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:
This list of locations offering free wireless internet (or wifi) and ADSL is by no means exhaustive or complete.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
Hai’s Scout Café: surf the internet in the garden while enjoying Hoi An’s food specialties. Address: 98 D Nguyen Thai Hoc
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
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.
Siem Reap, Cambodia
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:
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
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.
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
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
Wifi is anywhere and everywhere in Singapore. Look around for one of the many unsecured networks or sign up for a free account at wireless@sg.