Bitcoin, where is it headed?

Bitcoin is up 450% since my last post.

Last year in the month of May I wrote an article on here titled “Bitcoin, what is it?“, the purpose of this article was to introduce the concept in a easily explainable way to new users, but to also provide a simple resource I could direct people to rather than always having to explain the same thing to different people.

As always, whenever I write anything on Bitcoin, I get a bunch of private messages telling me how I’m wrong, how Bitcoin is stupid and will be worth zero, these messages only ever come from people who have never used Bitcoin before, I used to hear the same garbage from people about email, “why would I send an email when I can just post a letter?” or “why would I ever get an email address?, none of my friends have email addresses”.

The ironic thing is, that most of these angry people end up buying at the top of a cycle, I’ve witnessed this multiple times.

The industry coined term for these angry individuals is NoCoiner.

Bitcoin is going through one of it’s regular cycles, the Bitcoin price during my last article was $1500, by the end of the year it had reached $19,500, currently it stands at around $6,700, to put this growth into simple terms, lets say you had $200, you placed $100 into the Sydney housing market at the time of my last article and $100 into Bitcoin.

Today the housing market investment would be worth $95.50 and the Bitcoin investment would be $450.00, at one stage however the Bitcoin investment would have reached $1300.00.

Now here is the problem, if you simply ignored Bitcoin for what it is and only cared about it because all of your friends or colleagues were buying it and you had FOMO “Fear of missing out”, then you may have bought at the top, rather than after my last article, if this is the case, then hopefully you learnt a valuable lesson about market cycles.

Today, Bitcoin is in a bear market, so far it’s experiencing it’s 4th largest decline to date. Long term users of Bitcoin have seen this all before, however for new people it can be scary, especially when NoCoiners tell them “Bitcoin is going to zero!”, Bitcoin couldn’t actually go to zero, for the simple reason that there is enough people who’d happily buy up all the coins as they almost reach zero, these people would speculate that the price would one day rise again offering them huge returns. The big question today is where is Bitcoin heading? up or down?

up-down

At the start of the year, January 1st, I tweeted the following prediction.

So how did I predict the markets move? well, there was only two possible directions, so anyone could guess with a 50% chance of being right, you could say I’d be explaining my answer with survivorship bias.

My prediction was based on the simple fact that the price was going up way too fast, it was a speculative bubble, when everyone is making money on something, you know you’re in a speculative bubble. The best sign of this is seeing people entering the market who had zero interest in it previously, their only interest is making money, they simply enter because their friends who are also new to the market and have no understanding told them about their gains. Humans are herd animals.

Humans have a natural fear of missing out, if everyone else is having an orgy and you simply sit and watch then your genes won’t carry on, you’ll be removed from the gene pool. Put another way, imagine everyone is grabbing the latest weapons before a foreign tribe invades, but you get left with a stick, or everyone is having a huge feast but you’re not invited to eat, yet you know food is scarce. Well this in built FOMO flows over into investments.

Everyone else is buying, prices have risen, you better buy too before you miss out, you’d be mad not to buy now, everyone else is buying! prices are going up!. In this situation you need to ask yourself, what happens once everyone has bought? e.g what happens once everyone else owns a house? or at-least what happens when people start to sell and there is less buyers than sellers?.

With investing, like everything else in life, there is some great quotes that always make sense in hindsight, to me the most truthful quotes for investing are.

‚ÄúBe Fearful When Others Are Greedy and Greedy When Others Are Fearful‚ÄĚ. ‚Äē Warren Buffett

And

“Buy when there’s blood in the streets, even if the blood is your own.” — Rothschild

These quotes are true because they’re obvious, when the herd is fearful to buy is when an investment is cheap, when the herd is all buying then the investment is expensive and big gains have already been had, it’s basic supply and demand, any kind of investment relies on having buyers and sellers, the best time to sell obviously is when there are buyers.

Everyone knows the saying “Buy low, sell high” but very few people actually follow this, most people want to buy high and will sell low, they want to buy high as everyone else they know is buying, they hear of others gains and panic buy, then when the price drops a little they panic sell, instead of blaming themselves they’ll blame the product they bought “stupid bitcoin, I bought it and it crashed” “houses suck!” “The stock market is rigged” etc.

These days I don’t tell anyone to buy Bitcoin, I don’t give investment advice, but I tell everyone to try it, to experience it. Several years ago however I would tell people to buy, I told one friend to buy at $180, he laughed and mocked me, late last year he contacted me telling me he was buying at $18,000, why? because “all his colleagues were buying” he “didn’t want to miss out”, he’d already missed out on 100x gains, he missed out on these gains because he needed someone to hold his hand and to validate his decision, he couldn’t take a risk and buy something early, he needed group support, this is how the majority of people are, unwilling to take risks, following the norm, then complaining that others got lucky.

