Islands & Beaches
Good food. Great job. Next to the beach. No brainer!
Beaches and islands meet whiteboards and classrooms
Thailand has over 3000 kilometers of coastline and 1430 islands. It boasts some of Asia's most loved beaches. For a world traveller, that's exactly what the doctor ordered. Better still, Thailand is keenly aware that its beaches and islands are a national treasure, and they are kept clean. There are hundreds of spectacular scuba diving and snorkeling sites on both sides of the isthmus that are carefully protected. A visit to Thailand wouldn't be complete without a spell in this tropical heaven.
On the Andaman Sea lies the famous island of Phuket, and to the north, the quiet beach town of Ranong, gateway to the diving haven of the Similan Islands. To the south, the stunning resort town of Krabi with its limestone cliffs, and heading further south still lies the hidden gem, Lanta. For a truly unforgettable island experience, even further south is the dreamlike Turatao national park. In the Gulf of Thailand, discover the best beaches and bays in Samui and its neighboring Pha Ngan, or head even further out for a diving adventure on Tao island. Further north, near the Cambodian border nestles the relatively untouched Chang Island and its sister islands Maak and Kut. If beaches are your thing, Thailand has what you are looking for.
But what about teaching opportunities?
As a graduate of the Chichester TEFL programme and wish to work near the sea, you can choose to work at one of the major seaside urban centres such as Surat Thani or Pattaya, or you could head to the more isolated rural seaside districts away from the bustle of the tourist trade. For island life, the most commonly chosen option is world-famous Phuket. Although there are sometimes teaching positions on smaller islands such as Chang or Samui, these are highly sought after by the teaching community, and are often poorly paid.
The island of Phuket has been a major draw for previous Chichester TEFL island-philes. Phuket is Thailand's largest eland, and has a population 400,000 people, but regularly welcomes double that number of tourists at throughout the year. The island is home to a number of bilingual schools which have enjoyed previous Chichester TEFL graduates. You can expect some intense competition for these positions.
Islands vs. mainland beaches
But you don't need to be on an island to enjoy Thailand's beach life. There are a number of major urban centres on the coast which boast pretty beaches and have easy access to some of the country's most pristine shores. Pattaya, only 2 hours from Bangkok, is a major tourist destination, and small city in itself. It caters for huge numbers of tourists annually and has plenty of sites on offer.
In Pattaya and its immediate surrounds are three major international schools, and a great number of state schools. However, because of the large numbers of expatriates already living in the area, there is some competition for posts here. More quieter urban zones of Hua Hin, Krabi and Rayong also offer the Thailand beach experience, but with a much more Thai feel. Krabi has been particularly popular with our previous Chichester TEFL graduates. Krabi's stunning natural beaches are nestled between majestic limestone cliffs, and offshore are over 200 islands to explore! Indeed a number of movies have been set in the waters off Krabi, including the famous Bond movie 'The man with the golden gun', and Leonardo DiCapprio's 'The beach'. Krabi town, which supports the local tourism industry, boasts a number of international-standard bilingual schools which have positions for qualified teachers of English. These positions are predominantly at the kindergarten and primary school level, and mean you are only 4 kms from the world's most desirable beaches!
Getting away from the crowds
However, if you are a dedicated beach-junkie, you may find your ultimate beach experience in the quieter rural areas of Thailand. If you can imagine a long strip of beach all to yourself, this may be what you are looking for. For example, near Chang on the eastern seaboard of Thailand is Chantaburi province, with unspoiled beaches spread over 4 districts.
Schools in Chantaburi have positions for teachers that are an easy drive from some of these gorgeous beaches – giving you the best of all worlds: the security of a teaching post in a primary or secondary state school, easy access to some of Thailand's quietest and most beautiful beaches, and a quick ferry trip to Chang island for some serious rest and relaxation with white beaches and aquamarine bays.
Or you could consider the forgotten province of Songkla in the south of Thailand. Not far from Hat Yai's bustling border markets lies around 140 kilometers of white sand beaches and crystal clear waters. Or a few hours west brings you to Satun, the launching point to the Turatao island group – one of Thailand's last island getaways far from the madding crowd.