Southeast Asia Wanders

Your guide to travelling, living and working in Southeast Asia

Home » Archive by category "Singapore"

Where to Find the Best Street Food in Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia has long been known as one of the best places on earth to get fresh, tasty and cheap street food. From Singapore hawker stalls to Indonesian bakso carts, Thai night markets and Vietnamese roadside restaurants, we give you the rundown on the top hotspots for street food in the region.

Bangkok P1100339

Best Street Food Spots in Bangkok, Thailand


Sukhumvit Soi 38

 For a true Thai street food experience, head to Sukhumvit, Soi 38 where you’ll find a plethora of tin tables and plastic chairs and vendors selling everything from Pad Thai noodles to mango sticky rice. The stalls here are clean and there is a high turnover of locals and foreigners, which means the food is fresh and tasty to boot.

Time: 6pm til late

Pad Thai

Pad Thai

Victory Monument

 The Victory Monument acts like a beacon calling hungry office workers, students and foodies to the small laneways shooting off from the traffic circle here. Wander down any of these streets and you’ll find plenty of food stalls selling delectable lunch dishes, including the famous Thai boat noodles. With a dark, rich broth flavored with herbs, spices and pork blood, slippery rice noodles, green vegetables and pork or beef, we bet you can’t eat just one bowl.

Time: 7am til late

Chinatown (Yaowarat)

 After the sun sets, busy Yaowarat Road transforms into a bustling night food bazaar with hundreds of vendors selling classic Chinese specialties like bird’s nest soup and roast duck, as well as some Chinese influenced Thai dishes like fried pork belly in peppery soup and rice noodles with ground pork, fiery chilies and aromatic holy basil.

Time: 6pm til late

Poultry at Chinatowns Talat Leng-Buai-la market (6491924593)

Roast Duck in Chinatown, Bangkok


Best Street Food Spots in Singapore


Maxwell Road Hawker Centre

 Smack in the middle of Chinatown, this hawker center is a Singapore institution and home to some of the most beloved street food stalls such as Tian Tian Chicken Rice with its succulent chicken served over broth infused rice with a side of fiery chilli sauce and Jin Hua Sliced Fish Bee Hoon, which offers up golden pieces of fried fish floating in a milky broth with thin rice vermicelli noodles.

Time: 8am to 10pm

Chatterbox ChickenRice

Chicken Rice

Old Airport Road Food Centre

 With up to 30 minute queues for quintessential Singapore hawker dishes like oyster omelette in chili sauce and Char Kway Teow (rice noodles with Chinese sausage, cockles, bean sprouts, chili sauce and dark soy sauce), you know the food stalls at the Old Airport Road Food Centre have got to have something good going on.

Time: Mon to Fri: 11.30am to midnight, Sat to Sun: 10.30am to midnight


East Coast Park Lagoon Village Food Centre

It’s all about fresh BBQ seafood like chilli crab, spicy grilled stingray and black pepper crab at the East Coast Park Lagoon Village Food Centre, as well as tasty wonton noodles, braised duck rice and satay. It doesn’t hurt either that the location is right on the beach, so you can grab your grub and have a picnic by the sea.

Time: 8am to 9pm

Chilli crab-01

Singapore Chilli Crab

Best Street Food Spots in Kuala Lumpur


Jalan Alor

A favorite foodie pit stop for locals, Jalan Alor runs parallel to Jalan Bukit Bintang, and is packed with hawker stalls selling Malaysian staples like chicken satay, grilled fish, braised duck with rice and fresh tropical fruits like durian, rambutan and mangosteen.

Time: 6pm til late (although some stalls are open during the day)

Kuala Lumpur - Jalan Alor

Jalan Alor, Kuala Lumpur

Chow Kit Market Hawker Stalls

Chow Kit is the biggest wet market in Kuala Lumpur, and as such, it should come as no surprise that there are tons of hawker stalls here that sell delicious street food made from only the freshest ingredients. This is the place to go to get heavenly nasi lemak—coconut rice with various side dishes such as fried chicken, crispy anchovies, roasted peanuts, hard boiled egg and of course, fiery sambal, golden shrimp fritters, ikan masin (salted fish) and murtabak—flaky pan-fried bread with an egg and minced meat filling.

