The journey to work is indeed an important one. The journey though is not so clear for international school teachers when they are looking for jobs at schools in cities/countries to which they have never been. So let’s share what we know!
One of our members, who works at the Ruamrudee International School Bangkok (Bangkok, Thailand), described her way to work there as follows:
When you think of Bangkok you automatically think of bustling and busy streets which are lined with vendors with their food carts hawking their wares. Well, when I travelled to Thailand as a tourist, that was the image that I had of living here. So in January 2015 when I signed a contract to move to Bangkok from Dubai I thought I knew what I was moving into to. How wrong could I have been….
Ruamrudee International School is not in downtown Bangkok, it is out towards the airport in an area known as Minburi. A taxi to the airport might take about 20 minutes if the traffic is in your favour – a godsend when you are doing boarding pick ups the weekend before school starts and you have to go back and forth as the flights never seem to align where you can pick up more than one airline’s arrival…On the other hand, to get downtown in a taxi could take up to two hours. The main road through Minburi is Ramkhamhaeng and it is a really busy road. A couple of Friday nights ago it took us 70 minutes to travel about 6km – the traffic was insane – on the way back the same trip took 10 minutes. But traffic flows eventually – there is no beeping like in Ho Chi Min or Beijing and the drivers are nowhere near as crazy as what we encountered in Dubai… these drivers just take it in their stride and no one gets upset – everyone lets everyone else merge without any problems…
Some teachers chose to live downtown, they have regular drivers who pick them up and drop them off each day. They have to leave as soon as they are able as any delay could mean hours added to their drive home time.
I chose to live in the community near the school – Perfect Place 2. Perfect Place is a large secure community with wide leafy streets. Within the community there are plenty of parks and lakes to walk around and most parks have exercise equipment available to use. I have seen groups doing some kind of tai chi style exercise at sunset by the lake and it looks so peaceful and calming to the spirit.
Lots of teachers use scooters to get around although some, like me, have hired electric golf carts – they can be driven around the community, as long as you don’t go out onto Ramkhamhaeng Road, they are perfectly acceptable. Plus, there isn’t that much road traffic in the community. Once you get into the Pak Soi (where all the shops, restaurants and food carts are), traffic starts to build up as it waits to get onto Ramkhamhaeng Road.
I work in Boarding so I do crazy hours – no day is the same as the one before. I work weekends and have other days off to compensate. I might go in at noon but either not come home til noon the next day or if someone else is covering the overnight, I might leave at 10.30pm. The journey is still the same regardless what time it is. Traffic in the community isn’t an issue so I know I can leave any time and it will only take 7 minutes to get to school.
So, when I leave my house, I find myself in a quiet street (except for the dogs… not soi dogs – they all have homes, but they all bark).
A couple of turns and I say goodbye to the guards at the entrance to Perfect Place 2 – they click their heels and salute every entry and departure.
A left turn onto Ramkhamhaeng Soi 174 and I’m off….
The wide streets are incredibly clean – maybe something to do with the fact that every 500m there is a cleaner assigned to keeping her part of the street clean.
We have a lady who walks up and down our streets in PP2 and sweeps up all the leaves and dirt off the street.
Through another security gate (it only takes about 3 mins to get to this point) and you are at the Clubhouse, overlooking the lake, it is a private gym and infinity pool but the space also houses a restaurant, coffee shop, hair salon (150 baht to wash and blow dry your hair) and the local 7-11 (they are everywhere….).
Round the corner and its a lovely drive along the lake.
Some days the fountain is working and it is really pretty. There is another smaller lake on the opposite side of the road when you get to the end
and at that point it’s a left turn into the road that finally takes you to the school’s entrance,
albeit the one at the rear of the school, but that’s where the staff parking is located.
The car park is full of bikes and scooters but very few cars. Who needs a car when you can fit 5 on a bike… I wish I had a photo to share but it does happen all the time – 3 and 4 people on a scooter is a very common sight.
So, you’re now at school, ready to engage with whatever new challenges come your way.
This Journey to School article was submitted to us by guest author and International School Community member.
What to know more about the many international schools in Bangkok? Check out our blog article called – Comparing the Schools and Comments: Working in Bangkok, Thailand.
So what is your journey to the international school you work at? Earn one year free of premium membership to our website if you participate in this blog series – ‘The Journey to School’. Email us here if you are interested.