Tag Archives: wifi

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?
city (Siem Reap?, Phnom Penh?):

Bali (Ubud probably):

(maybe Langkawi, Penang)

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:

city (Hoi An?):


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?

Finding Places to Stay to Stay with Decent wifi

For many people connection to the internet has ceased to be a desire and has become a requirement while traveling. Getting a sim-card for your smart phone, or tablet, may suffice. Or using that connection to tether your laptop to may work.

But often that isn’t the best solution and you want a hotel with broadband that is really broadband and hopefully they don’t add fees for what seems to me a basic expectation today (or at least not ludicrously expensive as some fancy hotels charge for an internet connection).

Agoda notes what hotels offer free wifi and in general I like Agoda. The comments can sometimes help identify if the hotel has good, mediocre or bad wifi. Trip Advisor has some decent information on good hotels.

But for years I have asked for and looked for someone that will integrate information on what the actual wifi experience is for hotels. And if they had it (I never found any) then I wanted to be able to use it as a filter.

I found a site that is working on providing wifi quality data for hotels and tweeted about it: Hotel wifi test. And Speedspot noted they have what they think is an even better offering. It does seem a bit more complete to me, but both are pretty lacking for details on places I visit most.

So far they seem to have the largest amount of data on the most popular cities in rich countries – which isn’t surprising. Hopefully they will add more data soon on the places I want to go. We need more of this kind of data so we can make informed decisions and chose hotels that provide services modern travel want (decent wifi).

While the travel sites are at it I also wish they would let me filter for what I care about – a good nights sleep which means quiet rooms. They should really let us set our own criteria for agony and then provide results (Hipmunk style). Maybe we have to wait for Hipmunk to do it.

Related: Worse Hotel Service the More You Pay (2010)Travel photos blog