Time: 9am to 5pm


Petaling Street Night Market

Located in the heart of Chinatown, Petaling Street is a warren of shops selling clothing, electronics, handbags and souvenirs during the day, but come evening, the hawker stalls start to emerge. Many of the hawker stalls here have been in operation for decades, so you can sample tried and true recipes for delicious seafood, chicken and rice, BBQ fish, curry laksa and roti.

Time: 4pm til late



Best Street Food Spots in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)


Ben Thanh Market

Enter Ben Thanh Market, pass the colorful displays of silk scarves, beaded shoes, leather handbags and glossy lacquerware, and head deep into the interior where you’ll find simple stalls selling everything from steaming bowls of pho to crispy and fresh spring rolls, banh mi pate sandwiches and bun thit nuong (rice vermicelli noodles with BBQ pork, mini spring rolls, fresh herbs and fish sauce). Wash it all down with a rich iced Vietnamese coffee served with sweetened condensed milk.

Time: 6am to 7pm


Pho Beef Noodles

Ton That Thuyet Street, District 4

Everyday, food vendors and foodies alike flock to this long strip of pavement to grab mouthwatering Vietnamese dishes like bun bo la lot, rice vermicelli noodles topped with grilled beef, pickled vegetables, peanuts, sprouts and herbs, sticky rice with Chinese sausage, dried shrimp, chicken and fried shallots and che dau trang, a sweet dessert made with glutinous rice, beans and coconut milk.

Time: All day


Banh Xeo 46A

Banh xeo is a Saigon favourite, and locals in the know head to Banh Xeo 46A in District 1 to fill up on the savory rice flour crepes packed with fatty pork, shrimp, bean sprouts and green onion and just a touch of turmeric and coconut milk. This roadside restaurant also serves up divine fresh and fried spring rolls.

46A Dinh Cong Trang Street

District 1, Ho Chi Minh City

Time: All day


Best Street Food Spots in Jakarta


Pecenongan, Central Jakarta

By day, this street looks like any other, but as soon as night starts to fall, the mobile food carts move in and locals from far and wide flock here for tasty and affordable Indonesian fare. Get your fix of sate kambing (goat satay), martabak (a mix between a crepe and a pancake with sweet fillings like bananas, chocolate or cheese) and nasi uduk (coconut rice with roasted chicken, tofu or tempe).

Time: 6pm til late

Sate kambing sate ayam

Sate Ayam and Sate Kambing (chicken and goat satay)

Jalan Sabang

One block west of Jakarta’s backpacker area of Jalan Jaksa lies Jalan Sabang, a haven for street food that pulls in hungry diners both day and night. This is one of the best places in the city to get cheap eats, including nasi goreng (fried rice), chicken and mutton satay with spicy peanut sauce, fragrant duck rice and pisang goreng (fried banana).

Time: All day until late

Jalan Mangga Besar

If you’re craving Chinese food or seafood, Jalan Mangga Besar is the place to be. Some specialties here include bakmi kepiting (noodles with crab meat, fish balls and crispy fried wontons) and bubur ayam (chicken porridge). For the truly adventurous, try the cobra satay washed down with a shot of cobra blood.

Time: 5pm til late

Bubur Ayam Travelling Vendor 4

Bubur Ayam


For more info about Southeast Asian street food, including recipes that you can make at home, check out these great books from Amazon:


The Most Bizarre, Unusual and Intriguing Hotels in Southeast Asia

Sometimes it seems as if all hotels are made the same. You know the feeling—you walk into your room, throw your stuff down, look around and realize that you could be anywhere. Bangkok, Hong Kong, even Ohio for that matter. Which is a shame, because if you know where to look, Southeast Asia is full of interesting, unique and artistic hotels that are so much more than just a place to rest your head. Why stay in a cookie cutter hotel chain when you can stay in one of these fabulously unconventional hotels and villas?


