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


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.


Bruce

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

I haven't quite gone yet but you might say my suitcases are packed and I'm just tying up a few loose ends. I should be moving back to Scotland in July at the latest.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

I did five years, most of that time was spent teaching at a good university in Bangkok. I said goodbye to the students and staff early in March.

Q3. What are your main reasons for moving?

I don't really see a career path here anymore and I felt my teaching was becoming a bit stale because in truth, my heart wasn't in it. When I first started five years ago, I felt like I was in a teachers' room full of like-minded, qualified professionals. We shared ideas with each other, encouraged each other and became a tight-knit little group. Sadly, I've watched most, if not all, of those guys leave over the past few years and I haven't really developed the same bond with the teachers that have replaced them.

Another reason for moving back home is that I feel the cost of living in Bangkok has skyrocketed to the point where it's just another expensive capital city. Even though I was on a decent salary of around 80,000 baht a month in my final year, I think you need far more than that to live at a certain level and to save for the future, etc. I guess the whole teaching in Bangkok thing has run its course and it's time to go.

Q4. What will be the advantages of working back in Scotland compared to Thailand?

I worked for the local council before I came out to Asia and I've been very lucky inasmuch as I've been basically offered my old job back. I suppose it's a bit of a pen-pushing, office job and it wouldn't suit everyone but it's a chance to get my foot back on the employment ladder back in Scotland before I hit thirty. Obviously, I'll get all the benefits from working at a regular job back in the UK (pension, sick pay, etc)

Q5. What will you miss about life in Thailand?

I don't honestly think I'll miss a great deal. I know this sounds a trifle bitter and perhaps it's a jaded soul talking but I think Thailand as a country for a foreigner to live and work in is vastly over-rated. I don't perceive Thailand to be anything special or unique in what it offers.

Don't get me wrong, I've had some wonderful times here and made some amazing friends but let's not get carried away with Thailand being the be all and end all. I'm sure I'd have had just as good a time in Vietnam or China or Japan, possibly even better.

Q6. Would you advise a new teacher to seek work in Thailand?

Yes, why not. If you're a new teacher just looking to gain some experience abroad as a TEFLer, it's a decent choice. If you're a qualified, professional teacher looking for a career path, frankly I'd look elsewhere unless you're qualified to work at the top-paying international schools. Teach at the lower end of the spectrum and there's a more than fair chance that the system is going to beat you down.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Not at all. Unless I tire of those sub-zero Scottish winter temperatures and those perpetual slate-grey skies.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

I'm looking forward to being back among family and friends. Important birthdays, anniversaries, births, weddings and the odd funeral, I've missed an awful lot in five years. It's going to be nice to be home.


Scott

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

I moved back to Canada in February, 2020.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

I worked in Chiang Mai for a year.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

I think the biggest factor was that I missed home. Canada isn’t perfect, but I’m learning to see just how fortunate I am to live here. There is a limit to how far you can go in Thailand. Aside from teaching, there aren’t many industries accessible for non-Thais.

Another reason was the salary, which averaged between 25,000-30,000 baht a month. That would have been a lot of money ten or fifteen years ago but costs in Thailand have steadily increased since then. Turns out I left just in time because all hell broke loose when the coronavirus turned the world upside down.

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

The pros definitely outweigh the cons. In Thailand, foreigners with a teaching job have to report to immigration every three months and the work permit ties them to one employer. Since I’m working in my own country I can do what I love. I’m pursuing photography and other artistic endeavours.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

Not very much to be honest. I think many foreigners working in Thailand would agree that their status is rarely on solid ground. Government regulations can change overnight and you never know what’s going to happen.

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

Thailand has a lot going for it: delicious food, lower prices and sites of historical interest. However, the paperwork and visa fees are substantial. If you’re aiming for the higher paying positions (between 60,000-80,000 baht a month), they’re not as plentiful as you might think, and you should expect tough competition.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

I would like to when the mandatory quarantine has been lifted. I’m not travelling all the way over there just to sit in a hotel for two weeks.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

Nope!


Pete

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

Moved to Los Angeles, California in September 2020.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

I worked on and off for three years doing part-time hourly teaching in Chiang Mai. My wife's family owns multiple tour companies with zip-line courses, restaurants and other things so I would usually just hang out with her family.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

No tourists around right now, so my wife wanted to leave for a bit.

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

I don't work here. Los Angeles is a covid mess and would likely be hard to find a "good" job right now. I just ride my mountain bike everyday. CA is amazing for outdoor sports like biking, and that's an advantage to being here.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

Nearly everything. Life is good in Thailand. My wife's family is gold. I love just chilling, getting off my head most days and I cruise around with my wife's dad "checking" on businesses, which typically turns into more drinks.

