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


Phillip

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

I moved home to Ireland in December 2020.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

I worked for two years in a government school and four years in an international school.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

My daughter. Ireland offers free education until she is 18 plus free healthcare and free dentistry until she is 7.

I don’t like how she is treated here. She looks very “farang” and is treated very differently to other children. We do not live in Bangkok and I am not joking when I say we cannot go to Tesco or Tops without people pointing, shouting “Kao Kao” or trying to touch her. Seriously, in a worldwide pandemic, people not only disrespect social distancing, they try and pinch her cheeks.

It really affects my mental heath. Even a walk in the park leads to stares and shouts. It is horrible. I’m sure others will say I’m overreacting but I just want my daughter to have a normal life. How will she feel when she is 6 with all this attention for being farang? How will the teachers treat her? She can never blend in here and never be one of the crowd. I just want to go to the park with my daughter and walk without strangers butting in for. I cannot have a normal outing with my daughter here.

And don’t get me started on education. The thoughts of educating her here terrify me. We have all seen the scandals in the last couple of years and having worked here for 6 years I would not want my daughter subjected to the Thai side of education (I mean the rote learning, constant exams from the age of 6 etc.). We have all read about horrible teachers that were simply transferred to a new school after doing something horrible. No thank you!

The cost alone of an average school is crazy. Education should be a right as it is in Ireland. My wife cannot understand that all schools here use the same curriculum, teach the same way, don’t charge anything and all teachers are vetted and must follow a strict code of conduct.

Healthcare is also a huge concern. My daughter had a runny nose so my wife insisted on taking her to hospital. The doctor advised checking her in for 2 or 3 nights so they can monitor her. I refused. So the hospital prescribed her 4,000 baht of different medicines and liquids to wash her nose. I refused (not for price, for fear of the drugs on my daughter). And guess what? She survived at home with rest, lots of water and rice soup. Healthcare here is for profit and that can be very dangerous.

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

I’ve enjoyed working in Thailand. Good salary, very good working hours, good holidays, great co-workers. I loved the working side of Thailand.

I guess Ireland offers salary scales that increase every year, I will have convenient pension contributions and my working hours will be much shorter (09.00-15.00). Eventually I won’t have to rely on yearly contracts like I do in Thailand, the post will be permanent. That security will mean so much.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

Cheap car insurance, cheap taxis, cheap Thai food, beautiful temples, people taking their shoes off, excellent shopping malls.... a lot of small things,

Since I’ve been back there are so many little things here too that I enjoy.... fresh air, actual footpaths, bins everywhere, road safety, shop assistants who let you browse, strangers say hello as they pass, punctuality.,..

Both places are awesome in their own little ways.

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

Come to Thailand but not to raise a family. It really is a great place to work.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Only on holidays.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

As teacher I was limited to Bangkok for the top jobs. This meant we had to live very far from my wife’s family and had little support. In Ireland I can work in any school throughout the country and receive the exact same salary and benefits,

The weather too.... I can take my daughter outside any time of day here! In Thailand between 08.00 and 17.00 were usually way too hot for her. She loves her walks and exercise.

My daughter seems so much happier here. We can go anywhere we want here and there is no pointing or shouting of Kao Kao. Nobody tries to touch here either.

She will be starting free pre-school classes soon (yep, free).

I see a much brighter future for her here.


Mike

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

I moved to Saigon, Vietnam in August 2020

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

For three years, from Summer 2017 until Summer 2020, working at a mid-tier international school in Bangkok.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

Three main reasons: Better pay, a better international school and I enjoy living in Vietnam more compared to Thailand.

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

Overall, I am just a big fan of Vietnam. Vietnam is cheaper to live in so with better pay and a lower cost of living, I am able to save a good amount of money here. The atmosphere in Vietnam is just more relaxed than in Thailand (or at least compared to Bangkok). There are friendly and unfriendly people in both countries, but I just find everything to be more mellow and relaxed. The government is a bit more sensible as well. They actually make (mostly) logical decisions here, compared to the Thai government coming up with crazy new ideas or communicating something weird every other month. Especially last year there was a lot of eye rolling whenever the health minister said something, but unfortunately, it isn't just him.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

Not that much really. I miss the kids at my previous school but other than that, there is nothing I miss. Before I started living in Bangkok, I must have been to Thailand 20 times, but my conclusion is that it is a nice country to visit and Bangkok is a nice break for a few days, but as for living there, I was just not that big of a fan.