Hang Nga Guesthouse AKA Crazy House

Crazy House Dalat, Vietnam

Walking into the Hang Nga Guesthouse is like entering into some sort of bizarre dream, where Gaudi meets Alice in Wonderland, with a splash of Swiss Family Robinson and Salvador Dali thrown in. This spectacular array of wood, wire, glass and concrete buildings features imaginative ladders shaped as tree roots, mysterious cubby holes, towering treehouses with jagged peaks, and even an bizarre Indonesian/Swiss style chalet. Add to this spiderweb patterned windows, wooden kangaroos, bears and giraffes, and an explosion of tropical foliage and flowers just for good measure, and you’ve got a feast for the eyes. The architect and owner, Ms. Hang Viet Nga was trained in architecture in Moscow, and considers her Dalat guesthouse to be a masterpiece of curved lines that fuse nature and people. While the locals might think the guesthouse is a tad on the crazy side, tourists from around the world flock here to see this fantastic fusion of architectural styles and imaginative whimsy.

Dalat, Vietnam




The Imperial Boathouse Hotel

Imperial Boathouse Koh Samui

Originally real rice Thai barges that used to ply the Chao Praya River and the open seas, these 34 wooden boats have been renovated into unique luxury suites. Each suite offers a breezy outdoor wooden deck, a spacious living room inside, sky-lit bathrooms, and a master suite below deck. Following the nautical theme, even the pools here are shaped like boats. As an added bonus, the Imperial Boathouse Hotel is surrounded by lush tropical gardens and just steps away from the gorgeous Choeng Mon Beach on Koh Samui.

Koh Samui, Thailand



Elephant Safari Park Lodge

elephant safari park lodge imageMany people who travel to Southeast Asia make a point to see some elephants on their holiday, but how many people do you know who actually stay in the midst of these beautiful creatures? The Elephant Safari Park Lodge is set in the middle of the Elephant Safari Park in Taro, Bali, and it offers guests an up close and personal experience with the 30 rare Sumatran elephants that roam the grounds. Eat breakfast while overlooking the forest and the elephant trails in the Mammoth’s Head Bar, have your own private elephant chauffeur pick you up at your room for a day of trekking with your elephant guide and bathing, feeding and petting the elephants. End your day with a spa treatment and a four-course dinner before retiring to your luxurious safari lodge room.

Taro, Bali, Indonesia



 4 Rivers Floating Lodge

4 Rivers Lodge
Far from the well-traveled backpacker trail of Cambodia, Koh Kong is an intoxicating mix of pristine rainforest, deep blue rivers, and untouched mountain ranges. Intrepid travelers can make the trip up the Tatai River to the 4 Rivers Floating Lodge, an environmentally friendly collection of luxury tents, floating on a platform along the river. Each tent features a private sun deck with views of the river in front and the Cardamom Mountains behind, as well as plush double and twin beds, flat screen televisions, Wi-Fi and mini-bars. But with so much nature and serenity outside, the chances that you’ll use these modern amenities is slim, as you’ll be much too preoccupied swimming, canoeing, trekking, and enjoying the spectacular sunsets from your deck.

Tatai, Koh Kong, Cambodia




Wanderlust Singapore
Once a 1920s schoolhouse, this experimental boutique hotel is the result of a collaboration between four of Singapore’s award-winning design agencies. Each agency was given free reign over one level of the Wanderlust hotel, creating rooms that are funky, modern and unique. Take for example, the Eccentricity Floor by :phunk Studio, with its colorful neon lights, rainbow hallway and vibrant mosaic-tiled jacuzzi; or the Creature Comforts floor by fFurious, which makes use of friendly monsters, spaceship sculptures and twinkling star lights. Even the communal area and bar is cutting-edge, with walls painted in abstract patterns, shag rugs and futuristic furniture.

Little India, Singapore



Do you know of any other unique or eccentric hotels, guesthouses or villas in Southeast Asia? If so, feel free to comment below.

Top Countries for Medical Tourism in Asia

Asia has long been a top tourist destination for its sunny beaches, warm climates and exotic culture. But in recent years, the number of people travelling to Asia for medical procedures has increased dramatically. There are many compelling reasons why people the world over are seeking medical attention abroad. President of the Medical Tourism Association, Renée-Marie Stephano, says, “For US patients, they tend to travel abroad in search of a value in pricing for the treatments and procedures they need. Also, in many cases there may be options that are not FDA approved so they seek out options where they can receive this procedure. For Canadians, long waiting periods for treatment force them to seek treatment abroad.” Other reasons may include a lack of availability of quality healthcare in one’s home country, or the simple desire to combine a holiday with medical care. Asia is at the head of the pack for medical tourism due to the availability of excellent healthcare centres, highly qualified and internationally accredited doctors and nurses, and considerably low costs of medical treatments and procedures.