Right now, people are fearful, there is blood on the streets, but is now the time to buy?. It all depends on what you’re buying for, Bitcoin can be bought and spent straight away, it can be used to trade peer to peer, it can be used for international transfers, where you buy it, send it to someone straight away in another country and they sell it straight away, this is relatively risk free, but what about as an investment?

Once again, everyone has an opinion, but no one knows for sure, however if you ask enough people, then at a future date you’ll be able to see at least one of these people were correct, but this is true of everything, everyone could be just guessing, so below is my guess.

How low will Bitcoin go? where will the bottom be? in January I was guessing $4,700, I simply plucked up this figure by looking at historical drops in previous Bitcoin bear markets, I guess that this drop won’t be as big as previous crashes, due to increasing liquidity and adoption each crash has been smaller than the previous, as an example Bitcoin once went from $1 to $30 in a single month then crashed down to $2, everyone was certain “Bitcoin is dead”, well not quite everyone, for the people who bought at $1 were sitting there thinking “this isn’t too bad I’m up 100%” however NoCoiners would scream at them “You’re an idiot if you don’t sell, Bitcoin is over valued at $2, only an idiot would hold thousands of bitcoin!”.

Fast forward a few years and there was the $1200 bubble, where it crashed to $150 over a period of roughly 13 months, this was a much smaller bubble, so far the “crash” from $19,500 to $6,500 has been the smallest crash to date, however the average person doesn’t do simple maths and rather react to big numbers instead of percentages.

Now, I could be wrong, Bitcoin could fall to $1500.00 or even lower, what do I know?, as I could be wrong on my upwards prediction. How high do I think Bitcoin will go?. Bitcoin is an experiment, for it to work as a store of value it only needs to go to somewhere around $100,000 to $300,000, but for it to work as a global currency, a currency with liquidity and stability, it needs to go to somewhere between $1,000,000 to $5,000,000.

I’m confident Bitcoin will reach six figures sometime in the next decade, I rate it a 50% chance, if it does reach six figures, then I’d give it a 50% chance of reaching seven figures in the following decade.

It is possible that Bitcoin forever stays a niche protocol, only used by a few million people, no one really knows, should an international standard be set by one country? e.g the US dollar where one foreign government is able to debase it at will? or should it be decentralized, a product of maths and born out of the Internet? what will future generations that grew up online think?

I don’t know, but here is my prediction that I can look back on in the future, will I be wrong?, will I be right?, what do you think? feel free to leave a comment below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

List of Billionaires that have invested in Bitcoin

Over the years, when the topic of Bitcoin has come up, I’ve had over a half dozen people say to me “if bitcoin was such a good investment, then why aren’t billionaires investing in it?”, when people have stated this question, it’s always been with a tone of smugness and they weren’t actually asking a question, but trying rather to sound so smart that they don’t need to learn anything…lol.

I know this because when ever I would respond “Multiple billionaires have, would you like me to list some?” I would always get a smug look and no response.
So anyway, I had someone mention this yesterday¬†and now I¬†was just sitting here thinking to my self “who off the top of my head can I actually name?”.

I’m sure there is many more than I can think of, not everyone is public with their investments, but anyway, here goes.

The below have all invested into the Bitcoin space, either directly holding bitcoin, or holding shares in Bitcoin companies. All are Billionaires in $AUD, several are multiple billionaires.

  • Richard BransonVirgin
  • Tim DraperVC – early investor in Hotmail and Skype, bought thousands of Silk Road bitcoins at a US government auction.
  • Marc AndreessenFounded netscape, today is a VC, early investor in Facebook, Twitter, Skype, Jawbone, AirBnB and many more.
  • Mark Cuban – Investor, author, television personality.
  • Mike Cannon-BrookesAtlassian Australia
  • Bill Grossbond manager
  • Mike Novogratzhedge fund investor
  • Thaksin Shinawatrabusinessman and former Prime Minister of Thailand.
  • Satoshi NakamotoNo one knows the true identity of the creator of bitcoin, but he is estimated to own 1.1 million bitcoins and has never sold one, today’s¬†value is close to $3 billion AUD.

There is quite a few more who may very well be billionaires but if not, are certainly close to it and control VC funds with assets worth tens of billions of dollars.

Bitcoin, What is it?

Bitcoin, what is it?

