Live, Work & Travel in Southeast Asia

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Top Sites

Travelfish.org – Originally written travel intelligence covering Southeast Asia that includes anonymously written reviews by their researchers on over 4,500 places to stay and over 500 destinations in the region. We’re off to Southeast Asia again ourselves soon and I’m repeatedly turning to this site. Travelfish also hire ‘under paid and over appreciated’ writers living in the region.

The Safari Park Volunteer Initiative – We loved the couple of days we spent working at this Thai zoo: feeding leopards, giving back rubs to Chutney the gibbon, and taking lions and tigers for a walk. The volunter programme was set up by two backpackers who persuaded the zoo to let them help improve the conditions of the animals. Highly recommended.

Ajarn.com – An excellent guide to living and teaching in Thailand. The site includes information on jobs, TEFL courses, red tape, accommodation, schools and many other issues of relevance.

Bodega Hotels – Bodega is run by three American brothers who have expanded their operations from Phuket to Bangkok and, most recently, to Chiang Mai. There is both a party and arty vibe that includes showcasing local aspiring artists and musicians and we have seen them using their social media to offer a free stay for artists and the occasional staff member. Mostly though they want red cups to keep the beer pong going.

Employment

Employers, Agencies & Placement Services

Amari Hotels – Hotel chain in Thailand. Some jobs, such as Italian chefs and general managers are available to non Thai nationals.

AUA Language Center – Earn a SIT TESOL Certificate in Thailand. AUA has 18 branches throughout Thailand requiring teachers.

Bar Ice Samui – An ice bar in the tropics, they got in touch with is indicating they needed PR people to do flyers and meet and greet.

Chiang Mai Lanna Business Services – Visas and work permits are arranged for English, German, French and other European language speakers looking for call centre jobs in Thailand.

Chiang Mai Montessori – Montessori trained teachers and experienced kindergarten teachers and assistants, both Thai and non Thai, are employed.

ECC (Thailand) – The largest English language training institute in Thailand with over 50 branches throughout Thailand (both Bangkok and upcountry). Teachers should be qualified (CELTA/Trinity) and have a bachelor’s degree.

Flight of the Gibbon – An adventure tourism company operating in Chiang Mai and Chonburi. Though we have seen a classified ad for sky rangers, to guide customers through the trees on a zip line, placed by them requesting Thai nationals, the sentence ‘if you speak or want to learn Thai’ on their employment page suggest non Thais may sometimes be hired. We have also seen them looking for sales and call centre staff.

Krama Yoga – Occasionally employ yoga teachers to teach for at least three months in Phnom Penh. As well as teaching expatriates, teachers will have an opportunity to become involved with their programmes teaching yoga to disadvantaged or vulnerable Cambodians.

St Stephen’s International School – Thai school.

Thailand Experience – Native English speaking students and graduates are required to teach English in Asia as part of the Teach Thailand program. A placement fee is required but the placement comes with a realistic salary. Placements are offered in either Bangkok, Chang Mai or Hat Yai: working with children, teenagers or professionals, you may be teaching at primary or secondary schools, community or business colleges. All these places offer a different living experience and you may have the opportunity to exchange with another student after three months of your program. Programs are also now available in Vietnam and Cambodia.

Employment Resources

Advice & Useful Sites for Finding Work

Ajarn.com – An excellent guide to living and teaching in Thailand. The site includes information on jobs, TEFL courses, red tape, accommodation, schools and many other issues of relevance.

Badladz Adventure Resort – Two resorts – dive and beach – in Puerto Galera, Philippines. Long term accommodation available. The site includes a blog including information on living and starting a business in the Philippines.

City News Chiang Mai – A well established Chinag Mai travel and news website. They have a classified ads section that includes jobs and also occasionally recruit editorial staff and bloggers themselves (usually via their Facebook page).

IALF Bali – Earn a teaching qualification in an exotic local from an approved centre for the delivery of the Trinity College London Certificate in TESOL.

Island TEFL – Located on the island of Koh Samui, Thailand, Island TEFL offers a rather pleasant location to gain a TEFL qualification. They offer two separate packages: either a four week TEFL certificate course or the course plus a one month volunteer placement on Samui.

ITC – TEFL certificate courses in Bali.

