Not Free

Not Free

Originally uploaded by Asiacamera

I thought this was a bit sad – especially for an airport where people are often stressed out. I think it’s unnecessary.

I recall it was a time honoured tradition in European cities for people to sit over a small cup of coffee and discuss politics all day. I think laptop use is perhaps perceived as less sociable. It’s nothing to do with the cost of the electrons.

I’ve found Thailand to be pretty relaxed about laptop use in cafes. When my internet connection fails I go to Coffee World at Esplanade. No one minds if I sit there all afternoon with a short latte. They have free wireless internet too (but you have to ask the staff for the password.) Esplanade is great for people-watching too – so much so that I often don’t get much work done.

Occasionally Coffee World’s wi-fi base station hangs. The staff never believe me that all they have to do it pull out the power plug for 30 seconds then plug it in again. It resets and everything is fine.

Starbucks next door has paid internet. I cannot imagine anyone paying but I think some well off Thais have accounts with True Move that allow them WiFi access.

In tourist areas such as Sukhumvit Road some cafes are less friendly. I read somewhere of a cafe that banned laptop users. But it is still rare.

My other favourite haunt is Coffee Society on Silom Road. The Australian owner has thoughtfully set up the tables with convenient power points and dimmable lights. It’s on multiple floors and you can usually find a quiet hideaway – or people watch on the ground floor. Coffee Society is open 24 hours – good for Skype teleconferences with the States.


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2 Responses to “Not Free”

  1. Chris Eaton Says:

    Great info, wish I’d have found it earlier than the day I leave BKK! ;o) Mai ben rai, I’ll be back.

    Re: TrueMove, if you have your phone with them you can get their WiFi for just 29 Baht for a 24 hour period by texting ‘wifi29’ to 9434. For that price it’s only 256kbps, and as far as I can tell their hotspots seem to be limited to Bangkok, but it sure as hell beats the 100-Baht-an-hour prices some tourist cafés seem to think they can get away with.

    I’ve never seen charging for electricity (no pun intended), but I do always feel kinda sneaky plugging in (wherever I am in the world) and will always try to keep the purchases rolling as I sit there.

    Thanks again for the tips on free wifi and laptop friendly venues, both always most useful to a Technomad like me! :oD

  2. BKKPhotographer Says:

    Thanks for the good info about True Move. My phone is “Happy” and I don’t think they offer such a service.

    I think there are lots of deals around if you read/speak Thai but they hide them from the tourists.

    I’ll keep posting useful tips as I find them.

    I hope you enjoyed your stay. Come back later in the year when it doesn’t rain so much.

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