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Im planning to go to Koh Samui at the end of April for a month. Does anyone know good areas where to live there and have good internet connection (maybe close to coworking space). Or also after reading some info here in nomadforum — some people say its better to go to Koh Lanta. Any thoughts about that?
I’m intending to become a proper digital nomad in January at the latest, and I am just starting to take some initial steps. I am a software developer and I intend to create an app and build a startup. Which one of these places would be best for that?
- Ko Samui (Thailand)
- Ko Lanta (Thailand)
- Goa (India)
- Chennai (India)
My idea is to develop my business in any of those places and open it here in Australia later on. Obviously, one of the main reasons why I have picked those places is that they are very affordable so that I can make the most of my savings from my current contract Goa would probably be my favourite pick since is quieter and not as crowded as Chennai (I think), plus living costs are about half of what they are in Ko Samui and Ko Lanta.
However, due to the nature of my business plan, Internet is a must. I have read your article about Goa and you said that Internet access is pretty bad, however I noticed that you wrote that a year ago and I also heard that this is currently changing. What’s the situation right now?
I was in Koh Lanta this January working out of KoHub and would definitely recommend it. Its a great island with lots to do and KoHub’s atmosphere makes it really easy to make friends and have socials.
Lots of people work during the day and there is always someone going out in the evening for dinner and drinks… Pair that with a laid back island, its truly an amazing life style.
I was also in Goa unfortunately internet was a struggle and no where near as tourist friendly as Koh Lanta.
Koh Samui is a nice island and close to a few other so you can hop around. Not sure about how digital nomad friendly it is. Internet 4g was great.
Koh Pha Nang seems to be picking up… theres a coworking space which opened on the beach earlier this year if I’m not mistaken. One to check out for sure.
I’ve been reading a bit more about Ko Pha Ngan and it seems that indeed it’s picking up. They opened two coworking spaces and it seems that they are cheaper than Ko Lanta’s.
Most likely, I’ll go there to work on my startup, and also to Chiang Mai.
Thanks for your replies!
Thanks for your replies. What about Ko Pha Ngan? I heard that it’s becoming increasingly popular among digital nomads these days.
Thought I’d throw our hat in the ring, we might interest you @Spacer. @Edumadic run 12 week programs for people exactly like you. Our next program visits Goa, Sri Lanka, and Bali. You can check us out at www.edumadic.com
Thanks anigupta. It seems that I’ll be going to Ko Lanta and Chiang Mai in the end
Thanks kevinohashi. Ko Lanta would be more suitable for me I think.
Let’s see if someone can share their experiences with Goa and Chennai! I’m very interested to know about those too.
Goa’s infrastructure is certainly improving every year. There is more widespread 4G, especially in the big city Panjim, and some areas in North Goa. I expect with the Reliance Jio launch this year; the situation would improve even more.
Panjim, the capital city, has also seen some attempts at building a digital nomad and tech community. I have seen a definitive trend of tech & design startups in India choosing Goa as their base.
South Goa wifi/internet infrastructure is very sparse. You could, of course, get a landline, if you plan to stay for a while, but the only provider in most places is BSNL, a govt provider with the bureaucracy you can imagine
I am confused why you put Chennai on this list at all. It is one of the four major metropolises in India, and the dullest and insipid one. If you wanted tech talent, Bangalore and Pune are much better options. Pune is not too far from Goa.
I can only speak for Koh Lanta and Koh Samui.
Koh Samui is a much bigger island than Koh Lanta. More people, more everything. If you like modern amenities and enjoy a more city feel at the beach with access to everything you could want, it’s probably the better pick. I think the internet was fine most places.
Koh Lanta is a much smaller, relaxed island. Since you’re talking about January, that is high season (until around april/may). So it is more crowded, but it’s still not that crowded. It’s more of a family island, rather than a party island. Although there is generally a party or two every night somewhere if you want it. It also has a fantastic coworking space KoHub (http://kohub.org) which has very good internet (100mbps + 50mbps backup line — from which I’m writing this now).
