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💳 It is normal to tip 5% in Ko Samui
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Bangkok’s digital nomad community has grown rapidly due to its comparatively low cost of living and position as a bustling metropolitan city with great co-working spaces and high-speed internet. As it is popular with tourists and has a large expat crowd, foreigners are welcome and most people speak at least some English.
Nomad-ed here for a month. A totally ok place if you have the budget for it. Coworking spaces are good, 4g everywhere, transportation is effective. Lots of things to do. I was able to find friends. Lots of international people, very few digital nomads. If you're there, consider not renting in the center (as it gets expensive fast) and being creative with places to eat to find cheap options. Be prepared to use cash unless you live in a luxury.
It's no surprise that Chiang Mai is currently the top city for digital nomads to live and work in. It has the far lowest cost of living in comparison to other cities, including low rent for decent apartments. With a variety of great co-working spaces on the rise, not to mention the number of coffee shops with decent Wi-Fi, you'll be spoilt for choice.
Koh Tao was a nice place to stay, but is not anymore. The main issue is the yet unsolved waste problem. Koh Taos air quality in the inner island has become very bad since more and more people start to burn their plastic waste in the backyard.
Some of the costs are accurate and some seem a little high to me as an expat. I live on the interior of the island, Kathu. We are 5 miles from beaches on either side of the island. Weather is amazing all year - between 75-85 degrees. So far monsoon season is not as bad as I expected. Traffic is really bad. I have not had an accident but the hazards are there. That may be the biggest downside. Your money speaks loudly here. I have a nice route I do on my bicycle for exercise which is shady and hilly with wide shoulders. There is a nice reservoir where people socialize and exercise.
It’s hard to love Kuala Lumpur. Because everything here is average. Malaysia’s food is marketed as a mix of all cultures’ cuisines, that’s nice and all but that mix of the same cultures is tastier in any food court in Singapore. Because in KL the food is average. Malaysians are also far behind in cafes, you’ll see Starbucks rated 5 stars, while arisanal boutique cafes are rated 2 stars on Foursquare. Why? Because they have a prehistoric obsession with big brands and consumerism. The coffee in the few artisanal cafes is outstanding. Everywhere else? Average. A day in KL means you’ll be going from mall to mall. Chinatown still has some remnants of local street authenticity, but even that’s starting to be bulldozed by malls its edge. Admittedly Kuala Lumpur has come far since a decade ago, its citizens are getting close to middle class (that is if you're not one of the millions of illegal immigrants). But where Kuala Lumpur now thrives in money, it still lacks in class. And that makes it, well, average.
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