Thailand is an amazing country filled with lots of diversity and pleasant contradictions, a mix of exotic and homely cultures, conservative and formal political standings, and some of the wildest nightlife in the world. It’s a place where you’ll see ancient temples sandwiched between skyscrapers and mega shopping malls, modern sky trains carrying businessmen, backpackers, and Buddhist monks, not to mention the breathtaking tropical islands, packed-out beaches, and peaceful coastal resorts.
Thailand is an ideal TEFL teaching spot for anyone looking to explore Southeast Asia, not only does it offer a unique and fascinating way of life, but it’s also one of the major travel hubs in the region, leaving countries such as Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, Malaysia, China, Singapore, and Indonesia, all a short and affordable flight away (some are even reachable by bus!).
With a 120-hour TEFL certificate to your name, you’ll find TEFL jobs all over Thailand, from busy cities to quiet villages, to beautiful beach towns. With so much diversity and different experiences on offer making the move to teach in Thailand is the easy part, the difficult decision will be deciding where to teach in Thailand:
A busy bustling city with an anything-goes attitude. Life in the Thai capital is full-on, and not for those looking for a quiet life. There’s always something going on, from festivals and exhibitions to religious holidays and national celebrations, it can really take your breath away. The skyline of the city is as modern as anywhere, with huge office towers, massive five-star hotels, and some of the world’s most impressive shopping malls, stretching out for almost as far as the eye can see.
Down on street level, you’ll find lots of food and more food. No one goes hungry in Bangkok, from award-winning riverside restaurants to an endless army of food hawkers and street stalls serving inexpensive snacks and meals. From the early morning markets to the dusk ’til dawn nightlife, Bangkok is where it’s at. And if you are really craving some peace and nature, it’s also home to several large, well-kept parks.
Who should head here: City dwellers and socialites.
Chiang Mai is the cultural capital of Northern Thailand. Despite its size and popularity, Chiang Mai is a rather small city with most sites and attractions all within walking distance of each other, yet it’s literally packed with activities and places of interest. Many tourists head to Chiang Mai to explore the surrounding wilderness, trek the hillside jungles, riding elephants, water rafting, and visiting tribes and temples.
Life in Chiang Mai takes place at a rather slow pace, which involves lots of people watching, coffee drinking, and visits to the popular night markets. With a large expat community that call Chiang Mai home, there are plenty of foreign-friendly bars and restaurants open early until late.
Who should head here: Culture junkies and nature lovers.
Home to Thailand’s largest beach resorts, Phuket is the holiday headquarters of Thailand, with plenty of soft white sandy beaches surrounded by crystal clear waters. Patong is the most ‘touristic’ and home to the areas craziest nightlife, with bars, gogos, and nightclubs open until the early hours of the morning and beyond. Phuket has plenty of nature and quiet beaches for those looking to do some exploring, and it has some of the best spots in the world for scuba activities.
Life here can be a real mixed bag of sunbathing and water sports at idyllic beach towns such as Surin, Karon, and Kamala, and wild nights out drinking and dancing along Bangla Road or Soi Paradise.
Who should head here: Beach bums and party animals.
Island Life: Phi Phi, Samui and other Thai Islands
Thailand has several island resorts with a significant population and opportunities for TEFL teaching. Phi Phi, Samui, Koh Lanta, and Kho Chang, all have local and international schools and if you are lucky you could land one of the much sought after TEFL teaching positions on a Thai island.
Island life in Thailand is a very laidback and chilled affair, and also a very healthy one. You’ll be treated to a diet with lots of fresh seafood and ripe fruit, as well as plenty of water sports and outdoor activities.
Who should head here: Fitness fanatics and outdoor folk.
Village Life: Udon – Korat – Khon Kaen
Outside of the tourist cities and beach towns you’ll find several rural cities and towns with significant populations and a demand for qualified English teachers, most notably in the Isan region of the country, close to the Laos border.
Locations such as Udon Thani, Korat, and Khon Kaen offer a rather laid back and friendly lifestyle, with lots of local traditions and authentic Thai culture to experience first hand. Despite their rural location, you will still see other foreign faces and some modern facilities, such as shopping malls, department stores, supermarkets, bars, clubs, and restaurants. Or should you really want to be out in the wilderness, the villages just outside of these towns and cities are as sleepy and rural is it gets.
Who should head here: Those looking for a true Thai experience.