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Teaching English on Phuket

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The Phuket English Teaching Market

Following is a piece written for another website about teaching English and life in general on Phuket. 

The piece is several years old - but has been updated from time to time to better reflect the ever changing and greatly improving English teaching market on Phuket. 

At the bottom of this page you will find links to information about all the schools, colleges, and the two universities on Phuket - the best places to look for a position teaching English. 

Know that legal working papers for teaching positions here will REQUIRE BOTH a degree AND a TEFL Certification unless your degree is specifically in Education.  Most people get their TEFL Certification on the island after they arrive and then job hunt when they finish the program.

Your BEST resource for Teaching English on Phuket will be:



Q The Lonely Planet guidebook says......?
A Who cares what they say!  It is a beautiful island with great beaches, an active nightlife, and tropical countryside.  Estimates are that the population is around 250,000++ people on the island.  
Phuket Town is the biggest city, where most Thais live, and the island has a long history of tin mining and agriculture.  At one time Phuket was known as "Junk Ceylon" the first major re-provisioning stop after Ceylon (Sri Lanka) before heading through the Malaccan Straits.   There is a large Chinese population as well as many ethnic-Malay Muslims.   A large number of Thais on the island come from other provinces for the employment opportunities.

There are many very nice beach communities along the northern coast – that don’t have grittiness of Patong, Karon, and Kata.  

Northern hemisphere summer is the rainy season and also low season - the seas are more active, making swimming and snorkeling not quite as rewarding during that time.  During the winter, high season, the sea is tranquil and great for scuba, swimming, snorkeling and any kind of sea-based fun you might want to have.  Prices for everything vary accordingly.


Q In general, what are the pickings like for an EFL teacher?
A There are quite a few good EFL teaching jobs on the island!

Competition for the good jobs will be from qualified people (degree+TEFL Cert).  

Prince of Songla University has a campus on Phuket, there is a Rajabhat University and several other two-year colleges.  The government schools tend to pay the same wages as everywhere else.  Wages at other schools can vary significantly..

The better hotel jobs typically pay around B30-45,000+ a month with a work permit included and some may expect a 45 hour five-and-a-half-day work week.   

Two International schools on the island, British Curriculum School and QSI pay quite well, but tend to hire from overseas and expect the same credentials AND experience that would be expected for teaching in the public schools back home.  BSC is a true international school and can get you close to B80-90,000, but is quite selective.  

Kajon Kiet Suksa School (probably one of the largest TEFL employers on the island) pays B35,000+ for newbie teachers - more once you've been there a while.  Some of the EFL language schools farm their teachers out to the local public schools and will have you teaching at different locations - be sure you are compensated for time and travel if this is so.

The best strategy might be to work in Bangkok while keeping an eye out for good jobs (, Bangkok Post, etc.) and fly down for an interview - air tickets are as low as US$50 round trip through Air Asia (prices change, double check to be sure)..


Q How far from Bangkok or Civilization?  
A Phuket IS civilization!

It's 900km to Bangkok. About 12 hours journey by bus.  
By plane it is 75 minutes.
It's 3.5 hours to Krabi.
It's about five hours from Koh Samui.
It’s about 1.5 hours to Khao Lak.


Q Is there any entertainment or
do you invite friends round for Scrabble?  
A This depends on what you enjoy doing.  Bars, nightclubs, and restaurants abound, in beach towns as well as in Phuket Town, and in some of the smaller villages.  

Beautiful coastal bike rides, and rubber or coconut plantations are everywhere.  Get away from the tourist areas and you’ll also find a more placid rural lifestyle.


Q How much to rent a house or basic apartment?  
A Prices range from 3,500 baht to B8,000 for a single room plus bathroom with fan-A/C in Phuket Town and B8,500 to B10,500++ with A/C near a beach.  

Houses are often unfurnished (but not always) and can be found for around B8-12k in Phuket Town, and B15-20+k furnished and with a/c near a beach.

Prices vary and often fluctuate greatly depending on high or low tourist season.  Again, it is best to look during the low season and negotiate.  Prices vary and will change.

As always, anywhere, advertising in English media will always bring you more expensive accommodation.  Have a Thai friend or coworker help you and you will likely pay much less.


