Thai language - including its various regional dialects - is a fascinating language with melodic sequences of sounds and words, and an exotic, ostensibly irritating alphabet and script, which have challenged me since my first ever visit to Thailand.
The "Thai language pages" on this website aim at giving those tourists and expats interested in learning a bit more of the language than just sawat-dee krap, choke dee or check bin, a basic introduction to the history, fundamental grammar, phonetics, and syntax of Thai language. We have also compiled an extra page where we've listed some basic vocabulary and many useful phrases. Further down on this page, you will also find lots of useful info on where to study Thai in Pattaya, how to obtain a Thai Education Visa (student visa) as well as links to many websites and blogs that help you learn Thai while sitting in front of your monitor screen and at no cost at all.
To start with : Thai might not be the easiest language to learn there is, but it's definitely not as hard as it might appear at first glance to develop some basic Thai language skills. I should admit that I'm neither a qualified Thai teacher nor have I ever studied Thai "professionally". Rather, I've picked up my most basic knowledge of Thai from textbooks, dictionaries, as well as everyday conversational practice with the locals, and only much later enrolled in a Thai language course at a local school. My Thai skills are still far from being "perfect", I must admit, yet good enough for everyday conversation; in addition, I can read and write Thai script reasonably well; not fluently enough unfortunately to read Thai-language books or newspapers as easily as I wish I could, however reasonably enough to write a simple letter, read a menu in a restaurant or a Thai-language street sign.
If you don't fancy studying on your own, or lack the necessary self-discipline for it, and prefer in-depth studies of Thai language, I would advise you to visit one of the local language schools listed below and start with an introductory Thai course, either group lessons or private tutoring, which is likely the most effective learning method for beginners. And even better, if you wish to stay in Thailand for a year or longer but otherwise don't qualify for a long-term visa, a perfect solution for you might be to enroll in a one-year Thai language course (180 lessons) to be eligible to apply for a one-year non-immigrant ED visa ("student visa"). Equipped with this visa, you do not only not have to leave Thailand every now and then but can stay here continually for a year and longer, but also learn Thai "professionally" and from scratch. Most of the language schools listed below offer the necessary one-year courses and also assist you with applying for a "student visa." For more details, please scroll further down.
If you're ambitious enough, however, and have sufficient faith in your self-discipline, you might as well start with simple textbooks studies, preferably assisted by audio CDs or software programs. There are also many websites and blogs that help you learn some basic Thai while sitting in front of your monitor screen and at no cost at all. Simply start with learning some basic Thai vocabulary, common words and phrases, then go out and turn the results of your "auto-lessons" into practice by simply trying to chat with the locals. No reason to be shy; just remember the less than mediocre English most locals speak! So if you don't fancy sitting in a classroom but still want to learn some basic Thai, the links we've compiled at the bottom of this page should quickly help you achieve this target even without attending a school.
To get a basic idea of the structure of Thai, including some fundamental grammar, you may also find our Introduction to Thai Language page quite helpful. We have also compiled an extra page where we've listed some basic Thai vocabulary and many useful phrases.
Thailand Education Visa (Non-Immigrant Visa "ED") There are approximately a dozen Thai language schools in the Pattaya area which offer a variety of Thai language courses, including for absolute beginners. And if you're interested in studying Thai language more "professionally" and enroll in a one-year Thai course (with a minimum of 180 hours) you'll also be able to apply for a one-year "student visa" (or Education Visa, ED visa.)
With this visa you won't have to leave Thailand every now and then but can stay here continually for a full year or longer. On arrival, students will initially be permitted to stay for 90 days. With additional paperwork provided by the school, students will then be able to extend their stay every 90 days at the immigration office for the duration of the course. Visa extensions cost 1,900 Baht every 90 days. You can enjoy studying Thai and at the same time need not worry about making any visa runs.
The Ministry of Education make no distinction among students coming from different countries or continents; all nationalities qualify for the Thai education visa. However, nationals of India, China, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Iran, and Middle Eastern countries, need to apply for this visa in their respective home countries. Students from 12 to 99-year-old qualify for an ED visa.
