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Why is South East Asia preferred by nomads over Latin America?

 

by @oskar | 5yr  | 34 comments

Hi guys

Why do you think south east asia attracts far more 1st world digital nomads and tourists than latin america does? i have some theories but i would like to know your opinions because most of the people in this forum are from 1st world countries :smile:
Is it because is cheaper? safer? closer? more โ€œcoolโ€ ?

thanks

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@matthieudrula | 4yr

Visa wise too.
In LATAM you have 1-3-6 months visa per calendar year so you can only rent with furniture(higher cost) and move to another country after (more cost), stay in Airbnb/hotel (more more cost).
How is SEA visa wise? Can you just go out, get in?

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@purplespatula | 4yr

We found visas in Central America easier to deal with as most are on arrival. No experience with South America yet beyond Colombia which was easy too.

Southeast Asia requires a little more planning I would say โ€“ Vietnam needs a couple days of processing and passport pictures, Indonesia is 30 days which can be extended another 30, Thailand is 30 unless you apply for a renewable visa from your home country, etc. Of course, people do things like visa runs or simply pay fines to stay much longer.

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@jonmyers | 5yr

Iโ€™ve lived around South America (Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Ecuador) and presently live in Vietnam.

Personally, I prefer Southeast Asia due to the climate, lifestyle optimizations (getting things made, household management, etc.) transport options (Singapore in and hour and a half, easy flight to HK, fly straight to Dubai in 7.5 hours) - beach options, work ethic and entrepreneur expat scene.

Culturally, I prefer South America, but then again, if I fully embraced the culture, I would never get anything doneโ€ฆ

I know Colombia is demonstrating positive economic growth, but if you have any aspirations of actually doing business where you live, Southeast Asia is a better bet in my opinion and on a stronger growth trajectory.

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@oskar | 5yr

El poblado is an upscale neighborhood where mostly expats and rich people from medellin live. Its like a bubble. Venture outside the bubble and you will see the reality for most of the people living there. I commend you to take the metro, which is quite good but you will see the city in a whole different perspective. And of course do it during the day :smile:

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@giovanni | 5yr

Iโ€™m in Medellin. Think itโ€™s pretty cheap when talking about fruits (pineapple 0,6-1 euro), eggs (3,5 euro/30eggs), dinners out, taxiโ€™s/Uberโ€ฆ Comparing to Europe that is.

Rent in this area is expensive, especially when using Airbnb. But, the quality of our place is just perfect.

I also feel safe here. But, Iโ€™m staying in El Poblado en only venture out to the center (using Uber) during day times. No reason for me to go there at night. Thereโ€™s enough to do in the area.

Safety in Latin America mainly depends on where you stay, where you go (time) and own behaviour.

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@munly_leong | 5yr

LatAm airlines are notoriously inefficient but flying around domestically even just in Australia can often be even more expensive. SE Asia has airlines like AirAsia that have everyone else including first world countries completely beat on value. Itโ€™s generally quite cheap to go from SE Asia to other Asian countries and maybe even Europe, thatโ€™s probably why.

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@kathrynoh | 5yr

Ha, maybe one of the reasons Latin America is less popular is because people donโ€™t understand the difference between the Southern and Northern hemispheres :smile:

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@kalitherapy | 5yr

As someone who is wrapping up 3 months of living and traveling in Mexicoโ€ฆI have to say, I have never felt safer. Granted, I didnโ€™t spend any time anywhere near the northern border but I have walked around in the middle of the night in some places and never had any issues. Iโ€™ve havenโ€™t been to SEA yet but will be there in January through March. I like the general randomness of Mexico: the broken sidewalks with cats lazily laying upon them, my housekeeper spending more time gossiping about her neighbors with me than actually cleaning and the door to door bread vendors. Ironically, before going to SEA, Iโ€™ll be spending a month in Washington, DC, my old stomping grounds and the only place where I have ever had a pistol pressed up against my head while being relieved of my wallet and cell phone (3 blocks from the US Capital complex no less, the most heavily policed piece of real estate in North America).

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@rudiments | 5yr

I agree. My wife and I have been cycling through Mexico for six months now. We did our homework and the safety concerns for this country are definitely overstated, at least for foreigners. The States would be more scary (if I spent much time thinking about such things) because there shootings are much more random rather than being related with cartels. However, weโ€™ve also been told that this feeling of safety walking around at night in cities does not exist many other places in Latin America.

