Does google map work in Thailand

Google Maps Thailand: Our Tips & Experience Using It

Google Map is indeed a powerful navigation tool for many. However, the coverage in different countries also varies. In Singapore and Hong Kong, for example, the coverages are excellent and almost always accurate with a few misses. But in a larger country, like Thailand, you might wonder “does Google Maps work in Thailand?”, or how accurate is the information available? Here we will discuss our own experience doing road trips in Thailand relying heavily on Google Maps. And this is because we are noobs in exploration!

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Does Google Maps work in Thailand for direction?

Google map Thailand_driving

If you are going by foot in Thailand, there is no issue following Google Maps. From our experience, the landmarks and the direction given are typically accurate.

However, if you drive in Bangkok or other cities in Thailand, you might want to watch out when you take the toll-way or underground tunnel. This is because the direction given may not be accurate. Sometimes you see the signs on the road telling you one thing, and Google Map navigator telling you something different. In that case, we advise you to see what are the signs on the road and follow that. Google Maps might miss out certain information especially if there are a lot of road splitting or turns around the same area.

We followed Google Maps closely when we went to Ayutthaya, Khao Yai and Hua Hin. And what we noticed is, and this is quite expected, Google Maps sometimes does not recognize smaller roads. Or, sometimes it mistaken smaller roads to be passable by any type of car. We followed Google Maps before to pass a bridge that was actually very narrow and there was no railing on the sides. We were thinking back then, what if the car that we were riding was a lot bigger/broader. Also, how unsafe it would be to follow the Google Maps without looking ahead at the road.

Does Google Maps work in Thailand for places reviews?

Both of us are avid contributors and users of Google Maps. We rely on it a lot when we are looking for restaurants, cafes, and accommodations. We would say that the reviews are very reliable. You can trust the ratings given on Google Maps, but always ensure you read through a number of reviews before trusting it.

There has been very few disappointing occasions where we visit places with 100+ reviews and average rating of 4.2+, so in general we tend to rely on Google map review quite a bit.

As an example, we visited Ayutthaya retreat which had over 1,000+ reviews and the average rating of 4.3, and the place did not disappoint!

Make use of Google streetview

Google street view can make your road trip in Thailand easier whether it would be to explore the road ahead of time or to check on store-front ahead of your visit.

Explore the road: streets in Thailand can be complicated, sometimes there are forking, highway, underground way, round about, bridge etc. Google street view can help you to check the road ahead of time so nothing catches you by surprise.

Check out the store front: Thailand is known for its street food, small vendors or local market. Sometimes the famous “restaurant” that your friend/the internet recommend to you may be on street side or a hole-in-the-wall shop. Checking the store front ahead of time can help you locate the shop once you arrive in that area

Google map Thailand_round about

What to look out for when using Google Maps in Thailand?

As mentioned before, small streets may not be accurately captured by Google Maps, especially small streets in cities outside Bangkok. Also, the Google Maps navigator might give wrong info sometimes (but this is rare to happen) when you are on the road. Hence, we advise you to always keep your eyes on the road and when you are in doubt with what Google Maps tells you, trust yourself and proceed slowly. In terms of finding places on Google Maps to see their reviews, the most important thing is to also have their address with you. There might be places with the same name and you might risk going to a wrong place if you cannot cross check with the actual address you are planning to go to. We had this issue when we were trying to find our hotel in Ayutthaya.

If you are solo-driving, we recommend buying a phone holder that you can attach to your car dashboard. This way, you can easily refer to Google Maps when driving without taking your eyes away from the road for too long. Also, if you have a companion in your car, ask that person to be your navigator and alert you on what’s coming so that you can still focus on the road.

Also, ensure your phone is fully charged and also you have strong internet. In places where internet can be a bit patchy, you should also expect the Google Map GPS working a bit less efficiently – as this is expected. 

Can you rely on Google Maps in Thailand?

Despite a few minor hiccups, Google Maps Thailand is very reliable. We are novice in terms of doing road trips and Google Maps was our best companion throughout our trips. 

Keep in mind that it is a technology that is supposed to help us navigate the road, but it is not always perfect. It is not 100% accurate and you should not panic it gives you inaccurate info/direction during your trip. You can always detour and get to your destination eventually. Google Maps will automatically adjust the direction when it notices that you are not following the original plan. It will let you know an alternative way to get to your destination based on your current location. 

Also, our last tip is if you are going to a totally unfamiliar place, spend some time reading the map the night before. It will help you to visualize the road and will help you to feel less nervous exploring the unchartered territory!

Happy driving & road tripping!

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Ari Bangkok Thailand_skyline

Ari, Bangkok in Thailand: Review of the Ari area

We have been wanting to do a nomad lifestyle for a while and finally, we can be in Thailand. We have covered the topic of coming to Thailand during pandemic using Thailand Pass in our previous post. Upon arrival in Thailand, we had the pleasure of spending 2 months in Ari during our workation. Ari in Bangkok is an up-and-coming neighborhood known for yummy food and chic cafes. In this post, we will share a review of our experience living in Ari, Bangkok.

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Proximity and transportation

Ari is located in the Phaya Thai district of Bangkok, which is not far away from landmarks like Chatuchak market and the Victory monument. Many buses pass through Ari. But more importantly, there is a BTS station for the Ari area along the green BTS line. The BTS can conveniently take you from Ari to places like Chatuchak and Siam (where Siam Paragon and MBK are located) within a few stops.

ari bangkok_transportation

Accommodations in Ari, Bangkok

There are many apartments and condos in Ari. We ourselves had stayed in Centric Ari Station and Sailom Apartment. Both apartments are great residential sites with convenient locations. With the many available condos and apartments in the area, this means there are plenty of Airbnb in Ari, which is a good option if you are looking for a short stay. When we stayed in Sailom Apartment, we booked the place for 2 months via Airbnb and the experience was wonderful.

However, the area also has some hotels for those who are looking for one

The Ari area is known to be a good neighborhood even among the locals. It is quite safe and nice to live in.

ari bangkok_craftman hotel

Grocery and essentials shopping

From our experience living in Ari for 2 months, we find it convenient to get our daily needs in the nearby supermarkets. There are a few supermarkets but the ones that we frequented were Villa Market (right below Ari BTS station) and Big C near Saphan Kwai station.

Frankly, we went to Villa Market in Ari more because it was 10 mins by foot from Sailom Apartment. The supermarket also has some offerings that may not be available in Big C. We especially always go to Villa Market to stock up on our favorite craft beers, which are not available in Big C. Ari is one stop away from BTS from Saphan Kwai, so you can imagine the walk from our place to Big C can take up to 20-25 mins. However, having multiple options for supermarket in Ari was important to us to make sure we can get what we need.

Restaurants

There are an endless number of good restaurants and cafes in the area, which we thoroughly enjoyed. Some of our favorites are:

Lay Lao: for Northern-Eastern style, Isaan food

Lay Lao have such killer sour and spicy pork bone soup and also Isaan sausages that go really well with some raw vegetables. We didn’t really try their Som Tum and much of their beef menu, but according to the Michelin food guide, Som Tum and beef dishes are famous here as well. 

