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Mae Sot, Thailand

Teaching 'Marketing English' to Hotel Staff Feb 17-19, 2020

Teaching 'Marketing English' to Hotel Staff

Location Google Map: Sleep Nest Hostel, Mae Sot, Thailand

Sleep Nest Hostel, Mae SotTeaching English
The hostel owner of Sleep Nest Hostel asked if I can teach English to his staff while I was there - they cannot learn English in just a few days. I said yes, but wasn't sure how to make it effective given the few days I would be there. Then it hit me, why not teach them hotel-specific English that would help sell services offered by the hotel? This makes it manageable, viable, and very relevant for the staff.

The 2 Karen tribe staff, Milk and Arm, had a vague understanding of English but could hardly utter a word. My 2 immediate tasks were to teach them a few basic nouns and verbs, then to teach them how to properly pronounce the words - all in relation to what services the hotel offers.

Teaching 'Marketing English' to Hotel Staff
my daily 3pm English class with Milk and Arm
Elephant Tour Simulation

I simulated a lobby scene where hotel guests ask reception what can be done in Mae Sot.

TheLoneRider (pretending to be hotel guest)
What can I do here in Maesot?

We have elephant tours. Come this way (and shows the big poster). You feed the elephants, you bathe the elephants, you play with the elephant. No riding. You like?

Very few English words are introduced here - tours, we, feed, bathe, play, riding. I had to explain what the words mean, so they are not mindlessly memorizing just the sound of the word. I also had to teach them pronouns - I, we, you, him, they. Then I had to make them properly pronounce the words. I noticed that their learning difficulty is that they can't pronounce the sound of 'v' and 'l' (they say trawen instead of travel), that they tend to pronounce the vowels short (saying mek instead of make).

How much?

(pointing to printed prices) Half-day is B1200, full day is ......

How do I go there?

1) We pick you up at hotel, 2) take you to elephants, 3) bring you back to hotel.

I had to break down the process into 3 steps. This is as simple as I could make it - easy enough for staff to say, and clear enough for hotel guests to understand.

Motorcycle Rental Simulation

There isn't much to see within the town center, and some attractions require a motorbike. The hotel rents out motorbikes.

TheLoneRider (pretending to be hotel guest)
How do I get around Maesot?

1) We can book motorcycle for you. 2) One day, 24 hours, B350. 3) We bring motorcycle 7am, you return 7am next day.

Again, this is as simple as I could make it. I taught them the meaning of the words and the sentence, then taught them how to correctly pronounce the words. Of course, it would be another challenge if the hotel guest has other questions. But for now, this is a baby step that gets the ball rolling.

Bus Booking Simulation

Mostly, hotel guests are on their way to Myanmar. Here, I encouraged the staff to be inquisitive about guest destination in order to offer bus bookings.

Where do you go after check-out?

TheLoneRider (pretending to be hotel guest)
I'll go to Hpa-an (doesn't matter which can be Yangon, Mawlamyine or Mandalay)

Hpa-an! We can book bus for you. It's easy. No headache for you. You like?

How does it work?


  1. we take picture of you and send to partner in Myanmar
  2. tuk-tuk pick you up from hotel (grammar is not important at this point)
  3. tuk-tuk take you to border
  4. you go to Thai Immigration
  5. you cross bridge to Myanmar
  6. you go to Myanmar Immigration
  7. when you finish with Immigration, partner will find you
  8. partner will take you to bus to Hpa-an
  9. that's it

Because this is a lengthy explanation, I used props to explain the process - cups for the Immigration offices, match box for the tuk-tuk, a pen for the bridge, etc. Every number above is represented by movement of the guest from prop to prop, so they understand what the sentence is trying to explain. I also wrote every thing down so they see the sentence. Then I asked them to write it down themselves (they actually have good penmanship). Then we rehearsed the scene several times until they got a good feel for the conversation.

Other Lessons
There are many lessons for reception staff that can be taught - tourist attractions, money changers, food in Maesot, etc. With regular lessons, staff at some point will become conversant with English and can manage on their own.

Ending Thoughts
With this approach, they learn enough to sell one hotel offering in just one lesson. So the 1-hour lesson becomes self-contained. With increasing staff English-proficiency, the owner is freed to manage other things (instead of being called-in every time there is a check-in or check-out). For me, I am challenged to adopt a new one-hour format teaching module that is specific to marketing hotel services even without the luxury of long-term teaching. Additionally, this also allows me extended stay in the hostel. Everybody happy here.

