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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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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How a Canadian Food blogger sells her own tripod and outsources video editing

Canadian food blogger Kiran has a unique business of selling a custom tripod and outsourcing video editing for food bloggers. She has an original business and original story that is inspirational and information packed.I met Kiran and her partner while living in Bangkok with my parents. We ended up working at the same co-working space and later both relocated to Chiang mai. I think she is a good role model for following the lean method of starting a business to reduce risk.

Links

World Tour 2017 Report – South Africa, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia – GH29

world tour 2017

I’m back to Chiang Mai after traveling on a world tour that took me to Singapore, Bangkok, Penang, Johannesburg, and Capetown. In this podcast world tour 2017 I share gems from each destination from food, getting around, co-working , and local areas I stayed. I took my filming gear and shot from amazing footage of the modern singapore skyline in marina bay to the beautiful postcard views of Capetown’s Table mountain.

I stayed in modern condos in Penang, a penthouse in Penang, and a unique estate in Houghton, the neighborhood of Nelson Mandela and another past South African president.

I ate world class xiao long bao, dumplings, noodles to delicious rump and fillet steaks in South Africa. The amazing wines in Capetown South Africa from the sauvingnon blanc in Constantia and stellenbosch. Listen and watch to learn  more.

My Amazon book on South Africa: http://chicvoyageproductions.com/southafricabook

Learn Stock footage free course : http://chicvoyageproductions.com/stockfree