It's a town packed with ancient temples and history and only an hour or so from Bangkok - but what are the pickings like for an English teacher?
The Lonely Planet guidebook says......?
Approximately 86 km north of Bangkok, "Its full Thai name is Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya (Sacred City of Ayodhya)"
"... is located at the confluence of three rivers ... A wide canal joins them and makes a complete circle around the town"
"Served as the Siamese royal capital from 1350 to 1767"
"By the end of the 17th century Ayutthaya's population had reached one million – virtually all foreign visitors claimed it to be the most illustrious city they had ever seen."
"Nowadays Ayuthaya makes a pleasant and convenient escape from Bangkok"
In general, what are the pickings like for an EFL teacher?
Ayutthaya has a lot to offer teachers who want to get out of the city but close enough for home comforts. Many schools will offer teachers 10-12 month contracts ranging from 30-40'000 baht a month. Boundless Conversation Centre,The Learning Link and ECC are the ever present language schools and teacher turnover is low as many long staying natives settle here.
How far from Bangkok or civilization?
86 km from Bangkok by road. That's about 1½ hours by minibus or train, and two hours by regular bus. As for civilization, that's a bit further away.
What's the place like for nightlife, eating out etc?
If you're entertained by wandering around ruined temples, you'll find a different temple for every day of the year to keep you enthralled.
New restaurants and bars are opening all the time and local favourites include Amuse Bar,Coffee House and Cowboy Bar are always good value but beware of double pricing.
There are also several boat-restaurants which offer evening cruises – popular with locals and tourists alike. Then there are The Pizza Company, KFC and MacDonald's outlets for those tiring of phat ga phao.
Two cinemas – one in the centre of town, the other near the main road to Bangkok – serve up the usual blockbusters.
How much to rent a house or basic apartment?
A basic two bedroom town house is about 3,000 per month, whilst a nicer 4-bedroom detached house with a small garden will set you back 7,000 each month. A top of the range place with four large bedrooms, lots of marble and attentive security guards costs from 20-25,000.
Shopping malls, department stores?
There are a couple of Amporn department stores in the centre of town, but the best shopping is at a large shopping mall, including a giant Tesco-Lotus, out of town near the main road to Bangkok. You won't find any clothes in western sizes, though. A Robinsons has opened up in front of Ayutthaya Park and the transport from town is more frequent.
Entertainment has improved further with established bars and restaurants: Chang House, Street Lamp, Tony's Place, The Islander, The Jazz Bar and Da Ivo's Pizzeria. In addition to this a few new disco bars which are attracting a lot of tourists and locals. The river restaurants have also improved and cater for tourists with Thai/English menus!! A new Big C has just opened with all the usual brand name shops. Also Amporn Mall which has 5 floors of shopping to enjoy.
How is mobile / internet coverage?
Very good. ADSL has also reached Ayutthaya for home users.
Will you be stared at? and what's the likelihood of a good beating?
Coach loads of tourists come here to see the ruins, so pale faces are not a novelty item. Not heard of any beatings, but people having their drinks spiked and then being robbed isn't unheard of.
Taxis, buses....or horse and cart?
There are plenty of motorbike taxis and sangthaews. And there are tuk-tuks and the very occasional samlor for the tourists. Most teachers have their own motorbike.
Main advantages of living there?
It's not Bangkok. The pace of life is relaxed, the air is pretty clean, and it's close enough to the capital if one needs some naughty nightlife or serious shopping.
And what are the downsides?
Everything closes early. Entertainment options are limited.
Any local attractions?
As well as more than 300 temples, there's a handful of small museums showing ancient artefacts. There are some elephant-based attractions for the tourists. Then there's a waterpark and a sports stadium. 35 km away, at Bang Sai, is the Royal Folk Arts & Crafts Centre.
Where's the best place to meet other farangs or are they best avoided?
There are several bars and restaurants catering for backpackers clustered together in the centre of town. The food has improved with steak and pizza available at Earth's Bar which attracts long staying expats. Brown Ale Bar Beer Cafe is also a good bet,serving Thai craft beer and western fair.