Now dont go to the north though, I'm talkign south of Buenos Aires and below that is a whole different story xD
It's something weird of Argentina as a country, 50% of the population lives only in the capital, Buenos Aires. The capital has always had a lot of power (they used to have access to the only port of the city, so they kept ALL the taxes money, while all other provinces received none and were not allowed to have a port).
So, only people in Buenos Aires were rich, everyone else was poor, what made the south "not poor" is the fact that basically nobody lived there (because of "La conquista del desierto" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conquest_of_the_Desert), people moved south from Buenos Aires to find new customers, find new oportunities and just avoid the "city life".
Also, the south is full of international tourism, cities like Bariloche are full of immigrants and a beautiful Apine-styled architecture, tourists and outsiders are treated quite nicely :)
The north on the other hand has a very native south american culture as there are a lot of immigrants from Bolivia and Peru which have a strong native south american lineage, people is closed-minded and isn't really used to outsiders.
If you want tango and city-life Buenos Aires is nice, but as all big cities it has bad parts and good parts :)
I was in Luhans'k, an industrial city with a college district, located near the eastern border with Russia. I worked remotely from a euro-style ($1200/mo) flat. It was 4 years ago.
I loved walking around the city in the snow, looking at shops and markets. The local tech scene was pretty much dead, at least for a foreigner who didn't speak the language. It might be as cheap as Thailand, but probably less accessible and fun. I have yet to visit Asia. I couldn't handle continuing to bootstrap there because of my isolation.
Edit: I think you'd have MUCH better luck in Kiev.
The West of Ukraine is more orientated to the European Union, than the East of Ukraine, which looks towards Russia and has a large ethnic Russian population.
My, albeit brief, experience in Lviv was that enough people spoke at least basic English enabling me to communicate. Knowing German also helped in many cases, as did learning at least the basics of Ukrainian for simple daily situations.
Housing is expensive, if you want something other than a badly fading Soviet era apartment on the edge of town. Food and entertainment is reasonably cheap.
It's bizarre to watch people, and see them as fundamentally different, separate, and other from you. The chasm is tough.
Now that my business is successful, my budget is closer to $1,500 a month and I'm living a great life in Thailand. I have some video tours of life in Thailand at http://www.JohnnyFD.com - my blog
you could merely survive for much less in thailand
Accordingly, I will go to Bangalore, then further south.
You can do well with 1000 eur/m per person tho.
For example, Google: living costs london cluj
(I was outsourced to Cluj, Transylvania in Romania. I recommend it. 250 Euro/month for a nice, central 50 m2 apartment. People are nice, it is safe. Different. Beautiful women. Mountains, but no sea. University city. The food is very good, but could be more international -- a few sushi places and one(!) Indian. If you want more info, add a comment and your email in your profile.)
If I had a choice personally, I'd go for Japan. For culture/food.
Therefore, I will make my corny joke: you don't want your software written in a place that sounds so similar to "kludge". :-)
Isn't that too expensive? I have no first hand knowledge, just what I read sometimes about it
Slowly things have improved for me as I have learnt to speak the local language, but deep-down I still feel like an outsider. I have a sneaking suspicion that this feeling never goes away, and I'm learning to just accept it.
Integration is hard. I imagine learning Thai is a much bigger challenge than a European learning French, German or Spanish for example.
Good luck to you I say!
1. Why it's cheaper over there?
2. What are the downsides and hidden pitfalls?
1. Bangkok is not cheap. If you want to have a life that resembles anything you're used to coming from a Western country, you're going to live in Bangkok and you're going to live in a relatively expensive part of the city.
Yes, you can live in a concrete block with plastic furniture and eat noodles on the street every day. You can probably get by for not much more than $1k doing so. When you can no longer stomach that, you'll find the city is quite expensive.
A decent apartment in a favorable part of town will cost you $1300 - $2000 per month. I don't mean a family-sized place, I mean a 1 bedroom with a "livable" amount of room and furniture that doesn't give you the willies.
