I have noticed several job postings for Chonburi on ajarn.com. Just like I once did, you might be wondering what the hell Chonburi is.
Before I moved to Chonburi for the English teaching job I was placed in, I tried to research the city. After bullying my teaching placement agency into placing me by the ocean, I found that Chonburi was indeed located by the sea. But all I could really find about the city itself was that it was an industrial city, read: lots of factories and smog.
Having lived in Chonburi for two months, I truly appreciate it here and I am glad to have gotten the chance to immerse myself in this cultural, yet convenient city. For those of you considering a job here in Chonburi, I'll give you the lowdown.
First of all, there are two Chonburis in Thailand. There is Chonburi city or meung Chonburi (but be careful using meung; with the wrong intonation it can also mean a very rude "you!"). And there is the Chonburi province within which Chonburi city is the capital.
As for the industrial side of Chonburi, the smog is, of course, considerably less potent here than in Bangkok. As of 2006, the population was a total of 180,000 people (wikipedia), so the city itself is rather small. The factories are all an hour's drive away from the schools, totally avoidable.
Nightlife and beaches
The nightlife in the city is nonexistent. There are a few scattered bars around, but there isn't much happening. However, getting to Bang Saen is an easy 30-40 minute, 20 baht song-thaew ride. This is where bars and night clubs breed. Try getting a Thai local to take you instead of ganging up with exclusively foreigners. Otherwise you may find yourself in a club full of high school students.
Bang Saen is also the closest beach to Chonburi. No, it is not a pristine, island beach. But if you're craving sand, sea and sun, it's there. However, if you are hypercritical about your beaches, Koh Lan, Koh Si Chang and Koh Samet are within an hour, two hours, and three hour drive via white van.
Getting to Bangkok is an hour to two hours, 70-100 baht white van ride, depending on the insanity level of your driver combined with the level of traffic (avoid rush hour). You can go to Bangkok every weekend if you want to. Basically, Bangkok is yours without the added expense of living in it.
There are plenty of teaching jobs in Chonburi. I have already picked up three different extra tutoring jobs on the side of my day job without really trying.
Lumpini Condotown, where I live, is infested with foreigners, compared to the rest of Chonburi. You'll probably see at least one new foreigner each week. This is a good place to live if you're looking for a teaching job because the other foreigners will help you with job connections.
At 5000 baht a month, you get your own studio apartment with balcony, bathroom, bed and mattress, couch, desks, wardrobe, TV and chairs. If you're lucky you might also end up with a microwave and mini-fridge. The resort-styled complex has a pool, gym, restaurant and laundry service. There are security guards on duty 24/7. However, there are many other cheaper places to live in Chonburi.
I grew up in Suburbia and went to college in a small college town, so I really don't expect much out of my city. I found an awesome yoga class (the best yoga I've ever done even though it's all in Thai), two pretty parks for running, a health-food store and a restaurant that serves macaroni and cheese and I feel set.
Friends and travel
I also love my school and have made a good community of friends here, both Thai and foreign.
I have a vast selection of destinations I can easily travel to every weekend which include national parks, historic sites, temples, beaches, islands and more. There is a gigantic, westernized mall a ten-minute song-thaew ride away and there are Thai night markets within every mile.
Chonburi is not a tourist destination for a reason. There just isn't much to do here. You will find yourself frequently stared at as one of few foreigners. However, you can experience a very "real" side of Thailand. On the east coast of Thailand, you will be immersed in a unique Thai culture but you will also have access to more than enough tourist destinations and amenities.