While thinking of how best to explain bitcoin, I considered trying to explain the technical details in as simple terms as possible, but I come to realise that the average user doesn’t need to know all the complex code, just as the average webpage user doesn’t need to know about TCP/IP, packet switching and a dozen other complicated technologies that allow them to view a web page.

What I’ll attempt is to explain the design, think of this as someone selling the features of a new car to your grandmother, rather than explaining the whole ins and outs of the internal combustion engine, how the tyres are made, how the air conditioner works etc.

Bitcoin in 10 simple points.

1. Bitcoin is a decentralised network where participants of the network own bitcoins, no body owns the Bitcoin network, think of it like the internet, some have coined the term “the internet of money”, I’ve met people who don’t understand bitcoin and like many people when new technology comes along, they get on the defensive and make ludicrous statements like “The government will shut this down”, “if people lose their money, the bitcoin company should be made to pay up.”

When such statements are heard by the ears of an experienced bitcoiner, this sounds completely out of touch with reality, there is no company to “pay up” and there is no central server to “shut down”, bitcoin can’t be shut down, no matter how much violence, money or power a government has, there is simply no one to point a gun at, there is no server to unplug, the only chance of stopping Bitcoin is to turn off the entire internet, you can’t create a firewall and block it, it’s completely decentralised.

Before moving on to the below points, you must come to terms with this, I’ve seen people scream at conference speakers “The government won’t allow this!!, they’ll shut this down!!!” and storm out of the event.

The irony is, if the mentioned people had spent some time to understand the technology and had they even ended up being right, they’d have stood to make tens of thousands of dollars by shorting bitcoin.
Note: even if you hate Bitcoin and are certain it will fail, you can make a lot of money from it’s demise.

2. There will only ever be 21 million bitcoin, bitcoin is scarce, currently there is around 16.3 million bitcoins in existence, today 12.5 new bitcoins are created and accepted by the network every 10 minutes. Every 4 years the number coming into creation every 10 minutes halves, in the year 2020 6.25 will come into creation, in 2024 it’ll be 3.125, 2028 it’ll be 1.562 new bitcoins every 10 minutes and so on, this 4 yearly division will keep up until the year 2140 when all 21 million bitcoins have been created.

3. There is enough Bitcoin for every human in the world. There is over 7 billion people on the planet, yet there will only ever be 21 million bitcoin, how can 21 million bitcoin be enough? A single bitcoin is divisible to 8 decimal places, so a bitcoin is practically made up of 100 million smaller units. As a single $1 goes to 2 decimal places and is made of 100 smaller units that we call cents, a bitcoin simply goes to 8 decimal places, the smallest unit being called a “Satoshi”, named after the creator of Bitcoin.

Bitcoin works upon the principles of deflation, not to be confused with economic deflation, economic deflation is terrible in a society with only inflationary currency.
Bitcoins deflationary model is completely new to humanity and works well along side inflationary currencies, by acting as a store of value.

4. Any person or machine can send Bitcoin to any other person or machine they wish, you can send money to an Iranian, a North Korean, an American, an employee of Wikileaks, Edward Snowden, ISIS, Al Qaeda, George Bush, Tony Blair or any other terrorist, you’d be breaking a law, and could face criminal prosecution, but from a technical point of view, there is no way to stop you, Bitcoin isn’t like a traditional centralised payment service like Visa, Paypal, Mastercard, traditional banking etc, where a government or bank can choose who can or who can’t have an account. Your account can never be closed, it’s impossible by design.

5. Bitcoin never closes, it’s open 24/7 every day of the year, anyone can participate, in traditional banking, international payments can take 3 to 5 business days and for many banks these transactions can only be placed between the hours of 9-5, bitcoin has no sense of out of hours, the average transaction will arrive at the recipient in under 3 seconds, the network will have settled the transaction as final on average in 10 minutes.

6. You can send however much bitcoin you own to whoever you want, if you own $1 million in bitcoin, you can send this to anyone you want, no one can stop you, no one can ask you “who is this money going to?” or “how did you get this money?” or “what is this money being used for”. At first to someone who doesn’t understand bitcoin this could sound strange or scary, however with bitcoin, money is a content type, it’s completely digital, it’s the money of the internet, it’s the internet of money, look at it like email, or a file type like a jpeg, mp3 etc, who can stop you sending an email? or sending a jpeg?, once you start to see bitcoin as a content type, it’ll all make sense.

When the world wide web first appeared on the internet, many people were disgusted at the idea that any person could publish articles online, these people were used to only government backed newspapers having this right, any individual having as much power to publish as a newspaper sounded crazy, today most people view internet censorship as far more crazy.

When the printing press first appeared, if an average person was found in possession of one, the penalty was death.

