Mae Sot

What's the potential for an English teacher living up in Mae Sot on the Thai - Myanmar border?

Last updated in 2011 by Andre 

The Lonely Planet guidebook says......?

Mae Sot is a Burmese-Chinese-Karen-Thai trading outpost that has become a small but simmering tourist destination. (That was before the red-shirts took over).

Black-market trade between Myanmar and Thailand is the primary source of local revenue. It has also become the most important jade and gem centre along the border, with most of the trade controlled by Chinese and Indian immigrants from Myanmar. Border skirmishes send thousands of refugees -and the occasional mortar rocket (???!!!) across the Thai-Myanmar border - elements that add to the area's perceived instability.

Maesot has an active nightlife, especially over the weekends. (True). There's a market about 100m from the bridge that legally sells Burmese goods. What it does not say is that under the bridge you can get everything else. Viagra, cigarettes and whiskey by day and much more at night. Cheap too. What it also doesn't say is that this is almost the only shopping you can do in Maesot.

In general, what are the pickings like for an EFL teacher?

The pickings for an English teacher are really slim. There is an oversupply of wannabe teachers in Maesot. Most of them are volunteers working for NGO's. They often stay a couple of months and get food and accommodation.

A salary of over 10,000 baht is considered a luxury. There is plenty of opportunity for private teaching though, but the going rate is a mere 200 baht an hour. You are lucky if you can get more than that. On the upside, there is a big demand for skilled and qualified teachers (real teachers).

While some of the NGO's and other professions stick around, it is not usually the case with teachers.

How far from Bangkok or civilization?

Approximately 420 kilometers from Bangkok. The overnight bus will have you here by five or six in the morning.

Maesot is roughly halfway between Bangkok and the Burmese capital, Rangoon, but I'm told that the bus to Rangoon takes at least two days.

What's the place like for nightlife, eating out etc?

We do have TV and KFC, but no cinema or MacDonald's. Generally, the food is quite good and very reasonable. We have Indian, Chinese, Thai, Burmese and a couple of places serving western food.

The large number of volunteers has created a healthy and affordable nightlife in this small town. Places like The Pond, Kungs, Reggae Bar and My Maesod rock till the early hours of the morning and are usually packed on weekends. There is also a nightclub and about half a dozen karaoke bars, mostly frequented by Burmese beauties.

A 500 baht day pass into Burma will get you to a few cheap and nasty places across the border. There are usually five to ten girls hanging around with hardly any customers in sight.

How much to rent a house or basic apartment?

More than you would expect to pay in a tranquil backwater town. The big number of NGO's and other wannabe do-gooders push the price up. On average it is about 3,000 baht for a one bed apartment (room). A house will cost you about 6,000 baht and top-end will set you back over 10,000 baht.

Shopping malls, department stores?

NO. There is a Tesco, but a Tesco Express in Bangkok is better equipped than the Tesco here. If you want to do serious shopping, go to Bangkok.

How is mobile / internet coverage?

Very good. Most apartments have ADSL and most restaurants have wifi.

Will you be stared at? and what's the likelihood of a good beating?

Yes you will be stared at. The locals are very friendly and teachers are truly respected. The big bonus is that we don't get ripped off like in Bangkok and the boys in brown don't pull us over. Apart from the volunteers, we don't see many tourists.

A beating? No. The Thais take their frustrations out on the Burmese and they leave us alone.

Taxis, buses....or horse and cart?

No taxis of course, but plenty of motorcycle taxis and an ancient version of the Tuk-Tuk. Locals use samlor and songteaw, while westerners mostly use bicycles or motorcycles.

Main advantages of living there?

Many. You don't get ripped off, the beer is cheap and there are plenty of farangs around (so you always have someone to talk to)

And what are the downsides?

Everybody knows what you do, where you at and who you with.

Any local attractions?

The Burmese women. They are attractive. Honestly, I don't know of any

Where's the best place to meet other farangs or are they best avoided?

The best places to meet would undoubtedly be The Reggae bar and The Pond. Reggae bar has a live band that plays excellent music.
Where to avoid: I'd say the bridge on the border after dark, unless you need to buy some stuff to impress your new-found lover.


Back to the region list


Featured Jobs

I Can Read System (Thailand) Co., Ltd.

฿37,000+ / month

Bangkok


Ideal English Academy

฿40,000+ / month

Bangkok


Tonlew International Kindergarten

฿40,000+ / month

Chon Buri


TEFL International

฿70,000+ / month

China


DaDaABC

฿63,000+ / month

Online


Maejo University

฿35,000+ / month

Chiang Mai


Featured Teachers

  • Ming Han

    Ming


    Chinese, 38 years old. Currently living in Thailand

  • Kristel

    Kristel


    Filipino, 25 years old. Currently living in Thailand

  • Charito

    Charito


    Filipino, 23 years old. Currently living in Thailand

  • Wanchu

    Wanchu


    Indian, 30 years old. Currently living in Thailand

  • Luben

    Luben


    Filipino, 31 years old. Currently living in Thailand

  • Richard

    Richard


    British, 39 years old. Currently living in Thailand

Sponsors

No TEFL required or lesson planning needed. Training and multimedia lessons provided.

Top TEFL job placement provider with competitive benefits and an unforgettable experience.

To be internationally recognized as the leader in quality English language training.

We get you a job! Options for school placements all over Thailand

Brokers for ajarn health insurance and for all your Thailand insurance needs.

Competitive teacher packages with benefits and bonus incentives

First bilingual school in Phuket. Vacancies for kindergarten, primary and secondary teachers.

Progressive English program school near Bangkok employing NES and Filipino teachers

Premier language school with many branches and corporate training.

The Hot Spot


Air your views

Air your views

Got something to say on the topic of teaching, working or living in Thailand? The Ajarn Postbox is the place. Send us your letters!


The dreaded demo

The dreaded demo

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


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?


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.


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.


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?