Further Information on Thailand

Further information on Thailand

Banking

Banking hours are generally from 08:30-19:00, Monday through Friday, except on public and bank holidays. The maximum daily ATM withdrawal limit is 10,000 – 20,000 Thai Baht (depending on the bank). Credit cards are somewhat more acceptable but mainly restricted to the larger cities, such as Bangkok, Phuket Koh Samui and Nakhornratchasima. Please notify your bank before you depart your home country. Foreign cards will be accepted at ATMs, but there are fees associated with this process.

Cost of living

Thailand offers a great opportunity for teachers to earn and save money; it is an affordable and comfortable place to live and work. Renting an apartment is also very cheap. Apartment rental in Thailand will cost you between 3,000 and 10,000 Thai Baht per month. Budget for approximately 600 Baht per month for electricity and water, although this can vary greatly depending on how much you use air-con. For more information on what to budget for in Thailand, see our suggested budget.

Food

A proper Thai meal should consist of a soup, a curry dish with condiments, a dip with accompanying fish and vegetables. A spiced salad may replace the curry dish. The soup can also be spicy, but the curry should be replaced by non spiced items. There must be a harmony of tastes and textures within individual dishes and the entire meal. Most meals in Thailand tend to be spicy, please be aware of this when ordering food. The Thai phrase for 'not spicy' is 'mai phedt'.

Eating out
Most apartments in Thailand do not have cooking facilities; although many do have a restaurant attached or are surrounded by numerous food stalls and restaurants. A meal such as rice with chicken or pork should cost between 30 and 80 Baht per meal at a food stall. Eating at street food stalls is common and widely accepted. There are several restaurants where you will be able to find Western food, but be aware that it will be very expensive when compared to the local cuisine. Pizza Hut, KFC, and McDonalds can be found all over the larger cities of Thailand if you are struggling with the Thai food.

Housing and internet

There is a diverse range of accommodation in Thailand. The city center consists mainly of condos and Serviced Apartments, but there are also some houses and townhouses available. Please refer to our accommodation samples page to view images of what you can expect. The terms of lease are monthly. Do not hesitate to negotiate especially if you are signing a long-term lease. A deposit is required usually between 1 – 3 months’ rent. You may forfeit the deposit if you leave prior to the lease expiry date. It is recommended to buy a map or location guide which list apartments and condominiums in Thailand when apartment/condominium hunting. Some apartments include readily available maintenance and repair-services, 24 hours security and facilities such as a gym, pool, garden or children’s play area.

Internet
High speed (broadband) internet is available almost everywhere, including fairly populous places in the outer provinces. Internet cafes are popular throughout Thailand. They charge approximately 20 Baht per hour. Many hotels, pubs, restaurants, and cafes offer free Wi-Fi hotspots.

Medical facilities

Medical facilities have a good reputation and are well known to cater to foreign patients. Bumrungrad Hospital is the most popular among residents in the Bangkok area. However Bangkok General Hospital, Samitivej Hospital and Bangkok Nursing Home Hospitall are also very popular. Generally you can find all you need for minor ailments or illnesses at a pharmacy, no prescription is required.

Shopping

Again, a wide range of makes, both local and imported goods are available with prices often relative to quality and/or brand name. Prices vary widely with where you buy!

Local Goods Thai Baht $ US
Work trousers 200 $ 6
Work shirt 150 - 200 $ 5 - 7
Skirts 150 + $ 5
T-Shirts 70 + $ 2
Underwear (male) 75 + $ 2
Underwear (female) 150 + $ 5
Jeans 600 + $ 20
Shoes 300 + $ 10
Beach Wear 200 + $ 6
Suits 3000 + $ 100
Local Goods Thai Baht $ US
Soap 15 $ 0.50
Shampoo 20 $ 0.60
Toothpaste 40 $ 1.50
Toothbrushes 50 $ 1.50
Toilet Paper 12 $ 0.40
Deodorant 100 $ 3
Shaving Cream 150 $ 4
Cosmetics 150 + $ 4


Conversions updated on 30/09/2016 using Oanda

Thai culture

Thai culture is vastly different from Western culture and so before coming over to this land of smiles you should find out about the essential 'do and don't s'. Here are just a few, but important rules.

