Nomad friendly? Yes!
I came back to Thailand with a renewed determination to spend more money than I had last time. Everything is so cheap here. I use an app to track all my money and it is just so tempting to play little games with myself to get a lower and lower score. Over the last few days I spent hardly anything on my food for the day. It went 166thb, 135thb, 112thb, 60thb and then finally last night 50thb. For reference £1 is 42thb.
I was going down the rabbit hole again without even really trying to.
I had joked just the night before while messaging with my Mum that 60thb was really the lowest score I was going to get. The next day I woke up late, like lunchtime late, but the wonderful Pii Pum still cooked me my “breakfast” as part of the daily package here at In The City Hostel. That evening after stopping off at a food market for some food, I was walking back when I realised I had just spent 50thb in total for food that day.
I had to take action, so the first thing I did was buy some cakes from the 711; just to break the chain and bump the numbers up. Then I made a commitment to inject some more variety into my daily rituals. To spend more time eating at the mid-range cafe places, instead of just heading to the nearest roadside food seller. Visit spots with nice interior design, free Wi-Fi and some unique menu items.
So that’s how I ended up here today, at Lyceum Camp:
I was walking around looking for somewhere and as I went past this place I saw the menu, on a stand outside. Straight away it met my budget aims. There was something I liked the look on, right on the opening page: chicken steak with black pepper, side salad and chips for 149thb (£3.38). I decided to go in and pick something.
I had commented recently how the change over from a public to private space in Thailand is seamless. This restaurant was not an exception. The place has got some nice styles to it. To my left, stylish tables, decorated ceilings, intricate windows. To my right a few more tables and then it just changes over to a kind of office. A wall of filing cabinets and an office with people busy working on something. When I approached the counter, a lady got up from this table and came over to hand me a menu. It makes sense I guess to maximise the space but it just seems strange from an English upbringing seeing these places mingle together without any kind of partition. I saw the same in Koh Lanta in a supermarket and then later on in a coffee shop though so I wasn’t too fazed.
The whole place was laid out nicely, with a central area for casual sit down customers, a nomad / study / solo customer area to the left, a big fancy round marble table in a conservatory-style setup and also a section out front with some laid-back lounging chairs to watch the world go by. I greedily sat down at the 4 person marble table to enjoy its luxury haha. What?! There were no other customers at the time!
What I got
I spent a borderline embarrassing amount of time flicking back and forth (Thai wait staff seem to expect you to order very quickly). Originally I had set out on the walk with the notion of a burger, but I want to try new things when I could and this creamy red noodle dish had instantly caught my eye. The menu said it was a dish called Korean Noodle Kimchi Soup. I’m very glad I tried it because it was delicious. It was very spicy but just right for me.
In that bowl, there was noodles, some tofu, a scrambled egg, various greenery bits, onions and a creamy red spiiiiicy sauce.
I think it was probably too tasty to have been healthy so I just refused to look that up.
There were multiple other things on the menu that I definitely would like to try. My aim is to go to at least one new place a day now but maybe I can work around this imaginary limitation I’ve set myself. If I exploit the loophole of going back to work there for a few hours then that’s legit, right?
Sample menu items
As I left I stopped to take a few shots of the menu so you can get a feel for what’s on offer and the prices:
Lowest price: 55thb for fried rice with pork
Highest price: 149thb for a chicken/pork steak with chips + salad
Average: around 100thb for ramen bowls, spaghetti carbonara, or a chicken teriyaki, omelette and rice bowl.
Yes, it seems to be. I didn’t have my laptop with me so I didn’t actually do any work but if you look on the picture below you can see it is set up as rows of individual / 2 people tables and each one has a power socket right at table height on the wall:
They also gave me this WiFi code which clearly stated a 1.5hr expiry. I would say that’s the maximum you should wait before either leaving or spending more money but that limit + the sockets at least set-out boundaries that are encouraging.
It was school finishing time when I arrived (I knew this because I had just passed the school which is further up the block). While I was eating, two separate school girls arrived and set their tablets up in work mode and started revising:
The place was pretty empty apart from that so if nobody else is trying to get sat I would definitely feel happy working there for an hour or so.
UPDATE: I went back a week later and worked there for a few hours, nobody batted an eyelid. I got something to eat and kept my WiFi code in my hand. Then after I’d finished eating I got a coffee, logged in (starting the countdown) and worked for the full amount. I was writing a particularly tricky quote and actually ended up overstaying a little bit.