Once you're sick of your local noodle vendor you'll find food prices quite high as well. My wife and I spend more on groceries than we did when we lived in SF (we shopped at the Safeway in the financial district). As for restaurants: We grabbed two meals outside yesterday. One was dim sum that came to about $30 for the two of us. The other was a tonkatsu place and the bill came to about $25. While that's probably cheaper than the US (for the same quality) that's hardly a meal for $1. We spend over $100 for a meal often. I don't know anyone (Thai or foreign) that would consider that overly expensive.
Wine and imported beer are expensive and the taxes are going up. American craft beer is going to go up to $10/bottle direct from the distributor. If you can stomach the local swill (think Budweiser without the quality control) knock yourself out.
When you're sick of taking taxis and the BTS/MRT, have fun buying a car at 50% - 300% above US prices.
2. Visas are not easy. If you really want to fake it here it means constantly traveling in and out of the country. The problem with that (beyond the fact that it usually means traveling to the least interesting parts of the surrounding countries) is that they limit it to a certain number of tourist visas for every six month period or something similar (I can't remember the actual rules, sorry).
The common way around this is to use a "visa service" which basically means you're paying someone to bribe someone to look the other way. It's not only illegal, the rules for it change seemingly month to month, based on whoever ends up in a position of power in what embassy.
To do it properly: a) register a business with the requisite capital and Thai shareholders, b) get the appropriate visa c) get a work permit. I've been through it. It's not cheap or easy.
To not do it properly means breaking the law in a country where you most likely don't speak the language. Have fun with that.
3. Sex isn't everywhere. My wife and I go out for drinks 1.5 times a month and I can't remember the last time I saw a prostitute. If you're going somewhere with a free flow of hookers then you're probably seeking that out. I see young people do this quite often -- the only difference between these young people and so-called "sexpats" is that young people often go "ironically". They're all equally as stupid.
4. The local talent pool is mixed. The entrepreneurs here are generally managers, not doers, so you're probably never going to find a technical co-founder. Programming/technical ability on the whole is quite low. Try browsing the website of any publicly traded Thai company and you'll see what I mean. It is possible to find good graphic designers, administrative types, etc. Salaries are low here so that could possibly be an advantage. Having said that, I know people who have built large tech companies (100+ employees) and the consensus is that the disadvantages here outweigh the advantages. Most people I know in tech here outsource to Eastern Europe or somewhere else.
Investors are hard to find and mostly unsophisticated in relation to tech. Tech-savvy ones do exist, but they generally buy companies outright and keep you on as a glorified project manager.
5. When you're ready to put down roots, you'll find doing things legally is an expensive pain in the ass and -- here's the kicker -- you'll have to give up 51% of your company to one or more Thai people. If it's not someone you've known for a decade then, well, good luck with that. Yes, there are ways around this but they require you to put your company in a legal gray area.
6. Inflation isn't rampant. Cost of living has gone up considerably on the scale of decades but it's pretty hard to notice in a few months.
Re: western food, I think it's obvious that if you're looking for Western products, you're going to pay more than in the West. You're not in the West after all! It's a bit spoiled to expect Western food to be the same price as in your home country. However, if you can assimilate, live, eat and drink like a local, you can live very cheap.
That's why I stayed in Chiang Mai. It has low rent, low cost of living, abundant nature and countless of coffee places to work from.
Re: sex workers, I don't know if you're in my age group (I am 27) so YMMV, but if you go clubbing in Bangkok or Chiang Mai, you will run into prostitutes. Everywhere.
The problem is that Thai taxes are high and there are price supports for farmers so their living standards can improve; they also aren't as mechanized than in the states.
Living in china, we are more worried about safe food than cheap food, not sure if Thailand has similar problems. 便宜没好货，好货不便宜 as they say.
We are a family of 3, EU citizens, living in Hua Hin (a resort town 200 km from Bangkok). The city is popular with upper class Thais who own a lot of holiday homes here and visit occasionally as well as with foreign families and pensioners. Plus, the king of Thailand lives here. So, no bustling sex industry or crazy night life here.
