Many passionate ESL teachers who love to travel consider teaching English in Asia. A few popular travel destinations include South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan. There is a high demand for English teachers in most Asian countries among the younger generation and working adults.
Once you decide to teach English in Asia, you have to choose where exactly you want to go. This article will talk about the top 10 countries in Asia to teach ESL. All of the countries are fantastic travel destinations, so read the details and decide which country seems like the best choice for you.
Some countries pay better than others. For instance, if the salary is the most crucial consideration in choosing which country to teach English in Asia, check out the list of highest paying countries for ESL teachers.
Top 10 Countries to Teach English in Asia
Keep on reading to learn about the 10 best countries in Asia for teaching ESL.
1. Teach in Taiwan
Taiwan is known for the Shilin night market, the delicious street foods, the Sky Lantern Festival, and Taipei 101. Therefore, it is an attractive destination for the foodies. Also, the local people are very friendly. So, it is a great place to make new friends.
- Average monthly salary in Taiwan: $1,500-$2,500 USD for working between 20 to 30 hours per week. Depending on the institution, you might or might not get extra bonuses. The only benefit you can get from most schools is health care.
- Places to teach English in Taiwan: Buxibans (cram schools), Kid Castle, chain kindergartens, public schools, private schools, international schools, colleges, and universities.
- Requirements for ESL teachers in Taiwan: You must hold a passport from a native English-speaking country (the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Ireland, Australia, South Africa, or New Zealand). However, it isn’t impossible for non-native English speakers to find a job. Most jobs will also look for a bachelor’s degree. Also, it is good to have a TEFL certificate.
- Living costs: Rent costs around $150-300 USD per month; one meal costs around $2-$5 USD.
Because the competition for the best job positions is very high, new teachers might have to spend some time at academies before moving to a better school position. However, obtaining a job is easier if you have prior teaching experience. International schools and universities are the places you want to teach ESL for high salaries.
2. Teach in South Korea
South Korea is known for its competition in education, K-pop, food, nightlife, and the wonders of nature around the country. The country has a great mixture of modernistic and traditional architecture and the beauty of nature that you can find on the numerous big and small islands. Because of the high competition in education, there is an extremely high demand for ESL teachers.
- Average monthly salary in South Korea: $1,500-$2,700 USD for working 20 to 30 hours per week at academies.
- Places to teach English in South Korea: Public schools, private schools, hagwons (after school academies), international schools, private tutoring, online schools, colleges, and universities.
- Requirements for ESL teachers in Korea: For most of the jobs, you will need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and a TEFL certificate. Also, prior teaching experience is a plus but not mandatory.
- Living costs: Rent costs around $500-$800 USD per month; one meal costs around $5-15 USD.
Life in South Korea can differ greatly depending on the city you choose. For example, Seoul, the capital city, is an overpopulated city. The commute experience can be horrible, but you will have convenient access to the national museums, castles, and various festivals or events.
On the other hand, if you choose to live in Busan, the second-largest city, you won’t have as much access to the cultural monuments. However, you will have numerous beautiful islands and the ocean side to visit on weekends. You can find a teaching job in Korea through programs like TaLK and SMOE.
3. Teach in Japan
Japan is famous for its beautiful castles, Mountain Fuji, cherry blossoms, traditional cuisines, green tea, bullet trains, etc. In Japan, the demand for English teachers is high, and teachers are very well respected. Also, finding a job as an ESL teacher is relatively easy.
- Average monthly salary in Japan: The range is between $1,500-$5,000 USD for working 20 to 30 hours at an academy.
- Places to teach English in Japan: JET Programme, private schools, public schools, private tutoring
- Requirements for ESL teachers in Japan: A bachelor’s degree, TEFL certificate, and some teaching experience will be helpful.
- Living costs: Rent costs around $700-$1,100 USD; one meal costs around $8-$15 USD.
Despite the high cost of living, many English teachers still desire to work in Japan. The good news is that Japan is one of the highest-paying countries for ESL teachers. Thus, the salary will easily cover living expenses. However, this also means high competition for obtaining well-paying job positions.
4. Teach in China
China is famous for martial arts, food, Confucianism, a huge population, etc. It is a great option, especially if you are interested in Asian history. China has a written history of 3,500 years, which is the longest in the world. Also, the country preserves several historical landmarks, including the Great Wall and the Forbidden City.
- Average monthly salary in China: $800-$2,800 USD for teaching 18-30 hours per week. Many employers will provide housing and cover the flight cost. You can make up to $4,300 USD if you work at an international school.
- Places to teach English in China: Private academies, public schools, private schools, private tutoring
- Requirements for ESL teachers in China:
- Living costs: Rent costs around $200-$700 USD; one meal costs around $2-$5 USD.
Furthermore, teaching English in China is a great chance to get used to the Chinese language. Since Chinese is one of the best languages to learn, might as well learn the language while living and teaching in China.
5. Teach in Thailand
Thailand is famous for Buddhism, food, islands, crazy traffic, and parties. It is a renowned travel destination and a great place for ESL teachers to work.
