With such a high demand for native speakers to fill jobs in schools, there are always plenty of vacancies for English teachers in Thailand. Where you choose to work can drastically alter your opinion of the role and the country, so here’s a guide to the best places to teach English in Thailand.
As might be expected, Thailand’s thriving capital has a large number of positions available across a range of different school types, from government schools to international schools and everything in between. Positions in Bangkok tend to have higher rates of pay, which are needed due to the higher cost of living here than in other cities. Life in Bangkok might seem hectic at first, but once you settle down and familiarise yourself with the city and public transport systems, you’ll feel right at home. In Bangkok, there’s always something going on, and you’ll likely never be bored, with countless trendy bars, restaurants and boutiques to check out in your free time, not to mention the tasty treats around every corner. As it’s such an international city, it might be an easier place to adapt to for first-time teachers in Thailand compared to others on this list.
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Down on Thailand’s largest island, you’ll find that perfect blend of island life and city life that makes Phuket such a great place to work in. With a number of government schools and private schools all keen to hire foreign teachers – as well as the odd international school – finding a role shouldn’t be too difficult. Although competition for places means securing a position isn’t a guarantee. In Phuket, top-class shopping centers sit alongside stunning beaches, awesome temples and authentic local markets, giving those who work in the city a perfect blend of Western amenities and Thai charm. Whilst the cost of living is higher than most places in Thailand, salaries are usually a little higher than average to offset this, making Phuket an attractive option if you don’t mind the odd days of frugality.
With its proximity to incredible islands such as Koh Phi Phi and Koh Lanta, and beaches like Railay and Ao Nang, Krabi Town is the perfect place to teach for beach bums who live for the weekend. The capital of Krabi province, Krabi Town, has a large number of government and private schools, as well as a couple of international schools, for those who have the right qualifications – and there always seems to be a job available here. The town itself is small but there are plenty of Western eateries, local hole-in-the-wall joints, and night markets to keep you busy, not to mention a friendly expat community. Despite being a tourist-heavy town, prices for food and rent have remained relatively low, leaving those who work here with enough salary left over to explore the charms of southern Thailand.
Despite Chaing Mai’s salaries being surprisingly low, its rich culture, trendy bars and stunning natural features mean it’s still a sought-after teaching destination. Schools of all kinds can be found here, with competition for places usually fierce. But finding a job isn’t so difficult if you prepare well enough. As well as providing some of the most memorable cultural experiences in Thailand, Chiang Mai is also perfect for the adventurous types; its trekking options are well-feted, with plenty of hills, mountains and jungles to explore — after all, who needs beaches? Throw in its bustling markets, cool coffee shops and great cuisine, and there’s little wonder why so many people want to teach here.
Not many islands in Thailand boast a central shopping center and an airport, but Koh Samui isn’t like other islands. With busy, built-up areas as well as quieter, more peaceful districts, Samui really has something for everyone. Despite being an island, Samui surprisingly features a large number of government and international schools, which has made it a popular destination for both qualified and unqualified teachers. As it’s an island, expect to pay a premium for food and accommodation, but bargains can be found if you look hard enough. Those working in international schools should be able to live comfortably here. Whilst those on lower government salaries may struggle, it’s not impossible to get by. After all, who needs money to travel when you’ve got some of the most beautiful beaches in the world on your doorstep?
It may not be a city, but the region of Isaan shouldn’t be overlooked when it comes to finding somewhere to teach. Whilst it may not have the beaches, or the bright lights of Bangkok, it’s a great opportunity to experience a more authentic side of Thailand. Isaan’s countless villages and rural, slow-paced way of life offer a window into a side of Thailand that most don’t get to experience. Isaan has a number of stunning natural parks, including curious rock formations and the mighty Mekong river, that are just waiting to be explored. However, it isn’t all open fields and farms — Isaan’s provinces of Khorat, Khon Kaen, Ubon Ratchathani and Udon Thani have good-sized cities that’ll keep you busy, too. Salaries might be lower than Bangkok, but the cost of living is amongst the lowest in Thailand, leaving you with plenty left over to explore the rest of the country. It’s also the home of some of Thailand’s most famous dishes, such as laab and som tam — more than enough reason alone to consider a move there.
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