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Author: A Potato in a Rice Field
Wanderlust Travel Blog of the Year ’13
Chose a dream location, move there, live a better life, live a cheaper life. With a rise in digital nomadery and location independent professions the opportunities for living abroad are becoming increasing realities. For those who take the leap it can be infinitely rewarding. I live this lifestyle having first taken the plunge back when eBay was profitable. My stomping ground is Southeast Asia an area I am forever fascinated by and I am based in Bangkok a city I now call home. There was a time when I took a break from this ‘travel lifestyle’. In truth I am not suited to continual travel. For me the lack of security or home did not suit me. I needed something permanent. I took a step back and did what every digital nomad fears most. A 9 to 5. For 4 years I put life on hold, wore a suit and saved every penny I could get my grubby hands on. I bought property in Bangkok, moved there and am now living the dream life in Southeast Asia. Nowhere I would rather be. I live a simple life with girlfriend, cat and a few close friends and connect daily to my family and my old life through Skype and Facebook.
I considered my options in other countries and of course on the Thai islands. The problem with islands is they are small, constantly prone to overdevelopment and attract sleaze and ugly tourism. And being antsy I would last no more than a week on an island. Bangkok on the other hand brings new experiences everyday. It brings a mix of metropolitan living and authentic local life. I can go out and get lost on a daily basis. It is the perfect place to be for those wanting to live an affordable, luxury lifestyle. Bangkok would give any world city a run for its money regardless of price. For those considering the option of a move to Bangkok here are five good reasons why?
If working from home the number one priority is to have a nice home. You rarely get a second chance at this. My advice would be to buy high-end if you can. In central Bangkok you can find a plush luxury pad for under $100,000 (my condo pictured above / below). For me I chose a luxury one-bedroom condo smack bang in the centre of Bangkok (Sukhumvit). I chose a lower room in a fancy condo over a fancier room in a lesser condo. This ensures better shared facilities. When buying I took the risky option of buying off-plan (before construction). I only felt safe doing this by opting for one of Thailand’s Major property developers. The risk paid off and 4 years following completion the property value has gained 50%. Considering the initial investment was months before the financial crisis (2008) this maybe seen as a small miracle. For full details on the purchase of Bangkok condos check here. A nice pool makes a great place to ‘work’ but don’t expect to get work done.
Sunny year round. Cool breezes in winter. Heavy showers mid-year. I welcome them all. Thunder, lightning and extreme rain showers are exciting to watch from the insides of a plush condo.
My number one reason for being in Bangkok. Prices are tiny, tastes are delicious and food is everywhere. My daily routine takes in lunch at my nearby street food street then beers, spicy salads and barbecue at my local roadside grill in the evening. I could easily live on $5 pp for food per day by eating local. For our guide on the best of Bangkok street food and cheap eats check here. If you are after fancy restaurants, old teak settings and international foods these can be found at most street corners. For our guide on Bangkok’s best restaurants check here.
The land of smiles. The city of angels. Etc. The cliches cover it. But only living in Bangkok will let you truly understand it. Bangkok’s popular tourist and backpacker areas do attract ugly traits of tourism. Opportunism and hard sell take over from simple Thai charm. Passersby rarely get to experience the true Thai cheer. If local life is not your think a youthful expat crowd is not hard to find. For nightlife check here.
With convenient Subway and Skytrain networks travel in Bangkok is simple. Again best to buy a condo near the networks to allow you to make the most of the city. If feeling lazy taxis rarely cost more than $5 in the central Bangkok areas. For fun travel by motorbike taxi. When travelling outside the city go North for the charm of Chiang Mai and South for the islands. Travel central for sausage.
If not working in Bangkok then you will likely need tourist VISAs. I see this as a bonus. It negates complacency, forces you out of comfort and encourages exploration. All you need to do is visit a Thai Embassy abroad every 3 months. Some easier land border crossings include neighbouring Malaysia (Penang) or Laos (Vientiane). Flights to further destinations are cheap and simple with Bangkok a leading hub for low cost carriers (incl. AirAsia). A couple of my more recent routes took in the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Hong Kong.
Bangkok has become a preferred base for many leading travel lifestyle bloggers with Johnny Ward of OneStep4Ward the latest addition to the Bangkok condo club.