Category Archives: travel

Finding a Dentist in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Digital nomads and full time expats must take care of regular life while abroad. You don’t read much about this other than the wonderful views they have from their latest wifi cafe. One of those tasks you must address is finding a dentist.

Some locations are better than others for taking care of these items. Chiang Mai is a good location for finding a dentist. Chiang Mai University, as with many universities produces many qualified people and usually a surplus find they like the city and stay.

Dentist office at the Dental 4 You Clinic

Dental 4 You Clinic

Chiang Mai has a steady supply of retirees, tourists and recently digital nomads supplementing the local population. Reading online I was able to find several highly recommended dental practices and I selected Dental 4U. They had many recommendations for quality and price.

My experience was very good and I recommend Dental 4U as a wise place to take care of your dental needs. The whole process was excellent, arranging the appointment, showing up and being seen as scheduled (in the USA I almost always have waits, sometimes long ones and so do others I talk to) and the appointment itself.

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Extending Your Visa in Chiang Mai, Thailand

One of my challenges is dealing with the various visa requirements. They shouldn’t be that complicated but I seem to often find myself in situations that don’t quite fit what the general rules are and trying to determine what that means I have to do is tricky.

I didn’t get a visa in advance for Thailand, which seems to usually be the case for me (I just don’t plan ahead well enough to get the Visas when I am somewhere it might be possible, Bangkok etc.).

So one of the challenges is I that I don’t have a visa for Thailand, I actually have a 30 day visa free stay. There is talk about extending visas (in internet forums and on the Thailand government site) but it mostly wasn’t clear (at least I couldn’t see it clearly) what it meant for me. Wether extending 30 days by paying 1,900 baht (about US$ 60) at the Chiang Mai immigration office or going on a visa run (and in this case if you got 14 or 30 days was a bit tricky to understand) applied to someone with a visa free stay was not obvious.

photo of the Chiang Mai Immigration location

Chiang Mai Immigration office is near the airport

[Update: read about new location and more information]

Then I found this great post: How To Extend Your Thai Tourist Visa in Chiang Mai. It is packed with great info. And the good news was I could extend my 30 day visa-free stay for 30 more days (for 1,900 Baht – good money for Thailand’s government) at the local office. And he had detailed instructions on what to do including what to bring and forms to download in advance.

Tourist visas can be extended simply by visiting your local immigration office anywhere in Thailand, filling out a form, and paying a fee. Extending your visa should be done before your visa expires; you can get your visa extended on the last day without any problem.

Thai tourist visas and visa exemptions (what people wrongly call “visas on arrival”) can be extended by 30 days at the Chiang Mai immigration office. Visa exemptions used to be only extensible for 7 days, but this changed in August 2014.

He suggests going early and being prepared for a long wait (3 hours) with a longer wait later (and if they can’t finish you that day you have to come back the next day). Also they close down for an hour at lunch time.

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Magical Day at Glacier-Waterton International Peace Park

One of the most enjoyable days of my life began at Glacier National Park (USA) and continued in the Canadian portion of the park (Waterton International Peace Park). The parks share a long border and amazing natural beauty.

View on Iceberg Lake Trail

Iceberg Lake Trail, Glacier National Park

This magical day was my fifth day at Glacier National Park, which had already been wonderful.

John Hunter with vista in background

John Hunter, top of Bear’s Hump trail, Waterton International Peace Park

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Multi-city Airline Reservations

I have made multi-city reservations in the past and doing so was significantly or marginally cheaper than individual tickets for each leg of the journey.

For my next trip I plan to stop over in Bangkok for several days and then fly up to Chiang Mai, Thailand. The prices of airplane tickets in South East Asia are pretty good in my opinion. And these were fine too.

But I found a multi-city ticket was double what the same sites quote for buying the tickets separately. That seems pretty bizarre to me. I am not really sure what is driving that. I mean I could imagine they get tied up with what airlines will cooperate on the multi-city venture but I figured if none would they would just create an itinerary piecing together unrelated tickets. But that appears not to be true, or something weird is going on. Is this a common thing with multi-city trips in SE Asia?

It is also a joy to fly in South East Asia compared the horrendous mess the USA has made out of air travel. Flying in the USA just keeps getting more and more atrocious. It isn’t like travel in SE Asia is really so wonderful, but in comparison it is.

I prefer Hipmunk. I’ll also try airlines directly. I have read people suggesting Google travel search so I tried that. It did provide one cheaper (10%) flight that Hipmunk missed, otherwise they seem to find identical flights. It does seem like Google’s one is much faster, but I still really like Hipmunk (I would like it even more if I could just register with them and have all my pay, details etc. stored with them and they deal with the airline but even as it is it is decent).

Do people have suggestions about plane reservations in SE Asia? Now that I am going nomad I’ll travel much more. Are you wise to lock things in a month in advance, or what? Any special need to lock things in for the December period in Thailand this year?

Related: Finding Places to Stay to Stay with Decent wifiKhao Lak, ThailandDigital Nomad Guide to Chiang Mai

Going Nomad in SE Asia

I am planning on trying out the nomad lifestyle for awhile in SE Asia (and maybe a bit further afield – Japan, Australia…).

I need to work while I am traveling and for me that requires a reliable “broadband” connection. Even just 1 Mbps is acceptable as long as it is reliable, though 5 Mbps is better. I need to use a out 1 Gb a day. I work from my condo now and plan to work from my room as I travel (working from a coffee shop or shared location won’t work for me).

I plan to visit places for 1 to 3 months such as: Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand (Chiang Mai maybe elsewhere), Bali (Ubud probably), Japan… I’ll do tourist stuff and travel around in countries while visiting.

Internet options, wifi at hotel or serviced apartment good?
Cambodia
city (Siem Reap?, Phnom Penh?):

Indonesia
Bali (Ubud probably):

Malaysia
Kuching:
(maybe Langkawi, Penang)

Thailand
Chiang Mai: Curious Cat Digital Nomad Guide to Chiang Mai (as I am planing on going their next I am collecting and sharing what I find here)
maybe elsewhere:

Vietnam
city (Hoi An?):

Japan

Questions (if you have any ideas, please leave a comment):
What kind of wifi can I expect in the various countries and cities in a budget hotel or serviced apartment? For good wifi/internet are there specific lodgings suggested?
Would a mobile cell phone plan be best for certain countries cities? Reliable, good bandwidth, not very expensive for 1-2 Gb of data a day? I am assuming tethering from an iPad mini to my laptop won’t be an issue, right?
Will I have trouble traveling to any country with just a plane ticket in, but without purchasing the next plan ticket?
Which countries offer visa on arrival (for USA)? Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand do. Vietnam seems to require something in advance, I am looking into the details.
What will cost of budget (but not super cheap) hotel or service apartment be? $1,000 to $1,500 is fine for a nice place. Tips on looking for options in each location?
How do people deal with the limited amount of physical mail (and things like businesses that require an address and occasionally mail something that might be needed)?
Co-working spaces, hacker spaces, startup meetups etc. for each location (to meet others, I prefer to work in my room)?
Blogs and websites for each location?
Good times of year, or times to avoid for each location?