A Digital Nomad Month in Bangkok April 2015

bangkok street

Bangkok, the city of angels.

After the chaotic throws of India I was looking forward to staying in a more developed place for both comfort and getting a solid amount of work done.

My hopes were especially high for eating quality street food, after eating mostly the same meals daily in both Rishikesh and Varanasi and in this respect Bangkok didn’t disappoint.

 

After waiting in the tiny Dehradun airport, I watched Delhi pass by with a nighttime view.

When arriving at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, the first thing that struck me was how easy everything was.

Right after passing through immigration, there were two ATM machines which worked without incident.

Getting a SIM card for my unlocked iPhone 4 through Dtac took about 1 minute, it just worked. Compare this with Goa where getting a working SIM with data was a multi day complicated affair. In Goa, after making a copy of my passport, the guy took my Vodafone application, said ‘come back in 3 days’ and rode off on his bike. To make matters worse, each State in India requires a roaming pack (and even that didn’t always work, particularly in Varanasi).

I met up with my pre-arranged taxi ride, and was happy to arrive at the AirBnb room.

Given I was only staying a month + several days, I paid $850/month USD for a room in the Aree neighborhood right on Phaholyothin road 7 / Soi 2, close walk to the Ari BTS Skytrain. I wanted a private room with Wi-Fi in a safe neighborhood to get work done, and this was it. The trains and taxi’s made it very easy to get around.

Speaking of food, there were a million options right outside of my apartment that were delicious. Amazing Pad Thai for 45 Bhat ($1.34 USD), slow simmered spicy chicken 90 Bhat ($2.68) for a half, 10 Bhat ($0.29) tacos, you name it.

Another cool thing were how mall food courts operated. You’d load up a plastic card with cash, and then use it at any of the nearby stalls. When done, you’d get refunded any remaining balance. Fresh noodles, duck’s hanging in the windows etc.

 

I’m not a big fan of malls, and tend to avoid them in the U.S. These malls in Bangkok were certainly impressive, with most being 8 stories tall and just beyond ridiculous. There is a huge disconnect between the rich and poor here (like most places). Materialism is rampant and image is everything, which is a big turn off. Apparently people here will take selfies next to brand name stores, or put their cheaper items in an expensive brand name shopping bag just to ‘be seen’. I saw a very high level of narcissism here where every little moment requires a selfie.

In my part of town I really didn’t see that many foreigners, and my Thai is extremely minimal. On a couple of occasions I met up with other travelers from online nomad groups to grab a few beers.

One night I went solo to Kao San Road to club hop and have cheap noodles on the curb, while dodging rats and lady boys at 4am. I met up with random people along with way from drunk Germans to a cool hippie girl from Canada. Riding back home in a haze on the back of a scooter was a trip, my energy bodies tired to escape.

 

I don’t have many wild stories from Bangkok as I do from Goa. I was focused on building a new version of eCommerce Warriors into a productized consulting business for lifestyle brand retailers who sell over $200k each year. It was tough to avoid partying here with so many opportunities, and many guys lose their heads I’ve heard. Luckily, I have an iron will. If I ever do Bangkok again, I’ll stay in a hostel and just plan on having fun, it would be a much different experience, as this was very isolating, but served it’s purpose.

I leave you with some street scenes of the hectic and colorful madness before I move on to Chiang Mai for two months.



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