10 Days Of Digital Nomad-ing In Koh Phangan

Koh Phangan Digital Nomad Review

I’ve spent 10 days in Koh Phangan as a digital nomad and I have to say, I’m in love. If I hadn’t already planned a trip to Cambodia with my friend, I could stay here for 1-2 months easily. It’s got everything you need to live a happy, healthy lifestyle.

Koh Phangan Digital Nomad TLDR; Summary

I’d give Koh Phangan 5/5 stars would highly recommend as a digital nomad destination. Here are my top recs. Sadly, I was only here for 10 days so I didn’t ask about monthly prices for things, which are definitely cheaper than what I got. Plus it’s rainy+non-Full Moon party timing so the island was pretty dead.

  • Where to live: Anywhere in Ban Tai, specifically Plumeria or this AirBnb (~$20 USD per night for a weekly booking in a nice place) Full overview of the best places to live in Koh Phangan (complete with wifi speed tests) here ›
  • Where to Work: Cafes…Dots, Nira’s, Doppio, and The Port are all near thong Sala pier. Then there’s Southway, Bubba’s, and Luna’s a bit further south. (Coffee is 60-80tbh aka $2-3 USD and meals are 80tbh for Thai food or up to 210tbh for boujee/western food). Full overview of the best places to work in Koh Phangan (with wifi speed test) here ›
  • Best Gym: Koh Phangan Muay Thai and Fitness Gym (600 tbh per week)
  • Best Grocery Store: Makro…it’s like a Thai Costco
  • Transportation: You’re gonna want a scooter. (250tbh per day aka $7.50 USD, or 1400tbh per week aka $42 USD)
  • Best Restaurants: Fisherman’s Restaurant in Ban Tai for dates. Casa Tropicana for casual cool. The Rock Bar & Restaurant in Haad Rin for cool view.
  • Best Beach Bars: Sunset View Beach Bar, Secret Beach Bar, Infinity Beach Club, Tribe Beach Bar
  • Best Beach: Haad Rin, but I really didn’t go to many beaches and the island was pretty much empty so it wasn’t crowded.
  • Thing To Do: Moonlight Cinema

Accommodations / Where To Live

Full overview of the best places to live in Koh Phangan (complete with wifi speed tests) here ›

Upon arriving, I performed my usual accommodation search ritual where I rent a cheap hostel for a night and spend the entire day trying to find where I actually want to live. My requirements were <$20 a night with good internet, decor, and location.

On Koh Phangan, I booked my first night at a party hostel Phangan Arena. It’s rainy season and there’s no Full Moon party, so it was only $10 a night. The room was a windowless cell, but the pool and social atmosphere were nice albeit there was really only like 10 people staying there at the time. Would I recommend it? Sure, if you’re looking for cheap and social.

Then, I got on AirBnb and various other booking websites to find cool places to live. After making a shortlist, I hopped on my scooter and drove around to see them in person, run wifi speed tests (full list of Phangan wifi speed tests here), and negotiate in person.

After riding around the entire island, here’s my analysis of neighborhoods. If you want a pretty beach and people, go to Haad Rin. If you want yoga, vegan-faire, and seclusion, head up north or to the east cost of the island. If you want it all, live in Ban Tai.

I decided to go with an AirBnb property called Plumeria due to it’s beauty, kitchen, fast internet connection, and it is within walking distance to the beach, grocery store (Makro), gym (Koh Phangan Muay Thai & Fitness), and a ton of cafes. If you want a studio apartment with an amazing view, I recommend Viewpoint Apartments. If you want a beautiful beach and an on-site restaurant, I’d recommend Phangan Resort and/or this AirBnb. NOTE: It’s off-season here so prices were severely discounted for me aka don’t hate me if those suggestions are really expensive when you look.

Gym

Once I settled into Plumeria, I went to find my gym. Podium Gym is the super nice, air conditioned option with new equipment that’ll cost you 1000tbh per week aka ~$30 USD.

