Staying Connected on the Road: Southeast Asia

We travel with laptops and we work on the road. For us, that means a constant search for internet connections, and when available, free wifi (wireless internet). Wifi is a much better alternative to being squished into an internet café, surrounded by hyper kids amped up with violent video games. Here are some of the wifi alternatives that we’ve stumbled upon while bouncing around Southeast Asia:

WiFi Sign - Tbilisi, Georgia
Free wifi. Always a sign we’re happy to see.

This list of locations offering free wireless internet (or wifi) and ADSL is by no means exhaustive or complete.

Thailand

Bangkok

Oh my Cod!: located in the Rambuttri Village complex in Bamlamphu. Good fish and chips and a fast connection.
Renee’s: located on a street parallel to Khao San road. A pleasant garden setting with decent internet speeds and good breakfasts. Staff can be a bit prickly and you’ll have to convince them, each and every time you visit, that they have wifi and the latest password can be found scrawled on a scrap piece of paper by the cash register.

List of wifi spots in Bangkok and other parts of Thailand here.

Patong, Phuket

  • Ferb Guesthouse: ADSL in the room, with a fast, reliable connection. Many guesthouses in the area advertise free wifi, but many times that means weak and fickle wifi connections in the lobby. 800 BHT/night.
  • Cafes and Restaurants: many places around Patong advertise free wifi for customers. Since we had the connection in our hotel room, we didn’t make use of these services but they are there if you look.

Krabi

Good Dream Guesthouse: free wifi in the lobby and (most) rooms (#3&4 are best). Rooms are reasonably priced at 200-400 BHT. Good food, too.
Email: krabidream@gmail.com
Tel: 075 622993
Update: Another router has been installed at Good Dreams, so all the A/C rooms get a signal now. We spent another few weeks working away there in February 2008.

Vietnam

Hanoi

  • Sunflower Hotel: located right next to St. Joseph’s Cathedral in a nice part of Hanoi’s Old Town. $13/night for a room with an ADSL connection inside the room. Address: 22 Au Trieu Street, Hanoi; Tel: +84 (04) 9288064-65; Email: sunflowertravel@vnn.vn
  • Smile Café: located near the Temple of Literature, Smile Café offers tasty Vietnamese and western food, friendly service – and proceeds help a good social cause. It’s part of the Hoa Sua School - profits go to support hospitality training for disadvantaged youth. Address: 5 Van Mieu Street, Hanoi

Hoi An

Hai’s Scout Café: surf the internet in the garden while enjoying Hoi An’s food specialties. Address: 98 D Nguyen Thai Hoc

Saigon

  • Nymph Hotel: located near Ben Thanh market, Nymph hotel sits on top of a tailor shop in a great neighborhood. $15/night for a room with an ADSL connection. Good internet speeds, nice room, fun neighborhood, highly recommended. Address: 38 Nguyen An Ninh, Ben Thanh, Ho Chi Minh City, Q1, Tel: +84 (08) 8247561, Email: pkcvn@hcm.vnn.vn
  • Highland Coffee, Juice Bar, and other cafes: Saigon has many cafes and restaurants offering free wifi to customers. The cost of the food will be more than if you were eating on the street, but it’s worth the extra expense to get several hours of good connectivity in an air conditioned and pleasant environment.

Cambodia

Siem Reap

  • Two Dragons Guesthouse – located on the opposite side of the river from the main market on Wat Bo road. Wifi is available throughout the guesthouse and restaurant, although it does cut out and is painfully slow at times. Rooms with a fan cost $8-$10 per night, with A/C $18.
  • Blue Pumpkin –western style restaurant and café near the main market with an air conditioned room upstairs set up with wifi and copious plugs for people to connect their laptops. Good food, fast connection and no pressure from staff to get you out of there when your meal or drink is finished.
  • Figo – another café advertising free wifi for customers. Fast speeds and available plugs, although the food is spendy and portions are tiny. Stick to drinks.
  • Singing Tree Café : it’s not the best location for wifi as speeds were pretty slow and there weren’t many plugs available, but the food and garden atmosphere more than make up for it.

Updates from our Southeast Asia visit in January/February 2008:

Malaysia

Georgetown, Penang

Banana Guesthouse: Don’t be scared off by the name – it’s a legit place to stay. Free wifi in lobby and rooms. If you’re going to be working in your room, splurge for the A/C. It can get steamy otherwise. Rooms (without bathroom): 25-55 RM

Kuala Lumpur

Pujangga Homestay: Free wifi in the rooms and comfortable sitting area. Nice guys who run the place – ask them to take you to the amazing laksa (Malaysian coconut milk soup) around the corner. Rooms (without bathroom): 70 RM

Note: Just keep your eyes open as you walk around Kuala Lumpur – there are free wifi opportunities in cafes, restaurants, shopping centers.

Melaka

Kota Lodge: We found this place by chance; or more like, the place found us at the bus station. Good location – right near the old town, but on a quiet back street. They have a wifi router, but you occasionally have to turn it back on when the thrifty caretaker is on service. We negotiated a rate of 40 RM/night for an A/C double room with bathroom. Address: 26A, Jalan Kota Laksamana 3, Taman Melaka 75200

Singapore

Garden Guesthouse: This guesthouse is really a series of apartments near the Botanical Gardens. The main apartment has free wifi organized by the guesthouse. If you’re in one of the other units, just get onto one of the unsecured networks in the building. Price: 52 SGD for a double room.
Address: 10 Taman Serasi #01-10, Singapore, email: tinateo_properties@yahoo.com.sg

Wifi is anywhere and everywhere in Singapore.

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Comments

  1. says

    Hello,
    Honest explanations and prices, I appreciate when people explain reality, I find very few people actually work on their computer, more just play.
    Thanks

    I continuosly search for places to work on my site around the world also, and this was nice to read from another person who understands, not all WIFI works.
    [duplicate link/content removed]

  2. says

    Andy: You are so right – not all wifi is created equal! We’ll be updating this Southeast Asia list with entries from Malaysia and we’ll be adding a China wifi list later. Good luck with your work on the road!

  3. Chris says

    Thanks for the tips. Just left Kuala Lumpur where the whole city is wired for free wifi. Somewhat annoying after having paid for wifi as an extra on my advance hotel booking! Now I know your site I will endeavor to update you of hotspots as I continue through my travels in the region.
    Cheers

  4. says

    Chris: Yes, please let us know of your hotspot discoveries in the region – it will not only help other travelers, but we never know when we’ll be returning to the region. Your comment reminded me that I should update this list with details from our 2nd Southeast Asia visit (Malaysia and Singapore).

    I am not sure if China is on your itinerary, but we will shortly post the next installment in this series: Staying Connected in China.

    Good luck with your travels!

  5. says

    My wife and I are often struggling to find a good internet connection while we travel as well and this information will be quite helpful, thank you.

  6. Eisya Mus says

    Hi, I’ve been trying to call Nypmph Hotel but the operator said the no. is not in service. I even tried to email but there has been no reply. How can I get them? Any other contact nos.? Thank you.

  7. says

    @Eisya: Unfortunately, we don’t have any more contact numbers for them. We stayed there in early 2007 – perhaps Nymph Hotel has closed down since then. That would be a shame since it was a great deal and a great location. I’m sorry we can’t be of more help. If you do manage to get in touch and they are still in operation, please let us know!

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