ABOUT THAILAND

THE COUNTRY 

The Kingdom of Thailand is located in South East Asia and borders to Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Malaysia. Thailand is a constitutional monarchy, headed by HM King Rama IX Bhumibol Adulyadej who is not only the longest-reigning monarch in Thai history but also the world’s longest-serving head of state.

Thailand’s capital city is Krung Thep Maha Nakhon, better known as Bangkok. Bangkok is the centre of Thailand in terms of business, politics, industry and culture. Bangkok accommodates around 8 million people, which is 12.6 percent of the country’s population.

Local Thai people will call Bangkok Krung Thep and this is actually a shortening of its full ceremonial name given by King Rama III and Mongkut:

Krungthepmahanakhon Amonrattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilokphop Noppharatratchathaniburirom Udomratchaniwetmahasathan Amonphimanawatansathit Sakkathattiyawitsanukamprasit

And in English: City of angels, great city of immortals, magnificent city of the nine gems, seat of the king, city of royal palaces, home of gods incarnate, erected by Visvakarman at Indra’s behest.

In school, all Thai students are taught the full name – but no worries, we don’t expect you to remember everything – yet.

60
Population of Thailand

THE WEATHER

Thai people like to say that there are three seasons in Thailand, literally translated as hot season, very hot season, and rainy season.  We have decided to re-name them hot season, very hot season and hot and rainy season. The hot season lasts from November to February.  It is hot but there is usually a light breeze.  The temperature fluctuates between 27 and 33 degrees Celsius.  These months are the peak tourist season in Thailand and the main reason for that is the excellent weather.

Very hot season (the name is perfect) starts around March and lasts until June.  It really is very hot.  Step outside and you will be sweating.  Sit inside with no fan and you will be sweating.  Temperatures are easily above 35 degrees Celsius.  Not every day is that bad but more than likely it will be the hottest weather you have ever experienced.

The rainy season (or the hot and rainy season) can start around July and last until November.  During this time, heavy rains can come at any time during the day, although they start most frequently in the late afternoon.  It can rain for several minutes or hours.  The norm is heavy rain for about an hour.  The benefit of the rain is that it cools everything off.


"The experience that you receive from this course is simply not attainable with an online course or a weeklong course, and the TEFL Heaven network of teachers is something special that is well worth the money. The support, knowledge and experience you get translates into TEFL Heaven being the best choice you could possibly make."

− Amy Hoffmann

THE PEOPLE & CULTURE 

Since we started recruiting for Thailand we came across of different funny and less funny stories about Thais and their culture. We could write books about them, but instead we just need to keep it short and supply you with the most important facts about them.

Thai’s are quite a laid back race.  A common saying in Thailand is “Mai Pen Rai” which translates as “no problem”, “don’t worry about it” (but funnily enough it also means “you’re welcome”).  This is great if there is no problem, but if there is a problem and the Thai’s don’t want to deal with it then it can become frustrating for you.

Also, they will avoid conflict at all costs and will get embarrassed if you cause conflict or contention. “Who cares if they get embarrassed, I have a valid point and I am justified,” you might well say?  Well, they may not say anything to your face but doors will close and relationships will get severed and basically respect will be lost.

This means they do not deal very well with problems when they arise and would rather brush it under the carpet.  A nice way to deal with problems?  Of course not, or at least we don’t think so, but whether you are like us and you disagree with it or not, you just have to get on with it, basically.

Some Thai’s are late to appointments, a lot, and won’t see this as a problem or even call to tell you they will be late, even if they are 1 or 2 hours late. Now we can’t speak for all Thai’s because not all are alike, but we need to warn you so that when you do encounter a less western way (which you may come to think of less educated way) of how to deal with things, you can have a bit more patience and a bit more understanding.

"ไม่เป็นไร (Mai Pen Rai)"

− Thai for "don't worry, it doesn't matter"

"The TEFL Krabi course was a great experience that prepared me perfectly for teaching in Thailand. The three week course gave me the chance to meet other people who would also be teaching and to get accustomed to life in Thailand. If anyone is considering teaching in Thailand I would absolutely recommend TEFL Heaven."

− Taylor Gadde

The quality of some customer service or any service is a lot less than you would expect by western standards. Some other points to mention are:

  • Some Thai’s allow their children as young as 7 to ride full size mopeds
  • Some Thai’s give small bribes if they get stopped by the traffic police (we dislike that)
  • Some Thai’s will ignore you completely, where others will smother you with adoration for just being a farang (foreigner)
  • Thailand is known as the Land of Smiles, and a smile communicates love as well as hides problems (just like sweeping things under the carpet hides problems)
  • In some restaurants, meals do not come out at the same time, they come out when they are cooked.  It’s not uncommon for a group of friends to have one friend get their meal one hour after everyone else has finished.  Mai pen rai.

As mentioned before, we could write tons about Thai culture and its people. A fact is that you will never understand this culture to the fullest, not even if you have been living here for several years.

THE FOOD

Thai food is generally known for its spiciness, but that’s not all. Thai food is famous for its balance of four fundamental tastes: sour, sweet, salty and spicy.

Your main dishes will consist of either rice or noodles. However, depending on where you are located during your placement the other meals will vary in flavour and taste. The food in the north of Thailand is generally influenced by north Laos and Burma. The food in the Isan area (north-eastern Thailand) is influenced by south Laos and often includes lime juice. Southern food often consists of coconut milk and fresh turmeric. In addition to these influenced cuisines there is also the Thai Royal Cuisine. Even the Chinese influence today’s Thai food by introducing their original cuisine, e. g. cooking with a wok, techniques of deep-frying and stir-frying.

Thais love to eat. Wherever you go you will see a food stand or a local noodle shop. Do not hesitate to eat in those places and don’t waste all of your money eating in expensive restaurants. Do it like the Thais do and eat in the street shop – it is normally clean and hygienic food.

We love to quote one of our former teachers here:

“If the shop looks awful and has plastic chairs, then it mostly has the most delicious Thai food ever!”

Also, a main difference to Western countries is the sharing of food. If you go out with a bunch of Thai people, forget the idea of having your own meal. Sharing is the keyword. Most likely the Thais will order on behalf of you, just quickly asking what you prefer (Chicken? Pork? Spicy? Sweet-sour?). They will usually order a lot of dishes and a big pot of rice.  Once the dishes are served, help yourself and eat what you want – there is something for everyone.

We might need to point out here, that Thai food is spicy due to the amount of chillies in the meals. So a useful phrase for you is “mai phet” which means “not spicy”.


"The three week course leaves you with a solid foundation of how to teach and prepare for school. I currently work in a Thai university and still use many of the skill taught by TEFL. Its a must do."

− Peter Keel