Once known only for its Full Moon Parties and adventure seeking backpackers Koh Phangan, out of nowhere, made it to the top of the NomadList.com ranking. Thailand‘s government worked hard to turn Chiang Mai and Bangkok into digital nomad hubs, so the small island’s sudden debut is a welcomed surprise. A question remains: what led to this abrupt rise from party island to a top 10 remote working spot in the world?
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Companies fighting for their share of the digital nomad market have made the List a virtual boxing ring. To make it to the top is a big deal, like getting Park Avenue at Monopoly! Out of the nearly 30 categories that members can grade, 5 are crucial: the nomad score, internet, cost, fun and safety. Let’s go through each one to see if in fact Koh Phangan deserves such high praises.
About the Nomad Score:
This is the average of all the grades. Koh Phangan scored a 4.49 out of 5, higher than Chiang Mai’s 4.31 and Bangkok’s 4.34. It could be better but you can’t really walk anywhere, road safety is lousy at best and the long journey to make it here is tiring. However the island makes it up in other ways. Year round hot weather, zero traffic, fresh air, a mixed crowd and natural beauty are some of the gifts found in this paradise. On top of that, Thailand‘s acceptance of the LGBTQ+ is a model to follow.
The arrival of new coworking and coliving company named Cospace played a big part. In less than a year it already operates two properties on the island. La Casa Tropicana offers a next level chill vibe and a great view. Baan Jai Dee‘s pool will force you to rethink what a work break can be. Both places offer shared offices, coliving and food. It is working hard to raise remote working standards.
Many cafes around the island serve good coffee, comfy seats and free wifi access. However, you’ll most likely not get your best work done seating next to couples getting their brunch on. But at least you have plenty of options.
Internet in Koh Phangan:
The whole island is hooked up to fiber optic. As a result the internet here is really fast. Download speeds of up to 150mbps are all over. No need to worry about business calls dropping. As long as there are no power outages that is. It’s been much better lately, but happens once in a while. Don’t forget: it’s the middle of nowhere…
Cost of living:
Thailand is no longer a cheap country. It is cheaper than Europe or the US, but much more pricey than Myanmar or Cambodia. However with an average monthly cost of living being only $1059, it is a smart place to live in. This includes housing, food, coworking access and all the partying you can handle.
Safety on the island:
If you live in a big city, you know that certain areas are off limits. In Koh Phangan, people don’t even take the keys out of the contact on their scooters. It’s hard to explain how safe you feel here. Seems too good to be true? Check out the lost items posts on the facebook pages of all the big parties. Phones and wallets full of money make their way back to their owners often here. Safe and honest still exists, and it feels so good!
Fun in Koh Phangan:
This is where Nomadlist gets it wrong. The site’s grade for fun is just an okay!!! This is due to the fact that we all have our own kind of fun. There are no libraries, museums, or movie theaters here. Those needing McDonald’s, Subways or Hooters to survive should stay away. But if you are into beaches shaded by palm trees, start packing your bathing suit . Lovers of crystal clear waters to snorkel in will loose their minds. Activities of all kind will keep you so busy, you’ll need a day off to rest. Don’t forget delicious restaurants and an inviting local culture.
Finally when it comes to fun, Koh Phangan‘s parties are in a class of their own. No clubs here, only endless beach festivals. Consequently snobby VIP sections and bottle service do not exist. It’s what parties are meant to be. Leave your toe crushing high heel shoes at home. All you need are flip-flops and t-shirts. Sunrise doesn’t mean you go home, it’s just time for the after party . Don’t forget your sunscreen! Koh Phangan is where people with doctorates in fun go. Therefore to give anything short of totally freaking awesome in fun is highway robbery! Give credit where credit is due!!
Huge bonus: a vibrant wellness scene. Yoga centers, gyms, life coaches and vegan eateries across the island make sure to provide health conscious choices. At the end of the day when all the happy, healthy and productive people are done they all gather and marvel at the sunset on Zen Beach. Digital nomads, yogis, vegans and tantrists in perfect harmony living in peace.
In conclusion, Koh Phangan is a place that allows modern life to happen while keeping its authenticity. It deserves to be digital nomad hub and as a result will become an must go to spot. Discover it soon! It won’t be the remote working world’s worst kept secret much longer.