Thailand

How to digital nomad in Thailand? Where to live, work, eat, but also party after hours?

Everyone who’s coming to Thailand will probably land in Bangkok, so let’s start with this amazing place where one night makes a wild man humble (and where I could actually say my home is).

On this page you will find:

  • SIM Card in Thailand – Get Connected
  • Thailand Electricity
  • From Suvarnabhumi airport to the city centre
  • Where to work, where to sleep?
  • Where to eat?
  • Bangkok Transportation Guide
  • Sightseeing
  • Where to drink and party?
  • The peculiar places
  • Girls stuf (not for boys)

 

If you know all of the Thai basics and want to move straight to the islands click HERE

 

 

Bangkok is a massive city, no wonder at the very beginning you can feel absolutely lost without any idea where to go. And so was I, desperately trying to find a place convenient for a month of remote work. My FIRST month as a digital nomad.

Now, after visiting this City of Angels* multiple times, everything seems to be easy, convenient and pretty much obvious. To introduce you to the city in the clearest possible way let me divide it into 3 zones that you can be interested in:

Zone 1: The Old Bangkok. Skytrain (BTS) and metro (MRT) don’t go there. The area with Grand Palace, Wat Pho and Khao San Road (a place full of loud music and drunk backpackers) Rambuttri Road (a bit more civilised version of Khao San, where people are less drunk, music doesn’t smash your brain and you can also eat something). In this zone, you can also find cool small venues run by expats who came to this city, fell in love with it and never left.

Zone 2: Public transportation! MRT and BTS are available here. A bit less touristy, here you won’t find tuk-tuk drivers screaming at you on every corner asking if you want to see The Big Budda, or if you need a suit. Giant Shopping Centres (Siam Paragon, Central World, Pantip Plaza), Patpong Night Market, Lumpini Park and Erawan Shrine you probably heard about.

Zone 3: Westerners party area. All Sukhumvits, RCA with dance and deep house music, plus, Nana, Soi Cowboy and other places with ladyboys and Go-Go dance.

China Town let’s place between zone 1 and 2.

 

Digital Nomad Essentials

 

SIM Card in Thailand – Get Connected

I use to say that this is the first thing I do after landing – I buy a SIM card with 3G/4G data. While in other countries it might be sometimes expensive and complicated, buying a SIM card with a decent data plan at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi airport is easy and cheap. In the airport’s main hall, ground floor, right next to the exits, among cafeterias, convenience stores and exchange offices you can find telephone companies stalls offering a variety of plans and options. The one I always use is TRUE MOVE. Look for a shop in red. Then, check the plan best for you (for 1.5 GB, 80 baht calls, 30 days you should pay about 300-400 baht, prices are very reasonable, just pay attention that the cheapest options provide you with maximum 512kB speed). Next, you give your phone, passport and money to a lovely lady from behind the red counter (don’t worry, they are better in doing things than explaining how to do them in English) and, within the next couple of minutes, you can enjoy 4G data on your phone!

 

 

Thailand Electricity

Thailand uses 220V AC electricity. Power outlets most commonly feature two-prong round sockets. Some of them will also come in versions with grounding (three-prong).

 

From Suvarnabhumi airport to the city centre

 

Option for people who are lazy/tired/have huge luggage – Taxi. Taxis in Thailand are relatively cheap and can be easily found outside the airport. It’s a veritable car-rainbow: blue, pink, yellow, green, orange…

Just come up to one of them and:

  • ask if the driver will go where you want to go
  • make sure if he’ll use the meter

If yes and yes – you’re good to go. If you got in the taxi and you don’t see red 35 number proudly glowing on the meter- ask why. If the driver will refuse to put the meter on and he won’t give you any reasonable price – leave. Be aware of the fact, that in 90% cases, even if the price seems to be reasonable for you, you’d pay much less just taking another cab with a meter.

