So I'm having second thoughts on bringing my laptop to Thailand with me. Bah! I leave in 2 days!
I was thinking I could purchase a mini internet device of some sort (netbook, cheap version of ipad) now, as I think my laptop may just be too heavy and bulky to pack around and I don't want the hassle of always worrying about theft. Can I buy something like this in Thailand, since I am leaving so soon? Would I be able to get it up and running from there and then take it home with me and use it here?
#1 bumbly has been a member since 2/2/2011. Posts: 23
I went through your dilemma and decided to bring the laptop. I figured since I was planning to be gone for 6 months to a year it'd have depreciated in value so much by the time I got back it wasn't worth fretting about it getting pinched.
I'm typing on it now after 7.5 months of travel and I have to say, it has been a major pain in the backside to cart around the whole time. That said, mine has a 16" screen and weighs like 3kgs.
If I had the luxury of choosing what to bring all over again, I'd probably opt for a netbook (small lappy with net access but limited hard drive space and no CD/DVD drive). Those things are great for travelling around with. My beast is good if you don't mind hunkering down in one place for a month here and there.
Also, you can insure a laptop through companies like ... World Nomads.
Places like Bangkok and Phuket have no shortage of tech stuff for you to buy - both knockoff and genuine.
Personally, with the number of internet cafes all over the place here, I don't see a need to bring anything at all.
#3 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
i have a small lightweight laptop (macair) and love it to pieces. cannot imagine traveling without it. You can get a cheapie netbook in BKK. Go to pantip plaza, top floor. They will have every imaginable netbook for a decent price with pretty knowledgable & english speaking staff as well.
Well time is running out. Not knowing where you are from makes it difficult to say if a computer back home will be cheaper than Thailnd or not. I know that I can find computers in the US cheaper than Thailand. If your buy your netbook at home you can probably find it on sale. Buying it back home you know you will have it easier to get any warranty work done. If you will be in Thailand for a long time maybe buy it there.
I travel with an Asus Netbook now, a 10 inch EeePC. It has been pretty good over the past 14 months. I do have a full size laptop at home. I was able to transfer all of my bookmarks and toolbar favorites to a flash drive and moved them over to the new computer. I have Firefox and Safari (I prefer to save links and data on Safari;) I have the IE for updates. I work off of FF all the time and use the other browsers for checking stuff.
My suggestion is that if you do purchase the netbook in Thailand you could bring the FD with you and make your new computer almost the same as your old computer except for smaller screen and keyboard.
There are portable Firefox browsers for flash drives too. Pop that FD in any internet shop computer and you can have a homepage that is the same as your regular computer.
PASSWORD PROTECT your netbook and even the flash drive for safety.
Up to you.
#5 sirhalberd has been a member since 30/12/2007. Posts: 295
You can buy a decent netbook for about 300-500US in Thailand from what I've seen. I'm pretty sure anywhere with an airport will have a a pc store where you can get your hands on this stuff.
Good idea to password protect USB sticks.
I disagree with Madmac about just going to net cafes because the security is woeful and it'd be easy for someone to use a keylogger and get access to your email and bank details that way. Plus they overcharge IMO and its a pain to have to go and use a net cafe when you could just have the net etc with you in your room, as long as there's wifi.
That's reliable wifi too. You have to account for signal strength and the distance from the router to your room... reason I bought a signal amplifier from Pantip ($35US will double the bars on your reception).
I planned to mess around with photoshop, premiere video editing and 3d/flash graphics whilst away, hence I brought a beast of a laptop. Also, the 16" screen is great for keeping up with all the latest movies and TV shows.
That said, I could live with a smaller screen and less processing power really.
Again, if you're away for like 3 months and just want to keep in touch with the world - netbook it all the way. I'm basically away until the money runs out, which could be substantially longer, and I like my tech.
Is there a reason there's an aversion to just doing your business at an internet cafe?
#7 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Yes - I wrote it!
Reason = Bad security. I don't know about you guys but I don't want other people reading my personal email or getting into my online banking.
