The top 5 TEFL teaching destinations

The world is big - where are the best places to teach English as a foreign language?

Where to take your TEFL career for the best earnings, quality of life and more

TEFL teaching can sometimes be seen as gap year activity, or simply a way to subsidize foreign travel. And while there are a vast number of voluntary and low paying teaching roles out there, you may be surprised to know that there are also extremely high paying TEFL teaching positions to be discovered.

In certain select countries a TEFL teacher can expect to earn a handsome wage, some of which will come with fantastic teaching packages including free accommodation, travel and bonuses. With the correct knowledge, TEFL teaching can not only be seen as a genuine career job, but a way of creating significant savings and having a well-respected role in a community. Oh, not to mention the chance to travel around the world, collect lots of great memories and meet amazing people.

Here’s our list of top earning TEFL teaching destinations:

Live and teach in Vietnam with TEFL, teaching English as a foreign language


Vietnam has recently replaced Thailand as the country offering the top TEFL teaching wages in Southeast Asia. English language teachers in the Vietnamese cities of Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi can expect to earn wages in the region of US$2000 to US$3000 per month. While you are unlikely to receive much in the way of a teaching package, with typically little financial help towards accommodation, travel or insurance, the cost of living is so cheap covering these necessities yourself shouldn’t make much of a dent in your earnings.

You’ll be looking at around US$400 to US$500 for a nice apartment and another $5– to $600 per month for food, drink and entertainment. Most TEFL teaching contracts of one year or longer are also likely to pay a bonus of around one month’s salary on completion of your contract.


Japan has long been one of the top TEFL teaching destinations, not just in Asia but the world, and despite not quite offering the rewards of years gone by, TEFL teachers in Japan can still expect to earn around US$2000+ per month, while experienced and business English teachers can expect to earn even more.

Although this isn’t a wage that will blow you away, most Japanese TEFL teaching positions come with a very attractive employment package, which typically includes free return air fare,  free fully furnished accommodation, and health insurance

Live and teach in South Korea with TEFL, teaching English as a foreign language


Just like Japan, Korea has long been one of the biggest TEFL teacher payers of the world and has always offered attractive packages. Nothing much has changed, Korea still remains one of the best and most rewarding destination for new and experienced English language teachers.

The average TEFL teaching salary in South Korea is between US$2000 to US$3000 a month, and teaching employment packages typically include free health insurance, return airfare, and free or subsidized accommodation. TEFL teaching jobs in Korea usually offer teaching bonuses of around one month’s salary on contract completion.


Taiwan has now passed Japan and Korea as the best paying English language teaching destination outside of the Middle East. TEFL teachers in Taiwan can earn as much as US$3000 to US$4000 per month. Despite few teaching jobs in Taiwan offering much in the way of teaching packages, the higher wages are made to look all that more impressive when you consider the low cost of living in Taiwan, much cheaper than Seoul and Tokyo.

Private and state school teaching jobs both pay well and there are no shortage of TEFL jobs available.  While you may have to arrange your own health insurance, accommodation and travel, the high wages and low cost of living guarantee TEFL teachers in Taiwan will live a comfortable life, with lots of time and opportunity to travel around and build up some decent savings.


Dubai has made a huge impact in the world of TEFL teaching and has swiftly made its way to become the highest paying TEFL employers in the world, surpassing the wages and teaching packages of west Asia.

TEFL teachers in Dubai can earn huge tax free wages around US$3,000 to US$5,000 per month. While the cost of living in Dubai is somewhat expensive, most schools will supply their TEFL teachers with free, fully furnished accommodation and a return flight home, giving teachers every opportunity to live a comfortable life and leave with significant savings in the bank.

