Category Archives: Travel Tips

Fun Things to Do With Kids in Dominical and Uvita, Costa Rica

I recently had someone ask me what they could do in Dominical with kids for a week and a half. Having young children, I know this question is somewhat loaded, in that the real goal is what can be fun for both parents and kids. It’s the reason so many children’s movies these days are filled with inside jokes only adults will get. So it goes with travel activities.

The list below is what I offered, so I figured I may as well turn it into a post to be referenced the next time we have friends ask about activities here.

  • Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary: We went with some friends and I was really impressed (wasn’t sure what to expect, but I would go back for sure). They take in rescue animals, so many beautiful birds, monkeys, armadillos, sloths. Each animal has a story and the people who run it are super passionate about saving them. As many animals as possible are released back into the wild, but some have to stay indefinitely because they wouldn’t survive in the wild. The tour is long enough to be worth the visit, but short enough so kids don’t get too antsy (we had ages 3 months – 6 years between four kids).
    Copyright Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary

    Copyright Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary

     

  • Friday Feria (Farmer’s Market): It’s on the north side of Domincal off of the main entrance road, near Mono Congo and Mama Toucan’s Natural Food Store). There is another feria on Tuesday mornings in Tina Mastes (you have to go early, be there by 9am at the latest because much of the good stuff is gone by then). The one on Friday in Domi lasts longer, you don’t need to get there early and I’ve seen vendors there as late as 2pm.
  • Surf Lessons: Surfing in Dominical is top notch. The water is very warm, you can surf year round and no sharks. The #1 rated Costa Rica surf camp is Sunset Surf Dominical. The coaches are super positive, they make it safe and easy and have a kid/family friendly approach to learning how to surf. Fun for the whole family.
  • Cafe Mono Congo: It’s a great little cafe that is a hub for a lot of people, tourists and locals alike. The staff are super friendly and there are plenty of places to sit down, either in the main area, on swings at a “bar” or at a table overlooking the Baru River. You can sit down, relax and the kids can run around a bit, write with chalk on the walls, etc. We go on Fridays or Saturdays because we’re not in a hurry and they can run around while we wait for breakfast.
    Mono Congo Chalk Art

    Copyright Cafe Mono Congo

     

  • PorQueNo?: This is a popular restaurant a little south of town, near the water. It’s beautiful, waves smash against the rocks. They have awesome pancakes for breakfast and are kid friendly. Sidenote about Costa Rica: Ticos (Costa Ricans) are very kid friendly, it’s really a noticeable difference from other countries, so when going into many restaurants, you’ll notice that feeling exists even in places of business. PorQueNo? has a little “kids corner” in the lobby, so while you’re sitting at your table, they can play with toys or grab some and bring them back to the table, no worries.
  • Dominical Beach Frontage Road: I don’t know what this is technically called, but it’s the road that Tortilla Flats is on, behind the lifeguard stand at Playa Dominical. They have a lot of vendors there selling gifts and souvenirs. That won’t take you too long to do, but if you’re by the beach or in town, it would be cool to check out. A vendor named Alex is usually there (out in front of Tortilla Flats), he makes cute toys out of found objects in nature.
    Dominical Toys by Alex
  • Family Beach Day: Playa Hermosa. Playa Dominical is great, but many families we know of (and ours) go to Playa Hermosa for family beach days. You can sit under trees, the ocean is close and depending on when you go, there will be lots of kids there. They have a few vendors selling ceviche, pipas (coconuts), etc. We take snacks and beer in a cooler and then buy pipas and ceviche for the novelty. I’ve lived here about a year and a half and sharing a cold pipa with my kids on the beach never gets old.
  • Ponzo Azul (Waterfall) in Dominicalito: It has been raining, so i’m sure the waterfall is going strong, but there’s a little pond area there where you can swim in fresh water. You go through the Dominicalito pueblo, cross the bridge on the left and you’ll see it up about 500 meters on the right (car park on the left). There are bigger waterfalls in the area, but that one is easy to get to without a hike. 1 minute of walking from your car and you’re there. Tip the older guy sitting there, he watches cars for tips (and beers, which is what i usually give him when I pass by).
  • Costa Kids Yoga: I think this is Mondays, but check out their page. It’s in a beautiful place (Manoas Luxury Camping and Villas) and the kids have fun, my daughter loves it and where she learned one of my favorite pre-bedtime phrases to calm down and go to sleep: “Peace starts with me.” 

