Laurence has a friend who was recently offered a job teaching english in Thailand. He asked me about our experience thus far so I wrute the following email. After writing it I thought it was probably a good summary of the events thus far so:
You are a much more experienced traveler than I am and I am well into
my second gin and tonic so remember that as I try to find something
useful to say.
I have not been to Rayong. As you know from the travel journal (not a
blog!) we are living on a southern island in the gulf.
I found the transition easier than I had expected. Thai people are
outwardly very friendly with a good command of english. We have
learned next to no Thai and have had no problem with tasks as varried
as setting up stalite internet and buying squid at the local market (a
good command of numbers is useful).
On the other hand we have made very few Thai friends. Here, at least,
friendship between Thais goes only so far. Thanksin’s major political
party was, afterall, ‘Thai Rak Thai’ or Thais love Thais. Not Thais
love people, or Thais love the world. Comming from a Canadian
perspective of multiculturalism this took me by surprise.
That being said, a friend of mine taught englush in a northern
mountain village and had the opposite experience. I can put you in
touch with her if you like.
Living on the Gulf of Thailand is extremely pleasent. As I write
this, in the dead of the Thai winter, I am slung, shirtless, in a
hamock connected to our internet connection wirelessly drinking a gin
and tonic listening to the lap of waves on the beach. The temperature
stays near about 30 degrees all year. It is essentially a paradise.
I’m sure Rayong is similarly blessed.
I know Rayong is close to Pattaya, which is a popular beach due to
it’s proximity to Bangkok. Locals here do not speak highly of it.
They also don’t speak well of Bangkok, which I can personally atest is
a smelly, foul city very unlike the rest of Thailand. Still, living
within striking distance of Bangkok will be usefull for those hard to
In terms of money: we spend 15,000 baht a month on an air-conditioned
house right on the beach with a full kitchen and western style toilet.
A place to live can be obtained much more inexpensively. If prices
in Rayong are similar to prices here I would guess that 5000
baht/month would get you a small 3 room place with no
air-conditionaling near the beach.
Food costs vey little. Thai food eaten out cost 40~60 baht for a
really great Thai curry. Western food costs more like 100~200 baht.
Beer in a restaurant goes for 60 baht a bottle and is half that in a
store. We go to the vegetable market a few times a week and buy an
armload of fresh Thai produce to cook our own curries for basically
It is probably possible to survive on 5000 baht a month but
comfortably on 15000 and exhorbitantly (like us) on 25000.
Personally, the first three months went extremely quickly, but I will
be glad to move on to new scenery after six. The lack of deep
relationships with Thais makes me miss family and friends no matter
how heavenly the climate (and it is spectacularly pleasent).
Hope some of that is usefull. I’m happy to answer any specific
questions about our experiences.