I admit it. I like sitting in beautiful cafés all day long! Especially if I am lucky enough to grab one of the comfy chairs with a big fluffy pillow. Yep, I feel inspired by the vibe and creativity my favourite cafés radiate with. I like to see people come and go and the smell of freshly brewed coffee. And I do like my change of scenery. Staring at the same office walls is boooring!
Since I started working location independent in November 2014, it has been an exciting journey but nevertheless it’s been challenging too. Sometimes cafés can be distracting and unproductive because of all the many people or the coffee house music blaring all day long. Visiting a coworking space ideally combines the best elements of a café with a professional and functional work environment.
Whether or not you want to say goodbye to working in cafés entirely (I probably never will) I think it’s time to try out a coworking space. There are certainly some cool ones around in Southeast Asia and they prove that productive work environments don’t need to have white walls but can be social, fun and energetic.
What is a coworking space?
A coworking space is a shared office-like environment where people from several companies or independent professionals work alongside. Coworking is a great alternative if you don’t want to work in isolation or with all the distractions at home.
It is a flexible option especially for people with new types of work who don’t know the 9 to 5, like those who work entirely online or digital nomads.
A coworking space provides people with a productive environment and a great network with an inspiring, like-minded community. Expanding your personal and business networks is just one of the many benefits which is especially important for start-ups, small companies, entrepreneurs, bloggers or freelancers who work remotely.
I have seen coworking spaces in different sizes and settings, in galleries, living rooms, libraries and cafés. Even larger companies have now started to experiment with coworking, especially in the US and the wave is slowly swapping over to Europe and Asia.
What makes a good coworking space?
A good coworking space is ideally located in an accessible location (close to public transport) and needs to be affordable or in other words: offer quality for the price. By this I mean the space has comfortable chairs and a good number of proper office tables with enough power plugs for all devices. Also I like to have enough space so I don’t have to snuggle with my neighbour.
I like spaces with enough natural light and outdoor areas to breathe some fresh air between work sessions. Sometimes it gets quite noisy in cafés so I often work with headphones on. A good coworking space should have quite areas in order to stay focused and be able to concentrate on difficult tasks.
A seperate common area to talk to other people is vital for a good coworking space. Most spaces also offer free water and an option to get a great coffee or make one yourself! Equally important is the close proximity to get food and snacks as I don’t like walking very far in the afternoon heat.
Since I love living in warmer climates the coworking space needs to have at least good fans and most of the time I would also love a properly working air conditioning (especially useful here in Thailand).
Most important of all: working high-speed Internet! This may be obvious but I have seen spaces where the Internet has been quite temperamental especially when many people are on it. I like to do a speedtest before signing up for something, especially in newly opened spaces as things are sometimes not fully developed or tested yet which is probably rather the case in Southeast Asia than it is in the US.
Why should you consider coworking in Bangkok?
Bangkok is without a doubt one of the major hubs in Southeast Asia. You can get to different places so quickly (and cheaply). Additionally to a great infrastructure, you have all the conveniences you could possibly need: shopping centers, international brands, vibrant nightlight, sunny climate, great food and multicultural people. And it’s affordable!
Bangkok is fantastic to explore as a traveller as well staying around for longer to make connections with other digital nomads. So it is no surprise that there has been a new wave of co-working spaces throughout the city. Many spaces are located in the trendy Thonglor/Ekkamai area but can be found in other parts of the city too.
These are the most popular coworking spaces to check out on your next visit to Bangkok:
You will find a map with all the locations at the end of this post.
Probably the most famous coworking space in the city and also one of the pioneers in Bangkok. Set in a large house, this space is made for freelancers and startup entrepreneurs and has a cool vibe with friendly people.
No matter if you are a techie or creative person, there is a big community and you can participate in weekly events such as workshops, talks or meetups. The great plus is the green garden and they even have a trampoline. Free coffee, tea and water – yay!
Price: 250 THB/day or 4,650 THB/month.
Address: 19 Soi Ekkamai 4, Sukhumvit 63 Road; close to BTS Ekkamai.
It all began in Hong Kong where The Hive is headquartered and already has 3 established spaces. The new space in Bangkok has an impressive 5 floors with everything from foot massage to meeting rooms, a restaurant and a roof terrace. Starbucks is across the road too, if you have a craving for their coffee.
The space is designed with large windows allowing plenty of natural light and has a really stylish interior design. There are various flexible memberships you can sign up for.
Price: 300 THB/day or 2,800 THB/month for a part-time membership.
Address: 46/9 Soi Sukhumvit 49, Wattana District; close to BTS Thong Lo.
Pah is just around the corner from The Hive and has only been open since March 2014. The space welcomes especially creative and design professionals as they provide professional drafting tables as well as a small photography studio.
You can even drop off your dog (if you have one) at the dog playground before you get to work. If you need a pause, there are punching bags, a ping pong table and also a cotton candy machine.
Price: 260 THB/day or 4,650 THB/month.
Address: 40/1 Ekkamai 4, Sukhumvit 63 Rd, close to BTS Ekkamai.
Ma:D is the first hub for social entrepreneurs in Thailand. It was co-founded by a 26 year old woman called Gift who heard about social entrepreneurship for the first time while studying economics.
