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


Paul Rogers

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

Oman, Qatar, 2008

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

6 years

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

Three reasons: Firstly, I wanted to attain more experience of teaching nationalities other than Thais. Secondly, I became a father and suddenly realised that there wasn't only myself to think about anymore. Therefore, the far higher salary that I earn here would help secure some financial security for both myself and my child. Finally, after 6 years in Thailand, I started to go through a complacency stage, one which I never thought i would experience. On paper, I had a very good job teaching full-time at an international hospital. The pay was very reasonable by Thai standards, but I felt that 6 days holiday a year were not quite enough. Now I get full university holidays which enable me to spend all my holiday time back in Thailand, including a nine-week break in the summer. I was also starting to tire of the same old night spots. Coming here has helped me to appreciate my life in Thailand again.

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

Salary, holidays and nothing else.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

Everything - the chilled way of life, MOST of the people, the students, my condo, the food, the beaches. The list goes on. However, I don't miss Songkran. That is something I am glad to be away from.

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

Well, I can only speak for myself, but as the old saying goes... if I had the chance to change the past, I wouldn't change one second of it. I will always love Thailand and have no regrets.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Definitely, though maybe not in a working capacity. I have done my time there and it would have to be a good job to tempt me. However, as I have previously stated, I come back about four times a year on my vacations.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

Live the dream, but if the magic starts to fade, then don't just start whining like some folks. Do something about it. Thank you Thailand for opening my eyes. And a big thanks to Text and Talk for giving me a start.


Dave Provan

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

Hong Kong in 2008.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

10 years man and boy.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

Financial. I earn a government salary that is the same as what I'd be earning in the UK and is around twice what I was making at the Mickey Mouse "International" school where I was previously employed.

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

With the UK level salary comes a free campus apartment with lightning fast internet and no bills. The government paperwork process is quick, respectful and you can bring your Thai wife over on the same type of visa (please note you need to be a certified teacher AND have a TEFL). You also attain permanent residency after 7 years. There is political stability and a decent police force. I occasionally tutor rich kids twice a week for 2 hrs and that can add another 30% to my wages. The students are motivated to succeed and there is support from family and management.
The office girls at my school are hot, friendly, helpful and don't want to screw up my marriage. I don't wear a tie. Jesus, I often go to work in jeans and a T shirt (they only care about results here... weird eh!). The MTR underground is fast, as are the minibuses - so you don't need a car. There is no VAT on wines and spirits and supermarket prices are a lot cheaper. Oh, and your contract is worth more than the paper it is written on.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

The nightlife, the open spaces, jumping in our truck and racing down to Pattaya for the weekend. The size of the shopping malls, the bigger and better bookstores and sports equipment outlets. Eating Pad Ka Pow on the barges down Klong 3. Riding the bus into the city during the mid afternoon lull in traffic and absorbing the sights, sounds and surprises of the greatest city in SEA. The quietness of the Thais (the Chinese are possibly the loudest people on Earth) and above all their sense of humour.

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

HK for its stability and money-making potential. If you are a fully certified teacher in your own country, I don't know why anyone would want to work for as little as 15K a month in some village up the back arse of nowhere. HK can be just as exciting and Bangkok and is only 2 hours away, so you can always pop over to Thailand for the beaches.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

I'll retire there with my wife and open a small business with her but will keep some interests in HK as well.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

Some people might tell you that the Chinese are unfriendly, this is simply not true. They are not as instantly welcoming as Thai people but once you get to know each other they are as warm as anyone else.


James Vincent

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

I moved to Tokyo in 2002

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

2 years

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

I was sitting having a beer and I looked down the bar and had a vision of what would become of me. There were 5 or 6 guys sitting in a line in ascending age order from me to the last guy who was about 70 years old. I was 28.

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

Aside from earning hard currency, status. In Japan you are simply another member of the workforce and so are afforded the same rights as everybody else.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

Weekend breaks to Ko Samet.

