What would describe co-living simply is the morph of a co-working space into a temporary communal living space that offers the networking experience by occupying the space as residents.
In Thailand, the trend catches up. JLL Thailand, the property service provider with decades of operation under its belt, said that in the country, there is now a number of small co-living facilities in Bangkok and key resort cities such as Chiang Mai, Phuket and Krabi. But they are still targeted at foreign digital nomads and exist to complement co-working spaces.
“For most Thais, shared living space may not be a preferred option as there are other housing options that remain affordable and offer higher privacy. This explains why co-living has not yet become a big thing in Thailand’s real estate. However, this will change in the near future,” said Suphin Mechuchep, Managing Director at JLL.
Mechuchep continued on why the trend will only arrive to grow more familiar: “As city condos and apartments are getting smaller and less affordable, it will become more difficult for young workers to buy or rent a private living space. In addition, these young workers are millennials who grew up in the sharing economy, the value being part of a like-minded community and thus tend to be more willing to share facilities. The growing popularity of co-working exemplifies this trend well.”
With millennials are now at the forefront of consumers, and the actual affordability of spaces getting more out of reach, the sharing economy will thrive for Thais, and co-living lifestyle is at the heart of it.
Here are some of the co-living facilities that trailblazed the trend in Thailand:
UnionSPACE is located at Soi 61, just eight minutes’ walk from Ekkamai BTS station and three minutes walk from Park Lane. It has a 1,400sqm co-working space and private offices.
For the workspace, the place offers flexible contracts that are designed to enable businesses to scale up and down easily and furnished areas for teams of one to 50.
Besides the standard co-working facilities, the co-living space provides what it calls a “self-contained capsules with a comfy bed, plush linens, quilt, and pillows” that will cost US$19 per night for three nights’ stay. For a longer stay, the price is reduced further.
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With hotel-grade amenities completed with housekeeping and shared bathroom, UnionSPACE also provides entertainments, such as Netflix in the communal lounge. Staying in the co-living facility also gives full access to the co-working space, which arguably something that makes the co-living option more affordable and sensible if it’s strictly business.
UnionSPACE also operates in other countries like Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Singapore.
Hub53, Chiang Mai
When it comes to co-living space, smaller and touristy cities like Chiang Mai thrive in more than the metropolitan city like Bangkok. Chiang Mai has Hub53 Coworking & Coliving Space, which is inspired by the digital nomads, travellers and location-independent entrepreneurs, who visit Chiang Mai every year.
Founder of Hub53 Natika Prakobboon said that space is inspired by co-living space as a movement and to facilitate those who wish to make Chiang Mai a temporary home. Located in a spot that requires an eight minutes’ walk from the Nimman Road and the Maya Mall, Hub53 presents a gathering spot and a coworking space with a community approach.
According to its website, Hub53 co-living area features private and family rooms to foster a close-knit atmosphere. Guests can work in one of the many common areas, cook in the kitchen, or socialise with like-minded people.
Unlike UnionSPACE, the co-living space is more dominant than its co-working space, which also features standard facilities, such as open floorplan office and private offices for rent. The place champions productivity with both spaces of working and living area in the same building, complemented with maid cleaning service, fully-equipped communal kitchen, and private WiFi, desk, and chair if guests prefer to work from their room.
KoHub, Koh Lanta
Another co-living offers from the island country with tourism as its main attraction is KoHub in Koh Lanta.
On its website, Lanta is described as a small and humble but beautiful laid back tropical island in the south of Thailand with not many brands or chain stores available around. Highlighting the tropical atmosphere, the co-living space sure promotes the vacation aspect of the co-living property besides its standard amenities.
Specifically targeting digital nomads and making its space an ideal hub for startup retreats, Koh Lanta becomes one of the remote islands that see past its tourism and embrace the digital lifestyle of most tourists with KoHub’s apartment offers.
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Located at a five minutes’ walk from the beach and a ten minutes’ walk to the KoHub co-working space, space also tries to get on board with eco-friendly trends through its organic farming-based kitchen Project E.Ko Hub. In this sense, the place tries to narrow down its target market into the conscious digital nomads’ niche.
