Where I’m At: Bangkok – October 2015

Where I’m At is my monthly update of what I’ve been up to, site news, and where I’m going next.

Where I'm At: Bangkok - October 2015

Greetings from Bangkok. This is the second time I’ve been here this year and as always it’s good to be back. I average between two to four weeks a year in Bangkok, making it one of my main travel and social hubs. I’ve never spent more than a month here but it is a city I always love returning to.

I’m here to work, eat street food, and go to events related to the DCBKK (location independent entrepreneurs) and TBEX (travel bloggers) conferences.

Where I’ve Been


I spent the first half of September in Sulawesi. I’ve visited Indonesia nearly every year since 2009 and I try to visit a new island on every visit. I had two weeks on this trip so I only visited parts of South Sulawesi.

The highlight of that trip was Tana Toraja, which is a region in South Sulawesi that is famous for their funeral ceremonies during the dry season. It’s also an incredibly beautiful region, with scenic roads winding through rice paddies and mountains, and traditional Torajan houses everywhere. I’ll have a separate post about visiting Tana Toraja.

Tana Toraja - Sulawesi
[Torajan houses in Tana Toraja.]

Tioman Island and the beach break that wasn’t

From Makassar I flew to Singapore and then crossed into Malaysia for a week. I planned to spend most of that time on Tioman Island before flying to Thailand. On the flight to Singapore I read in the newspaper that Singapore and peninsula Malaysia was shrouded in haze caused by burning off in Sumatra.

Sumatra fires haze map
[Sumatra fires haze map.]

This has become an annual event around this time of year (dry season in Sumatra) but this year the fires were worse than usual.

Every year Malaysia and Singapore demand action from Indonesia, and every year Indonesia figuratively shrugs its shoulders and says that they are on to it.

Singapore resembled Beijing on a bad smog day. I hoped that Tioman was far enough offshore to not be affected by the haze, but unfortunately the haze was there as well.

Haze at Tioman Island
[Tioman Island shrouded in haze.]

I planned to walk across the island via a jungle path and watch the sunset over the water every night. Doing any physical activity in this pollution would have been crazy, and you couldn’t even see the sun let alone watch it set. I’m not a diver either which was the only activity you could do there, so I decided to cut my trip short.

Kuala Lumpur

It might seem counter-intuitive to move even closer to the haze, but being on Tioman while shrouded in haze was pointless. I figured I might as well go back to KL and stay inside and work until my flight to Thailand.

At least my time in KL wasn’t a total write-off, as I got to visit some new cafes to work from and eat lots of food.

Jalan Alor - Kuala Lumpur
[The night market at Jalan Alor]

Chiang Mai

Long-time readers to Nomadic Notes may recall that I used to visit Chiang Mai often. I haven’t been back for three years so I was overdue for a revisit. It instantly felt like being back home (and it was great to be out of the haze). I still love being based in Saigon but I forgot how charming Chiang Mai is and I will definitely return again soon.

James in Chiang Mai
[Lots of wats in Chiang Mai]

Travel Plans

After two months of continuous travel I will be slowing down for the rest of the year. I’m in Bangkok for three weeks where I will be catching up on work and going to conference events. I’m not going to either conference this year but I will be at the meet ups.

For real-time updates follow me on Instagram.

ICYMI – Last months posts

Makassar Travel Guide – Notes on things to do and where to stay in Makassar, Sulawesi.

Cool cafes in Kuala Lumpur – My time in KL wasn’t a total write-off as I got to visit a bunch of new cafes to work from.

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  1. We are headed to Chiang Mai in November for a month or two, it’s been a long time since I’ve been there

    Have fun in BK, we may swing down that way after CM

  2. See you in Bangkok, mate!

  3. Hi James! I heard your interview on Create Your Nomadtopia podcast a few months ago (that’s how I find out about your blog). Pleased to hear you’ll be at some TBEX meetups and hope to run into you there! 😀

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