Wraptor: for your favorite Mexican dishes

We love Wraptor’s burritos and most importantly, their french fries. Hands down, their french fries are to die for. There are various fillings you can choose for the burritos. The burritos come in a big size and if you are not a big eater, you can even split it into 2 portions.

Thongsmith: for a bowl of comforting noodle

Thongsmith offers yummy boat noodles in their menu. The price is on a more premium side but you can tell that the ingredients are of good quality. 

JONG Dimsum: for your Chinese food and dimsum fix

Jong is our go-to place when we crave Chinese food. Their dimsum and stir fried vegetables, noodles as well as drink selections are all excellent. They use big wok and big fire for their stir fried food so you can enjoy the ‘wok hey’ aroma.

Salt: for a chill evening vibe

Salt is a restaurant with outdoor space and chill vibes. It is located among the hip cafes/restaurants in its proximity.  The vibe in the evening is quite chill and relaxing. The food and drinks there are frankly so-so for its price. If you just want to enjoy the ambiance, go try this place. 

Lek Pork Soup & Rice: for a strong pork bone soup

This food stall is located between Saphan Kwai and Ari. They have a strong and tasty pork bone soup, which is very soothing. We especially love the combo of Chinese roll, pork soup, and meat in their dishes. If you like pork innards, they also have a variety of them that you can choose from. 

Cafes

In recent years, Ari has grown to be a hip area and there are a lot of cafes sprouting in the area. We visited a few and we love all of them.

Nana coffee roasters: for a great atmosphere to sit down and wide selection of good coffee 

Coffee No. 9: a wide array of coffee concoctions for takeaway 

Drop by dough: for soft and fluffy donuts, that will go very well with your black coffee

Neighbouring areas

If you are bored with what the Ari area has to offer, you can also explore the nearby places around Ari. Some options for you are Saphan Kwai and Pradiphat market,  as well as The Camping Ground, which are around 30 mins from Ari. Both Pradhipat and The Camping Ground are a hub of food stalls located in an open area. It is chill to hang out there in the evening, perhaps eating roasted chicken while sipping some beers. 

Since Ari has its own BTS station, you can travel to the popular Chatuchak market that is 2 stations away (closest BTS to Chatuchak is Mo Chit). Other than that, you can also go shopping at the Siam malls that are 5 stations away (stop at Siam station). If you want to go to the Suvarnabhumi airport and avoid the traffic on the road, you have the option to go using BTS as well via the Phaya Thai Airport link. Simply go to Phaya Thai station, which is 3 stations away from Ari and interchange to the Airport link. The total trip (including changing lines) will be around 40 mins.

Will we recommend you to stay in Ari, Bangkok?

We love staying in Ari and we would recommend this area for a short or even medium-term stay! The location is so convenient and we found it really homey after 2 months staying there. It is easy to find good food, and this is an important point for us because we want to enjoy the good food that Bangkok has to offer during our short stay there.

At some point last year, we were planning to purchase an apartment/condo in Bangkok and Ari was also at the top of our list of locations to stay at. So for those of you who are thinking of renting a place long-term, we will also recommend this area. They also have newly constructed condominiums in the area that are worth checking. 

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ayutthaya hotel_sala hotel breakfast

Ayutthaya hotel: Sala Ayutthaya hotel with river view

If you are planning your trip to Ayutthaya, one of the most important things to decide on is which hotel to stay at. There are many options in Ayutthaya, be it the regular format hotel or boutique hotel. We managed to stay in both. However, there are more interesting things to share about Ayutthaya hotel with river view, as river and water is what Ayutthaya is famous for. We stayed in a hotel at the riverside i.e.Sala Ayutthaya boutique hotel. Previously, we have shared about Ayutthaya restaurant scenes and how to get to Ayutthaya. In this post, we will give a review of our stay in Sala Ayutthaya hotel.

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Location

The location of this hotel cannot be any better. It is by the river, and it is quite central. From the hotel you can reach the temple area with so much ease. There is a hospital nearby should you have any emergency. There are a lot of cafes and eateries that you can reach just by foot or by taking a 15-20 mins drive. However, given its very central location, they don’t have that much space for parking i.e. the parking lot is very tiny. And also, they have a restaurant inside – so as a hotel guest you are competing with the restaurant guests for parking space. This is a big downside to the hotel especially if you don’t manage to get your parking spot.

The hotel acknowledged this problem and reserved some space at the nearby park for hotel guests to park their cars. The park is around 5-7 mins by Tuktuk from the hotel. This can be a turn-off for some hotel guests as it is not that convenient having to commute just to get to the car. More so if the weather is not that friendly (big rain or scorching hot sun).

Sala Ayutthaya hotel architecture and design

We love boutique hotels and we love luxurious stays during our vacation. However, we like it the most when the hotel can combine both luxury and down-to-earth vibes at the same time i.e. low-key luxury experience.

Interesting architecture with clean lines

Sala Ayutthaya hotel has a very nice design overall and they hit the right spots when it comes to giving its guests a low-key luxury hotel stay experience. The hotel building is a low-rise building with 2 floors only. They use a lot of red bricks, wood, large glass windows, and clean off-white walls in their design. As a result, the vibe is modern, and yet, warm and welcoming.

ayutthaya hotel_sala ayutthaya wall
ayutthaya hotel_sala ayutthaya pool
ayutthaya hotel_sala ayutthaya architecture

Minimalistic, rustic room design

The room is not any different. It has a rustic and industrial, minimalistic look. They have a simple, but chic way to decorate and furnish the room. The mattress was also of very high quality, we had a very comfortable and sound sleep when we were there. There are other small details like how they set the bed frame a bit low when compared to other hotels, which made the experience of staying in the room extra special. 

ayutthaya hotel_sala room 1
ayutthaya hotel_sala room bathtub
ayutthaya hotel_sala room bedroom
ayutthaya hotel_sala room bedroom 2

Sala Ayutthaya hotel breakfast and food

Breakfast was part of the hotel stay package, and we felt very fortunate to be able to enjoy our breakfast while relishing the beautiful temple view across the river. The restaurant is very popular as well during lunch and dinner among hotel guests and non-hotel guests alike.

They have both Western and Asian / local breakfast menus. The breakfast format is not buffet but there are plenty of options that they serve for you at the table. By default, other than the main breakfast food that we choose, we get fruit, a basket of pastries as well as cereal along with yogurt/milk as well. 

The restaurant has both covered and uncovered areas. This way you always have an option to enjoy the river view outdoors even when it’s drizzling.

Moreover, we also ordered some food into the room on one of the nights when we felt lazy to drive around. The food was great and the delivery was quick.

ayutthaya hotel_sala hotel breakfast
ayutthaya hotel_sala ayutthaya restaurant dinner

Is it worth it to stay at Sala Ayutthaya hotel?

We had an enjoyable and unique boutique hotel stay experience at Sala Ayutthaya. The food, the room, and the service were all excellent. The only obvious downside was the small parking lot. 

