Best Places in Asia to Teach, Live, and Earn

Best Places in Asia to Teach, Live, and Earn

Asia is a fascinating continent that has many places to explore. According to the United Nations, there are 48 countries in Asia. That’s a lot of options for the travelling teacher!

Some places offer a better package than others when it comes to quality of life, salary, accessibility to other places, and good teaching facilities. Here we will explore the top countries in Asia that provide a great combination of teaching, living, and earning (in no particular order).


One of the first places that come to mind when you think of “Asia” is the massive and ancient country of China. China is a fascinating place that has tonnes of intriguing traditions, and at the same time is finding its way into the modern world with a leading economy.

China consistently offers complete packages to foreign ESL teachers. Usually, these include accommodation, flights, and a high salary. Because of these benefits, teachers are able to save a significant amount of their earnings, often using these saving to travel or pay off student loans.

With many of China’s cities now being extremely modern, especially the ones that advertise for teachers, you can find everything you could ever need to sustain your current Western lifestyle, or even upgrade a bit. Or you may decide to take the more adventurous route and assimilate yourself into Chinese culture. The choice is yours!


Japan is often considered to be the most elite of Asian countries. Japan is very clean, very organised, and a favourite of EFL teachers. Positions are slightly more competitive than in other places, but that’s because they put a high value on their teachers and education in general.

Tokyo is Japan’s main hub given that the city is also the capital, and many teachers find themselves there. However, stepping outside of the massive technology-crazed city will lead to the side of Japan you probably have envisioned or seen in the movies.

Japan offers a simple high-quality lifestyle, a proportional salary with the cost of living, and high-tech teaching facilities.


Vietnam isn’t on too many teachers’ radars, but perhaps it’s better that way in order to keep it a secret! Salaries are high in comparison with living expenses, especially if you decide to live in a smaller city. Since Vietnamese people are so friendly, students are a pleasure to teach. Demand for teachers is high.

Vietnam has many of its own wonders and is largely a coastal country. Weekend and holiday escapes to the beach are very common, but Vietnam also makes for a great jumping-off point for visits to surrounding Asian countries. Vietnamese culture is interesting, and day-to-day life is always exciting.

South Korea

If you truly want a place that has it all, South Korea comes highly recommended. Competition is fierce for many schools because ESL teachers all want to teach in this country. Much like China, complete packages are the norm: housing, high salaries, flights, and other benefits.

South Korea is a very up-and-coming destination, and it is now a popular choice because it offers excellent living standards, many things to do and see, an interesting culture, and good teaching facilities. Teachers are well respected in the community.


Although Thailand rates rather low on the earning potential scale, the beauty of “land of smiles” entices many to live and teach here. You’ve probably seen all the beautiful pictures of beaches in Thailand, and of more remote areas. Teachers come looking for relaxation and paradise and since so many desire this lifestyle, it has driven salaries down. However, you will still make enough to live a moderate living situation, but don’t come looking to save.

Those who teach in Thailand are very happy with their choice, whether they are temporarily passing through or looking to stay for a longer period of time.

Want to teach in Thailand?


Singapore is another teaching destination in Asia that you don’t hear about too often. It’s said that 1 in every 10 people are millionaires. Whether this is actually true of not is up to further investigation, but it gives you an idea of the type of place you will be dealing with.

There’s always something to do or something going on in Singapore, so you’ll never be bored. Schools look for qualified teachers and offer extremely high salaries, but keep in mind that living expenses can easily skyrocket, too.

Singapore is a very modern place, and contrary to what you might expect, there is a lot of greenery and scenic nature spots to explore. When it comes to teaching, Singaporeans take great pride in their education system and have high expectations of all students.


The island of Taiwan tends to get forgotten or pushed to the back of the mind, but it definitely qualifies as one of the top countries to teach in Asia. Taiwan puts its own twist on Chinese culture, making it a fusion with its own identity.

English is a huge industry in Taiwan, so demand is high. There are all types of schools, making it so that there is something for everyone. Life in Taiwan can be hectic in the big cities, but the mountains and coast are never far away.

Click here for teaching jobs in Taiwan.

So there you have it. Some places might appeal to you more than others, but it really comes down to personal preference when deciding where to live (or where to live next). Hopefully though, you now have some more insights into some amazing Asian countries that are worth a try.

About the Author

Yvette Smith is a freelance writer and long-time EFL educator. She currently lives in Vietnam.