Don't get me wrong, life is fairly easy, especially working for an international school, and you can basically eat, get or do anything you want in Bangkok, but I was never as comfortable there as I am now in Vietnam. To each their own I guess.

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

I would say that if you have educational degrees and are able to work at an international school, both Thailand and Vietnam will work just fine. There are obviously more international schools in Thailand compared to Vietnam though. For English teachers, Vietnam is definitely better. The salary you can get is almost double the amount compared to Thailand and the cost of living is a lot lower.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

If the world returns to normal, I would really like to visit my old school and say hi to many of the kids (because of Covid we ended the year online). Other than that, there are a number of places I enjoy visiting, whether it is Bangkok for a few days or one of the islands. To me Thailand is perfectly fine as a tourist, but I did not enjoy living there that much. I would return for a holiday though.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

No.


Tony

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

Beijing, at the beginning of September 2020.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

From February 2020 to September 2020. I was not actually working in Thailand. In fact, I only came to Thailand as was transferring within the company I worked for. I was moving from Uzbekistan to China but due to COVID-19 pandemic I came to Thailand to remote teach for a month and then sort out the visa to travel to China. The travel restrictions tightened, and this stretched out till September when I was able to move to Beijing.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

To work in Beijing, China

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

Security and stability of employment as a teacher. Ability to earn an excellent salary so I can build savings and plan for eventual retirement.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

The climate, beaches, food, friends and the friendliness about the place.

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

I would certainly recommend any teacher to consider travelling and working abroad. Make sure you do your research on the schools. Always have an open mind

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Yes, as soon as the pandemic abates sufficiently to allow unrestricted travel.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

Thailand offers a lot of opportunities to foreigners. Eight months in Thailand working remotely for my school allowed me a chance to see a different side that I normally saw when I was coming as a tourist. Having to sort out short term rents, paying bills and sorting out visas were not a problem. The cycling opportunities I had were fantastic.


Mark

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

Australia (return date not stated)

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

About 11 and a half years.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

I wanted to live and work overseas.

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

Other than super (retirement payments) not much.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

The food, which is delicious and available everywhere, an interesting culture with mostly friendly people, the low cost of living and meeting people from every part of the globe.

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

Thailand. Working in Australia is complicated and as a teacher not very satisfying.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Yes, as soon as the pandemic abates sufficiently to allow unrestricted travel.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

Many people have got jobs as ESL teachers in Thailand and made interesting lives for themselves that would not have been possible if they had stayed at home and did what everyone else was doing.


Beka

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

I moved to Austria in 2017.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

I worked in Bangkok for 5 years. Half of the time was spent working for NGOs, the other half teaching at a mid-tier international school.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

While I was lucky enough to meet my husband in Bangkok, we both found that we had become quite complacent with our jobs, education and prospects. We loved our social life but felt there was more to achieve in our careers.

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

Austria is very safe, stable and socially minded. We both have full time jobs in our fields, earn good salaries and spend a reasonable amount on rent, bills etc. Healthcare is free and very good. Austria also offers 14 salaries per year (a double salary twice a year), which is a nice perk. With a full-time contract, pretty much everything is covered here. I cycle to work and my husband works from home. We live a short walk away from the closest hiking trails and spend our weekends and holidays in the mountains or the Croatian coast. We have also adopted a dog now, which we felt was a bit tricky in Bangkok (traffic, lack of green spaces, long days at work). In Thailand, we only had partial health insurance, our salaries were mediocre and we spent an incredible amount of time commuting to work.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

Everything else. I loved my life in Thailand. I had amazing friendships, spent weekends rock-climbing and going to the beach, the food (both local and foreign) was amazing and Bangkok never got boring. Bangkok just really worked for me. I still miss it today.

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

Thailand can be good for new teachers - there are options both for young people who are just trying it out and there are opportunities for solid teaching positions which can also help advance your teaching career. I suppose it's important to know what you want - a couple of years of not-really-teaching or a serious commitment to an international school which will require a lot of work but will also offer opportunities for advancement.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

We have visited once since we left and plan to visit again as soon as it's possible. We often talk about moving back one day, now that we have furthered our education and careers and could find better jobs if we wanted.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

As many places, Thailand suits some people and not others. I'd always recommend it as a place to visit and, if you can look past the many challenges, it's an amazing place to spend a longer time. We live a very cushy, stable life now but have lost the social life we used to have in Bangkok.


Showing 5 Great Escapes out of 284 total

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