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  • Writer's pictureSotirios Seridis

Bangkok Digital Nomad Guide - Living in Bangkok as a Digital Nomad



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Why Bangkok?


Bangkok is the capital city of Thailand and, like many capitals, the most populated city in Thailand. The hustle and bustle of Bangkok have earned it some notoriety for its traffic congestion, but it has a burgeoning public transport system that connects the heart of Bangkok to the surrounding suburbs.


The food in Bangkok is unbelievable and boasts not only the raw beating heart of Thai cuisine but offshoots from many other cultures. Metropolitan Bangkok is already well-known for its relatively low cost of living, but the city has also embraced many infrastructural necessities for digital nomads. Cafés with high-speed internet access, coworking, and co-living spaces have become increasingly prevalent. Not to mention, the city is home to many regional and national headquarters for multinational corporations.


The street and nightlife of Bangkok are part of its fame. Street food vendors, markets, and the red-light districts of Bangkok draw visitors from all over. If you’re committed to a thorough experience of local Bangkok culture, definitely plan ahead for some significant walking around. Dress appropriately, leave your valuables in a safe place, and take it all in firsthand.



Bangkok is also fairly progressive compared to many other Asian cities (or countries, for that matter) with regards to LGBTQ+ people. The city is home to, and thus by and large accepting of, a significant population of transsexual individuals. Bangkok also recently kicked off its first pride parade in over a decade in 2022, rubberstamping the city as a safe haven for queer people. (Chiang Mai is another famously inclusive city in Thailand if you’re looking to explore more of the area than just Bangkok alone.)


Something every visitor to Bangkok should be aware of before visiting is that Thailand has extremely strict laws forbidding open criticism of the Thai monarchy. Regardless of whether you want to avoid running afoul of the law or the locals, it would be wise to watch your words. The heaviest penalties for getting caught carry prison sentences.



Visa for Americans


Americans may freely visit Thailand with a tourist passport for up to 30 days. If you wish to travel for longer or work in Thailand, you’ll need a visa. A tourist visa to Thailand must be used within 90 days of issue and extends the total duration of your stay to 60 days. The visa may be granted an extension of another 30 days for 90 days total, at the cost of 1900 Baht.

All foreigners working in Thailand must obtain a Thai work permit and work visa. You must first apply for a non-immigrant visa, then a work permit. Work permit applications must be partially completed by an employer.



Visa for EU


Citizens of the EU may freely visit Thailand for up to 30 days. If you wish to extend the length of your stay or pursue work in Thailand, you’ll need to apply for a visa. A tourist visa to Thailand must be used within 90 days of issue and extends the total duration of your stay to 60 days. The visa may be extended for another 30 days to 90 days total.


All foreigners working in Thailand must obtain a Thai work permit and work visa. You must first apply for a non-immigrant visa, then a work permit. Work permit applications must be partially completed by an employer.



Visa for all others


Thailand’s work policies are consistently enforced to preserve their national economy. Just like Americans and EU citizens, citizens of all other countries must obtain a Thai work permit and work visa. You must first apply for a non-immigrant visa, then a work permit. Work permit applications must be partially completed by an employer.


Weather


Bangkok has a tropical climate and a monsoon season. There are three “seasons” in Bangkok - hot, rainy, and cool, but the city is generally warm year-round. Lows sit at around 22°C (71.6°F), and highs are around 35°C (95°F). The rainy season begins in May and lasts through October. The cool season follows, lasting until February, and the remainder of the year comprises the hot season.



Best time to visit


The cool season is definitely the best time to visit Bangkok - beginning sometime around early November and lasting through February. The more tolerable weather is a tremendous draw for tourists and the local community is livelier, including the nightlife scene. It’s also a more favourable climate for exploring Bangkok’s streets and walking attractions.


Languages spoken


The national language of Thailand is Thai (also called Siamese), and the same follows for Bangkok. Nonetheless, many locals engage with the thriving tourist economy and have an adequate understanding of several major languages including English, Chinese, and Japanese. Many Thai people also pick up English in school or on their own. There are also several dozen minor languages and dialects natively spoken by people across Thailand.



