Could you live in Isarn?Could you live in Isarn?

A question often asked is what is the difference between life in a main city and life in Isarn? Strangely enough it’s not the obvious factors that are the major influencing factors when considering living up North in Isarn, but many more, perhaps overlooked issues that cause the biggest concerns for those considering life in the “Jungle”.

OK, firstly, it’s not really a Jungle, it is a nickname given to the farming community that seems to have stuck. Maybe it’s the wilderness and wooden huts that make up a majority of the smaller villages that encourage the “jungle” association? Anyway, the fact remains that there are still thriving cities in Isarn such as Udon Thani, Khon Kean and Buri Ram, as well as many other smaller cities. So it doesn’t sound too bad so far right? But there are other aspects to consider, especially if you are moving up North to start a life with your girlfriend or wife.

Could you live in Isarn?Here are a few deciding factors you need to think about should you ask the question could you live in Isarn? One of the biggest issues is if you are in a remote part of Isarn, chances are you may well be the only foreigner for miles around. Be prepared for days when you may well have nobody to talk to. Even if you have a decent hold on the Thai language expect to struggle to communicate. Isarn is a different language in many respects, they use many different words to those you are familiar with around thailand. An example is asking how much something is. In Thailand it’s most common to say Thaorai Khrab, whereas in Isarn you are expected to say Jak Baht. It’s these little things that make a big difference. As well as the fact many people who live in these remote regions are afraid to talk to you, and if they do muster up the courage to speak and you reply in Thai they will look at you bewildered as they will have no idea what you have just said. They expect you to talk in English, not Thai so it throws them. The elderly Thai’s speak a language all to themselves so I wouldn’t even both trying to understand what they are saying.

Could you live in Isarn?Could you live in Isarn? Another aspect to consider is family life. You may have the nicest girlfriend or wife in the world, but in general, once you make the move things will change. If you visit the family, or the family visit your home, be prepared to pay for everything. It is an accepted practice and one that seems to get worse once you make the move. Suddenly the family has a desire to start building farms, new projects, start cultivating land etc, and the fact you live there will make it very hard for you to say no to helping, especially with the losing face aspect for your girlfriend or wife. You may think you can hide away in your new home, hmm, think again. The family will have no hesitation in turning up unannounced and expect to be fed and provided with drinks. The women tend to stick to water and soft drinks, whilst brothers, uncles and fathers will expect Lao Kao (Thai Whiskey or Motorbike fuel) or Leo and Chang to be readily available in the fridge. Don’t expect them to wait to be asked, they normally just help themselves, it’s all a bit unsettling until you get used to it.

Life in Isarn is very relaxed and there are so many more factors to consider before making that move. We will follow this post up next week with more information on living life in Isarn and help you decideĀ could you live in Isarn….