Q1. Where did you move to and when?
I moved to a rural seaside area in Malaysia in 2019.
Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?
Before moving to Malaysia, I had spent 7 years working my way up the TEFL ladder in Bangkok and eventually to working in a mid-tier international school.
Q3. What was your main reason for moving?
Mainly just for a change of scenery and to progress my career. The package offered to me at the time was also better than what I was getting in Bangkok. I didn't have any major issue with Bangkok and was pretty happy with my lot. The only thing I had a problem with was pollution because my son was very young and it played on my mind.
Q4. What are the advantages of working where you are now compared to Thailand?
As I don't live in a city anymore I can live quite cheaply. Rent is much cheaper in Malaysia in general and even in KL the condos and houses are just much bigger and not the "box" condos that you mostly see in Bangkok. Being here it really highlighted to me that Bangkok has relatively high rent for what you get elsewhere in the region. My individual package is much more generous than what I had in Bangkok too.
Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?
Definitely Thai food. Although I can get pretty good Thai food here, it isn't quite the same. I like Malaysian food too mind you just not as much as Thai food. Living in a more rural area now I do really miss the bustle and excitement of Bangkok. I am quite close to a fairly big city but it is just not as developed as Bangkok so I miss the array of choice in regards to activities/restaurants/attractions that are on offer.
As Malaysia is a predominantly Muslim country I don't like some of the subtle restrictions that exist with that around alcohol and pork. So I miss there being no restrictions when buying certain goods.
It's a small thing but also the price of alcohol is quite high here. I'm not a huge drinker but a couple of pints in a pub now and then is pricey so I miss the comparatively more reasonable prices in Thailand.
I also miss the attitude and friendliness of Thai people in general. Overall I find a lot of Malaysians can be a bit blunt and unfriendly in comparison. In saying that I have met some lovely Malaysians too.
Q6. Would you advise a new teacher to seek work in Thailand or where you are now?
Yes. Maybe just to try if you enjoy teaching for a couple of years as a TEFLer but not as a long term plan. If remaining a TEFL teacher, go somewhere else to make some bank, because there are very few well paid tefl gigs. Alternatively, get fully licensed so international schools are an option - and then Thailand is a different ball game altogether.
Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?
Yes, hopefully after another academic year I'll go back and will probably stay long term somewhere in Thailand.
Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?
Malaysia is a great alternative to Thailand for anyone looking to stay in the region. Hopefully post covid travel between the two will become hassle-free again too.