    Costa Kids Yoga

    Copyright Costa Kids Yoga


  • Community Carbon Trees (aka Tree Jenny): I don’t know how often she does these, but kids LOVE her, my daughter is a huge fan. She runs an organization that plants trees. Her energy is great (she was dressed up like a bee when I went) and teaches kids about the environment, planting trees and you can sponsor/plant trees to make your trip “carbon neutral.”
  • Uvita/Ballena National Park (the Whale’s Tail): A little further south than Dominical, but also a great place to go to the beach. Uvita is slightly bigger than Dominical and has two big supermarkets (called BMs), so you’ll likely go there anyway for groceries. There’s a toy store across the street from the BM in Uvita (just FYI).
  • Catarata Uvita (Waterfall): I haven’t been yet, but this one is bigger and apparently beautiful. It’s $1 per adult. Take a left at the BCR bank in Uvita (you’ll see the big square sign) and follow the road, you’ll see it or people driving/walking to it.
  • Manuel Antonio: This is a great little day trip, it’s fun to go there to “get away” from Dominical. There’s an awesome breakfast place called Emilio’s (we pretty much go every time we head to MA).
  • Villas Rio Mar (in Dominical, along the river past Mono Congo): It’s almost like a little country club, but they have villas there. We go because if you eat lunch there you can swim in the pool while you’re eating and the pool is big. A fun place to relax for a couple of hours (they have a little playground as well).
  • Ice Cream (Delicias on the main road in Domi): Ice cream. It makes kids and parents very happy. 🙂 In Uvita, there is a new place called Lick It (yep). It’s on the main highway in a little shopping area next to the Uvita gas station and next to Wing It (same owners).
  • Tours, Rentals and Activities: There’s a great organization here called Costa Concierge. They run some of the popular community Facebook groups and local events calendar. All around, they pretty much know everyone and everything going on in the Dominical and Uvita area. If you’re looking for tours, rafting trips, surf lessons, yoga or spa services, they’ve got you covered.

I hope this is a helpful list of things to do and if you have any more ideas or suggestions, please add them in the comments.

Leave a comment

Filed under Tips and Tricks, Travel Tips

Tips for Digital Nomads: Find the Perfect Place to Stay

Bangkok

Being a digital nomad is a lot more than sitting at the beach with a laptop and a cocktail all day.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done it a number of times, but you’re going to be a lot more productive in a space that’s set up for work. For one, there’s not usually power or an internet connection at the beach, and you have a constant battle to keep your laptop from filling with sand! Your friends all envy your digital nomad lifestyle, but to become awesome you need planning –  especially if you want to simply up and change cities whenever you feel the inkling to move.

I’ve had so many friends tell me

“You get to work wherever you want, that’s freaking awesome!”

but there’s so much going on behind the scenes they never see. You need an iron clad will to balance work and travel, and personally I just want to get my work done, so I’m free to go out and enjoy the city I’m in. After a year and a half
as a remote freelancer, I’ve discovered a certain art in finding the right place to stay.

First you need to decide what you’re looking for. Do you want a fun social environment or peace and quiet to knock out a ton of work?

Hostels

Enjoy a party atmosphere and an unbeatable price on a dorm bed, and the best time to work is while everyone is out sightseeing. Combine this with a fun and social vibe as the evening kicks on, and you’ve got an ideal place to stay in almost every city. Check Hostelworld for the best deals or if you’re feeling adventurous Couchsurfing is another budget-friendly option.

Hotels

Perfect when you need to focus without any distractions and knock out massive work days. Combined with room service, a gym and even a swimming pool, and you’re all set. Agoda is a great site for hotels in Asia, or Booking.com for everywhere else in the world.

Apartments

This is my favourite because it’s more comfortable than a hotel when you’re staying somewhere for more than a week, and can be even better for your budget. Check out AirBnB to see your choices.