Then there’s the gym I fell in love with…Koh Phangan Muay Thai & Fitness Gym. It’s got a wider variety of old equipment, no A/C, and ran 600tbh per week aka $18 USD (or 200thb per day). Everyone there was fit AF (pretty sure they all train Muay Thai), perfect for unlocking the insecurities that drive me to lift more. Don’t worry though, they’re all super friendly and I ended up meeting quite a few people at the gym.

Internet Speeds

Koh Phangan has great internet generally with ~20Mbs download, and ~20Mbs download as well at most places. Wondering which places are best? Lucky for you, I have a post with the wifi internet speed tests from everywhere I went in Koh Phangan, just click here ›

Cafes and Coworking Spaces

Full overview of the best places to work in Koh Phangan (with wifi speed test) here ›

Before coming here, I was excited to check out Beachub and the other coworking spaces…until I saw their prices (350tbh per day OMGWTF?!?!?!?! Their weekly/monthly prices are much more reasonable though don’t worry). Literally you could work at beautiful cafes with fast internet all day and eat and drink to your heart’s desire for the same amount…and that’s exactly what I did.

The cafe scene in Koh Phangan is bananas. There’s a ton of them, all with baller internet and great atmospheres. Most days I’d just drive up near Thong Sala and bounce between the cafes there – Dots Cafe, Nira’s Bakery, Doppio Cafe, and The Port. Nira’s had the best food, I’d recommend the granola bowl or banana pancakes – both for <100tbh. Dots Cafe was my second favorite as it had the best ambience. Then a bit south of those is Southway Cafe, Bubba’s Cafe, and Luna Cafe. Bubbas’s food is the bomb too, but you’ll spend at least 150 tbh minimum, and the internet was actually the worst out of the all the cafes on my speed tests.

Transportation

Tbh, I’m not a huge fan of scooters. I’ve had too many near-crash experiences, but in Koh Phangan you’re going to want a scooter. If you live in a good location, you can definitely walk to some places and may not need it every day, but if you want to explore at all, you’ll need one. They go for 250tbh per day or 1400tbh per week (aka 200tbh per day). The roads weren’t that scary to drive on.

Restaurants & Nightlife

If you’re on a date or just want a good meal, go to Fisherman’s Restaurant. It’s candlelit and has a great menu of fish.

If you want something nice enough and on the beach, go to Casa Tropicana. They’ve got a few cabanas you can lay down in, which is super tight.

If you want a view on Haad Rin beach,  go to The Rock Bar & Restaurant. It’s got a large affordable menu and the chairs are comfortable.

If you want a beverage and a beachview, go to Sunset View Beach Bar, Secret Beach Bar, Infinity Beach Club, or Tribe Beach Bar.

Best Places to Live in Koh Phangan as a Digital Nomad

plumeria-koh-phangan-airbnb-2

I spent 10 days in Koh Phangan as a digital nomad – full review here. Per usual, I spent the entire first day scootering around trying to find the best places to live in Koh Phangan, taking photos and wifi speed tests along the way.

Find the Best places to work in Koh Phangan for digital nomads (with wifi speed tests) here ›

Best Neighborhoods In Koh Phangan

If you want a pretty beach and people, go to Haad Rin. If you want yoga, vegan-faire, and seclusion, head up north or to the east cost of the island. If you want it all, live in Ban Tai – which is where pretty much all of the places I looked at below were.

Best Places To Live In Koh Phangan For A Digital Nomad

After scouring Airbnb, Booking.com, and other sites for reviews, here are the best places to live in Koh Phangan as a digital nomad.

If you want a studio apartment with a baller view, I recommend Viewpoint Apartments. If you want a beautiful beach and an on-site restaurant, I’d recommend Phangan Resort and/or this AirBnb. NOTE: It’s off-season here so prices were severely discounted for me aka don’t hate me if those suggestions are really expensive when you look.

#1 Pick: Plumeria

plumeria-koh-phangan-airbnb-2

Get $40 off your first AirBnb by clicking here!

I decided to go with an AirBnb property called Plumeria due to it’s beauty, kitchen, fast internet connection, and it is within walking distance to the beach, grocery store (Makro), gym (Koh Phangan Muay Thai & Fitness), and a ton of cafes. It’s internet connection isn’t the fastest on the list, but it’s more than ample at almost 21mbps download.

