South African wanting to live in Thailand

:lol:Hi, I am a South African wanting to live and work in Thailand. I need a fresh start in life and hear that Thailand is so relaxed and beautiful.  I am 45 years old.  What are job prospects like, other than teaching english?  Is TEFL the only option open to Expats?  I don't want to live in Bangkok or other city, I would prefer a quieter area.  What is your advice?

(Durban, South Africa)

Welcome to sheralee,

I have moved your presentation to the Thailand forum ;)

Not likely to find a job that is not in one of the cities except for English teachers.  You can check:

Make sure you check out visa requirements and have enough reserve cash to live until you find work.  Remember its not easy to find work and is better to have job lined up before you come.

Hi sheralee?

Don't come to Thailand you will have plenty of difficulties to find a job without a long stay VISA AND "WORK PERMIT" even like english teacher;

A friend,

I back up what Straydog says. Also check for teaching jobs

Thanks for input. I do have degrees and TEFL certificate. Would that not help the job finding process to a great extent?

Yes that would definitely will improve more your chances. And if you have got a degree on teaching youll be able to get a job in one of the big international schools.

No, unfortunately not a teaching degree, my degrees are in law.  It seems most of the TEFL jobs are in Bangkok, not much in the outlying areas? I will try Ajarn.

Also you can try

Hey if you want to try a quiet place, come to Sriracha. There are some schools, colleges, and universities here. you can get more details from me. I have a home to share (I will be a full time writer at home soon) please email [email protected] if interested

BTW the company I work for is now recruiting a project secretary for Malaysian client. You may get Baht 35000 a month or more. But to tell u the truth, the Malaysian boss is rough and mean. That's why two secretaries have left in 6 months

Do I send my CV?

Sheralee, I wonder have you ever been to Thailand?  I ask because it can be a little daunting at first. If it is within your means I really would suggest a holiday here first(without burning all your bridges).

A degree and a TEFL certificate will get you an English teaching job but maybe not one of the better paid ones.

I really wish you luck but please be cautious before you fully commit to coming here.

Thanks Mike, I will be taking a 3 week holiday in Thailand in June. Maybe just a bit of mid-life craziness on my part, sometimes the panic that there has to be more to life than this. I certainly appreciate your advice - I won't make a hasty decision, but the challenge of a living in a new place and a type of work that is completely different to anything I have ever done is very appealing.............

I will wait until after my holiday before making any decisions.

Sheralee, good for you, hope you enjoy the holiday, if time permits try a few non-tourist spots.  Its a totally different country ;-)

Exactly what I intend to do Mike. I have the Lonely Planet guide, only plan to spend a couple of days in and around Phuket and then head up north to Chang Mai, for the hiking, hills and villages.  Just hope we'll survive the heat in June, but I hear its more bearable inland.....

Sheralee, that sounds a good start. I actually live on the coast so its fairly humid at that time. I have been to CM in July and trekked around some hill tribe villages but it was fairly hot and humid there too. Better at altitude though.

I hope you don't mind me introducing you to my blog on Thailand.  There's loads of stuff there that could help with the planning plus there is a photo blog companion too.

If you have time check out Thailand Blogsor Thai Talk

Good luck and enjoy the trip.

I am a qualified attorney and property conveyancer here in South Africa.  Anyone know what my chances are of finding employment in Thailand at a law practice as a paralegal or legal secretary?

Any recruitment agencies I could contact about this, either via email or personally when I visit Thailand in june later this year?

Hellow Sheralee. I am living iin Richards Bay, married to a Thai, and have a four year old son.We are planning to relocate end of this year or early next, I am also desperately trying to see what I can do regarding work or business.My wifes family are farming in the Buliram province.I still have many unanswered questions.Hope to hear from you some time, take care

sheralee wrote:

:lol:Hi, I am a South African wanting to live and work in Thailand. I need a fresh start in life and hear that Thailand is so relaxed and beautiful.  I am 45 years old.  What are job prospects like, other than teaching english?  Is TEFL the only option open to Expats?  I don't want to live in Bangkok or other city, I would prefer a quieter area.  What is your advice?

(Durban, South Africa)

Hi jonathansom :)

Don't hesitate to create new topics on the Thailand forum if you have new specific questions. It will increase your chances of obtaining more responses.


Hi Jonathan, I will definitely let you know if I come across any info re jobs other than TEFL, I take it you would be looking for something in the your current job field, or in photography?

It seems that finding employment outside of TEFL is really difficult for ex-pats as these jobs are understandably reserved for Thai's.  I don't know too much about other business prospects, I am also learning about all these aspects as I go along.

Keep in touch.  My email is [email protected] and cell 076 457 2396.

Warm regards

Take a short Thai Language course apply and pay the school before you come  say 100 hours six months, that gets you the visa paperwork to take to the Thai Embassy in your country. Gives you lots of time to find work. There are too many naysayers here.

