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


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.


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.


Showing 5 Great Escapes out of 308 total

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