Plumeria Best Wifi Internet In Koh Phangan Speed Test for Digital Nomads

Best Internet: Jacqueline’s AirBnB

Get $40 off your first AirBnb by clicking here

jacquelines-airbnb-koh-phangan-best-places-to-live

This was my #2 pick behind Plumeria because it was a full house with kitchen, steps away from an incredible beach, with access to Phangan Resort’s restaurant and pool next door. The decor was a outdated and had little natural light, which is a dealbreaker for me.

Jacquline Airbnb Best Wifi Internet In Koh Phangan Speed Test for Digital Nomads

Best View: Viewpoint Cafe and Apartments

The Room at Viewpoint Apartments: Best Places to Live in Koh Phangan

Viewpoint Apartment: Best Places to Live in Koh Phangan As a Digital Nomad
The view from a studio apartment at Viewpoint Apartments in Koh Phangan

These studio apartments had solid decor and an amazing view of the ocean. They quoted me at 7000 tbh per week ($30 USD per day), which seemed reasonable for the quality, however the downside of the hillside view is that it wasn’t close to much and the drive was treacherous.

Viewpoint Cafe Best Wifi Internet In Koh Phangan Speed Test for Digital Nomads

Sarana Bungalows

Sarana Bungalows were nice enough, just not my favorite and internet speeds were lacking.

Sarana Bungalows Best Wifi Internet In Koh Phangan Speed Test for Digital Nomads

Bubba’s Guesthouse

These are the guest rooms that are directly above Bubba’s Cafe. Internet was better in the rooms than in the actual cafe…and you get a free cup of coffee every day if you stay there. The rooms were pretty bare though and didn’t have desks, and the internet in the cafe below was pretty weak.

Bubba's Cafe Bungalows Best Wifi Internet In Koh Phangan Speed Test for Digital Nomads

Phangan Arena

A party hostel with solid internet? Yeah, I was surprised as well. I stayed here my first night just because it was cheap while I looked for my longer-term home. The rooms were like prison cells without windows, however the pool and social scene is really why people go there.

Phangan Arena Best Wifi Internet In Koh Phangan Speed Test for Digital Nomads

Mangrove Villa

Nice, but poor internet.

How did I test the wifi speeds in Koh Phangan?

I tested the speeds using Speedtest by Ookla iOS app. I strongly recommend this app as well as the desktop version as speedtest.net.

Best Wifi in Koh Phangan for Digital Nomads

plumeria-koh-phangan-airbnb-2

Always a scary thing to show up in a new place not knowing if internet the internet will be strong enough for you to sustain your digital nomad living. To help the cause, I’ve decided to run speed tests everywhere I go so you know what’s good. Here’s a compilation of everywhere I went in my 10 days in Koh Phangan, Thailand.

Is there fast wifi in Koh Phangan?

Yes, it turns out there is. Many of the cafes and restaurants were getting >20 Mb/s download and >20 Mb/s upload.

As a rule of thumb, you want at least 5 Mb/s upload and download for basic functions like email, but even those speeds are pretty miserable.

 

Best Cafes and Restaurants to Work From in Koh Phangan

Pretty much every day, I’d just drive to cafes because it was so much cheaper than going to co-working spaces – and food/drink was included. The go-to area is by Thong Sala pier, which is where Dots, Doppio, The Port, and Nira’s are all within two blocks of one another.

My #1 Pick: Nira’s Bakery and Cafe

Huge fan of this place because of the menu. Great snacks and full meals. I highly recommend the granola yogurt bowl or the banana pancakes with honey – both for less than 100 tbh. Lot of great seating options too.

niras-bakery-cafe-best-wifi-internet-in-koh-phangan-speed-test

My #2 Pick: Dots Cafe

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Dots’ ambience and decor was my favorite. If it wasn’t for its limited food menu, it would have been #1. The internet wasn’t the fastest compared to other cafes, but it’s more than enough for most activities.

Dots Cafe Best Wifi Internet in Koh Phangan for Digital Nomads

Fastest Internet: Southway Coffee Bar

Doppio Cafe

Really close to Nira’s and Dots, so just hop between them.