- Average monthly salary in Thailand: $800-1,200 USD for working 40 hours per week
- Places to teach English in Thailand: private schools, public schools, private tutoring, colleges, and universities
- Requirements for ESL teachers in Thailand: a bachelor’s degree
- Living costs: Rent costs around $100-$300 USD; one meal costs around $1-$3 USD.
If you are looking for a laid-back lifestyle, Thailand is the right place for you.
6. Teach in Hong Kong
Hong Kong is well known for Causeway Bay, The Peak, Hong Kong Disneyland, and shopping. If you stay in Hong Kong, it is also very easy to travel to Macau, which is known for casinos. Also, Hong Kong is a wonderful place during the nighttime.
- Average monthly salary in Hong Kong: $1,700-3,500 USD for working 20 to 40 hours per week
- Places to teach English in Hong Kong: private schools, public schools, private tutoring, colleges, and universities
- Requirements for ESL teachers in Hong Kong: a bachelor’s degree and TEFL certificate (prior teaching experience is a plus)
- Living costs: Rent costs around $1,500-$2,000 USD; one meal costs around $5-$12 USD.
The demand for English teachers is very high. Thus, it is an excellent place for teachers without prior work experience to build their careers. In addition, because the majority of the people speak English, there is a low language barrier.
7. Teach in Vietnam
Vietnam is most well known for its historical cities, the French-colonial architecture, and fun traditional holidays. It is a great country to save money, work, and travel around tropical nature.
- Average monthly salary in Vietnam: $900-1,800 USD for working 18 to 25 hours per week
- Places to teach English in Vietnam: language schools, international schools, private lessons
- Requirements for ESL teachers in Vietnam: a bachelor’s degree
- Living costs: Rent costs around $300-$450 USD; one meal costs around $1-$3 USD.
8. Teach in Singapore
Singapore is famous for the Marina Bay Skyline, year-round summer, shopping malls, and street food. However, it is also well known for its local fines and punishments that you cannot easily find in other countries. For instance, the sale of chewing gums has been illegal since 1992. Though, there are some exceptions to the law.
- Average monthly salary in Singapore: $900-1,800 USD for working 18 to 25 hours per week
- Places to teach English in Singapore: language schools, international schools, private lessons
- Requirements for ESL teachers in Singapore: a bachelor’s degree
- Living costs: Rent costs around $300-$450 USD; one meal costs around $1-$3 USD.
Learn more about teaching ESL in Singapore.
9. Teach in Indonesia
Indonesia is located in Southeast Asia and Oceania in between the Pacific and Indian oceans. It is the largest archipelago in the world and has a number of infamous islands. One of the most popular islands is Bali. The locals are extremely friendly and there is delicious food.
- Average monthly salary in Indonesia: $650-1,050 USD per month
- Places to teach English in Indonesia: private schools and language schools
- Requirements for ESL teachers in Indonesia: You must hold a passport from one of the six countries, the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Australia, South Africa, or New Zealand. By law, esl teachers need a TEFL of TESOL certificate.
- Living costs: Rent costs around $140-$250 USD; one Indonesian meal costs around $2 USD.
Learn more about teaching ESL in Indonesia.
10. Teach in Cambodia
Cambodia is famous for its magnificent historical sites, including the Angkor Wat, the Bayon, and Battambang. Theravada Buddhism is the official religion of Cambodia. The religion is practiced by over 95% of the population. Thus, there are so many places to travel while teaching and saving money. It is an underrated travel destination, but there is a big English teacher community in Cambodia.
- Average monthly salary in Cambodia: $700-2,000 USD per month (in Phnom Penh)
- Places to teach English in Cambodia: private schools and language schools
- Requirements for ESL teachers in Cambodia: A TEFL certificate is required, while a bachelor’s degree is preferred. Although employers prefer native English speakers, non-native speakers who are fluent can become a teacher too.
- Living costs: Rent costs around $150-400 USD; one Indonesian meal costs around $3-$7 USD.
FAQs about Teaching English in Asia
Here are the answers to the few most commonly asked questions about teaching ESL in Asia.
How much do you get paid to teach English in Asia?
ESL teachers in Asia can make between $100- $5,000 USD. The salary range is so wide because it highly depends on the country. Some countries pay better than others. Nonetheless, you must also consider the living cost. Some countries that pay slightly lower salaries might also have lower living costs, making it easier for ESL teachers to save money.
Do you need a degree to teach ESL in Asia?
Most English teaching jobs in Asia will require a bachelor’s degree. However, this doesn’t mean that it is impossible for ESL teachers to find a job without a degree. Though, the job search can be a little challenging.
Which country is best for teaching English in Asia?
Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, China, Thailand, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia, and Cambodia are the best Asian countries to teach ESL.
Is it hard to get a TEFL certificate for teaching English?
Can foreigners still teach in China?
Yes, foreigners can still teach English in China. However, there are a few conditions. In order to teach ESL in China, male teachers have to be under 60 years old, and female teachers must be younger than 55 years old. Furthermore, English teachers must have a Z-class visa and hold a passport from one of the seven native English-speaking countries.
Teaching English in Asia: Join the Conversation
What are your thoughts on teaching English in Asia? Did you find a place you would like to travel to and teach ESL? What matters the most to you, the country’s lifestyle, culture, or salary? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think. We’d love to hear from you.