500 miles from Bangkok, Uttaradit means the 'the port of the north' apparently. So what work opportunities, etc does this town on the banks of the Nan River offer to any English teacher?
The Lonely Planet guidebook says......?
Nothing at all on the Lonely Planet website but according to Wikipedia, The Durian Festival is held here each year around the beginning of June. The province is most famous for two varieties of durian which lack the usual, and to some people offensive, odour.
It's not looking good is it?
In general, what are the pickings like for an EFL teacher?
The Anuban Uttaradit School is always on the look out for native English-speaking teachers. There is also a boys and girls high school that usually always needs teachers as well. Traisas Witaed Suksa School is one place that's often looking for teachers but there are a number of other schools too. There is also the Rajabhat University in Uttaradit. That is always worth a try.
How far from Bangkok or civilization?
Neighboring provinces are Phitsanulok, Sukhothai, Phrae and Nan. To the east it borders Laos. Uttaradit is 488 km north of Bangkok, and 238 km from Chiang Mai. Far in other words.
What's the place like for nightlife, eating out etc?
There are quite a few watering holes around town plus a disco connected to one of the town's main hotels. There are a few places around town where you can get a western food fix. Plus like every other town in Thailand, there is the usual KFC and a Pizza company. There is also a French cafe in town. However, there are so many great places to buy fresh ingredients so why bother going out when you can eat at home!
How much to rent a house or basic apartment?
Normally you will be looking at around 3,000 - 6,000 baht a month for rent. It all depends on what you want. I myself could not live in a one-bedroom apartment, so I rent a town house for something in that price range. You can rent a house here for about 6,000 to 8,500 a month.
Shopping malls, department stores?
Shopping is nothing compared to a big city like Bangkok of course. We do have a department store which sells clothes, shoes and cosmetics but it is pretty crap. We also have a Tesco Lotus and there are many little shops dotted around town selling stuff. There are also plenty of fresh food markets.
How is mobile / internet coverage?
Very good even for a relatively remote location such as this.
Will you be stared at? and what's the likelihood of a good beating?
Anywhere, apart from at the tourist attractions, you will be looked at but apart from the odd small child pointing out that I am not Thai, it is pretty laid back. If you go looking for a beating I am sure it will be there waiting for you, otherwise, no. I have been living here for many years and I have never had a problem with the locals. There are actually quite a few foreign teachers plus retirees living here. If a beating was going to be handed out it would most likely be from the foreigners and not the Thais. The locals are very nice in Uttaradit and they help 'outsiders' a lot.
Taxis, buses....or horse and cart?
There are almost no motor car taxis here. There are motorbike taxis that are usually pretty decent and do not try and overcharge if you can throw some Thai language at them. The best thing is to have your own motorbike as this is what most of us use to get around town.
Main advantages of living there?
It's pretty quiet, so if you really want to see what it is like to live in Thai society, then this is the place. Chiang Mai is about 4 hours away by bus or 6 hours by train. It's a cheap and easygoing place to live - a peaceful town with a slow pace of life.
And what are the downsides?
The downside is that there is not a lot to do or go and see, plus it does get damn hot during April and May. In the hot season it can easily get up to 43 degrees. I think many folks would find the place boring and there is definitely a lack of opportunities.
Any local attractions?
We have The Sirikit Dam, the worlds largest sword and the worlds largest teak tree
Where's the best place to meet other farangs or are they best avoided?
Most farang will be at home but there is a restaurant called "New York" which is/was owned by a German. You will often find a foreigner there eating a steak. Also a friend of mine has a bar called "Cha-ba" and foreigners often go there as it is near the main hotels. Apart from that they often just float around so there is no precise location to mention.