If you are interested in issues related to social improvement, this is the space you can come to work, network and exchange ideas. They work in cooperation with Hubba and Pah Space so you can use their facilities too.
Price: 265 THB/day or 4,650 THB/month.
Address: 42/3 Soi Ekkamai 4 (Passana 2) Sukhumvit 63 Rd; close to BTS Ekkamai.
This space is located in Sukhumvit, a very vivid area of Bangkok and it’s set up as a share-house with dormitory rooms for international tech and creative entrepreneurs and startups focusing on the Southeast Asian market.
They have a small co-working space with 8 seats and free wifi attached which is open to residents.
Price: starts from 8,000 THB/month in a dormitory room, includes access to the co-working space.
Address: Baan Chicha Castle 199/17, Sukhumvit Soi 31; close to Phetchaburi MRT.
Casa Lapin and Oneday on Sukhumvit Soi 26 is a mix of a co-working space, boutique hostel, coffee shop and restaurant. The stylish loft style interior and big windows give the restaurant a spacey feel and there is an outdoor area on the second floor.
Attached is the Oneday Hostel offering dorm-style and private en-suite accommodation. Just next door is the coworking space which provides a nice working atmosphere for freelancers with individual desks, group tables and a meeting room. Open 24 hours.
Price: 350 THB/day or 6,900 THB/month, there are combination offers for accommodation & coworking as well as long-term rates.
Address: 51 Sukhumvit Soi 26, Khlong Toei; close to BTS Phrom Phong station.
Klinque Desk is situated in the heart of Bangkok’s CBD and combines a smaller coworking space with private offices. Their interior is bright yellow which makes up for the lack of natural light and they offer flexible options from furnished offices, hot desks for daily use, virtual office services and meeting spaces.
Price: 250 THB/day, monthly rates upon request.
Address: 94 Soi Sukhumvit 23 (Prasarnmitr), Sukhumvit Rd., Klongtoey Nua, close to BTS Asoke.
Get productive at ThirdPlace which attempts to bring home and work together. This casual place is made for freelancers and startups, offering a mix of desk and sofa seating as well as featuring an art gallery and hosting workshops about the art of coffee making. There is a rooftop bar to enjoy the city views while offering discounts on food and drink.
Price: 300 THB/day or 4,500 THB/month.
Address: 137-137/1 Sukhumvit 63 (Thonglor 10), North-Klongton, close to BTS Asoke.
A huge space set conveniently in the central business district of Bangkok close to all the action. There is plenty of space fitted with large desks, bean bags, couches as well as meeting rooms and private offices. The huge glass front makes the space very light.
There is a game room and just outside the coworking space is a nice café. Launchpad offers student discounts if you show your ID as well as after work promotions starting from 5pm!
Price: 320 THB/day or 7,500 THB/month for a fixed desk.
Address: 139 Pan Road, Sethiwan Tower, Silom; close to BTS Surasak.
When in Bangkok, I also like working from one of the many cafés too. But remember Starbucks for example doesn’t offer free wifi in Thailand so always check before you sit down if internet is available for free or with your coffee purchase.
The True Coffee at Siam Paragon Mall is quite a nice café to work from. True is a Thai phone provider that also has established coffee shops around the country. Some can be quite large depending on the location, just check the website to find a coffee shop near you.
The True Coffee at Siam Paragon offers large computer screens you can use for free and they have an array of technical equipment you can check out or buy. The only downside is that you have to buy a new drink every couple of hours as the wifi connection needs to be renewed with a code you receive upon your purchase.
I also found this website very helpful to find cafés around Bangkok. Although it provides a huge list of cafés, it’s not always accurate as things change quickly and I tend to put the name of the café through Google search or Tripadvisor to see some recent reviews.
Another growing trend is combining coworking spaces with accommodation. Especially in a city like Bangkok where many people stopover for a few days where traffic to get around is pretty awful, it makes sense to offer a combination of both in one space to safe you the hassle and time of travelling through the whole city.
When I visited Bangkok in November last year while training to gain solid skills in web design I stayed in a wonderful place called iSanook, a brand new residence that combines a modern hotel with a long-term residence. They have good wifi all throughout, a nice pool with sundeck, gym and rooftop terrace overlooking Bangkok (there is also a jacuzzi!), so pretty much everything you could wish for. And you could be working with a view like this:
The rooms are spotlessly clean with plenty of light and you get a big desk too which was perfect to complete my webdesign projects. There is also a communal kitchen so you can do some cooking or just eat at the restaurant on the 6th floor while taking in the city views.
iSanook has different types of studios and deluxe rooms and I felt very much safe and comfortable again on my second visit to Bangkok in February. And I will definitely be back at this place!
If you decide to stay for a few weeks or even months, iSanook offers some great promotions on long-term rentals which you can find out by getting in touch with them directly.
What I like a lot about this place is the location as it is set in a local neighbourhood and therefore it is very quite which is surprising in a massive metropolis like Bangkok. Consequently, prices in the area are affordable with a great food street called Rama IX just around the corner. Chinatown and the Chao Phraya River with the boat pier is really close.
And you can also reach the financial skyscraper-heavy area of Silom, the party scene around Sukhumvit or fancy Siam Paragon Mall and the MBK with a short tuk-tuk ride which is provided for free by the hotel throughout the day!