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.
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 hoteland 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.
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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.
If you are a Videographer looking to earn an income online or leverage the Internet to help you then check out this episode.
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.
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.
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
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 doingmost 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.
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.
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.
First a bit about my Digital Nomad background. I’m a Travel Videographerthat 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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).
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.
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.
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Is the magic still in Chiang Mai Thailand leading into 2018?
Does Chiang Mai still have the charm and magic for digital nomads and location independents as we approach 2018? Was it overhyped? For many people Chiang Mai was the starting point or ground zero to bootstrap and get your business off the ground. I started my journey in Taiwan for 2 years on a working holiday before I came to Thailand. After spending more than 6 months in Chiang I got bored and the little cultural frustrations started to mount. I and other nomads started exploring many other destinations around the world from Bali, Budapest to Medillion. After living long term in other destinations it’s easier to see where a city excels or is lacking. Is Chiang mai still a top choice? After exploring Bangkok, Penang, Bali, and Vancouver I was wondering the same thing.
After enjoying the cheap craft beers and plentiful high quality marijuana in Vancouver, the great ocean vibes and food of Penang, and world class co-work spaces of Bangkok where does Chiang Mai stack up?
Basic needs come first and Chiang Mai is the top destination to find comfortable and affordable accommodation. After the frustration I went through to find a good place in Vancouver Chiang mai is a nice relief. Not only is the cost affordable, but the rent process and structure is so straightforward. Rent a week, month, 3 months or long no problem.
Chiang Mai is not the cheapest for everything. Co-work space memberships, western food, and craft beer are often pricier than other destinations. When you factor in your overall monthly costs Chiang Mai is probably one of the cheapest destinations I’ve lived in without compromising quality of life and safety. My estimated monthly budget for value comfort living is under $1000 US. You can go a lot lower than this if needed.
Aside for watching out for car traffic or if you choose to ride a motorbike I feel safer in Chiang Mai than in Vancouver or Capetown South Africa. The local thai people are in general not as aggressive as Canadians and when you leave your laptop at a cafe or your phone in your bike there is a good chance it will still be there. When I work from a cafe or library in Vancouver I constantly worry about theft. When I was living in Gastown Vancouver there are a lot of sketchy characters and areas around with a chip on their shoulder. Vancouver suburbs are a lot safer in general, but Vancouver downtown depending on your location and time of day there are times I do not feel safe. Yes I know Vancouver is ranked one of the most livable cities in the world.
Nowhere I’ve been compares to Chiang Mai for meeting great digital nomads, expats, or just down to earth friendly foreign or local thai people. The Chiang Mai sophmore’s or veterans can get meeting new people fatigue, but I found it interesting that these old faces migration patterns have been in synch with many familiar faces returning to Chiang Mai at the same time. The time with the best weather perhaps? Sure Canadians are known to be friendly. In my experience this means they are polite to you when you’re small talking. There are social walls when it comes to breaking the lines between working and hanging out. People in Chiang mai are open to meeting and if you’re a digital nomad there will be plenty of opportunities to meet them.
I arrived in December (winter), which is about high 20’s to low 20’s at night. Compare that to 3 to 6 degrees celcius and rain from Vancouver, and people that appreciate the sun will appreciate Chiang Mai. December to February is a great time to be here. The burning season (Feb-March) is probably not the best time to be sure for air quality and extreme heart.
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Proximity to airport
The ride from the airport to Nimman is about 15 minutes. This is probably the shortest ride from the airport to your hotel or apartment of any destination. A great benefit after a long journey or experience for trips away.
Where does it fall short?
Just like I’ve found in most destinations it’s hard to find utopia. Chiang Mai is a bit rough around the edges, but that is part of the charm. Whether it’s receiving the wrong dish because of a server’s english, no ocean, a desk that is uneven, a rat running across your path at night, booze midnight curfew, no crosswalks, no public transit system, or lack of pavements I accept it for what is is. As Michael Jordan said we can choose to focus on the positive or negative of most things and for the most part I choose positive.
Who is Chiang Mai for?
Chiang mai’s slow place and affordable pricing are great for new digital nomads, returning digital nomads, people that want a holiday or time away from home in the west. Chiang mai internet speeds continue to increase, there is still a strong organic community, people are friendly, and plenty of places to work. Everything you need to ramp up your business to create more options. I encourage people to set up a base here, but not become a prisoner of Chiang Mai’s cheap prices. I found after staying here long term that I developed a bit of fear of expensive prices because almost everything becomes expensive once you leave Chiang Mai. There are many great places to live and explore.
Hi I’m Greg Hung a Former IT Manager, Business team lead, and Senior Network Administrator for over 13 years in Vancouver. During my career I created roles & job posters, technical tests, and conducted countless interviews.
My Mock interview service for IT technology jobs will help prepare you for your interview. I’ve can offer practice for roles such as help desk, IT Support, senior network administrator, project manager, or even general roles. We can interview via skype or facetime to best prepare you for your interview on a video call so you can simulate a real interview. If you are based in Vancouver, Canada we could even meet in person.
How it works:
– Purchase the service
– Send a link of the job poster
– I will prepare some questions specific to your job
– I will schedule a time with you
– We will do the Interview
– I will provide feedback right after the interview for improvement.
Taiwan was the first gem I found, Chiang Mai the second, and Penang seemed to have the best of both worlds. The only things that is missing is the organic sustainable community of Chiang Mai Thailand. Still the Pros outweigh the cons and Chiang Mai digital nomads are getting a brief taste during their Thai Visa runs. My plan was to stay a month with a roommate from Chiang Mai and we did. It was a great stay and I’m sure I will be back. Listen to what I have to say about “Why Penang.”
Bangkok is a vibrant and exciting city to live that has a lot to offer for Expats, Digital Nomads, and English Teachers. Bangkok is known as a popular tourist areas destination, but once you make the decision to live like a local and have insider information you can live a great lifestyle at an affordable cost.
Bangkok has excellent resources and infrastructure to get around, high quality and affordable medical care, a gear variety of food, plentiful and world class co-workspaces, and plenty of entertainment. Bangkok is also a great travel hub, offers world class shopping, and is more affordable than Western Cities.
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I met Vil in Bali through the Dojo Bali Facebook group for members. I was looking for help with some video footage. It turn out he has entertaining, funny, and high quality Youtube channels that started out in Seoul Korea. In our podcast we talk about Youtube sponsorships and life in Seoul Korea ad Bali as a digital nomad and foreigner.
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