7. Bitcoin is a store of value, if bitcoin succeeds and more people start using bitcoin over time, the price must rise, this is due to the scarcity of bitcoin and it’s divisibility (to 8 decimal places).
One of the first transactions online was a guy buying pizza off another guy, he paid a guy on a forum 10,000 bitcoins to order him 2 pizzas, today 10,000 bitcoins is worth around $20 million AUD, at the time though there wasn’t that many people using bitcoin, so the several million bitcoins in existence were divided up amongst several thousand users.

Today it’s estimated there is between 6 million – 12 million owners of bitcoin. With bitcoin being both scarce and popular, bitcoin has to be divided up, 2 pizzas today could be bought for 0.02 bitcoins, rather than 10,000 bitcoins, in another 5 years, if the bitcoin network keeps growing at the current rate, the price of 2 pizzas could perhaps be 0.00001 bitcoin (or insert random guess here).
As you can probably work out, if you got into Bitcoin several years ago and held onto your bitcoin, today you’d have made considerable money.

8. Bitcoin cannot be copied, many people are confused with this at first, we’re used to anything digital being easily copied, think music, photos, documents etc, bitcoin though cannot be copied, on hearing this for the first time, many people have rolled their eyes, they think of DRM (digital rights management) which has often been hacked and proven floored.

What makes bitcoin impossible to copy is that a bitcoin doesn’t exist as a copyable coin, All bitcoin is, is a row in a database, in bitcoin we call this database The Blockchain, in this database there is a row that says this address owns x amount of bitcoin, thousands of computers on the network keep a copy of The Blockchain, so if you wanted to modify a row in this database to say you own more bitcoin, then you need to convince the thousands of computers of the network to update their copy of the Blockchain, this isn’t possible, due to the cryptographic nature of the blockchain.

What you own as a bitcoin owner is effectively a password that proves to the network that you own the said row in the database, this is known as public/private key cryptography, I won’t go too much further into the technical side as it’ll lose most people, all you need to know is that your phone app keeps hold of this private key (password) behind the scenes and signs cryptographic messages to the network, eg “Give $5 of bitcoin to John, from my account, here is proof that I own this account” then all the computers on the network validate that you own that $5 and they update their copy of the database.

The smartest minds in Cryptography have gone over the code of bitcoin and
everyone has come to consensus that bitcoins cannot be copied.

9. Bitcoin is freedom.

10. Bitcoin is a high risk high return investment.

You can use this link to buy bitcoin¬†and we’ll both earn $10 in bitcoin, however, I’ll write¬†further articles in the near future on whether or not I think people should buy bitcoin and how much, I’ll also cover how to securely store your bitcoin with a Trezor.

Chiang Mai Thailand cost of living for a couple

So, it’s been a long while since my last expense report, I’m no longer in Chiang Mai now but still have my expenses saved away, I’m putting them up for future reference.

This is for our second¬†30 days in Chiang Mai, it’s said your first month somewhere is always the most expensive, this was¬†true for us, as our second month was¬†much lower. Below are my previous expense reports.

Note: these prices are the total for 2 people, doing this trip solo would be half the prices, except for the accommodation.

chiangmai-expense2

Chiang Mai expenses

Chiang Mai Trip Expenses

  • Accommodation +¬†electricity ¬£168.15
  • Memberships (GYM – Co-working) ¬£171.15
  • Food, entertainment, living etc¬†¬£366.58

Total £705.88
Cost per person £352.94
Cost per day (per person) £11.76

As you can see, our month was much cheaper than our first month, had it not been for our memberships which consisted of 2 x 3 month gym memberships and 1 x 3 month co-working space membership, our expenses would have been even more lower. Our cost of living was no where near as low as that of an average Thai, but we’re on holidays after all, even still, we managed to make a profit this month by doing zero work.

ma-ploy

Maploy Pad Thai Nimman

By our second month we’d knew all the best places to¬†eat and drink but had also basically cut alcohol down to less than once a week, we cut back on alcohol not too save cash, but simply because we felt no need to numb our minds, life was positively stimulating enough that drinking alcohol just made life less enjoyable.

Now you might think “but why? do you not enjoy alcohol” and the answer is “yes”, but life was better not drinking, imagine you have a choice of¬†a crap movie or a good movie? why choose the movie that you know you’ll enjoy less?, I was far too happy to find alcohol enjoyable, so simply avoided it.

