15 Jobs You Can Do Living in Southeast Asia

Yoga Koh Chang, Thailand
Yoga Koh Chang, Thailand | © EGIZU Getxo Euskaldun Elkartea/Flickr
Iona Proebst

Want to turn your holiday into a long term stay in Southeast Asia? Check out our list of jobs you can do in your new home or while on the road. Remember to do your homework and research the legal and work permit criteria for each country before you take the plunge and embark on your new adventure.

Dive instructor

Many people head off on holiday to an idyllic tropical island only to find themselves still there years later. Fully qualified dive instructors are not only some of the highest paid jobs available on islands like Koh Tao in Thailand, it is also a skill that is easily transferred to anywhere else that is by the sea.

Diving in Khao Tao, Thailand


Local and international publications alike value the input of foreign journalists. If you plan to stay for a while, try to get in with a local publication which will have you travelling and reporting on different stories. Not only is this a great way to immerse yourself in local culture it will also be a great asset to your career.


Teaching is the most popular job for foreigners living in Southeast Asia. Teaching positions are also some of the most stable jobs as they come with the security of a regular paycheck, visa and work permit.

Happy students


Like journalists, foreign photographers are valued and regularly employed for local and international media outlets. If you prefer food, people or nature photography there are also plenty of jobs going in those genres too.


If you’ve been spinning decks back home then why not sign up for a guest DJ night wherever you find yourself in Southeast Asia. The allure of an “international” DJ will likely be welcomed with open arms.

DJ Chaing Mai, Thailand

Tour guide

A slightly less popular option but a great opportunity if you speak multiple languages or are working for a company from your country that specializes in tours in your mother tongue. It is also a great way to travel and see parts of Southeast Asia that you might not otherwise visit.

Web designer

Web designers can be employed in local companies or work freelance for their own clients, the option is yours. If you prefer to keep mobile and make Dollars or Pounds rather than Baht or Dong, it might be wise to secure a few clients back home.

Virtual client meeting


If you are blessed with a knack for languages, there could be money in it for you. Local and international companies hire translators for both in person and online work. Craft a resume to highlight your skills and get applying.

Bar tending

Like many professions, bartending is illegal for foreigners in some countries like Thailand so it pays to check the countries regulations before you book a plane ticket. Often bars in places like Sihanoukville in Cambodia or Vietnam offer a low wage but include free accommodation and food.

Saigon Bar

Hotel and resort management

It’s not only the world’s most luxurious hotel brands that higher multicultural teams, it’s also local boutique resorts and guesthouses. Pick your location and you’re likely to find an opportunity that enables you to live your dreams.

Charity work

There are numerous charities across Southeast Asia doing inspiring work. If you are interested in working in this field it pays to check in regularly into the relevant job sites to see what positions are currently on offer.

Children in Cambodia

Call centre work

If you are looking to stay in the region for a while, call centre work might be a great option for you. Call centres with international clients often have a base in Southeast Asia to cut down on operation costs and typically hire English, French, German, Italian and Spanish speakers to field their calls from the UK, Europe or America.

Fitness instructor

From Zumba to CrossFit and everything in between, there are numerous expats teaching fitness classes in the region. Many soul searchers ditch their stressful nine to five and become yoga teachers in the jungle mountains of Chiang Mai in Thailand or in the spiritual hub of Ubud in Bali, Indonesia.

Freelance writing and editing

Live the nomadic dream and make your work location independent. Make your office for the day a coworking space in Chiang Mai or work from the beaches in Vietnam, the world is your oyster!

Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is the latest craze in the nomad scene. If you have a product in mind and are savvy with Amazon and Bitcoin, this might be the jackpot you’ve been waiting for.

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