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Many expats that come to Thailand come here to either work or set up a business. And Thailand is a great place for both. There are lots of opportunities here, and if you need to work here to fund your stay, then you are bound to find something that suits you.
As mentioned in the language section, I’d strongly advise that you start learning Thai as soon as you get here, as that will give you a head start in the job market.
So, what jobs are available for expats in Thailand?
The job that most expats have in Thailand is teaching English. In fact, even if you don’t teach English, many Thai people will assume that you’re an English teacher, because many other expats that they have met are. The salary here as a teacher isn’t great by Western standards, but it is more than most Thai people earn and is enough to live on. The starting salary is often around 30,000 baht per month ($1,000, £670), and can be a little less in some of the smaller towns. But if you teach for many years, then your salary will usually rise every year.
If you teach at an international school in Bangkok, then your salary can be much higher, and could be anywhere from 70,000 to 150,000 baht per month. To earn the higher amount you’ll need to be qualified as a teacher in your home country, and have teaching experience in sought-after subjects such as math and science. I’ve spoken to many expats teachers who say they find teaching Thai kids very rewarding. The kids love learning English, and you’ll have great fun teaching them.
If you think that teaching English may be for you, then check out the website ajarn.com. Ajarn is the Thai word for teacher. This website is packed with information about teaching in Thailand, including lists of thousands of jobs available. It also has a great forum, where you can talk to expats that are already teaching here. They cover everything you need to know about teaching in Thailand, and you’ll easily be able to find out what the average expats earns as a teacher, and how much they spend on accommodation and other things.
If you find a job as a teacher, the school will usually obtain your work permit and visa for you.
If you’re into diving, and want to life near the beach, then a dive instructor job might suit you perfectly. The pay isn’t great, with most dive instructors earning around 30,000 baht per month. The work is seasonal though, and you may earn more during the peak vacation season, and less during low season. Many dive instructors supplement their salary by also teaching English privately. If you can dive but have never taught it, you can train in Thailand at one of the many dive schools.
There are a growing number of expats in Thailand that make their money online. Ways to do this include sourcing goods here, and then selling overseas via eBay or your own websites. This can be a nice side income, or a full-blown business. Most expats like to work part-time online just to supplement their other income, as that gives them plenty of spare time to make the most of their life in Thailand.
Other ways to make money online while living in Thailand include building information websites, and then getting advertisers to pay to advertise on them. Thailand has over 20 million tourists a year, so there is ample opportunity to build websites offering information to these people. And as you’ll be living in Thailand, you’ll be ideally placed to provide this information.
Or you could write ebooks for Amazon Kindle and other platforms, as I do. This can be a great way to supplement your income. You won’t get rich by selling one individual book, but write a whole series of them, and it adds up to a nice little income.
If you’re into photography, then Thailand is like heaven. You will see so many interesting things every day that you’ll never run out of things to photograph. You can then sell these images on stock image websites. If you can build up a portfolio of a few thousand good images, then this can create a good, regular income.
If earning money online isn’t your thing, then you might want to consider starting a business here. Thailand is growing at around 5-6% a year, and there are vast opportunities to start a successful business. Many expats tend to start a restaurant or bar business, but these are not ideal if you don’t have any previous experience. Many expats make a good living from these businesses, but many more fail. If you are never run a bar or restaurant in your home country, then the odds will be stacked against you here. But I have seen some successes from people that are new to these businesses. But the success stories are usually those that have at least run some kind of business in the past.
So, whether you want a regular job or to start your own business, Thailand could be a great choice for you to start your new life.