 

 

How to book Baan Thai Chiang Mai serviced apartment online

Baan Thai sign

Baan Thai sign

Whenever I mention on a Chiang Mai group online that I’m currently staying in the Baan Thai serviced apartments in the Nimman area of Chiang Mai, I always get someone private messaging me asking how to book online. The simple answer is, you don’t, you turn up and speak to reception in person, if there is a room free you book it straight away, if there isn’t, you find somewhere else until a room becomes available.

I have however managed to help a person book a room before he arrived in Thailand, I done this by placing a 1,000 Baht deposit for him, he was a mate I know from the UK, who came here to code with me for a month.

Before coming to Chiang Mai I read about Baan Thai online on Travel Dave’s blog, his article is more informative than what I’m writing here, except for the price has now changed.

Baan Thai Nimman

Baan Thai Nimman

As of October 2015 the price for a month has increased to 6,000 Baht, at the time of writing this, that price converts to¬†¬£109.50. On top of this you’ll need to pay utilities, how much utilities cost will depend on how much you use the air conditioner.

Personally I use it almost every night, my room is in Baan Thai B and faces towards the pool, beyond the pool is Baan Thai A and then the road, the noise isn’t too loud during the night, but I prefer to have the balcony doors closed, this greatly reduces air circulation, so to counter this I put on the AC, it keeps the room nice and cool of course, but it also creates a constant white noise that prevents me from ever hearing outside noises.

Our most recent month came to ¬£168 in total for the room including utilities, this isn’t bad, but you could find a room¬†for close to half this around Nimman, however it wouldn’t have a pool or the same friendly Baan Thai vibe. Baan Thai is full of foreigners, many are digital nomads, others are retirees. You’ll quickly recognise the other tenants around town at either a¬†Gym, local co-working space, or at one of the many local bars/cafes.

Baan Thai B

Baan Thai B

Baan Thai is directly under the flight path, if I happen to be around, I’ll usually be in¬†the pool, from the pool you can watch the planes fly overhead, not just commercial planes, but also the fighter jets from the Thai Air-force, floating¬†in the pool watching them roar across the sky in groups of three, I consider to be¬†part of my morning ritual.

Overall I consider Baan Thai to be relatively quiet, there isn’t any bars near by that are open beyond midnight, however, if you’re an early riser and light sleeper, you’ll probably want to turn on the AC and shut the doors.

For the 6,000 baht a month, we get our room cleaned weekly, we also pay separately for laundry to be collected when needed, the cost of laundry is 40 baht (¬£0.73) per kilogram. As a couple, our weekly laundry cost averages around ¬£3.20, it’s collected at 15:30 each day and returned the same time the following day. If you wanted to keep your costs low you could do your laundry yourself at near by laundrettes for roughly half the price. For me though, never having to worry about cooking, cleaning or laundry is a great time saver which allows me to get on with other things in life.

Cake in Wanz Cafe

Cake in Wanz Cafe

The Nimman area has a ton of Cafes and Restaurants, our two favourites on our street are Zood Zood¬†for a good selection of tasty meals as well as their Butterfly Pea Water, and Wanz Cafe¬†for a mixture of Wifi usage and Ice Green Tea consumption, Wanz is also a bar at night and Motor cycle mechanic during the day, the cafe has a motor cycle theme, the coffee tables each have a motor cycle engine as part of their frame.¬†I’ve not been to Wanz in the evening, so I can’t really comment on the bar or food, but the cakes in the day time Cafe are good enough for my palate.

Chiang Mai Noodles in Zood Zood

Chiang Mai Noodles in Zood Zood

Our other favourite local place to eat and relax with some music is D-fine, it is however two streets over from our street, so roughly a two minute walk.

As already mentioned this area has a lot of places, the three I’ve mentioned here I’m sure aren’t the best, they’re just places we’ve enjoyed and often frequent for some normality in life.

Another place I feel worth mentioning is Salad Concept, Salad is a great break from eating Thai every day and this place is clearly the best in the area.

So to get a bit back on topic, if you’re wanting to stay in Baan Thai, either you’ll need to have someone already there place a deposit for you, or you’ll need to book a cheap hotel for your first night and spend a day walking around Nimman, this is what we did, we walked into every serviced apartment place we could find, besides¬†from the location, the swimming pool at Baan Thai is what won the place over for us, its huge and the perfect size for laps.

flowers

Who doesn’t like flowers?

Often I’ll read people on groups say “what is their number, if they don’t have a website I’ll ring them and book that way”, don’t waste your time, why would they take a booking from someone on the other side of the world when someone will simply walk in that day and pay a cash deposit?. Rooms aren’t vacant for more than a day in Baan Thai, but rooms become¬†vacant frequently as people are always moving in and out. Minimum stay is one month.