Also, there are a lot of people taking photos in this hotel, be it hotel guests or restaurant guests. If you do not mind that, you can choose to stay in this hotel. We were there during weekdays, so we were not that bothered as there were fewer people. However, we can imagine during the weekends or popular national holidays in Thailand, there will be more photo-taking crowds around the hotel area. 

For families with kids who want to enjoy the pool, you will be able to enjoy the common pool located in the middle of the compound. This hotel unfortunately does not have any room with a private pool facility. If this is a dealbreaker for you, we suggest you find bigger hotels that might have more comprehensive facilities for each of their rooms. 

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How to get to Ayutthaya and what to see there

You might have heard about Ayutthaya before as one of the places you can visit while in Thailand. In fact, it is popular among tourists who like to explore the cultural heritage of the country as well as among locals who are looking for a city escape for the weekend or short holidays. Previously, we covered the beachside area Hua Hin and the mountainside area Khao Yai in our other posts. And now it’s time for us to cover the topic of Ayutthaya, including how to get to Ayutthaya and what to see in Ayutthaya.

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Ayutthaya, the old capital of Thailand

Ayutthaya is an old capital of Thailand and for non-Thais you might wonder “how to pronounce Ayutthaya?”. To answer that question, Ayutthaya is pronounced as aa-yoo-tuh-yaa. Also, a fun fact: the historic city of Ayutthaya is recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Centre.

The next question people might ask is: “where is Ayutthaya on Thailand map?”. Ayutthaya is located 70-80 km north of Bangkok, that is around 40-50 mins car ride from Bangkok. However, the length of trip might definitely vary depending on where you stay in Bangkok (south, central or north).

Moreover, Ayutthaya is quite accessible using various transportation methods. And this also contributes to its popularity as a local tourist destination. We will cover this in a bit later.

Getting to Ayutthaya by private or hired car

If you are looking to travel to Ayutthaya from the Don Muang or Don Muang Airport, the travel is a simple 60 km drive north, which goes straight from Don Muang through the Pathum Thani province into Ayutthaya. For such a car drive, the travel time will be ~1 hour. However, if you are in the city center of Bangkok or around Suvarnabhumi Airport, the travel will be around 90-100 km, which will take around 90 minutes of driving.

If you are looking to hire a car or day tour to Ayutthaya, a few platforms can offer you some pricing transparency for reference. The first one is Grab Taxi – the app can you an estimated price which should be around THB 500-700 one way. Another one is Klook. If you need a tour package or private car service for the day, Klook is a reputable platform for this. You can see that a day tour or private car package can cost anywhere between THB 1,500 to THB 3,000. 

Getting to Ayutthaya by train

A train ride from Bangkok to Ayutthaya can offer you a unique experience as well as help you to avoid traffic in Bangkok. From Don Muang train station to Ayutthaya, the travel time is less than an hour. You can check the train schedule here.

Next, you might be wondering how much is the train ride to Ayutthaya from Bangkok? The train ride fee depends on the train type and distance. Typically, it is somewhere between THB 100 to THB 300. If you are interested to take the train, you can book the ticket here.

Other transportation from Bangkok to Ayutthaya

Another way to go to Ayutthaya from Bangkok is via the water. There are Chaopraya river cruise packages from Bangkok to Ayutthaya, in a one day tour. 

There are many providers of such a tour. You can google whichever suits your needs and preferences. But we’ll give you an example of the river cruise here. We suggest you to do your own research to get the best deals as well, simply because the prices of these tours by different providers may vary.

What to see in Ayutthaya?

After you know the different means to reach Ayutthaya, your next question will be: what to see in Ayutthaya? And how much time to spend in Ayutthaya?

First and foremost, make sure you visit at least one of the temples in Ayutthaya. Being the old capital of Thailand, a huge Buddhist country, Ayutthaya is home of many famous and longstanding temples. Check out this list of the few bigger temples you can visit while you are in Ayutthaya. Other than temples, there are a lot of other historical sites that might perk some interest among those of you interested in learning about Thai history.

Ayutthaya historical park_featured

There are some local markets that you can visit as well during daytime like Ayothaya Floating Market or during nighttime Krungsri Night Market.

If you are more interested to just chill and enjoy some food from local establishments, you can go visit cafes and restaurants in Ayutthaya. Some that we enjoyed are The Wine and Baan Pomphet for lunch/dinner, and Summer House, Tewa Cafe and Trifecta for coffee and other cold beverages. Must haves for Ayutthaya are boat noodles and the river prawn – so make sure you try them!

how to get to ayutthaya_boat noodle
how to get to Ayutthaya_river prawn

You can find more info about Ayutthaya and what activities you can do in Ayutthaya here.

Given the variety of activities you can do in Ayutthaya, day trip is very common. Nonetheless, a night stay will allow you to relax and enjoy the city more. 

Should you go to Ayutthaya?

Yes, you should visit this city since it’s very accessible from Bangkok. It’s only max 1.5 hour from Bangkok (if you are from down south or central Bangkok). There are plenty of options for transportation from Bangkok to Ayutthaya as well. The cost of going there is not expensive. In terms of accommodation, there are a lot of hotel formats you can choose in Ayutthaya to suit your needs and budget. However, we personally recommend you to drive your own car if you have one. This is because the city in general is not walkable. There is no pedestrian path. So within the city, driving your own car will be the most convenient way to get around.

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hua hin hotels_boutique hotels in hua hin Vala bedroom

Hua Hin hotels: boutique and hotels with private pools

We have talked about Hua Hin briefly in our previous article as a popular beach holiday destination, especially among Bangkok people. If you are tempted to go to Hua Hin for holiday, you might be thinking about where is the best place to stay. We will cover the Hua Hin hotels / Cha Am hotels topic in this article. A lot of what we write here comes from our recent experience staying in the Hua Hin and Cha Am area. Moreover, we will also talk about options for Hua Hin hotel with private pools and boutique hotels in Hua Hin / Hua Hin boutique resort. 

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Hua hin hotel with private pools: Cape Nidhra

We stayed in a 5-star boutique hotel in the middle of Hua Hin called Cape Nidhra. This hotel is part of the Cape & Kantary hotel group. If you want to book the hotel, you can do so via its own website or find some deals in aggregating platforms like Agoda or Expedia.

The hotel has a narrow entrance on the main road. But once you check in and go to the area where rooms are located, you will realise that the hotel is not small. The hotel complex is more narrow than most other bigger chain hotels like Marriott or Intercontinental in the same area. However, it goes deep to the beach area. Also, there are rooms on the ground floor, all the way to the 5th floor. Each room has its own private pool, but rooms on the ground floor have bigger pools located in your private garden.

The hotel has parking lot basement, gym, reading room, spa, and conference room. They have yoga class by the beach on the weekend morning as well.

A look into our room

We will show you photos of our room on the ground floor. The room is spacious and has a private pool inside, surrounded by some vegetation to allow you soak in the nature. However, being on the ground floor and surrounded by trees and plants may expose you to some insects, choosing rooms on higher floor will help to address this issue. 

hua hin hotels_cape nidhra private pool
hua hin hotels_cape nidhra room

The private pool on higher floors will look like this. This is taken in our other room we stayed in on the 4th floor.

hua hin hotels_cape nidhra private pool higher floor

Boutique luxury hotels in Hua Hin: VALA

After our stay in Cape Nidhra, we moved up from Hua Hin closer to the Cha Am area. We stayed in another Hua Hin boutique hotel called VALA Hua Hin hotel. This hotel can also be considered a 5-star boutique resort that provides a lot of activities which you can do inside the hotel compound alone (painting class, etc.).  There is gym, swimming pool, and also bike you can use for free in the hotel.

