I’m happy to have a chance to chat with Rob Palmer, who may be the World’s First Digital Nomad who is based in Bangkok Thailand. Join us for a refreshing chat and podcast to learn from his experience of having a raising a family across multiple countries and teaching his own son how to create a location independent income. Rob is an articulate speaker and easy to listen. Enjoy this treat and learn a little history about how times have changed for the digital nomad.
Rob is involved with the Amazon publishing business, online marketing business with Clickbank, and an Ambassador for Payoneer payment platform.
Most of the conversation involving digital nomads is tied to the young millenials in the their twenties so let’s give it up to the original veteran Rob Palmer
Huahin Digital Nomad Expat Guide The Danang of Thailand. Chiang Mai with a beach. Whatever you want to call it Hua hin was off my radar until a month ago. My Digital Nomad Journey Began in Taiwan and Sophmore year was in Chiang Mai Thailand, but it seems as though there are many destinations that are becoming great options as well like Hua Hin Thailand.
The main draw for Hua Hin is the beautiful long beaches, the ease of getting there from Kuala Lumpur, how quiet and uncrowded it is, and the laid back vibes. Add in the overall fast Wifi, quality low cost condos on Airbnb, Grab Taxi, Golf courses, Tennis Course and a lot of what you may love about Thailand (cheap massage, thai food, 7-11, Pools) and you’ve got a great destination to either to go into mini-retirement or live as an expat/digital nomad. At the time I went there were 2 co-work spaces. If you stay near the True Arena then you are close to both of them. One of them is called Gopro and the other you will see on your way to Cicada market. They are a bit pricier than Chiang mai or Bangkok at 350 baht per day. There are a few cafes that are laptop friendly like coffeelism and the Truesphere cafe in the Bluport Mall. I recommend getting a condo with at least AIS fiber.
I’ve only seen one beach and the sand is a nice texture, clean, and white. There are some options to drink at the beach or you can go for a walk. One of my favorite things to do was to check out the various restaurants, cafes, and bars along the beach. Check my instagram for exact locations, but some suggestions are Mourakesh to catch a sunset, or Azur’s freeflow 699 baht at the Intercontinental. Huahin is a turning up to be the sleeper hit destination of the year. It has a beach. The air quality is better than most Thailand destination’s as it’s further South. Internet Speeds are fast in cafe’s and the home with AIS fiber very common. Good modern condos are cheap and available built by Sansiri similar to the condos built by Dcondo out in Chiang Mai. Good flights in from Kuala Lumpur on Airasia, but not to the rest of Thailand. Getting around on Grab is available, but a bit pricier and hard to get in the hot spot tourist areas. You can motorbike here for short distances as the traffic is less than larger cities. There are 2 large malls with everything that you need from movie theathers, gourmet market for all your culinary needs, and pletny of massage shops. There is an understated upmarket feel to Huahin and you can expect prices to be a bit more than Chiang Mai. Cafes and cowork spaces aren’t as plentiful yet, but there are options in the mall and you can work from home.
There isn’t that many tourists here in general and less Digital Nomads, but that can be a good thing. This is not just some beach town. Huahin hosts many gems if you know where to find them.
Sample Prices Motorbikes 1600 baht Sim AIS 7 days plan 150 baht Accomodation 450 cdn for 2 weeks inluding utilties and wifi with proper gym and super duper long pool Thai Meal 100-150 baht Western Breakfast 200-250 baht Beer 100 baht IPA beer 200 baht bottle wine 500 baht Taxi from airport to city 200 baht (need to take regular taxi from the airport, Can grab to the airport due to the mafia) cowork space per day 250 baht. Internet Speeds 20mbps- 200mbps #huahin#digitalnomad#locationindependent#expat
Recommended for: Beach Lovers, Motorbikers, Sabai sabai Thai lifestyle, Red light District Scene, Hot Weather
Best Time to Go: November – April ( I was there for the 2nd half of May and it was super hot)
How do I live this lifestyle as a Videographer?
I use my skills and content to create a lifestyle of time and location freedom as a Travel Videographer. I fly my drone and license my aerial footage and do videos for clients. Check out my Online Courses for more Info.
We have a single travel videographer bachelor at the time and a father of 5 video editor discuss the pros and cons of Bangkok VS Kuala Lumpur and family life. This is a fun Digital nomad to nomad chat that explores the differences between Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur and how our earlier journey’s started in Chiang Mai, but progressed to Kuala Lumpur
Biggest differences between KL and Bangkok
Kuala Lumpur you’re more likely to find english more widely spoken
KL has a better food variety
KL and Malaysia offers 3 month visa for most Western passport holders
Bangkok has cheaper massages
Bangkok has a better and more affordable cowork space scene
Bangkok’s BTS transport is better to understand and navigate than KL’s
Busan South Korea is South Korea’s 2nd largest city. Why would you want to come here? The biggest draw aside from the korean food, fast internet, decent air, top notch public trains, are the beaches. Haeundae and Gwangan (Gwangalli beach) are the most well known. I’ve been here twice both for 1 week stints. Let’s get down to business.