Lanta is bigger than Samui!
Koh Lanta is much easier to get around though as it’s pretty much one straight road. In general, cheaper than Samui.
That said, my preference would be Samui. It’s just beautiful there.
@Paul maybe in area because it’s counted as many islands. But Koh Lanta Noi has no hotels on it and is pretty much exclusively locals. As is the eastern side of Koh Lanta Yai (main island) which is only 80 km^2 according to wikipedia. While Samui is 228km m^2. Samui also has a population of 60,000+ while the entire lanta district is 30,000 (11,000 for Yai).
The area generally talked about as Koh Lanta (one specific island, Koh Lanta Yai) is much smaller than Samui.
Hi to all Nomads living on Ko Samui or Ko Phangan!
Are there any good coworking spaces on the islands of Thailand? (I only found one in Ko Lanta, but nothing on the Eastern islands like Ko Samui or Ko Phangan where I would like to stay.)
If not, what are the best internet cafes to work comfortably and quietly?
How fast and how reliable is the internet connection?
Thanks so much!
Any new co-working spaces & cafes since this thread was opened (in dec ’14)?
Info on Ko Samui & Ko Phangan is great, but also on other islands having new co-working spaces.
We are launching the first beachfront coworking space that I know of and it is on a beautiful beach on the west coast of Koh Phangan.
Send us an email [email protected] for more info!
When are you guys opening up?
@DavidSidhom we are looking a house in Ko Phangan with my team (trampolinn.com a home swapping community) we are 5, do you have any plans? My email is [email protected] or through whatsapp on this number +33641461589! Thanks mate for the advice (low bugdet unfortunately). Hugo
So sorry for replying this late. Was kind of offline over the holidays and family was a rare distraction.
Thank you all so much for the quick and useful replies. I look forward to checking out all of those places. @David, I might take you up on the offer and give you a call soon.
This forum rocks! Thanks everybody also for all the other great posts! Look forward to learning from you & giving back soon.
A good friend of the Ninjas hacker collective (Loren aka 6Q) owns a hostel on Koh Samui. It is called Backpacker Hostel. Here are the details: https://www.facebook.com/BackpackerHostelSamui?rf=582099511858459
This is a great place to use as a starting point because it’s very cheap, is a super friendly crowd, and (being hacker owned and operated) has fast reliable Internet (inasmuch as this is possible, bearing in mind that you’re on a small island in Thailand, a country currently governed by the army who recently took power in a coup). If you want to enjoy the Full Moon Party, 6Q also owns another hostel on Koh Phangan and it’s very easy to bounce between the two.
There are plenty of places to stay on Koh Samui, but landing in a friendly, laid-back place that is hacker owned and operated, with an American owner who knows how to organize everything you’ll need and can solve essentially any problem you’re likely to have is invaluable. I can’t recommend this place highly enough.
If you go to Ko Samui, check out Son F Beach! It’s a bar-coworking space owned by a Russian designer. It’s small but cozy, with coworking upstairs and bar downstairs. Mostly Russian expats or travelers work there.
The price is 200THB/day, drink included.
I prefer coffee shops, however. I’ve been “nomading” mostly at The Islander in Chaweng, Ko Samui. It’s in a crowded street, ~17Mbps internet, although it goes down for a few seconds sometimes.
@DavidSidhom, thanks for the links! I just arrived on Phangan, and can’t wait to check you computer-keyboard-banging fellow travelers
I’ve been working remotely on Koh Phangan for a few years now. There are co-working spaces starting to set up, the first is set to open soon and I can imagine more will follow!
http://kohspace.com/ (set to open mid January 2015!) Is located in Ban Tai area.
Theres a few groups on Face-a-book worth following for updates on this right now…
As for internet cafes and other places to work around the island, I can suggest a few places on your visit. Of course it is also possible to find suitable housing / rent with wifi for longer stays…the quality of internet varies of course.
