Nightlife. Great food. Island hopping and golden beaches. These are just some of the reasons many TEFL teachers decide to spend a semester or more teaching in Pattaya. Located just two hours from Bangkok, Pattaya has grown from a small fishing town into Thailand’s premier beach resort.
But, teaching in this region of Thailand is not for everyone. It’s a busy city that can be expensive. While teachers are paid decent salaries, if you aren’t careful you could find yourself broke before month’s end trying to keep up with the Pattaya lifestyle.
But if you keep to your budgets and live like a local, teaching and living in Pattaya can be a nice way to experience the local culture while at the same time not giving up too many of your Western creature comforts.
So if you have received a job offer or are deciding on whether this is the right area for you, here is our ultimate guide to living in Pattaya as an ESL teacher!
What are the schools like in Pattaya?
For ESL teachers wanting to teach in Pattaya, you won’t be short on options. Placements in this resort town are popular with good reason. There are many language schools in and around the city as well as government, private, and international schools all in need of English teachers.
What are the students like?
As Pattaya does have a high number of foreign expats, you will find that your classes will consist of a fair amount of half-Thai, half-farang students and students of other Asian nationalities.
What are salaries like in Pattaya for English teachers?
For English teachers working in public or private schools, you can expect salaries around 30k baht per month. If you are lucky enough to get placed in one of the international schools, you could see yourself earning 80k per month. (Note: Shane Schools salaries mostly fall somewhere in the middle. See our job posting here.)
One of the other major differences between these three schools is that international schools will still pay their teachers during school holidays whereas public and government will not.
So when budgeting for the month ahead, keep in mind that you are going to need to save a little to keep yourself afloat during the three or four months of school holidays when you won’t be receiving a salary.
How expensive is the cost of living in Pattaya?
Like anywhere else in the world, how much you pay for rent is dependent on the kind of lifestyle you want to live. In Pattaya, if you want to live close to the action and live in a Western-style place like your house back home, you can expect to hand over most of your salary.
But, if you are more on the frugal side and want to experience how the locals live, it’s easy to find Thai style apartments for as low as 4,000 baht a month.
The food in Pattaya is one of the best reasons to live in this region of Thailand. Due to the influx of tourists, you can find great Mexican, Indian, Middle Eastern, Italian and even Russian foods in and around town.
However, these restaurants will be expensive, and indulging too much in Western culture will quickly eat away at your salary.
But if you don’t feel like cooking and are sick of 7 Eleven’s quick fast food meals, there is always delicious Thai street food for well under 50 baht. Make sure you try local favourites like Pad Thai, Phad Si Ew, Som Tam, and the delicious mango and sticky rice combo.
Let’s be real. Pattaya doesn’t get its nickname of Sin City for nothing. The city is home to a large variety of nightclubs catering to diverse tastes and interests. From the infamous go-go bars to larger-than-life nightclubs, and nostalgic Irish pubs – there is something for everyone.
But just like the food and rent, if you aren’t careful with your money, you aren’t going to make it to the end of the month.
Being one of Thailand’s premier tourist destinations, it is no surprise that the shopping in Pattaya is world class. The city caters to fashion lovers with numerous malls filled with international brands. It’s one of the best places in Thailand to buy those hard to find Western products.
And if you are looking to shop on a budget, there are weekend markets like the Thepprasit Weekend Market and even a night bazaar!
What’s the best way to get around Pattaya?
As an ESL teacher, you are most likely going to be relying on public transport or getting around via rented motorcycles.
For public transport, taxis and songthaews are readily available to take you all around town. But as with anywhere else in Thailand, make sure to agree on a price before you get in or walk away if you feel you are being ripped off.
If you are renting a motorcycle, always make sure you are wearing a helmet and have a license. The police in Pattaya are notorious for stopping farangs and regularly hitting them up with fines. Wearing a helmet protects more than your head. It makes it harder for less ethical cops to identify you and will help you save a couple of hundred baht.
About the Author
Lauren Melnick is a South African travel blogger and ESL teacher currently living in Ubon, Thailand. When she isn’t making lesson plans and watching nursery rhymes on YouTube, you can find her eating up a storm, taking selfies with dinosaurs, and planning her next adventure.