While struggling to explain to the driver where you want to go you might need to know your address in Thai and also, figure all the numbers in Thai

(0-sung, 1-nueng, 2-song, 3-sam, 4-si, 5-ha, 6-hok, 7-chet, 8-paet, 9-kao, 10-sip)

plus, you can simply use those numbers to build all the rest: 56 – ha hok). The meter charges you for the distance, but for the time you spent in a taxi as well – this is what makes the traffic even worse. Be prepare for te fact, that drivers might not always understand you and that they have no idea how to read a map… that would be it! In any other area outside the airport simply watch if a red sign, behind the car front window, on driver’s left-hand side is on – if it is, you wave at the car and hope it will stop.
If talking to people who not necessarily understand English is your biggest nightmare ever – you can also try using Grab Taxi, that works in Thailand perfectly fine. Typing pick-up point, destination, paying with cash or a credit card and off you go.
A bit more expensive option that also works very good is Uber – very good, air conditioned cars, kind drivers, what to want more?
It would cost you 300-400 baht.

If you want to spend less…

There’s an Airport Link. Depending on in which zone you stay you can either go to the station MAKKASAN, then switch to MRT (subway) on PETCHABURI station or PHAYA THAI to switch to BTS PHAYA THAI station. From there on – use google maps that will help you with finding an MRT + BTS combination to get to any destination. Keep in mind, that if you stay in zone 1 you’ll have to use an uber/taxi anyways.
The airport link is around 35baht, MRT depending on the distance 16-42baht, BTS – 15-42baht.

 

airport link map

Suvarnabhumi airport link map.

 

Where to work, where to sleep?

 

(click on the name, see it on the google map, star it (favourite) and make your own Google map, so you’ll never be lost!)

Born Free Hostel

(zone 1)- my favourite, my one and only, with a unique vibe and lovely people. It’s a place where in the lobby you can find 3 tables with chairs (one of them I always use as my desk), but also 2 tables with kind of beds/spots filled with cushions on both sides to chill. Everything adorned with a really good selection of chill out music humming in the background.
Born Free Hostel provides you with 3 WiFi hot spots, that, as for Thailand, are pretty decent.
So you set up your remote office in the lobby, a common space, and… what if you need to go to the toilet? Or you’re hungry? Many digital nomads might find it difficult to leave your computer lying around just like that. Taking it with you every single time you want to use the toilet can be a pain in the neck – been there done that! In Born Free, you don’t need to worry about it at all. It’s super safe. A legend says that someone left his smartphone there on the shelf in the main lobby and when he came back a couple of months later, the phone was still there. I find it possible.
When it comes to rooms you can choose between fan and AC one. “My” bed is number 6 in AC room – very secluded, right next to the window, so even though I consider myself getting too old for hostels already – this one I’ll be visiting for ever.
The staff from BF will help you with everything and provide you with information of any kind. They also organise excursions in and around Bangkok, night bicycle tours (+ free bicycle rental). Plus, in the evening if you’d be lost and bored, sitting in the chilling zone area, Kevin and Wasana who own the place, will probably invite you to grab a drink or hang out with them and other travellers. You won’t be alone.
Oh, and there’s a cat – a fluffiest, cutest meow being I came across in the last couple of years.

iSanook

(zone 2) – if you’re not that into hostels and you need your own apartment, iSanook is something for you. The place is cut out to be a digital nomad’s heaven: modern, quiet, spacious. Each room is equipped with a desk and a decent plastic chair, where you’d be able to work. iSanook provides you also with a cafe bar, 2 rooftop jacuzzis, a gym and a swimming pool. When I was there half of the residence was rented by young female models. Good for boys, but might be frustrating for some girls 😉 They also have a hostel on the opposite side of the road.

 

apartment, desk, office

iSanook apartment I was using during my first digital nomad experience in Bangkok.

 

Here hostel

(zone 1) though I’ve never stayed there, it’s definitely worth mentioning, because that’s the only place where instead of using the stairs you can….slide down. Yes, there’s a slide! And a friend of mine who spend a night in this peculiar place said: “Nice place, served an egg for breakfast. Bunk beds have stairs instead of ladders,  a chill place. I managed to find it on a drunken night when the taxi left me to die alone of exposure on 5% battery.”

