Countries worldwide attract English teachers for various reasons, and Thailand is certainly among the most popular. It draws both novice and seasoned teachers with its pleasant tropical climate, world-renowned cuisine, affordable cost of living, and vibrant nightlife. As an aspiring teacher aiming to work in this Southeast Asian haven, the first crucial decision you need to make is the location where you want to live and work. Thailand is a relatively big country that offers plenty of TEFL job opportunities, leading us to compile this brief guide to help you explore the best places to teach English.
Bangkok, Thailand's capital, is an popular choice due to its abundant teaching opportunities in schools and language centers across the city. Although the frenetic urban life may not suit everyone, those who enjoy city living will most likely appreciate Bangkok. The city is known for its round-the-clock nightlife and immense diversity.
Despite its overwhelming size and population, Bangkok ensures safety for foreigners and typically offers a friendly and respectful environment for those who decide to extend their stay. The city has an excellent public transportation system that includes an extensive rail network, numerous bus routes, affordable taxis, and a river taxi network. Don't forget to visit the city's many intricate temples and lively markets to gain a deeper understanding of the local culture.
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If you prefer a quieter setting over Bangkok's bustling city life, consider Chiang Mai, Thailand's northern capital and cultural hub. While it is a city, Chiang Mai retains a small-town charm and offers proximity to the country's most stunning natural landscapes. Importantly, teaching jobs are readily available, and the living costs are significantly lower than in Bangkok, making your income stretch further.
Despite its small-town ambiance, Chiang Mai has seen substantial development recently, ensuring you have access to modern conveniences for shopping, dining, and entertainment. Still, the city preserves its cultural essence with its numerous centuries-old temples. The local climate, comfortably warm yet cooler than other parts of the country, is also a major draw for many.
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If you have a penchant for beaches and watersports, the tropical island of Phuket might be the perfect fit. This dynamic island in the Andaman Sea offers everything you could desire from a top-notch beach destination and more. The stunning coastline boasts some of the finest beaches in Southeast Asia, while the vibrant nightlife, filled with bars, eateries, cafes, and food stalls, caters to locals, tourists, and expatriates alike.
During peak periods, Phuket can become crowded, but numerous other islands, each with its unique character and development level, are just a short boat ride away. Moreover, Phuket's international airport connects to all parts of Thailand and beyond, making the rest of Southeast Asia easily accessible.
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Like Phuket, Krabi, located in southern Thailand, is a favored tourist destination that presents teachers with the chance to work amidst a tropical paradise. However, compared to Phuket, Krabi's tourism industry operates on a slightly smaller scale, leading to noticeably cheaper food and rent prices. The area offers teaching opportunities in public schools, private language centers, and a couple of international schools for adequately qualified teachers.
Krabi Town, although relatively small, provides western-style bars and restaurants for those missing home, as well as vibrant local markets and authentic Thai cuisine. The slower-paced and more relaxed atmosphere, coupled with a less touristy feel, makes Krabi a viable alternative to Phuket.
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Isaan, although not a single destination but a region, presents a myriad of opportunities for TEFL-certified teachers. Covering 20 provinces in Thailand's primarily rural northeast, Isaan offers a variety of jobs in cities, towns, and villages. The region might not boast beaches or extensive tourist development, but it does offer a more authentic experience for those wishing to truly understand the local culture.
Isaan's slower pace of life, coupled with its welcoming environment, promises lifelong friendships during your stay. Apart from the rural charm, the area also houses several stunning national parks and the majestic Mekong river. Despite the region's rural character, it hosts a few large cities with good amenities and numerous jobs, with a cost of living significantly lower than Bangkok and the southern beach resorts. Food enthusiasts will appreciate Isaan's unique cuisine, featuring iconic dishes such as laab and som tam.
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