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

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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
halong bay

Seoul Food Guide

Seoul food guide

South Korea is well known for the winter olympics,  K pop, beautiful girls, and modern electronics. Seoul has amazing food for the soul like pork rib bone soup, dumplings, bugolgi beef bbq, bim bam bop and more. I decided to make a visit to film and sample the food and use Seoul to fly to Vancouver.

Getting in, getting connected, and Where to Stay

I booked a 6 hour flight from Kuala Lumpur, but you can find cheap flights from Bangkok or Taipei. Unfortunately Ubers’s are expensive so I took an airport limo bus ($9 us) to the Ramada hotel in Dongdaemun. The bus pretty much stopped in front of the hotel. I decided to rent a mobile router as it would give me 4g Internet unlimited data up to 3 devices. This cost me $42 us for the 5 days. They also had single sim packages.

Where did I stay

I stayed at the Ramada Encore hotel in Dongdaemun. I did plenty of research between my friends, airbnb, and trip advisor. I found the airbnb’s more on the high end, and the Ramada had the right combination of value, convenience, location, good reviews, and it was a modern hotel. As I said I got dropped off right in front of the hotel. There is a starbucks, convenience store, bus stops, and the Shinseoldong Subway station within a 2 minute walk radius. This subway is on line 1 and goes directly to city hall station. The lobby has a decent work area and local coffee shop and nearby starbucks was spacious and featured a fast Internet connection. I got a good room on the corner of the 16th floor. The was room was relatively spacious for Seoul, everything was clean, modern, and I had a decent view. The wifi wasn’t as fast as I wanted, but I just used my mobile router. The staff spoke a decent level of English to help me get around.

What did I eat and drink

I ate everything from noodle soups, dumplings, fried chicken, beef bulgolgi, jap chae potato noodles, bim bam bop, and pork rib hangover soup to name a few. I marked some pins for the restaurants I went to. You could find a good meal for about 7000 won $6.2 US. The portions were large, and fresh kim chi and side dishes seemed to come standard. I tried the local beer Cass and also some craft beer in Hong dae and Itaewon areas. I recommend trying out the Magpie Ipa in Hongdae. It comes from Jeju island and goes for about 7000 won. Coffee’s ranged from 3000 to 4000 won and offered free wifi.

Seoul Korea Guide


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What did I film?

I took some pov footage from the bus and airport limos using DJI Osmo to capture that unique perspective. If you’re interesting in filming with this camera check out my course. I know its hard to unpack to get out the camera after a long trip, but I made an extra effort because I knew taxis would be expensive. I used the DJI osmo to capture some unique angles at Gangnam and Itaewon areas. I brought out the Canon SLR with the 50mm F 1.4 to capture some nice nightlife footage as well. I explored the hotel and discovered they had rooftop access. I took full advantage of this to get some aerials around Dongdaemun. I brought my drone, but from my research it seemed like if I didn’t fly at the designated drone park at Hangang park Seoul, then I might be at risk for a fine. From my research the footage from there wasn’t particularly scenic and it was at least 1.5 hours in transit just to get there. Instead I went to the DJI Flagship store in Hongdae area. I understand that there are only some official flagship stores worldwide so I made the visit. It was worthwhile as I got to see pretty much all the current gear and get some hands-on with the DJI goggles connected to DJI Mavic and touch the latest small drone dji spark. I ended up partnering with my local friend to complete filming of a Digital nomad guide to Seoul Korea.

 

During my trip I made a nice Stock footage sale of a filtered coffee $105 US. That was a nice reminder to keep on filming food and drinks. Stock footage is how I’ve managed to earn a passive income using video footage I’ve shot. You can learn more about it here.

Where did I work

I decided to switch my workflow to less laptop work and more content producing footage. This is always more fun and makes more sense on a short expensive trip. I rather do the laptop work from a location that I’m going to be more settled in. I worked at some cafe’s like Starbucks, the Ramada Encore lobby, my room, and the Noah Co-work space. I tried to make a visit to the free Dcamp cowork space, and Hive Arena and Wework at Gangnam They were closed due to holiday. Dcamp is free and the latter 2 are paid co-work spaces, which are not cheap The cafe Internet speeds were fast enough to get some work done.

