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Getting your online TEFL qualification is another passport to the world for you. Incredible experiences are waiting out there for qualified TEFL teachers. If you fancy yourself as quite the world wanderer, you can satisfy this travel craving by teaching abroad. A popular destination for TEFL graduates is Thailand. This has been a firm TEFL favourite for a few years now. If you’re interested in teaching in Thailand, look no further for your TEFL guide to this exciting country!

Requirements for teaching in Thailand 

Firstly, it is important that you have a degree to teach and earn in Thailand. This is a set requirement. Any opportunity you see that offers work for teachers without degrees may be voluntary positions or illegal. If you want to get paid for your work, then you have a bachelor’s as a minimum. 

It is highly recommended that you get a TEFL certificate (if you have already) to teach in Thailand. It will give you extra confidence and know-how! You can obtain the minimal 120-hour course certificate or, for that extra boost, a Level 5 Diploma. Qualifying to teach Young Learners would also be beneficial. A TEFL certificate is worth it if your degree is unrelated to teaching or education. If not, you might not be seen as qualified enough. 

The good news is that Thailand welcomes both native and non-native speakers. Any non-native speakers will have to demonstrate their level with an IELTS certificate. 

You will, of course, need also to obtain a work visa for Thailand. This is often done once you arrive and start work. Your employer or programme should guide you through this. Ask, as they will make life much easier for you if they assist! 

Popular places to teach 

If you apply through a programme, you might not have the final say on your teaching destination. However, many programmes do ask for your preferences, so it’s a good idea to research where you might like to teach in Thailand. 

Chiang Mai

This is a hugely popular choice and with good reason! Located by beautiful mountains, it’s an excellent place to have the best city life and access to nature. The lifestyle is laid back but still has a city feel to it. It’s easy to see why it’s popular with TEFL teachers.


Of course, the capital city is a top option for teaching. If you’re a city person at heart and want that considerable city energy, then Bangkok will undoubtedly give you that. More amenities are here if you don’t want to stray too far from home comforts. If you’re a big nature lover, it might not be for you, although you can explore the rest of Thailand easily from the big city. 


It is a picturesque location that sees many people flock there each year. There are many options to learn water sports and live a great outdoor life! It can get more crowded with tourists during the high season, so you should consider this if you’re considering Krabi. 


Another big Thai tourist destination that will feel like you live in paradise! Fantastic beaches and beautiful temples await you here. It really will feel like a dream teaching here! Of course, more crowds and a slightly higher cost of living come with more tourists. 

There are many more options to explore if you sell on the above. Places like Sukhothai and Chonburi are more off the beaten track for tourists, so you will have a quieter, more authentic experience there. The cost of living is also lower, but you would need to make more effort with your Thai language skills and be willing to say goodbye to Western comfort foods! 

Why teach in Thailand?


You only need to google some pictures of Thailand, this question can be answered quickly! Thailand has an incredible landscape and an exciting mixture of beaches, mountains, and temples! You can easily explore the country in your free time and get to know a true gem of Asia. 

A lower cost of living makes trying local cuisine and travelling around more affordable, even with your teacher. Housing is often included in your teaching salary, so this takes an enormous weight off your mind regarding expenses. 

Culture and festivals 

Thai culture is fascinating, and if you’re a keen worldwide explorer, teaching will give you a fantastic insight and an opportunity to be a part of this. There are many festivals throughout the year that you can witness, allowing for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The locals will love having you as part of this, as they are very proud of their culture! This means there are also many bank holidays in Thailand where you can take advantage of long weekends to explore! 

The people 

Thai people are hot and friendly and welcome you with open arms. It’s called the Land of Smiles for nothing! The children in your classes will adore you, and you’ll never want to leave them! They will warm to you quickly, and you will become a key figure in their lives! You will get to know other Thai teachers who work in your school and will often be paired with one who will support you during your teaching journey.

Of course, it is also lovely to be in touch with other expats who will understand the new changes in your life. Thailand is famous for TEFL teachers, so you can also make a good network of friends worldwide! They are good to call on if you want to take weekend trips and explore Thailand together!

Top tips for teaching in Thailand 

Learn the lingo

Although English is spoken increasingly these days, thanks to the influx of tourists heading to Thailand, learning Thai will stand you in great stead. Locals love it if you try to speak their language as they see it as a real effort to fit in, learn the culture, and get to know them. Of course, Thai is not easy and might be very different from English or your native language, so you’re not expected to become fluent in a short time. However, learning some phrases here and there will go a long way to making you feel like you can navigate living and working in Thailand!

Learning your students ‘ local language also helps you understand them better. Of course, you don’t do it much in the classroom; many schools prefer that you do. However, learning the language can help you recognise why they make the mistakes they do, why they say a particular word, and why they have difficulty pronouncing certain words. It becomes a valuable tool for understanding how to help your students!

Learn the culture

It is essential to learn local customs and traditions. Not only will this help you fit in more, but it will also help you avoid causing any offence! While you may see many tourists dressed how they want, it is important to dress respectfully. This is particularly true when going to local festivals and temples. 

We might use certain gestures every day in our countries that can be deemed offputting or even offensive in Thailand. Typically, they are highly expressive with their hands in conversation and pointing with your finger might anger some locals! Remember, living in a small town will be even more critical. Typically, the fewer tourists or international people, the more you might risk offending others with these actions, as people are used to seeing them as much as those in a bigger city with many tourists. 


Ensure you have all your documents and visa information sorted before you leave. Take copies of copies! When you arrive, you might not have a photocopier or printer handy, so it is good to be prepared for this. You can follow the advice of your TEFL school or Thai contact, but be sure to do your homework about the requirements so that you don’t get in trouble with immigration!

Prepare for the weather.

Thailand can be a scorching country but also has its monsoon season, where a lot of rain may fall in specific periods. Prepare for these eventualities by ensuring you have appropriate clothing. Remember that while your beachwear is excellent for weekend island-hopping, you will need something more suitable for the classroom or daily life. Make sure you have the right dress for this in warmer weather, too! Not to forget a good raincoat! You should also prepare for mosquitoes!

Just go with it.

Moving to Thailand will likely be a significant change for you and the world what you know. This can be overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time living abroad or teaching job. Try to learn the culture and some vocabulary and embrace the lifestyle. Thailand is a beautiful place that sometimes might give you some great stories! Remember that your fellow teachers are also going through the same thing as you, so don’t underestimate the importance of hanging out with them after work to bond!

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