Q Shopping malls, department stores?  
A A nice big TESCO can serve all your needs, as well as a giant-size Big C.  Central Department Store has a large up-scale shopping center just down the street from TESCO and Big C.

Patong has a large shopping mall with a large Carrefour hypermarket/department store and much more.  Almost anything you want to buy or eat can be found on Phuket.


Q Internet cafes?
 (snail-speed Hotmail default page or fatties playing Ragnarok?)
A Almost everywhere – tourist oriented, with tourist prices.  Off the beaten path, cheaper but can be noisy with kids playing games.  Phuket’s Internet connection varies from great to poor to not working at all, but is usually good and is getting better all the time.

When everyone is online (noon to 8pm) – it can be slow.   Telephone service can be hard to get in some areas. If you rent a house or apartment and want a phone and ADSL, be sure the phone is already installed.  Sometimes the ADSL can be easier to get than the phone.


Q Will you be stared at?
And what's the likelihood of a good beating?  
A You’ll not be stared at, but you will often be assumed to be a tourist and ready for the next tout’s inflated prices.

Once you’ve been around a while – and really look like you are staying - prices will come down for you, though you’ll often have to ask.  You might have  to remind your laundry service from time to time, "I'm NOT a tourist".


Q Taxis, buses....or horse and cart?  
A You’ll need to buy or rent a motorbike or car, or live near your employment and hope they don’t farm you out. Transportation systems on the island are poor. Songthaews ply the roads, but they usually only operate from about 6AM-6PM.  Tuk-tuks are notorious for overcharging tourists.  No problem if you don’t mind a B300 ride home at night every night, but that can cut heavily into your income.  

Most Thais on the island own motorbikes to deal with the problem.  Most motorcycle taxis can be negotiated down to a reasonable price – but you will usually start at tourist prices.  Motorbikes can be rented for B2500 to B5000 a month depending on short- or long-term rental and if you rent from a major tourist area or from Phuket Town or in a smaller village.  Phuket, as with many other areas of Thailand, has a high traffic fatality and injury rate. Don't learn how to ride a motorcycle in Thailand.  Drive a motorbike on Phuket ONLY if you already have some experience.

All that said, Phuket is trying to improve the transportation system on the island.  Metered taxis are slowly increasing though they have some trouble with the tuk-tuks.  Also, some buses have been introduced, but tend to primarily the Phuket Town area or back and forth from there.  Some hotels, if you work for one, provide bus service to and from Phuket Town.


Q Main advantages of living there?  
A Beautiful beaches, laid-back living, wonderful Thai people, excellent services geared to the expatriate, every kind of restaurant possible, excellent medical care, grand weather, easy to find farang food and a wonderful variety of goods in the supermarkets.


Q And what are the downsides?  
A There are none!  Or life can be a bit too "kick back" for a few people.


Q Any local attractions?  
A Patong, Karon, and Kata and their “colorful” night life of night clubs and bars – and wonderful beaches, but there are also many less well-known beaches and fun spots – some you can have almost to yourself in the low season.  Phi-Phi island is an easy ferry ride away.  So many things to do that you won’t know where your money went!  Great restaurants almost everywhere on the island.


Q Where's the best place to meet other farangs or are they best avoided?  
A Opinions vary here – it depends on what you like and who you like to hang out with.  Many bars specialize in Aussies, Brits, Kiwis and so on.  The other farangs on Phuket tend to be older people trying to make a life for themselves.  Of course, you can meet literally hundreds of thousands of tourists if you wish.

Phuket Schools is the page at the Phuket Gazette -where you can find a list and contact information for most of the schools on Phuket.    In addition to schools on that page - there is also a page of language schools at:
Language_Schools  and local  Colleges and_Universities

On those pages (above) you'll find most of the schools on Phuket
where you could potentially find a position teaching English.


Learn More about Teaching English Overseas - TEFL as a Career at:


TEFL Boot Camp: Online TEFL Training

TEFL Temp: Short-term TEFL Jobs - just right for your first job

TEFL eBooks might have just what you need to know . . .

Some of the Best Jobs Abroad are now in China!

Interested? Want to Teach English in China?
A BA or BS in any major can help you land some of the best jobs in China - with proper visas and working papers.

Save Money? Pay off debts?  Get the Low Down on What's Up in China at TEFL Jobs China

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