Life in Thailand can be a wonderful adventure with many of the conveniences of home. Our community is constantly welcoming new people in and will be more than happy to help you adjust when you arrive. If you have any questions beforehand, please feel free to email our school’s recruiter and we will address your questions as quickly as possible: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A couple of must-reads before coming:
- Foreign to Familiar by Sarah Lanier (a quick read which summarizes general cultural differences)
- Culture Shock: Thailand by Robert and Nanthapa Cooper
Big C is a supermarket similar to Wal-Mart with everything from produce to paper goods. Makro, similar to Costco, is open to all shoppers (even if you don’t have a member card, you can simply request a free temporary card at the store’s entrance) and offers many goods in bulk.
In 2011, Central Plaza mall was completed and boasts an Apple store, McDonald’s, Starbucks and a movie theater with English-language films. You can also find specialty/imported food items at Tops Grocery store on the bottom level of the mall.
Every evening from sundown to midnight Chiang Rai’s Night Bazaar offers a colorful variety of traditional home-made hilltribe crafts, along with food stands and two open air stages for cultural performances.
At the height of the hot season, from April 13-15, there is a festival called the Maha Songkran Water Festival celebrated all over Thailand, which is known as the world’s biggest water fight! During this time water is thrown indiscriminately. When it comes to being doused with water, everybody and everything is fair game!
Estimated Budget for Volunteers: In baht, per month.
• Rent and Housing Fees
- Single housing: ± 4000 baht
- Family housing: 8000 baht and up*
• Utilities: ± 2000 baht for individual, ± 3000 baht per family (varies with usage)
• Drinking water: Large bottles delivered to home: 50 baht/month
• Tap Water: 150 baht/month
• Food/household items: ± 4500 baht/month per person.
• Transportation: 1 motorbike: 3000 baht/month, 1 car: 6000baht/month (vehicle maintenance, gas, insurance)
• Medical: 900 baht/month (apart from medical insurance)
• Miscellaneous: 3000-4500 baht/month
• Internet: initial set up plus 900 baht/month
• Phone: 1500 baht phone purchase and set up plus 300 baht/month per phone
*More money could be spent on housing if you desire more in a home. Please see http://www.lannarealty.com/rentals.html for examples of higher-end rentals available in the area. Many volunteers find rentals in the Thanaphum area close to the school and other nearby places by word of mouth. Please email email@example.com with any questions about housing.
• Flights to Thailand
• Purchasing a used vehicle (varies: older car, standard transmission 120,000 baht, motorbike 30,000 baht)
• Unexpected expenses: 15,000 baht
• Set-up costs for home: 15,000 baht (to purchase specific things you would like for your home)
• Medical insurance
• Passport and visa cost
• Travel Expenses for tourist travel
Most CRICS families choose to locate within about a few miles of the school, for convenience and community. School activities can fill up afternoons and weekends, and many students and staff ride bikes to and from school. You may find cheaper rent if you locate elsewhere, but you will spend more on transportation and be more likely to need a car.
Many homes have air conditioners in one or more bedrooms. Some rooms may have ceiling fans. Floor fans are affordable and readily available.
Furnished or Unfurnished
Unfurnished may mean there is virtually nothing in the house—no cupboards, counters, sinks, appliances or hot water heater. Furnished means anywhere from a little bit of furniture to all you will need and perhaps some appliances. Sometimes landlords will move furniture in or out of the house to suit you.
Check to see if ADSL is available to the house. Mobile phones are readily and cheaply available throughout Thailand.
Electricity is 220-240 volts x 50 cycles, so bringing 110 v appliances from the USA is rarely worth it as they will blow out when plugged into a Thai socket. Monthly electric bills to run one or two air conditioners at night are usually less than 3,300 baht.
City water is cheap but not always dependable. Most houses have a storage tank. City water is not potable, but water for drinking is purchased in bottles from a water distributor who will deliver to your home weekly. There are also commercial filters that can be purchased and installed on your home’s water system. Water bills are hand delivered monthly and are paid in cash at your gate, at any 7-11, or at the office of the water company.
Can be purchased in bottles delivered to your home weekly for about 20 baht per 5 gallon bottle. Commercial filters can purchased and installed on your home’s water system.
Most kitchen ranges use bottled gas (LPG). If your home does not have a tank you can buy one from a shop that will deliver, usually within the hour. After that, the shop will trade in your empty when they deliver a full one.
Twice a month is the Chiang Rai International Fellowship (English language) which meets the 1st and 3rd Sunday of every month at 5:00 p.m. for praise & worship, teachings from different leaders in the area and a potluck supper afterwards. This is a great time to meet and connect with others in the international community. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Baan Atitaan (House of Prayer), which meets Sunday mornings at 10:00 a.m., has many Western congregants and so translates the songs and sermon into English.
There are also various Thai and minority congregations which meet throughout town, as well as small home groups.