--- Gigit (TheLoneRider)
YOGA by Gigit Yoga by Gigit | Learn English Learn English | Travel like a Nomad Nomad Travel Buddy | Donation Bank Donation Bank for TheLoneRider

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Mae Sot Travel Information / Tips

Chiang Mai to Mae Sot by bus

There is a Green Bus line that departs from the Bus Arcade and drops you off at the Mae Sot bus terminal. Departure: 08:30 and 13:10. Return schedule (Mae Sot to Chiang Mai): 6:15am and 10:00am. Duration: 6 hours/30 mins. Cost: wide seats B490, regular seats B315(agencies or hotels may charge a small commission)

Mae Sot Attractions
  1. markets - Saturday Street Market, Burmese morning market, Border Market, gem market, night bazaar
  2. waterfalls - Tararak Waterfall (the nearest at 25 km), PA Wai Waterfall, Namtok Pha Charoen National Park, Khunpawor Waterfall, Phueng Luang Waterfall
  3. elephant camp tours - Retro Elephant Camp & Good Morning Maesot (only 3 km away)
  4. Burmese food exploration - mostly at the Burmese Market (Mae Sot Divisional Market)
  5. temple tours - Wat Manee Praison (temple sauna), Wat Chumpol Khiri, Wat Aranyakhet, Mae Soon Chuen Thai, Wat Mae Sot Na Dan (Wat Ngiao Luang)

Mae Sot Blogs by TheLoneRider

  1. Teaching 'Marketing English' to Hotel Staff Feb 17-19, 2020
  2. Post-Umphang Mae Sot Feb 15-20, 2020
  3. Time on my Hands in Mae Sot Feb 5-10, 2020
  4. Full-Body Ocular by the Immigration Officer in Mae Sot, Thailand Feb 5, 2020
  5. Mae Sot (Thailand) - Myawaddy (Myanmar) Border Crossing Jan 23, 2020
  6. Visiting Mae Sot Dec 27-30, 2019

Travel Tips for Thailand

How to Get a 60-Day Thai Tourist Visa and then Extend by another 30 Days

This process is BEFORE Covid 19. Not sure what it is now.

    60-Day Thai Tourist Visa

    NOTE: There is no need to go back to your country to get the Thai tourist visa. Any major city with a Thai Embassy will do. Apparently there is also no need to have an invitation from a Thai establishment to justify the visa.

  1. Bring the following to the Thai embassy:
    a) proof of money (bank statement will suffice)
    b) flight booking to Thailand
    c) onward flight back to your country from Thailand
    d) filled-in tourist visa form
    e) 2 passport pictures
    f) hotel booking in Thailand (they didn't ask me for this but better be safe)
    g) passport with at least 6 months validity
  2. After handing over all the documents, they will ask you to come pick your passport with the visa the following day from 4 to 5pm. That's it!
  3. NOTE: after 2 successful attempts, I was already questioned the 3rd time.

    30-Day Extension

    NOTE: When your 60-day visa is close to expiry and you want to extend your stay. No need to leave Thailand.

  1. bring the following to the Immigration Office:
    a) passport (make sure your Tourist Visa hasn't expired yet)
    b) Baht 1900
    c) photocopy of your passport + visa duration date stamp + TM6 card (white immigration card) and sign all the copies
    d) completed TM7 visa extension form (available at the Immigration Office)
    e) one 4cmx6cm passport picture
  2. submit the above to the Front Desk. They will give you a stub with your number on it. Take a seat and wait for your number to be called
  3. when your number is called, your picture will be taken. Then go back to your seat. They will call you again.
  4. when they call you again, they'll give you your passport with your extended visa. That's it!
  5. when there are no lines, the whole process can take only 10 minutes
Book Train Tickets in Thailand

Book Train Tickets in Thailand Online by

General Travel Tips
  1. arrive early - in case there is a snag (visa snag, documentation snag, transport ticket snag, etc.), you will have ample time to troubleshoot the problem if you arrive early (to the airport, to the bus terminal, etc.)
  2. put detailed itinerary on the Calendar apps of your smart-phone according to timelines - this is where you do all your thinking and planning. Once written down, you don't have to think anymore while you are on the just follow the steps. This frees your mind for something else that might happen while you are already en route
  3. avoiding scams - as a general rule, I ignore the touts or anyone I don't know who call out to me. The calling comes in many forms - "Hi! Where are you from?", "Excuse me! Excuse me!", "Where are you going?". I don't look them in the eye and I remain non-verbal with them. If you reply to them, you just gave them an 'in' to hound you. In order not to look rude, I smile and wave the 'not interested' hand to them, without looking at them.
  4. power bank - hand-carry your power bank. Do not check it in. You can be called in when you are already inside the plane to go all the way to the loading dock so you can personally remove the power bank...and chances are, you'll have to surrender it to them. And you might delay the plane departure!
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