The hotel compound is large and the rooms are spread across the complex. They have a villa/bungalow or room version of the accommodation that you can choose. For the room type of accommodation, the highest floor you can stay in is the 3rd floor. The architecture of the hotel is appealing and Instagrammable to many – very minimalistic yet modern.

hua hin hotels_boutique hotels in hua hin Vala
hua hin hotels_boutique hotels in hua hin Vala evening

A look into our room

We stayed in one of the Beachfront rooms on the 3rd floor. We could get a full view of the beach and the sea from our room window. The room is not as large as Cape Nindhra’s – but the space is sufficient. The overall feel you can get from the room once you step into it is ‘luxe’. The room is bright, clean and has the ‘effortlessly chic’ vibe. 

There is no spa place per se, but you can get spa services like massage in your room. We actually tried the 60min massage service (they have 30, 60, 90 min options). The hotel staff will set up the massage bed and the masseuse will come to the room to give the massage service. It was a very good massage and I slept super well that night, highly recommend!

hua hin hotels_boutique hotels in hua hin Vala window
hua hin hotels_boutique hotels in hua hin Vala bedroom
hua hin hotels_vala room massage

Moreover, food in the hotel was great – we had both dinner and breakfast in the hotel’s Woods restaurant. The restaurant is very open and airy, just like other parts of the hotel structurally.  

hua hin hotels_boutique hotels in hua hin Vala restaurant
hua hin hotels_boutique hotels in hua hin Vala restaurant
hua hin hotels_boutique hotels in hua hin Vala breakfast2

Our take on boutique luxury hotels in Hua Hin

We would say they can be pricey, but they tend to offer more unique experiences compared to the bigger chain hotels. However, what we noticed is in the central Hua Hin, bigger chain hotels like Marriott, Dusit, Intercontinental, might have better locations and better beach front compared to more boutique hotel like Cape Nidhra. But if you go up slightly north closer to Cha Am area, boutique hotels like VALA might have better chance in securing bigger space (and perhaps better location as well) for the hotel compound. That’s why we found VALA hotel to be more open and airy compared to Cape Nidhra. 

Having said that, we thoroughly enjoyed our stay in Hua Hin staying in those two hotels. And we hope to go back again!

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Hua Hin Thailand: best month to visit and how to get there

Hua Hin is a popular beach escape among Bangkok people as well as for tourists/visitors. Previously, we have covered Khao Yai as a mountainous area holiday destination for Bangkok people. Now, we will touch on the beachside holiday destination, Hua Hin, Thailand. We will be covering basic information about Hua Hin, Hua Hin weather, the best month to visit Hua Hin and how to get there.

Brief overview

Hua Hin district is located within the Prachuap Khiri Khan province located in the Southernmost part of central Thailand. This means Hua Hin is not very far from Bangkok as it is only 2-3 hours drive away (about 200 km). Hua Hin has a total area of 900 km2, and the eastern side of the district is a seaside to the gulf of Thailand, making the district well known as a beach resort town.

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Location on the map

Hua Hin Thailand_Location map

As mentioned previously, Hua Hin is considered a part of central Thailand so it is much closer to Bangkok than other popular travel destinations like Phuket or Krabi. Hua Hin is 2-3 hours car drive away from Bangkok. However, if you want to get to Hua Hin from other parts of Southern Thailand like Phuket or Krabi, it will take 7-8 hours of driving which covers over 500 km in distance. The map of central & southern Thailand below will give a clearer picture of Hua Hin’s location.

Hua Hin weather and best month to visit

Hau Hin Thailand_Hua hin weather

Hua Hin’s location being at the coastal area gives the district a hot tropical climate for most times of the year. Having said that, if you are looking for relatively cooler weather, the best month to visit will be November to January. This time of the year is what Thai people consider Winter. Winter in Thailand is the driest season, which means you can go outdoors without much worry that you will get wet. 

In general, during these months the temperature in Hua Hin will range from 23 to 33 degrees. However, keep in mind that temperature might only drop to below 30 degrees during night or early morning time. For more information about Thailand weather, visit our dedicated post here.

We just visited Hua Hin in January this year and despite the hot sun during the day, the breeze was very comforting. A lot of people walked around outdoor despite the hot sun because the breeze made it more bearable. Just prepare your cap and sunnies and you are good to go.

Transportation to Hua Hin

If you are in Bangkok, the most convenient transportation to Hua Hin would be to drive or hire a private car. As mentioned before, the drive is not that long, only 2-3 hours. 6 main points throughout the drive that you need to take note of (Bangkok to Huahin direction):

  1. Dao Khanong
  2. Samut Sakhon
  3. Petchaburi
  4. Prachuap Khiri Khan
  5. Cha Am
  6. Huahin

Hua Hin also has a small international airport called the Hua Hin Airport (HHQ) which welcomes both domestic and international flights. However, there are a limited number of flights going there, especially during COVID/travel restriction time. 

Hua Hin Thailand_Airport

Hua Hin’s train station is actually one of the sight seeing/photo taking spots known for its traditional look. This also means you can take a train from various parts of Thailand to Hua Hin. You can check/book train schedule by going to Thailand railway website, and explore Hua Hin station within the Southern line.

Hua Hin Thailand_transportation train

There are also VIP buses which provide great services and run across Thailand. For more general transportation information within Thailand, feel free to check out our other article here.

Should you visit Hua Hin in Thailand?

If you are looking for a weekend getaway at the beachside, Hua Hin is a perfect destination as it’s not too far from Bangkok. It is considered quite developed for tourism. Plenty of boutique or big chain accommodations in Hua Hin available for you to pick. A lot of restaurants and cafes as well as beach clubs for you to hang out. Many of these places are located by the sea so that you can have your food or drink while enjoying the breeze. 

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Thailand Glamping Experience in Te Mata 360, Khao Yai

We recently went to Khao Yai and checked out a few different types of accommodations, including Glamping hotel. Read our thorough review on Khao Yai boutique hotels and other types of accommodations in our previous post. In this post, we will deep dive into the review of our one-of-a-kind luxurious glamping experience in Te Mata 360, Khao Yai so that you can have an idea what Thailand glamping stay is like.

Boutique hotel Khaoyai_feaatured

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Customized service for every guest

Our Thailand glamping experience is with Te Mata. The Te Mata 360 hotel experience was very unique and truly memorable. We never experienced anything close to this before.

The experience is very personalized and feels very boutique. There is no website for booking but you can leave your information in the “Contact Us” form on the website. They will reach out to you to understand your needs for your stay. Then, they will recommend the best place to stay among the different hotel concepts that they have. 

thailand glamping_te mata 360 living room 1

There is no typical check-in desk. Check-in time is quite standard, at 3pm. You can contact the hotel staff through Line if you are about to arrive a bit later. There is a private carpark for your car right outside the glamping area.

