The hardest part about visiting Thailand is leaving. If you teach English in Thailand, you never have to! From the limestone rock formations of Krabi and the white-sand beaches of Phuket in Southern Thailand, to the adventure-rich city of Chiang Mai in the mountainous north, and Bangkok’s seemingly endless sprawl of pubs, shopping and international cuisine, there’s a landscape to cater to every style. Whether you’re interested in riding a boat through a seven-kilometer cave, trekking to a hill tribe, photographing a floating market, relaxing on a white-sand beach or swimming in the azure ocean water, you can, and our Teach in Thailand program can help you get there.
Want to learn about Buddhism? 95% of the population is Buddhist, which means some of the most immaculate temples and statues can be found in every corner of this small country, and every local you meet can be your teacher.
With Teach English: ESL, you can get TEFL certified in Thailand and then be placed in a job to teach in Thailand, meaning you’ll soon be on your way to traveling all around Thailand and the rest of Southeast Asia! You’re sure to love the laid back lifestyle of Thais, and find the relaxed schedule of 20 hrs/week rather freeing in comparison to the Western way you’re likely used to. With any luck, you’ll never have to leave.
Thailand is a country steeped in unique traditions, beautiful customs and colorful ceremonies that have existed for thousands of years. Thailand has many archaeological ruins and famous temples. It is also well known for its delicious food, exotic fruits, intricately woven silk and cotton materials, Thai boxing and cultural dancing. Most important of all is the famous Thai Smile, and it’s often referred to as “The Land of Smiles.”
Thailand is a tropical country in the Northern Hemisphere. It is situated in Southeast Asia and bordered by Malaysia, Laos and Cambodia. It is the only country in this region never to be colonized by a Western country. Until 1940 the land was known as Siam although the Thai people always referred to it as Thai – meaning, “free.” Thailand has also been recognized internationally as a “Newly Industrialized Country” or NIC.
Thailand is divided into 76 provinces, each with an appointed governor and local administration. These provinces are grouped into four regions – the North, Northeast, Central and Southern regions, each with its distinctive culture and customs.
Given that there are different dialects in the regions, the official language, “Thai”, is taught in all schools and by using (central) Thai one can be understood throughout the country. Once you have mastered the Thai language you can learn the dialect of your region and gain a greater understanding of your new community, but it is not necessary to speak Thai to get by in Thailand.
The country has three seasons – summer, rainy and winter, although the temperature remains fairly constant. Many people describe the seasons as hot, hotter and hottest.
Summer season goes from March – June (95° F ‐ 104° F), rainy season from July – October (86° F ‐ 95° F) and winter October – February (68° F‐ 86° F). Temperatures vary throughout the provinces. Thai people do not listen to a weather forecast, as each day seems to be the same!
If you live and teach English in northern Thailand you will find it is a mountainous region. Teak forests stretch as far as the eye can see and there are many reforestation projects. Temperatures range from 90°F in the summer to 50°F ‐ 68°F in the winter, but the humidity is high most of the year. There is a considerable amount of rain during June to October, and this is also the fruit season for this region. People speak a northern dialect that is more melodious than Central Thai – the official language. You will find people friendly and easy-‐going and they enjoy meeting new acquaintances.
Bangkok is the center of the region and is renown throughout the world as a cosmopolitan and international city. Bangkok has all the facilities available as in most other major cities in the world. It has plenty of fast food restaurants and supermarkets that sell imported food – it’s enough to make you feel that you haven’t left home (forgetting the traffic jams!), though it’s also rife with traditional culture so many find it’s a good balance of both comforts. The weather is constantly hot – about 90°F with slightly cooler temperatures at night and during “winter.”
The provinces surrounding Bangkok will lead you to rice fields, fruit orchards, industry, lush mountains in Kanchanaburi, and so much more. The provinces to the west are known as the food bowl of Thailand and produce most of the fruit and vegetables eaten in Thailand. Life outside of Bangkok is slower and more relaxed.
Teachers in Bangkok usually make more money to provide for the slightly higher cost of living.
The South offers yet another facet of Thai culture. Fishing and rubber production are the main industries. The South also offers coconut trees and white beaches stretching for hundreds of miles – a tropical paradise! The Malaysian influence is evident in aspects of life especially in the four most southern provinces. This is where you’ll find the picturesque limestone formations of Krabi, the unending beaches of Phuket, the famous island of Koh Phi Phi where the Leonardo DiCaprio film, The Beach, was shot, the long-celebrated Full Moon party on Koh Pha-Ngan, diving adventures and oh so much more!
The Northeast (Isaan)
The Northeast or “Isaan,” as it is locally known, is an agricultural area well off the beaten path. Traditionally known as the driest region in Thailand, there are many government development projects aimed at increasing the economic level of the people. In this area you will find Laotian and Cambodian influences – on the language, handicrafts, clothes, food and customs. You’ll find elaborate temples, the spiciest food, a slower pace of life and, most importantly, the friendliest people around. People in general are curious to know about foreigners and eager to learn about new cultures and ways of life.
More than 95% of the population is Buddhist. Other forms of religion are accepted and everyone has the freedom to choose his/her own religion. Buddhism is seen as a way of life for most people and you will see aspects of the religion in daily rituals throughout the country – from giving alms to the monks each morning, to wearing religious amulets and giving donations to temples for making merit.
The Thai Education system began in the temples, with the monks responsible for educating the people.
Nowadays, although schools are separate from the temples, religion is still a part of our education system. Buddhism is a compulsory subject for all Thai students. However, the emphasis is on learning religion so that it can help in everyday life, for example learning how to meditate.
It is considered very respectful for a young man to enter monkhood, even if only for a short time. There is no set time when this is to be done; it is up to the individual, although many males choose to do this at the age of 20 or before a significant event in their lives, such as marriage or beginning a new job. The length of time that is involved is normally two weeks to three months. There are other occasions when young males will become a novice for a short time, such as the death of a close relative; the male shows great respect for his relatives and the religion by becoming a novice during this time. After the ceremonies the males resume their normal lives.
- Noodles are Chinese
- Curry is of Indian origin
- The water hyacinth that chokes the Chao Phraya River came from Brazil
- The elephant is African in origin
- The Chakri throne Hall in the Grand Palace compound was planned by a British designer
- Strong indications show that rice originated in China
- Buddhism is an Indian import
- The mango is from Malaysia
- Chili peppers come from South America