Hospital in Thailand


Thailand is one of the true pioneers of medical tourism in Asia. During the 1980s and 1990s the country invested heavily in new medical technologies and encouraged medical students and specialists to study and become certified abroad. After the Asian financial crisis of 1997, the country took advantage of their well-developed medical infrastructure, and began marketing their health services to international patients seeking high quality, yet low cost health care. Today, millions of international patients come to Thailand for a broad range of treatments including cardiology, oncology, ophthalmology, and spinal surgery.




Bumrungrad International Hospital in Bangkok is Asia’s largest private hospital, and was the first centre in Thailand to become internationally accredited with Joint Commission International (JCI), an organization dedicated to upholding the highest international standards of healthcare safety and quality. Bumrungrad treats approximately 420,000 international patients from 190 different countries every year, and offers facilities and services for international patients that are second to none. Services include the International Medical Coordination Center that deals specifically with medical traveller’s needs, 109 interpreters in a range of languages, an airport transfer desk at the arrival area in Suvarnabhumi Airport and two residential facilities with serviced apartments for patients and family members.

Another leader in the healthcare tourism industry in Thailand is the Bangkok Hospital Group, one of the biggest healthcare providers in Southeast Asia with eighteen private hospitals across the country. Many medical travellers opt for treatment in one of the nine Phuket locations in order to have post-treatment access to the beautiful beaches and spas on the island.


Kata Beach Phuket


Besides high quality healthcare at comparatively low prices, medical travellers come to Thailand for renowned traditional treatments like Thai massage and herbal remedies, the pleasant climate, which can aid in recuperation, and the warm hospitality of the Thai people.


Top notch healthcare is not the first thing that comes to mind when most people think of India, but in fact, India is a global leader in medical tourism. According to the Confederation of Indian Industry, the revenue from the medical tourism market in India is predicted to grow to $2 billion by 2012. Reasons for this steady growth are the large number of world-class healthcare facilities and exceptionally skilled, internationally accredited medical professionals across the country.


Gleneagles Apollo Hospital


One of India’s most trusted organizations for international medical travellers is the Apollo Hospitals Group, a network of 50 hospitals across India that specialize in cardiology, cancer treatment, organ transplants and assisted reproduction. The standards here are high; seven centres are JCI accredited and Apollo Chennai was the first Indian hospital to receive certification from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). With a whopping 100,000 heart surgeries, 746 organ transplants, and thousands of hip resurfacing surgeries under their belt, Apollo is one of the most experienced centres in the world in terms of volume of medical procedures. And the incredibly high 90-99% success rates are on par with Western medical standards. In addition, the organization is celebrated for its advanced medical research and cutting edge medical technology.


Outrigger on Cola beach


The number one draw to India for most medical tourists is the extremely low prices of high quality medical procedures and surgeries, with costs averaging one tenth of what a patient would pay in the United States or Europe. For example, Michael Munz, from the United States, recently underwent cardiac surgery at the Apollo Hospital in Chennai and reports, “The cost here was about $12,000 (USD) total as opposed to $100,000  plus in the States. The $12,000 here included the treatment, airfare to and from India, as well as two weeks of recuperation at a seaside resort.”


In addition to being one of Southeast Asia’s premier holiday destinations, Malaysia is also ahead of the game when it comes to health tourism. Low costs, ease of entry into the country, multicultural and multi-lingual staff and experienced specialists with internationally recognized qualifications are just a few of the reasons patients may choose Malaysia for medical treatment.


Beach in Penang, Malaysia


Gleneagles Kuala Lumpur is one of Malaysia’s most respected and reputable hospitals, and has been treating local and international patients for fifteen years in their state-of-the-art facilities, with a focus on cardiology, gynaecology, fertility and executive screening for disease prevention. Over 90% of the multi-lingual doctors and nurses have studied and trained in Western countries, such as the United Kingdom, The United States, and Australia. In addition, the centre has received accreditation from both ISO and the prestigious Malaysian Society for Quality in Health. Like many of Malaysia’s medical centres that cater to international health travellers, Gleneagles provides embassy and visa assistance, flight reservation and accommodation bookings and optional post-treatment tours. The hospital is also affiliated with a large number of insurance companies such as Medisave in Singapore, MediTravel in Indonesia and AIA in Hong Kong, and can help patients arrange medical coverage prior to treatment.

