Thai letters are thought to originate from ancient Indian scripts

Anybody planning to stay in Thailand for an extended period of time might want to consider picking up some Thai. While the country certainly has the tourist infrastructure in place to make surviving with only English more than possible, a visit to Thailand becomes so much richer if you know how to speak some of the local lingo, as Thais are very appreciative of foreigners’ attempts to converse in their native tongue.

Spoken by over twenty million people, the Thai language has emerged as a sort of Southeast Asian lingua franca in recent years as migrant workers from neighboring countries flock to Thailand to take advantage of the opportunities that its growing economy provides. Part of the Tai-Kradai family of languages, Thai has been speculated to be distantly related to Chinese. Considering that it is a heavily tonal language like Chinese and the Thai ancestral home is thought to be somewhere in Southeastern China, there could be some truth to such speculation.

Learning Thai is easier than you might think. Plenty of foreigners living in Thailand have excellent command of the language. Thetones are not as intimidating as they seem at first and with relatively simple grammar and a beautiful phonetic alphabet, Thai makes a fine choice for those who are looking to master a new language. And there is no better place to do it than in Thailand. Many Thai schools will even offer visa sponsorship which is perfect for those who are planning to stay in the country for an extended period, yet don’t want to bother with monthly visa runs to the border.

Thai language schools in Thailand

Everyday Thai Language School – A popular Bangkok school offering reading, speaking, one-to-one and 10-day survival Thai courses. More>>

Chiang Mai University - Offers a 1-year certificate in Thai language and culture courtesy of Chiang Mai University. Educational visa is provided. More>>

AAA Thai – Offers education visa sponsorship for those students who enroll in Thai courses lasting at least three months. Group and private courses are offered; located in Bangkok. More>>

Piammitr Language School – In addition to Thai classes, this Bangkok school also offers Chinese and Japanese classes. Students who study here for at least eight months get visa sponsorship. More>>

TLA School – Conveniently located next to the Phaya Thai BTS in Bangkok, this Thai school has morning, afternoon, evening and and private courses available. Visa sponsorship is also offered. More>>

Talk Talk Language Chiang Mai – Those who enroll in 200 hours of group Thai lessons here will receive a one-year educational visa. Chinese courses are also offered. More>>

Unity Thai Language School – This language school in Bangkok takes a somewhat different approach by dividing its classes into separate modules that its students sign up for. Visa sponsorship available. More>>

Walen School of Thai – A popular chain Thai school that has branches in Bangkok, Pattaya, Chiang Mai and Phuket. Long-stay educational visas are offered to long-term students. More>>

Jentana & Associates Thai School – In addition to regularly scheduled courses, this Bangkok-based school also offers a free, 2-hour survival Thai course every month. More>>

AUA Language Center - Uses a successful immersion approach to language teaching by conducting all lessons completely in Thai. No English is ever used; located in Bangkok. More>>

Payap University, Chiang Mai - For those who want to learn Thai faster, this university in Chiang Mai has an intensive one-month, certificate-bearing course. More>>


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