We spend around 2000 USD per month:
- 500 USD for 50 sqm, 1 bedroom apartment in a secure complex with olympic size swimming pool, fitness and community office.
- 400 USD for a very good international kindergarten, nursery level (3 yr. old)
- 100 USD for a driver who drives us to my son's kindergarten.
- 600 USD for groceries we buy in the supermarket. It would be cheaper to eat in local restaurants but we like to cook at home.
- 200 USD for education visas (1000 USD per person per year, kids don't need visas).
- 200 USD for travel health insurance (don't go without it), occasional vine, massage, public transport...
Of course, there is no upper limit of how much you can spend, if you want to. It is easy to find 1 MM USD+ homes and spend 100 USD for a meal. I guess young single people would find it boring here, but for us it is the perfect combination of quality family life, good working conditions without much distractions and healthy lifestyle.
EDIT: here is the view from our apartment: https://www.dropbox.com/s/llqf4uw1nxjq8pj/Pogled__balkona.JP...
I've spent the last half year on extended trips to Thailand (a few weeks at a time) and other countries in SE Asia to work on side projects and just decompress a little bit.
I've been staying in slightly more rural beachside communities. On Phuket that means anywhere besides Patong, and on Koh Samui that means anywhere besides Chaweng.
In the 2-3 months (accumulated) that I've spent in Thailand I think I've seen maybe one lady of the night. Like you said, if you're seeing a lot of it, it probably means you're seeking it out.
I spent 10 years living in Japan and I honestly think you'll be exposed to far more dodgy sex-industry stuff walking around Shibuya for 1 night, than a month in Thailand if you live a normal lifestyle.
Also want to make the point that Thailand != Bangkok. Same goes for other countries in SE Asia - if you're going to bootstrap just remember you don't necessarily have to swap your western city for an Asian city :) I quite enjoy hacking by the beach!
I'd like to add that the quoted figure of $1,000 USD a month is rather high. Most Thais can get by with $500 USD. That is the current starting salary for undergraduates. Now, keep in mind that if you are a foreigner, there will definitely be a surcharge since it is expected that you are able to afford more. As a local, I can cheaply rent an apartment outside of Bangkok (granted without a pool) for $100-150 USD a month. If you include utilities, phone, and internet you might need around $250-$350 USD, and you will get air conditioning.
EDIT: As for food, his mentioned price of 40 Baht for a bow of chicken rice which has now supposedly increased by 25%. It feels slightly over priced to me, but not by much. The average cost of a bow of food is still around 30-40 Baht ($1 USD to $1.33 USD) per serving and have not increased, as far as I can tell, for the 2 years that I have been back. So if you're pretty frugal, you can definitely get by with $5-7 USD a day for food + drinks. If you really want to go for "ramen diets" then you can definitely get by with lower IMO.
The current going prices for co-working spaces in Thailand are around $7 - $10 a day, net, and most of these places open 7 days a week. But if you can work from home, you can ignore that cost.
Regarding the OP's point about the startup scene, he is correct. It's very much in its infancy and the local work-force are not as familiar with the startup ecosystem and are very risk averse. To add to that, most employees will not understand how equity work and will prefer to work for a safer and more secure jobs. This is a cultural thing so pushing the startup mentality is still a big hurdle that the great people at Launchpad and HUBBA are trying their best to overcome.
Overall I'm quite optimistic about the way Thailand is moving with regards to startups, but it is very much in its infancy and founders are not as well-informed. A lot of incubators and "startup schools" are in it for the fact that it seems like the cool thing to be doing, but most have no idea how to run one and no experience in the space. IMO, there isn't much right now that the founders can gain from the partnership since both sides are basically feeling their way around.
In the end though, I can't recommend Thailand enough as a place that you should come and bootstrap just for the cost of living, wonderful culture, and an assortment of holiday locations. Although, as a Thai, I may be completely biased.