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@oskar | 5yr

@levelsio

Some thoughts:

  • If you want to eat well in south america, go to Lima, Peru. Peruvian cuisine is considered as one of the finest in the world. I was surprised in London to see many upscale peruvian restaurants there.
  • Colombia being dangerous, i totally agree. I dont understand why people flock there, i also felt unsafe, and this coming from someone that has been born in south america! If you want safety go to Chile or Uruguay, the rest is a messโ€ฆ
  • Transportation is expensive as f**k but you have to keep mind that south america is huge and lacks budget airlines + infrastructureโ€ฆ
    -Inefficiency, yeah i hate it, thank god iโ€™m a nomad, so anytime iโ€™m going back to the first world! :smile:
  • Brazil is part of Latin America. They were colonized by the portuguese, and they speak a latin language. They are not hispanic americans, but they are latin americans.

cheers!

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@levelsio | 5yr

Brazilians donโ€™t consider themselves to be part of Latin America (or South America really) and feel closer to US and Europe: https://www.quora.com/How-close-does-Brazil-feel-to-the-rest-of-Latin-America

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@oskar | 5yr

@levelsio

This is like saying that the english people donโ€™t consider themselves as europeans even if they are in europe, their roots are anglo-saxon and speak a germanic language. Its odd they dont feel closer to Africa given the fact that a big portion of brazilians are from african descent. I would only expect people from Argentina or Uruguay to feel closer to Europe knowing that more than 85% of their population are descendants of people that came from that continent.

Most of the guys in the quora link argue that they feel closer to europe because they were not colonized by the spanish and they dont speak spanish as the rest of latin america so they dont share the same culture, and brazil is huge and live in โ€œisolationโ€. All those things are true, but conceptually speaking they still are โ€œlatinamericansโ€, people born in South America with a latin heritage (portuguese culture and language).

Check https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latin_America and you will see that Brazil is part of it.

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@msurocks99 | 5yr

How is Chile, specially reneca beach Chile?

Are all those comments above are true for Chile too โ€ฆ@Oskar @levelsio?

Thinking to go there for two months, need to decide, if thatโ€™s the case told my @levelsio I need to re-think about going there.

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@oskar | 5yr

Chile is safer and more developed than most countries in the region. Its expensive for most things. Efficiency is โ€œgoodโ€ for south america but still not at 1st world levels. Reรฑaca is nice in the summer months :smile:

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@msurocks99 | 5yr

Is it Summer now or Winter?

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@oskar | 5yr

Summer in the southern hemisphere starts in december and ends in march :slight_smile:

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@msurocks99 | 5yr

That means If I go in Jan and stay till March I will find summer right?

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@oskar | 5yr

That is correct, summer should end by March

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@levelsio | 5yr

Iโ€™m in Latin America right now, and as much as I like it here I can give a few reasons:

  • Itโ€™s not cheap, itโ€™s actually really expensive to live here. Grocery food prices (vegetables, fruits especially) are high relative to even Western Europe. Meat is pretty cheap, thatโ€™s good.

  • Transportation is ridiculously expensive. A ONE-WAY flight from Colombia to Bolivia is $600. You know for less than that I can fly from Europe to Thailand sometimes? A similar distance in South East Asia would be $50 to $100.

  • Food isnโ€™t amazing or healthy, itโ€™s mostly fried, everything is meat, and some potatoes. Iโ€™ve never gained weight in my life and I can see the fat grow on my body here, haha :smiley:

  • Latin America is still dominated by a sexist machissimo culture where itโ€™s impossible to walk with my girlfriend on the street in many places (like Colombia) without her being constantly catcalled and harassed. Itโ€™s ridiculous.

  • Safety is a giant concern here, even for guys. Iโ€™m in Panama now where for the first time I feel relatively safe again. Colombia was hell due to constant risk of robbery at gun point. Many people trivialize the safety issues in Latin America (especially Latin people themselves), but thatโ€™s ridiculous. Thereโ€™s stories every month of a local of foreigner being shot (through the head) by a robber because they didnโ€™t want to give up their iPhone. Sure thatโ€™s stupid of them, but thatโ€™s not okay either. Time to fix that shit. This situation is all over South America though.

  • Inefficiency is part of the culture. Ordering food will usually take 30 to 45 minutes. Half the time youโ€™ll get the wrong order. People will forget your orders. You go for laundry, you ask โ€œwhen is it done?โ€, they say โ€œin one dayโ€, then three days later you pick it up and itโ€™s not done, and everybody smiles. Thatโ€™s great, but itโ€™s also really annoying.