They will send their staff to greet you at your glamp. They will help to bring your belongings in, as well as confirm with you about your personal data and check what your needs and wants are for dinner and breakfast the next morning. There is a form that you need to fill in to indicate your preferences for the meals. 

Throughout our stay there, we just messaged them via Line if we need something from them, be it extra towel, extra cup of coffee, etc. The glamping area is very private, no staff will come by unless you summon them. When they come over, they will ring a bell at the gate and you allow them to enter.

High-tech jacuzzi pool

thailand glamping_te mata 360 jacuzzi

Te Mata 360’s jacuzzi pool with regulated temperature was one of the best features of the glamping hotel. It is very luxurious i.e. not many other places in the area is equipped with such a pool. Khao Yai can be a bit windy especially if you are up on the hill. And Te Mata 360 was located on one. The heated pool allows you to stay warm in the water and enjoy the cool breeze at the same time.

We stayed in other 5 star hotels before our stay at Te Mata 360 and they had regular swimming pool. Despite the hot blazing sun, the pool water can still be very cold to the body. Those who like to do cold shower, maybe this is not a major concern. However, we reckoned that if you stop moving or swimming in such a pool you will feel cold immediately.

thailand glamping_te mata 360 poolside

The jacuzzi with warm water, overlooking the mountain was a great pool to dip yourself in, while enjoying the beautiful surrounding nature. There were some reclining chairs by the side of the pool. You can comfortably read your favorite book or browse the laptop or iPad while watching the sunset over there.

Luxurious gadgets and amenities

The hotel does not hold back in providing its guests the best gadgets during their stay. The living room and bedroom have high quality high-tech gadgets. There is even a Dyson hairdryer at the vanity room. The bedroom also has different equipment that you need to ensure your stay very comfortable. There were multiples machines for air dehumidifying, air conditioning, air purifying, to mention a few. 

They also provide guests with their in-house brand toiletries that feel aromatherapeutic and luxurious at the same time. They provide high quality shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and even pillow mist and rose water facial mist from their own brand. These can be purchased separately if you fancy the items and want to bring some back home.

thailand glamping_te mata 360 tech gadgets
thailand glamping_te mata 360 dyson

Spacious, comfortable rooms

Te Mata 360 is perfect for 2 people, but can accommodate up to 4 people. The bedroom is designed for 2 people but there is a sofa bed in the living room, the can be turned into bed at night by the staff for sleeping. Both the living room and bedroom allow you to have a very comfortable stay.

The living room is very spacious. There are multiple surfaces for you to eat or work or drink coffee. There are sofas for you to lounge around with your loved ones, maybe play some board games in the cupboard that are free to use. You can connect your favorite music player to the Marshall speaker via bluetooth and blast chill music to give you and your loved ones that vacation vibe during the Thailand glamping stay.

Boutique hotel khao yai_khao yai glamping_te mata 360 living room

The bedroom was connected to the bathroom that has both shower and bathtub. For sleep, you can choose from the pillow menu what kind of pillow you want to use that night. There are many pillows for you to sleep with (or to make pillow castle!). If you want to use the bathtub, they provide you with both bath salts and bath scrubs. You can light the candle for maximum zen during your bath as well.

There was another bathroom and outdoor kitchen which we did not really try out as well.

thailand glamping_te mata 360 bedroom
thailand glamping_te mata 360 bathroom
Boutique hotel khao yai_khao yai glamping_te mata 360 bathroom

Thailand glamping & delicious food

The food that we had during our stay was amazing. Both dinner (hotpot) and breakfast were of high quality ingredients. The coffee that we had at Te Mata 360 was also the best that we had so far in Khao Yai (that’s quite a feat!)

We had Tom Yum hotpot for dinner and we can choose what ingredients to order. The portion was humongous. We did not order a lot but we believe we can feed 2 other people with the amount of food. The pork and beef that we ordered were fresh. Likewise for the vegetables. The soup options that they have were great. We thoroughly enjoyed the food.

Other dinner options include BBQ and other western and Thai dishes.

In case you are wondering if there were a lot of insects roaming around when we sat outdoors, there were. But rest assured because the hotel equips you with insect lights that will attract and kill the insects before they come to you.

The hotel also provides you with a small bonfire to grill marshmallows at night. It can be a fun night activity with your loved ones (other larger glamps are equipped with proper camp fire pits).

For breakfast, we can choose what time to have our breakfast, latest being 11am. They set the breakfast at both the outdoor table or in the living room. You can choose between Western or Asian breakfast or both. 

Boutique hotel khao yai_khao yai glamping_te mata 360 dinner
thailand glamping_te mata 360 breakfast

Do we recommend Te Mata 360 for Thailand glamping?

Definitely, with the caveat that it fits your budget and travel style! Te Mata 360 is a luxurious glamping hotel and given that the price might be steep to most people, you might want to reserve your stay there for special occasions. 

However, having said that, the experience was truly unique and eye-opening. We have never stayed in a hotel with this format before. Te Mata 360 definitely sets the bar very high for other glamping places (we are in trouble!).

Check out our other posts on Thailand here!

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Khao Yai boutique hotels: accommodation, camping & villa

Why Khao Yai? Khao Yai or Pak Chong district in Thailand is a popular getaway destination among people in Bangkok. The area is known for its proximity to Bangkok (2.5h away by car), cooler temperature, fresher mountain air and greenery. Due to its popularity, there are a number of boutique hotels in Khao Yai which you can freely choose to create a unique travel experience. We will talk about other types of Khao Yai accommodations as well including Khao Yai villas, hotels and camping sites. 

Table of Contents

Types of Khao Yai accommodations

Hotels

This is the typical hotel that you know. Usually it has a multiple story building, rooms with balcony with hill/mountain view, and a common area/shared facility.

In our recent trip in Khao Yai, we stayed in hotel called dusitD2, part of the Dusit hotel chain. The room we stayed in was well-furnished and spacious, with balcony overlooking the mountain afar and bathtub in the room. The hotel facilities, along with its service quality was great! The only downside of this hotel was the unstable WiFi (so if you are looking to do remote work while in the hotel, make sure you have your hotspot). 

Boutique hotel khao yai_khao yai hotels_multistorey building
Boutique hotel khao yai_khao yai hotels_hotel room1
Boutique hotel khao yai_khao yai hotels_hotel room balcony

There are quite a few shared facilities including treehouse, alpacca and rabbit houses and pool with mountain view. The pool proves to be quite popular for photo-taking among the hotel guests.

Boutique hotel khao yai_khao yai hotels_swimming pool
Boutique hotel khao yai_khao yai hotels_tree house
Boutique hotel khao yai_khao yai hotels_surrounding view

Standalone villa

The benefits of staying in standalone villa is you have the whole villa/house to yourself. At the same time, the hotel still have common area/shared facility like restaurant, pool etc. In addition to that, during this pandemic period, you might feel safer being isolated from other guests by staying in your own villa. 