 

Where to eat?

 

I <3 Thai Food

Rambuttri Rd. It’s a food stall and you have to be lucky to find it open. I ate there for the fist time about 2 years ago and I’ve been coming back over and over again. I still have no idea though if it’s closed on Mondays or maybe Sundays, or, most possible – it’s absolutely random. And it’s all about seafood. When I came there for the first time I was served a pad thai with clams, yummy tentacles and gigantic shrimps staring at me from the plate. It’s not like that anymore, but still ok as for an 80baht (2.2USD) seafood dish.

I <3 Thai Food menu.

I <3 Thai Food

Magic Thai Food

also on Rambuttri Rd, bit more like a restaurant, but still a food stall with wobbly tables. Anyways – WHO CARES! Food is good and cheap and fresh. What’s so special about the mentioned venue if Max. You’ll see max walking between the tables performing magic tricks. And you’ll be amazed. Not only by his skills as an illusionist but also, by how easily he gets along with everyone. Go. At least once 🙂

Joke Ponchana by Mr. Lek  

no joke, there’s a period after MR in the original name. But the food served there is definitely something opposite to joke. So if you’re wondering where to eat some good Thai food in Bangkok, here is the answer. Plus, I just love looking at Mr Lek while he’s cooking 🙂

Sushi Express

the name sounds awful 😀 And the place looks absolutely not appealing. So why am I mentioning it? Because the quality of fish served there will blow your mind, just like prices (but in a good way). The story says, that the sushi master (and owner) who works there, was very famous in Japan. But he fell in love with Bangkok (oh, well another “victim” of this peculiar city) and stayed. Salmon nigiri kicks ass.

Small Kitchen  

very good spot to grab your lunch while you’re working in Born Free lobby. You will experience super slow, old waiter, whose smile will make your heart melt and very good meat quality. It’s the first food place behind Born Free. The second one is ok but lacks this unique charm. Very, very cheap.

Silom Square Food Centre

it’s a big hall where you can find food of any type and some other stuff too. I had stir fried noodles with seafood and I couldn’t stop eating. But be prepared for the fact that probably you’re gonna be one of the very few tourists there = it will be proper Thai spicy.

it’s a big hall where you can find food of any type and some other stuff too. I had stir fried noodles with seafood and I couldn’t stop eating. But be prepared for the fact that probably you’re gonna be one of the very few tourists there = it will be proper Thai spicy.

China town

just go in the evening to where Google says China Town is. Hundreds of food stalls serving everything. Squid barbeque, pomegranate juice, shark, dumplings, durian – whatever you like.

China Town food stall.

Larp Silom 3

a guy I met through my tinder match took me there and recommended green curry + sticky rice. I didn’t meet the guy again and we’re rather not in touch. But my relationship with the curry is strong and changeless.

 

 

Bangkok Transportation Guide How to travel the city without getting mad?

 

Bangkok gives you a wide range of transportation options: taxi, uber, tuk-tuk, BTS, MRT, bus, scooter-taxi, and boat. Taxi and uber essentials were explained earlier in this article, so let’s move forward to the fanciest and even iconic way to get you from point A to point B in Bangkok. Ladies and gentleman – le TUK-TUK.

 

Tuk-tuk – a tiny car, or rather a motorbike with a cabin attached. There is no price list, no rates – the only thing that’s available is the driver’s pure fantasy. Bargain. Always. You can go down half price. While on board – hold on tight – taking curves may remind you of a roller coaster ride sometimes. You won’t even have to ask them for a ride – they’ll offer one themselves almost chasing you down the street, telling you that Grand Palace is closed and they can show you the Lucky Buddha for only 20baht. Don’t. Ever. Trust. It. They just want you to sit on their vehicle and the next best thing, instead of Buddha you’re going to a tailor, market, some other shops on the way, and if you still claim not to be interested in the goods they’re showing you – well, they might even start to push you a bit.