  • Do Smile - Thailand is known as the land of smiles. The Thai's do not necessarily smile about something like we do in the west, they smile for a variety of other reasons too. To say hello or thank you, to make a request, to apologize, to smooth over bad feeling or to show embarrassment.
  • Do show respect for the king - Thai people show great respect for their king and they expect visitors to do so too. The national anthem is played twice a day (typically at 8am and 6pm) and also before every film at the cinema. Everyone is expected to stand whilst it is playing. You should never insult or joke about the king or royal family.
  • Do show respect for their main religion (Buddhism) for the Buddha, and for monks - Shorts or tank tops should not be worn in any temples, and shoes should be removed before entering. It is considered very improper for women to touch a monk.
  • Do not touch anyone on the head - The head is considered to be very sacred.
  • Do not point your feet at anyone or anything - This is quite hard for a westerner to follow as, without realizing it, we do in some circumstances seem to use our feet quite a lot e.g. closing or opening doors.
  • Do not step over anyone - Instead walk around them. Thai people wash the top of the body clothes separately from the bottom half i.e. shirts and jumpers go in one wash and shirts, underwear and trousers go in another. This is because, as Buddhists, they believe the lower part of the body is unclean whilst the top part is sacred. This is part of their religion. A Buddhist Thai would also never take off or put on a skirt over their heads for the same reason. The same rule applies when hanging out the washing on the line. Clothes from the lower part of the body are not placed next to or higher than clothes worn on the top part of the body.

Thai culture is changing with time because of the contact with Western civilization. Although most Thais stick to their own culture, some are influenced by what they see on television and from tourists. It is therefore not uncommon to be greeted with a handshake rather than a ‘wai’ in the main cities and towns.

Transportation

Thailand has a well-developed transportation system. Its main components are described briefly below, but anyone going to Thailand would be well advised to take a good guidebook along. To get around in urban areas, most people ride boats, buses, taxis, three -wheeled vehicles (samlors or tuk tuks), or motor scooters.

Buses and Taxis
In Bangkok, traveling by bus is one of the fastest methods of getting around because of an intricate system of one-way streets and bus lanes. This mode of transportation may be the most difficult for foreigners due to the lack of English speaking drivers or English names of the destinations. Some foreigners book long trips on the air conditioned buses where they can buy tickets at bus station.

Metered taxis are available in Bangkok and in most other Thai cities. Metered taxis fares start at around 35B (US$1); however, during rush hour the fare increases based on the amount of time the taxi stands still. Taxis are more usually the most expensive form of travel; you can get a taxi by waving them down as they drive by and always ask them to use the meter when you travel.

Air Travel
By far the easiest and fastest way to get from city to city is by air. Thai Airways has almost a total monopoly on domestic flights in Thailand, and they have offices in North America and in many Thai cities. Bangkok Airways also flies between some cities, and their fares are comparable to those of Thai Airways. Check out these airlines below:

www.airasia.com
www.nokair.com

Trains
Traveling by train in Thailand is an experience you should not miss. There are limits on where the train can take you, but if you can get close to your destination, you will appreciate the comfort, safety, and scenery viewing opportunities that trains offer. When traveling long distances, most budget travelers take the second class sleeper, which has wide padded seats that face each other and that can be made up into roomy bunks by the steward. To travel to another city by train, you must reserve a ticket ahead of time at the train station or from a travel agent in Thailand. One of the best resources for train travel information can be found on this website:

Seat 61

What to pack

Consider where you are going when determining what to pack in terms of clothing.

  • For those with big or wide feet, shoes in big or wide sizes
  • Plug adapters - if you are bringing in any electrical equipment
  • As a teacher, you are expected to follow dress code of Thai schools. Dress smart when teaching, in Thailand this is extremely important
  • Your original degree / diploma and other documents for paid teaching positions

Frequently asked questions

School questions:

What are the working hours? And days per week?
8 hours per day Monday to Friday. Only about 4-5 actual “in class” hours, depending on the school.