First meal in #seoul #seoulfood #dumplings #noodles #kimchi

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First meal in #seoul #seoulfood #dumplings #noodles #kimchi

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Summary

4 days is just scratching the surface of Seoul. It is a large city and although there is good public transport it takes a long time to get around to the different areas. I didn’t really explore the main tourist attractions nor did I visit many co-work spaces, nor did I visit Jeju island. If I did return to Seoul I would bring some company and might try out Gangnam or Hongdae areas. Seoul is not as expensive as you would think once you have taken care of your accomodation. It will just take time to fully expore what it has to offer.

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Travel and Booze tips for Langkawi Malaysia

Langkawai Malaysia travel tips

Langkawi Malaysia is a beautiful tropical beach island only a cheap 30 minute plane ride from Penang. A little known secret is that Langkawi offers duty free prices for alchohol and smokes! Read on.During my month stay in Penang I continually heard good things about the beach and the cheap alcohol. Disclaimer: There are affiliate links to the hotel.

Langkawai Malaysia travel tips

Getting in and getting around

I booked a 30 minute flight from Penang to Langkawai there using Air Asia for $34 US one way and did a short 2 day stay at Cenang Beach, the main popular beach. My goal there was to relax from the grind I had in Penang. It was a cheap uber ride from the airport (15rm) to my hotel at the Nadias. Cenang beach is a short 5 minute walk away from the Nadias hotel and offers those gorgeous sunsets.

Where to stay

After a lot of cross research between trip advisor and Agoda I settled on the Nadias hotel at $about 49 US a night. As you know me I’m looking for a comfortable room, good value, clean, wifi, and good location. This placed checked the boxes for me. The room was a decent sized, it was modern, decent breakfast, and decent swimming pool. The main feature was that it was a short 5 minute walk to the beach, close to the starbucks, plaza, and duty free stores. It’s ideal for couples or people looking a comfortable room they could work and have a class walk to cenang beach.

Selfie time #langkawai #cenang #djiosmo

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In between filming video I also found out that the duty free stores not only carry cheap beer, but wine and cigars. A got a bottle of hardy’s sauvignon blanc for 29 Ringet. I heard that the island has some special arrangement where they don’t pass on the duty to tourists. This is one of the draws of the island. I didn’t bother touring around the island. I managed to wake up early to catch some morning aerial footage of Penang, but the prime time would be during the sunset.

I did a lunch at red tomato, the popular restaurant for western food with foreigners. The food was good, but it was expensive and there was terrible customer service. The kebab’s on the main street were good. The included breakfast buffer at the hotel was just average. For the afternoon I decided to rent a sunbed until sunset. At least I could film some footage with DJI OSMO.

I took out the DJI drone to setup by my sunbed and asked permission from the owner. He said yes. There were a lot of people, but the airspace was clear and I had a strong GPS signal. I took off from a quiet area. I manage to capture different colors of the sunset during my 1 flight. I had to deal with some curious tourists. I gave myself a 5 minute buffer to land and double checked it was safe to land. Flying on a tropic beach paradise like Langkawi is awesome as an Aerial Videographer. There are few high obstructions and you have a georgeous sunset and beach to film. If you are interested in learning Aerial videography or photography from me check out my Online class with a promo discount.

There are a lot of cars that drive through the beach as well as foot traffic. Mission accomplished I got the aerial footage click here if you’re interested in licensing it. Check out the video.

It was a good trip. Cheap booze, nice beach, and the hotel was good value and a 5 minute walk to the beach. The food was expensive compared to Penang, but this was a nice beach pitstop.

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7 ways to earn an income Online as a Videographer and my experience

earn income online videographer

If you are a Videographer looking to earn an income online or leverage the Internet to help you then check out this episode.

