Just finished up doing report cards for my kids and thought I should type up a quick report card about Thailand. I brought this up a few weeks ago with my roommates and we all sort of had a different opinion. I tried to be a hard grader, you be the judge!
Food: B+ Thai food is good, no doubt about that. I'm in the middle of doing a post about my favorite foods. There are a lot of food here that isn't good though and super unhealthy. And eating rice everyday kind of gets old. I'm trying to be a tough grader.
Price: A. Things are cheap here. Hair wash: 50 baht ($1.75) Shave: 50 baht($1.75) Bottle of Johnny Langer 195 baht ($6.50) Delicious cashew nut chicken 100 baht ($3.25) Flight to Bangkok. 1200 baht ($36ish) Rent 2900 ($89). Things are cheap cheap but good good.
Location: A- Super close to other countries like Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Malaysia, China, India, Singapore. Along with discount airlines like Air Asia and Nok Air, cheap flights are to be had.
Weather: A. It is so hot here, it's great. Consistently 30+ degrees, over 40 with the humidex. Rarely rains, no winter, no complaints. A.
People: B.Thai people are super friendly, very respectful and interested where you are from. Not everyone is overly welcoming but nothing is perfect. This takes a bit of a hit because Thai people are great and I've met life time friends here. Not everyone who comes to Thailand is of the highest moral character. Strange old men looking for girls/boys is one of the worst parts of this beautiful country.
Safety: A. I can only speak for myself and what I've experienced. Other people would certainly rate this lower, especially if you are a girl. But I've never really gotten into an argument with some Thai guys or even come close to fighting anyone here. I feel very safe.
Activities: B+. Scuba diving, snorkeling, trekking, water sports, cooking schools, Muay Thai, mountain biking, cliff jumping, kayaking, golfing, yoga retreats, fishing trips. There are things to do, especially if you are in more tourist areas like Phuket or Bangkok.
Transportation: B-. Flights are easy, tons of air con buses and mini-buses and Tuk-tuks in most places in Thailand. My town however is horrendous for transportation. If it is pouring rain and you need to get to the airport and don't have a ride, good luck. Their are motorcycle taxis but not actual car taxis and less than 1% of them can speak English. It would be a D- without the rest of Thailand picking up the slack.
Beauty: B+ (Well these two A+, overall grade B+)
Nightlife: B. I could see how people could argue higher, even an A. Full moon parties, Phi Phi, Haad Yuan, I get it. I also get that Full Moon parties are overrated, the beer here isn't great, Thai music isn't the most fun to listen to and going out late at night in my town isn't out of this world. I'd say average. But I understand if you disagree. But I'm right...
Health care: B. My school pays for my health care up to 20, 000 baht so that helped me a few different times. (http://bertbrandon.blogspot.com/2012/12/i-dislike-roofs.html)
Tons of people specifically come to this side of the world for medical tourism because it is way cheaper. Bangkok has good hospitals, my town....
Environment: C Trash is everywhere, smells super bad in some places, I wouldn't be surprised if they dumb trash into the oceans on the islands, not overly concerned with green living.
Animals: C. So many stray dogs and cats. Zoos are not like zoos at home. Room for improvement here.
Overall quality of life: A-. Teaching the way I want to, eating out every night, tons for friends, not being cold, super cute babies, girls thinking I'm handsome, shaves, hair washes, a house to live in, 4 minute commute to school, tons of holidays and an interesting culture.
Final grade: B+
Thailand is great. Easy to find a teaching job, great food, very cheap, friendly people, great weather, massages, virtually stress free, life is good. Corruption is also a concern in the government and the police force. Efficiency and planning ahead could also be majorly improved. In general, I have really loved it and would recommend staying here for an extended period of time if you can make it happen.
"How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives." Annie Dillard