Students can usually study Thai for five years using the same ED visa; however, every year you'll need to obtain a new letter from the Ministry of Education. With this letter there's no need to leave the kingdom in order to obtain a new ED visa but, of course, you'll need to renew your one-year Thai course if you want to continue your studies.
Most Thai language schools in Pattaya will charge around 25,000 Thai Baht for the one-year Thai course, i.e. 180 lessons over the course of one year. Group lessons are usually restricted to not more than 10 students per group.
Once you have enrolled in a one-year Thai course, your school will need to apply for a letter from the Ministry of Education requesting the one-year student visa for you, confirming that you are accepted to the programme and indicating the date when you will begin your studies. This official acceptance letter is the primary legal requirement for applying for a student visa. It usually takes between two and five weeks to wait for this letter. Without this letter from the education ministry, you won't be able to obtain the desired visa!
You will then have to travel to the nearest Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate to apply for the visa. This means that if you should be in Thailand already, you will have to leave the country again to apply for the visa. Visa application cannot be proceeded locally. At the embassy, you'll need to submit your acceptance letter along with your passport, a fully-filled visa application form, and passport-sized photographs. The visa fee for a single-entry Non-Immigrant ED visa is 2,000 Baht.
An Education Visa is valid for one year in total; however, when you get this visa for the first time, it is only valid for 90 days.
Once you have obtained your visa, you'll need to come back to your school, which will then apply for a second letter from the Education Ministry certifying your enrolment. This letter will allow you to make 90-day visa extensions at a local immigration bureau for the duration of the course. No visa runs are required; however, you will need to extend your visa every 90 days. Visa extensions cost 1,900 Baht each time.
Most Thai language schools around Pattaya will assist interested students in the visa application process, including people who are not in Thailand yet and have to apply for the visa in their home countries. Most local language schools will readily provide you with all necessary information and documentation required for a successful visa application via mail, email or phone.
Thai Language Schools In Pattaya A-Z
B.E.C. Language & Culture School
571/1 Moo 5, Pattaya-Naklua Road, North Pattaya, Tel. 038-421 919, 038-370 176-8
B.E.C. language and culture school provides a fun and fascinating Thai cultural program with Thai language courses for foreigners, as well as courses on Thai cooking and fruit carving, Thai dance and music, traditional Thai massage, Thai martial arts and yoga. B.E.C. Language & Culture School, Email firstname.lastname@example.org
CTA - Certified Translation Pattaya Co. Ltd. (Language School)
202/88 M. 9, Soi Paniadchang 10 (off Central Pattaya Road, next to Big C Extra), Pattaya Klang
Tel. 038-415 446, www.sprachschule-pattaya.de
German language school offering Thai and German courses. If you enroll in a full one-year course with 180 lessons (24,900 Baht including textbooks, CDs etc.) you can also apply for an ED Visa.
Easy ABC Language Centre and Nursery Co., Ltd.
391/127 Thappraya Road, Soi 11 (between South Pattaya and Jomtien) & Naklua Road
Tel. 038-251 952, 089-881-9873, www.easy-abc-th.com
Easy ABC offers German, English and computer courses, as well as introductory Thai courses for tourists, Thai crash courses for beginners, and courses for advanced students (single or group Thai courses and external lessons at your home in the greater Pattaya area). Students who enroll in a 180-hour Thai course are eligible to apply for a one-year education visa. Easy ABC's friendly and helpful multi-lingual staff will provide all the necessary documents from the Ministry of Education for you to successfully apply for an ED visa. A 180-hour Thai language course costs 25,900 Baht in the first year.
Excel Language Centre
565/49-50 Moo 10 (near Big C shopping mall in South Pattaya)
Tel. 038-413 725, 038-413 726, Email: email@example.com, www.excelanguage.com
Excel Language Centre is a new language school near Big C in South Pattaya. The school offers Thai language courses for foreigners, and English courses for Thai students. Their young, friendly and helpful service staff will answer any question you might have about learning Thai language or ED visa application. Foreign students who attend a full one-year Thai language course will be eligible to apply for a one-year ED visa. Excel Language Centre is a Ministry of Education (MOE) approved school.