Essential Info for Busan
I recommend going during the summer in June for nice warm weather. They also hold a famous film festival in October. I visited in early March this year, which is a bit cold and sunny. The cherry blossoms are in full bloom end of March.
Who is Busan for? It’s for a digital nomad that isn’t as price sensitive, wants to enjoy the beaches, a dose of korean culture, fast internet, perhaps a free co-work space, and a developed city in asia that can offer good direct flights to Western North America. Bring out XE currency or your favorite convertor as I will be quoting prices in various currencies. If you need to complete some fast uploads then some of the fastest internet speeds are located here.
Getting in. There are direct flights from Kuala Lumpur to Busan via air Asia. They do leave kuala lumpur late around 2am and you arrive in around 9am in the morning. I paid about 1400 MYR for mine. As a Canadian I get 6 month for my visa just for visiting! For sim cards I use an android phone and needed phone number and data so I went with KT at the airport. Price was 38,500 won and is good for up to 10 days and reliable throughout South korea. This will cover all your internet needs. Basically there is solid fast wifi from most places from starbucks to Holly’s cafe.
You can get into the city using subway, limousine shuttle or taxi. From cheapest to most expensive. Subway is about 4000 won to the city and the shuttle was 7000 won one way. I took the shuttle as I had some heavy luggage to carry.
Where to stay in Busan South Korea
I recommend staying in Huaeundae or Gwangalli as they are both walking distance to the beach and offer convenient access to the subway and restaurants. Other areas you could try are Centum City or Seomyeon. I checked out hotels, but airbnb offered a more comfortable experience and better value plus extras like a kitchen,washing machine, access to a local host, and living like a local is an experience I value. I paid 338cdn for my airbnb for a modern, well-located condo with kitchen, washing machine, wifi, japanese style toilet, heated floors, walking distance to the beach, and a view. No fancy amenities though and it’s not as spacious as malaysia. Yes it’s a bit pricey.
You can work at Starbucks Reserve or any starbucks, holly’s cafe, or check out the creator’s content studio at centum city for what they call a free co-work space. Wework is opening soon so there are many options. Be sure to bring a plug adaptor as North American style plugs will not work.
What to do in Busan
I recommend checking out all 3 beaches: Gwangalli, Haeundae, and Songjeong beach. The Gamcheon cultural village known as the Santorini of SKorea is nice for photos and also close to the Jagalchi fish market. As for food I recommend trying a lot of beef (beef shabu, beef bbq, beef bugolgi), dumplings, bim bam bop, and if you’re into seafood there is a ton of variety here as it is a sea port. The subway station is pretty cheap and efficient. You can try visiting different areas and working out of cafe’s and enjoy the fast internet speed. Can you fly your drone in Busan. I flew at Haeundae beach with no problem and have flown at Gamcheon cultural village last year. Check the rules, and fly at your own risk. Standard Aerial Videographer rules.
Cost of Living
I haven’t lived in Busan for a month for so I’ve made an estimate based on my week here. You’ll notice that the exercise and gym has a gap as I haven’t had time to figure out costs of using the gym yet. My total accounts to $2050 US which is about $500 US more than Kuala Lumpur. Use this as a guide as this varies with everyone’s lifestyle and you have to make certain assumptions to project out costs and how you will spend your time. In general accomodation costs are higher than south east asia at 1126 US, but not bad considering I’m looking at an apartment less than 5 minutes to the beach. One way ticket from Haeundae to Centum city if 1400 won. Coffee is about 3800 won from starbucks. A nice noodle soup dish is about 9000 won. Taxi ride from Haeundae to the Busan station is about 16000 won. Craft beer is about 7000 won a pint.
Busan is probably too expensive and the language barrierr will leave you with a level of isolation that won’t be as long-term friendly. I could probably do a month here or a few weeks for a visa run in the summertime to enjoy a beach lifestyle in a developed city with good flight routes to Canada. You can take the the high speed train (KTX) from busan station to Seoul if you want to check out another city or a cheap flight to cities in Japan using Air busan.
The Gluten free Nomad and I explorer where we are on our entrepreneurial journey and how we would spend 20k on our business. It’s a fun exercise to go through to think how would you invest those funds back into your business. Would you spend it on office space, new software, new camera gear, or some assistant or interns? find out.We also explore a number of topics from the Golden Age of Chiang mai to co-working in Kuala Lumpur.
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.
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
My Viettel Sim Card from earlier in the trip is still working fine
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
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.
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
What 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.
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.
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.
Beijing is our first stop on a month and a half long visit to Asia in early December. Here is a little bit of research I wanted to share before the trip.
To begin, the first thing to do before booking your trip is to get a Chinese Visa. Here is a good site about the requirements for Canadians. From my experience, you can save yourself one additional trip to the visa office by printing out the forms prior to your first visit and get your passport photos completed. The visa office will only take a limited number of people a day so be there before opening time with your completed application. The contact number for the Visa office is (604) 734 – 0704. The office address is 288-1338 West Broadway, Vancouver. You can also try avoiding all the hassle by hiring a travel agent to do this on your behalf. Here are two contacts who can help you with this:
The currency in China is called Yuan or Renminbi. One Canadian dollar as of today is equivalent to 6.09 CNY. I’ve been told by the local store where I got my China sim card that foreigners are limited to withdraw a certain denomination a day so it was suggested to buy at least $1000 CDN worth of Renminbi locally before I leave.
