For a month and a half, I stayed in Bangkok, Thailand. I flew in from Singapore and arrived in in this urban city with a 30-day visa stamped on my passport, I decided to stay here longer instead of going back to Siem Reap, Cambodia.
Here’s a high-level overview of what to expect about life in Bangkok as a digital nomad.
Note: Expenses mentioned are based on my experiences. Prices may vary depending on your level of comfort.
Khao San Road, Bangkok
We had a friend who was very generous to share her space for us to stay. So we grabbed the opportunity since we didn’t have much time to scour through other places in the city. If we searched hard enough, we could possibly find good deals in other places in Bangkok. But we didn’t because we wanted to save money and spend more on other important things such as food.
apartment in Bangkok
This meant that the hassle of searching for a place to stay was no longer a problem. My friend’s apartment costs about 5000 baht (160 USD) per month.
To know more information about places to stay in Bangkok, you can check out Migration Mark’s blog posts – really informative stuff about his life in this part of Thailand!
- Rent Cheap Apartments in Bangkok, Thailand | Migrationology.com
- Cost of Living in Bangkok, Thailand | Migrationology.com
Internet/Wi Fi Signal
Internet connection in Bangkok is fast. I remember running a speed test and it didn’t go below 20 Mbps! The only problem we had was that our friend didn’t have a line set up in the apartment. So what we did was drop by a mall that offered free Wi Fi internet.
a frequent hangout
Terminal 21’s food court at the 5th floor with free Wi Fi access
We went to the Terminal 21 mall countless times. The setback was that it would take 2 hours to commute by bus from where we lived.
Aside from being anal about the internet, I also don’t like the process of commuting for a long period just to get from point A to point B. I can only imagine the traffic during rush hour!
Back in the Philippines, the office was just a 5-minute commute. This case in Thailand, I didn’t want to waste waiting for buses and riding them when I could use the lost hours for more productive work. I tried to take the MTR or Skytrain but it was too expensive if I travelled everyday.
That’s why I was so glad that a newly opened coffee shop was available within walking distance. Acoustic Coffee café became a regular visit for me to the point that one of the owners mentioned that some of their customers mistook me as the owner of their café. lol
a regular customer
Acoustic Coffee Café in Bangkok, Thailand
When I bought a sandwich, I’d make sure I’d compensate it by having more hours spent at work. Being in that café made me more productive and for three weeks, I was on a roll with my online tasks.
We also bought a USB internet dongle in Bangkok from a telephone company named DTAC. But somehow, it wasn’t that fast in the apartment. Still, it was good enough for checking emails.
1300 baht (43 USD) – Cost of USB Dongle aircard stick with preloaded credit for a month.
Food and Water
I was limited to a work routine from house to the café. That’s why I binged on food instead. We spent more on food since we already had great savings from our free accommodation.
food that ranges from 30 baht to 80 baht
When it comes to food, Thailand is never going to be a problem for you! You just have so many options. You don’t have to go far as you can find a food stall in a street corner.
“The best local food in Thailand are found on the streets.” – According to my host who’s been living in Bangkok for more than a year.
Always had to have one fruit a day.
I still ate my oatmeal during breakfast; but it’s really tempting not to eat, even those fried snacks or fresh fruits. Obviously this was my biggest expense overall.
so many choices! even for snacks!
As for water, there’s a water dispenser at the lobby of the condominium. I’d simply take take water containers there for refill. Cost was 8 Baht for 8 Liters.
8 Baht per 8 Liters
Water Refilling Machine at the Lobby of the Apartment Building
Aside from a water dispenser, there are also washing machines on the ground floor of the condominium. However, I still washed my clothes by hand.
For 40 Baht, laundry would be finished in an hour. I remember I tried the washing machine only once. I didn’t want to spend too much on this when I could use the money to buy more food.
Health & Fitness
I didn’t find a gym near the place where I was living, and most of the fitness centers inside malls were too expensive (around 60 USD/month). I ended up just jogging and doing body weight exercises. Climbing the stairs that’s 8 floors up was also something I did to work up a sweat.