KLS School (Koson Language School)
245/147 Pattaya 3rd Road (between Pattaya Klang and Pattaya Nua)
Tel. 038-413 340, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, www.kosonlanguageschool.com
KLS offers Thai language courses at three different levels (elementary, intermediate, advanced) and in various packages at very competitive rates. KLS also helps students who register for 180 lessons of Thai language study (tuition fees starting from 18,000 Baht) with the application process for a non-immigrant ED Visa - "the best way to stay in Thailand without worrying about visa runs."
LC International Languages & Computer School
Soi 6 (Soi Yodsak), Central Pattaya, Tel. 038-361 948-9, www.lcpattaya.com
LC Language School offers one-on-one tutoring and group lessons in a comfortable environment with friendly teachers and a fast and easy method that will have you reading, writing and speaking basic Thai in less than 60 hours. They also teach English, German, French, Italian, Chinese and Dutch, and offer various computer and internet courses. Students who register for 180 lessons of Thai language study will be eligible to apply for a one-year ED Visa.
Pattaya School of Languages & Computers (P.L.C.)
194/10-11 Moo 9, Central Pattaya Road, Pattaya Klang (between Big C Extra and Foodland)
Tel. 038-421 819, www.plcpattaya.com
P.L.C. offers various Thai language courses for foreigners in single, twin or group lessons, as well as lessons in English, Japanese, Chinese, Russian, French, German and Dutch language. Learn how to read, write and speak Thai with professional and experienced teachers. Prices for 20-hour Thai courses (group lessons) start at only 3,000 Thai Baht. Foreign students who enroll in a one-year Thai language course will be eligible to apply for an ED Visa.
PRO Language School
116/33 Moo 9, Central Pattaya Road (Pattaya Klang, near Big C Extra), Central Pattaya
Tel. 038-489 225-7, www.prolanguage.co.th
At PRO Language School Pattaya, you can study Thai, English, Russian, German, Japanese, or a number of other languages, in spacious, comfortable and air-conditioned classrooms or at your own location. The professional instructors combine solid and adaptable methods of teaching with updated material and technology. Students who register for 180 lessons of study and pay the full tuition fee of 23,000 Baht for the course will be eligible for a one-year ED Visa.
PROgress Language & Computer School
209/86-87 North Pattaya Rd., Pattaya Nua (next to Lukdod Shop on Soi Yume, roughly opposite the bus terminal), Tel. 038-370 263, 038-423 639, www.progresslanguage.com
PROgress Language & Computer School offers computer courses and lessons in Thai, German, English, Dutch, French, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, or even Swedish. Students who register for 180 lessons of Thai or English language study will be eligible for a one-year ED Visa. Tuition fees start from only 22,900 Baht (200 hours, group lessons) including all learning materials.
Success Language Center
128 Soi 1, Sri Racha, Tel. 038-771 000, 038-771 400, www.successlanguages.com
Thai, English, German and Japanese language courses for Thai and foreign learners. All teachers are professional, qualified and experienced native speakers.
Walen School of Thai
194/74-75 Soi Paniadchang (Soi Yume, opposite Big C Extra), Central Pattaya Road
Tel. 038-410 526, www.thaiwalen.com
The Walen School of Thai - with branches in Pattaya, Bangkok and Chiang Mai - offers affordable and extremely effective Thai language courses, which will have you reading, writing and speaking Thai sooner than you might expect. Students who enroll in a one-year Thai course are eligible to apply for a one-year ED visa. The school fee for 200 lessons is 24,960 Baht.
The Walen Method of teaching Thai is based on a natural learning process. In a question-answer format, the teacher will teach you many new words and how they are used in everyday language. As you answer questions, the teacher will help you if you find answering difficult and will revise it with you until you feel comfortable with the newly introduced work. Their teachers will constantly correct your pronunciation and tones, and right from the beginning you will also learn how to read Thai. It is easier than you think!
Useful Links: Online Thai Language Courses, Textbooks & Software Below you'll find a number of links to useful websites, blogs, free Thai language learning online resources, online dictionaries and software that can help you learn some basic Thai while just sitting in front of your monitor screen. You'll be surprised how much Thai you can pick up from the Internet only and without attending a school or paying any fees!