After determining that I was struggling to be productive in my room, I wanted to find somewhere else that I could work in Chiang Mai. My friends recommended many places; Hub53, Nimman Social, and The Barisotel come to mind. C.A.M.P. AIS was more my style.
C.A.M.P. is a coworking space stroke coffee shop stroke place-where-students-go-to-study. It’s open 24/7, and is located on one of the upper floors of Maya, my favourite mall in Chiang Mai. Maya shuts at 10PM, so after that you’re inside a closed, dark, abandoned shopping mall, which is both cool, and spooky, and reminds me of some kind of zombie apocalypse or something (though you can still get in and out with no issues through the underground parking lot). Being located in Maya is super convenient for me, as one of my favourite places to eat is in the basement of Maya - I can walk to Maya, eat, work, eat, go home. Minimal time wastage.
C.A.M.P. is run by AIS - one of the big three telecommunication companies in Thailand. I’m not sure about the specifics, but I think people using an AIS data package on their phone get free WiFi at C.A.M.P. or something. If you don’t have an AIS sim card, you can purchase a drink or a plate of fries and get a two-hour WiFi token. If you don’t need WiFi, the staff don’t hassle you to buy anything to use the space. I have a Truemove H prepaid data package on my sim card that gives me unlimited data at 6Mbps. Since I bought this data package, I decided to cancel my WiFi at my room, which was 300 baht/month for not too much faster - given that the sim card costs 600 baht/month and lets me use the internet everywhere, it’s a no-brainer to me. For the kind of thing I’m working on at the moment, I don’t need a fast connection, so my data package works fine. If I ever need a fast connection for something, I can just buy one of the drinks or foods at C.A.M.P. to get a WiFi token, so it all works out for me.
C.A.M.P. has a few areas that you can use, all within this one big room. There are areas where you sit on the floor (on thin green cushions if you so choose) and slot your feet under a folded sheet-metal desk. Other areas have plastic-y fake-wood desks with cushion stools. Other areas, like the ‘Cabin’ include comfortable booths. There are upstairs areas with what looks to be conference rooms that you can rent, but I didn’t investigate those. There are also two ‘Tree House’ areas, which are in elevated ‘towers’ that sit above the rest of the room; you can be damn sure these spots will be occupied when you visit, unless you arrive at 5AM or something.
My favourite thing about C.A.M.P. is the view. The western side of the room has these windows with bookshelves for slats, and beyond that is the view of the mountain, Doi Suthep. There is a doorway to an outside section that you can sit in and just bask in the view. Even from inside, it’s so cool to be able to look out of the window and see this amazing view.
C.A.M.P. mostly seems to be used by students, but I see a lot of westerners doing their own thing too. I have ran into my friends Cam Adair, Aiden Buis, and Ronald Langeveld here from time to time, too. Cam and I once did this awful handshake-fistbump type thing that was so awkward we decided it was best to just not talk and do our own thing in shame.
I’ve always found it easier to maintain productivity and focus in public space, and C.A.M.P. is an inexpensive/free option to do that in Chiang Mai.