My favourite street food vendors are just around the corner, out the front of either Tesco or 711, they are Mr Moustache and Pad Thai Maploy.

I hope this helps, best of luck.

Tales of UFOs from aboard the Trans-Siberian express

UFOs in Siberia

US Navy ICBM

US Navy ICBM

Recently in the USA, a bunch of fools witnessed what they called a “UFO”, flying up at high altitude, this UFO later became an¬†IFO “Identified flying Object”. The UFO was in fact a US Navy ICBM, on first seeing the footage I said to my self “that is clearly a rocket” as it looked no different than any other night time rocket launch.

Many fools uploaded videos, in these videos I heard people say “OMG!!, do you know what that is?” with responses like “it has to be a UFO!”, certainly it was a UFO to the person holding the camera, they were unable to identify it, I’m quite sure however that the voices in the videos assume Alien spacecraft are called UFOs, which just isn’t true, Alien spacecraft are called Alien spacecraft, UFOs are anything flying that you can’t identify.

When I’m with someone and I see what is most likely either a plane or helicopter at great distance and I’m asked to identify it, if I’m unable to, I’ll simply say “It’s a UFO, perhaps it’s a plane or a helicopter, I’m not too sure, but for now it¬†remains a¬†UFO until I can identify it“. At no point will I have ever implied the UFO was an Alien Spacecraft…. reason being that it would be much more likely to be something man made that I simply can’t identify due to distance/light, than say an Alien spacecraft from several million light years away.

Aliens

Aliens

Anyway, this recent event got me remembering a conversation I had with a lovely old lady on the Trans-Siberian Express. Half way across Siberia, I mentioned how very remote Siberia is and she straight away brought up her UFO experience. The skeptic within me told me to sit up and get ready for a yarn, but being a skeptic, I knew I had to remain open minded, so with ears pricked I sat listening to my partner translate the story.

Many years ago I was camping out in the forest, I bent down to put some more wood on the camp fire, while bending down the smoke rose up into my eyes and I could hardly see, as I looked up I could see a light in the sky, however as I rubbed the smoke out of my eyes the UFO instantly disappeared.

Upon hearing this story, I didn’t know whether to probe (pun intended) deeper or to be a polite foreign guest, I chose the later.

The skeptic in me thinks that what she witnessed that night, was no other than a result of the camp fire smoke in her eyes, it just seems a bit more logical than intergalactic visitors, flashing their lights just at the wrong moment, then returning home across the universe.

I thought someone might like this story, it entertained me at the time.

 

Chiang Mai Thailand first month living expenses report

So, it’s been a while since my last expense report, I’ll do one today for last month and my most recent one I’ll do tomorrow.

This is for our first 30 days in Chiang Mai, it’s said your first month somewhere is always the most expensive, this has been true for us, as our second month is much lower, so be sure to check back tomorrow. If you’d like to see our previous expenses, the reports are linked in the list below.

Note: these prices are the total for 2 people, doing this trip solo would be half the prices, except for the accommodation.

Chiang Mai Living Expenses

Chiang Mai Living Expenses

Chiang Mai Trip Expenses

  • Accommodation +¬†electricity ¬£213.38
  • Food, entertainment, living etc¬†¬£702.12

Total £915.50
Cost per person £457.75
Cost per day (per person) £15.25

This is for the first 30 days we spent in Chiang Mai, during this time we went to Cambodia for 5 days, I’ve excluded those days from the spreadsheet and only included the first 30 days spent in Chiang Mai. We had a more expensive month in Chiang Mai than we had in Hanoi due to several reasons, one is memberships, our membership column is for anything we’d pay for monthly, e.g. Wifi, mobile phone data plans, co-working space membership, gym memberships etc.

Butterfly Pea Water

Butterfly Pea Water

The initial few days were our most expensive due to socialising with friends/family who were visiting, this is really the only time I drink now.
As I get ready to return to Australia, I’m reducing my drinking to zero, in my last 18 months before leaving Australia in 2006 I never drank once, excluding farewell drinks the 2 weeks before departure. When the weather is hot and sunny I have zero desire to drink, I consider this a good thing.
In Vietnam I drank Bia Hoi beer almost nightly but at ¬£0.15¬†a beer 2% alcohol and freezing cold it’s rather¬†desirable.

Some new costs we now have are room cleaning, laundry and eating out every meal except for breakfast. If we’re home, it’s either for swimming, resting or sleeping, everything else is taken care of.

