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Why Thailand Is The Ultimate Digital Nomad Destination

It begins a with a daydream, usually on a Monday morning, sitting at the office. The light at the end of the tunnel is the blinding glare of a computer screen, a digital clock ticking down the hours until you can go home, sleep and begin the cycle again on Tuesday.

The daydream begins the same way as it always does: the weekend is over and the gritty instant coffee is seasoned with the tears of realization that Friday is far, far away. Unopened emails continue to load, each bold subject line a sharp jab. You close your eyes, take a deep breath and dream of a world without cubicles, no more clocking in for work and no micro managing. This is a dream that may seem out of reach, but it’s not as uncommon as one would think.

Meet the digital nomad. This Individual quit their day job in search of freedom and adventure. They stuck it to the man and traded job security to pursue freelance opportunities or start an online business. They work when they want, from wherever they want, fueled by the desire to experience the world not as a short vacay, but as a way of life. I’m not gonna lie, life as a digital nomad is hard work that takes patience and perseverance. Long hours, unpredictable earnings and business risks that don’t always pan out are all part of the game. There are also location factors to consider, such as cost of living, personal preferences and most importantly: internet reliability.

Thailand tops the charts as a favorite destination for digital nomads, and it’s a no-brainer as to why. Not only is it a country of incredible beauty with a fascinating culture and friendly people, but Thailand offers digital nomads affordable living and plentiful work resources that can help beginners find roots in a foreign country while making the transition to working independently.

Thailand has something for everyone

Would you like to post up on a picturesque tropical beach with a cold Leo in hand or work in a quaint cafe with strong, local coffee and a mountain view that isn’t a screensaver? Nomad List ranks Bangkok as a top city for digital nomads, focusing on factors such as climate, affordability, internet speed and city size. The capital city is famous for its extravagant temples and bustling markets, but as a major international hub, offers all the modern comforts of home. With Suvarnabhumi Airport at the heart of the city, cheap domestic flights through airlines such as, Lion Air, Nok Air and AirAsia make quick weekend getaways a breeze. If you’re craving salt and sand, head to Phuket in the Andaman Sea or Ko Samui in the Gulf of Thailand. For mountain trekking and delicious Isan cooking, head to Chiang Mai; another travel favorite with a blossoming digital nomad community.

Fast internet and coworking space in Thailand

Finding a place to settle with fast, reliable internet can be one of the biggest challenges for a digital nomad, especially in developing countries. Southeast Asia is coveted by travelers and expats alike, but Thailand is one of the few countries in the region that boasts satisfactory internet above 10 MBps and caters to digital nomads with quality coworking spaces. All you need is a monthly membership and your laptop to access a coworking space in Bangkok. The Work Loft, a full-serviced office in Bangkok, not only ensures stable internet, but offers amenities such as private meeting rooms and a cafe. Other popular options include Punspace in Chiang Mai and Stash in Phuket. Look for coworking spaces that offer free trials for newbies. I took advantage of the free 14-day trial from The Work Loft and didn’t pay a thing for working space while in Bangkok.

Affordable living and comfort

Coming from a western country, the cost of living in Thailand is quite affordable, especially if you’re just starting out and on a strict budget. As the second largest city in Thailand, Chiang Mai offers a subtle mix of hip, urban style and creative innovation while retaining that slow-paced living that a hectic metropolis, such as Bangkok, may lack. Nimmanhaemin is a prominent area, with stylish boutiques, lush gardens and artsy cafes dotting the streets. It’s possible to find a modern, fully furnished studio apartment starting around $300 a month. Gorge yourself on fresh, authentic Thai curries and noodle dishes for less than $5 a pop and feed your caffeine kick with strong local beans brewed straight from the mountain farms of the North for under a $1. Renting a scooter for no more than $8 a day is the way to explore all Chiang Mai has to offer. You don’t need an international driver’s license to rent, but it’s something to consider since police will pull drivers over to check, and will fine those without a license.

Thailand is perfect for meeting other digital nomads

Perhaps you’re making the leap to living the digital nomad lifestyle all by your lonesome. It can be daunting to bunker down in a new country where you don’t know anyone and english is not widely spoken. Don’t fret- Thailand is one of the biggest tourist destinations in the world, also favored by expats. Every month, events and workshops are held in Bangkok and Chiang Mai for digital nomads to meet and network. Western restaurants and bars are plentiful, making it easy to connect with other foreigners and english speakers. Chiang Mai has a meet upevery Saturday morning for anyone to join in a challenging hike up Doi Suthep mountain. Don’t forget those coworking spaces I mentioned, where you can befriend other folks that can relate to the travel/work lifestyle.