EDIT: Of course, I'm not exactly familiar with the visa situation since I don't actually need it. Based on the OP, it seems pretty complicated, but still worth the hassle.
I lived in Thailand for several years and 'bootstrapping' your business there as a foreigner without a work permit is breaking the law.
You need a work permit to do ANY type of work in Thailand and although working out of sight is unlikely to get you deported, working in co-working spaces isn't exactly out of sight and a phone call to immigration would get you arrested, deported and blacklisted from the country.
Getting a work permit in Thailand is very very difficult. Foreign owned businesses have to employ Thai citizens and require silly amounts of registered capital deposited in Thai banks. It's marginally easier if you are an American.
Thailand is not worth the hassle and FFS research the law before you just up and go there!
In Asia a work visa is intended for foreigners working for locally incorporated companies. Regardless of what it says on the websites, if you have a tourist visa you are free to startup / bootstrap your new enterprise. If your coding up a new website, hosting it on Amazon and serving customers over the internet your not really doing business and the country your living and honestly no body cares. It's cool.
If you want to start selling to locals, offering consultancy services to locals then yes you should probably get a visa. But of course you don't need the visa until you are actually doing that.
People who quote websites stating "facts" about visa's in SE Asia obviously don't know how the law works in SE Asia. In SE Asia the law is a guideline and your clout / how you treat people is much more important than the words written on the page, when it comes to the courts and the interpretation of the law.
So if you want to bootstrap in Asia, chillax and just do it. If your too worried about it, your probably won't adjust well anyways.
I can only speak for Thailand and Singapore and both are stringent on enforcement when it comes to visas. I've never heard of anyone walking away with a slap on the wrist or being able to bribe their way out of a situation with regards to visas.
In one of my first replies I said that if you are working alone and out of sight then yes you will probably get away with working in any of those countries.
My whole point though is that it's irresponsible to promote breaking the law here on HN and especially foreign laws at that.
Come to think of it, there could be a lot of people coming here with business on Ebay... and keep checking their Ebay website every minute. It would be weird not to mention wrong to be checking anyone doing anything on a webpage on a coffee shop.
And if there is co working area, well, as long as you are not hired and not running local business, believe me, no one cares. Just by being there does not constitute you breaking the visa, when employment visa specifically talks about being employed.
And if you want to open a local company, that is easy too. I had a guy from Australia interviewed me after he had opened a company here. It takes somewhat less than a day to do.
If you want to hire foreigners however, that might take a while, since you need to go through the due process. But if you are in the tech sector, you could go for MSC status application, where you could hire foreigners as much as you want and even have tax exemption for few years.
The worse case is that you are here working for your company for few months before the MSC status is approved. Last time I worked it took about 8 months for it to get approved, all the time where my Italian boss and European colleagues keep leaving the countries after 90 days. From what I understand, even that is kosher, since they are in a payroll from an incorporated company in UK.
Bottom line is, at least for Malaysia, the government here is doing the best it can to get the cross pollination of talent from outside to the locals. And as many of the commenters here mentioned, if you are not causing trouble with anyone, no one has any reason to check on you.
Work permits are to make sure you don't steal jobs from the locals. Working on your own project has nothing to do with that. So while it may be breaking the letter of the law, it's certainly not breaking the spirit of it. My point being, you shouldn't have ethical issues with it -- it's like driving 57 in a 55 zone.
I know people who have been deported for not having the right visa -- a phone call by an angry ex or housemate in every case. Nobody's going to report you to immigration unless you've seriously pissed someone off. So just don't piss people off. And worst-case scenario, you leave early.
The culture of the judicial system works in a wholly different way in developing nations than in the West. They don't practice laws like we do. When you cause trouble in Thailand, they'll find any law you might have broken, just to get you, but when you don't cause trouble, most of the times you're fine, even if you might be breaking the law in official terms. I heard it's the same in China.