Must have

For the room there are basic necessities you need to get your work done effectively. Make sure that wherever you stay there is:

  • Internet. It’s impossible to work remotely without it, so double check there’s WiFi available.
  • Work space. A desk or table is essential, and saves your back from hunching over on the bed or the sofa.
  • Power points. Hard to judge, but conveniently located power points are vital for a remote office. Check the pictures and see if you can spot lamps (which mean power) on the desk, or on any bedside tables.
  • Kitchen. I don’t like eating out everyday, and cooking is a great downtime after 12 hours staring at my laptop.
  • Laundry. Being able to throw a load of washing on is a godsend, and saves you time that would otherwise be wasted sitting at a laundromat.
  • Size. The bigger the better, so find somewhere at least 40 square meters and you won’t mind being cooped up all day with your laptop.
  • A Separate Bedroom. Having a separate bedroom is fantastic if you’re travelling with your partner. It let’s you both have different areas to work, so you can get in the zone without being right on top of each other.
  • Location. Find a place with a large supermarket nearby to stock up on groceries, as well as being close to an internet cafe so you can change scenery whenever you need it. I like to be a little bit removed from the tourist centers to avoid all the commotion, so long as there are a couple of nice restaurants nearby.
  • Cleaning gear. Not the most exciting item on the list, but if you’re anywhere for more than a week it’s nice to be able to give the floors a sweep and keep your temporary home fresh.
  • Reviews. Read through what the others who stayed here have said. You don’t want to be stuck in a dark little apartment with dingy furniture and a shaky WiFi connection, so do your homework before you book!

If you follow this advice you’ll find the perfect place to get your work done, so you can get out and enjoy the best attractions in the city once you’re on down time.

The life of a digital nomad is unique, so set yourself up to work effectively and you’ll be out enjoying the local sights before you know it – as you live a lifestyle many others only ever dream about!

Leave a comment

Filed under Digital Nomads, Finances and Budgeting, Life Hacks, Location Independence, Travel Tips

10 Alternative Nurse Careers that Allow You to Travel or Work Remotely

Image

Australian Nurses Serving in Malaya/State Library of Victoria Collections/http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode

~

Nursing allows you to work anywhere in the world. With so many options, the destination and length of commitment to a job is really up to you. Here are the top ten careers that will give you freedom to travel and work remotely.

Telehealth Nursing: As a telephone triage nurse, you can work from home or remotely assisting patients with health related phone calls and directing them to appropriate services. Pay is equivalent to hospital salary. Usually, a minimum of three years in acute care is required.

Travel Nursing (USA): As long as you receive a license for each state you want to go, you should be able to be placed there if you have had at least two years recent acute care experience. Most travel nurse contracts last three months. Agencies typically will reimburse for state licenses, moving costs, certifications, a furnished apartment, and health/dental insurance costs once you are placed in a hospital. Until you have an official job with a hospital, you are in no way bound to the agency you work through. It is beneficial to apply to several travel nurse agencies at the same time for this reason.

Travel Nursing (Developed Countries Outside of USA): Australia and New Zealand are the best bets for travel nursing outside of the states. Like travel agencies in the US, they will cover all costs once you have been placed in a hospital. Payment for nurses is equivalent to hospital nurses in the states. Other Western countries do not have as much of a demand for foreign nurses, and Europeans will typically hire within the European Union. Even spouses of native Europeans find it difficult to sift through all the visa and license paperwork required. After being in Australia or New Zealand, your chances of working in one of these countries will increase.

Travel Nursing (Other Countries): There are several organizations that work in other countries, but most are volunteer brigades. You will need to work with some of these first to put on your resume, but for paid work, Doctors Without Borders is one of the most respected. Contracts usually range from 6-9 months. The pay is descent, but much less than what you would make working in a developed country. Before applying, you should have travel nursing and acute hospital experience along with foreign language skills. Idealist.org lists several volunteer and paid international nurse opportunities through other organizations.

Medical Transcriptionist: Nurses are coveted in the transcriptionist world because they have had first hand experience with medical terms. Salaries vary and will possibly be half what you would make in a hospital, but this may be balanced by the ability to work from home or remotely.

Cruise Ship Nursing: As a contract nurse on a cruise, you receive free room and board and have set shifts allowing free time to be a tourist yourself. Contracts usually go for a few months, and then you will have the opportunity to renew. The pay is good and similar to what you would receive in a hospital setting.