So just keep in mind – if you want to have a tuk-tuk adventure, a good one, establish all the facts (price, time, place) before you get on the “car”. And then it will be pure fun without unpleasant surprises. Yay!

BTS  the Sky Train. Works in zones 2 and 3. Buying tickets (paper ones) via vending machines is easy and you don’t even have to talk to anyone: right next to the machine you’ll fins a complete map with stations, prices and perfectly marked dot saying YOU ARE HERE. Two green lines: bright one and dark one, connected in Siam. Vending machines work on coins, so if somehow you run out of change, just go to the booth nearby and without explaining anything, nice lady will change your 100baht to 10×10. Don’t be surprised that after entering the ticket zone you’ll be asked to show what’s in your purse/rucksack. Don’t be surprised also, that they’ll look at it almost with their eyes closed. Routine check. (15-42baht)

MRT – everything works similar to the BTS, but instead of 2 lines you’ve got one, instead of tickets – tokens, there’s only one line and goes, of course, underground. (16-42baht)

Bus – 24/7 service, pretty well working with the Google maps (but don’t be surprised when you’ll go to the bus stop and there will be none). After you get on board, sit down, relax and wait for a lovely lady with a metal can-o-pouch to ask you for seven baht for the ride. Sometimes she won’t be there, or just won’t bother asking you for change – that means your ride is for free!

Scooter-taxi – look around you to spot scooter drivers adorned with awful orange vests. They can either be standing somewhere on the side of the road (usually in groups), or driving. Go, ask or wave and stop one to bargain the price. Usually cheaper than taxis. Not affected by traffic – changing lanes faster than a woman changes her mind. Loads of fun guaranteed.

Boat – my favourite thing! Cheap, no traffic, cheap and…so unusual, or, during the sunset – romantic. There are two main routes you could find interesting: one marked with orange, the other one with purple.

 

Chao Phraya Express Boat and canal boat map.

The orange one is the Chao Phraya Express Boat, called also the orange flag boat. It can take you from Khao San (pier number 13) through Wat Arun, Grand Palace, China Town down to Sathorn Unique – the Ghost Tower – where you will also find BTS station. Cost – 15 baht. On pretty much same route there’s another boat called Tourist Boat or blue flag – costs 40 baht, is a bit more comfortable and less crowded, but the lady who constantly tells you everything you’d like to (or wouldn’t like at all) about every

All piers are clearly visible on Google maps, just check Phra Arthit, Tha Tien or Oriental. Easy.

The other boat is the best way to get from the old town to the city centre full of monstrous shopping centres. Go to Panfa Leelard Pier, get on board and enjoy your super fast ride for only 9 baht. If you want to get off next to the biggest shopping malls (Water Gate) tell the ticket-guy you’re going to SIAM.

 

Bangkok canal boat

Bangkok canal boat.

Sightseeing

 

Everyone knows about Temple of Down, Lumpini Park, Wat Pho and Grand Palace. But most popular not always equals the best. So check out some off the beaten track, and some semi-popular places I’ve checked and loved.

The Marble Temple 

I went there for the first time after spending in Bangkok almost 6 months in total. How come? Absolutely no idea, but I’m glad I found it and went there early morning (around 7 am). NO PEOPLE! Even the guy responsible for charging me 20baht (ho ho ho) was gone. So it felt like a temple, not like a swarm of tourists.

 

Marble temple in Bangkok

Temple Intharawiharn monastery

they have a GIGANTIC Buddha. I found it by accident 🙂

A joyous Cathedral

walk inside, sit in a park, pet a monk’s cat, listen to a dream catcher jingling on the wind…

Wat Bowon Niwet

I used to go there every single day in the morning, just to sit on the floor in the main temple and stop for a moment, think about what I’m doing in life, if it’s reasonable at all 😉

Saranrom Park

if you’re tired of Bangkok’s hustle or if you want to find a chilled place – check this one out. Lakes, tiny arbours and huts, two (a bit dodgy but still) outdoor gyms and a playground.