Sure, it's a risk, but please tell me why all these co-working spaces everywhere are filled with foreigners without work permits and growing rapidly.
Remote working is a new reality, and it would be highly counter-productive for these countries to start striking down on people working there. Every single foreigner I met in Thailand was working on projects either focused on their own country or internationally, thus not threatening local jobs. In reality, many of the Thai learnt from the foreigners that'd teach them about their tech stacks. That's exactly how they're building their own startup scene in Bangkok now. Learning from foreigners.
I'd argue it may increase a developing nation's level of innovation to have remote workers around and governments should embrace this new reality asap.
Not in this case: they specifically target foreigners working without permits here, though mostly English teachers.
China isn't really a cheap place for bootstrapping a startup, so the random foreigner coding in starbucks isn't going to attract any attention. Kai Fu's Innovation Works, a YC-style incubator, can help get foreigners working visas for incubated projects, I think.
The low end tech scene is quite vibrant but wages for competent dev's keeps going up. China really just isn't that poor anymore; though you still have plenty of kids who are poorly trained but willingly to work hard on the cheap.
Most foreigners outside of the few American tech companies are entrepreneurs and/or managers. I'm quite unusual as a researcher.
and plenty of kids who -- with or without formal training -- are solid hackers.
there are def more foreign businessmen than 老外 devs, and not without some cause: i'd definitely get more compensation from a startup in the bay or bank in ny than i do at my current job.
Those shared work spaces could be subsidized to encourage locals so taking advantage of that is problematic.
It would be different if he was just building his product, no business entity and no local hires...
At any rate, there's some fine line where an activity that could otherwise be described as a hobby becomes work. It's the actual activity + intent + context + judgement of the authorities that matters... Presumably when you essentially establish residence, get paid, hire and manage other people, that line has been crossed.
Here's the source for who he hired to work for his company: https://twitter.com/levelsio/status/389171438013267968
The real question is How much would a bootstrapper need to pay off local authorities?
It may sounds silly, but Thais are very scared of seeing foreigners taking over the country. This thinking is the most noticeable in lower-class Thais. I believe the result of this thinking is the ridiculous requirements for business visa. It's not only a bureaucrat problem, but also a social one.
The work permit situation is not that clear either - there are different interpretations depending on who you ask. If you are here, but your income is entirely in another country, it's legal according to officials - the law just was not made for that situation. The law is to prevent foreigners from working illegally in Thailand - if the foreigner basically "brings their own job" to Thailand it's a different story.
Who can prove what you're doing on your computer? Will they ask the NSA and the IRS for assistance to uncover the company you're building? And if not, how could they tell whether you're not a trust fund kid playing Counter Strike all day long?
Once you start hiring people here, you'll need legal assistance, but even that is relatively straightforward. I know many with BOI companies here, with 100% foreign ownership.
As hackerboos mentioned, it is illegal to "work" here without a work permit. As I understand it, even with a work permit, you're only allowed to "work" at the place that is specified on your work permit and no where else. If you are caught working outside your permitted working location, you can be deported.
It all sounds very harsh but I assume that this is often the way labor laws for foreigners are written by most countries; the main goal is to protect the local work force from unfair outside competition... that's just how it is.
2. You can do business meetings from a co-work office.
Now please tell me how being in a co-work office, working for a company incorporated abroad and not accepting local payments, can get one arrested.
You can't conduct any type business on a tourist visa you will be deported if you are caught. People have been warned that they will be deported for singing on a karaoke in clubs as it's classed as work.
The business visa you are talking about (NON-B) is designed for employees of foreign companies who are conducting business with Thai companies. Not foreign businesses conducting business alone or with each other.
In fact without evidence of this you won't even get your NON-B visa.
With a tourist visa, I think you're strictly not supposed to perform any business activities. You might be able to pass off your meeting as a "casual chat" if you want to risk it.
I worked in Thailand on assignment for a large company there and we got a wind that the authorities where going to come in on a certain day and check every single foreigners passports. We were told even that we had the correct Visa, work from home that day.
