Why Koh Phangan Is a Treasured Remote Worker Hub
©photo by Philipp Meier
By Philipp Meier
From party hotspot and spiritism retreat to eco-haven and freelance hub – Koh Phangan has lived many lives.
These days, the place bristles with digital nomads. Whether in the laid-back northwest or busy southeast, Koh Phangan coworking energy is palpable across the island.
But what is it about this modern-day hippie sanctuary that appeals to remote workers? Chilled-out vibes, dream beaches, and desirable weather aside – here’s why you’ll want to become part of Koh Phangan’s freelancer community.
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The Cafes – Ideal for Koh Phangan Remote Work
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Cafes are not the first things that spring to mind when you think of Koh Phangan, but you’d be surprised. Snuggled into coconut forests or steps away from palm-fringed beaches, like Bubba’s Coffee with its avocado spreads and organic, locally sourced bread – these health-conscious takes on coffee and tea consumption are popular with the freelancer community for a reason. Srithanu’s Over the Moon Cafe scores with a cozy atmosphere and quality Thai coffee. To cater to the Koh Phangan digital nomad clientele, Bubba’s also offers freelancer tools like free drinking water, speedy wifi, and heart-warming coffee foam art.
Is that too much of a distraction? Worry not. From Haad Rin’s Harbour Cafe and Baan Tai’s Hundred Islands Coffee to Thong Sala’s Doppio Cafe, you’re spoiled for beans and brunches.
The Coworking Spaces Geared to the Koh Phangan Entrepreneur
Photo by Raman, Unsplash
Given the influx of the freelancer community, it’s no surprise that the Koh Phangan digital nomad can find coworking spaces galore. A prime example of a productive work environment is Koh Space. Practically situated in Baan Tai between Haad Rin and Thong Sala, Koh Space provides an air-conditioned office setting with a conference room and decent workspace to foster Koh Phangan coworking.
Keen to make friends and possibly find Koh Phangan freelance work? Sit down in the lounge. You can also catch some rays in the garden and chat with people about everything under the sun. Built-in business utilities and freelancer tools like wifi working at lightning speed, plus complimentary water and bean juice are available.
While Koh Space was probably the first official coworking space, the Koh Phangan entrepreneur loves Beachub just as much. This beachfront living and Koh Phangan coworking space is a mere step away from Zen Beach, where people can let their hair down. Anything goes, whether they sport a just-out-of-bed look, dreadlocks, or carefully combed hair disheveled by the cozy sea breeze.
Don’t want to catch the scent of salty sea air while you get some Koh Phangan remote work done? You can also get Koh Phangan freelance work done at Remote & Digital Coworking at Sunset Hill, a breezy resort offering panoramic sea views and freelancer tools like printers, phone booths, and a fast internet connection. And then there’s the NINJA Community, La Casa, Baan Jai Dee and the Secret Place. In a coconut shell, you will find a corner that suits your Koh Phangan digital nomad lifestyle.
The Internet Availability for the Koh Phangan Entrepreneur
Photo by Alexandra Smielova, Unsplash
You can bash out Koh Phangan freelance work virtually anywhere on the island; the internet connection at cafes and Koh Phangan coworking spaces is reliable. And a robust 4G data signal is readily available regardless of wifi speed. Using your phone’s hotspot, you can work on the beach, plant your toes firmly in soft white sands, and soak up the sun as sea foam clusters.
Need a sim card rather than Koh Phangan coworking? Get one at the airport or 7ELEVEN, Family Mart, and other convenience stores. Unlimited data packages from AIS cost anything between 400 baht ($11.55) and 1,700 baht ($49). If you rent a house, you may also buy a wifi router and have your own Internet connection, payable monthly. Many providers offer free ADSL modems.
The Low Cost of Living for the Koh Phangan Digital Nomad
©photo by Philipp Meier
While not as wallet-friendly as Pai, Lampang, or Nakhon Ratchasima, Koh Phangan is still pretty affordable if you know how to stretch your dollar. Even before arriving, you can save money. Rather than flying to Koh Samui, it pays to ride a bus or train to Surat Thani and then jump on a ferry to Koh Phangan. That way, you need to do less Koh Phangan freelance work to enjoy the remote tribe life.
As a Koh Phangan digital nomad, you can rent a scooter for 250 baht ($7.20) per day. Cheaper rates are available if you want that minibike for a month.
Hostels cost little in the off-season, and bamboo bungalows are generally rock-bottom cheap. Need to know what they’re like? I’ve shared my experience of staying in a traditional bamboo hut on Koh Phangan here. You can also read How to Survive 3 Months in a Bamboo Shack or Reasons Why a Bamboo Hut Is for You for some inspiration.
As for grub, the freelancer community meets at night markets, where tantalizing aromas of barbecue chicken tickle your taste buds. Thong Sala’s Phanthip Night Food Market is open daily. In this area near the main pier, street food vendors offer noodle soups for 50 baht ($1.45). They’re also happy to season your day for a pittance, serving spicy tom yam kung soups or som tam, tangy papaya salad.
Don’t want to spit fire after your meal? One of the invaluable freelancer tools, saying “Mai aow prik” (I don’t want any chili) does wonders.
Networking Events for the Freelancer Community
Photo by Brooke Cagle, Unsplash
Coworking events like the “nomads get work done mastermind” by the Limitless Nomads in 2019 are an excellent opportunity to mix with other people. Pop round, and you may find a Koh Phangan entrepreneur to work with. And now that Covid is about to get the fudge out of here, there’ll likely be more events soon.
Also, you may want to join Facebook groups for the Koh Phangan entrepreneur like this one or this one – great freelancer tools besides a reliable Internet connection. And Brian Gruber runs write nights, where expats may help you find Koh Phangan remote work.
Still wondering where to find Koh Phangan remote work? Head to Zen Beach an hour or so before sunset. Dreadheads meet here daily, playing the drums as the droning sound of a didgeridoo grabs everyone’s attention. If you get lucky, one of these contemporary kind-of-hippies can tip you off to someone offering Koh Phangan freelance work.
©photo by Philipp Meier
Whether you type away listening to small waves lapping ashore or edit some images on a sunset hill – Koh Phangan remote work takes location-independence up a notch.
©photo by Philipp Meier
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Philipp Meier is a Phuket-based travel writer passionate about Thai culture and wandering off the well-trodden tourist trail. His work has been published on the South China Morning Post, Culture Trip, BootsnAll, GoNOMAD, Bookaway, among others. You can find him at Writer Philipp Meier and on Linkedin.