The Port Coffee Bar

Really close to Nira’s and Dots as well, so just hop between them.

The Port Coffee Bar Best Wifi Internet in Koh Phangan Thailand For Digital Nomads Speed Test

Bubba’s Cafe

Poor internet in the actual cafe based on the speed test, but amazing food.

Bubba's Cafe Best Wifi Internet In Koh Phangan Speed Test for Digital Nomads

A’s Deli

This place had a pretty solid burger.

as-deli-best-wifi-internet-in-koh-phangan-speed-test

Chill Up Restaurant

Meh…not a great place to work.

Infinity Beach Club

Beautiful pool and view with surprisingly strong internet.

Coworking Spaces

To be honest, I didn’t even work at any of the co-working spaces because the prices were much greater than just eating and drinking at cafes. I was only on the island for 10 days so if you did a monthly pass, the costs may be worth it to you, or if you just want to meet people – although I was able to do that at cafes as well.

How did I test the wifi speeds in Koh Phangan?

I tested the speeds using Speedtest by Ookla iOS app. I strongly recommend this app as well as the desktop version as speedtest.net.

Digital Nomad Packing List

New to traveling the world and/or digital nomad life? Here’s a list of useful things you should take with you on your journeys – most of which are light and compact so you can fit it all in one carry-on suitcase.

Water Bottle: Vapur 1L Collapsible Water Bottle w/ Carabiner)


Best Water Bottle: Vapur 1l Collapsible Water Bottle Digital Nomad Packing List

The Vapur collapisible water bottle is one of my favorite purchases. It saves me money and the planet. It’s the perfect water bottle for world travel due to it’s lightweight, compact design and carabiner for attaching to your backpack when it’s in use.

Towel: Sunland Microfiber Towel

At some point, you’re going to end up in a hostel without a towel. Be prepared with this fast-drying, compact microfiber towel from Sunland. It’s inexpensive, won’t take up much space, and dries fast so it won’t get moldy.

 

World Power Adapter: LOOP World Adapter Plug, w/ Dual USB Charging Ports

Definitely something else you’re going to need…a world power adapter with USB ports. I got this one from LOOP due to it’s affordable pricepoint, surge protection, and dual USB ports.

Upsell: If you’re willing to spend a bit more, my friends recommend the SKROSS Pro-World Travel Adaptor Plus USB (White).

Travel Pillow: TravelMate Memory Foam Neck Pillow

Another digital nomad packing essential is the a good neck pillow. This TravelMate one is low price and one of Amazon’s Best Sellers.

Bluetooth Speaker: JBL Clip 2 Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker

Compact, waterproof, and made by JBL, my bluetooth speaker of choice is the JBL Clip 2 Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker.

Dry Bag: Earth Pak 10L Waterproof Dry Bag With Waterproof Phone Case

Chances are you’re going to end up scuba diving, going to the beach/pool, or simply getting caught in the rain. That’s why you need a Dry Bag: Earth Pak 10L Waterproof Dry Bag With Waterproof Phone Case. I use it as my every day carry bag in Southeast Asia because during rainy season, you just never know when it’s going to start downpouring. This 10L model will fit a 13″ inch Macbook laptop along with a charger, world adapter, and more; or if you’re heading to the beach, it’ll perfectly fit sandals, a shirt, phone, keys, and more.

Luggage / Backpack: Osprey Travel Backpack Bag, 46L

Advice for nomads, don’t take more than a carry-on. Sounds crazy, I know. A fellow nomad told me the same thing before I left, and I ignored them…and I regretted it. Invest in a great backpack that also works as carry-on luggage. I recommend the Osprey 46L Travel Backpack. Then also take a personal item, aka a smaller backpack or purse or whatever you like to carry your laptop around in (although I typically just use my dry bag).

External Battery: Mophie Powerstation 8X USB External Battery

Because when you’re on the road alone in countries that speak another language, you really don’t want your phone to die. Really any external battery will do, but Mophie is just well-known.

Phone Cables: Aonlink iPhone Charging Cable (3-pack – 3, 6, and 10ft)

You’re going to want more than one iphone charging cables in case you lose one or if you’re just lazy like me and hate having to unplug the one next to your bed to take to the coffee shop, and having multiple lengths is just nice. If you have an Android, here’s some for you.

