On one hand, I find that there are some obligatory touristy things one has to do at least once when visiting a new place, just to say you did it. On the other hand, discovering obscure, off-the-beaten-path places along the way is also my cup of tea. While researching the internet for information on what wonders Thailand holds, I came across a site that has a list of bizarre and intriguing suggestions. If you enjoy the bizarre and sometimes creepy as much as I do, I suggest you check out Atlas Obscura’s list of Interesting Places in Thailand. (Note: there are some not creepy places as well)
This is the area where I will be living. It is 250 – 300 kilometers (155 – 187 miles) from the capitol of Laos and about an hour plane ride/10 hour drive (650 kilometers) from Bangkok. According to my agent, this area of Thailand gets less tourists than other regions and as such has been deemed “The Real Thailand Experience”. Because of it’s location, this area has a mix of Thai and Lao cultures. The anthropologist in me is giddy (anthropology undergrad), the English teacher in me is not sure what this feeling is that she is feeling (have any of you ever seen Wicked the musical?). Check out cool things to do in Sakon Nakhon at wikivoyage.org. I am excited for the Temples and basically everything listed in the Local Products list. What looks interesting to you?
You know all the beautiful Thai beaches and sunshine that everyone always talks about? Yeah? Well I am absolutely nowhere near them, haha (it will also be the rainy season).
On one hand, it is exciting. From the things I have read this means that the Isaan Region (Northeast Thailand) is less touristy than other areas. On the other hand, for the first month I will probably miss my creature comforts and extreme convenience.
Instead of researching what I should prepare for teaching English, I am searching for way more important matters… like street food, temples, and how not to get scammed by a tuk tuk driver (not that all tuk tuk drivers are scammers, because they are not. It’s just a thing that happens). I am also trying (and failing) to learn basic Thai. From what I was told though, the dialect of my area is a mix of Lao and Thai because I live so close to the boarder of Laos… the language struggle is just beginning… がんばろう！
We will continue this later…
I decided to create this for two reasons. The first, is to help give future EFL instructors first-hand accounts from my perspective teaching in the areas I am going. This idea came about when I was researching the region and school I am assigned to in Thailand. There was surprisingly little in terms of first-hand accounts of experiences here. The most in-depth experience of teaching in the Sakon Nakhon area came from a blog that I will link here (because we all need more than one perspective):
The second is to remember my own EFL adventure to Thailand. Today I had a tutoring session with an ELL student. We were talking about where I was going to teach in Thailand and I wrote down the name of the school I would be teaching at (because I cannot say it to save my life). Sakolrajwittayanukul. Her eyes got wide and she started to laugh. “That’s not a name, that’s a whole sentence! It’s so long!” I must say, I completely agree with her.
I hope that I can keep up with this blog and I hope that it will be useful to anyone looking for information about teaching in the regions I end up. I imagine that, in the future, this will end up as a travel blog, ultimately. However, my track record for upkeeping such sites is less than stellar. I’m optimistic now, but let’s give it a minute to evolve into something realistic. Are you ready for this?
(UPDATE 11/1/2017: Contrary to the linked blogger’s opinion above, I never ate a single rat in the wonderful city of Sakon Nakhon.)