Have worked without a degree, teaching English without a TESOL course, native English speaker is the main requirement. Worked in Bangkok, Korat and now in Roi Et and another school is requesting my services. Have a 3 year International Trade Diploma, native Canadian  60 years.

Yes some schools and some agencies do require a degree. Phony degrees are easily purchase on Khao San Rd., in Bangkok for $100.00
but they do not give you the marks that some schools or agencies may ask for.

Go   to     and look under teaching. 

Don't believe everything you read.....I am the perfect example of a person, old, without a degree, without a TESOL course, a lot of those courses are just cons to get your money, sure you get the certificate but is it worth $1,500 U.S? I don't think so.
Khao Jai Mai????

Hi Sheralee,

I have been where you are a few years ago and out of the same profession so let me give you the run down of what you will come across and where not to knock your head.

1. The legal profession in Thailand is not regulated like it is in South Africa or for that matter anywhere else. There are no fidelity fund certificates and there are no trust accounts in the Thai legal profession. Many expats don't last as they fear that they might be sued in the end in their home country. Nobody wants to be disbarred because of what happened in Thailand. The risk is not worth it unless you don't ever want the option of going back to law in SA. Yes, they put their clients money into a business account. Guess what could very well happen?

2. The money in law is minimal and not that much above teaching as you are not seen as an attorney but as a consultant as a foreigner has no right to appearance. Consultants in Thailand don't make much on average. Most South African's that I have met stick to teaching as it is low risk. Consultants in Thailand being expats vary but you would look at the range of 50,000 Baht a month to 90,000 Baht a month (very few positions at the top end). Teaching ranges from 30,000 Baht a month to 60,000 Baht a month. As I said - depends on your taste for risk. The property market in Asia is dead so that is a tough one!

3. You come from Durban so I am going to assume that you are Indian. Your skin colour here is a MAJOR factor. You would have a hard time finding the nice teaching jobs if you are brown or for that matter simply not white. You could have no degree and white and you could pull off a better job than a brown person with a degree. It is just the way things are. The only place I found not too fussy about it were the universities in Thailand. They don't have the skin colour issue as much as the schools. 

4. Schools there are loads of them but there is a difference. Government schools tend to only sign 10 month agreements so that they don't need to pay you during the 2 month school holidays. Their salary rates are horrendous and hover around the 20,000 Baht to 25,000 baht a month even when they advertise it as 35,000 Baht a month.  What they don't tell you is that they don't pay for the two month school holidays so it averages out to about 20,000/25,000 Baht a month. Expect 40-50 kids per class and having to talk over a microphone with no aircon.

5. Private middle class schools tend to sign 12 month contracts and the average salary is 30-35,000 Baht per month. Some of them also provide you with free accommodation and from what I had the first time I came out - it was good! Classes are about 15-30 kids per classroom and many times it is air-coned as its middle class kids. Taught a class a few years ago as a fill-in for a teachers agency and there were 3 students in the class.

6. Teaching at a university pay near the private schools rates but the work load is VERY light. Air-con all over, its a joy. Best of all you can find some part-time work at language centers on weekends which is great as it makes no difference what colour you are if you have taught at one of the big universities. Thailand is about perception and not reality. Your one year + experience at a Thai university opens doors like nothing else.

7. Don't work for expats, always try and work for a Thai even if it is slightly less. You are more likely to get buggered over by an expat than a Thai on any given day in Thailand. Take that as good advice! Dont work for labour brokers or teachers agencies as they will bugger you around like there is no tomorrow.

8. With regards to the Visa, you can get a 12 month multiple entry business visa at the embassy in Pretoria. Write a letter on the letterhead of the law firm and get the visa. You only need to do a visa run every 3 months and this gives you the opportunity to find a job in the meantime or go back home whenever you like. Most schools pay for your work permit and some don't want to pay for it. It will set you back about R4,000 if you have to pay for it. Don't work for people who make you pay for your work permits and visas. Tell them to bugger off!

9. Ensure that you have at least R7,000 in your account in the event of an accident. There are no ambulances in Thailand except for the private hospitals. If you are in an accident more likely than not you are going to be scooped off the road by guys in the back of a bakkie. If you cannot pay your hospital bill you cannot leave and they will call immigration police. I have seen that happen to someone before.

10. There is not much choice in Thailand other than teaching. If you want to make money teaching then Korea and China is the place to be as they will even pay your airline ticket from SA to China and if you complete the contract they will pay for a return airline ticket again. Thailand is good for retooling your skill set as everything is very laid back. Thai's for the most part are very friendly and helpful. It's a good country but unless you going to learn a new skill its career suicide.

I am out of here by year end as I had a good time, retooled and going home with an additional skill set and expertise. Its a good country but I would not want to live here forever. There are just not many opportunities for a foreigner.

Don't burn your bridges at home and take care!

Hi sheralee

If you come to Samui I think you can play your chances as teacher. Here all international schools employ expat teachers with no experience in Thailand.
I think this is a great opportunity for you!


Thanks Mike, are you currently teaching there?