Malaysia also offers health travellers a range of alternative medicine options, such as traditional Chinese medicine, Ayurveda, Shiatsu, reflexology and acupuncture, and the country is well known for its outstanding spas, beach resorts, and nature retreats.


Safety, efficiency, and excellent healthcare are all qualities that Singapore possesses, and as such, it has become a major international player in the globalization of healthcare. In 2003 the Ministry of Health joined forces with three other government agencies to form SingaporeMedicine, a partnership devoted to strengthening and promoting Singapore’s position as Asia’s leading world-class medical hub. According to their reports, Singapore receives over 400,000 medical tourists per year. With outstanding clinics, groundbreaking research centres, and a wealth of world-class physicians, it’s no surprise that travellers flock to Singapore for a range of treatments.


Singapore Skyline From Marina Bay Sands Rooftop


The Parkway Group owns three hospitals in Singapore that are at the forefront of the international healthcare travel industry, Mount Elizabeth, Gleneagles and Parkway East. These three hospitals were the first hospitals in the Asia-Pacific region to receive ISO international quality accreditation, and doctors here must go through a rigorous screening process to ensure they are suitably qualified to practice their speciality. Specialities at the three hospitals include cancer treatment, ophthalmology, neurology, fertility, and liver transplantation. The centres also undertake cutting-edge medical research, and a range of options that are not available elsewhere in the region. For example, Mount Elizabeth was the first centre in Southeast Asia to offer stem cell transplant therapy for acute cancers, a procedure that is not readily available many countries.

Medical travellers to Singapore can be assured of high standards, innovative technology, and relatively low costs compared to Western countries. In addition, Singapore is a cosmopolitan city where cultural differences are appreciated and accepted and English is widely spoken.

South Korea

As one of the world’s most scientifically and technologically advanced countries, it should come as no surprise that South Korea is one of Asia’s top medical tourism destinations. This East Asian nation is at the forefront of cutting edge technology, clinical research and pharmaceutical development. And with a great deal of support from the government in the form of hassle free visas for medical tourists, increased investment in medial technology, and even a Medical Tourism Information Center at Incheon International Airport, South Korea is well on its way to achieving its goal of being Asia’s chief medical tourism hub.


Hospital South Korea


The world’s largest JCI accredited hospital, Severance Hospital, part of the Yonsei University Health System, is no stranger to international health care. The 120-year-old hospital opened its International Health Care Center in 1962, and since then has been delivering first-rate medical treatment and services to international visitors from around the world. The centre is renowned for its robotic surgery techniques, preeminent Cancer Center, physical and occupational Rehabilitation Centre, cardiovascular surgeries, paediatric cancer treatments and diabetes research. In addition, the hospital maintains a strong focus on preventative healthcare, combining state of the art screening processes with centuries old Asian herbal remedies. The hospital is so well regarded that the US has designated it as their on-call hospital during presidential visits to South Korea.

Although the costs of medical treatment in South Korea are slightly higher than those in other medical tourism hotspots in Asia, the overall quality of facilities, services and medical personnel is excellent. And when compared to prices in Hong Kong, The United States or Europe, for example, the potential savings are significant.

According to Renne-Marie Stephano, “Patients seek affordability, accessibility, availability and perceived quality.” With all of these elements in place, each of these countries fit the bill for top medical tourism destinations in Asia. And with added perks like idyllic seaside resorts and retreats, natural alternative medicines, and cosmopolitan environments, these countries are also strong contenders for the world’s best medical travel destinations.


Cost Comparison of Surgical Treatments and Procedures

Cost is a major factor when considering medical treatment outside your home country. In his book, Patients Without Borders, author Josef Woodman describes what he calls ‘The $6,000 Rule’;  “If your total quote for local treatment (including consultations, procedures, and hospital stay) is US $6,000 or more, you’ll probably save money by traveling abroad for your care. If it’s less than US $6,000 you’re likely better off having treatment at home.” Woodman also suggests that potential medical travelers be aware of extra expenses, which can add to the total cost, such as airfare, international exit and entry fees, anesthesia, room fees, prescriptions, meals, and post-treatment lodging to name a few.

