Phuket is Thailand’s only island province and it’s one of the world’s most famous travel destinations. With all that it has to offer, it’s no wonder why so many travelers take the leap to find a job teaching English in Phuket, Thailand.
Phuket is so big that it offers vastly different experiences depending on where you stay. Patong is Phuket’s hub of tourism and a raucous nightlife. There are also no fewer than six major areas along Phuket’s west coast and they offer beautiful beaches, lovely family options and a quieter atmosphere. Areas such as Chalong and Rawai have large expat communities catering to the dive and muay Thai enthusiasts. Phuket’s northeast area offers the island’s most authentic feel and that extends all the way down to Phuket Town—where you’ll find TEFL Campus.
Without exaggerating, teachers can work on Phuket for years without seeing all Phuket has to offer. Phuket honestly does have something for nearly everyone—particularly outdoor enthusiasts, beach lovers, and those who like a cosmopolitan social scene.
Take it from LonelyPlanet, Phuket Town is the island’s cultural capital.
Located on Phuket’s east coast, Phuket Town lacks the tourist trap feel many get in Patong and other areas of Phuket’s west coast. TEFL Campus is in the middle of Phuket in Phuket Town and staying here during the course offers a more authentic peek into everyday Thai life.
Phuket Town is a sizable urban area, full of infrastructure, shops, schools, government offices, restaurants, and accommodation. It’s also got plenty of opportunities for shopping, which range from local markets to high-end malls. It’s also a major hub for public transportation around Phuket. Within Phuket Town is the historical Old Town district, with its streets that are lined with colorful shops and local restaurants. You can walk the streets of Old Town and take pictures in front of magnificent murals and gorgeous Sino-Portuguese architecture.
There are plenty of opportunities for teaching English in Phuket, Thailand and the island is home to well over 1,000 foreign teachers. EFL teaching jobs are available in language centers, government schools, private schools, international schools and daycare centers. Both foreigners and locals teach at the schools, which results in a good mix of local and international teaching staff at most schools.
The vast majority of TEFL jobs in Phuket are in Phuket Town, though there are quite a few schools found in other areas. We highly suggest finding a house or apartment as close to your employer as possible. This will help to minimize the drive time, as well as the hassles and dangers that go along with it. On the weekend and days off, the beach is never far away.
The best part of expat life on Phuket is the ability to dip into and out of Thai culture. You can enjoy local Thai food and music, and maybe practice your Thai language skills with Thai friends one night, and then go smash some Western food with your fellow expat teachers the next. You can also choose to live in a condo block with loads of other Westerners or find a quiet house to rent in the middle of a neighborhood that may not have another foreigner in the entire area.
In all honesty, this is biggest downside to teaching English in Phuket, Thailand. Phuket’s lack of public transport means independent modes of transportation are practically mandatory and traffic is often congested in certain areas. Four-wheel taxis (called tuk-tuks) are common but expensive; motorcycle taxis are cheaper.
Driving a motorbike (scooter, motorcycle, etc.) is by far the most common way teachers on Phuket get around. It can be scary at first, but teachers soon find themselves joining the locals and zigzagging their way through the streets; just don’t forget to wear a helmet and get licensed as soon as possible. Make no mistake about it, driving a motorbike in Thailand is risky and should not be entered into without proper preparation and good insurance.
Phuket has one international airport (HKT), two domestic bus terminals, a few major ports/piers, but it does not have a train station. Local busses are cheap (often as low as US$ 1 per journey) but hot and often unreliable. As far as private transportation, there are readily available taxis, motorbike taxis, and tuk tuks. There is also the option of booking a taxi through Grab, the Uber of Phuket.
Like much of Thailand’s southern region, Phuket sees only two distinct seasons: dry and wet, with both being rather hot.
Within the wet season, you’ll find two monsoon seasons. The first runs from May to August, before the second comes in and lasts through October. Don’t fret though, aside from major low-pressure systems or actual monsoon storms, rains come and go rather quickly. Sunny parts of the day are not uncommon and even consecutive sunny days are there to be had. The best part about the rainy season is that it brings cooler temperatures—as well as much needed fresh water.
The dry season coincides with the much of the high season for tourism. From November to February sees dry weather with slightly cooler temps, before March brings the heat which doesn’t subside until May’s rain comes.
Access to world class beaches might be the best part of teaching English in Phuket, Thailand. No, you won’t step out of your door and walk onto a beach. And no, you won’t be working at a school that has seaside access. However, getting down to the beach on days off is ridiculously easy.
The best beaches on Phuket include Naiharn, Kata, Karon, Bang Tao and Mai Khao. There are plenty others, but those are the most popular with TEFL teachers living on Phuket. Depending where you live, these are a 10 to 25-minute drive away. While you’re taking the TEFL certification course, it might be best to check out Ao Yon, which is the closes swimming beach to Phuket Town.
In addition to the fun you’ll have exploring Phuket, you can also go for a weekend getaway to great island destinations such as the Phi Phi Islands, Similan Islands, and Koh Yao Noi (or Koh Yao Yai. All of these are a short boat journey away and offer great opportunities for snorkeling, scuba diving, island hopping, or just relaxing in a hammock outside your bungalow.
If islands aren’t your thing, neighboring provinces such as Phang Nga and Krabi offer loads of natural beauty. Nestled inside tall limestone cliffs, Phang Nga Town has an otherworldly feel. Phang Nga is also home to the floating village of Koh Panee. Krabi is like Phuket’s little sister and offers a myriad of tours to Railay Beach, Emerald Cave and islands further south.
Incredible viewpoints in Phuket Town are found atop Rang Hill (Khao Rang) and Monkey Hill (Khao Doh Saeh). Rang Hill overlooks Phuket Town, as well as southern Phuket. Monkey Hill is exactly as it sounds: a hill full of monkeys! Enjoy a view of town while hanging out with some monkeys. Other viewpoints around Phuket are Promthep Cape, Big Buddha, and Khao Khad.