In Japan you can get a 3 month tourist visa on entry. I know many who have worked on the customer site with this. Once again - illegal, all it takes is a tip off from a local employee and your in big, big trouble.. don't expect to ever visit that country again.
I know someone who was working in Sweden without the correct Visa - a local employee (part of a work union) reported him.
Not worth the risk IMHO.
> A visa is NOT necessary for US passport holders visiting Japan for a short-term stay of less than 90 days with the purpose of tourism and business.
On a different note, they do check the frequency of re-entries (on a tourist visa) as I know of one peer who was put into a room at the airport and questioned after re-entering a few times in one year. So if your "doing business" a couple of times a year with a few months in between, it may still look suspect.
Additionally I know of a guy's wife who was deported on re-entry after the 3rd time. She wasn't working and was banned from re-entring for 11 months.
If you read blogs on these types of things you are only going to see the 'worst case scenarios' as the majority of people with positive experiences are unlikely to rush to their PC and write a glowing post about their Visa experience...
As local, I can confirm this. Though it was roughly three years ago, ~$400 a month back then could get me a very comfortable life in outer area of Bangkok (Onnut), this includes an apartment with to-the-door food service, air conditioning, parking slot, 10 minutes walk to the BTS (train station) and 16Mbps internet. No pool, though!
The trick is to rent an apartment within BTS range at x minutes of walking in an outer area of Bangkok, where x is >= 10. An apartment with 5 minutes walk to the BTS can cost about $200 to $400, but past certain point in the same Soi, the cost could be reduced by more than 50%.
The cost could get much cheaper if you cook. Food are ridiculous cheap, but food ingredients are even more cheaper.
Are there westerners set up over there to help other westerners find cheap rentals, etc?
Now, there will be instances where even local friends can't help. Such as entrance fees etc, if you look obviously foreign, you're going to be hit with a tax no matter what, but these places are usually tourist attractions and you're expecting to pay those anyways.
Check out my answer to scheff below for a different (non-native) perspective.
Any advice, from anyone here who knows SF/SV, or has done something like this, about the above, or about what I could do returning to an ungodly housing market, in terms of the time it will take to find something as well as the price, with myself not likely having more than a couple thousand in the bank? And let's say I have ~ $13k now, so maybe I could return with a good enough cushion...
Some practical tips for handling housing is what I was fishing for.
Why the limitation to being able to only do 6 months? Do they stop renewing your visa after that?
Have you looked at other neighbouring countries like Laos, Burma and Cambodia for a similar arrangement?
The most I could get from the Thai embassy in Amsterdam was a double-entry visa. If I wanted a triple-entry visa (giving me 3x90 days or 9 months), they required me to have booked all my flights in and out of the country beforehand. That was a bit too much planning for me.
I believe there's education visas if you study Thai at a school for a year, but that seems like too much of a distraction while starting up a business.
Yes, I'm actually trying Phnom Penh in Cambodia in 2014. Cheaper, although internet connectivity might not be up-to-par and it's a lot less safe from what I've heard.
You can renew easily -- or at least could, a few years ago. I lived in Thailand for two years, entirely on tourist visas.
Let me just add there's a marked difference between how OP describes his Thailand experience, and living outside of start-up/expat communities.
Tourist-eyes: beautiful beaches; nice weather; safe; cheap food; laid back, friendly smiling people -- PARADISE!
Live-and-work-there-eyes: rampant bigotry and racism (common to most SE Asia); dishonesty ("losing face" and all, again shared across SEA and not specific to Thailand); nothing ever gets done (the famous wait-for-crisis management aka the reverse side of the laid back culture); encouragement of keeping in line and professional mediocrity; (lack of) quality healthcare; dirt; systemic corruption and mafia; massive drinking in connection with ubiquitous handguns; relationships aka love the farang cash machine; farangs always 2nd class citizens no matter what (land ownership &c) -- BUSINESS OWNER'S HELL!