The following are comparisons of common treatments and procedures medical travelers undergo in Asia.

Data from Patients Without Borders

All prices are in USD and do not include accommodation or travel costs


Coronary Artery Bypass

US                                                $88,000

Thailand                                    $23,000

India                                                $9,500

Malaysia                                    $20,800

Singapore                                    $32,000

South Korea                                    $35,000


Valve Replacement With Bypass

US                                                $85,000

Thailand                                    $22,000

India                                                $8,500

Malaysia                                    $18,500

Singapore                                    $29,500

South Korea                                    $33,000


Hip Replacement

US                                                $33,000

Thailand                                    $13,000

India                                                $8,000

Malaysia                                    $12,500

Singapore                                    $17,000

South Korea                                    $15,500


Knee Replacement

US                                                $34,000

Thailand                                    $11,500

India                                                $7,500

Malaysia                                    $12,500

Singapore                                    $16,500

South Korea                                    $18,500


Spinal Fusion           

US                                                $41,000

Thailand                                    $16,000

India                                                $9,500

Malaysia                                    $17,900

Singapore                                    $20,500

South Korea                                    $22,000





In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) Cycle                                   

US                                                $15,000

Thailand                                    $6,500

India                                                $3,300

Malaysia                                    $7,200

Singapore                                    $9,500

South Korea                                    $7,500













Country Guide for Teaching English in Southeast Asia

Country Guide for Teaching English in Southeast Asia

Kids in Ou Dong, Cambodia


Brunei is an ideal place to teach English, as it is safe, peaceful and the students are polite and respectful of foreign teachers. It also doesn’t hurt that teachers are not charged income tax, so you take home your entire salary every month. Moreover, many schools will grant housing assistance, cutting down your costs even more. However, standards are quite high in Brunei, as most of the teaching jobs are at primary and secondary schools. Therefore, you may find it difficult to find a job without a B.Ed or teaching qualification from your home country.


•You must be a native speaker from Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand or the UK

•Bachelor’s degree, preferably a B.Ed, qualified teacher status such as a PGCE, Dip.T or accredited teaching certificate from your home state or province

•CELTA, TEFL and TESL certificates are not necessary, but definitely help

Work Visa:

You must have an employment visa to work in Brunei. Your school will arrange this for you, including all the paperwork and fees.

Expected Salary:

An average teaching salary in Brunei is anywhere from $42,000 BND to $77,000 BND per year (around $34,300 USD to $62,900 USD). Depending on the school, teacher packages might also include a housing allowance, settling in allowance and a bonus upon contract completion.



Back in the day, it was easy for backpackers to pick up work teaching English in Cambodia with no qualifications. However, times have changed, and schools in the kingdom have stepped up their game. Don’t expect to find a job if you haven’t invested in the proper education or certification prior to applying. The easiest places to find work are in Phnom Penh and Siam Reap. Overall, teaching in Cambodia is a pleasant experience, as the students are keen to learn, very respectful of teachers and quick to crack a smile or join in a laugh.


•Bachelor’s degree or higher

•CELTA, TEFL or TESL certificate

Work Visa:

You must have a business visa to work in Cambodia. You can get a 30-day business visa on arrival in Cambodia and extend it every month, however, most schools will arrange a 6-month or 1-year business visa for you, including all of the paperwork and fees.

Expected Salary:

Anywhere from USD $500 to $3,000 a month. ESL schools in Cambodia typically do not offer plane tickets, housing, settling in allowances or bonuses upon contract completion.


East Timor

East Timor is one of the world’s newest independent nations, and is one of those off the beaten path type places where you won’t find hoards of tourists. As such, it can be a very rewarding place to work. The students are eager to learn, the salaries are decent and it is easy to head out on your days off to some of the world’s best diving spots, beautiful retreats in the mountains and miles and miles of pristine sandy beaches.


•Bachelor’s degree or higher


•Teaching Experience

Work Visa:

You must have a proper work visa to teach in East Timor, however, this is easy enough to obtain. The school or organization that hires you will usually arrange the visa for you, including all paperwork and fees. You can apply for the visa from a consulate in your home country or from within East Timor.

Expected Salary:

Salaries generally start at around $20.00 an hour, but could be higher depending on the school or organization and your experience. Employers may also include round-trip airfare, health and medical insurance and temporary accommodation upon arrival in East Timor.