You will also want to visit your doctor to make sure that your immunization is up to date, and make sure you have travel insurance.
TIP: If you have an iphone I recommend downloading “Exchange LE” to convert worldwide currencies on the fly. If you don’t have an iPhone try the Fairmont’s currency convertor.
TIP: Check that you have the appropriate electric plug adapters for China. I was told by a London Drugs employee that most modern electronics such as Iphones do not require a convertor so save yourself some money.
Beijing is located west of North Korea between the Yellow Sea. Beijing is known as the capital of China, is the country with the world’s largest population and was host of the 2008 Summer Olympics. Beijing’s has the second largest population after Shanghai with a population of 17.55 million people in 18 districts. It is the political, education, and cultural center of the country that offers many historical sites and important government and cultural institutions.
Beijing’s time is known as the China Standard Time (CST) and runs 16 hours ahead of people in the Pacific Time (PST) time zone, which includes Vancouverites. So currently looking at the iPhone world clock its currently 12:10pm. One way that I do time zone math is to add 12 hours to the current time, which would be the same time but you exchange the pm for am and then add the additional hours.
12:10pm + 12 hours = 12:10am plus 4 hours which equals 4:10am
Beijing is known for its flatness with only 3 hills found within the city limits. The configuration of Beijing is that of concentric rectangular shaped ring roads. Most of the tourist sights are located in what is called the old walled city and enclosed by ring road two.
picture courtesy of wikitravel.org
XiCheng District – this covers the northwestern part of the central city and includes the Beijing Zoo and National Concert Hall.
Dongcheng – this covers the north eastern part of the central city. This includes the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, and Beijing Central Station
XuanWu District – Southwestern pat of the central city
Chongwen District – Covers the south eastern part of the central city and includes the Temple of Heaven
Tiananmen Square – This is located in the Dongcheng district. Wikipedia calls it the third largest public square and is also home to the Chairman Mao Memorial Hall. It has cultural significance as it was the location of several important events in Chinese history with the most recent being the protests of 1989.
Forbidden City – Wikitravel claims this is the most important palace that was home to the Imperial court during the Ming and Qing Dynasties. This site was protected during the Cultural Revolution from the Red Guards. Detailed information is available in the China Travel Guide
National Stadium – Better known as the Birds Nest this is located in Chaoyand district and is the symbol of the 2008 Olympic games.
Da Dong Roast Duck – Located in Dongcheng district Da Dong was recommended from a local who used to live in Beijing. Currently ranked as the # 3 place to eat in Beijing on Trip Advisor. Summarizing the variety of latest reviews from Trip Advisor I expect high prices, excellent Peking Roast Duck that is carved at the table, drinking, laughing, good food, upscale location, and free drinks waiting at the bar. Can’t wait!
Hutongs – These are narrow street alleys that are on the outskirts of the Forbidden City and I’m told visiting Hutong’s are a way to experience how the local Beijing Chinese culture and how they live.
Temple of Heaven – Located in Chongwen district my readings confirm that this is a worthwhile place to visit, a symbol of Beijing, and is a larger palace than Forbidden city. The reason is that Chinese emperors considered themselves sons of heaven and did not want to live a palace large than what was built for heaven.
Summer Palace – Located in the Haidan district it is known as the largest and most well-preserved Royal Park in China
The Great Wall of China – Our trip to China is not complete without scheduling dedicated time to view the largest man-made monument ever built. In 2007 the great wall was listed as one of the world’s wonders of the world, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which means it has special cultural and physical significance to the heritage of humanity. In 220 BC during the Qin dynasty the wall was built as a fortification defense against the invading Mongol’s. It is 8,851.8 km and can be see seen from Space. According to TravelChinaGuide, the most information rich internet resource I’ve come across, the Badaling section of the great-wall is the most well preserved, and is located in Yanqing County 70 km north of Beijing.
Based on the top Google searches for “Beijing Nightlife”, the Sanilitun bar street is most popular with ex pats and tourists as well as locals. Located West of Gongti North Gate in the Chaoyang district the MIX Bar seems worth visiting. What I expect is a mix of Western people and locals, attractive women, and high quality sound and lighting. There are two floors with the first offering comfortable seating and the second offering French and Italian cuisine with music.
photo courtesy of clubzone.cn
The other up and coming area for nightlife is in the Hou Hai Bar Street. The Beijing impression calls No Name Bar “hands-down one of Beijing’s best”. It is is located in Qianhaidongyan, Shichahai, XiCheng district by a lake. It is known for scenic views, a welcoming atmosphere popular with locals, and a hidden gem due to no name on the door. I’m expecting friendly staff, good modern music, a long drink list, and to make a reservation.
That should cover the Beijing plan for now. Hope you’ve enjoyed this blog post and will tune in for the post visit blog post with the pictures and HD video footage of must see attractions, restaurants, and nightlife for Beijing.