John’s Life in Thailand – A series of short articles about John’s experiences, thoughts, and feelings of living in a foreign country.

KoHub – A tropical island coworking community on Koh Lanta, ideal for entrepreneurs, digital nomads, workations and work retreats.

Phuket Delight.com – For living and working on Phuket, Thailand. Offers resident insider information on EFL employment, costs, housing, shopping, the best beaches and restaurants and more. Includes a section on teaching English and about TEFL schools in the area.

Sandbox Advisors – A career management and human resource consulting firm in Singapore that empowers people to achieve optimal levels of enjoyment and success in their careers.

The Stickman’s Guide to Bangkok – Living, teaching English and naughty nightlife in Thailand jumbled up with banner ads for ladyboy services and property.

Teaching Thailand – A job board for expat teachers in Thailand. Be careful with some of the most recent (non teaching or Thailand) ads on the board as they appeared to us to be scams. There were none further down the board suggesting they are cleaned up after a few hours and an irritating consequence of offering free job postings that I’m sure the site owner is aware of.

TEFLAsia – A site devoted to the acquisition, training, and placement of skilled teachers in SE Asia.

TEFLPlus Teacher Training – TEFL Certificate Courses in Patong Beach, Phuket.

TEFLWorld – Long established private school providing fully accredited TEFL / TESOL courses and teaching job opportunities in Koh Samui, Thailand. Graduates are given guidance in securing teaching English jobs.

Text and Talk Academy – Thai school offering a recognized TEFL/TESL certificate. Teaching work is also available to TEFL course students.

United Language School – A division of United Educational Consultants offering TEFL training all year round in Bangkok, Pattaya, and Phuket. They help their students with job placement in Thailand.

Gap Year & Voluntary Work

Unpaid Positions & Adventure

Asia Internship Programme – The Asia Internship Programme connects organisations based in Asia and talented young professionals who are looking for internships, including in hospitality, marketing, business development, finance, entrepreneurship, and engineering.

At Home Sukhothai – Located in Sukhothai town, one of Thailand’s historical world heritage sites, this hostel looks for a multiskilled person to work in the garden and reception area for a period of up to two months. We stayed here in 2013 and recommend the breakfast and loafing about in the garden.

Baan Nokkkamin Foundation – I met a representative and a volunteer from this organisation during Chiang Mai’s Songkran celebrations and invited them to send over some information on what they do. They have a number of orphanages around the country, including Chiang Mai, and welcome help from volunteers with teaching English to the children at Baan Nok Kamin and also to their Thai employees. Other roles include building houses out of mud, organic farm projects and coaching sports. Volunteers pay 300 to 500 baht, depending on how long they stay, towards lodging and two meals a day.

Bansabai Hostel – Stay at a discounted rate in exchange for teaching English in and around Bangkok. Minimum stay one week. No fee to volunteer. We were told personally about this programme and one of our readers also had good things to say about volunteering here.

Care for Dogs Foundation – Travel volunteers are welcome to help out around the Care for Dogs’ shelter near Chiang Mai.

Children with Hope for Development – A grass roots Cambodian NGO based in Po Village, Takeo Province. They provide a free education programme to the poor children in the village and welcome the help of volunteers to aid their efforts. Volunteers pay for their own food and accommodation but costs are reasonable.

Concert Cambodia – A not for profit social enterprise based in Siem Reap, Cambodia, providing responsible volunteering information. Potential volunteers in or heading to the city can look through their member projects or use their volunteer matching service.

Development and Education Programme for Daughters and Communities – A non profit community based NGO working in Thailand on the prevention side of the trafficking of women and children into the sex industry. There are approximately six foreign volunteers at any one time who stay for six months or more. In the past DEPDC has had volunteers who taught English, handicrafts, origami, basic computer skills, run activities for children and dealt with English correspondence.

Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation – Volunteers are welcome to help out at this Koh Samui animal shelter, whether it is for an hour or a year. They have two shelters: a small one in Chaweng and a larger one in the south west of the island. Accommodation is sometimes available.

Elephant Nature Park – This nature park in Thailand needs experienced volunteer vets but also offers opportunities to student vets and to animal helpers with no previous experience. Tasks include assisting elephant keepers with bathing the elephants and general duties around the park.