I would recommend getting one of those AIS pocket wifi’s too.
If anyone would like some insider info on Koh Phangan and best places to work / rent / play — I’m happy to help, you can call me on +66 (0) 990 028 714 or send me a PM
Chok dee na krap good luck!
Someone had been running an email signup list for a space on Koh Samui but now I can’t find it. I thought it was something like kohworking_com or some coworking play on Koh…
Personally I love Haad Tian/Yuan/Why Nam if you can get away from the increasingly frequent and long all night blasting music… Sanctuary has decent pay by volume internet for cafe style work, and Dtac reaches bungalows on the ridges (Bamboo/Beam). True wasn’t as good as Dtac last time I was this, no idea about AIS… YMMV.
Looking for blogs by individuals who document their progress/business in South East Asia — ideally Vietnam, Cambodia or Laos — but also Thailand/Myanmar too.
I’m curious to know how many people learned some Thai before going there. Learning languages is a hobby of mine but I’m very put off by how complex the writing system is, and if I decide not to learn it I’ll probably cross Chiang Mai off my bucket list. I prefer to be at least conversational in a language before I do an extended stay in a country. I’m curious how people who learned no Thai did getting by. And I’m curious, from people who did learn some, if it’s any easier than it seems? Thanks!
I’m currently in Chiang Mai and will be here for Christmas. Maybe for NYE too. Planning to go out and meet people and enjoy the holiday season. Any events or places to recommend?
I’d love to meet new friends too. Leave me a message if you are interested in hanging out.
i am trying to find a monthly based condo in SUKHUMVIT in BKK becaue i am staying 1-3 Months in BKK. But somehow its nearly impossible to find a nice one. Except Air BnB 1000$+ …
How do you find your Condos in BKK?
It’s been a few years since I rented in BKK, but last time, I took an Airbnb for a few nights and negotiated with the owner for longer term. They were happy to give a significant discount to not pay the Airbnb tax and have a stable tenant.
Normally, when I go abroad for a longer period of time, I try to take as much medication with me from my home country as I can for that period. Which so far has worked well for me.
But if I’m going to be a full-time nomad that won’t work anymore. Mainly because I’ll then unregister from my country. Which has some downsides like not being able to have my current health insurance anymore. Other health insurance companies won’t cover existing conditions, so I’ll have to buy my medication “over the counter”.
But since I need some medication which in The Netherlands (and I assume other countries) is only available on a doctors prescription. I was curious how people here arrange that (if there are any in the same boat as me).
The main medication I think would be hardest for me (and most expensive) to get is Epoetin-Alpha (Aranesp) injections.
Since there’s not really a ‘world wide standarized’ doctor prescription form, how do you get the medication abroad? Do you have a checkup there again at a local clinic before you can get the medication? (That would probably add to the cost too).
in vietnam if someone makes it then you can get it — not sure if the same in thailand. basically i’m saying the state doesn’t get involved when it comes to prescription meds. it’s simply a market-based economy. if you can reach someone in country they can just wander down to the local shop and see if they can get it. yes doctors in vn prescribe things, but it isn’t like in au/nz/us where a doctor needs to write on a piece of paper to authorise you getting it, you simply need to know what you want so you can then go and actually purchase it.
✅ Affordable to live
✅ Very safe
✅ Fast internet
✅ Lots of fun stuff to do
✅ Warm now
✅ Warm all year round
✅ Good air quality on average
✅ Many Nomad List members have been
✅ Spacious and not crowded
✅ Easy to make friends
✅ Very easy to do business
✅ Very safe for women
✅ Very friendly to LGBTQ+
✅ Not many people smoke tobacco
❌ Very humid now
❌ Nomad List members didn’t like going here
❌ Not many members right now
❌ Quality of education is low
❌ Hospitals are not great
❌ Roads are very dangerous
❌ Freedom of speech is weak
❌ Not very democratic
❌ People don’t speak English well
❌ Not family friendly