When it comes to finding places to enjoy the digital nomad life, one of the top places on your list to consider should be Bangkok, Thailand.
This vibrant city is visited by millions of people every year and offers a great living experience, cheap prices, and an exciting new way to enjoy living. It’s so good that NomadList, the crowdsourced database of cities around the world, ranks it at #3 for nomads. So if you’re considering spending some time in Krung Thep, read on for our exclusive guide for being a digital nomad in The Big Mango.
1. What’s so great about Bangkok for digital nomads?
Let’s get into the nitty gritty here. Before you take the time and expense to move somewhere, you need to know that it has the things you’re looking for. Luckily, Bangkok has a lot going for it in terms of the nomad lifestyle, as well as being widely acknowledged as a life-changing tourist destination.
Obviously, the first thing that you need in order to keep your hustle going is access to quality internet. In general, Bangkok offers an average internet speed of 27 Mbps, so while it’s not the fastest in the world, you’ll find it more than sufficient for accessing your daily needs. You’ll also find around the city that it’s easy to access decent Wi-Fi for free.
Bangkok is famous for having the kind of stable subtropical weather that makes it comfortable enough to relax in, without too many crazy extremes of weather. April is the hottest month in Bangkok with an average temperature of 87°F, and the coldest is December at 79°F. September is the rainiest month by far, although the season runs from May to September. Which doesn’t mean it rains all the time, instead it has a tendency to come in patches of rain.
Language lovers amongst us should know that the official language of Bangkok is Thai, which is unsurprisingly the national language of Thailand too. However, for those who find it tricky to learn new tongues, most people in Bangkok will also understand and speak English to some degree.
The city is relatively safe but is also a huge and bustling city with a wide number of tourists. Because of this, pickpockets and bag snatchers are aplenty, so always be careful with your possessions. When it comes to staying safe, most of all you want to watch out for the drivers – the roads here are more chaotic than a lot of Westerners are used to, and it’s important to be on the alert for vehicles.
Cost of Living
The official currency in Thailand is the Baht (THB), and $1 = ฿33. Importantly you will need to make sure you have cash, as many places will not take cards.
Bangkok has a reputation for being a cheap and easy place to live. Delicious food is easy to access, with famous Thai street food costing around ฿200 for a full meal. Even in the center, you’ll find it easy to eat cheaply and well.
The city has an abundance of supermarkets scattered around. Check out Tesco Lotus, or Big C. To give you a rundown of average monthly costs:
- Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre: ฿12,000 – ฿35,000
- Coworking space (daily): ฿300
- Water (1l): ฿20
- Train Pass (monthly): ฿1100
- Coffee: ฿80 -฿120
- Beer (500ml): ฿50
- Gym membership (monthly): ฿1,200 – ฿3,2000
- Cinema: ฿180 -฿250
- Cigarettes: ฿120
The traffic in Bangkok has a reputation for being terrible, but there are ways around this. The Skytrain (BTS) and underground (MRT) rail systems are helpful for getting around the major areas of the city.
There are taxis as well as water taxis, which is particularly helpful if you want to visit any tourist spots. In general, taxis are cheap and appear around the clock. They are also safer and more comfortable than taking Tuk-tuks.
2. Where to live in Bangkok?
When it comes to renting a place, a landlord will typically be looking for a three-month minimum stay, with a deposit of two months rent for insurance. Like everywhere, AirBnBs are relatively numerous, and there are always the options to stay in a hotel.
Facebook groups exist to find short-term lettings so you can find places where landlords are looking for tenants. There has been a bit of a crackdown on renting apartments, so make sure that where you’re staying is legit. For digital nomads, there are also Facebook groups where you can ask fellow nomads for advice and tips and tricks on where to stay, take a look at Bangkok Apartments & Condos For Rent.
Additionally, some of the best areas to live are:
- The Victory Monument area in the north is known to be the home to hipsters and ex-pats. Head south-east or south-west to the popular areas of On Nut and Bang Chak.
- The Ratchatewi area is nice for those looking for convenience since it has many shopping malls and fast food restaurants.
- Areas around the BTS Skytrain (Green Line), the MRT (Blue Line) stations are known to be good, as well as the area around the Chatuchak Park, as it has the biggest weekend markets in Thailand, and is also well connected.
- Bang Sue is highly affordable with 1 bedroom condos costing $450 a month.
3. Where to work in Bangkok?
When it comes to getting your work done, the good news is that most coffee shops and restaurants offer free wifi. Be careful when it comes to taking your laptop and gear out with you, and watch out for pickpockets though. If you prefer a coworking to also network with other digital nomads and remote based as well as local professionals, there are also many options such as:
- Hubba, One of the best known coworking spaces. Open 24 hours a day, five days a week, you can rent a desk space for around ฿300 a day, or ฿3000 a month. Discovery Hubba is located on the 4th floor of Siam Discovery, near the National Stadium BTS stop.
- The Hive is located in the Thonglor area, about 5 minutes away from the Thonglor BTS station. With 5 floors including a rooftop cafe, a daily pass to The Hive is ฿350 or ฿3,000 Baht per month, although they also offer up discounts for startups, entrepreneurs, and charities.
- Kliquedesk is based in the T. Shinawatra Thai Silk Building, close to the Nana BTS station. It offers high-speed Wi-Fi, free parking and ergonomic chairs and it costs around ฿300 a day, or ฿3600 a month.
4. Where to network with other digital nomads in Bangkok?
There are a few digital nomads meet ups and groups included in both Facebook as well as Meetup, where you can find the most important local based events, as well as opportunities to chat with other digital nomads in Bangkok. Take a look at:
Additionally, visiting a co-working space such as Hubba, The Hive and Kliquedesk will allow you to meet and mingle with other nomads based in Bangkok too.
TL;DR: Which type of Digital Nomad is Bangkok for?
Bangkok is right for you and your nomad needs if:
- You want to live in a big city
- You’re a foodie and want to make sure that you can afford to enjoy delicious treats
- You want to live in an easy climate
- You want to tap into a high-tech and affordable nomad accessible world