Father Ray Foundation – A home for 850 orphaned, abused and disadvantaged children in Pattaya. Volunteer tasks include teaching English at the Vocational School for the Disabled, accompanying blind students on a trip to the beach, teaching English, daily walks with the elderly, spending time with the street kids at the Drop-In Center, arts and crafts at the Children’s Village. A six month commitment is expected, no fees are requested and accommodation and meals are provided.

Good Earth Agriculture – A sustainable agriculture project to the northeast of Bangkok that welcomes volunteers. A small fee covers accommodation, three healthy meals a day and use of the swimming pool. Teaching English at a local school is also a volunteer option.

Green Gecko Project – At Green Gecko, Siem Reap’s street kids can eat a hot lunch, attend an English class, play and get a hug, get their hair combed and receive medical attention. Volunteers with skills, experience or ideas that they are willing to impart to the Khymer staff are most valuable. Minimum one month commitment.

Indonesia Organic – News on what is happening in the Indonesian organic movement. Includes a small page of volunteering opportunities.

Juara Turtle Project – A conservation and research effort to protect the enviroment of Tioman Island, Malaysia. The main turtle season is from mid-March until the end of October, but volunteers can help out all year round. Short term volunteers stay a minimum of four days and support the project by paying for their accommodation. Around November of each year, JTP start to screen for experienced interns to fill positions such as hatchery manager, volunteer coordinator, gardener, semi-skilled laborer. These longer stay volunteers stay for at least four months, preferably six, and need not make a financial contribution.

Lanta Animal Welfare – A non-profit organisation which aims to relieve the suffering and pain of the animals on Ko Lanta island through sterilisation and care. LAW do not charge volunteers who go to help and those who stay a minimum of one month will have free basic but comfortable accommodation, subject to availability.

Learn In Asia – Scuba diving internships in Thailand for the professional and seasonal scuba diver looking for dive work. Also information on travel and diving in Thailand.

Life and Hope Association – Have a number of active programmes which aim to improve access to education for the vulnerable and disadvantaged youth of Cambodia. Volunteers can help by teaching English or at the head office or onsite at their projects. There is also the option of donating the funds needed to build a house and, if you want to, help build it too.

The Mad Monkey Phnom Penh – Free eats, commission on bar sales, and a bed are offered for tending bar at this hostel. Previous bar experience is required.

The Mad Monkey Siem Reap – Same as above, except in another part of Cambodia.

Marine Conservation Cambodia – This small non profit asks for $200 per week to cover your food, shared accommodation in a water front bungalow) and diving equipment. Volunteers are expected to stay a minimum of two weeks and participate in marine conservation and research, coastal management, teach English or conservation education, or provide health care. .

Mekong English Center – MEC now offers its own volunteer programme in Luang Prabang, where those with a decent knowledge of English and a sincere will can assist in their classes. There’s no fee to volunteer.

Neary Khymer – Neary Khmer, which means Khmer Women, was founded in 1999 to help educate and empower Khmer women in the poorest communities of Siem Reap, Cambodia. The website carries no information on volunteering but they are partnered with the Omprakash Foundation who state: “Individuals with experience and training in issues of health, nutrition, and/or sustainable agriculture are encouraged to consider volunteering at Neary Khmer. Proficiency in the Khmer language is ideal but not necessary”.

New Life Foundation – A mindful recovery community in northern Thailand for those who would like to work on self improvement and personal development. They offer low cost short term volunteering opportunities, along with a few opportunities for committed long term volunteers with professional building, architectural, and therapeutic skills.

Openmind Projects – Volunteering programme. Teach English, computer and other skills at schools, orphan homes or eco resorts in Thailand, Cambodia and Laos.

Orangutan Foundation – This charity is uniquely involved in the protection of the Orangutan and it’s Southeast Asian rainforest home. Their volunteer programme sends volunteers to the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve in Indonesian Borne and lasts for six weeks.

PhaNgan Animal Care – PAC provides nursing and veterinary care for the island’s stray and unwanted animals and always welcome an extra pair of hands.

Rainforest World Music Festival – Volunteer in Sarawak, Malaysia, with the Rainforest World Music Festival, Borneo Jazz Festival, and Asia Music Festival. Volunteer roles include liaising with the performing artists and schlepping about with the musical instruments.