shooting stock footage gh5
shooting 4k video stock footage in Chiang Rai Thailand
  1. Stock Footage – I discovered this business model by making a $90US sale on a shot from Beijing China. Most people are aware you can sell stock photos. You can do the same, but with Video Footage. For example you can license your aerial footage shot with a drone to nightlife shots done with a DSLR camera and earn from $40 to 199US a video clips. You can sell your clips on stock agencies like Shutterstock that keep a commission from 30 to 50%. Learn more about Stock Footage and which agencies to use.
  2. Gumroad – This is a great platform that allows you to sell anything digital or service related from skype coaching to PDF ebooks. You are only limited by your imagination. You have to take care of your own marketing, but gumroad plays nice with Youtube and email marketing platforms like convert kit.
  3. Online Teaching – I discovered online teaching while teaching English in Taiwan. Platforms like Udemy were growing in popularity with a built-in audience so I started teaching courses about Travel video, How to shoot with a gopro, how to do aerial footage, and do stock footage. I’ve since published 16 courses with about 6500 students on Udemy. With some camera and audio gear, some knowledge, and a desire to teach you can also teach online. It’s a good business model that is passive income and is non exclusive allowing you to build  your own school online or host your courses on other platforms like skillshare.

check out the Episode for more ways to earn an income as a videographer

Is it time to Leave Chiang Mai and commit to Bangkok Thailand as a Digital Nomad?

chiangmai skyline

Chiang Mai was my introduction to Thailand.  It was an easy introduction thanks to the entrepreneur community, low cost of living, helpful information, and ease of finding a place to stay. I never really gave Bangkok a chance. It wasn’t until I stayed in the residential area of Ekamai near the Hubba workspace that I started to think I could actually live in Bangkok. I’ve already flirted with Bangkok several times living there a month at a time expanding my comfort zone of the city.

Bangkok overall is a bit tougher than Chiang Mai. It’s larger, more crowded, and a bit more expensive. However, it offers more opportunities for business, dating, a better travel hub, better public transport, and better co-work spaces. Bangkok is a huge city and you need time to find the area that you can feel comfortable as your base.  It’s definitely a bit harder to find good short-term accommodation in Bangkok, but you can find somewhere good to live on a longer term contract.

I now have an opportunity to live in a good area of Rama 9 in Bangkok for 6 months at a similar if not cheaper cost than Chiang Mai at 14,000 baht ($446 US). Chiang mai has some of the lowest cost short-term accommodation (monthly) for fully furnished studios. Once you start to add 1 bedroom and a kitchen to the equation the average living costs in Chiang Mai jump to 14 – 17000 baht, which is comparable to Bangkok.

As someone who no longer wants to ride a motorbike I find Chiang Mai a bit limiting. After 2 motorbike accidents I no longer want to gamble and take the risks. I’d rather walk, take a taxi, uber, the MRT or BTS train system in Bangkok to get around.

I originally came to Chiang Mai for the digital nomad community. After diving in deep my first year attending events and meeting people I got fatigued of the scene. I found it was mostly new people coming in and out of Chiang Mai wanting to sample the digital nomad experience. The material in the talks started to become repetitive, and I stopped attending so many events.  I’m still grateful for these events for the good people I met, but I understand that people are at different stages in their entrepreneur journey.

In the end I found out there were videographers, but noone was truly making an online video business with their videography. I found I was the one doing most of the teaching when it came to monetization for videographers through stock footage or teaching online. I learned a bit about online marketing and cryptocurrency from my time in Chiang Mai. I’m thankful for that

I find that there is a strong scarcity and price sensitive mindset in Chiang Mai that I’m not fond of. I’m all for low cost living, but I like to enjoy life and would prefer to live comfortably instead of aiming to live within a $600 monthly budget. The people that are in Chiang Mai are friendly and down to earth, but I find that the low cost of living attracts people that don’t have an abundance mindset.  I find when I’m here too long I find that what I thought was cheap is not really cheap. There is always someone that knows where to stay and eat cheaper. When does it end? I think focusing too much on finding cheap things all the time takes away focus from earning and living a comfortable life.

Chiang Mai is an easy city to live and relax, but I get restless staying here for longer than 3 months. It feels too small, and yes I know i’m guilty of staying in the bubble of nimman.

After a chaotic year of traveling the world (Bali, South Africa, Penang, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Vancouver, Seoul, Koh Tao) I wanted to roam the world less and have more of a base and hopefully more of a normal lifestyle.

It’s another burning season and I will be leaving during the month of March. The question is do I go away for short-term and come back or is this my opportunity give Bangkok a chance?

In a perfect world I would be able to have a place in both Chiang Mai and Bangkok. I could escape the concrete jungle and enjoy the nature and peacefulness of Chiang Mai. One thing is for sure. Chiang Mai’s climate is a great place to be from November to February. It’s a place where I can definitely spend part of my year here. I’m just not sure if I want to spend the whole year here.