Are there sports after school activities that you have to attend or teach?
Not always, some schools will offer coaching and if you have skills in a certain area you may discuss that with the school, but they do have concerts, after school activities and sport and culture days that you may be required to attend.

What are the age groups you will be teaching?
Anything from primary school to high school and college, between the ages of 7 and 21.

Does the school provide lunch?
Yes, most public schools do. Some private schools also, but not many.

What if you are unhappy in a job? Can you get a new one?
We are only responsible for placing you in one school you accept after your interview and their offer, but if a teacher dislikes the position and they have a good reason, then we can move them. This will take a bit of time and it is required to give at least one month notice before resigning from the first school.

What is the dress code for teaching?
Work trousers and button and collar shirts for men and full length dresses or work trousers and collar blouses for women. You are not permitted to wear jeans or flip flops.

Must the teacher take a resume with them to Thailand?
Yes.

Can couples be placed together?
This can be done but not necessarily at the same school, perhaps only at schools within the same town.This may take a little longer than individual placements.

What is the level of English and behavior of students?
Depending on the school location, big city – great English level. Small city – not so great. Asian children are also very well mannered and respectful, although classroom management skills are imperative and this is something we focus on during the TESOL Course.

What curriculum do they follow at the schools?
There is no set national curriculum, each school has their own and they will inform you what is required of you in terms of annual or quarterly topics that need to be covered.

Do your colleagues at public and private schools speak English?
Yes some of them do, but often not all of them.

Will you work with any special needs children?
No

What are the expected deductions from your pay check? Does is differ from school to school?
Yes it may differ. Some schools deduct tax at about 3%. Normally they don’t deduct tax for the first year. It is best to ask your financial office at the school about this concern.

What are the chances of getting a salary increase?
If you do a great job and get along with your employers and colleagues, show commitment and apply for an extended work permit you may receive a salary increase. This depends on the school and area you are placed in.

What are the chances of teaching English in neighboring countries?
Very good, Global Teaching Adventures can arrange this for you.

Will all paperwork and books be supplied by the school?
Yes, but this is not guaranteed.

What is the big difference between language schools, private schools, and government schools?
Not much difference between each, but you may find different starting times, class sizes, and salary.

What happens if you lose your job? Can you get a new one?
If you are fired, Global Teaching Adventures will no longer help with placement.

Are you expected to work during school holidays?
Not normally, this will depend on the school.

Visa questions:

Can one renew working contract and visa without leaving the country?
Yes you can. You can speak to your school about the details.

How long is the working visa valid for?
One year, but you have to report to immigration every three months within that 12 months and be sure to obtain a re-entry visa if you travel outside of Thailand during that period.

What type of visa will we be working on?
You apply for your 60 day Tourist visa before departing for Thailand, which can be extended for 30 days after arrival. Once you are employed you will apply for a Non Immigrant B visa and will then have to apply for a work permit. Most schools provide assistance in this area but some do not.

General questions:

What is an average living expense per day in terms of breakfast, lunch and dinner?
Local food and a drink will cost about 300 Baht per day for three full meals. Western food will cost about 800 Baht per day.

What are the basic travel expenses per day?
Traveling in non-major cities via songtaew (truck taxi) will be about 20 Baht for a 5km trip, while a scooter taxi may charge between 50 and 70 Baht for the same trip and a metered taxi starts at 35 Baht and may only work out to about 50 to 80 Baht depending on traffic. Traveling in Bangkok is easy and cheap, from the underground MRT to the SkyTrain BTS to buses and taxis.

Transportation from accommodation to work – will this be provided?
This will not be provided, but public transport in Thailand is very good and easy to hire a scooter at your own cost while awaiting placement.

How safe is it in Thailand?
Extremely safe. Walking home late at night is generally safe and crime is relatively low.

What is possibility of getting a second job to make more money?
Very possible, you can often find opportunities for one on one tutoring or extra English classes.

How difficult is the TESOL course? Can one fail?
Yes, one can fail, but if we see that a client is not doing well, we will suggest that they upgrade to our 'with tutor package'.

Can you drink tap water?
No.

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