Legal Nurse Consultant: This will require a Legal Nurse Consultant Certification (LNCC) and at least five years of hospital experience, but the pay is excellent, and consultations for medically related legal issues can be made via telephone or computer.

Medical Writer: Medical websites are searching for nurse experts to contribute to their blogs on health related topics to draw people to their sites. Pay will be poor in comparison to traditional nursing, but freedom may outweigh the loss.

Medical Sales Representative: Sales reps for medical supplies and pharmaceuticals make good money and often have the option to travel all over the world.

Full-time Nurse: There are several hospitals that will be willing to work with you if you have shown yourself of value. If you have been at your hospital several years, ask your manager if you can take a three or six month leave of absence to travel. They are more likely to accept if you are wanting to do some volunteer travel nursing in a third world country. While they may not be able to guarantee you a job on the same unit when you return, usually they will be happy to place you somewhere else within their hospital system knowing you are an experienced nurse who is familiar with their system. Training new personal can often be more expensive than just filling your position with on-call staff until you return.

Nurses are in high demand and make comfortable salaries making it easier to work from home or remotely, travel while working as a nurse, or work for a short period and save up to spend the rest of the year doing what you love. Contract nursing especially gives you incredible freedom to work where and when you want.

Written by Beth Ann Nyssen

1 Comment

Filed under Digital Nomads, Location Independence, Preparing to Breakaway, Technology, Travel Tips, Work and Business, Working Remotely

[VIDEO] Spanish Words I Probably Won’t Use in Costa Rica

I’m not going to lie, I made a handful of videos when I first started and tried to make them somewhat humorous. It’s not actually because I think I’m all that funny, but when I looked at the YouTubers I enjoyed watching (Hannah Hart, Grace Helbig, Tim Helbig, The Vlog Brothers), they all seemed to have a bit of humor in theirs.

Then a friend who I trust said (literally) “you’re funny and you don’t know it. Stop trying to be funny, it’s better that way and actually more funny.” The other point he (and my wife) made was that by trying to make videos about going the remote professional lifestyle funny, I was diluting my sincere passion for helping people do it as well as the power of the posts the writers on the RCTRL blog.

So I deleted most of the videos I’d made and started over with a little more seriousness, BUT not this one. I had too much fun making it, so it stays, funny or not. Enjoy!

I hope you like the video and if you do, please subscribe to the Remote Control youtube channel!

3 Comments

Filed under Travel Tips, Videos

[VIDEO] Finding Your Tempo: Ensuring High Work Output While Traveling | Tips for Location Independence

Quite a few people seem to feel like getting to the point of being remote is the most difficult part. If you’re not yet there, that makes perfect sense. The trick afterwards is maintaining high work output while being location independent, whether that is working from a home office, on the road or literally on the move during travel days.

Traveling can be stressful, as can work days. In this video I share a few tips I’ve learned to ensure I have high output during my travel days and am able to do so with minimal stress on me and my family.

Practice makes perfect and I used to be pretty worthless, work-wise, on travel days. Then I got to a point where I was able to get a lot done, but was pretty stressed out and in some cases miserable in the process. I’m far from an expert at it, there’s always room for improvement, but these tips have helped me along the way and I’ve gotten a lot better at playing the game. I hope you like the video and if you do, please subscribe to the Remote Control youtube channel!

Leave a comment

Filed under Digital Nomads, Life Hacks, Travel Tips, Videos, Work and Business, Working Remotely

The wandering digital nomad challenge: how to achieve a work-travel balance

View from my desk in a campsite on the Albanian Coast. It's a hard life, I know...

View from my desk in a campsite on the Albanian Coast. It’s a hard life, I know…

‘How do you manage to work and travel simultaneously?’ is possibly my most oft-asked question. Whilst some digital nomads are indeed blissfully located somewhere, usually for an extended period of time, I am a member of a small group of challenged individuals who are actually located everywhere, all the time. My partner and I are currently riding our motorbikes from Germany to Australia; we’ve travelled through 15 countries in the last 15 months, lived in a tent most of the time and I’ve managed to write almost 500 travel-related articles along the way.

