What Jobs Can Westerners (Farangs) Do in Thailand Besides Teaching English?


The majority of westerners (known as ‘farangs’ in Thailand) come to Thailand because they love the country, not because they want to teach. As teaching is one of the few jobs westerners are allowed to do in Thailand, though, it’s what many of them get stuck with, whether they’re a good teacher or not.

A few years of teaching in Thailand, and most westerners are desperate to pack it in. But, with there beingĀ  few jobs in Thailand that westerners are allowed to do, other than teaching, what else do they do? And, if you’re a westerner, or farang as the Thais call us, and desperately want to get out of teaching in Thailand, what other jobs are there? Surprisingly, quite a few.

Own Your Own Business – I would venture a guess most westerners who get out of the teaching game in Thailand usually move on to opening their own business. With start up costs minimal and with many business opportunities in Thailand, opening your own business can be a good alternative to teaching.

Be warned though, unless you’re American and can open a business under the Amity Agreement, westerners are not legally allowed to own more than 49% of a Thai business. A Thai has to own the other 51%. This means you must absolutely trust the Thai you’re going into business with because, if push comes to shove, they have controlling interest.

With horror stories every year of westerners being taken to the cleaners by Thai business partners or Thai wives, who owned most of the business, be very sure you go into business with the right Thai.

Freelance Writing – Another good job opportunity is freelance writing. Some westerners decide to stop teaching and become a freelance writer instead. With many opportunities in Asian magazines and newspapers, as well as working for internet companies or US or European magazines and newspapers, freelance writing can be a good choice.

Of course, you have to be able to write, that’s a given. You also need to be good at sticking to deadlines and being able to motivate yourself, when you’d rather be having fun with your wife, boyfriend or friends. But, freelance writing does give you a lot of freedom to plan your life the way you want it and without having to deal with a Thai boss (that alone is worth it, in my mind).

Be an Actor – Weirdly, there’s quite a calling for western actors for Thai soap operas, movies and commercials. When i was teaching English in Thailand I met one westerner who had been acting in the Thai movie and TV industry for years.

Quite well known by Thais, from the looks he used to get when we traveled together on the sky train, he told me it was also a well paying job with fees of upwards of $300 a day depending on the gig. He was also opening his own restaurant with his Thai wife, but loved the acting and planned on doing it for many years to come.

Sales Jobs – Selling advertising space can be a lucrative job and seems to be one of the things westerners are actually allowed to do in Thailand. I’ve met two westerners in Thailand who started out at teachers and now work for advertising companies selling advertising. Of course, you have to have the personality for it but if you can talk to anyone and sell sand to the Arabs, then taking a sales job in Thailand might just be good for you.

Most teachers drop out of teaching in Thailand because the salaries are low and the work is difficult. After dealing with the craziness of most Thai schools, many westerners are desperate to get out of teaching and try another job. If you’re one of them, why not think about one of these four jobs in Thailand. Who knows, you might strike it big.

Photo – Why not open your own business – coffee shops in Thailand are incredibly popular – copyright Tasty Thailand