Local currency vs USD & Euro


Thailand’s national currency is the Thai Baht, abbreviated THB (฿). At the time of writing, one US dollar trades for about 34 Baht. One Euro trades for 36.8 Baht.


Best neighborhoods (low and high cost)


Your cost of living in Bangkok will depend largely on where you live. More convenient and upscale locations closer to the CBD or downtown Bangkok are going to cost you more—neighborhoods like Siam Square, Sukhumvit, and Silom.


If you’re looking to keep things a little more cost-effective and perhaps have some extra money to set aside, your options are more limited. Neighborhoods like Phra Khanong, Phayathai, or Victory Monument are the best option.



Average rent for Studio and 1-bed on AirBnB


Like other housing options, your price on AirBnB can vary drastically depending on location and amenities. Nonetheless, you can assuredly find a studio apartment in Bangkok for somewhere in the range of ฿1,500. A single-bed private room where you share a living area will usually run you around ฿800, but you can find rooms for as little as ฿600 with some luck and a few sacrifices.


Safety


While Thailand as a whole does not rank particularly well in terms of general safety (though it is by no means near the bottom of the list), Bangkok is comparatively safer, especially if you avoid red-light districts. Crowded, touristy areas are also more likely to harbour pickpockets, cutpurses, and other forms of petty thievery. You should stay aware of your valuables and consider taking precautions to secure them. Generally, violent crimes in Bangkok are rare unless you go out of your way to provoke someone.


Tangentially, small-scale scams can be prevalent. While they pose little to no threat to your safety, you should nonetheless educate yourself on local scams, so you know how to identify a scam and what to do if you come up against a scammer (besides simply falling for the scam).



Plug type


Thailand uses 4 different plug types - A, B, C, and O. Type A has two flat parallel pins. Type B has two flat parallel pins and a round grounding pin. Type C has two round pins only. Type O plugs are used only in Thailand and consist of two round power pins and a third round grounding pin. The supply voltage used across Thailand is 230V and 50Hz.


Internet speed


In Thailand, the median internet download speeds are about 190 Mbps, with upload speeds sitting at around 150 Mbps, and a median latency of only 5ms. Those speeds are some of the fastest in the world, making Thailand an extremely attractive country to live in for digital nomads. Fast and reliable internet connections are fundamental for most remote work, after all.



Top 5 coworking spaces



An international coworking space company, JustCo has not one but five locations in Bangkok. Their spaces are comfortable and accessible, with an airy, colourful, and contemporary feel that caters well to young businesses and workers. At JustCo, you’ll find that hospitality and consistency of service are top priorities across any of their locations.




WeWork is another international company that develops coworking spaces. They emphasize on neat, modern spaces conducive for both working and socializing. They offer different options to help you select a workspace that works for you as you need it. WeWork has 4 locations in Bangkok.




Spaces provides a more full-picture approach to coworking spaces. The professional events they host and the hospitality services they provide make for a comfortable atmosphere to network and socialize. Spaces invests in making coworking spaces that are energizing in the hopes of getting you firing on all cylinders.




At Glowfish you’ll find more than just a coworking space. They also have a dining hall, conference halls, and meeting rooms that are all open for you to use. You can even elect to host your own events at Glowfish if you’re impressed by the services they provide. They’ve also partnered with other businesses in Bangkok to offer their members a suite of lifestyle services.




While it’s not necessarily the cheapest coworking space around, the Hive makes up for it with sheer commitment to their vision of coworking spaces. Their Thonglor location has seven floors with desks, offices, conference rooms, and even a rooftop café and lounge. With so much space and variety, you’re sure to always have somewhere to work.


Co-living spaces


Co-living spaces are a modern living solution that’s more friendly toward digital nomads or expatriates. They fall somewhere between a hotel and a hostel. You’ll frequently have to share accommodations with other guests, including your living space and bathroom, but often you'll have either a bed or room to yourself. Many co-living spaces also provide other conveniences like gym and laundry access or housekeeping services. Most importantly, co-living spaces prioritize flexible living arrangements so that you can stay only as long as you need to.