Thailand visa requirements

And, we come to everyone’s favorite topic of travel: visas. Though the visa requirements are constantly changing and it’s important to stay abreast of new developments and procedures, Thailand is still a fairly lenient country when it comes to staying long or short term, with various visa options to choose from. Apply for an education visa to study the Thai language and become bilingual while pursuing your online business. A self-defense visa allows you to work with a professional and learn vital techniques for protection or if you aren’t sure how long you’ll stay and prefer a month-to-month visa, there’s always the good ol’ border run for a tourist visa. But, beware: border runs are getting increasingly strict, especially with foreigners who have overstayed or have done multiple back-to-back border runs over a long period of time.

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State stimulus package boosts outlook for Hua Hin, Cha-am

Condominium demand in tourism hotspots Hua Hin and Cha-am will benefit from the government’s recently announced property stimulus measures, according to consultancy Plus Property Co.

The company’s latest survey found strong demand for the 17,381 finished condominium units available for sale (as of September) in the two resorts.

Finished units from across 30 projects account for 12,664 units or 73% of the total, while the take-up rate is as high as 89% or 11,318 units. Compared with the same period last year, supply and demand have increased by 145% and 162%, respectively, for finished units.

The market for completed condominium units in these holiday areas still has plenty of growth potential thanks to tourism promotion measures, which will drive foreign investors to make a purchasing decision more quickly, said Poomipak Julmanichoti, managing director of Plus Property.

The property market stimulus measures will also spur demand as the majority of residential properties priced below 3 million baht are condominium units on the fringes of Bangkok or beyond, he said.

Provinces that stand to benefit first are tourist destinations such as Hua Hin and Cha-am as their economies do not depend much on fluctuating factors like crop prices.

Furthermore, stimulus measures such as loans through the GH Bank and other financial institutions have led to new promotional offers that will inject more cash flow into the market, boost consumer purchasing power and maintain the energetic air in these tourism hotspots, he said.

“The rising popularity of completed condominium units has brought down the available supply in Hua Hin and Cha-am to just 11%. With few developers launching new projects this year, the existing demand gradually bled out of the market,” Mr Poomipak said.

“We believe this demand will take one to two years to be completely exhausted. Many projects under our management have reached the 100%-sold milestone this year, including Baan Thew Lom, Baan Peang Ploen and Baan Imm Aim, which cover 1,300 units combined.”

The average price in Hua Hin and Cha-am now stands at 82,997 baht per square metre or 81,927 baht for a completed unit. The average price of completed units is quite close to the overall market average, and they have the advantage of being ready for inspection and to move in. Some units are being brought back on to the market for resale with a 40% price hike or up to 116,410 baht per sq m.

Overall, the market in Cha-am and Hua Hin is very healthy with Thai and foreign tourists flocking to both in droves, especially during long holidays and the high season, said Mr Poomipak. .

“The latest data from the Live and Invest Overseas website named Hua Hin the seventh most attractive city in the world for post-retirement life in 2015. We expect unit transfers to rise in the final quarter thanks to the government’s stimulus measures and the growing number of tourists,” he said.

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Fit for a king! Inside the idyllic coastal town that Thailand’s monarch calls home (but few foreign tourists bother to explore)

The whitewashed walls of the king’s palace are reminiscent of a colossal Spanish hacienda.

They are barely visible through the thick canopy of trees — and the palace itself is closed to the public.

This tantalising glimpse is probably as close as I’ll get to an audience with a king whose reign is of such extraordinary duration as to even outdo our own Queen Elizabeth II.

The writer visited Khao Takiab, a wooded outcrop jutting out into the sea like a clenched fist just on the edge of Hua Hin

A dramatic dusky sunset paints a vivid backdrop to a painted fishing boat in the Gulf of Thailand at Hua Hin

King Bhumibol of Thailand has been on the throne since June 1946, and here in Hua Hin, on the northern coast of the Malay Peninsula (around three hours’ drive south from Bangkok), is where he lives.

Now 87 years old, he became king at a time when Stalin still ruled Russia, the Nuremberg Trials were taking place and cinema audiences in the U.S. were flocking to see the newly released It’s A Wonderful Life.

He is loved by his people with a reverence that seems ubiquitous; indeed, many believe that it is his continued presence on the throne that is single-handedly holding the country together.

Hua Hin itself — a small, low‑rise town with sprawling food markets, dozens of hotels and with a markedly more local feel than Phuket, attracts Bangkok dwellers in droves for weekend stays.

