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Less-known places to teach English in South-East Asia

By Geddy Gee
A look into the countries you can teach ESL in South-East Asia that aren’t Thailand or Vietnam
teaching English in South-East Asia

South East Asia is a popular destination for English teachers, with many well-known cities and countries offering numerous opportunities to teach. However, there are also plenty of lesser-known places that are worth considering for those looking to embark on a teaching adventure in the region. From quaint towns to vibrant cities, these hidden gems offer unique experiences and challenges for English teachers. In this article, we’ll explore some of the lesser-known places you can teach English in South East Asia, and why they should be on your radar.

Teaching in Cambodia

Teaching English is a popular job for foreigners in Cambodia, especially in the larger cities such as Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. There are a variety of opportunities available, including teaching at language schools, international schools, and universities. Many of these jobs require a bachelor’s degree and a TEFL or TESOL certification, although some may be more flexible with qualifications.

Cambodia has a rich culture and history, with stunning temples and beautiful landscapes. Living in Cambodia can be affordable, especially if you are willing to live more modestly. The cost of living is lower than many other countries in the region, although the salary for English teachers may not be as high. The official language is Khmer, but many people in cities speak English. The food in Cambodia is delicious, with a mix of French and Southeast Asian influences. It’s also worth noting that the country has experienced political instability in the past, but has become more stable in recent years.

Overall, Cambodia can be a great place to teach English for those who are interested in experiencing a different culture and way of life.

Teaching in Indonesia

Indonesia is a popular destination for English teachers, with opportunities available in both private language schools and public schools. Some of the most in-demand locations include Jakarta, Bali, and Surabaya. Many schools require a bachelor’s degree and a TEFL or TESOL certification, although some may also require a teaching licence or experience. The salary for English teachers in Indonesia can vary, with some schools offering a higher salary for those with more experience and qualifications.

Indonesia is the largest country in Southeast Asia, with over 17,000 islands and a diverse mix of cultures and traditions. Living in Indonesia can be affordable, especially outside of major cities like Jakarta and Bali. However, the cost of living in these areas can be quite high. The official language is Indonesian, but English is widely spoken in tourist areas and in the education system. The food in Indonesia is flavorful and diverse, with local dishes varying from region to region. The country also has a tropical climate, which can be both a blessing and a challenge.

Overall, Indonesia can be a great place to teach English for those who are interested in experiencing a unique culture and a beautiful natural environment.

Teaching in Laos

Teaching English is a growing industry in Laos, with a variety of opportunities available for both native and non-native speakers. Most jobs are located in the capital city of Vientiane and other larger cities like Luang Prabang and Savannakhet. A bachelor’s degree and a TEFL or TESOL certification are typically required, although some schools may be more flexible with qualifications. The salary for English teachers in Laos is lower than in some other countries in the region, but the cost of living is also relatively low.

Laos is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia known for its natural beauty and laid-back lifestyle. Living in Laos can be affordable, especially outside of major cities. The official language is Lao, but English is spoken by many young people, especially in urban areas. The food in Laos is influenced by Thai, Vietnamese, and Chinese cuisine, with a focus on fresh herbs and spices. Laos also has a relaxed pace of life, with a focus on enjoying simple pleasures like good food, socialising with friends, and spending time in nature.

Overall, Laos can be a great place to teach English for those who are interested in a quieter, more relaxed way of life and a chance to experience a unique culture.

Teaching in Myanmar

Teaching English is a popular job for foreigners in Myanmar, with opportunities available in private language schools, international schools, and universities. Some of the most in-demand locations include Yangon and Mandalay. Most schools require a bachelor’s degree and a TEFL or TESOL certification, although some may be more flexible with qualifications. The salary for English teachers in Myanmar is lower than in some other countries in the region, but the cost of living is also relatively low.

Myanmar is a country with a rich cultural heritage and diverse ethnic groups, located between India and Thailand. Living in Myanmar can be affordable, especially outside of major cities like Yangon and Mandalay. The official language is Burmese, but English is spoken by many young people, especially in urban areas. The food in Myanmar is influenced by Thai, Indian, and Chinese cuisine, with a focus on fresh ingredients and bold flavours. It’s worth noting that Myanmar has experienced political instability in the past, although the situation has improved in recent years.

Overall, Myanmar can be a great place to teach English for those who are interested in a unique cultural experience and a chance to explore a country with a rich history and stunning natural landscapes.

Teaching in Brunei

Brunei is a small, wealthy country located on the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia. While English is one of the official languages of the country, there are relatively few opportunities for English teachers compared to other countries in the region. That said, there are still some opportunities available, particularly in private language schools and international schools. The salary for English teachers in Brunei is relatively high compared to other countries in the region, but so is the cost of living. A bachelor’s degree and a TEFL or TESOL certification are usually required, and some schools may also require teaching experience or a teaching licence.

Brunei is known for its lush rainforests, beautiful beaches, and a high standard of living. Living in Brunei can be expensive, especially in the capital city of Bandar Seri Begawan, but salaries for English teachers can offset some of these costs. The official languages of Brunei are Malay and English, so English speakers can get by relatively easily. The food in Brunei is influenced by Malay, Chinese, and Indian cuisine, with a focus on seafood and spicy flavours. Brunei is also a Muslim country, so it’s important to be respectful of local customs and traditions.

Overall, Brunei can be a great place to teach English for those who are interested in a unique cultural experience and a high standard of living. However, it’s worth noting that the opportunities for English teachers are relatively limited compared to other countries in the region.

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Written by Geddy Gee for Tefl.NET March 2023
Ex-teacher, traveler, and writer at Teast
© Tefl.NET

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