SAELAO – A sustainable development project located in Nathong Village, near the city of Vang Vieng, Laos. The project consists of a small organic farm, a farm-to-table restaurant, a community centre that provides daily English classes, and a volunteer project for international visitors.

The Safari Park Volunteer Initiative – We loved the couple of days we spent working at this Thai zoo: feeding leopards, giving back rubs to Chutney the gibbon, and taking lions and tigers for a walk. The volunter programme was set up by two backpackers who persuaded the zoo to let them help improve the conditions of the animals. Highly recommended.

Sangkheum Center – Meaning ‘hope’ in Khymer, the Sangkheum Center for Children provides education, training, scholastic support and care to children between the ages of 4 and 17. Volunteers can help by teaching English or sports, running craft projects or assist with the business end of things.

Sapa O’Chau – This grassroots social enterprise in northern Vietnam is reliant on volunteers to sustain its teaching requirements and help to transform the lives of others. Though they encourage longer stays where possible, volunteers can join their programme for as little as one day. While there are no specific qualifications, volunteers need to be over 18 and are expected to be flexible, patient, and respectful, and possess a passion and love for children and young adults. Volunteers not interested in teaching can also help out in other ways, such as writing articles, providing administrative support or fundraising.

Save Elephant Foundation – A well regarded organisation that takes care of Elephants in several parks and sanctuaries across Thailand, plus one in Cambodia.

Save Our Seahorses – A Malaysian organisation that requires volunteers for several conservation projects.

Shallow Waters – A long term, community led coral reef management programme in Cambodia’s Koh Sdach archipelago. They host international volunteers at their research outpost on the island of Koh Sdach, whether they are students looking to undertake their own research in a unique marine environment, or those seeking to gain scuba qualifications whilst practically contributing to marine conservation in a developing country. Qualified expedition leaders are also employed.

Teach for Myanmar – A small not for profit programme that matches volunteer teachers with community based organisations in Myanmar. Most volunteers teach English, social sciences, and academic skills to young adults aged 17 to 30.

Thai Animal Sanctuary – Volunteers are needed to help out around this sanctuary in Kanchanaburi by walking dogs, grooming, medicating, assisting with the treatment of animals, cleaning, updating the website, volunteer recruitment, and more.

Thai-Experience.org – Discover Thailand from the inside while helping children or handicapped persons to learn English, computers or other skills. Suitable for all ages. No special skills required but are welcomed.

Thai Society for the Conservation of Wild Animals – Welcomes local and foreign volunteers and students but asks that their work or chosen areas of study and experience further their aims. Veterinarians, vet nurses, zoologists and biologists are especially useful.

Thai Youth Action Program Foundation – The TYAP supports youth in northern Thailand and are constantly looking for volunteers with project management, IT, media, writing, communication and teaching skills.

Thresher Shark Project – Aspiring marine/shark scientists with dive qualifications may volunteer to work as a research assistant in the Philippines.

Tsunami Volunteer Center – A Thai NGO, based in Khao Lak, Thailand, formed to assist in the restoration of communities affected by the Indian Ocean tsunami.

Volunteer Work Thailand – Comprehensive source of volunteer ideas and free volunteer work in Thailand.

Volunthai – A selection of rural schools provide food and accommodation to volunteers in exchange for their teaching three to four hours per day.

V4D – Short term (2 weeks) and longer term (over a month) volunteer projects in Vietnam.

The Wild Animal Rescue Foundation of Thailand – WARF is dedicated to preventing the maltreatment of wild animals and providing an environment in which rescued animals can live before returning to the wild. They recruit paying volunteers to help in tasks such as assisting the animal keepers or in gibbon release research.

Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand – Volunteer work is avaliable in the elephant refuge or the rescue centre, a shelter for a large number of different wild animals.

WWOOF Philippines – The host list preview available on the site suggest there are ten host farms to volunteer with.

Living in Southeast Asia

Real Estate and Resources for Staying Long Term

Chiang Mai Grapevine – Besides connecting tourists, expatriates and Thais living in Chiang Mai, CMG’s aim is to list and map all the businesses of the city on a Google Map, with a dedicated web page for each business.

Khmer440.com – A sharply written look at Cambodian and expat life. Includes TEFL articles.

Living in Indonesia – A great site for expats in Indonesia.