Hi Sheralee, I worked in thailand before and a law degree + a celta (or a good other tefl cert) is certainly enough if you are white. If asian then much less choice of school - and I note you are from durban so if Indian you will have issues but jobs still possible but it does make  areal difference. If black (or "coloured" which my South african friends always use but sounds bad in UK)..... how can I say this? Not a snowball's chance in hell

Teaching is your only real option. If you teach businessmen you may find work that way once they know and trust you, I have heard of that happening via people I acquiated with. sound about right for asia.

Another factor to consider is being an expat woman in Thailand. You won't find expat men to be that interested as they will be looking elsewhere lol. Female friends of mine complained about this (well over 30 ones). You may be running away from all that so maybe an advantege!

Plenty of jobs in small towns all round Thailand. has lots of jobs like that. Being a female you will be more attractive in some senses as sometimes ahem how can I say this single younger men "disgrace themselves" with students (remember they may be 18 and throw themselves at the teacher). At a school I worked at a young couple had an argument, and 18 year old student went for the male and what a mess. As a woman you will be a safe option so will get more choice to be honest. also there is a bias towards women for younger kids for better school jobs

Don't knock Bangkok - lots of better suburbs!

And do consider, it will prob destroy your previous career. So make sure you are financially sound first!

Good luck

Thanks for the advice Nemodot. Although from Durban, I am white.

Mmmm..... pity about the lack of action for us older women, I don't think I'm quite ready just yet for the celibate thing.......

All the best.

[Moderated: No free advert]

Hi Sheralee

Sorry am, I am not a teacher but my wife is now making the TEFL in Samui and she's got 2 job opportunities already. Understand?

I arrive in Thailand (Phuket) on 9th June for a 3 week holiday. Where should I go to enquire about teaching work? Should I email schools beforehand?  I would like to take the opportunity while I am there to make contact with actual schools/agencies.

I'm thinking of perhaps doing a 3 to 6 month temp stint in Thailand, not permanent.

Phuket is over rated and the most expensive place in Thailand.

I would not spend time there, many TESOL schools there have grads looking for work there.

Go to Bangkok, or smaller cities, less touristy places, when many foreigners fear to tread   look for smaller schools.   go to

If you have a degree government schools hire in February/March April     and in the Fall  October. They pay depending  where you are and what you do    35 to 50,000 bhat per month.

go to    and go to teaching forums   it is free  you do not need to register to read posts.    I am  Colabamumbai on Thai visa forum.

Thanks, do I go to the schools then while I am there on holiday? I understand the schools are not interested in you unless you are there in person, ready to start the job.

I like the sound of Sri Nikon Thammarat (something like that). Its doesn't seem too small, but not that touristy.


FYI Samui schools are changing teaching staff right now.
Google and email your CV to ISS (ex Bluewater), Panyadee, Samui Center of Learning and Oon Rack.
Good luck!

Hi guys, well just to report back on my holiday in Thailand, it was AMAZING!!!! I absolutely loved it. It was hot as hell, and I sunburnt quite badly, but the beaches were out of this world!!

But to come to whether I could live there? Very likely. The language difference thing frustrated me a bit, I really thought there would be more and better english spoken.

Living in Thailand would be an adventure for me, I might go again soon before I decide.


Hi Sheralee

I am also from KZN and my husband and I have dreamt about moving to Thailand for the last five or so years. Everytime we set a goal date it gets moved namely due to kids. It was when they finished school and now its when they finish varsity. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and the way things are going in this country it seems like the right decision to be making.
Im glad you had a great holiday and bet after a few months you will be desperate to go back.
What area did you have in mind? We would like to still be near some European availabilities but far enough away from the likes of Patong. Rawai seems to be a place we will look at.
Does anyone know what the chances are of my husband getting involved in tourism and possible tour guide jobs or are those only for Thai's?
Will keep in touch on line.
Good luck

Hi Janet, I think others on this blog will be better at advising you re job opportunities other than teaching english. Having been there, I can tell you that business is extremely competitive, with many Thai people all offering the same merchandise or services. And I think in low season it really gets quite cut-throat, for example island and other tours being sold for less than 50% than the usual price. Speaking for myself, I don't think I would want to be working in that kind of environment, the competition would just be too much for me. But then understandably some people might not be intimidated by that.

TEFL employment, I am certain is not as competitive, I think you can be pretty assured of work. I take it your hubby is not interested in doing that at all?

Please keep in touch Janet. My email is [email protected].

Warm regards

Hi there,

Is there other jobs to apply for as well in Phuket without having a degree?

I'm from South Africa, and was a week in Thailand Phuket, and it has really changed my life to being very happy. How do I go about on getting a job in Thailand and moving there?

I found happiness there, people are so nice there, not like in South Africa.

Welcome to the forum Taniaknight :)

You have posted on an old (2011) thread.

I suggest you read through the many posts on the forum for information you are seeking.

hello Taniaknight  :cheers:
my name is mohsen , i would like to know could you get job in thailand ?

Hi, I'm still looking and you? But I've had some good people giving me advise from here.