Chiang Mai, the former capital of Thailand is also known as the Rose of the North. Placed beautifully in the center of mountainscape and lush countryside, this city is characterized by its more peaceful attributes. Notably less populated than the capital, Bangkok, many tourists come each year to experience its splendor. With tropical climate, delectable Thai food, genuine locals, and hundreds of elaborate temples, this city is sure to steal any international worker’s heart. Along with the beauty, Chiang Mai has a wide array of significant needs and resume building job opportunities. Jobs in Chiang Mai are available for all willing to make this beautiful city their work abroad destination.
Jobs in Chiang Mai
Teaching jobs in Chiang Mai are the most common and most desirable opportunity for job seekers. These placements are especially appealing for recent graduates, and commonly begin with a TEFL certification course. TEFL courses are taken alongside colleagues through a local university or credible online program. Once TEFL certification in Chiang Mai is complete, teachers will be more able to fill one of hundreds of teaching job opportunities in Thailand. With a variety of populations and age groups longing to learn the English language, there is flexibility in regards to structure and students. Teaching jobs in Chiang Mai are also notably the highest paying position available.
NGO Work. This city, without question, has significant areas of need despite its nearby natural beauty and historical relevance. Along with need, comes the presence of non-governmental organizations, developed to respond to the cities various needs. Those looking to cultivate their career in the non-profit world, will certainly want to partake in NGO jobs in Chiang Mai. NGO organizations typically hire foreigners with backgrounds in areas ranging from marketing to social services. NGO interns will work alongside a local NGO working with specific populations, such as refugees, hill tribe populations, victims of trafficking and exploitation, and those living in poverty.
Sports. Thailand has soccer fever. With a love for international sports and a desire to participate in the action, local sporting teams are on the rise. For those who see getting paid to attend sporting events appealing, this opportunity is for you. Those who decide to work for a sporting organization will work as a scout, gather statistics, and of course attend the cities most action packed events, such as Thai boxing matches.
Life in Chiang Mai
The locals in Chiang Mai are always on the go and never seen without a smile on their face. In order to zip through the busy streets, locals commonly get around on motorbikes, so foreign workers will also have the opportunity to rent motorbikes and learn the art of driving abroad. A simpler and safer option surely would be to catch a ride on a Rot-Dang, the local form of a taxi, with a capacity of ten commuters at a time. Tuk Tuks, a more compact taxi, are more expensive than the latter but everyone should still try it at least once.
Workers from around the world call this beautiful city home. This large expat community gathers frequently to enjoy hometime bites and familiar activities. From ultimate frisbee to thin crust pizza, it’s not difficult to find a piece of home in Chiang Mai.
If nightlife is an incoming employee’s idea of self care, they surely won’t want to miss Nimmanhaemin Road for the most energetic clubs and cutting edge bites. Those who enjoy the outdoors shouldn't pass up the opportunity to hike the famous Doi Suthep mountain. The top of the mountain is not only home to one of the most famous historical sites in Buddhism, it also provides a breathtaking view of the city.
Food is a fundamental part of Thai culture, eating is a frequent occurrence. With small snacks and plates throughout the day, locals are commonly found pulling up to a street cart and ordering their favorite treat to go. While Western countries don't think as highly of street carts, they are the source of Thailand’s most authentic food, and most reasonably priced options too. Throughout the week there are a variety of outdoor markets around the city selling everything from handicrafts to food, but the Saturday walking market is by far the best.
Salary & Affordability
Those who decide to work abroad in Chiang Mai often find themselves amazed at the cost of living upon arrival. Without compromise, meals cost around $1 to 3 a plate, unless you decide to dine at a Western restaurant. Public transportation is $.50 on average, but walking is usually a great option within the walls of the city, and cheap entertainment is not hard to find either. When you put this all together and what do you get? A whole lot less than what the average foreigner earns working in Chiang Mai. The combination of low living costs and modest salaries allow foreign workers to travel to the nearby destinations in Thailand, in addition to having a way to pay back student loans (if present) or save a small portion of money.
Salaries offered to those working in Chiang Mai are remarkable. Although there are some job opportunities in Chiang Mai which require workers to cover minimal expenses, regardless of the amount earned foreign workers will surely be able to get by, and potentially save. Costs mainly surround TEFL certification courses in Chiang Mai, if individuals choose to complete them; but becoming TEFL certified isn’t only for teaching jobs in Chiang Mai, certification will open doors for jobs around the globe. Many find that this small fee ends up paying for itself very quickly.
Accommodation & Visas
Housing is not commonly offered alongside jobs in Chiang Mai. However, hiring organizations or companies and colleagues tend to be happy to assist new employees in the search for housing. Thankfully, Chiang Mai offers countless housing options to employees, visitors, and locals alike. Guest houses are a wonderful option for those who wish to have basic wear and tear taken care of while they enjoy modest accommodation and convenient locations. Guest houses cost about $10 per week and smaller hotels are pretty comparable as well. Apartments are also easily accessible, for those who really want to settle in Chiang Mai, with options in the mountains as well as directly in the heart of the city. A standard apartment can typically be rented for $200 a month with basic amenities included.
In order to work in Chiang Mai, an employee will need to apply for a work visa. Work visas require documentation and processing from the incoming employee and the organization in Thailand. All processing required before entry can be completed through the Thai Embassy in one's home country. In addition to the visa, a critical document called a work permit is also necessary. This document will be processed with the assistance of each organization in-country. When this document is obtained it is critical for foreign workers to carry it with them at all times to prevent any difficulty with the local immigration department.
Benefits & Challenges
- Safety. Chiang Mai is considerably safe compared to many of its surrounding cities. Foreign employees are highly valued and known to be protected greatly by local officials. As long as a worker is aware of their surroundings and takes basic safety measures, criminal activity should not pose any larger issues than it does it other cities throughout the world. Most crime tends to happen during nightlife activities, so foreign workers should use discretion and travel in groups.
- Language. Thai natives places a high value on the English language. While many of the older citizens don’t have strong English skills, the younger generation makes their commitment clear. It will not be difficult to find assistance in ordering food, developing your own Thai skills, or giving a cab driver directions while working in Chiang Mai.
- Culture & Religion. Thailand is a predominately Buddhist nation therefore many of the beliefs translate into cultural norms and expectations. Objects that don’t have significance in other areas of the world have vast importance here. In order for relationships to develop successfully (especially in the workplace), it’s vital to understand the levels of respect. With many forms of greeting based on age and social status, an employee may feel overwhelmed. It’s not expected that these traditions be mastered, but rather that one comes to work in Chiang Mai with an open mind and willingness to learn.
- Dress. While Western cultures don't place a high value on modesty, many Southeast Asian nations, including Thailand, do. Females especially should take the time to understand what wardrobe changes are necessary in the work environment. Males do not have as many guidelines, but should be mindful of their dress, despite the heat present when working in Chiang Mai.