 

Monetizing on Youtube Rule Change

Youtube is not the most efficient way you earn income online, but if you create good content, are consistent, and enjoy sharing it’s one great way to build an audience. It’s actually my favorite social media platform for creating and also watching. I first created a channel in 2011 called Chicvoyagegroup.

I started to share travel videos and then started adding educational tutorials on camera’s like Canon SLR’s, drones, and more. When I started to become more consistent publishing I started picking up traction and saw progress as it started from a few dollars to almost $50US a month with my combined channels. This is not my main focus as I prefer to get exposure and an audience on Youtube; providing them an introduction to my content. This is something that I think you should aim for as well, but the side income from Youtube is a good incentive to keep creating and sharing free Video content on Youtube.

Youtube is now changing the rules on Feb 20 2018 stating that you need 1000 subscribers and 40,000 views to qualify. I have enough views, but need more subscribers to continue to earn from Youtube. I would appreciate if you can click and hit that subscribe button. Thanks

Cebu Phillipines -A Guide for Digital Nomads & Travelers with Eye Candy

cebu digital nomad

Cebu Phillipines – Gregs Guide for Digital Nomads & Travelers

Since relocating to Asia in 2013 the Philippines has been on my radar. I heard of the beautiful beaches like Boracay and more recently the more unspoiled island of Palawan.  However my trip research revealed bad and expensive flights and I had the impression it was an unsafe country.

cebu digital nomadFirst a bit about my Digital Nomad background. I’m a Travel Videographer that has already lived in Taiwan for 2 years before relocating to Thailand for over 3 years. I’ve already traveled deep in to Asia, which you can read about here.

Why Cebu?

Cebu is the most populated island in the Phillipines and is often the place most visitors want to go instead of overcrowded and dirty Manila. I actually haven’t been to Manila this is just what I heard, and I don’t have a strong desire to go there. I heard many good things from Filipinos from Canada and in Asia, Japanese, and vloggers like Lost Le Blanc.

cebu whale sharks

After traveling here I can tell you that Cebu has a  lot to offer and amazing experiences. Highlights include swimming with whale sharks in Oslob, seeing the Tamulog waterfalls, daytrips island hopping, and eating amazing food like chorizo sausages, mexican food, ribs, pulled pork, legit burgers, legit pizzas, italian food, legit phto and even Japanese Wagyu BBQ.  The craft beers and wine are often cheaper than Thailand and in most of Asia. As someone that has developed into a foodie I can say that you can really indulge at more reasonable prices compared to Thailand.

Getting into Cebu

In December 2017 I met a french digital nomad in the Hubba cowork space in Bangkok that told me that Phillipine Air had opened up direct flights from Bangkok to Cebu. I decided to give it a try. Roundtrip flights take around 4 hours and go for about $320 us roundtrip. The flight times are not that great so you may be flying late arriving early or flying late and arriving late. On the positive you can can skip going through Manila all together.

How did I like Cebu

I stayed 6 days during the Sinulog festival. Sinulog is one of the largest annual festivals in the country. It meant that accommodation prices and availability were higher than normal.

cebu food

Overall I enjoyed my stay. There is a lot of natural beauty to see from the paradise islands to the whale sharks. You would need months or longer to really explore Cebu. I really enjoyed the international foods at good value. There are a lot less tourists than Thailand so you may be able to enjoy an island paradise all to yourself.

I wasn’t impressed with the downtown areas in Cebu City as they are dirty and crowded. You do see a lot of poverty and dirty areas. The IT park and Ayala Mall Terrace are the nicer areas to spend your time. I got a couple of chances to get out of Cebu city. We did a whale shark and tumalog waterfall day trip, which was a once in a lifetime experience for me. It gave me a preview of more gems to explore if I were to stay in Cebu longer.

The people in Cebu are nice. Their english was not as strong as I thought it would be, but they can understand you at least. In my opinion there is a lot more poverty outside of the bubbles of IT park and Ayala. Because of this you can feel a bit of desperation from the locals that I don’t feel in Thailand. Generally I feel safe, but not as safe as I do in Thailand. i wouldn’t want to leave my laptop in a cafe and go for lunch like some do in Chiang Mai or Bangkok.

