Dec 06, 2018

Living in Bangkok

by @basilesamel | 6 days ago | 581 words | 🔥21 | 21 💌 | 29 📄

My first destination this year in South-East Asia was Bangkok, Thailand. I spent one month there.

All I know about Asia comes from a one-month internship I performed in Shanghaï during my first year of college, and from my childhood as a descendant of vietnamese migrants -- I am 25% vietnamese (third generation) and 75% french. All in all, I still know few things about the different, and diverse, cultures here. I won't have enough of a lifetime to discover everything.

At least, I can say I stayed in Bangkok for a short time. I did not live it to the fullest, as I was spending most of my time building tech products from my bedroom.

Bangkok is an amazing city for nomad makers: the infrastructure is well-developed (internet, transportation), there are many things to do during your free time (culture, clubs, bars, food tasting, booming social events of all sorts etc.), and it is still amazingly cheap.

I spent 834$ for a month in an amazing apartment (swimming pool, city view, Chinatown district, gym, an entire studio for myself) and eating out delicious food at the shop opened 24/7 located at the bottom of my skyscraper. Here is a quick breakdown of the costs:

- Housing: 420$

- Food: 220$

- Transportation: 36$

- Health insurance: 42$

- Msc (social events, ATM fees, haircut, office supplies): ~116$

+ a one-way ticket in September: 306$

You can always live on less, but when you are building a business, it's good to have a minimum of comfort in you daily life. Or else you go crazy/burnt out pretty quickly by working this much amount of time.

Bangkok was the first destination because of its accessibility from Europe and the cheap flights it offers all across Asia.

As a maker, the environment was incredibly productive. I launched Pyrohabit (a budgeting app, abandoned) and Road to Ramen (a webpage where I used to document my quest to reach ramen profitability as an indie maker while traveling SE-Asia). I managed to get *one* blog article done (I was pretty happy with myself at the time). I also started hanging out in Makers communities: I joined Telegram channels, improved my presence in Product Hunt Makers and on Twitter by posting daily.

On the other hand, my circadian cycle got all torn up, I did not take time to visit Bangkok, and I spent my days alone in the apartment most of the time. Even as a big introvert, it quickly becomes tiring. Fortunately, Bangkok is booming with life so it's not hard to find people to hang out with.

Overall, it took me one week to set up a new productivity routine.

In my opinion, one month is too short to discover a city as big as Bangkok. Two months feel more like the right amount of time, especially when, like myself, you do not have any deep tie to the country.

The only thing that really annoyed me about Bangkok is how tourism affected it. Sex has become an industry that you can witness everywhere here: lady-boys, old men hanging out with young helpless girls, adult shows, night clubs filled with go-go girls and call girls. Needless to say, I felt way better out of the city center and far away from the tourist attractions living the life of a regular thaï working man.

I still advise to visit Bangkok, as it is a one-of-a-kind city to make things and reflect on human nature. I will just avoid the places crowded with voyeurs and weirdos.

#digitalnomad #travelling #makersfest #thailand #bangkok #everydaylife

  • 1

    @basilesamel I visited Bangkok this past summer and also found it to be a vibrant place! Lots of tourist traps with pricier tuk-tuks and taxis, but very foreigner friendly. The elephant sanctuary was my favorite experience. The island tours were also great, but I think need enforced regulations to better preserve the ecosystem. Easy accessibility as a tourist destination can be detrimental.

    Certainly quality of life is great for the value, but I'm also wondering about the impact of the ratio of expats vs. locals that control/make up the culture and local economies. Wondering overall about the vision that the gov't is attempting to execute. Maybe a concern that applies to other small countries as well.

    I'm no expert, but I also find it ironic that Thailand boasts being the only SE Asian country to not have been colonized by a western power, yet when I learn that it subsists on tourism and the presence of multinational corporations, it loses a bit of its character as a self-determining state to me.

    Victoria Maung avatar Victoria Maung | 6 days ago
    • 1

      @vickenstein I think that the call of money will prevail in Thailand in the end :P Everything is thought out for tourists, while ignoring the locals. Hopefully with the rapid development of the country and the growing access to quality education (+ booming tech scene) the mentalities will evolve.

      Basile Samel avatar Basile Samel | 6 days ago
contact: email - twitter