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

I don't think one is better than the other for a new teacher. If you are looking for a cultural experience then both countries have a lot to offer. If you are seeking a career as a TEFL teacher I don't think it matters where you go in Asia. You will always face problems and obstructions. So, the place you arrive at matters less than your determination to do a good job.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

To work, no.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

You really just have to go with the flow in Asia. Whether we like it or not TEFL is very much a business where we as teachers deliver a product. And to that end customers have to be provided with what they want (which is not necessarily what they need).


Aaron Hubbard

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

After Thailand, I went to Japan, where I've been for 2 years now.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

One year

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

The money. I was out in Suphanburi Province, taking home 15k a month, with free health and accommodation...
You live like a king but then you realise that a flight home is going to cost you 3 months wages, UK student loans interest is a months wage, your not going to be able to put much aside.

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

Money
Safer: far less crime or fear of crime
Honesty (in terms of scams and cheekily exaggerated prices),
A more modern living experience,
Cleaner
Amazing public transport
No sex tourism (all the seediness is off limits to tourists)

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

Food: I miss being able to buy bags upon bags of exotic fruits for next to nothing and eating out 3 times a day.
Holidays: 3 months of paid holidays compared to 2 weeks.
The weather: I can't say I'd miss winter if I never saw it again
Cost of living: food, clothes, luxuries
Cost of local travel

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

Depends on what you want. If money (student loans in my case) is an issue, then go to Japan, you'll save more overall, though a smaller percentage of your salary. If your looking for beaches and great weather: Thailand. In terms of night life, culture, friendliness, you could get that from either location.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Definitely, I loved it there and will be heading back in the a year or so.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

No.


Rick Rezac

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

I left Thailand to go to Madrid for 5 months (didn't really like it), then on to Korea where I have been for 2 years.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

5 years, '03-'08, Universities, High Schools and a lot of corporate work.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

Well, mainly the people and attitudes just got on my nerves, and how they make it so difficult for a foreigner to live and work here. You know, sometimes its all the little things, that and a Thai gay English teacher at my Uni didn't like how I taught and forced me out! But hey, thats another story for the books!

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

Madrid was not that good, at least for an American. If you are not an EU citizen, then you are considered less, and it's so damn expensive for everything there.
Korea is a different story. I'm an EPIK teacher (work in Public School System) and was welcomed from day one. I was put in a Busan elementary school, they had never had a native teacher and they all treated me like a rock star. Still to this day!
Now I know from talking this is not always the case, each school is pretty individualistc, I just got kinda lucky. But they have done very well by me, anything I ask I get and sometimes more!
Free housing is a great bonus, the salary is good, this is really the easiest teaching I have ever done. Their curiculum is very simplistic so the kids get most of the good stuff at the language schools, which almost all go to.
Never a pay problem, pension/saving plan is good, and the internet is killer here! Oh, and they have baseball!

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

I miss the heat/humidity-really! I hate the cold weather here! I miss the more easy-going lifestyle, and this may be strange but the 2nd-3rd world hominess. Being too modern for me is not all that fun! Except for the internet.
Generally, Thais are very friendly, same for Koreans but different. The women are far more friendly than Korean women. And I miss working extra places, Koreans make it much more difficult.

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

Well, Korea is clamping down, hiring Indians/Filipinos more now. Nothing wrong with this, they are just trying to get more for less money.
If you like seasonal changes, then Korea might be good for you, but I find it a bit boring here, just not that much to do.
I think Thai is better teaching, kids are more fun and really more into world things. Oddly enough, Koreans are more ethno-centric, meaning outside music.movies/tv is not as popular as in Thailand. Hey, just an opinion! But, if you have the qualifications, I would do Thailand first!

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Yes! My contract finishes April 30, and will be in Thailand May 1.
I have my batteries recharged and now appreciate Thailand more. Sometimes one needs to distance themselves to really see how it is.
Thailand this time is my final destination.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

Security is nice, staying put, working one country, one job, but there is something to be said for floating around a bit. Experiencing other systems, countries and seeing which one best fits you. I have had a little bit of this, not as much as others and more than some. It has made me a more open person/teacher and given me more perspectives on how to deal with different situations. The bottom line is- what is it that really makes you happy. Where to go to get it and how to make it work for you.


Showing 5 Great Escapes out of 310 total

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