P.S. Brazil is not considered Latin America

Iโ€™d like to close off with that Latin American people are some of the most friendly, caring and sweet people Iโ€™ve ever met. And most of these complaints come from first world entitlement. Iโ€™m used to everything being in order and structured. So itโ€™s kind of love/hate for me. Thereโ€™s something romantic about everything being full of serendipity, thatโ€™s the Latin spirit. It seems itโ€™s not so much about the end goal here, more about enjoying the journey (every day is a celebration). I appreciate that.

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@novarideout | 4yr

Interesting - I was able to find some less expensive food - but agree about the quality, that was one of my biggest frustration points.

I hear you on the machismo, definitely witnessed it, as well as sexual orientation insensitivies and flat out racism towards asians (more immaturity - but things like squinting their eyes and thinking itโ€™s funny)

But safety? I actually had the opposite impression of Colombia and was very pleased with me reception and safety. Almost 0 risk or fear of theft or violence. I was living in Cali, Pereira & Medellin.

Inefficiency is certainly a deep element of the culture.

I agree with most of your points.

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@toby | 5yr

Generally flying in LA is expensive, but Colombia -> Peru is around $200 with VivaColombia. Iโ€™m flying from Colombia to Rio for carnival for less than $200. If you know where to look you can get good deals but majority of stuff is expensive.

Basically agree with the rest

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@levelsio | 5yr

Oops, changed it to Colombia -> Bolivia https://www.google.com/flights/#search;f=BOG;t=LPB;d=2015-12-25;r=2015-12-29;tt=o

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@msurocks99 | 5yr

Carnival i.e the one organized by ennovison ?

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@rudiments | 5yr

Where are you that groceries are so expensive? In Mexico they are insanely cheap, especially fruit.

The inefficiency does get to me sometimes, but then I remind myself that is tied intricately with the things I love best about this place, the lack of stress and random anger.

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@wanderingdev | 5yr

Iโ€™m guessing he was talking about Medellin and he was correct about costs. Aside from language, Mexico and Colombia donโ€™t have much in common. Iโ€™ve lived in both and would take Mexico any time especially for cost and safety.

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@sfomadeze | 5yr

In general I think people prefer SEA because they see it as more exotic, more different. Others I think are drawn to the reputation it has garnered as a cheaper destination or to the beaches or to Asian women.

Personally I prefer LATAM over SEA because I speak Spanish and can blend in more. I can surround myself with other expats if I choose to, but I donโ€™t have to. I like taking classes with locals.

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@giovanni | 5yr

I donโ€™t care for the cost. I personally love Latin/central America. I enjoy spending some weeks in Thailand, Singapore,โ€ฆ food is much better to start with, butโ€ฆ I can easily live long term in Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica,โ€ฆ while I could never live long term in Asia. Love the music & vibe in Latin America, easier for me to blend in and as a European it was pretty easy to learn Portuguese and some Spanish. Iโ€™ll always be a foreigner in Azia. No chance for me to blend in :slight_smile: .

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@coffeejunk | 5yr

Iโ€™d consider language actually an argument for LA since youโ€™d only need one (well two) to get conversational access to the entire continentโ€ฆ

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@flyonthewall | 5yr

SEA is just more affordable and perhaps culturally western people find it more interesting because itโ€™s way more different from where they come from.

South America for me is definitely for amazing nature and a lot of outdoorsy stuff which SEA is not comparable on. Especially because of the Andes running right through the continent. Patagonia is amazing and there is nothing anywhere else in the world like that.

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@grum | 5yr

My main reasons for SEA is the fact that it is cheaper, safer and has better infrastructure when it comes to the Internet. Even though many cities/countries in Asia have bad Internet, you can jump on a plane for as little at $30 sometimes and jet off to a large city if I need to get back to reality.

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@wanderingdev | 5yr

Flying around Latin America is ridiculously expensive due to lack of budget airlines, and trains arenโ€™t generally an option which leaves crazy long bus rides. Not the most comfortable or convenient. Plus some of the recent history in LA isnโ€™t the most welcoming. I would have liked to have seen more when I was living in Colombia but it was cheaper to fly to Europe than to most countries in LA.

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@oskar | 5yr

Thatโ€™s interesting. Flying at least in south america is expensive, but everybody complains in south america that flying to Colombia is very expensive :slight_smile: I dont know if its a problem with Colombia, local taxes or something else. For example i bought a flight ticket from Uruguay to Madrid for 790 dollars. Montevideo - Bogota was 830 dollarsโ€ฆ
I think that flight costs and lack of infrastructure are two main problems in the region, but also dont forget that south america alone is bigger than europe and SEA combined geographically speaking which makes these problems worseโ€ฆ

What about language issues? have you had problems with english in LA?

