As former teacher/travelers in Asia ourselves we understand that while a period spent teaching abroad can be an unforgettable life experience in itself, to make a foreign teaching role truly memorable, teachers should take advantage of their down time to travel not just within the borders of their placement country, but also venture further afield to explore as much of that corner of the world as possible. With a culture and history and landscape as rich and diverse as that which is to be found in Asia, our teachers are presented with a unique opportunity to fully explore this vast and ancient continent during their year abroad.
February & Summer Holidays
This is your largest bulk of downtime. This is the best chance to take extended travel across China and the rest of Asia. As you will see from the above examples, if you plan on travelling around China, Changsha International Airport, Hunan’s capital, offers cheap direct flights to all major cities such as Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Hong Kong. Alternatively, taking the bullet train can be a great way to see other places along the way. We do recommend, however, using your days off to do most of your travel in China as this frees up time during February (when the largest human migration on earth happens) and summer holidays to experience what the rest of Asia has to offer.
Thankfully, if you are looking to travel around Asia, Changsha International Airport has now become an international hub and offers direct flights to some amazing cities including; Bangkok, Seoul, Tokyo, Bali, and even Sydney. Whether you are looking to experience the amazing beaches and party lifestyle that Thailand, Bali, Vietnam and Cambodia have to offer, the unique culture and landmarks in Japan and Korea, or visit some friends that are living down under, it can all be done easily during your (paid) time off. South East Asian countries are cheap as chips, provided you’re not too much of a spendthrift, so your money will go a long way.
Three weeks through Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia, for instance, will likely set you back only €600-800 for flights and accommodation. Of course, it depends on your desired level of comfort. A good itinerary might be to start in Bangkok and travel overland to Siem Reap in Cambodia. After that, take a short flight to Vietnam and enjoy either Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi before returning back to China. It's easily done in 3 weeks and it won't kill your finances.
The Philippines is also another option. Flights are incredibly cheap to any of the various Filipino cities from Changsha. Return flights are often only €100. The weather in February is beautiful and the beaches and sea are among the best.
Your summer holidays can give you a whole two months to travel. The summer holidays can also be used to travel further afield to the southern hemisphere as it's not overly expensive in July and August. The only thing to bear in mind is that it will be winter and you'll need to pack warm clothing. You could travel as far as Fiji and Tonga. A return flight from Changsha could cost under €400 to Sydney.
So whatever it is you’re after, Asia has it all to offer!!!
Oh The Places You'll Go!
From our teaching base of Hunan, travel within China by bus, train or air is cheap, quick and efficient. Options for travel beyond are also plentiful with numerous low-cost airlines now operating throughout Asia. Our quick guide below outlines some of the potential options. This is just a basic guide to give you an idea of the places you could potentially travel, possible durations, and some of the associated costs: