Are you a teacher who once taught in Thailand but decided to seek out pastures new? Has the grass been greener on the other side? Maybe you swapped Thailand for the financial lure of Japan or Korea? Read about those who have left Thailand, and their reasons for moving...

Submit your own Great Escape


Brett

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

I moved to China in October of 2020.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

I worked in Thailand for nine years. I taught high school and kindergarten.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

Thailand was a fun place to live but hard to save money. I would work in language centers, teach privates both face-to-face and online. You can certainly make extra money but you have to double your workload. In China I make over 165K baht per month.

Q4. What are the advantages of working where you are now compared to Thailand?

The city is very high-tech with less noise pollution. It's right near a bay so it's a great place to go for walks.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

I miss my friends. I miss Thai food. I also miss the mai bpen rai attitude.

Q6. Would you advise a new teacher to seek work in Thailand or where you are now?

I would say yes, give Thailand a try but really do your research before going.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Yes, I would love to come back to visit old friends.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

No.


Karl

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

I moved back to my hometown in the West Midlands, England. I arrived back in June 2021, so I've only been back for a few months.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

I lived in Bangkok for four years, then moved to Hanoi in Vietnam for eight months, then returned to Bangkok, where I stayed for a further three years. So an enjoyable seven years in total.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

Simply because of the Covid situation. I'm very close to my immediate family and it was almost impossible for me to come back to England for a short visit. Also, I have an 8 year old dog and I wanted to get him back to the UK before he became too old to endure the long-haul flight.

Q4. What are the advantages of working where you are now compared to Thailand?

I can't really make much of a comparison. I worked in a high school for 4 years in Bangkok earning 50k baht a month. I enjoyed teaching there and I was happy with the life that my salary gave me. For my last 3 years in Thailand, I was teaching online earning between 70k-100k per month. I've continued teaching online since being back in England but the online teaching industry has been devastated by new regulations in China (where a huge proportion of the market is) so I'm teaching less and earning far less. I've done some extra work for my family's business since being back, have a good amount of savings, and I'm not paying any rent as I'm staying with my family, so things are pretty good.

An advantage of living here at the moment is that international travel is much easier than in Thailand. I recently went to Malta for 6 nights and I have plans to go to Germany, Portugal, and Greece in the coming months.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

Most of my friends in Bangkok are Thai (I wasn't into the expat social scene) and I miss them dearly. I would go for drinks with different Thai friends several times each week. The most I do here is go for a couple of pints with my dad before dinner. I really miss my social life in Bangkok! I miss my apartment in Chatuchak and walking to the local market to get delicious, fiery Thai food. I miss the cute girls and smiling faces. I miss being able to buy super fresh and chilled fruit off the street. I miss the hot climate, especially now summer is over in England. I miss sitting next to the Chao Phraya River to photograph the sunset. I could go on, but I'll leave it at that.

Q6. Would you advise a new teacher to seek work in Thailand or where you are now?

Yes, definitely! I had a blast living and teaching in Thailand. It's not for everyone but I felt right at home in Bangkok.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Absolutely! I'm hoping to go back to Bangkok for a month next year to catch up with friends. Currently, I don't have plans to live there again but I'm most definitely not ruling it out.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

If you're interested, you can see how much I was loving life in Bangkok from this cost of living survey that I did in July 2015 https://www.ajarn.com/help-and-guides/cost-of-living/karl1


Brian

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

Los Angeles in 2018

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

Nine years.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

I had enough of working in Thailand. There was a lack of a social cohesion in the workforce and it was quite hard to have a good conversation on a daily basis. I was feeling extremely lonely. Teaching at a university was too political with decisions not being made on a meritocracy. I was told I would never teach anything but the 100 and 101 Level classes.

Q4. What are the advantages of working where you are now compared to Thailand?

I can chat with people on a day-to-day basis. I don't have to deal with the extreme heat or the pollution of Bangkok. I feel more connected to society and can save more money for retirement while giving my children a better education.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

I miss riding the bike, the street food of course, fresh fruit, the ambience of the market. I miss people who are kind and benevolent.

Q6. Would you advise a new teacher to seek work in Thailand or where you are now?

No, Thailand is not a place to build a career. At best you will be tolerated. Educating the youth of Thailand is valuable, but it doesn't appear to change the opportunities available to those youth nor the overall power dynamics of the social structure. Many Thai students are too focused on grades and don't really care about knowledge for knowledge's sake. Reading a book is taboo!

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Perhaps for retirement. Thailand should be enjoyed. We cannot change the society and working in its web is too messy and not worth the short time we have in life.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

I enjoyed a few great years in Thailand and met many wonderful people.


Barry

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

It was hard to leave Bangkok, but when I finally decided enough was enough I travelled back overland to England. Now I’m settled in Seville, Spain.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

Even though I was only in Thailand for about 8 months, a mere fraction of time compared to my eight years in Spain, my time there will always be special.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

There were a few reasons I left. The main one was because I’d been away from England for nearly two years. Before teaching in Bangkok I’d taught in Ecuador, Brazil and Australia and so I felt it was time to go home and see family and mates, especially after the Tsunami.

I’d also grown tired of the noise, pollution, and hectic lifestyle in Bangkok. I felt suffocated and needed a change. The school where I worked was run poorly and the strict catholic nuns kept us on our toes. I’d also become disappointed with the whole farang versus Thai teacher relationship. I tried to get on with Thai teachers but there was always a ‘them and us’ feeling in the air.

Q4. What are the advantages of working where you are now compared to Thailand?

The advantages of working in Spain are that I have full rights as a resident and annoying visa runs are a distant memory. I’m married to a Spanish lady without me worrying that she’s after my money (several of the guys I met in Thailand told me this after they’d been married a few months) and I can buy property in my name. The main pro is that I’m close to home and can pop back whenever I feel like it.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

I miss loads of stuff. Being able to live like a king on a teachers’ wage, the Thai food, the smell of the spices, weekend trips to Koh Samet and Koh Chang, the buzz of Khao San Road, crazy nights out on the beers with other teachers and expats, and the buzz of the unknown and adventure.

Mostly I miss the class I taught. They were a group of 11 and 12 year olds and they will always be the nicest and most polite class I’ve ever taught. I got to know them well over the 8 months and they were a joy to teach.

Q6. Would you advise a new teacher to seek work in Thailand or where you are now?

I guess it depends if you want to settle down or not. I think it’s hard to settle and have kids in Thailand, I might be wrong, but I got that impression when I was there, you’ll always be a farang and will never be treated equally.

Spain is a great place to live, but it has its problems, especially at the moment. I’d definitely recommend Thailand though as a great place to have an adventure, see some amazing places and meet some honest fun people.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Not at the moment. My wife wouldn’t eat Thai food and we’ve got a baby on the way so I’m guessing we’ll be staying put for a while. I’d like to go back in the future though, just to eat pad thai again.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

If you’re thinking of going to Thailand then just do it. I had a great experience and it really opened my mind, even if it did make me realised that I wanted to settle somewhere closer to my family. I’ll always miss Thailand, but life goes on.


Jono

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

I moved to Doha, Qatar in 2018.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

I worked in Thailand for 5 years.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

Money primarily. After hitting my 30s, I suddenly became aware that time was of the essence and I couldn't spend the rest of my life just breaking even every month, even if it was fun. I needed to plan for the future.

Q4. What are the advantages of working where you are now compared to Thailand?

Money money money. In Qatar I make triple what I used to earn in Thailand and also have a free apartment so it's nice being able to save a big chunk of my pay every month.

Paid holidays and flight stipends. I went back to the UK twice, took trips back to Thailand, Bahrain and also Spain. In Thailand I didn't get paid during the April holidays and didn't get to travel nearly as much.

It's a lot more developed in Qatar so theres little of the third-worldy chaos of Thailand.
It's multicultural with expats of every nationality found here so you don't get stared at and there isn't the us vs them mentality of Thailand. Also the food scene is amazing.

Teachers are treated much more seriously here. We are respected as professionals rather than treated like dancing white monkeys in Thailand. Its definitely more organised and a better place to work overall.

Also, while it does get very hot, I like the lack of rain in the Middle East. I don't miss commuting to school on a scooter in the rain, drying off my soaking work shirt and shoes and freezing in an air conditioner, only to get caught in another storm coming home.

Finally, with the Covid 19 pandemic, I'm counting my blessings being in a country which has not only allowed me to build up some healthy savings but also vaccinated nearly all of the population. Hearing horror stories of teachers losing their jobs and salary for months on end with the endless lockdowns and just being left to fend for themselves by their employers has got me so grateful for what I have now.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

Definitely the fun side of things, especially as a single man. Qatar has the heaviest skewn male/female ratio in the world so dating is a lot tougher. It can be kinda lonely at times.
I miss the parties and clubs of Bangkok. I miss the beaches and riding a scooter through the jungle. I miss the friendliness and laid-back vibe of Thai people. While third-worldy and chaotic, it is fun.

The heat in Doha is insane for a large chunk of the year. I love warm dry weather but even I am overwhelmed in the summer months. It approaches 50°C every day for months without a raincloud in sight. You run between air conditioned apartment, air conditioned school, air-conditioned car and air-conditioned mall. Might be something to bear in mind if you don't like the intense heat.

The culture can be quite intimidating for first time visitors but really you have most of the same freedoms you enjoy anywhere else. It can be a bit alarming that you need permission from your employer to leave the country too but I haven't met anyone who had issues.

Also, my job in Thailand was a lot more stress-free. I was pretty much left to do my own thing. Here, I have a higher workload and stricter standards to maintain generally.
Also, the students. My classes are all boys and some of them are really quite bratty. I definitely enjoyed teaching Thai kids more.

Q6. Would you advise a new teacher to seek work in Thailand or where you are now?

Thailand is good for getting started. Its a real fun adventure place and life is never boring. It's a great country to be young and single but I wouldn't want to be an aging teacher there with little savings and uncertainty about what happens when you pass 60. Go for a couple of years, enjoy it, but it's wise to have an exit plan.

It is quite a competitive market in the Middle East, where you need higher credentials or a couple of years experience so earn your stripes in Thailand, then make the move to where the money's at.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Definitely. I took Christmas vacations in Thailand in 2018 and 2019 before all this kicked off and it's definitely more fun to enjoy as a tourist with money in your pocket than as a resident breaking even every month. I will take a holiday there again as soon as it all blows over.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

Nothing is certain in this world and you aren't young forever. Savings and social support networks are crucial. Always try to put aside some money every month for a crisis or just for the future.

Value your good male friends (if you're a guy). Girlfriends come and go but good male mates are really hard to find. Don't make stupid choices over someone else.

Travel, learn and enjoy life as much as possible. Stay safe.


Showing 5 Great Escapes out of 287 total

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