There are also multiple formats of villas: larger ones in resort setting or relatively smaller one that’s more down-to-earth.

We stayed in 2 formats of villa hotels:

Limon Villa Khao Yai

The first one was in Limon Villa Khao Yai. The villa lives up to its name given that it has many lemon trees in its garden. They have a restaurant and a swimming pool for hotel guests. They also provide BBQ equipment and some small food that we can grill during the BBQ.

Boutique hotel khao yai_khao yai villa_lemon tree

The downside of this hotel is the room can be hot during the day because the AC is quite weak. Even 17 degree Celsius setting cannot beat the heat from the sun during the day. However, at night the breeze can be very cooling, so we really enjoyed the BBQ night we had in our very own private lawn there. 

Boutique hotel khao yai_Khao yai villa_BBQ

This hotel is quite affordable among other hotels. The facilities can be quite basic but sufficient. Overall, it’s a quite down-to-earth accommodation that’s just perfect for a family trip with a good degree of privacy just outside Bangkok.

Boutique hotel khao yai_Khao yai villa_room1
Boutique hotel khao yai_khao yai villa_villa view from outside
Boutique hotel khao yai_khao yai villa_walking path

Muthi Maya Khao Yai Forest Pool Villa

Muthi Maya is part of the bigger Kirimaya resort family. If you enter Kirimaya resort compound, you’ll be able to find Kirimaya, Atta and lastly Muthi Maya. I say “lastly” because Muthi Maya is located at the deepest location from the entrance among all hotels. This also means that it is located closest to the foot of the mountain compared to the other two. 

The concept of Muthi Maya is individual bungalow/villa that is super private. It also has its own pool surrounded by the trees, which can make you feel you are close to the nature while still being at the comfort of a hotel. 

There is an Italian restaurant in the Muthi Maya compound. Additionally, there is a common breakfast area near the check-in lobby. 

Given that the concept is “private villa”, you will need to take golf car between your villa and other places. This might be a bit cumbersome if you are not used to it and prefer walking but during the day, the sun can be very hot and you would want to just jump into the golf car and stay under the shade. 

Boutique hotel khao yai_khao yai villas_muthi maya room1
Boutique hotel khao yai_khao yai villas_muthi maya bedroom
Boutique hotel khao yai_khao yai villas_muthi maya bathroom
Boutique hotel khao yai_khao yai villas_muthi maya pool

We stayed in Muthi Maya in January and the Kirimaya complex built this Secret Garden facility with flower garden. The Secret Garden is free-of-charge during the day time for hotel guests and they can enter to take photos with the flowers and Instagram-worthy installations. At night, they can have dinner there as well, while enjoying live music performance (at additional charge).

Boutique hotel khao yai_khao yai villas_secret garden flower field
Boutique hotel khao yai_khao yai villas_secret garden dinner
Boutique hotel khao yai_khao yai villas_secret garden nightview

Camping

We did not get to try this out in our recent trip but there are many adventurous travellers who opt for camping when they go to Khao Yai. 

In Khao Yai, there are multiple campsites. The most popular ones are in the Khao Yai national park which offer visitors close-to-nature experience. Just like any traditional camping experience – you will have to bring your own tent, and virtually everything else. Khao Yai national park offer equipment for rent like tent and sleeping bag – however you may want to bring your own for better comfort and hygiene.

Note that some camping site may charge a small fee (THB30/night for Khao Yai national park) for setting up a camp. 

Major camp sites in Khao Yai also have facilities like restroom, shower, electricity and some shops/cafes to service visitors.

Glamping

We had our first glamping experience while in Khao Yai and boy, it did not disappoint at all. We were looking for very private accommodation (because of the increasing number of Omicron cases) while being able to enjoy the Khao Yai nature comfortably. The glamping experience was a perfect one for this.

We stayed in one of Te Mata’s Glamping concepts i.e. Te Mata 360. This place was one of the boutique hotels in Khao Yai that we are so excited to share with you.

This place was located up on the hill. Every glamping concept that they have, there is only one accommodation available. The accommodation gets booked really fast despite the low season. We actually were planning to extend for one more night after the date that we booked, but we were too late – all fully booked!

Boutique hotel khao yai_khao yai glamping_te mata 360

There is no check-in desk. So we parked the car at the designated parking lot, entered the compound, met the staff inside the compound who helped us to “check in”. The whole experience feels very customized and personalized. The staff will then explain the different features and facilities in the glamping compound. We also got to choose what dinner we want to have (we chose hotpot), what ingredients we want to include and also specify what to have for breakfast the next morning. 

All devices and equipment in the glamping place were top notch. They were all very well-thought to give you the best experience during the stay. What stood out the most for us were the heated pool (this is rare among other hotels!), amazing coffee (somehow all other coffees we had in Khao Yao were so-so), and high quality devices (for e.g. Dyson hairdyer, Marshall bluetooth speaker, etc.). If you have requirement for pillow for your sleep, you can also pick your favorite from the pillow menu. 

Boutique hotel khao yai_khao yai glamping_te mata 360 living room
Boutique hotel khao yai_khao yai glamping_te mata 360 bedroom
Boutique hotel khao yai_khao yai glamping_te mata 360 bathroom
Boutique hotel khao yai_khao yai glamping_te mata 360 pool

Which Khao Yai accommodation should you pick?

All depends on many things including your budget, who you are going with, what your travel style is… But rest assured, there are plenty of accommodation types in Khao Yai that can suit your preferences and needs. 

If you want to have a chill family time for one night with limited budget, you can consider cheaper accommodation like Limon Villa. 

For those who prefer to stay somewhere with big hotel chain standard, you can go to a normal hotel like dusitD2. 

If you prefer a luxurious private stay in a resort that have big chain standard, and have budget for it, you can consider a resort like Muthi Maya. There are a lot of facilities typical of what big chain has like spa facilities etc. This will suit either couples or families with kids. 

And if you want a unique, one-of-a-kind experience that is still luxurious, you can choose one of the boutique hotels in Khao Yai. The glamping place where we stayed in is one of the options that you have for this. This kind of accommodation also suits those who want to do camping but can’t stand the harsh real camping environment 😉 There are a lot of such glamping sites apart from what we reviewed i.e. Te Mata 360. Nonetheless, we believe Te Mata 360 is one of the best glamping sites and boutique hotels in Khao Yai!

We also have another post which cover Khaoyai restaurant, cafes and steakhouse here!

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Taiwan vs Thailand_city

Taiwan vs Thailand: differences and similarities

If we had to rank our favourite Asian countries, Taiwan and Thailand would be among our top picks. Having lived in both countries, we will be sharing our take on similarities/differences between Taiwan vs Thailand. 

Table of Contents

Where is Taiwan vs Thailand?

First off, where is Taiwan? Taiwan is very near to Hong Kong (flight between the two places is around 1.5-2h). It is in the north of the Philippines and the south of Japan (the nearest place in Japan to Taiwan is Okinawa island). Taiwan’s biggest/main island is around 394 km at its maximum length. It stretches a long distance between the north and the south part of the island. But not so much between the west and east parts). Taiwan is part of the East Asia region, along with other countries like Japan, Korea, and China.