Hiking Chiang Mai

Hiking Chiang Mai

Two¬†of the main advantages of¬†Chiang Mai for foreigners is it’s low cost living and permanent sunny weather, for this reason there is a very large number of Digital Nomads living here and working on-line, either running their own businesses or working remotely for employers back home, they’re literally everywhere!, many work in co-working spaces, however, if you go into any of the hundreds of cafes and restaurants in the Nimman area of Chiang Mai, you’ll find yourself either sitting next to someone working away on a laptop, checking orders on their phone, emailing clients from their tablet or a bunch of people discussing tech, e-commerce, coding, digital life etc, this is the norm and not the exception.

If you ever find yourself in Nimman and see a bunch of people in a restaurant on their phones, don’t be like the idiot in the image below, as they’re simply checking which tropical island to live on next, or how much money they’ve made from Chiang Mai today, or perhaps chatting to friends and family back home,¬†perhaps it’s just a tourist glad to have some internet access.

I was once in a restaurant in Amsterdam and some tool started criticising a girl he didn’t even know, simply for “looking at her phone in a restaurant”, these people I call “the bored, face palmers” they’re that bored with their own life, that they need to criticise others and whenever I hear them, I want to face palm my self. For some people, being in “a restaurant” is something they do every day and they aren’t going to miss too much of the amazing restaurant excitement going on around them simply by looking at their phone.

Pool Baan Thai Chiang mai

Our Pool

The foreigners living here, tend to live well away from the tourist areas, everyone in this area is very¬†friendly be it locals or foreigners and all bars shut by midnight, so there isn’t drunken zombies staggering around, sex tourism or even a single annoying hawker of any kind.

The food here is amazingly cheap and superb, there is no excuse for not living a healthy life style or atleast finding something that suit’s your taste.

A lovely street meal will cost¬†anywhere from ¬£0.45 for the best omelette and rice I’ve had, all the way up to ¬£0.95 for the best seafood Pad Thai I’ve had. A lovely spicy Papaya Salad will set you back around ¬£0.55, street smoothies, Ice Tea and Ice Coffee set you back around ¬£0.50, while an Iced Green Milk Tea in one of the many trendy Cafes will set you back around ¬£1 to ¬£1.30.

Green Tea Latte

Green Tea Latte

Restaurant meals will set you back anywhere from £1 to £3, but will average around £1.50, anything over £3 would be something foreign imported and not of very good quality.

The other day I bought an Ice Cream Sandwich off a guy in the street for £0.18, it was a proper Ice Cream Sandwich, ice cream between 2 slices of bread, rather than the fake imposter version of Ice Cream between 2 wafers.

Our first month in Chiang Mai was nice and relaxing, everyday is like a beautiful summers day.

I’ll post my most recent expense report tomorrow and include a little more on life in Chiang Mai.

 

Hanoi Vietnam one month expense report

So, last month we spent 28 days in Hanoi Vietnam, this was our cheapest month yet, here you’ll find our expense report, this is my 4th expense report so far, for my previous reports, see the following

Note: these prices are the total for 2 people, doing this trip solo would be half the prices, except for the accommodation.

Hanoi expense report

Hanoi expense report

Hanoi Trip Expenses

  • Visas ¬£162
  • Bus (from Nanning China to Hanoi) ¬£36
  • Accommodation +¬†electricity ¬£243.7
  • Food, drinks, taxi, bus, cinema ¬£274.82

Total £716.52
Cost per person £358.26
Cost per day (per person) £12.79
Cost per day per person excluding the now non required Visa £9.90

This was insanely cheap, at no time did we feel we were on a budget, we had a brilliant apartment over looking the water, the list of costs above doesn’t explain too much, so I’ve included a screen shot of our excel spreadsheet, we update this daily, it greatly helps us plan for future days a head. The spreadsheet is excluding the accommodation cost, we keep this in a separate sheet.

Hanoi traffic

Hanoi traffic

The brilliant thing about only spending ¬£716.52 for the month is that this is considerably less than our passive income, so in theory we could live in Hanoi forever, eat out every meal and never work a day again, I say “in theory” as we’d have trouble getting a permanent Visa.

After eating out every meal for a week, it becomes quite boring and you really crave a home cooked meal, and you actually crave simple things, this could be anything, a plain potato, a bowl of 2 minute noodles, a salad or a full on roast.

We started shopping roughly every second day, if you take a look at our spreadsheet you’ll see the days we shopped were our most expensive, followed by a much cheaper following day.

In Hanoi beers range anywhere from 7 for £1 to 1 for £1, if you drink and eat in a Bia Hoi you can manage 7 beers for £1 if you find a really cheap Bia hoi at 5,000 dong a beer, at the time the exchange rate hit £1 = 35,000 dong.