Now that's just to juxtapose two extremes, neither is "the truth".
When it comes to running a business, beware of that viewpoint #2. Freelancers who just hang out with other freelancers on the beach for a few months don't need to care, of course :) For serious business, Malaysia is much more organized and welcoming.
Hopefully I don't get downvoted for this paradise-shattering post -- I still have many Thai friends and I love the country despite all its problems.
My view has become "go there as a tourist who happens to spend several months on business" as opposed to "go there with a view to doing business with the locals".
Likewise I have met some lovely Thai people. They are very caring and welcoming.
In my limited experience, much of the racism I saw Westerners deal with, was most of the times them behaving in a stereotypical Western way (loud, obscene and rude). I don't have a problem with that, but Thai do.
I've come very far by just being over-polite and friendly to everyone I met. Bowing a lot, smiling and always staying calm in conflict situations (e.g. outside at 4am with drunk people).
With regards to dating, I mostly dated hi-so girls, which in the end paid more for my drinks, than I did for theirs ;)
To wit, skin whitening is a monstrous business in Thailand.
I'll never forget the forest of umbrellas on really hot days, or people walking in long sleeves, just to fend off the sun and "stay white" :)
Not that it is probably enforced in Thailand.
That said, it's a wonderful country. Avoid the tourist traps and you miss much of the sleazy side.
If I were 23 I would take it over Iowa ten times out of ten.
You can easily live on 500-600 euros per month, stay in beach bungalows, rented houses, or amazing bamboo houses where the owners bring you fruit every morning, and that includes unlimited 3G internet, the wireless internet they already have on site, and your bus and plane tickets around Asia.
No offense, but it's a little bit of a shame to accidentally mislead people on how much the costs are (a pool??!?!?!), and it's also a shame that the author didn't check out Malaysia, which is far less touristy, has almost no sex tourism, and has some really incredible places (with internet).
Shop at the markets. Eat at night markets, food stalls, and normal thai restaurants (but proper restos... not all stalls)... we went out with some local friends in Bangkok, ate famously, and the bill came to like 8 dollars (three different restos). Look for places like Chiang Mai... but also, move about yo! We did 3 weeks at a time in each place, moving down through sukhothai, ahyuthaya, etc., worked with laser focus, and spent way, way less money.
Really not much need for an incubator if you're confident in what you're doing.
Are there any places similar to this in USA? Cost of living around $1000 (give or take), good internet access, no car needed, decently cheap food and rent, and possibly an affordable coworking space? I'm looking to bootstrap an internet company and while I don't mind living abroad, I'd be much more comfortable here in the US, seeing as I've lived here my whole life.
Around Jamaica you can get a room for $400-$500. Although it's not an apartment, just a room in a big house, so you can't make parties and stuff but is otherwise quite comfortable.
Going to Manhattan also doesn't take too much time. E train goes directly and is express so it's a 45-60 min commute.
As for food, cook at home. If in Manhattan, there's a great $1 pizza on Bleecker St. Lots of free coworking spaces in Manhattan - Wix for example.
I wouldn't call it a luxurious life by any stretch of imagination, but it's doable to live in NY for $1000 a month and not really feel poor (or it could be just a story I tell to myself to feel better).
I would clarify that it is fully but not uniquely responsible. Sort of like if two men set out to murder a third and they both poison his drink on the same night, they are both fully but not uniquely responsible for his death. Analogously, sex tourists share responsibility, as perhaps do other governments whose actions influence the kind of governments that Thailand is likely to have.
Just a minor point of mine on a side-observation! Otherwise, lots of insights I enjoyed. I hadn't given much thought to start-up culture in SE Asia. One thing that doesn't get mentioned is the language: Did you get by exclusively with English (and Dutch, lots of ex-colonies being out that way)?
If you're serious about growing a start-up over a long stretch of time in Thailand it seems like you would want to have some Thai, if nothing else to draw from a greater pool of local talent when recruiting.