Floating Market Damnoen Saduak

About an hour and a half on a minivan from Bangkok city centre. Cost: around 250baht (depends on the travel agency) + 150baht for a paddle boat if you want to do some cruising among other boats. Open every day 9-12. Very busy.

 

 

The New World Mall

Maybe somewhere on the Internet you came across stunning pictures of exotic fish freely swimming among the escalators in an abandoned flooded building. Unfortunately, it’s all over now. The fish department removed all the fish and the place itself was closed. So you cannot, like before, just enter and observe. Why? Danger of collapsing. But the fish were removed in 2015, now we have 2017 and the mall, even though it was said to be demolished – is still there. So even though I do not recommend you jumping inside, especially in the middle of the night, like I did (because it’s full of mosquitoes and you don’t see a shit), you can always look through the hole in malls metal shutters (behind the giant mural with an elephant climbing a skyscraper – you’ll notice it for sure, just come closer and look between the metal and concrete part of the wall) to see the relicts of the past – stunning.

 

 

The Ghost Tower

in other words – Sathorn Unique. Another monument of my buried urban exploration dreams, but I’m gonna get there one day for sure. A huge unfinished block of apartments that carries stories of some suicides plus has one of the bests views overlooking Bangkok. So why would you go and pay for the Lebua apartment 6k baht, and be old and boring, when you can pay 2k baht bribe to the guard (prices are getting higher and higher), discuss things (so speaking Thai would be nice) and climb 49 floors without any elevator? Absolutely MAGIC.

 

Where to drink and party?

 

Cinema Winehouse

this is one of the answers to the question Where is Zebra? Yes, even if I try not to, I spend there almost every evening. Why? Because I love wine, movies and a friendly, decent conversation. I reckon there is no other place in Bangkok where you could enjoy a glass of wine accompanied with delicious food without spending much, much more. (closes at midnight)

Phra Nakorn Bar & Gallery

nice, rather backpacker kind of place with a rooftop (5th floor) terrace. Their long island ice tea should be called “one sip – I’m drunk” instead. (closes at midnight)

9Bar

if you really have to go to Khao San Rd – stop at the 9bar. The only club that plays acceptable deep house music among all of those trashy Thai Justin Bieber remixes. (closes at 2)

Beam

good sound system, deep house on the first floor and kinda soul/hip-hop/rnb music on the ground floor. Smart casual dress code. No flip-flops. Entrance fee. Pricy. (One drink costs about 400baht) (closes at 2)

Onyx and Route 66

one next to another. Very big ones. I remember crystal chandeliers and a DJ playing in the fanciest toilet I’ve ever seen! Also dress code, entry fee and so on. Rather popular radio music. (close at 2)

Tha Beatlounge

a small venue with like some people sat “best music in Bangkok”. Even though most of the clubs close at 2 – government regulations- this one sometimes stays open a little longer

 

The peculiar places

Iron Fairies

it’s a bar where you can feel for a moment like in a steampunk version of Harry Potter or some fairy tale. On the walls, you’ll find tiny bottles filled with fairy dust and winding stairs will lead you to tiny, hidden rooms. The whole venue is small and, unfortunately, pretty dark. But still worth checking. Plus, they have an open mic night on Mondays, good to mention if you’d consider taking part or avoiding this kind of entertainment.

Cabbage and Condoms

it is a cute place with little sculpture art using condoms and funny posters. It also gives free condoms apparently, and decent food. You should definitely go and check it out!

Sing sing

expensive posh steampunk night club.

Girls stuff!!! Not for boys!

Cosmetics

you’ll be in a veritable heaven of face masks, concealers, creams, colour cosmetics, firming, brightening, doing everything creams. And it will be very affordable. Just go here or here or hit the market in China Town. Much better than Boots. Definitely more interesting.

Tampons

Available in every Boots, pharmacy, 7/11.

Birth control

No prescription needed for contraceptive pills as well as “a day after”. This day after pill, POSTINOR is around 100baht or even less. Contraceptive pills – 300-400baht.

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