There's one communal computer at a cafe I go to where as soon as you click on Yahoo, you are automatically logged into some Thai girl's email account. You can see the two guys she's stringing along, their pics, their cheesy lines, everything.
I caught all that in a 2 second glance of course, as I was busy minding my own business and shutting down the window.
I don't need strangers seeing my cheesy pickup lines.
I don't do on-line banking and I don't give a **** who reads my email: None of it is particularly personal or interesting. And if you are out where I live, no one can read it anyway. English skills here are horrible.
#9 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
I do online banking and I do care who reads my email.
Plus I'm staying in one of the most touristy parts of the country where many Thai can read English, I guess because much of their business comes from people who speak it.
Maybe if I was backpacking through Issan or the North where you are (?), I'd let my guard down a bit. In my experience, a little paranoia now and then doesn't hurt your chances of an incident-free vacation - long or short.
I suppose. I wouldn't want to bank on line out here, but I guess a lot of people do it. I know my son HATES going to my wife's village because there's no connectivity to the outside world there and he just can't stand that.
#11 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
I almost "need" the net to survive. It saves SO much time with planning things.
I'm a gen XY'er though, so maybe it's bred into us more, the net dependency. Guys over 50 probably barely see what all the fuss is about.
Yep - I'm just turning 50 and while I use the net, I am definitely NOT dependent on it. In fact, I am building a house in the village and well might move there permanently when my daughter starts boarding school. I can go into Saimun and check my email every couple of days, and that's more than enough. Of course, by then we will probably have full internet access out there.
#13 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Nope. It seems like I'm on it a lot, but the reality is a check it a couple of times a day when I'm bored. If I move to the village, I'll keep busy farming.
#16 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
I don't know. I am taking my time, doing it right, as I already own a house in the city where I am living now. I have a very specific vision and don't want to rush things to get it done. It will be years for sure since I am also funding my sons university.
#18 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Sorry to butt in on the conversation, but re the OP's actual question, ;-p I got an Asus netbook at Pathip Plaza last year. It cost around $300 but I think they're cheaper now. I chose that one because it had the best battery life.
I've had several problems with it... battery and charging issues and the warranty is for Thailand only so you have to be in Thailand to get it fixed. I think Acer have an international warranty and have improved their batteries. Definitely worth having some kind of netbook/smartphone with you as nearly everywhere (except Mukdahan maybe) now has wifi.
@MM - netbooks are hardly "lugged around" - they're usually 1kg and could easily fit in a backpack with a bunch of other stuff.
@SBE - normally with straight text I would draw a cheeky face with tongue sticking out by pressing : and ) and ~ without the spaces and 'ands'.
The auto-emoticon thing in the java script or whatever for the site converts the colon and bracket into a yellow smiley face graphic but leaves the tongue tilda ~ as is. So it looks like a a tongue sticking out of a happy face ear. A bit. You could probably do two tongues like this.... (testing)
Unless I can put it in my pants pocket, I'm lugging it around. That means when I go out, it's staying in the room and subject to pilfering. That would be the biggest inhibitor for me.
#24 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
But that's just your opinion madmac. Other people can see the advantages of "lugging" a 1kg netbook about ...at least two thirds of the travelers I see in Thailand nowadays have either a netbook or a smartphone with them.
Internet cafes are the pits...why sit hunched over a public computer seething with trojans and keyloggers in a grotty internet cafe when you can access the internet securely and in comfort practically wherever and whenever you want nowadays? You have access to all your own files, you can store pictures, download travel info, listen to music, play games or watch MP4 movies on long bus trips... all that inside a piece of kit that's about the same weight as one LP guide book.
Risk of theft...no more risky than bringing a decent camera on holiday I'd have thought. Would you go on holiday without taking a camera with you?
