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


Seeker

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

I moved to South Korea in February 2023.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

Five years.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

Looking for greener pastures, mostly a more secure financial situation, seeing that Thailand doesn't really offer that much for foreigners in this regard, except if you're super rich.

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

I guess the quality of life is higher in Korea. And they say the salary is better but it's so expensive here in Korea. It doesn't seem as if the higher salary makes much of a difference.

In Thailand I was exposed to many different teaching spheres. Not only English, but many different subjects in English. I taught one grade as a homeroom teacher.

In Thailand, administration related to work permits and visas are quite a mission and it gets frustrating. In Korea it's a breeze.

Here in Korea I only teach English and there is a lot of pressure on me. I have to teach grades 3-6 at three schools and the schedule took some getting used to. I still long for the convenience of having my one class. One box.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

I miss the warmth and friendliness of the people! I miss the respect of the students and people in gneeral. I miss the freedom. I miss the food. I miss the fact that one could easily live a vegan/vegetarian lifestyle whereas here in Korea it's such a challenge.

I miss that life is so simple. I miss the Buddhism and the authenticity thereof.

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

If they are looking for a meaningful and enriching experience then Thailand ticks the box. If you love being a robot, if you love the status quo, a modern and monotonous lifestyle and cold weather, then come to Korea.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Most probably yes.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

Thailand isn't perfect. But which place is? But through all the imperfection, you learn to see the beauty and eventually fall in love with the place until you get to the point that you call it home.

If Thailand could provide more benefits for foreigners in terms of social security, welfare or even easier citizenship procedures, it would be the perfect permanent home for me.


Rosalyn

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

I moved to China in April 2023.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

I worked there for two years at a primary school in Chiang Mai Province.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

I moved to earn more money and to escape the pollution, which seems to be becoming more and more of a problem. I also thought Chiang Mai was getting too expensive for a teacher on a 30K salary. When you are budgeting for 700 baht a day after paying rent and bills, you have to watch the pennies.

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

The school I work at is run very professionally and the company cares about keeping its teaching staff. I'm often asked if I'm doing OK and if I have any problems that need talking over. I don't think the school in Thailand once said that to me in two years. As long as students didn't complain, I was deemed to be doing an OK job. Oh, and I also earn almost three times what I did in Thailand so there's ample opportunity to put money away for a rainy day.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

I miss getting on my motorcycle and riding off into the surrounding countryside but where I am in China is every bit as scenic. I also miss the Chiang Mai coffee shop scene I guess.

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

By all means come and work in Thailand because you'll have a great experience, but don't stay more than a couple of years as a low-paid English teacher. It's just too much of a month-to-month struggle. If you are thinking of staying for the long-term, then get better qualified!

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

I'd certainly come back for a holiday but it's very low on my list of priorities when it comes to teaching. I can't see teacher salaries improving any time soon, especially in towns and cities outside Bangkok.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

Go to Thailand for a year or two and have a wonderful time. Choose your foreign friends wisely because there are an awful lot of trapped expats with plenty to moan about, believe me. Just don't contemplate a long-term teaching career in Thailand unless you can get in at a top international school.


Chris

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

Hong Kong in 2007.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

I did two stints. The first one was 1993-1995 teaching ESL at language schools in Bangkok and Lopburi. The second one was from 1999-2007 at a Sarasas school in Bangkok.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

My mum passed away in 2006 and I guess it got me thinking. I was approaching 40 and didn't have a lot to show for it. I loved the life in Thailand but I wasn't really saving much. Also, life was just a bit too comfortable and there didn't seem like a lot of challenges anymore in Thailand. I just seemed to be existing. When an opportunity in Hong Kong came up, I jumped at the chance.

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

Apart from the financial benefits, the students here in HK have a better standard of English overall than the students in Thailand. HK is generally a safe place. It's also in a good location to travel to other Asian countries for a vacation (Thailand included). I also like the change of seasons. Summer is very hot and humid, but the other seasons are very comfortable. Finally, when dealing with bureaucracy (government departments, banks etc), it is just easier to get things done.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

I miss my friends who still work there (but we regularly communicate on Skype).
I miss the 2-month long summer break I used to get in Thailand (I get 5-6 weeks here).

Finally, I miss the rainy season. Sure, it rains here. However, I miss sitting on my balcony in Bangkok with a few beers, watching a thunderstorm build up throughout the afternoon. And then, as things get very black and windy....BOOM..

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

Sure, Thailand is a good place to get some experience. However, if you are looking at teaching there for the long term, get qualified and try to get the better paying jobs. As I mentioned before, I wasn't really saving much and life was just a bit too comfortable. Some people may like that, but for me, I had to go somewhere else.

As for HK, the money is very, very good. I've been able to buy and invest in a lot of things I could only have dreamed of while working in Thailand. If you want to work here, make sure your qualifications are in order, be prepared to work hard, and you'll do well.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Sure, but just as a tourist. Once I'm ready to retire, I hope to live in Laos with my wife. I'm sure there will be various trips over the border when the opportunity comes up.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

Nothing springs to mind.


Jakarta Casual

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

Left in 1999 to Bangladesh and after a brief stint back in 2001 moved on to Indonesia, Kuwait and finally England in 2017 after short stops in Pakistan, Kazakhstan and Egypt. Since I've been back, still managed short gigs in India and Kyrgyzstan

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

About 7 years

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

I used to commute across Sydney Harbour Bridge and I used to say to myself once I got bored with the view I'd pack my toothpaste and move on. Similar with Thailand. Once the nightlife got boring and the skytrain pylons looked real, it was time to look elsewhere

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

I work from home when I want and how much I want. No inane meetings or daft dress sense code. A fish and chip shop a 2-minute walk away, a park and a river to stretch my legs nearby. The weather may be shitty at times but when the sun is shining and the sky is blue, there is nowhere better

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

Not much really. I loved my weekend breaks in Kanchanaburi and street food but that's about it.

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

Thailand is great for younger folks. I used to look at the older people in bars or staff rooms and pray to myself I wouldn't end up like them!

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Once Air Asia took off I would often fly round the region travelling or watching football. Now I'm in England, I've got 30 plus years of catching up to do in Europe so trips to Slovakia, Hungary, Germany etc sate my wanderlust

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

Working abroad is brilliant and I had a blast mostly despite a few crappy jobs and some proper woeful accommodation but the me of 2023 would tell the me of 1987 to either get a proper teaching degree or do some football coaching badges. I left England in 1987 with a few quid in traveller's cheques, a one way ticket to Australia and a vague idea of 12 months overseas but found myself drifting around countries and jobs and too often a hand to mouth existence


Paul

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

I moved back to the UK in 2019.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

I worked on and off in Bangkok a total of 10 years. Most of this time was spent in a language school.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

The money mainly, and the increasing regulations when renewing my work permit. Also, the prices for many things increased and I felt Thailand wasn't good value for money anymore.

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

I actually moved again. I'm in another country and the advantage is a higher salary and free accommodation and utilities.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

The fun nights out, the cheap cost of food, and the ability to easily travel both within Thailand and in the region.

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

Go to Thailand. Stay a few years, get the experience, and the qualifications and then move. Thailand is great; however, it is going to be harder to live there when you are older and have no savings.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

I would like to go back to visit friends, and also travel to the regions I haven't explored yet. However, I don't think I'd like to work there again.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

If you've just graduated or you're only going for the 'gap-year' experience,
don't go there without a plan, and some money to set you up for the first few months.


Showing 5 Great Escapes out of 330 total

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