Daily Archives: July 2, 2005

Thailand Facts and Figures

Ancient City in Samut Prakan

For students who are doing a project about Thailand, and for those of you, like myself, who are fascinated by statistics, here are a few facts and figures about Thailand.

Total area: 514,000 sq km
– water: 2,230 sq km
– land 511,770 sq km

Land boundries: total 4,863 km
– Burma 1,800 km
– Cambodia 803 km
– Laos 1.754 km
– Malaysia 506 km

Coastline: 3.219 km

Land use:
– arable land: 29.36%
– permanent crops: 6.46%
– other 64.18%

Irrigated land: 47,490 sq km
– waterways: 4,000 km

Ports and harbours:
Bangkok, Laem Chabang, Pattani, Phuket, Sattahip, si Racha, songkhla

Airports: 109

Hospitals: 1.392 (Bangkok 171, provinces 1,221)
– government hospitals – 919 (93,493 beds)
– private hospitals – 473 (40,523 beds)

Population: 65,444,371
– 0-14 years: 15,621,934 (23.9%)
– 15-64 years: 44,927,392 (68.6%)
– 65 years and over: 4,895,045 (7.5%)

Median age: 30.88 years

Population growth rate: 0.87%

Birth rate: 15.7/1,000 population

Death rate: 7.02/1,000

Infant mortality rate: 20.48/1,000 live births

Life expectancy at birth: 71.57 years
– Male: 69.39
– Female: 73.88

Dos and don’ts of coming to Thailand…to teach.


>Do get used to your students falling asleep in class, this is a pretty hot country.
>Do get a sensible haircut, if you want to look like Bob Marley then go find a job at a bar on Koh Phan-ngan.
>Do arrive at the job interview looking smart, such a thing is more than essential in Thailand.
>Do get used to half the class talking on their mobiles, reading cartoon books and drawing pictures, if they don’t want to learn that’s up to them.
>Do realise your kids want to enjoy learning, just forget half what they taught you on that TEFL course.
>Do try and not bite your nails, Thais think only drug-addicts and football hooligans do such a thing.
>Do, as an in-house teacher, be careful with bodily odours, your student doesn’t need a whiff of you smelly-sock syndrome.
>Do get used to your students receiving awards, even the crappiest of student gets one now and then.
>Do, if you see your boys completely bored, just mention the word ‘Liverpool’, to them football is even more important than girls.
>Do, if you drink at night, brush your teeth four times before class, Thais have better noses than mosquitoes.
>Do, if your students seem completely bored, resort to some Thai, they’ll enjoying laughing at your attempt.
>Do, as a handsome young teacher, keep your distance from the older girls, they’ll be wanting to see more than just your explanation of the ‘past perfect tense’.
>Do, if you get personally fed-up with your class, just completely make up a ghost story, you’ll scare the living daylights out of them.


>Don’t bother taking that grammar book of your to class, they’ve been learning that stuff for the past 6 years with a Thai teacher and still ‘don’t get it’.
>Don’t take your class too seriously, they expect to have fun learning with the funny looking Farang.
>And certainly don’t lose your temper in class, there are more things to worry about in life than darned lazy students.
Don’t go complaining too much in the staff room, you don’t need to find out that ‘you’ve been replaced’.
Don’t, if you live with a partner your not actually married to, tell your students; you don’t need to go promoting so-called ‘un-Thainess’.
>Don’t arrive at to class late all the time, you don’t want half the Thai teachers gossiping behind your back.
Don’t, as a smoker, puff away in front of the school gates, Thais are quite sensitive about such a thing.
>Don’t stop at the local shop outside the school and drink every day, they see enough ‘drunkos’ in their ‘soi’ as it is.
>Don’t bother complaining about half your girls doing their make-up in class, trying to inform them that education is ‘important’ is a complete waste of time.
Don’t even tell your students the truth about what you do at the weekends, just say you eat ‘papaya bok-bok’ and ride a buffalo, you’ll have them in stitches.
>Don’t draw ‘proper’ pictures on the whiteboard, Thai students just love silly drawings.
And finally, don’t wear the same Thai tie or blouse to class two days in a row, by darned the Thais are observant!

I know I know Richard here wrote up a blog on the dos & don’ts of teaching a few weeks back but I had this blog in note form a couple of months before he posted his one. Richard’s title was in fact exactly the same as the one I previously planned, so that’s the only thing I changed.
I personally give any teachers out there permission to use this blog of mine here in your class as teaching material, would love to know what your students think!
This is the ninth part of me ‘dos and don’ts’ series so if you like it then check out the others in me archives. Cheers


Have a whiff = have a smell
To be fed up = to be really bored
To puff away = to smoke
A drunko = someone who drinks too much, a common disorder found in half the Farang male teachers working in Bangkok
Papaya bok-bok = Thai-English word for ‘somtum’, that the Thais made up and think is absolutely hilarious

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