Smack in the middle of North East Thailand - say hello to Chaiyaphum. Any opportunities there for an English teacher?
The Lonely Planet guidebook says......?
Thailand's forgotten backyard. Chaiyaphum offers a glimpse of days past. Rice fields, water buffalos and a village life style prevail.
In general, what are the pickings like for an EFL teacher?
There are at least a dozen schools here that regularly employ foreign teachers so the pickings are good.
How far from Bangkok or civilization?
Chaiyaphum is a scenic five-hour bus ride from Bangkok, ninety minutes from Khonkaen and around four hours from Udon.
What's the place like for nightlife, eating out etc?
Entertainment is pretty scarce. There's a newish cinema complex but the films are in Thai. There are a few Thai-style bars and of course the compulsory karaoke bars ("If you know what I mean").
How much to rent a house or basic apartment?
Renting accommodation here is cheap! You can pick up a decent town house for around 5,000 a month, and apartments vary from 2,000 - 3,500.
Shopping malls, department stores?
Chaiyaphum has the usual: Tesco Lotus, Big C and a Makro.
How is mobile / internet coverage?
Will you be stared at? and what's the likelihood of a good beating?
Yes, you will be stared at, but not in an aggressive way. Remember, Chaiyaphum is in the heart of Essan, so the locals here don't see many farangs. As for getting a good beating? No, the locals here are very friendly.
Taxis, buses....or horse and cart?
All the above and the local samlors. The samlor drivers will try to rip you off, so make sure that you fix the price before getting into one.
Main advantages of living there?
The countryside here is beautiful, also the people are friendly and it's cheap.
And what are the downsides?
The entertainment here is limited, and if you can't speak the lingo then it can be quite a lonely place to live.
Any local attractions?
There are many beautiful places to visit here. Tad Ton National park. Mo Hin Khao "Thailand's own version of Stonehenge"
Where's the best place to meet other farangs or are they best avoided?
You'll probably bump into a few other farang in Tesco Lotus, but as for farang hangouts, Number One bar seems to be the recommended place.