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@wanderingdev | 5yr

Personally, I speak Spanish so language is generally not an issue for me in the Americas.

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@kathrynoh | 5yr

Iโ€™m Australian so SEA makes more sense in terms of distance and cost for travel.

Still, even though Iโ€™m spending a bit of time in SEA at the beginning of 2016, Iโ€™d much prefer Europe and other parts of Asia (Japan, Korea, etc).

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What is the best online insurance for digital nomads ?


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Hi guys ! hope you are doing well.

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Best place in South East Asia to live for 6+ months per year


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We're looking for a country in South East Asia that can function as our base, mainly for tax purposes. Meaning it will have to be a place where we can stay for the 183 days required without too much hassle.

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What are the best blogs by individuals who have started businesses in Southeast Asia?


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Any nomads working on startups?

 

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Hoping to see all the cool stuff people are working on while they live an extraordinary life.

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by @al_steffen | 5mo 4 months ago | 59 comments

Hey Nomads!

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by @rodriigovieira | 7mo 6 months ago | 19 comments

Hello everyone! Iโ€™m new here and probably this is a very newbie question, but it doesnโ€™t leave my head.

How do you, nomads, pay your taxes? I mean, if youโ€™re constantly traveling, how are you going to pay taxes for a certain country if you are going to stay there a short period of time?
Or do you return to your โ€œoriginal countryโ€ and then pay them?

By the way, this forum has very nice cool formatting features! :smile:

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I just landed as a n00b digital nomad in Mexico City, and I am wonderingโ€ฆ Where are all the international digital nomads hiding around here? I have been to several coworking spaces (Selina etc.) only to find A LOT of local Mexican workers and businesses. Donโ€™t get me wrong, that is all fine, but I was hoping to meet some international nomads! Any advice?

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by @levelsio | 9mo 8 months ago | 61 comments

Thereโ€™s been a lot of discussion on this recently.

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Are there any nomads from India?

 

in India by @ankitdas123 | 10mo 10 months ago | 56 comments

I have seen a lot of posts from different people across the world, but not even a single post from someone in India, who has been a nomad, either living within the country or traveling to another one.

Would definitely love to hear stories from such people. We are a couple traveling as social nomads who are trying to bridge the gap between the rural and urban societies in India. We have started out very humble and do not have much resources, so looking out for help from the community.

Ankit & Rishika
Around Love and Life

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How is Sicily for digital nomads?


by @gaelm | 11mo 10 months ago | 15 comments

Hi all, I was looking for a cool spot in Southern Europe for winter and Iโ€™m considering Sicilyโ€ฆ Have you ever been there? If yes, how was your experience? If not, why?
thanks!

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How is Bari, Italy for digital nomads?


in Bari, Italy by @mitch_dina | 11mo 10 months ago | 7 comments

Greetings!
Does anyone have experience in Bari, Italy please? We are thinking of going from Dubrovnik, Croatia to Bari by boat in mid-March. Has anyone taken a boat across? Is it nice or can it be choppy? (We are trying to avoid planes, to reduce our carbon footprint, so adding more surface travel.) Also, any info you might be able to offer about Bari and the surrounds? Next step will likely be trains up Italy as the Spring progresses.

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How is Mauritius for digital nomads?


in Mauritius by @wakkos | 11mo 11 months ago | 14 comments

Hello all,

Iโ€™m planning on spending a couple of month in Mauritius Island and even when Iโ€™ve been there for a week, never rented or worked there.

Does anyone here has tips or experience to share about Mauritius?

Cheers!

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Best way to connect with "local" nomads using Nomadlist?


by @migueltic | 12mo 11 months ago | 4 comments

Hi, Iโ€™ve seen that Nomad List offers different options that could work for connecting with other nomads that are in the same place as me (forum, Slack, user maps, matches and maybe even more options I havenโ€™t seen), but Iโ€™m not sure what is the best/recommended way to use all these options.

Should I use all of them? Start with a message in the forum and/or Slack?

Sending private messages to a lot of people feels a little bit โ€œaggressiveโ€. And matches are not based on current location if I understood it correctly.

