We’ve waited a long time to get some feedback on Ratchaburi (the home of the clay-fired earthenware jar) which is surprising because it’s got a booming TEFL industry. Thanks a lot Claire.
The Lonely Planet guidebook says......?
It’s the first year that Ratchaburi has been entered. Best to avoid this place - no one speaks English.
In general, what are the pickings like for an EFL teacher?
A few schools now have an English program and there are 2 private language schools. Some teachers from the local schools do some extra work here. More and more farangs are showing up - I believe there are already 30 farangs here. The pay is good, its very cheap here and so far all of the schools provide a living place. Starting salary is about 28.000 baht.
How far from Bangkok or civilization?
It’s only an hour and a bit to Bangkok. Places like Hua Hin are only half an hour away although it takes about 2 hours by train.
Is there any entertainment or do you invite friends round for Scrabble?
The only thing to do here is to drink or to shop. Plenty of nice little cozy bars here and there and there are also a few nightclubs. These are best avoided to be honest. However, never ever does a farang have to pay the entrance fee, which means you can spend this money on a bottle of J.Walker. UBC never lets us down either.
How much to rent a house or basic apartment?
A typical house will cost about 2,500 baht per month, however, as far as we have been told the school pays for this. Some schools have got amazing living quarters on top of the school. Great deal. Free living a stone’s throw away from the school and the bars are all very close.
Shopping malls, department stores?
We have a huge Tesco, Robinson and Tops. The local stores and markets provide the same for less.
Internet cafes? (snail-speed Hotmail default page or fatties playing Ragnarok?)
As in most Thai cities, internet is the newest thing for people to do. You can find internet places everywhere. It costs an entire 10-15 Baht for an hour. What a rip off!!! Haha. Where else can you find it this cheap and surprise surprise it runs on about 10 MB per minute. My internet back home was slower than this. The best time to hit an internet place is after 8 when all the kiddies have gone to bed.
Will you be stared at? and what's the likelihood of a good beating?
Yes!!! Not just stared at but kids running away crying cause they spotted something different and the breasts are a bit bigger than mommies. It has happened because a lot of new teachers that arrive here, don’t socialize with the Thais. As I quote from one teacher: Why are you socializing with the Thais? That’s sick! I still wonder how this Canadian guy survives here in Ratburi. Ratchaburi is a big military town so when the boys come out to play once a month you might wanna be a bit careful with what you say to these guys. And please don’t moon these guys it left one teacher here in the hospital. His face was cut with a razor blade.
Taxis, buses....or horse and cart?
Songtaews, tuk tuks, motorcycle taxis. The only taxi you will find here is if one got lost on the way to the floating market or if a few farang teachers have been partying in Bangkok till the early morning. ( Taxi Bangkok to Ratchaburi should not cost you more than 1000 baht!!!)
Main advantages of living there?
It’s so much cleaner than Bangkok. The city is pretty and it’s got some nice sightseeing things.. It is so cheap.. Where can you get a large Heineken for 55 Baht? Its not far from other places and it’s easy to travel. The train station is downtown and the bus station is in front of Tesco. The people are so friendly and nice, it rarely happens that we have to pay more than 200 baht for a night out. Everyone wants to be your friend here. Treat them nice and you get so much back! It’s a good place if you want to save some money. Don’t come here if you are anti-alcohol though! The food is nice, even though we are far away from Isaan. At every corner there is a food stall that sells Isaan food. Yum! Ratchaburi is also famous for the noodles they make here ( no not just the pottery). We are civilized, we have one KFC that does delivery and one pizza company. A very large choice of what to eat! (Not)
And what are the downsides?
It is hard to find someone that speaks English. Hey but that’s why we are all here. The hardest thing is to order from Pizza Company - it usually takes 50 attempts. They will keep hanging up on you. And once you want to order you have to tell them in such baby language that you end up having everything wrong. ( NO no its their fault we don’t get what we ordered for.) You are on the verge of becoming an alcoholic. The people are so friendly, but I can’t talk to them cause I don’t speak friggin’ Thai
Any local attractions?
The oldest monastery, monkey caves, hermit caves, of course the pottery ( the ones with the dragons on them are all made here.) Yes, and the farangs that live here are probably the biggest attraction to the locals.
Where's the best place to meet other farangs or are they best avoided?
They are not hard to spot, but it does rarely happen you see one. Usually when you see them they are together like a pack of white sheep.