Accommodation

We managed to try out living in IT Park, one of the better areas in CEBU to live. It is an enclosed area with condos, upscale restaurants, shops, and coffee shops. Everything you need to be comfortable and live in a bubble. I also stayed in the island of Mactan, close to the airport. The roads were not as good, and the actual building was old. The entire room was renovated to a modern western standards, and it was interesting to live outside of usual expat bubbles.

Sample Projected Monthly Costs ( Comfortable Life)

I’m just doing a mock monthly budget for myself based on my trip costs and lifestyle.  All prices are in US.

Studio Accommodation with wifi  in IT Park 24000 pesos ($471 US)
Fancy Coffee 3600 pesos ($ 71 US)
Daily Western Breakfast 6000 pesos ($117) (Western breakfast obo 200 pesos)
Sim Card 800 pesos (obo $16 US) 1.5 gb data goes for 100 pesos.
Transport 9000 pesos (obo $176) Based on 300 peso transport budget. trips vary from 100-300 pesos
Cowork space hot seat member 4000 pesos ($79) Based on Tide coworkspace
Lunch & Dinner 18000 pesos ($354)  Western meals with 600 peso daily budget
1 hour Massage 1200 pesos ($24) weekly 1 hour massage
Weekend Drinks 2000 pesos ($40) 500 peso weekend budget craft beer 240, local beer 80, wine 120

Monthly Projected Budget

$ 1348 US 68,549 pesos. This may seem a bit on the high end. Keep in mind this is just my rough budget. Everyone has a different lifestyle. We could make adjustments to the food, transport, and cowork space and bring this down about $200 US to 1148 US. You can eat local meals, skip alcohol, and take local transport instead of ubers all the time.

Would I recommend CEBU for Digital Nomads?

cebu digital nomad

There are already a few digital nomads, but it is nowhere as popular as chiang mai or bali for community. I would recommend Cebu for a visit or a visa run from other Asian countries. There are some decent airbnb options to stay at short-term from $20-40 US a night for a good private apartment. It is harder to access local pricing unless you do what is considered a short-term lease for cebu (6 months). If you do a 6 month studio lease at the Avida towers with utilities and wifi you are looking at around $500 US a month

The Internet is not as reliable or as fast as Thailand. I suspect that uploading video would be frustrating living here long term unless you work from a cowork space. I did hear there are some areas that have access to Optic fiber.

My friend Kevin has opened a cowork space called Tide in IT Park; however I didn’t have a chance to check it out unfortunately. From my perspective Cebu could be an interesting place for a Stock footage Videographer or Vlogger looking to capture beautiful scenery.

Getting around was pretty easy with uber, grab, local taxi, and motorbike taxi.

The Internet is good enough for nomads not doing a lot of high bandwidth uploading. The Tide cowork space offers high speed Internet of 50mb up and down. I don’t think there is an established community or co-work space scene in CEBU yet, which is why my friend opened his cowork space to fill the gap. Cafes I went to gave me the impression that free wifi and outlets were a lot harder to come by than Thailand. If this is your thing you may want to try Bo Coffee or Starbucks (they have a 1 hr limit though and it’s often crowded).

As a Travel Videographer that creates high quality video footage to sell on stock agencies Cebu has a lot to offer. There are a lot of opportunities to create beautiful video and If you have a gopro or a drone this is the perfect destination to use it. If you’re interested in how I create video or monetize on it you can check out my Travel Videographer School.

IT Park Cebu

Surprisingly, there are not a lot of foreigners I saw. It feels like CEBU is a bit more of the wild west compared to Thailand. While there are as many foreigners as Thailand, locals are comfortable and friendly to foreigners.

cebu aerial view nigt

There is a lot to do and enjoy in CEBU. This is a good lifestyle to be enjoyed and CEBU has a lot to offer. I easily see people wanting to come here for a visit or even stay up to a month. The amazing indulgences, low prices, english friendly, decent accommodation options, whale sharks, and amazing sites make CEBU an amazing draw. My recommendation is to come for a short visit and see if you like it before committing for a month. I’m also writing this from the experience of a visitor so if I lived here for longer I would have more insights.

tumalog waterfalls tumalog waterfalls

Learn to monetize your Footage


Greg enjoying cebu
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