Challenging enough? You could say that…

Yes it is true that wandering digital nomads face a few more challenges than their more settled (and some would say sane) counterparts, yet finding a way to earn money whilst travelling is by no means an impossible task to accomplish.

If you’d like to know how I manage my own work-travel balance, and get a few ideas on how to tackle this challenge yourself, now would be the time to continue reading.

1)      Establish good working relationships

If you’re planning to become a self-employed digital-nomad, feel free to skip this point altogether. If your income will depend on others however, do take special note.

All digital nomads will spend a serious amount of time setting up a good virtual job before they start packing their bags. Most of the time, they won’t consider making the big move until they’ve secured their needed income. This is, suffice to say, an excellent choice.

Vagabonding digital nomads however, must also establish work contracts with people who understand that they are going to be constantly moving around. This turned out to be easier than I had anticipated, although I admit that the fact I only work within the travel niche may have something to do with it. Travellers dig travellers!

You can start off every month with the best intentions in the world, but let it be known that the life of a long-term traveller is one of complete and utter chaos. Most of the time. Finding a sympathetic ‘boss’ (or three) was my top priority before leaving, and something which I recommend you do as well. No matter who it is you work for, they must realize that whilst you’ll endeavour to deliver/contact/skype/email, sometimes you just won’t be able to, end of story. The internet will be down; you’ll be stuck in the middle of nowhere with a broken bike-part, you’ll be sick etc. This is why it is just so imperative that you build up a good reputation as a professional and conscientious worker and establishing a trusting relationship with your work provider. Should the inevitable happen, this will ensure the boss is not left disappointed and you are not left unemployed.

The fact that I also held a daytime job and learnt a new language during my pre-departure period is testament to the fact that…

2)     You should learn to be a multi-tasking-master

Juggling several balls simultaneously is what I do best and something with which I have the most experience. Before meeting Chris I’d worked as an overland tour guide for five years and mastered the skills of multi-tasking. After spending years answering 24,000 questions a day whilst making a mental food-shopping list and finding time for email answering, account keeping, problem solving, activities booking, mental-breakdown-preventing, leg shaving and travel itinerary researching… I knew I could do anything simultaneously 😀

Squeezing 27 hours out a 24 hour day is child’s play (once you get the hang of it) and a perfect skill to have when desiring to work and travel concurrently. The most important part of this talent is that teaches you what I call ‘mental multi-tasking’: the ability to switch your working and travelling brain on and off at will. This was by far my most challenging hurdle in the first few months; I needed at least two days to go from sightseeing and bush camping to writing a coherent enough travel article my boss would be willing to pay for! The process is getting easier and easier as the time passes and I have gotten to the point where I can go from spending five days crossing the Caucasus Mountain Range to churning out a decent amount of work, with just a good night’s sleep, a decent shower and a strong cup of coffee.

The good news here is that this is indeed a learned talent and something anyone can actively practice. Manage your work time efficiently and you won’t ‘waste’ a minute of your day.

3)     Find your groove & perfect your work routine

Whilst I may be a mental-ninja, I’m not superhuman, which means I can’t actually visit a historical site and write a travel article at the same time.

The options of work routine are various, so you may have to try out a few scenarios before you know what works best for you.

What I have managed to do is set up a completely imbalanced life balance which seems to work a treat for me: I travel most of the time and only work some of the time. I’ll stay put for a week in one spot with good internet and comfortable living quarters and work (at a campsite with a cosy cafe’, hostel or rental apartment), then travel for 3-4 weeks after that. Sometimes I also play it by ear and fit in a couple of working days when the weather sucks or if I happen to be in a particularly productive mood. This is also the reason I only accept monthly travel article requests; knowing ahead of time what I need to deliver in a month gives me the freedom to rearrange my days as I see fit.

