How to Make Some Extra Cash on Holiday in Thailand


Many western long-term travelers and backpackers come to Thailand and stay for a few months or longer. While initially having enough money, some find themselves running out and needing to find a way to make extra money while still in Thailand. Most jobs in Thailand are out of bounds for foreigners as the Thai government blocks them. But, with westerners being in demand for certain jobs, there are ways to make money while still vacationing in Thailand. Follow these tips and you’ll find you can still enjoy your Thailand holiday while making a bit of cash on the side.

Modeling – A fair number of backpackers and long-term travelers on vacation fall into modeling in Thailand. Not in many other Thai cities, but in Bangkok, you’ll find modeling agencies on the lookout for western men and women in their 20s and early 30s to do a spot of modeling. Print work, catwalk modeling, even TV commercials all utilize western models so, if you’re thin, relatively tall and in good shape, making some extra money modeling could be a great gig for you.

Look in the free newspapers around Bangkok for ads from modeling agencies and sign up with a couple. Several female western friends tell me there’s so much work for western models in Bangkok, they’re consistently turning work down as they want to enjoy their vacation too.

Acting – Just like modeling, acting for western long-term travelers in Bangkok is becoming fashionable. Thai TV and movie production companies are often looking for westerners of all ages to do a short-term acting gig. Many are just for the day, filming a TV commercial (Thai Airways has filmed a few of these) or a walk-on role in a Thai TV series. One of my friends gets acting roles a couple of times a month and with an average payment of 4,000 to 10,000 baht ($130-$300) for a day’s work,

it’s a great way to make some extra cash. Again, look for ads in the Bangkok free newspapers. Just make sure you don’t accidentally go for an open-call for a porn movie. Not unless you want to, that is.

Teaching – While teaching without a work permit in Thailand is technically illegal, many western travelers do it for a few months or longer, just on evenings and weekends. The language schools in Thailand are often looking for young teachers to teach kids a few hours a week. Payment for low-level teaching (ie: for people with not much experience) is usually around 250-400 baht ($7.80-12) per hour with lower rates outside Bangkok.

As a room in a typical travelers hotel or guest house while on vacation can be as cheap as 300 baht per night, just working two hours in an evening can pay for your hotel room, plus food, transportation and entertainment. Sign up with a couple of teaching agencies and see what work they have available.

DJ in Night Clubs – Western DJs are all the rage in Bangkok and also in the beach resorts of Thailand. If you have any DJ experience and want to make some extra money while on vacation, hit a few nightclubs during the peak hours and talk to the manager. If they’re looking for hot, new talent they may give you a tryout just to see how you work out. A couple of DJs have done so well at this, they’re now permanently at specific clubs and make good money doing it. DJ work is great too for those who like the nightlife.

Sell on EBay – A fair number of western travelers on vacation buy Thai products in Thailand and then sell them on EBay to fund the rest of their vacation. Simply buy a few items you think might sell, take photos and list them on EBay. When they sell, the money goes into your PayPal account and you pack and ship them. Easy as that.

Just be aware, if you don’t sell them you’re stuck with them and out the money you initially paid. So be careful to do your research first, to see what’s selling. Buying products at Platinum mall, Chatuchak Market and Bobae market in Bangkok are great places to start.

You do have to be careful working in Thailand as a westerner, as most jobs are closed to foreigners. But, with jobs in the entertainment and teaching industries requiring foreigners, and no restrictions on selling online, it’s often quite easy for a western traveler with a little hutzpa to get a good and fun job. Even if it is only to make some extra money while you’re on vacation.

Buy Products at Chatuchak Market to sell on internet – Photo copyright Edwin.11 – Creative Commons License