Your best chances of finding work teaching English in Indonesia will be in the capital city of Jakarta. Here you will find many schools with competitive salaries and benefits. Elsewhere, English First dominates the English teaching scene. Salaries in Indonesia for ESL teachers tend to be lower than other parts of Southeast Asia, and working visas are expensive and slightly difficult to procure. Therefore, many schools may ask you to cover the costs of your own visa or sign a contract agreeing to repay the cost of the visa if you leave before the agreed upon completion date.


•Must be a native English speaker from the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand

•Bachelor’s degree or higher

•CELTA, TEFL or TESL certificate

Work Visa:

To legally work in Indonesia, you must have a work visa called a KITAS. If you meet all of the requirements, your school should arrange this for you. However, the KITAS is very expensive (about $1,500 USD), so some schools may take the cost out of your paycheck in increments each month, ask you to pay up front for the visa and then pay you back in increments each month, or ask you to sign a contract so that if you leave before the contract finishes, you are obligated to pay back the remainder of the visa.

Expected Salary:

From USD $300 to $1,500 a month, depending on the school. This may or may not include a housing allowance or free board at a house shared with other teachers.



Teaching English in Laos is great for those who prefer a more laid-back vibe over the hustle and bustle of city life. Laos is one of the most chilled out countries in Southeast Asia, even in the capital city of Vientiane, where you will find the majority of jobs. In addition, the friendly people and spectacular scenery are added bonuses. You won’t get rich teaching in Laos, but the cost of living is low and the going is easy here.


•Bachelor’s degree or higher

•CELTA, TEFL, or TESL certificate. **Some schools may hire you on without these qualifications, however, you may be looking at low rates per hour and part-time work.

•Experience is preferred but not necessary

Work Visa:

You must have a business visa to legally work in Laos. Most teachers come in on a tourist visa, secure a job, and then arrange the business visa from within the country. Your employer must sponsor you for the business visa, and they will usually arrange everything for you, including paperwork and fees. That being said, some teachers have reported that certain schools expect teachers to pay for the visa themselves at a cost of about $300 USD per year.

Expected Salary:

Salaries vary in Laos. Inexperienced teachers or those with no teaching qualifications may be offered rates are as low as $9 to $10 USD per hour and only a few working classes a week. For experienced teachers with legitimate credentials, the average salary is about $800 to $1,000 USD per month. It is very rare to find a school in Laos that will pay for plane tickets, housing, insurance or offer contract completion bonuses.



Teachers in Malaysia are rewarded with amazing scenery, a fabulously vibrant mix of cultures and religions, modern cities and incredible food. ESL students in Malaysia range from young learners just learning the alphabet to university students studying advanced grammar in an effort to study or travel abroad.


•Native speakers from the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland are preferred

• Bachelor’s degree or higher

•CELTA, TEFL or TESL certificate

•Experience teaching

Work Visa:

You must have an Employment Pass to legally work in Malaysia. Most teachers enter the country on a tourist visa, secure a job, and then apply for the Employment Pass from within the country. Your employer must sponsor you for the EP, and they will typically arrange the paperwork and pay the fees. You must leave Malaysia to activate the Employment Pass.

Expected Salary:

Teaching salaries vary in Malaysia depending on the school or organization and your qualifications and experience. Average salaries range anywhere from $1,000 to $2,500 USD. Some schools will also include a housing allowance, plane tickets and medical insurance.


Once a destination far removed from the typical ESL teacher’s bucket list, Myanmar is now enjoying a period of change, and English language teaching positions are becoming more plentiful. Yangon is where you will find the bulk of English language teaching jobs in Myanmar, and although the salaries may not be as high as those in other countries in Southeast Asia, the people you meet and the unique experiences you will have here make up for it.


•Bachelor’s degree or higher

•CELTA, TEFL, or TESL certificate

**It should be noted that it is possible to find a teaching job in Myanmar without a degree or teaching qualifications. However, if you don’t have these basic requirements, don’t expect to make killer money or receive any benefits.

Work Visa:

You must have a business visa to teach English in Myanmar. If you secure a job before you enter the country, your employer will arrange the paperwork for a business visa for you. Once you have the sponsorship letters, you can apply for a business visa at any Myanmar embassy. The multiple entry business visa is valid for 6 months, but you must leave the country every 70 days to extend the visa.