By the way, I just arrived at Budapest :slight_smile:

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Best American phone carrier for nomads


by @tylertringas | 1yr 1 year ago | 12 comments

Iโ€™m surprised this isnโ€™t anywhere on the forum yet. But just a pro tip for Americans about to start a nomad adventure. T-mobile offers unlimited SMS & data in 120 countries for FREE with any of their (already pretty cheap) plans. Itโ€™s ideal if you plan to be back in the US for any part of the year, but I honestly would consider it even if youโ€™re going to be entirely out of the country.

You get bumped down to much slower 3G speeds, but itโ€™s free and works as soon as you land. Can be super helpful before youโ€™ve sorted yourself out with a local SIM. I usually keep my T-mobile SIM in my iPhone all the time and then buy a local SIM and drop it in my pocket wifi for both laptop and iPhone when needed. I keep my local US number and just use it (itโ€™s like $0.05/min in most places) for important clients calls so they donโ€™t have to bother with Skype.

Iโ€™m not affiliated at all, just a happy customer. Anybody found a better deal worth mentioning?

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Should we go to South East Asia or Latin America with kids?


by @nomad4 | 1yr 1 year ago | 2 comments

Hi guys!

Weโ€™re leaving on Dec 1st for a 5-month DN experience with our kids, but we have second thoughts on our journey. We were supposed to do a trip in South-East Asia (Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia). Weโ€™re from Canada, and our clients are all in Canada right now (weโ€™re digital marketing consultants).

After comparing destinations, weโ€™re starting the think Latin America may be a better choice to make sure we keep most of our clients during these 5 months (same timezone). Also, it seems Latin America fits our needs too :

  • cheap (actually often cheaper than Chiang Mai according to Numbeo)
  • great weather (sunny while less hot than Asia)
  • business continuity : good wifi connection, limited time difference
  • learning opportunity : one single language = great opportunity to improve our Spanish
  • relaxed pace of life
  • kid-friendly
  • relatively safe (see countries below)

So here are our 2 options ; which one would you recommend for our criteria?

A: SEA : Thailand (Chiang Mai and a couple islands in the South), Indonesia (Bali and Lombok), Malaysia (Penang)
B: Latin America : Mexico (Playa Del Carmen/Tulum), Colombia (Medellin), Peru (Lima and other TBD towns), Chile (Santiago and other TBD towns), Argentina (Buenos Aires and other TBD towns).

Thanks!

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Which places in South East Asia are suitable for kids?


by @nomad4 | 1yr 1 year ago | 3 comments

Hi everybody,

weโ€™re a family of 4 from Canada (Quebec province) leaving to Thailand on December 1st.
Our plan is to take things slowly and live in a peaceful environment while working a little and doing homeschooling to our 6-year-old son (plus escaping Canadian-cold winter :smile:)

This is roughly what our plan would look like:

  • arriving in Bangkok, staying there for about a week (air bnb probably)
  • moving to Chiang Mai then Krabi (most likely Ao Nang, Ao Tha Lane, Railay) or Koh Pha Ngan (North part) or Koh Chang (2-3 months)
  • then Indonesia (Bali/Gili islands) (1,5 months)
  • And Malaysia (Batu Ferengi, Penang) to finish (1 month)

Weโ€™re not city dwellers, and love being surrounded by nature.
Knowing that, what would be the best places for a family who want something quiet, walkable and with reliable Internet service?

Thanks! :slight_smile:
Magali and Guillaume

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Property Ownership - should digital nomads buy properties?


by @sparrow_23 | 1yr 1 year ago | 16 comments

I have been a digital nomad for the last couple of years. I have always worked in tech and now run a couple of profitable online businesses that give me a reliable income and allow me to fund a nomadic lifestyle.

I recently exited one of my businesses and I am considering to invest the income from the sale in properties, mainly for 2 reasons:

a) I donโ€™t want to keep wasting my money in renting apartments across the cities I stay

b) I believe in properties as investment and I want to diversify my investment portfolio (mainly stocks)

After years of constant wander from one place to another, now I am the type of digital nomad who sticks to few locations: I mainly rotate across 4 places each year (San Francisco, Medellin, Berlin, Bali). Buying a house in each of those location would be difficult and too expensive. Therefore, I was wondering if there was any sort of service that combines an investment opportunity with the ability to access different properties around the world (even if just for a limited time per year) ?

Imagine living in 4 cities per year and having a house in each place that you can exclusively use for 3 months and at the same time having your investment growing (this depending on the market, of course). Wouldnโ€™t that be great? I believe it could be done via a property fund selling you a share and giving you access to some of their properties for a limited timeframe each year.

Has anyone heard of anything like that?

Thanks!

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