As previously mentioned, it’s time to move on. Thailand is the next step, although all the Chris in South Korea posts will remain online indefinitely.
Coming to Korea was already a big step, and to be frank I did very little research ahead of time. Late 2007 wasn’t exactly the dark ages of internet civilization, but to be sure a LOT more sites have become much more helpful in recent years. I’m not yet in Thailand, but there are several places that will be giving me a head start:
Learning the language: http://www.learningthai.com. Thai has a lot more consonants and vowels than Korean, so learning to read the script will likely take more than a day. Another site worth mentioning is http://www.thai-language.com, which includes an active board on translations and the language
Typing in Thai: http://typeinthai.com. Simple, huh? The virtual keyboard requires most of the punctuation keys, the row of numbers, and still requires the copious use of the SHIFT key – you try getting 44 consonants and 15 vowels on a standard Western-style keyboard any other way. Just like for Korean hangeul, stickers are available.
General info / FAQ’s: thailandguru.com looks to be about as complete a reference guide as one can ask for, though some of the longer-form pages have aged beyond the period of usefulness. Richard Barrow’s empire of Thai-related websites will keep you surfing for the rest of the day. Ajarn.com (Thai for teacher) reigns as having more information than the appropriately-named (if slightly out of date) Thai FAQ.
Bangkok: The ad-heavy bangkok.com talks up the capital city, the nightlife, and steers you towards the high-end stuff.
Living in Thailand bulletin boards: http://www.ajarnforum.net – around since 2000 and likely for a lot longer to come. It, and the Thai Visa Forum, look like two of the more helpful ones. Also alive and kicking is the Teak Door, which should probably come with a NSFW mention for explicit details of nights out in-between tales of what happens behind those curtains…
Official Immigration page: plenty of official information in good English at immigration.go.th (click the English in the lower-right corner, then use the links in the blue box on the left-hand side.)
Blogs: It’s here where expats in Thailand and expats in Korea begin to diverge. There are a smattering of teacher blogs, but for most it’s about the traveling, the Thais they’re in relationships with, the food, the cost of living, and so on. Since these are as easy to find as blogs typically are, I’ll simply mention the few that stand out as being updated, insightful, and worth the read:
- My Thai Village Life (life in Thailand)
- The Thai Report (travel and waterfalls)
- Memock (travel and family stories)
- Jamie’s Phuket Blog (travel and about Phuket)
- Lost in Translation, Life in Bangkok (travel and life in Thailand)
One nice thought: Thailand is a mere two hours behind South Korea – if you’ve spent any time in Korea and will be missing people, it’ll be easier than you think to catch up with them via Skype.