20 Mar

I don’t believe in luck. I believe in choice. A whole lot of which lead to a certain outcome.

We made a choice to come over to Thailand together, as a couple, travel and find a job. Our choice involved lots of planning, research, phone calls and emails. Not luck. Friends, friends of friends and strangers, were so willing to offer advice (to whom we are so grateful) and because of them I want to offer as much help to others planning a similar trip – whether it be a holiday or longer endeavor. Because yes, it really is that great here! :)

#1. Money. How much is a trip to Thailand actually going to cost? Flights aside, I would sum up the finances as follows… We have got by on between 1100 – 1400 Baht a day (550 – 700 each) and the Rand fluctuates around 3 to 1 Baht. That budget includes accommodation, food, water (you cannot drink tap water here!) and an occasional treat (I like chocolate. A lot. Kyle likes beer. A lot.) Is Thailand really that cheap? Yes. Well, sort of – if you coming and know when you are leaving. Dividing x amount of money over a set number of days, always helps! Not knowing when you are leaving (like us) calls for a daily tally up of expenses. Bookkeeper Kyle has written down every Baht spent so we know exactly where we are financially each day.

#2. Travel costs. Getting from Bangkok to the islands (and back again) is an additional cost… We caught a first class, over night train from Bangkok to Koh Samui (ticket includes train and ferry) for 2000 Baht each. We were ripped off! The train tickets can be bought from the station for much cheaper so avoid travel agents as best you can… Friends caught a bus from Koh Tao back to Bangkok for 850 Baht. You can also fly. Do your research properly, there are always deals. Tip: travel over night – cost of one nights accommodation is then included in travel cost.

#3. The aircon vs. fan debate. Aircon is great. Obviously. But a fan is completely bearable! It’s hot, but not that hot. We have managed just fine staying in a fan room, not once being unbearably hot. But, I will say, the concrete bungalows stay cooler than the wooden ones – so if you fanning it up, try be in a concrete room. The price difference between a fan and aircon room increases considerably, so give the fan a try if you are on a budget.

So you are South African and want to teach English in Thailand? As of this year, South Africa is no longer regarded a “native English speaking” (NES) country… Which means we cannot apply for a large number of jobs, as offers clearly state – NES teachers from America, Canada, England, Australia ONLY. In order to secure a job, most schools/agencies will only consider South Africans once a language test has been taken and passed in Bangkok… Hello admin. So if you coming over now or for the start of the second semester in September/October, keep that in mind.

What we did not know. Renting an apartment is not so easy without cash and/or savings. In Bangkok (and other places) you are expected to pay three months up front to secure your rental. Oh, double whammy, you only get paid at the end of May….. Sharing an apartment obviously helps as costs can be split.

Traveling alone? We know a few, and have met a few, people who are traveling and getting ready to start teaching at the beginning of the school year. They are also searching for jobs, budgeting and trying to soak up the scenery. I cannot tell you how much admiration I have for these people (especially the girls!) Making friends along the way can be fun, but there are times when having a companion (partner or friend) just makes everything so much easier. For example, I cannot carry my bag. Well, I could. But it’s heavy. Ok fine, it weighs a ton… If Kyle wasn’t with me (he’s going to thrive off this) I would be struggling! :)

What I’ve learnt in the last week… Don’t panic. I like to have things organized and know where I’m going, but Thailand doesn’t work like that. Time is of little importance so if a phone call or email is promised, it will come. Eventually. My very dear friend who lived and worked in Thailand last year did offer some sound advice before I left, which keeps ringing in my mind – “Katie, you will learn quickly to forget plans and go with the flow… So true.

We are still on Koh Tao and loving every new day! We have yet to be bored of each others company or have a fight. We are starting to feel more and more comfortable here – learning something new each day. Although we miss home, our amazing families and friends – we are not home sick. It is still early days, but for now the future is just so exciting! :) Don’t wait for luck… If Thailand (or any where else for that matter) is where you want to be – get a job, save some money and do it. Hate it? Go home. Love it? Well, you will only know that feeling once you have made a choice to take a chance to change.



7 Responses to “Luck(y).”

  1. Anonymous March 20, 2013 at 7:04 pm #

    Beautiful quotes :) You two have so much adventure ahead of you. Goodluck and let me know where you end up getting jobs.

  2. Anonymous March 20, 2013 at 7:06 pm #

    Francie wrote the message above :)

    • katekingsley89 March 20, 2013 at 8:48 pm #

      Thank you Francie! :) will keep you posted…. :)

  3. Anonymous March 20, 2013 at 9:48 pm #

    I love reading your stories katie!thank you!and keep it up!love yooze

  4. Julie Linden March 20, 2013 at 11:01 pm #

    Love the three ‘c’s!

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