Well, my wife's camera that is an issue. My camera fits inside my cargo pocket. When I'm on the road, I check my mail every few days and that's it. My phone has a game on it and an MP3 player to listen to music. And of course it's just my opinion - pretty much true of all the non-factual stuff here. Like I said to Cranky, I would consider it a worry and a burden and I don't really feel a need for one. He does - and I suspect it's more of a generational thing as my son doesn't go anywhere without his either (well he didn't until it died - he doesn't have money for a new one). From my perspective it's just not worth the bother. Of course, when I take the horrible bus to Bangkok, it would be cool on the bus ride, but then I'd be concerned about it at the cheap hotel I stay at.
#26 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Netbooks are cheap enough, the way I see it, that they're not really worth bothering to steal these days. Also you can hide or insure them, or both... or just avoid staying in the cheap hotels. OR do what I did and carry all valuables in a backpack with you when you're slumming it - just leave the clothes in the cheap room.
If you're bringing a backpack with you, the netbook won't take up much more room. I reckon MM only has a superficial grasp of everything you can do with a portable pc. It's for more than just "checking email". At least it can be.
I'm sure your son would be more than happy to give you a few tutorials in return for a new laptop. I would feel like an amputee without access to mine for more than a few days. Poor little guy.
I realise what you CAN do. Hell, my son loves showing me that crap. I'm just not interested. The movie aspect is a plus, but that's it. The rest isn't important to me. When I hit the road, I'm not interested in connecting to the world. In fact, getting away from the wider world is kind of the point.
#28 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
I AM back home.
#30 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Obviously everyone's take on the risks is different, but I take my laptop every time I travel. I love being able to write about my trips, add blog posts and upload photos while I'm on the go.
Mine is a relatively lightweight MacBook Pro, in a memory foam case that protects it nicely from any bumps it might get along the way (though I like to protect it from the violence of overhead lockers on the plane, ha!), so it doesn't cause too much trouble bulk wise.
In my view, so long as you exercise common sense while you're on the go, you shouldn't have any problems. Most places have safety deposit boxes if you are concerned about leaving it unaccompanied in your room while you're out during the day (on the whole I don't bother, as for the majority of my time in Thailand I now stay in places where I already know and am on good terms with the owners and staff, so trust them implicity).
Enjoy your trip!
Also, have to say I entirely agree with SBE's point about internet cafés - I'm not a fan except when they're an absolute necessity.
"Internet cafes are the pits...why sit hunched over a public computer seething with trojans and keyloggers in a grotty internet cafe when you can access the internet securely and in comfort practically wherever and whenever you want nowadays? You have access to all your own files, you can store pictures, download travel info, listen to music, play games or watch MP4 movies on long bus trips... all that inside a piece of kit that's about the same weight as one LP guide book."
I would very seriously consider leaving my big bloody Asus 16" screen beast at home next time and just bring a netbook instead.
Or maybe one of those iPad 2s... or an air mac thing. Something lightweight and durable. I'm still sad about my H falling off
A letter fell off my last laptop too but it was an E. That laptop was too big anyway, 14" or 15" screen, and it weighed way too much so I bought an Asus netbook.
Carrying the Asus netbook around has been effortless. It easily fits into a small day bag and is very light but the bloody thing has been plagued with battery and charging issues so it's often been unusable. I bought it in Thailand so the warranty only works in Thailand. That shouldn't be too much of a problem for you though. After-service has been OK. They've never tried to make out that the computer wasn't defective and they fixed a charging problem for free even after the guarantee had expired. Problem is that they often have to wait 2-3 weeks for spare parts from Taiwan or wherever it is they make Asus.
So I don't know if I'd recommend the netbook I use. I chose it because of long battery life but if the battery won't change that's not much use! The model I have is a 1005HA, maybe later models are more reliable. Otherwise Acer do good and cheap netbooks too.
My Pro61sf weighs between 2.5-3kgs and is too big to fit in most guesthouse safety boxes. I'm always having to either carry it with me in the day bag backpack or lock it up in my main backpack, which I have cable tied to the door hinge in whatever room I'm staying in. I usually only go that far in a new place where I have no idea about the security/crime in the area.