LITA’s vision for their co-living space is fairly straightforward: a comfortable, fuss-free living experience that allows you to dedicate yourself to the things that matter in your life. You can either rent a private space with your own shower or a bed in a dormitory with a shared bathroom. Shared amenities include a coworking space in the building, cafeteria, and laundry area.




UnionSPACE caters best to residents who are committed to getting out and about. You won’t have a lot of privacy here, with only a self-contained capsule to call your own, but the prices at Union Space are more than affordable. You’ll also be able to avail yourself of the variety of services they provide, such as access to the lounge, discounts at the UnionSPACE café, and full-time concierge and housekeeping services.



Top 5 cafes to work from



The unique ambience of Jam Factory is hard to miss. Repurposed factories near the river provide an environment that’s both relaxing and conducive to work. The Jam Factory is also more than just a café—you’ll find an art gallery and other small shops nearby to explore if you decide you need a break from work.




If you’re the kind of person who likes to have something to sip or munch on while you work, Rocket Coffeebar is the place for you. They have an impressively diverse collection of beverages and menu items, covering breakfast, pasta, coffee/tea, smoothies, and more so you can keep yourself well-fuelled for the tasks at hand.




If you’re glued at the hip to your pet pal, you’ll enjoy Kimpton Maa-Lai. As a pet-friendly café, pet lovers will enjoy the space whether you’ve got a pet of your own or just enjoy being around some fluffy companions. Their hotel is also great to stay at, and if you’re keen on convenience, you might want to book a room right next to the café.




Baan Dusit Thani offers a unique restaurant and café experience among restored and preserved historic buildings. Both the building itself and the décor within speak to the cultural history of Bangkok and make for a beautiful and unforgettable environment. If you need a flash of inspiration, give Baan Dusit Thani a try.




A fresh cup of coffee simply doesn’t compare when it comes to fragrance and flavour, that’s the core behind Artis. Every cup of coffee is fresh-brewed on-site in front of you, so you know that you’re not getting anything that’s been sitting around losing taste. Get a fresh mug and start your day with all the energy you need to get working.


Must-do activities



If it wasn’t already obvious, the Grand Palace was once the home of the royal family in Bangkok. They no longer use it as a residence, but it is still used to hold royal and state ceremonies. Like most if not all palaces, it is an intricate complex of ornate buildings filled with lavish decorations that bears great cultural significance. As such, the Grand Palace remains at the top of the list of unmissable tourist destinations.




Like any other national museum, Bangkok's is a tribute to the history and culture of Thailand. The vast collection is the largest in Thailand, and it contains treasures collected by the royal family, such as precious gems, traditional clothing, and even imports from other countries from long ago. The museum also offers tours in English if you’re so inclined.




Wat Pho is the foremost Royal Buddhist temple in Thailand and boasts an incredible variety of Buddhist iconography, including the famous 46-meter-long reclining Buddha. It was the first public university in Thailand and remained a school for traditional Thai medicine and massage to this day. The school of Thai massage taught at Wat Pho has been enshrined in UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage.




Chatuchak is the local weekend market in Bangkok and attracts over 200,000 people every weekend. Over 15,000 stalls comprise the market, selling all manner of goods. You can find almost anything, including furniture, plants, cosmetics, accessories, clothing, books, electronics, even pets! Since the market largely consists of individual or family vendors, prices are relatively cheaper compared to big box stores.




Siam Paragon is a massive mall located near the heart of Bangkok and is crammed full of not just shops but also activities and entertainment for the whole family. You’ll find literally hundreds of stores, a cinema, and Southeast Asia’s largest aquarium all within its doors. There are even whole car showrooms from luxury car manufacturers like Ferrari in the mall.



Closing thoughts on visiting Bangkok as a digital nomad


The wonderful thing about Bangkok is that none of the lists in this article are capable of doing more than scratching the surface of what’s available. The city is extremely welcoming to foreigners and chock-full of fun activities, good food, and great workplaces. Just outside of Bangkok you’ll also find an incredible variety of outdoor sports like rock climbing and water sports that take full advantage of Thailand’s remarkably beautiful natural landscape. A well-rounded life accounts for both work and play, and Bangkok really has everything to offer.




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