Travelling in Southeast Asia

Accommodation & Getting Around

Adventures in Thai Cooking and Travel – Cultural and culinary trips to Thailand.

Asian Oasis – After doing next to nothing besides work for four months in Chiang Mai, we crammed in everything we’d missed, from cookery lessons to white water rafting, on their great Lisu Lodge and Khum Lanna Soft Adventure trip in northern Thailand.

BackHome Hostel – One of our forays into flashpacker territory. After three nights here we came to the conclusion that BackHome is a lovely place to spend the night in Kuala Lumpur.

Bamboo House Guesthouse – A peaceful guesthouse beside the River Kwai within view of the famous bridge.

Bangkok.com – Hotels and tourist information, travel and business guide.

Birdnest Guesthouse – A backpacker’s sanctuary in the heart of Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown. Willi opened the doors in 2009 and thousands of travellers have passed through since. Of the three guest houses owned by Willi dotted around the Chinatown area, we stayed in two and each had backpackers taking care of his business. We ourselves could have earned 50RM if we were prepared to help clean out a space into which Willi was hoping to expand his premises.

Blonde Traveler – A travel support and community tool for females traveling Southeast Asia.

Bodega Hotels – Bodega is run by three American brothers who have expanded their operations from Phuket to Bangkok and, most recently, to Chiang Mai. There is both a party and arty vibe that includes showcasing local aspiring artists and musicians and we have seen them using their social media to offer a free stay for artists and the occasional staff member. Mostly though they want red cups to keep the beer pong going.

De Lanna Hotel – This exquisite boutique hotel is a tranquil oasis right in the heart of Chiang Mai Inner old city, near Sunday Walking Street Market and Wat Phra Sigh.

De Talak Hostel – De Talak is close to heart of Bangkok, making it easy for you to experience the most stirring and inspirational places all around city.

Eclipse Guesthouse – A Kuala Lumpur guesthouse with spacious communual areas.

Evergreen Boutique Hotel – A lovely place that aims to be a relaxed, cosy and homey hotel for golfers and other nice people visiting Hua Hin. I had a eureka moment on realising it was possible to watch the footy while floating on a lilo in the pool. Surely life can’t get better than that?

Hangout Hotels – Two no frills but – in our experience – very professional and welcoming hotels in Singapore and Malaysia.

Hitchhiking Vietnam: Letters from the Trail – Karin’s story, hitchhiking alone around Vietnam.

HQ Hostel – At the heart of Bangkok within walking distance to major attractions and transportation. Free Wi-Fi, 24/7 check-in and super comfy bed.

Khao San Road – Coverage of the farang ghetto of Bangkok, the rest of Thailand and Southeast Asia.

King’s Home – Homestay style accommodation in Hua Hin, Thailand.

PODs Backpackers – PODs provides affordable budget accommodation for backpackers and travellers. Supported and owned by fun and dedicated staff who are backpacker themselves, PODs is located a stone’s throw away from KL Sentral Station. Wah, the owner of PODs, told us he had employed someone in the past who had stayed at his hostel.

Siam Classic Hostel – Siam Classic Hostel is conveniently located in central Bankok directly opposite to the Bangkok Central Train Station (Hua Lumpong) and Metro “MRT” Station.

SEA Backpacker – A free magazine distributed every two months in eight countries around the region. Plenty of information and articles are available to read on their website too while their Chiang Mai office is turning into a place where backpackers go to get advice and travel information. Digital issues are available to download.

Tourism Authority of Thailand

Travelfish – Originally written travel intelligence covering Southeast Asia that includes anonymously written reviews by their researchers on over 4,500 places to stay and over 500 destinations in the region. We’re off to Southeast Asia again ourselves soon and I’m repeatedly turning to this site. Travelfish also hire ‘under paid and over appreciated’ writers living in the region.

Villa Duang Champa – A small boutique hotel in the very heart of historical Chiang Mai. The 2008 winner of ASA for the Best Renovated Architecture in Lanna. Run by good people.

Other

Culture, News…

Bangkok Post – Fine exampe of an English language newspaper.

The British Council in Thailand

The Jakarta Post – English language newspaper widely available in Jakarta and Bali.

The Nation – Thai English language newspaper.

The Star – Malaysian newspaper.

The Straits Times – English language newspaper of Singapore.

The Phuket News – English language newspaper with a classified jobs section.