feels safe and the people are friendly even though their english isn’t too strong they will try. The locals are hustlers and even Hanoi is slower than Saigon you can feel the energy of the people.

The currency is super inflated so you’ll get to work with currency in the millions or hundreds of thousands. When you convert things over you’ll find that the costs are lower than Chiang mai for shopping and food. Bring plenty of brand new US dollars to exchange for Dong there and get a local sim card at the airport.

Where to Stay

I recommend to stay in the Old quarter.  I stayed at the Nova hotel, which was a great balance between comfort, location, and value. The hotel offered a solid free breakfast with choices between western and local dishes like Pho Gai (Chicken Noodle soup).

Where and what to eat

Nova hotel was a great location to start sampling the local food . There were plenty of coffee shops nearby where you can people watch and enjoy vietnamese coffee. There is a sample menu in the video. You can also buy bags of coffee to take back home with you and the many shops around the old quarter. You’ll find coffee varieties like Kopi luwak or arabica beans. Highlands coffee is a local vietnamese chain around town that you can depend on for decent coffee, wifi, and toilets. I found a nice trendy spot to enjoy Vietnamese coffee near St. Joseph’s Cathedral that you can see in the video.

I recommend doing a food tour. I used Hanoi food tasting tours for $25 US. You will get some insight into the local foods and find places you would never find on your own.

My personal favorite are the beef stew cheese steak sandwiches. You can these banh mi shops near the old quarter. I was also happy to see a craft beer scene.  I went to the craft beer pub near Hoàn Kiếm lake and enjoyed some a craft beer flight for a decent price. Of course I recommend trying the local beer first as well before spoiling your palette.

I enjoyed sitting by the shops and eating fried cheese sticks with hanoi beer. Of course you want to try authentic vietnamese beef pho. If you’ve lived in Thailand for some time you will know that quality beef is harder to find and more expensive. In Vietnam it’s easier to find good beef at good prices. We found a nice hot pot spot that was very generous with the beef.

 

Hanoi Vietnam Food Guide

I was impressed with the co-work space. It had a pleasant and large atmosphere with 3 levels.

toong-cowork-space
Toong cowork space

Filming the trip

Hanoi & Halong Bay Video Hanoi & Halong Bay Video

I brought the DJI Osmo with me to film. It was my primary camera as opposed to my SLR in past trips. There are no drones allowed in Vietnam fyi. Osmo gave me the freedom to walk around the city with my girlfriend without taking a long time to setup for stable shots.It’s so easy to get up and film great shots I even let my girlfriend try it. Also the image was in full 4k resolution at aperture f 2.8. For stock footage purposes I was probably one of the first to be filming this city again in 4k resolution. Connecting my Asus android or ipad allowed me to use it as an external monitor to give me comfort I was getting great shots. You can get the osmo here.

That is an affiliate link where I get a small commission, but I am currently using the DJI osmo and fully recommend it for traveling and shooting stock footage in 4k. Check out some of the clips I filmed with the Osmo.

Plans to monetize on this footage

I produce this footage to license it on stock footage agencies. I actually earned about $130 US during this trip from my past trips. I took advantage of this trip to get some interesting footage in Hanoi like Halong bay. I will then publish these videos online to license. If you’re interested in learning more about this you can check out my free stock footage course.

 

 

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Hanoi & Halong Bay Photo
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