Hanoi West Lake

Hanoi West Lake

We’d go to a Bia Hoi almost every day, the beer is cold and low in alcohol, so it was very refreshing and the food is also very cheap and enjoyable. The service is brilliant, the staff watch your glass like a hawk, if it becomes empty there is already a new beer on your table.

Hanoi was always very hot and very humid, this was helped a little by having an apartment right on west lake, the wind off the lake provided a nice constant breeze. We also had the water park just a few hundred metres up the road.

I really enjoyed our time in Hanoi, the food was great, beers were cheap, fruit was plentiful and the Vietnamese great to drink with, we made friends with locals and expats, the area we lived had a lot of expats, on our final night our expat and Vietnamese friends all threw a party for us on our rooftop.

Hanoi rooftop party

Hanoi rooftop party

How to get from Nanning to Hanoi by bus and how much does the bus cost

Having recently completed this trip and having found conflicting info on-line, I thought I’d blog the correct information here on How to get from Nanning to Hanoi by bus and some tips etc.
Go by bus, you can go by train overnight, but expect to be woken at the border in the middle of the night.

The Chinese coach is nice, but without a toilet, the bus will stop twice for a toilet break and once for the border, one of the toilet breaks includes a 20 minute meal break, but just take snacks and wait till you get to Hanoi to eat.

The bus costs 168 Yuan and leaves at 8:30, 9:00, 9:30 and around 12:30.Nanning Bus Station Map

The bus leaves from the Langdong Bus Station Ticket Office on¬†You’ai rd (or Lu as the roads seem to be called), all the street signs have the names in English so you can relax.

I recommend the 9:30 bus as I’m not a morning person, and the 12:30 will arrive late in the evening. The 9:30 bus will arrive around 7pm, the trip isn’t as long as it sounds, a good one to two hours is spent at the border.

You’ll have to arrive an hour early to buy your tickets. If you have time the day before, why not buy your tickets then?

Vietnam Border

Vietnam Border

Once you’ve crossed the border on foot (this is a requirement) and spent 10 minutes at Chinese customs, it’ll take you about 30 minutes to an hour to get through the slow Vietnam border control, then you’ll¬†wait anywhere up to an hour for a bus.

The bus goes to 3 separate locations in Hanoi, you’ll most likely want to arrive near¬†the old quarter, tell the bus driver at the Vietnam border “Hong Ha” or better still have it written on a piece of paper, Vietnamese uses a derivative of the Latin alphabet, he’ll understand the name.

The bus stop is a 2km walk or a taxi ride, you’ll most likely get ripped off a few $s, these taxi drivers are expecting new arrivals with no clue, if you’re travelling lite and on a budget or enjoy¬†some exercise after sitting for so long, you can walk to the old quarter, but a taxi is easiest, depending on your negotiating skills it should be no more than 90,000 dong at the upper price range, however the taxi will try you for 200,000+ dong, by the meter it should be about 60,000.

The bus trip was great fun, we got to the bus station in Nanning to find that there was 10 other people from our hostel catching the same bus.

You’ll be given a small bottle of water and some sweet bread, but it’s a long day and Vietnam can be hot, so take plenty of snacks and water.

Enjoy Hanoi!

Relaxing in Hanoi

Relaxing in Hanoi

China trip expense report

Here is the cost of our recent trip from Ulan Bator Mongolia to Nanning southern China. This¬†is my third expense report from this year’s big trip, it follows on from the Mongolian Trip Expense report¬†which covered our costs of Trans-mongolian train into Mongolia from Irkutsk, plus¬†Mongolian living expenses.

Xi'an Terracotta Matt

Xi’an Terracotta Matt

Note: these prices are the total for 2 people, doing this trip solo would be slightly cheaper.
The trains were Ulan Bator to Beijing, Beijing to Xi’an, Xi’an to Chongqing, Chongqing to Nanning.

China Trip Expenses

  • Visas ¬£176
  • Trains ¬£481
  • Accommodation ¬£165
  • Tours ¬£130 (Great wall and Terracotta warriors)
  • Food and other ¬£105

Total £1057
Per person £528.5
Cost per day (per person) £44.04

As you can see the trains were our biggest expenses, we had a bullet train from Beijing to Xi’an and the rest were sleeper trains totalling 3 nights worth of accommodation.
We bought most of our train tickets online, which resulted in us paying agency fees of around $15 per ticket, it would have been cheaper to buy them at the station, however we’d have risked the trains being fully booked due to school holidays.

Fact: Almost all Chinese food we had was very hot/spicy, however all the food served on the two separate day tours was the same horrible oily sweet garbage you get from English Chinese takeaway.

Chongqing at night

Chongqing at night