15: Koh Lanta vs Koh Phangan for Digital Nomads & a Reality Check for Newbies with Guido and Marjet

Recorded on the island of Koh Phangan in Thailand’s south, today’s episode is a discussion on what it’s like to be a ‘tropical digital nomad’, living and working quite literally on the beach.

Guido and Marjet are really good friends of ours that we met during our time in Koh Lanta. An experienced developer and a translator, Guido and Marjet offer two very different perspectives on the location independent lifestyle and an important reality check for newbies.

Discussion Points

[1:31] Guido and Marjet attempt to ‘paint the picture’ of what it’s like to live and work on a tropical island
[5:58] How Guido convinced his employer (a large bank in the Netherlands) to allow him to work from Thailand (hint: it wasn’t hard) and why being a developer is probably the best career for working remotely.
[8:43] How Guido & Marjet easily became a part of the community of nomads on Koh Phangan and a comparison on Koh Phangan to other Thai DN hotspots, Koh Lanta and Chiang Mai.
[14:54] The beginnings of Guido & Marjet’s digital nomad journey and how Marjet transitioned from bartending to becoming a location independent translator.
[22:10] Guido and Marjet’s top tips for newbie digital nomads and the realities of living the digital nomad lifestyle

Links Mentioned

About the Author

Hi, I'm Chris. I'm a self-taught web developer, YouTuber, Blogger and Digital Nomad.

To find out more about me, check out the 'About page', the 'Hire Me' section of this website or connect on social media

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To read my full story on how I left my corporate career in Accounting to pursue Location Independence, check out my book 'How I Learned to Code'


    1. i’m just curious, is it a bit more difficult with the visa in thailand now? as opposed to last year or the year before.. I would be a bit nervous about trying to live there with always having to go in and out every 2 or 3 months.,

      basically, they want you to pay fees for a business visa or to just ‘not come’ to thailand if you don’t get the business visa. that is, if you want to start a business and work. It would be nice if they would start something like estonia has..

      what do you think of malaysia, you can get a 3 month visa, maybe on a visa run you can interview the hub in georgetown (penang island). be careful at night there, during the day it is ok. never had anything happen but things do happen.. cool architecture in georgetown..

      1. Yep. Visas are a bit of a pain. Denise and I just picked up a two-month tourist visa from the embassy here in Saigon. Was quite easy but yes, you can only extend it for a max duration of three months.

        Malaysia is easy when it comes to visas but has nowhere near the appeal of Thailand for me personally.

        1. Thanks for the podcast, Chris!
          You are doing a good job man showing people how they could work and live. I’m also a web developer and was at Ko Phangan back in 2014. It used to be a really tropical paradise – good weather, not busy and still enough options for western people.
          As long as Sagu started questioning about the visa, I wanted to add my five here. Basically, I heard a lot that Thai police makes regular raids to places where people might work. Although you don’t work for any local (Thai) company and your income is not from that country,
          they still consider you being working. Of course, most do that with tourist visa. What would be your comments to this matter? Maybe you could point me to the place where this topic is already covered quite elaborately? In any case, you are doing a nice job with this website and I’ll keep following you. Who knows we might meet some day in Amsterdam bar at Ko Phangan 😉

  1. Hi Chris, just listened and really liked the new format. Aaahhh Koh Phangan – been there many times.
    Q1. How do Guido and Marjet (and yourself for that matter) get on with visas? – or is it the usual visa run every 30-60 days?

    Q2. I’m of the older variety of nomad and finding it hard (read: lacking confidence!) to get work or make any money online, whilst blogging. I’ll admit I haven’t been to any of the ‘hubspots’ around town but I tend to think they’re probably more geared to a younger crowd pretty much.

    I have skills in graphics but at the wrong end so to speak (prepress), so I’m pretty tech-savvy but not a designer as such (but CAN design to a certain degree), interested in dropshipping (Shopify, Oberlo etc) but the hardest there seems to be more the marketing if anything, which I know bu**er all about really. (I’m having enough trouble getting punters to my current site, let alone an online shop ha!)

    I’m currently working on a ‘culture,lifestyle,travel’-style blog here in Chiang Mai – not making anything out of it at the moment but one day hopefully – I’m self-trained like yourself (when it comes to putting together my own sites anyway).

    So I guess my question is: Any tips?

    I’ve read (and listened to podcasts etc) extensively on a lot of the different possibilities out there for nomads but a lot of them seem like the usual snake-oil types whose incomes stem mainly from dumbasses like me buying their ebooks hah.

    Yours out of all (AND being an Aussie helps – I’m a Melb boy myself) seems to be the most believable and relatable! Keep up the great work mate!

    Cheers – Ian B.

    1. Q1: Yep. Guido & Marjet I believe are on the multi-entry and we were on the 30 day exemption but yes, maximum stay is 60 days (can be extended to 90 days)
      Q2: Yeah. There’s a lot of snakeoil being sold on the internet haha. It’s tough to be honest, at any age really but I’d say to look back on your life experience and look at what you’re good at and enjoy doing. Any of the digital skills can be learned but finding your motivation is highly personal. I’d start with that 🙂

  2. Koh Lipe nudges the Malaysian border and is smack bang in the middle of Tarutao national park. The day trips to outlying islands are spectacular – deserted islands with monkeys and crystal clear waters for snorkelling. Sunset beach has a mellow vibe and offers lazy days filled with snorkelling, and quiet nights under the stars. Bliss. eatthebeat123

  3. That was an awesome podcast Chris! It motivated me to go to one of the islands first before going to Chiang Mai. What is the living cost in Koh Phangan compared to Koh Lanta? Rent and food mostly?

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