I’ve known of digital nomads who travel and work on a 3 or 6-month-rotation basis and this may well turn out to be your preferred method. In the digital-nomad world, this is called ‘cycling’. It actually sounds perfect to me personally, yet my particular trip is so physically demanding (I’d never even ridden a motorbike before) that I really couldn’t travel non-stop for three months straight without a week-long break somewhere along the way. My work week has also become my rest & recuperation week. See? There’s that multi-tasking thingy again 😉

I plan my work-week about two months in advance and research what seems to be the ideal place to stop. A capital city, for example, will always be a good bet even in the most undeveloped countries; chances that you’ll find a decent place to stay with good Wi-Fi are surprisingly high the world over. This little plan has turned out to be ideal for me, because I don’t particularly like cities. Having to bunker down and work for a week straight in the big smoke is infinitely less painful than trying to do the same in a gloriously small beachside campsite on the southern Mediterranean coast in Greece in July. Now THAT was painful.

4)     Slow is key

When all is said and done, the only thing which will ensure your success as a wandering digital nomad is time. Give yourself lots of it; you’ll need it.

The only way Chris and I can manage to live as we do is because we travel so incredibly slowly. We cover only about 1,000kms a month and usually only visit a few places in each country. We’ll ride just a couple of hours each day and usually camp for a few nights in each spot. We tend to move faster during summer and spring and a little slower during the colder months, when bad weather can see us ‘stuck’ in one place for two weeks at a time, or more. When you’re a digital nomad you’ll never resent a rainy day on the road!

We are actually, for the first time in years, about to settle down for the winter in one single spot. I’ve recently been offered the amazing opportunity to write a long-term traveller’s guide book for a European publishing company and wish to do so from the comfort of a rental apartment in Tbilisi, Georgia. This will not only give me the chance to try ‘cycling’ for the first time ever, but it will also provide me with enough income should our intended crossing of Central Asia next year prove to be a tad work-challenging. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see how that pans out. Keep you posted!

You should realize by now that there is no such thing as an ‘ideal work-travel balance’ for nomadic digitalists…different strokes for different folks really is quite the apt adage in this case. Find your own grove, routine and balance and, most importantly, remember to love what you do.

Manage this…and you’ll always find a way to make it work.

Written by Laura Pattara 

1 Comment

Filed under Digital Nomads, Travel Tips, Working Remotely

Top 10 Reasons to Work Remotely from Thailand

Enjoying a break from the office.

My favorite place, the beach.

I couldn’t escape. After a brief stint in Europe, Bangkok was calling me back. Add this to the winter that was beginning in Denmark, and I was more than eager to jump on a plane. There is something exotic and magical about Thailand that had me hooked. Despite the traffic and the pollution, I was itching to be back.

Legality

For anyone considering remote working from Thailand, first you need to understand this. The law states any foreigner working in Thailand requires a Non-Immigrant Visa and Work Permit. This goes for both paid work and volunteer. After four years of living and working here, I’ve spoken to many people on the subject – lawyers, immigration officers, and other expats. My views are as follows, but definitely do not take this as legal advice. Talk to an immigration specialist to determine the best solution for you.

  • If you are working for a company and going into an office everyday. Definitely yes, you need a work permit. Eventually you will get caught, meaning deportation if you don’t have a valid work permit. Usually it’s a disgruntled former employee who makes an anonymous call to the authorities.

  • Working remotely, where your only connection to your overseas clients is a laptop, it’s a grey area. You don’t work for a Thai company, you’re a freelancer, or are employed by a company in another jurisdiction. So long as your salary is being paid into an offshore account, it becomes very difficult to prove you have actually been working. I have not heard of anyone that was ever caught working remotely, a good number of my friends have been operating exactly like this in Thailand for many years. Ultimately, it’s up to you. 

Now we have the serious stuff out-of-the-way, this is why I love Thailand.

1. Getting a long stay visa is simple

Most countries have strict tourism and immigration rules, and it can be difficult to stay in one place for an extended period of time. Thailand is the same. On a Tourist visa, most visitors get a short stay of only 30 days. You do have another option. A year’s worth of language class will cost around $800-850 USD, buying 4 hours a week of class, and a permit to remain in Thailand for 12 months. If you decide to stay longer, you can purchase additional classes, extending this visa up to three years. This is the easiest way foreigners can remain in Thailand for a long period of time.

