Thailand's capital city of Bangkok is renowned for its temples that offer a stark contrast to the towering skyscrapers. While the city is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Southeast Asia, Bangkok is also a draw for thousands of expatriates who prefer its affordable cost of living, a stable economy, the relative ease of doing business, plus the vibrant culture and warmth of Thai people, and a more laidback lifestyle. If you're planning on living and working in Bangkok, you can have great experiences from the best restaurants, to the best shopping. Bangkok is also famed for its amazing nightlife, and unbelievable malls. Bangkok has a little bit of something, for everyone
Pattaya is a coastal city on the eastern seaboard in the Gulf of Thailand; it’s around 100 kilometers south east of Bangkok and can be reached in less than two hours. Pattaya is a tourist location and the amenities in the area reflect that, it has everything you need and more… Just off the coast there is Koh Larn, a nice little island with golden sandy beaches and clear waters, it can be reached by ferry from the local pier. There are several islands farther along the coast too. Travelling during your time off is easy as Pattaya is on the main east coast route; there are buses, minivans, taxis, songthaews and motorbike taxis depending on where you want to go. The city is also serviced by the U-Tapao Airport (Pattaya-Rayong Airport) and has domestic flights to Koh Samui, Phuket and Chiang Mai. There are also international flights to Shanghai (China), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) and Singapore. Pattaya has a mix of nationalities, there are local Thais, western expats and expats of other Asian nations that reside permanently in the area, because of this mix of influences, a wide range of food types are available. In your free time you can travel south along the coast to its many tourist destinations or visit Bangkok to the north, around two hours away to the east is the Khao Chamao-Khao Wong National Park, and further still in Chantaburi province is the Namtok Philio National Park, about three hours away.
Sri Racha is 120km (90 minutes) south-east of Bangkok on the east coast of the Gulf of Thailand. It gives its name to a popular hot sauce which originated it the area. It is also 30 minutes or so from Pattaya which lies to the south and 15 minutes from Bang Saen Beach which lies to the north. Just off the coast is a quaint little island called Koh Sichang, it’s a nice place to visit if you want to relax and take things at a slower pace. You can get a boat from the local pier. Farther to the south off the coast of Pattaya is the more popular island, Koh Larn, with its golden sandy beaches and clear blue waters it offers a little bit of paradise without having to travel too far. Sri Racha is well situated for those who wish to travel during their free time; the east coast has a wealth of great places to visit, including Satthahip, Rayong and Chantaburi. Other islands to visit down the coast are Koh Samed, Koh Chang, Koh Maak and Koh Kood. The town itself has all the modern amenities you would expect, malls, cinemas, coffee shops, bars and restaurants. Minivans that service the east coast and Bangkok stop in the town making travelling that little bit easier. It’s a nice mid-sized town on the east coast of the Gulf of Thailand.
Chachoengsao can be found between Pattaya, Chonburi (around 1hr away by van) and Bangkok (you can take the train for 13bht), making it close enough to the beaches and the big city. It is a mid-sized town, which has a large Robinson’s Mall with a cinema, supermarkets, bars and cafes plus nice parks to unwind in. The Bang Pakong river runs through the town, home to the rare Irrawaddy dolphin, boat trips are available. Heading up the river to Wat Pho Bang Khla, fruit bats (flying foxes) can be seen roosting in the trees, and if nature and the outdoors is your thing then Khao Yai National Park is around 90 minutes away heading north and the Khao Ang Ruenai Wildlife Sanctuary is around 90 minutes away heading east. The town itself is busy enough to do things but without the hassles of big city living. There is also a large expat community, so there are enough people to bump into and speak English with. It is a really nice friendly town that is well located if you wish to travel on your time off. The school is located near a park and the river, accommodation in the area can be found for 4500 baht per month and up. (This would be for a room with air-con and WIFI). Motorbikes can also be hired from the local shops for 2000bht pm.
Nakhonratchasima, or Korat as it is known locally, is located in the Northeast of Thailand and is commonly referred to as the “Gateway to Isaan”. The Isaan region of Thailand is rich in its own distinct culture and Korat gives you a wonderful opportunity to experience the “real” Thailand on your own terms. Korat may be the entry point to rural Isaan but the city provides the perfect blend of rural and urban, traditional and cosmopolitan. A sprawling but low-rise city which offers both adventure and tranquility and every turn. Korat is a thriving city in every sense and has an ever growing culinary scene which offers you the tastiest Thai food you could ask for (make sure to try the local favourite “larb gai”) as well catering increasingly to western tastes with many burger bars and foreign restaurants opening. As well as having many huge Thai-style markets, the Save One night market a particular highlight, there are also 3 huge shopping malls which rival anything you will see anywhere across the globe. Locally, there is a tight knit but welcoming expat community who are always planning events as socializing is a big part of life in Korat. The social scene is rich in Korat and you’ll find many bustling and thriving bars throughout the city.
Let’s start with the formalities, Khon Kaen is about 6hrs drive north of Bangkok. I’d describe it as a university town with a love for lakes and nature. We live next to Central Plaza, a large, well-stocked mall in Khon Kaen. It’s 7 floors and you really get everything you need there from groceries to your phone contract, postal services, electronics, clothes and great ice cream and coffee. There’s a movie theatre too and they show two to three English movies a month (and have the most comfortable red and gold velvet chairs too!) Khon Kaen is land locked however there are beautiful lakes and temples to see. Wat Nong Temple is very beautiful, and it is next to the lake which has a 4.5km track that you can walk/ run/ cycle around. It is peaceful and a great way to spend a weekend morning. You can grab some breakfast or a coffee at one of the many restaurants and coffee shops that surround the lake. Wat Thung Setthi is a Grab drive away but also a must see. You can easily get around using the Grab app where you can order a taxi car or a taxi bike. It’s simple to use and so far so good, reliable and safe. Khon Kaen is not tourist central. You will get a more authentic experience that is peaceful and safe. English is not widely spoken so it is definitely worth learning some key phrases and not to be scared to use them. The Google translate app helps and if you are polite and patient, I have generally found the residents of Khon Kaen to be the same.