Expected Salary:

The average salary for an English teacher in Myanmar hovers around $1,000 to $1,500 USD a month, although this varies depending on your qualifications and experience. Some schools will pay for your visa costs, housing, plane tickets and even bonuses upon contract completion. As more and more English language schools open in Yangon and beyond, salaries and benefits will most likely become more competitive.


It’s easy to see why so many people want to teach English in the Philippines. With over 7,000 islands, seemingly endless white sandy beaches, soaring mountains, verdant rice terraces, colorful culture and friendly locals, who wouldn’t want to work here? Unfortunately, finding ESL jobs in the Philippines is not easy. So many Filipino people speak excellent English that many schools prefer to hire locals rather than deal with the paperwork for employment visas for foreigners. However, if you really put your heart into it, you can find places that are willing to take on a foreign teacher.


•Bachelor’s degree or higher

•CELTA, TEFL, or TEFL certificate

Work Visa:

Once you find work in the Philippines, your employer will have to apply for an Alien Employment Permit, which takes about 14 days to process. After you have this permit, you can apply for an employment visa.

Expected Salary:

Salaries for ESL teachers in the Philippines are quite low compared to the cost of living, at about $800 to $1,000 USD per month. English language schools in the Philippines do not usually pay for flights, accommodation, or insurance. You may or may not get a bonus upon completion of your contract.


Once upon a time, it was easy for backpackers with few or no qualifications to pick up English teaching jobs in Thailand. In recent years though, the government and schools have become much more switched on, and now you need at least a bachelor’s degree to get your foot in the door in the competitive English teaching field. That being said, if you have the right qualifications, there are literally hundreds of teaching jobs available at any given time in Thailand.


•Must be a native English speaker from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, South Africa, the UK or USA

•Bachelor’s degree or higher

•CELTA, TEFL, or TESL certificate

Work Visa:

To work in Thailand, you must have a business visa and a work permit. It is quite common for teachers to enter Thailand on a 30-day tourist visa, find a job, and get a letter of sponsorship from their future employer for a business visa. Once you have the sponsorship letter, you must leave the country to apply for a business visa at a Thai embassy. For those who accept employment before arriving in the country, your employer will arrange the sponsorship paperwork for you, and you can apply for and enter Thailand on a Non-immigrant Business visa. The business visa is valid for 60 days, and can be extended for another 30 days.

Once you enter the country on your business visa, your employer must process the work permit for you. You do not have to leave the country to do this, and once you have the work permit, you can extend your business visa so that it is valid for one year. When your work permit expires, your business visa will also expire.

Expected Salary:

English teaching salaries in Thailand run the full gamut from pitifully meager to more than adequate to save money and have a great lifestyle. Your salary will depend on your qualifications, experience and the school or organization you work for. The best thing to do is try a number of different schools before making a decision. Some schools will also provide accommodation, round-trip airfare, medical insurance and bonuses upon contract completion.


Vietnam’s economy has been booming in recent years, and the influx of money means that more and more students are now able to afford foreign language classes. In addition, an increase in foreign investment and the popularity of Facebook (even though the website is banned in the country), have really motivated the younger generation to learn English as a second language. All this adds up to an increase in jobs and competitive salaries for ESL teachers in Vietnam.


•Must be a native English speaker from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, South Africa, the US or UK.

•Bachelor’s degree

•CELTA, TEFL, or TESL certificate

•Teaching experience

Work Visa:

To get a work visa in Vietnam, your employer must sponsor you. Most enter the country on a tourist visa, and then either find a job or wait for their employer to submit all the necessary documents. Once your employer has submitted the letter of sponsorship to the government, you have 3 months to submit a police background check, obtain a medical checkup from an approved hospital or clinic, and submit original copies of your degree and teaching certificates. If everything is in order, you will receive a multiple entry work visa that is valid for the length of your teaching contract. You do not have to leave the country to change your visa.

Expected Salary:

Teaching salaries in Vietnam are quite high compared to other countries in Southeast Asia. You can expect to make anywhere from $1,500 to $4,000 USD a month, depending on your qualifications, experience and the company that hires you on. Many schools will also offer a housing allowance, medical insurance, plane tickets and bonuses upon completion of your contract.