As voluminous pillows of cloud skate across the cerulean sky, market traders selling coconut milk, herbal remedies and skewers of barbecued pork gaze out to the sea, whose choppy, frothing waters slurp against the vanilla-coloured sands.

This is a town that few foreign visitors bother with, preferring to push on, straight to Phuket.

But they’re missing out. Fishing boats still bob lazily in the harbour and the night market comes alive after 8pm, with local couples feasting on freshly-made ice-cream and bartering over everything from spray-painted T-shirts to hand-stitched handbags and retro lamps.

Creature comforts: An in-room hot tub inside the tranquil Amari hotel

The Amari hotel exudes tranquillity from the moment you step into the rich, blue-walled lobby, complete with a lounge full of leather chess sets and rattan chairs.

The hotel’s seafront restaurant serves mountainous plates of fresh lobster, clams and crab, and there’s an outstanding spa where I had seashells placed against my ears so I could hear the sound of the ocean during my massage.

The hotel can also arrange trips to the Hua Hin Hills Vineyard, just 18 miles away, where some surprisingly fine local wines are being produced — its Chenin Blanc and Colombard Monsoon Valley varietal recently won a gold standard award from Decanter magazine.

And there is another royal element. Maruekatayawan is a palace built by King Rama VI in the Twenties, which directly overlooks the beach.

Now vacated and open to visitors, its long, teak-floored galleries are a cross between a seaside pier and an M. C. Escher picture, stretching seemingly endlessly across the beach front.

King Bhumibol, whose reign began in 1946Palm trees line a relaxing beach at Hua Hin

Surrounded by coconut groves and mangroves, it was here that the unfortunate king, who named his home ‘Far From Worries’, was staying when a coup against his absolute monarchy was launched in 1932.

After registering my commiserations, I headed to Khao Takiab, a wooded outcrop jutting out into the sea like a clenched fist just on the edge of Hua Hin.

Home to hundreds of macaques, the indolent beasts sprawl, sleep, bicker and play at the foot of a flight of steps so steep as to look like they come straight from an Inca fortress.

A sweaty climb to the top brought me to a Buddhist temple where, brandishing a bunch of daffodils bought from a vendor outside, I entered the small prayer room, dominated by an altar upon which perched a small model of a rather skinny-looking Buddha.

Following the example of locals, I placed myself on my knees, pushed my head and hands to the floor three times and inhaled the pungent smell of the burning joss sticks.

I felt suitably becalmed. And why not?

The king still sits on his throne in the palace nearby, the fresh lobster still crawls into the fisherman’s nets and the sun continues to beat down on this royal, and utterly beguiling corner of Thailand.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/article-3223253/Inside-idyllic-coastal-town-Thailand-s-monarch-calls-home-foreign-tourists-bother-explore.html#ixzz4Ii29LQpq
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Khao Hin Lek Fai (Flintstone Hill)

If you’re looking for some spectacular views of Hua Hin, you need search no further than Khao Hin Lek Fai (Flintstone Hill).

It is situated about 3km west of the town centre. Follow Chomsin Road over the railway line and instead of bearing right with the road to Pala U, keep going straight ahead. It’s a steep climb to the top, but worth it once you’re there.

There are 3-4 lookout spots and it’s a popular location with locals, especially at sundown which is arguably the best time to go. Try all the lookouts as they offer views in different directions, you can see as far south as Khao Takiab and beyond and north towards Cha-am.

If you’re feeling fit you can join the active crowd who make the daily trip to the top by running or cycling. However it is not for the feint hearted!

There are a few stalls selling food and drink and a bird centre that never seems to have many birds aside from the peacocks roaming around. A well laid out garden with many different species of shrubs, trees and bamboo, together with a statue of King Rama VII adds to the ambience of the location.

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FERRY SERVICE BETWEEN PRANBURI/HUA HIN AND PATTAYA SCHEDULED TO BEGIN SOON

Pranburi is growing by leaps and bounds.  Recently we’ve gotten some new boutique restaurants (check out Payu Restaurant – no website yet) and also a hip little café that serves imported craft beers!  Many other business are opening up to serve the hi-so bangkok crowd and meet the needs of the many westerners moving to this beautiful area, just 25 minutes south of Hua Hin.

Now it looks like we are getting our own Ferry terminal in Pranburi.  The trip is estimated to take 90 minutes from Pranburi to Pattaya (instead of the 4-4.5 hours it normally takes by car).   Tickets prices are 1000 THB per person.  Transporting your car will cost 3,000 THB.

For more information, please visit ThaiVisa.com to read the article: http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/921782-its-all-aboard-for-the-pattaya-to-pranburi-sea-ferry/

Safe travels everyone!