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

Yes to work in Thailand. Being a teacher in Thailand is a rewarding experience for all parties. As for Los Angeles, I'm sure it's great to work here and it seems like a lot of people are working around here - but being a teacher here would be different.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Yes, I can't wait for my wife to get bored and want to return to Chiang Mai. I'm going to build a mountain bike course down one of the mountains her parents have land on. I keep telling her let's go, I'm ready to go build some trails in Chiang Mai and go shred on the mountain bike. She loves the USA and wants to travel all over here once we get our vaccines. Not sure how long I'm stuck for this time.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

Thailand is my second home. I will always go back and forth between my home country and there as long as I am able to do so. Teaching in Thailand is great. I also taught in Cambodia on a voluntary basis and I also highly recommend giving your time to Thailand's neighboring countries as well.


Phil

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

I moved to China in October 2019

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

I studied then worked in Thailand for around 7 years in total.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

I just got married and started reassessing my priorities. Although I absolutely love Thailand, the salaries offered have a limit. It seems for the vast majority of jobs it ranges from 30K-60K. Getting jobs with a higher salary requires serious qualifications and are very far and few between.

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

The number one advantage in China is the salary. An NES teacher with a BA and TESOL can get their first job here for 90K baht per month (20k yuan), and after a few years experience this can rise to 110K baht (25k yuan) per month. Add a masters degree and you're looking at around 140K baht (30k yuan). On top of this, health insurance and housing are provided for free and living costs are as cheap as Thailand for the most part if one doesn't have any vices.

Clear career development with a more professional environment and opportunities for getting regular salary raises made China the sensible next step for me personally.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

Absolutely everything! I have a Thai spouse so have permanent connections with the country.

Luckily I have minimum of three months paid holidays every year here in China and in non-covid times went back (and will go back) to Thailand at every chance. Surprisingly I seem to enjoy it more as a holiday destination for now as when I do return I have a good amount of savings and don't need to resort to eating 30 baht kao pads everyday as I used to do when I lived there. I have been broke in Thailand and that is one thing I DO NOT miss. So having money to properly enjoy my three months there when I go back makes me enjoy it much more than living on a budget for the full 12 months of the year.

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

Thailand is a great place to transition into the ESL industry. It is an excellent destination for starting out and getting your initial two years of experience. Beyond that you will soon hit a ceiling in your earning potential. For some this is OK and I'm not judging that. But personally I am focused on advancing to the highest level I can in my career and saving some money since I'm a late starter.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

I will visit Thailand during all of my holidays - it's just a 2-hour flight from China. And if I ever wanted to take some more time off I can always return on a marriage visa. Furthermore I have plans to buy property in Thailand and eventually use that as one of my main retirement locations. At that point I may teach for a few years (for fun and to get citizenship).

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

Make a long-term plan of what you would like to accomplish in your life.

Thailand can definitely play a role in that, but it might be wise to look beyond it too for certain periods in your life when you need extra income such as when you are married and/or have kids and need to save money.

The COVID situation has taught us that we need substantial savings to be secure in our lives as things can change at any moment, so we should use this opportunity to invest in our future to make sure we are in a good place when the next catastrophe hits the world. Good luck to all in your paths.


Showing 5 Great Escapes out of 281 total

Page 2 of 57



Featured Jobs

English Teaching Position

฿45,000+ / month

Chon Buri


English Conversation Teachers (June Start)

฿35,000+ / month

Thailand


Filipino Science Teacher for P1-2

฿25,000+ / month

Nakhon Ratchasima


NES Primary Grade 3 Homeroom Teacher

฿40,000+ / month

Chiang Mai


Elementary EAL and Elementary Homeroom Teachers

฿50,000+ / month

Bangkok


Homeroom Teacher for Early Years & Primary Year 3,6

฿60,000+ / month

Phuket


Featured Teachers

  • Robert


    American, 57 years old. Currently living in Thailand

  • Ragunath


    Indian, 32 years old. Currently living in India

  • Alireza


    Iranian, 36 years old. Currently living in Thailand

  • Paul


    British, 48 years old. Currently living in United Kingdom

  • Morgan


    American, 63 years old. Currently living in USA

  • Lloyd


    American, 62 years old. Currently living in Panama

The Hot Spot


Will I find work in Thailand?

Will I find work in Thailand?

It's one of the most common questions we get e-mailed to us. So find out exactly where you stand.


Can you hear me OK?

Can you hear me OK?

In today's modern world, the on-line interview is becoming more and more popular. How do you prepare for it?


The dreaded demo

The dreaded demo

Many schools ask for demo lessons before they hire. What should you the teacher be aware of?


Teacher mistakes

Teacher mistakes

What are the most common mistakes that teachers make when they are about to embark on a teaching career in Thailand? We've got them all covered.


Need Thailand insurance?

Need Thailand insurance?

Have a question about health or travel insurance in Thailand? Ricky Batten from Pacific Prime is Ajarn's resident expert.


Renting an apartment?

Renting an apartment?

Before you go pounding the streets, check out our guide and know what to look out for.


Contributions welcome

Contributions welcome

If you like visiting ajarn.com and reading the content, why not get involved yourself and keep us up to date?