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I was very interested in the Vietnam paid internship and spent a lot of time on the phone to an adviser at I-to-I who was very helpful patient and kind and rang me up on regular occasions to reassure me and to answer the hundreds of questions that I had about the internship so that I felt confident enough to cough up the £750 fee which pays for accommodation and the orientation over in Vietnam. One of my questions was about my appearance, I told them that I’ve got very neat, clean dreadlocks and facial piercings and an arm tattoo which covers a scar- but along with this I also mentioned that i intended to wear my hair back in a neat bun and that I was happy to take my piercings out and would obviously cover all tattoos. In response to this I got laughed at, and told not to be silly and that this was absolutely fine as long as I took my piercings out and covered my tattoos as intended. One other question was about the accommodation Surprisingly I-to-I were not able to provide me with any example photos of what the accommodation was going to look like and considering you are making a home there for 5 months you'd think they'd have that covered. Anyway my friend and I painstakingly make the decisions to leave our homes, partners, friends and families to make this massive exciting step towards our new careers. I am already qualified with a 140 hour TEFL qualification and have a degree in English literature so am more than qualified enough for this position so was confident that I was going to accepted and that his was the beginning of a new life for me. I was shocked however after paying £750 to I-to-I to have absolutely no further contact from them after all of the reassurance, not a single word to tell me what would happen next or to congratulate me on my decision. I was handed straight to the partners in Vietnam who sent me an application form to fill out - which I did to a very high standard - I was very confident in the fact that I had all of the necessary qualifications and also had lots of other great qualities necessary in a teacher. I included details of my previous work experience working with children with disabilities. I sent all of this information off very promptly because I am a competent and organised person. It came to sending my documents off which I did once again very promptly. We were asked to send a signed contract which made the entire experience sound awful. On reading the contract I was filled with doubt because it sounded so awful and I was left awake all hours of the night worrying that it was going to be so horrible that I didn’t want to go anymore. It stated that we may be expected to work over 6 days, that we were not allowed to plan trips, that we had to pay for a $75 mandatory invasive health check (which was not made clear by I-to-I it is in the terms and conditions but this should be should stated very clearly as an added cost!!! ) Also had to send them a picture which I did of course including the facial piercings I intended to remove on commencing the internship (not 3 months beforehand) and it was a very lovely photo too. I didn’t think this photo was very consequential I thought it was just to match up to the passport- wasn’t aware it was the main method of deciding on the success of an application. Confident that I’ve got all the qualifications, reassured that my appearance isn’t an issue, I go ahead and tell my landlord that I’m going to be leaving in January to which he replies "that’s great I’m selling up then". So a couple of days later I get an email very bluntly explaining that I have been rejected from the internship and that they refuse to give me any reason for this so that I should get in touch with i-to-i to organise a refund or to see if there is any other experience I can take part in. Excuse me? I am more than qualified and more than competent as I have proven and I have been entirely discriminated against because of my appearance? Which I made clear from the very beginning and was willing to comply with the dress code. Had a very lucky escape because speaking to my teacher friends around the world i-to-i are renowned for messing people around and not sending them their certificates or ripping them off in one sense or another. So I go ahead and ring i-to-i about this and there was absolutely no sympathy, no compassion and I was treated and made to feel as if this was my fault in some way. I was not offered a refund I had to ask for it, I was not offered any other experiences I had to ask about them they did not try in any way to accommodate for the situation or to try and make it less stressful. Now I have to move out of my home for absolutely no reason, am absolutely emotionally drained by the whole experience made to feel like less of a person because of my appearance? I’m sorry but what kind of joke is this ? This is the 21st century !? I understand cultures vary and that this was a professional job but when I’ve already made it clear about my appearance and my intentions to conform, i-to-i have a duty to inform me at least why I was rejected – But of course they can’t because they know this decision is not based on any fair grounds. The girl who talked to me basically laughed and said it’s all cultural and had a "what do you want me to do about it" attitude. A little compassion goes a long way when you’re dealing with human beings. I am absolutely gutted to be treated like this but I’m so relieved that I-to-I or sly-to-sly decided to mess me around BEFORE I got over there for 5 months ! Thanks for the emotional roller coaster sly-to-sly it’s been a blast! Luckily I’m a positive person so used this experience to grow, I’ve learnt a lot about myself in the process. I’ve reinforced in myself that I am more than what I look like, that I am a competent, organised, compassionate, enthusiastic, dedicated, qualified, educated, intelligent, kind, funny and above all interesting person with so much to offer to the right people so I think your partners in Vietnam have missed out on a great opportunity to have me teach their children so I'd like to offer my apologies cause its genuinely their loss. In closing - communicate with people after they've paid you £750 - don't lie about appearance not mattering because it clearly does and make this very clear to anybody out there with a personality a bit more interesting than a wet flannel. - don't treat people like it’s their fault they got rejected - have a bit of compassion - be a bit more polite -dont make people who get rejected ask for a refund, you should be the ones to contact them- offerings support – advice and of course that refund!
The 120 Hours Online i-to-i TEFL course is well structured and it is organized in three sections. The explanations are simple but at the same time detailed to let the individual prepare himself to become an English teacher. All the materials provided are useful. I enjoyed taking this course and I think I will make extensive use of the information found in the future.
This course was awessome, at first i thought i would struggle with the written assessments but everything is provided. I also thought I'd be on the phone asking for help a lot. As i haven't study in a long time, this course has made it easy to get back in there. My feed backs have given me confidence that i can be a worthy teacher. I can't really compare to other online courses but there is value for money.

Rachel on the South Africa TEFL Internship from i-to-i on Vimeo.

Thailand - The best experience of my life from i-to-i on Vimeo.