Thailand, on the other hand, is in the Southeast Asia region. Thailand also stretches a great distance north to south, similar to Taiwan.

Taiwan vs Thailand: how similar are they?

Asian culture with Buddhism influence

Both countries share the same Asian culture, heavily influenced by the Buddhism belief. You can see a lot of temples when you visit these two countries. Temples are even part of many tourists’ itineraries, especially those who are keen to learn about the country’s culture. You can check this website for more info about temples you can visit while in Taiwan and this one for temples in Thailand. Many tourists visit temples in these countries not only for cultural immersion purposes, but also to enjoy and learn about the beautiful architecture in the temples. Oftentimes, these temples have great architecture, and some might want to take photos in those temples!

Street food and night market experience

Both Taiwan and Thailand have a strong street food and night market culture. Night markets are places where you can find a lot of street food vendors selling snacks, game stations, food stalls with open tables around the walking aisles, and vendors selling miscellaneous items. There is no formula of what defines a ‘night market’ other than the fact that these markets open only in the evening.

There are plenty of famous night markets in Taiwan that tourists always go to, both for fun and also to fix their meals. In Thailand, we also saw a lot of night markets. However, the size and the fame of night markets in Thailand is not at par with the ones in Taiwan. One of the most famous night markets in Taiwan is Shilin, and there is even a Taiwanese fried chicken vendor named after it. Find out more about Taiwan night markets here. Also find a list of famous Thailand night markets.

Cicada market in Hua Hin offers a lively atmosphere where visitors can find delicious street food and other locally made wares.

Bountiful agricultural produce

Both Thailand and Taiwan are blessed with bountiful natural resources. Fruits and vegetables in both countries are of high quality. For example, you must have heard of the famous Thai jasmine rice right? And you must have heard of the famous Taiwanese guava.

Whenever we eat in any of these countries, we are always amazed with the high quality of the vegetables, fruits and fresh seafood that are available for us. In many other countries, to enjoy such quality agricultural products people will need to pay a premium. You will understand this when you go for a hotpot in these countries. Having great quality ingredients is very important for hotpot and it can make or break your hotpot experience. 

Taiwan vs Thailand_Vegetable

Vegetables in Taiwan are so fresh that some restaurant would allow you to pick vegetables for your own dish!

Travel destination that offers both city and nature experience

Both Taiwan and Thailand offer you metropolitan city experience as well as more nature-focused trails around the mountains or seaside areas. We have covered about places you should visit in Thailand including the big cities and scenic areas in our previous post. Taiwan has varying natural landscapes that you can enjoy besides the big cities like Taipei, Taichung and Kaohsiung.

Some famous natural scenic spots in Taiwan include Taroko Gorge in the north, Green Island in the east and Kenting beach in the south. Green Island is also famous as an amazing diving site.

Taiwan vs Thailand_Jiufen

Jiufen is famous for its old street and scenic view known to have been used as a reference for the famous animation, Spirited Away. While Jiufen is only an hour ride away from Taipei, the spot is surrounded by nature.

Taiwan vs Thailand: what are the differences?

Is Thai food from Thailand or Taiwan?

Thai food, as the name suggests, comes from Thailand and not Taiwan. Food in both countries are different in terms of the way the food is prepared. The spices and herbs used are also different. We have covered the topic on herbs that are commonly used in Thailand in our previous post.

Thai cuisine often uses galangal, lime, basil, lemongrass, chili and the likes to give the aromatic herbal fragrance and flavor. There are a lot of spicy foods in Thailand that you need to be aware of when you order local food. Some food like “som tam” ส้มตำ is spicy by default. And this means, you will need to request less chili if you cannot handle too much spiciness. The usage of fermented shrimp (aka “Nam Prik Kapi “ in Thai) and fermented fish is also common in Thai cuisine. 

Taiwanese food, on the other hand, use herbs and spices as well but not to the same extent as Thai food does. Other than cilantro, garlic, chili, basil and Chinese parsley (aka cilantro), Taiwanese food gets its taste from seasonings. The typical Taiwanese seasonings include soy sauce, rice wine, sesame oil, fermented black beans, pickled radish, chili oil, to mention a few. 

Language and culture

Taiwan predominantly uses traditional Chinese as its main language in the country. You can see English commonly used in bigger cities like Taipei, Taichung and Kaohsiung. On the other hand, Thailand uses Thai as its main language in the country. Check out our dedicated post on Thai language here. People in bigger cities are mostly comfortable conversing in English as they have a lot of interactions with overseas tourists.

Culturally, from the perspective of someone who lived there before, Taiwan is heavily influenced by both Chinese and Japanese culture. Japan being one of our favorite countries, we really enjoyed the influence of Japanese culture in Taiwan. Taiwanese are very polite, highly value cleanliness, order in the society and also environment preservation! Taiwanese do take their trash recycling seriously, similar to the Japanese.

Thailand has a strong culture on its own – which to a certain extent is influenced by Buddhism that is the main religion in the country. No country has ever colonized Thailand and this helped to preserve the purity of its culture. Being part of the Southeast Asian region, it also shares some similarities to the neighboring countries’ culture. 

Geographic location and weather

Geographically, Taiwan is in higher latitude compared to Thailand. Taiwan is a standalone island and does not share any land border with other countries. Whereas Thailand shares land borders with other countries like Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Malaysia. 

The geographic location of Taiwan gives this country 4 seasons. However, the distinction between the seasons is not as high when compared to Japan or Korea. The spring and autumn seasons in Taiwan are relatively shorter compared to those in Japan or Korea. You can distinguish Thailand weather mainly as rainy / wet or dry seasons. Around November to February, Thailand experiences “winter” (no snow though!) where the weather is less hot and less humid. Check out our post on Thailand weather here.

Infrastructure development

Taiwan is a small country with well-developed infrastructure. Going around different places in Taiwan, from north to south, can be super convenient. Taiwan has high speed rail (HSR) that can bring you from north (Taipei) to south (Kaohsiung) in less than 3 hours. There are local trains as well that can bring you to the smaller towns throughout the island. We have tried taking local trains from Taipei to Fulong beach and also from Taipei to Taroko Gorge. The trains are very reliable, clean and comfortable.

Within big cities like Taipei or Kaohsiung, you can travel easily using public transport. This includes MRT, buses or rental bikes (in Taipei it’s called Youbike). 

Thailand is bigger in terms of size and therefore infrastructure development varies across the country. Infrastructure is well-developed in cities like Bangkok, however in smaller towns it is still relatively underdeveloped.

Bangkok has underground trains and sky trains (BTS) as well as a well-developed bus transport system. The trains are convenient to use and quite safe. Despite the bus system being well-developed and having great coverage, we would not recommend non-locals to take it. You will understand why we say this when you read more about safety precautions while in Thailand. 

You can easily travel within cities or between cities using Taiwan’s rail system. Taiwan’s high speed rail is efficient, clean and convenient – which would remind you of Japan.

If you still confuse the two, you must visit them!

Thailand is a home country for us and Taiwan is one of our favorite places to visit and to live in. Both places are lovely and you should visit both if you have not. The experience will be quite different, in a good way. For holidays, the two countries are both relaxing.