Chatuchak Park, Bangkok
Chatuchak Park was a near place from the condo, and I could go there to jog.Only, I always ended up in a grocery market inside the mall on my way to this place. I thought I’d rather jog to buy milk instead of heading to the park and jog again.
Here’s my routine on most days.
10am – Wake Up, Take a Bath
11am – Jog or Do Laundry
12 noon – Lunch
1pm – Work Online
8pm – Buy Food for Dinner or Eat Out
10pm – Sleep
There are days when we’d go out to eat and in rare occasions, watch a movie. There are also times when we’d check out interesting finds in shopping markets. So far, I only bought two shirts at 150 baht (5 USD) each.
Looking at my schedule, I realized that I had a lot of time for sleep! My girlfriend said that I was on hibernation mode. Well, after almost 6 years of working in a call center where most of it was spent on the night shift, my body craved for a lot of sleep, according to the actual time it’s supposed to rest.
The Standing Buddha in Bangkok, Thailand
taken in 2011
Here are some random bullets I’d like to share during my stay in Bangkok, Thailand.
- I had to travel for a whole day to the border since my visa was going to expire. I ran to the Aranyaprathet (Thailand) – Poipet (Cambodia) border and returned on the same day. I had to pay 150 baht and I don’t know if it was a new policy but I felt I was ripped off there. Here’s my visa run story: Visa Run in Aranyaprathet-Poipet Border, New Policy?
- My travel buddy had to go home because of a personal emergency. Suddenly, I knew I had to fend for myself in the succeeding months.
- If you travel by land, Thailand will give you 15 days, if you arrive by plane, they’ll give you 30 days. Note that this is only for ASEAN nationalities. For other countries, you might need to obtain a Visa.
- According to my friend, English in Thailand isn’t as bad as it was 4 years ago.
- The transportation system is alright in Bangkok; only the traffic isn’t. There are free buses in the city and it felt good not paying for tickets to reach home. MTRs and Skytrains are also fast and efficient ways to travel. Taxis are a bit expensive and I’ve never ridden a tuktuk during my stay there.
- I didn’t explore other tourist spots in Bangkok. I still haven’t visited the Grand Palace or the floating market. Funds were depleting and I had to work more so I could earn and save more.
- Bangkok is a great city to shop with cheap but good quality merchandise and other whatnots. I wish I had more money to burn to buy. But then, my bag was going to get bigger and it wouldn’t be practical when I’m backpacking.
So how much do you really need to live in Bangkok, Thailand?
Let’s say you’d eat 3 times a day with a minimum of 30 baht (1 USD) per meal, that’s 90 baht (3 USD) a day.
90 USD – 3 USD/meals x 30 days
2 USD – total amount of drinking water at 2 Liters per day
162 USD – apartment rental
That’s about 254 USD a month for basic necessities. Please note that electricity, transportation, and mobile phone load is not yet included. I also had to pay for train and bus tickets during my visa run. With our set up, we also bought grocery items to save on food costs. But somehow, I still ended up buying street food because they’re just too good! hehe.
I lived for one month plus in Bangkok and as much as I loved the food and the internet, I still prefer the laidback city of Siem Reap, Cambodia. I prefer the silent places where it’s more relaxing and I’m away from the noise of the city. Still, I had to make this as my home for that duration. Maybe if I went to other places like the beaches in Thailand, I would rave about the country some more.
But then again, I had to sit down on my online assignments so I could accomplish more tasks. Bangkok gave me a good place to concentrate on work before a vacation in Bali that awaited me afterwards.
At a payphone.
I’m not sure if I’m going to go back here and still stay in this part of the country. Most likely I’ll head to the North and check out other places there. Chiang Mai won’t be that far behind on my list.
I’ve been travelling and bringing my work with me in Southeast Asia. Check out my Digital Nomad Life series below:
- Digital Nomad Life: One Month in Siem Reap, Cambodia
- Digital Nomad Life: One Month Plus in Bangkok, Thailand
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soloflightEd.com is a travel blog by Edcel Suyo. He enjoys performing headstands and crazy stunts during his trips in the Philippines, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. Now based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and working to earn a living, he takes time to enjoy the city and travel during weekends.
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