Another town and province a very long way from Bangkok but starting to get a reputation as a must-see part of Southern Thailand. It's quite a fertile hunting ground for teachers as well by the sound of it.
The Lonely Planet guidebook says......?
Nothing! Phatthalung hardly exists according to the last Lonely Planet I looked at.
In general, what are the pickings like for an EFL teacher?
There are four or five large government schools in Phatthalung town centre, some of which have English programs, and most of them will be hiring during peak recruitment season. Otherwise, there are also a few tutorial centres offering additional classes.
How far from Bangkok or civilization?
The nearest big city is Hat Yai, which is about an hour away. From Trang or Hat Yai, you can fly to Bangkok, alternatively you can take an overnight bus or train but it's a bloody long old journey.
What's the place like for nightlife, eating out etc?
The nightlife is pretty limited but there are a few watering holes dotted around, however Phatthalung does have a few excellent steakhouses that are quite affordable along with a great selection of Thai restaurants.
How much to rent a house or basic apartment?
A townhouse is around 4-6,000 baht a month while a basic apartment will set you back around 3,000.
Shopping malls, department stores?
There’s a small independent department store in the town centre, plus a large Tesco Lotus outside of the town, a Makro and a HomePro.
How is mobile / internet coverage?
Great! Full 4G coverage in the town and high speed internet.
Will you be stared at? and what's the likelihood of a good beating?
No, you won’t be stared at much but some children might be interested in coming over to say hello. There are definitely no beatings around here: it's probably one of the safest provinces in Thailand.
Taxis, buses....or horse and cart? (is it easy to get around town in other words)
There is good transportation in and out of town but not much around town itself. We don’t have any taxis but we do have motorbike taxis during the day, but they seem to go to sleep as soon as it gets dark.
It’s very easy to get to Krabi, Phuket, Trang or any of the Andaman or Gulf Islands from here. We also have overnight buses to Bangkok and a train station in the town. The best way to get around the town is to buy your own motorbike when you arrive.
Main advantages of living there?
It’s quiet, serene and very beautiful. We have plenty of waterfalls, hiking trails, national parks, caves and hot springs within a 15-20 minute drive of the centre. The locals are very friendly and will go above and beyond to help you out. There are lots of tutorial centres that always need additional teachers so extra work won't be hard to find. The cost of living is very low and the salaries here are not too bad.
And what are the downsides?
We only have a very small foreign community and there is not a lot to do after it gets dark.
Any local attractions?
Thale Noi is just outside of Phatthalung town and one of the largest freshwater lakes in South East Asia. It’s a beautiful place to relax, watch the wildlife, go out on a boat trip and visit the floating market.
Where's the best place to meet other farangs or are they best avoided?
We don’t really have a set spot so perhaps we should make one!