Headphones: Urbanears Zinken On-Ear DJ Headphones


Call me old fashioned, but I’m still into wired headphones (mainly because I’m a DJ and DJs can’t use wireless). By far my favorite on-ear DJ headphones are Urbanears Zinken. They sound great, look clean, come in a bunch of colors, have a reversible 1/4 -> 1/8 cord (DJs will understand), and allow your friends to plugin to them so you both can listen to the same thing.

Wireless On-Ear: If you’re into wireless, you can’t go wrong with Bose QuietComfort 35 On-Ear Noise Cancelling Headphones  or Bose QuietComfort 20 Earbuds. If you want something with a bit more swagger, I’d go with B&O Play H4 Wireless Over-Ear Headphones.

Wireless Earbuds: If you’re into working out and general compactness, I’d go with the Jaybird X3 wireless earbuds

Clothes

This is up to you, I’d just recommend bring less than you think you need. To keep things simple, I only packed black and white clothes so that everything would match (and because I’m from NYC and that’s really all I owned). Within that stipulation, I then brought a handful of t-shirts and tanks, 3 pairs of athletic shorts (I recommend Nike running shorts with a back zipper pocket for money/keys because they pack small and also double as swimsuits), one pair of jeans, one pair of jorts, one sweatshirt, one pair of running shoes, one pair of Chacos Sandals, one pair of Adidas Adilette slide sandals (what I wear 90% of the time in Southeast Asia), one hat, one sport watch, a gold chain (necessary), and a bolo tie (also v necessary).

The biggest regret I have is not bringing more workout clothes since that’s really what needs washed after each wear. Then again, I hardly worked out before I left so who knew?

Other Stuff

Then there’s bathroom stuff, a laptop and its accessories, so on and so forth, but I figured you’d know that already.

 

Best Wifi Internet in Koh Tao, Thailand for Digital Nomads

Koh Phangan Digital Nomad Review

What’s the #1 most important concern of every digital nomad? Fast wifi internet! For those of you coming to Sairee Beach in Koh Tao (also spelled Ko Tao, I don’t know which one is right), Thailand, I figured I’d make your life a little easier and list the speed tests for the places I visited with the best wifi internet in Koh Tao. Sadly, I spent most of my time in the ocean getting scuba certified with Simple Life Divers so the list isn’t very long.

Is there fast wifi in Ko Tao?

Yes, it turns out there is. Many of the cafes and restaurants were getting ~20 Mb/s download and ~10 Mb/s upload.

As a rule of thumb, you want at least 5 Mb/s upload and download for basic functions like email, but even those speeds are pretty miserable.

How did I test the wifi speeds in Koh Tao?

I tested the speeds using Speedtest by Ookla iOS app. I strongly recommend this app as well as the desktop version as speedtest.net.

Places With Best Wifi Internet in Koh Tao, Thailand (Sairee Beach)

In Touch Resort Restaurant (Map)

Download: 23.02 Mb/s
Upload: 12.14 Mb/s

In Touch Resort Cafe Best Wifi Speed Test Koh Tao Digital Nomad

AC2 Resort Restaurant (Map)

Download: 18.87 Mb/s
Upload: 9.03 Mb/s

AC2 Resort Restaurant Best Wifi Speed Test Koh Tao Digital Nomad

Simple Life Divers (Map)

This first wifi speed test was taken from one of the fan rooms at Simple Life Dive Shop (not their resort, nor restaurant, not any public space near it). As you can see, it’s not good.

Download: 4.29 Mb/s
Upload: 0.70 Mb/s

Simple Life Dive Shop Room Best Wifi Speed Test Koh Tao Digital Nomad

Ban’s Restaurant (Map)

Just across from Ban’s Diving Resort is it’s very own restaurant called Ban’s Restaurant, which also contains their Fishbowl Bar. While its upstairs was probably the prettiest workspace, it’s internet wasn’t so fresh.

Download: 1.80 Mb/s
Upload: 0.75 Mb/s

Bans Restaurant Best Wifi Speed Test Koh Tao Digital Nomad