Living in Monkey City!

Moving is stressful, but I think I’ve found the solution – MINIMALISM! When everything you own fits into a backpack, that stress of upping your life and moving all your belongings to a new place significantly decreases. Another win for being minimalist and owning less stuff!

After a year of living in Nakhon Nayok, it was time for me to try something new. I wasn’t done with Thailand just yet (10 years later, and I’m still not), so I decided to relocate to another part of the country to continue teaching English for a couple of months.  

I decided on Lopburi (ลพบุรี).

TEFL Lopburi

I was excited! Soon enough I’d find a new apartment, meet new people, and start a new job.

Lopburi is not an unheard-of place to people that travel around or reside in Thailand. It’s on the backpacker’s route due to the number of spectacular ruins, and it’s location between Bangkok and Chiang Mai.  It was developed from the 6th to 10th century making it one of Thailand’s’ oldest cities.

It was also made famous to many people in the UK by the popular TV show Idiot Abroad, as Karl Pilkington hilariously explored the city and had his food stolen.

Basically, it’s a city overrun with almost 4000 macaque monkeys, making it an intriguing place to visit, or if you’re a TEFL teacher, to live in!

TEFL Lopburi

At my new school, Anuban Lopburi, I worked with 6 other foreign teachers of a similar age, mainly from the UK. It was refreshing after spending most of the year prior feeling quite isolated with no other foreigners around.  I know that is not the cool thing to say, and we travellers like to ‘experience new cultures’ and ‘avoid the touristy areas’. Both of those things are true, but until you’ve spent prolonged periods of time completely detached from everything that you’ve grown familiar too, it’s hard to understand that longing to be around your peers whom you share similar interests and life experiences. Especially when you’re 24 years old.

At Anuban, I taught Math and Computer, as well as English, which I was certainly not qualified for, but I made the most of it, even managing to take on a second job tutoring in the evenings to make more cash.

Sidenote – when teaching English abroad, capitalizing on the private tutoring opportunities is a great way to make additional income, especially because the hourly rate tends to be high, and it’s normally cash in hand.

Tutoring also develops a different skillset for teachers. The job of tailoring very specific lesson plans for a student 1-1, is completely different to following a set curriculum teaching 30+ students.

This is a 100% a true story; one evening I was teaching animals to a student at her parents shop when an elephant went past the window. We ran outside, bought some snacks, and fed it as I continued my lesson. Perfect timing for an animal themed lesson!

The department of the school we worked in was an MEP (Mini English Program), which meant the students had a decent level of English. Well, better than anything I had experienced before. This made teaching a lot more fun.

My experience at Anuban included some of the best months of my life. The colleagues at my school were great! We were close enough to swimming pools, bars, and the minivan stop to Bangkok was handy if we wanted to have a wild weekend here and there.  Lopburi also has a good expat community, good street food, local Thai bars, and there many other things to see and do. It’s a cool city.

My colleagues and I had mopeds for the duration of our stay, so we had the freedom to explore the surrounding areas and see some of rural Thailand. When parked up in Lopburi though, it wasn’t a rare event that your helmet or sunglasses would have been stolen by the monkeys, never to be seen of again. Those dam monkeys!

Speaking of the monkeys, one of the most prominent memories I have was during the Ice Bucket challenge in 2014. Remember that? As we were about to film a friends challenge in the city centre, the monkeys ran over to us and stole the buckets and started ripping up the bags of ice. Menaces!

Not everything was rainbows though, as life isn’t. During our 6 months, we experienced the horrific death of a colleague who was killed in a motorcycle accident, and a military coup, limiting our time outdoors and access to certain media.  

To any TEFL teachers looking to work in Thailand, I don’t think you can go wrong with Lopburi, especially if you are worried about the culture shock. Lopburi has a few western restaurants and bars so you can have a good balance of Asia and home.

So, if you see a job vacancy in this city, GO FOR IT!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.