“We have always been a sustainable and eco-friendly co-working space. Our vision is to be totally off-grid by 2022,” the statement on the website reads.
BeacHub, Koh Phangan, Thailand
According to its online track, Koh Phangan is known as one of Thailand’s party islands. However, the other side of the island is also a good place to chill out and work.
BeacHub, as the name suggests, offers a “beachfront desks with the fibre-optic Internet”. It also positions itself to be an Instagram-ready co-living space with its proximity to white-sand beaches, palm trees, blue skies, and crystal-clear water.
Recently, BeacHub was voted number one co-working and co-living space in Asia among other global co-living spaces by Forbes. Outside Koh Pangan, the entity also opens in countries and islands with famous beaches, such as Hawaii, Bali, Mexico, and Costa Rica.
Coming back to the city hub, there’s LITA awaiting. Selling its strategic centred location as its comfortable point, LITA is a 5-story shophouse that was formerly owned by a local Thai/Chinese family.
On its website, it reads: “LITA Bangkok encourages guests to explore the city and experience a real local living from this little alley at the heart of Bangkok’s new CBD”.
The options for the room are varied, from three different types of private studios with showers to a dormitory with shared bathroom with weekly cleaning service and basic amenities. Guests also gain access to spacious common areas including the living room, cafeteria, co-working space, laundry area, and a smoking terrace.
Stating that convenience, culture, and sense of community are its goals, LITA offers the classic drill on co-living stay, which is to have a chance to get to know (and even collaborate with) fellow travellers from all over the world.
Stash suggests guests consider them for what they call a “mid-term staying” like one to three months.
“We’re neither a hotel nor a typical co-working, so please don’t expect to see reception, staff available 24×7 and everyday room cleaning. We prepare a clean room for you, but keeping it clean is your responsibility,” says its website.
Stash is more like a “ready-to-live” house for digital nomads with shared appliances and nice company, a shared commodity with a compromise on hotel-like convenience, which is still a fair offer when it comes to a co-living situation.
Even though it’s situated in Phuket, there are no bars or clubs nearby, and Stash chose a quieter, more peaceful, and safer part of the island to live in. “We are not within walking distance from beaches to let us keep our prices low,” which is again something fair for an affordable way of life for digital nomads.
There are two types of rooms; two shared rooms with double-deck beds or four private rooms with single/double beds.
In The City, Chiang Mai
Located at Sri Poom Road, Chiang Mai, close to the north gate in the heart of Chiang Mai, In The City targets digital nomads, entrepreneurs, developers, freelancers, and other professionals to work in and live in its co-living space.
A review about the place reads: “A place to make connections, whether you are looking to settle down in Chiang Mai for some time, or just want to hang out with the people that are planning to”, as well as “A place of balance between working and travelling, since over here we’re working alone, together”.
The place provides the usual needs for co-living space, but with an added bonus of being located right in the heart of a touristy city, which will be ideal for the work-to-play situation, if that’s what’s being looked for.
KoHabitat, Koh Samui
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“Think of it as staying in the comfort of your friend’s house. We created a very casual vibe here, where interacting with one another isn’t awkward,” says KoHabitat, Koh Samui-located co-living space.
Established by a team of Samui locals who love the community, KoHabitat was originally a commercial building that was then remodeled into a shared living space. It is now a little spot with what it claims to be at par with the facilities of a boutique hostel, yet affordable for all travelers looking for short term or long term shared-accommodation.
Kat, the host and founder of KoHabitat has been in the hospitality industry for many years and has always dreamed of creating such space.
The house is located just five minutes away from Bophut Beach and the Fishermans’ Village. There are a total of 12 tailor-made beds with individual curtains provided for privacy with plugins and standard amenities.
For a country whose people are regarded as hailing privacy above everything else, Thailand certainly is opening up to the co-living concept even more than its neighbouring Southeast Asian countries. A large part of it thanks to its nature as a tourist-friendly country, that co-living space is inevitably the next innovation in the digital age of the hospitality industry. It remains fascinating to see what co-living space can innovate into in this country.
Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash
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