Phuket in general is considered very safe, crime-wise, but I like to get into good habits for when I'm staying somewhere dodgy like, oh say one of those awful budget guesthouses in KL. 400-500 baht in Phuket, Thailand gets me a nice big room with reasonable security.
The equivalent in Ringgits in KL or Penang gets me a subdivided dog kennel in the bad part of town -- accommodation that is basically worse than prison ...at least worse than Australian prison (from what I've seen as a non-inmate)
I'd spend $300-$350 aus on a netbook (current avg price) if I was going to be travelling around SE Asia extensively/moving every other day. The big laptop has a lot of processing oompf I've not had much cause to use, and the battery life is woeful. I'm lucky to get 45 mins to an hour off a full charge.
I bought an Aspire One netbook in Singapore when last year, and I love it. (I only bought it because my crappy old Dell finally , well, crapped out).
This is slightly bigger than the smallest netbooks - it's 11.6inch instead of 10.? inch. The keyboard is just that much bigger which means it's actually easy to use. The other thing is that is has a 1366x768 resultion screen which means the writing is a bit smaller, but you can actually get a decent amount on your screen without scrolling as much. I did upgrade to 2gb though.
And to set it off, I pimped my netbook by buying a really cool (but very cheap) skin in Pantip Plaza. It has an elegant and stylised Thai elephant pattern. It's been a real conversation starter sometimes when I've whipped it out in a cafe somewhere. I just love my little netbook.
...insure things. password protect.
Rasheed - I must have missed your story about this somewhere...
In terms of password protecting - I like using TrueCrypt which essentially hides all your docs, etc in a hidden drive on the laptop. If anyone steals it, all they will see is a cryptically name file that doesn't look interesting. I use it on my netbook when travelling, for my external drive backups for my home laptop, and for my more sensitive docs on my home laptop. It's brilliant.
(And yes, I have probably exposed myself to sounding a true geek. I'm not, really!)
"It's been a real conversation starter sometimes when I've whipped it out in a cafe somewhere"
Now there's a sentence that begs to be taken out of context
Anyway, I've found the best way to keep peace of mind is to back up everything that's irreplaceable to DVD every couple of months, then send it back home along with anything else I've been carrying that's no longer needed. Last time I got rid of a pair of jeans and a belt that simply aren't practical in this climate. The DVDs weigh and cost next to nothing, and I can sleep soundly knowing my 12,000 odd pictures and documents are safely duplicated (and RAR password protected) elsewhere.
I occasionally keep a written journal so I don't forget all the wacky experiences I've had on the road, and that can be backed up as data too. I just photograph the pages with my iPhone and destroy the originals (not that Thai garbage men would want to read my stuff anyway, but you know).
I've heard some travellers say they'd feel sorry for anyone who stole their laptops since they're so old and crappy. Maybe I should downgrade?
@Lizzy - "The other thing is that is has a 1366x768 resultion screen which means the writing is a bit smaller"
You know you can adjust the font size no matter what the native resolution is, right lizzy?
Actually the easiest way to do this when browsing the net or PDF docs is to hold down the left 'Ctrl' button and scroll the wheel on the mouse up and down. Might save those eyes of yours a bit of strain eh?
You know you can adjust the font size no matter what the native resolution is, right lizzy?
Yeah, I know that, Cranky, thanks. But I hate scrolling more than squinting. Smaller font size means I can see more on my screen at once. Actually, my netbook has a cool touchpad feature that means I can just zoom in/out by swiping my thumbs away/towards each other. Don't even need the mouse .
Speaking of mice, I have the coolest mouse (designed/developed in NZ, I might add). I love this little baby and keep it on the laptop at home - but it's going to be great to travel with on the netbook. It really does live up to all the hype on the website. It's perhaps a bit on the pricey side, but I was fortunate enough to win mine. Just had a look on their dealer's page, and it's now available in Singapore, Vietnam and Hong Kong as well as others.