I regularly travel out to Eastern Washington (close to the border by Montana) and the area is very rural and prices relatively cheap for rent (and house prices are not unreasonable if you're looking to buy).
No one will come bug you if you live in the woods, and Satellite internet (while not perfect) is decent as long as you're not doing anything too bandwidth intensive. You can also always live near a bigger city and get Cable internet.
As far as food costs go, if you can fish, hunt and grow a vegetable garden, you can be self-sufficient most of the year.
I'm not saying everyone needs to go out and live that lifestyle, but I just wanted to challenge the assumption that you couldn't live for less than $1000 a month in the US. A lot of people do, and aren't necessarily poor or bad off either.
Why? It's quite easy, much more powerful, performance is great! Jeffrey Richter in his book "CLR via C#" says it's often more fasten than even compiled C/C++.
Have you heard about Entity Framework and ASP.Net MVC? It's growing like a mad thing, a lotta features, improvements and so on.
Maybe the license price is high? Yep, but with EF you can switch MS SQL database to any other one. And, moreover, you can obtain a license for free on bizspark. And, for sure, you can switch to Mono if you prefer Linux or Mac.
BTW, you comparing "proprietary language C#" to Java, but Java is by Oracle ;)
I'm not going to be tied to a an entire ecosystem like that. If MS was serious about being developer friendly, really serious, they would not tie developers to Windows. It might not make the most strategic sense, but in the day and age of the cloud and big clusters of no-cost image spinups, Windows doesn't make sense.
And, no, Mono is not a real alternative. There's too many good languages and frameworks to be fiddling with Mono in production.
It's trivially easy to find a really nice space to rent in the USA for $500 or so. The catch is you'll still be doing all your own cooking and cleaning. And you'll be surrounded by hicks.
Now of course, you might be able to only afford to go to socialize at bars and restaurants once a month or else you'll blow that budget, but it's possible.
I believe you will need a business visa to legally work here (I am a Thai national so I do not have that issue) and getting one isn't a trivial task, unfortunately.
I suspect that the OP is most likely working using a tourist visa. IANAL but it is likely not legal if caught, but if you can get away with it, more power to you.
I can not advice about your particular healthcare situation, but I'm a Dutch national on a standard Netherlands healthcare plan. That means I have worldwide coverage and all treatments are covered up to the price that the same treatment would cost at home. The Thai private hospitals are usually cheaper than those in my country while offering a ridiculously luxurious service. That means I pay nothing.
Fortunately, I haven't stayed there a lot. Only once, for food poisoning, when I visited Thailand a few years ago.
I'll also add the Thai people are absolutely delightful. I've never met such positive happy people.
Having been to Thailand several times, the food there is AMAZING.
"English is a mandatory school subject, but the number of fluent speakers remains very low, especially outside the cities." - Wikipedia.
In the startup community and the white collar working population, we understand English well enough to understand what you're saying but maybe not converse with you fluently 100% of the time.
EDIT: I'm only referring to Bangkok in this case.
I got by well though, by learning some basic Thai phrases and lots of hand gesturing and pointing.
You can get serious discounts for booking a room for 3, 6 months. Combine that with eating out for every meal (instead of grocery shopping and cooking for yourself) and it's an incredibly cheap option. Meals are as cheap as $1 each.
Interesting story, however.
It makes a lot of sense to use your savings to bootstrap your internet/tech startup in a place where living costs are much lower, but internet access is pretty much the same. The savings will last much longer, giving you more time to work.
How did your family/friends react?
What is your next stop?
Moving to Berlin next month to bootstrap.
Berlin is awesome! What are you working on?
>"If you dont like sex tourism it is ur mental problem. Feel free to agitate in your europez but please leave my thailand as is. Every girl has a right to do anything and its not your business."
That seemed to imply that the prostitutes had willingly chosen their profession, which led to my question.
Lol. It's "mental" to see whores, pimps, and johns and recoil. On the contrary, a malfunctioning disgust reaction to these things is more clearly a symptom of mental illness.