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?

4 thoughts on “Going Nomad in SE Asia”

  1. Great post John, I’m excited for your digital nomad adventures! I’m writing from Chiang mai and the wifi has been completely disappointing, especially in the guest houses. Even the coffee shop was pretty slow, so I don’t know what everyone is talking about when they say Chiang mai is this “digital nomad haven.”

    You’ll do well with wifi in both Phnom Penh and Siem Reap (but in the coffee shops, not the hotel rooms for the most part). I spent three months in Hoi An and had solid wifi in my guest house, so that could be a great option for you too!

  2. Interesting plans! though unfortunately I don’t know much about the places you’ve posted. I’d definitely recommend Taiwan for renting and living and working. They have excellent internet speed and the living conditions are really good, rent is super cheap, especially outside of Taipei.

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