You can do island hopping in Thailand, enjoy the bountiful fresh and affordable seafood while watching the picturesque sunset with Singha beer in your hand. Then you can go to Bangkok, do some shopping and pamper yourself with an aromatic Thai massage afterwards.

In Taiwan, you can visit Taipei and travel to other parts of the country using HSR, explore the various night markets and eat plenty of hotpot. If you are bored with city life, go to Taroko Gorge to enjoy the seaside and hike in the national park. Or you can take a ferry to Green Island, ride a scooter and explore the whole island in 1-2 days.

Both sound amazing, don’t they? Explore our other posts on Thailand:

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Remote working Thailand - outdoor cafe

Is working remotely in Thailand in 2022 a good idea?

Ever since coronavirus started last year, it has changed the way we work by a great deal. Companies no longer bound their employees to the office and many of them allow remote working as an option. With some vaccinated travel lanes (VTL) opening up to other countries, many more people might consider going overseas for workation. A key question among many people is: will this trend continue or will only be temporary? From a McKinsey research report, remote working will likely continue even after the pandemic.

Most people globally have been working away from the office for around 1.5 years. Some are working from their home, and some even choose to work remotely away from the country of their employment. 

According to a recent news published by CNBC, Bangkok was ranked as world #1 destination for Workation. We have spent almost one year now working remotely from Thailand since Coronavirus started, so we would like to share some considerations for anyone who may be considering Thailand for remote working.

Table of Contents

Working remotely in Thailand: finding a good “workplace”

Reliable Network infrastructure

Remote working means everything is done online or via phone, and you will need a good network infrastructure to make sure things run smoothly. In this aspect, Thailand has a reliable telecom infrastructure, which means a relatively fast and stable internet. In Southeast Asia, Thailand’s internet connection is among the best, even during a high demand period like this pandemic.  

Other than being reliable, the Internet packages in Thailand are affordable. We are paying THB 400 (~USD13) for unlimited 4G data and THB 200 (~USD7) for broadband connection. These are lower end packages which give us up to 50 Mb/s connection. Better packages can give you over 1 Gb/s connection speed but would cost at least THB 600 (~USD20).

With these affordable packages, you can enjoy a stable connection most of the time. We have had no issue conducting Zoom/Meet/Team meetings or calling business partners via Whatsapp. Netflix and online gaming are also largely smooth. However, we are speaking of our experience in Bangkok and we have yet to try the quality of the network outside of Bangkok.

Workspace availability

Remote working Thailand - coworking

Thailand also has a lot of workspace, whether you are looking for a home office, a co-working space or coffee shops.

According to the property company CBRE, there should be 150+ co-working spaces across Thailand. The options range from affordable ones (as low as USD 100 per month) to top-tier spaces like WeWork. An example of co-working space in Chiang Mai

If you love your coffee, you will have a lot of coffee shops in Thailand where you can work. There are 10,000+ coffee shops in Thailand, but of course not all of them will allow you to work there but most do. Most of the modern coffee shops also offer free WiFi and charging outlet, so you can get work done at the cost of a cup of coffee.

Another option for you to work away from the office is to work at the convenience of your home office. In Thailand, the range of apartment rental rates can be huge. For example, even in Bangkok, monthly rent for a 30-35 sqm apartment can be between THB 8,000 (~USD 250) to THB 25,000 (~ USD 800). If you rent anywhere in the middle range, it would give you sufficient space to set up a work desk with monitor, keyboard, and other equipment.

Finding a good community of foreign professionals and digital nomads

We are social beings and we crave connection. However, working remotely means you are not close physically with your colleagues and might find it harder to build real connection. Finding your own community in Thailand, where you can feel a sense of belonging, becomes increasingly important.

Thankfully, there are many digital nomads in Thailand, and on top of that Thailand has over 4 millions foreign workers in the country, according to the UN Migration. However, the bulk of this number would be migrant workers. Still, there are about 200,000+ foreigners on skilled worker permits and retirement visas in Thailand. In conclusion, the community of foreigners in Thailand is huge and your chance of finding your own tribe is quite high! Most of the foreigners in Thailand are people from Japan, China, the Philippines, India, the UK, and the US.

Working remotely in Thailand: Taking a break from work by taking vacation

You can take an escape from work to beaches or mountains throughout Thailand (or you could even be working from your vacation home by the beach or resort place in the mountains). Even if you choose to stay in a big city like Bangkok, major tourist destinations are within an hour of a plane ride away. This is possible thanks to the country’s well-developed domestic airport network. Other Southeast Asian countries (like Vietnam) are also nearby (~2 hours flight). Personally, we are a fan of Vietnam (and Vietnamese food).

Actually we are in Thailand right now working remotely. And we are in the middle of planning our vacation to the beachside and mountain in the coming few weeks. From Bangkok, we can easily go to Huahin beach area (4-5 hour drive) and Khao Yai hill/mountain area (2.5-3 hour drive).

One major problem: Thailand lacks of a digital nomad visa

There are a lot of foreigners who are keen to be a digital nomad in Thailand. However, visas would be the biggest issue you need to solve before you can work remotely there.

There are 2 key questions you need to ask yourself when it comes to visas (aside from the Thai language barrier):

How long can you stay in Thailand?

Thailand has a great visa exemption program which supports over 60 nationalities. visitors can stay up to 30 days (currently extended to 45 days), however longer stay will require the visitors to apply for another visa. Examples include tourist visa and Special Tourist Visa (STV) that allows visitors to stay in Thailand up to 60 to 90 days. See the official Thai embassy website for more info.

Is it legal for you to work remotely in Thailand?

In the point above, both visa exemption and  STV are for tourism purposes. In many cases, remote working in Thailand is NOT illegal. However in reality, this is a grey area and we have another post to examine this in more details. 

Thailand has introduced a “SMART visa”, which aims to provide up to 4 years of permission to stay and work in Thailand. This solution, however, is quite restrictive at the moment and less than 1,000 applications have been approved so far. A plan to relax the requirement has been proposed, and this should come into effect soon. This could potentially be a solution to people interested in working remotely in Thailand. 

Lastly, if you want to be a digital nomad in Thailand, you also need to understand the Thai tax law. While Thailand mostly looks at income generated in Thailand, if you stay in Thailand longer than 180 days within the year, Thailand will also look at the portion of your overseas income and investment return that you bring into Thailand.

In February 2022, the Thai government has approved a plan for the long-stay visa to waive personal income tax for a few groups of foreigners, and a remote working professionals is one of them. We are waiting to see more details on this plan once they come out.

Is Thailand the right remote working location for you?

Thailand is an attractive destination for digital nomad and remote workers. This is due to many factors like great infrastructure, relatively lower cost of living and proximity to local and regional vacation destinations.

However, staying and working in Thailand could be restrictive without a proper visa. Many digital nomads are solving this by re-entering the country and staying in the grey area. If you want to ensure that you are legally working in Thailand, our recommendation would be to apply for a proper visa. The development of “smart visa” looks promising, but it will still take some time before it becomes a visa type for every digital nomad in Thailand. 

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