2. The start-up community is growing

Four years ago nobody in Thailand knew what the IT scene was. There was no push to develop a community of entrepreneurs outside of Singapore, and it was difficult to find like-minded people. Today, the opposite is true. There are a growing number of successful IT start-up’s based out of Bangkok. What’s also great, the community isn’t too large. You will always meet new people, but you can form strong relationships with the regulars. As it’s developing, more and more entrepreneurs that have had successful buyouts are now onto their third and fourth venture. They are coaching the next round of entrepreneurs to further success. There are strong communities organizing events every week, and large start-up competitions and exhibitions every few months. You won’t be alone over here.

3. Wide variety of places to work

If sitting in your apartment bores you to tears, you now have a wide range of options to get you out. It’s nice to have a change of scenery from the Starbucks and your regular window table. Co-working spaces are springing up all over the city. The first of its kind, Hubba has started a craze with entrepreneurs, both foreign and Thai alike. They bring together like-minded people in a “flexi” office environment. With desk rental ranging from $3 to $6 a day, you aren’t going to find a cheaper location to remote from!

4. The food

Without a doubt, the availability of food is a fantastic upside. Most Thai’s eat out three times a day because it’s so easy to get great food, and its ridiculously cheap. At midnight you can find awesome seafood restaurants still working, many stay open all night to cater for the night owls in all of us. My personal preference is local markets, you can’t beat the taste of hot cooked food from a street vendor. I also love the prices, a freshly made som-tum salad or a chicken-rice dish sets you back about a dollar.

5. The location

Bangkok is huge. With 9.3 million people living here, it has all the traits of a big city. Traffic congestion, problems with litter and pollution. But its location is fantastic. Drive two and a half hours north and you can relax alone in a national park. An hour and a half east and you’re on the beach at Pattaya. Or simply book a cheap flight and go anywhere in South East Asia. Cambodia is an hour away, Singapore is two, Hong Kong three, and in four hours you can be on the beach in Bali. My last trip to Cambodia was $130 return. Why not right?

6. The islands

What I love most is the islands, especially in the south of Thailand. There are so many places to visit you will not have enough time to explore them all. After 4 years, I’m still not even halfway through my to-do list! Koh Surin, Koh Similan, or Koh Lipe, all have beautiful beaches, and unspoiled reef just offshore. The best part, is that cell phone reception will be bad on the island, giving you a perfect excuse to unwind and catch up on that book you have been wanting to read.

7. The people

The land of smiles. The old catch phrase is quite adequate in describing the way people are here. Everyone is very relaxed and accepting. Whatever you want to do, be, look like or have, most Thai’s won’t even blink. They are so friendly to you, that soon you will have a large network of local people who remember your favorite dishes in their restaurants, or even just smile and say hello when they see you.

8. The cost of living

I touched on it earlier, but the cost to live here is ridiculously low. A decent studio apartment will set you back around $300 a month. I used to spend this in a week in Sydney! In an apartment building, rent normally includes internet and TV, and a maid service a couple of times a week. The only other bills are power and water, blasting air conditioning all day it’s going to add another $100 on top of your rent at the end of the month. This is insanely low compared to anywhere in the Western world, and means you can live here on a much lower salary, and also save a greater percentage of your monthly income.

9. The weather

It’s 30 degrees. Everyday. OK, maybe an exaggeration, it ranges from 27-32 throughout the year, but never strays far from this benchmark. Insane right? It’s always summer, perfect weather for a weekend trip to the beach, or a hike into the mountains.

10. The women

Let’s face it, there are so many western guys with beautiful Thai women, this one had to make it into the list. I’m happily married, but definitely appreciate this last reason that brings many guys over to Bangkok. Thai women are typically easy to get along with, love to laugh, and see western men as ‘exotic.’ Most single guys that come to Thailand soon find themselves in a relationship. For the girls, I’ve yet to meet someone here who has said Thai guys are the reason they first moved to Bangkok, though have met quite a few who are in happy relationships with a Thai.

I arrived in Thailand with a two-year contract. Without a long-term plan I wasn’t opposed to staying longer, until an opportunity came to leave. After six months of European weather, closed stores over the weekends and expensive beer, Thailand drew me back. I have never been happier. October 2013 marked my fourth year in the land of smiles, and I am looking forward to many more to come.

Author: Travis Bennett

Leave a comment

Filed under Expats, Preparing to Breakaway, Travel Tips