Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Return to Thailand

Here I am living in Thailand again. I can’t seem to stay away. I keep thinking to myself ‘I love Thailand.’ And I do, I really do. I love the heat, the food, the history and culture, the Thai people – and now I understand them better too – and the environment.

I am living in Nakhon Si Thammarat 610 km (380 miles) south of Bangkok on the east coast of the Malay Peninsula.

The city was the administrative centre of southern Thailand during most of its history. It is one of the most ancient cities of Thailand and contains many buildings and ruins of historical significance. I haven’t been out to see any of them yet but all in good time.
I believe there’s a beautiful Wat (temple) here, I have seen some pictures and I’m looking forward to getting out here for a look. The good thing is that the area doesn’t attract tourists so the Thai people here haven’t had to experience the often disrespectful, slightly intrusive tramplings of travellers. I wonder if that’s why the Thai people I have met here have been nicer?

There are about 100,000 people living in NST so there’s quite a lot going on and plenty of things to do. There’s an airport with daily flights connecting to Bangkok and I’m 5 hours by car/train from Penang in Malaysia. It takes 5hrs (via minivan then ferry then taxi car then taxi boat) to get to Haad Yuan on Koh Phangan (my fave place in Thailand so far) which is not too bad J

I’m currently living in my friend Jane’s room; she’s travelling until the end of April. I have a bed, a bathroom (with a hot shower and a flushing toilet!) a fridge and I have managed to tap into the internet for free (if I go out onto the landing I can access it, so the other people living in the building constantly see me out there typing away - they think I’m mad).
When I first arrived in Nakhon it was raining very heavily and our plane had to abort the landing, circle around and try again....scary.

We were only here for one night but it rained the entire time. The following day we were lucky to escape to Koh Phangan as Southern Thailand experienced the worst flooding in 50 years with the Nakhon Si Thammarat region being the worst hit.
While the storm raged (and boy did it rage) I was stuck in Haad Yuan (Yuan Beach) with my pals Jane and Lydia and a few other people we know. They Friday night party at Guy’s Bar was on, Lydia turned 28, and we had a blast...all be it a soggy and rained on blast.
I think the floods got some airtime in the media and it was quite bad on Koh Samui and even in Haad Rin where I used to live, but Haad Yuan was ok. We were concerned about running out of petrol and not being about to cook etc but that never eventuated and we were perfectly fine. My clothes did grow mould though...ha ha. 
Koh Samui was without fresh water and electricity for a few days and Haad Rin flooded completely, and lost power. There was only one restaurant open and they were fishing in the streets (avoid the fish on the menu...) but we were safe and sound at my fave bar ‘Eden’.

So back in Nakhon now and the streets are dry now. Jane lives in the very centre of town which was the worst hit but it seems fine to me. I don’t mind living in town at all, most people live out a little bit in the suburbs but I quite like it around here, there’s plenty to do and it’s super close to school. The only problem with living in her apartment is that there’s no kitchen, we all know how I love to cook. So we’re going to be looking for a house to move into, maybe with a few of the other new teachers.

Nakhon is very spread out so I think I will have to buy a motorbike to get around on. They’re about 10,000 – 15, 000 baht which is 1/3 – ½ of my monthly salary so I’m trying to find one that’s for sale second hand from one of the outgoing teachers.

The reason I’m in Thailand is that I have a 12 month contract teaching English. Last year I decided to do a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) diploma so I could travel the world and work. I love travelling around and visiting new places but I much prefer to go and live somewhere and get to know the place and the people that way. Teaching is an excellent way to do that.

I will be teaching at the
Srithammarat Suksa School which was the first private school in Nakhon Si Thammarat. It was built in 1901 and today it has over 5000 students from K-12.
The English Program, which was started in 2000, is one of the largest English Programs in the south of Thailand with students enrolled from Kindergarten 1 (3 years old) to Grade 12. More than 300 students study many of their subjects in English under a faculty of about 32 native English speaking teachers from a range of countries such as Canada, Australia, America, the U.K and South Africa.


So far I’ve only been there for one day but I already love it. Basically the kids in the English Programme have a Thai teacher, just like in regular schools, but they are also taught by a native English speaker for a few hours a day.

I am currently teaching in the summer school which is super low key and I’m only teaching 1 hour per day but when school goes back in May I will be given my own class. I will have a kind of partnership with the Thai teacher (I have met a few of them already and they’re super nice and very helpful) where she will teach half the day and I will teach the other.

The kids I will be teaching are four, it’s their second year of school and most of them will have come from Kindy 1 so they will have had one year of the English programme already. There will be lots of counting to 20, singing the ABCs, learning about the weather, body parts, colours, different foods, animals etc. I’m looking forward to story time and getting to do arts and crafts with them.

I’m really lucky because unlike anyone else who’s coming in as a new teacher, I have about 10 friends who teach here already and they’ve been giving me so many pointers. I was super nervous but I’m sure I’ll be fine now. I have my first full day of teaching tomorrow. There are 3 kindy classes in the summer school, each with about 16 kids and I will be taking each class for a 45 minute period.

I’m planning on singing some welcome songs, some songs about ‘Hello, how are you?’ and ‘what’s your name?’ doing a bit of ABC revision and counting.
I have a plan to move onto body parts at some point because then we can sing the ‘heads, shoulders, knees and toes’ song and I get to dance the hokey pokey too!! Love that dance.

Anyway that’s teaching so far, not much news....wish me luck for tomorrow.


P.S There’s still positions available at my school if anyone out there’s’s fun fun fun here! Check out the English Program page.


  1. That sounds so wonderful Bliss, good luck with your first day! You'll do super well! Love Jules xoxox

  2. Glad to hear about everything and I'll be wishing you some good luck for your first day! Strange about the kitchens right? I was just told it was more economical and better to eat out and that's why kitchens are harder to come by. But definitely nice to do some home cooking sometimes. xx