The best methods for learning the Thai language

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If you are planning to stay in Thailand, then learning Thai may be a good idea as it can be handy and help you survive long-term. Different methods of learning Thai can offer different benefits, and it really depends on what method is convenient depending on your needs.

Learning Thai with a mobile phone app

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If you’re a complete beginner who wants to familiarise yourself with the Thai language, using a mobile app is a great starting point. Simply search “learn Thai” on Google Play or Apple Store, and you’ll find various language-learning apps.

One of the best apps to learn Thai is the Ling app, One of the best is the Ling Language App, which is popular for its fun approach to language learning. Developed in Thailand, this app offers comprehensive lessons covering vocabulary, grammar, writing, and speaking in a gamified format. The interactive exercises and chatbot in the Ling app aid in improving pronunciation and listening skills through native speaker audio.

In addition, you can enjoy fun mini-games and lesson review features that make learning feel more enjoyable. The app also used linguistic research-backed methods, promising fluency in a short span of time.

For more information, visit Ling Language App’s website.

Learning at a Thai language school

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Attending a Thai language school may be for you if you have the time to go and the money. At school, you will get to study with other learners and practise in and out of the classroom. Most Thai teachers also offer one-on-one private lessons that can speed up your command of the language.

Most of the Thai language learning centres focus on serving 2 different purposes. One is for actually learning the Thai language, while the other is a bit more watered-down version of learning Thai as part of keeping an education visa. If you choose to get an education visa, the class pricing will be higher as it includes the visa.

In Bangkok, there are several language centres that can help you learn Thai. Duke Language School, Sumaa, and ALA Language School are known to be reputable. AUA Thai, which features a unique teaching style that was adapted from a famous algebra teaching method, is also a great option. Rak Thai Language’s method of teaching is similar to the Union Thai method, which was created over 40 years ago for the purpose of teaching missionaries to be fluent in the language.

Pro Language School is also another reputable language school to attend as well as Jentana & Associates. The latter school is great for those who want to learn specific Thai vocabularies, such as business, law, etc.

If you are dead-set on getting fluent in Thai, Chulalongkorn University has a Centre for Thai as a Foreign Language. For those enrolling in the programme, you can also obtain an education visa using this route. The programme is divided into several courses (updated 2024):

1. Intensive Thai Programme (On-site)
Price: 29,500 THB
Times: Monday to Friday, 09.00 to 12.00 (Level 1 to 4) and 13.00 to 16.00 (Level 5 to 9)
Duration: 100 hours/course (30 days)
Application deadline: February 1, April 1, June 1, August 1, October 1

2. Intensive Thai Online Course
Price: 23,000 THB
Times: Monday to Friday, 09.00 to 12.00 (Level 1 to 3) and 13.00 to 16.00 (Level 4 to 9)
Duration: 100 hours/course
Application deadline: February 1, April 1, June 1, August 1, October 1

3. Academic Thai for Advanced Learners
Price: 42,000 THB/1 module
Times: Monday to Friday, from 09.00 to 12.00 (lecture and practice) and 13.00 to 16.00 (langauge and culture activities)
Duration: 100 hours/module (30 days)
Application deadline: April 17, June 17, August 16, October 17

4. Thai for Mandarin Chinese speakers
Price: 45,000 THB
Times: Monday to Friday, 09.00 to 12.00 or 13.00 to 16.00

5. Basic Reading and Writing Thai Course
Price: 7,500 THB/level
Times: Every Saturday, 09.00 to 12.00
Duration: 30 hours (3 hours per class)
Application deadline: January 14, April 12, July 12, October 4

6. Communicative Thai for Beginners (Online Course)
Price: 9,500 THB
Times: Monday and Wednesday or Tuesday and Thursday, 18.00 to 20.00
Duration: 40 hours
Application deadline: January 1, April 1, July 1, October 2

Taking private tutoring

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Taking in-person, private classes or tutoring is probably the most effective way of learning the Thai language. As you can clearly hear the tones and get immediate feedback, if you have the funds, it may be worth the price. Bangkok’s Sumaa learning centre offers such classes at a starting cost of 39,000 baht. The course at Sumaa offers 60, 1-hour classes. And, if you just want to try out the course, you can pay for a minimum of 10 classes at 1,000 baht each, and then add more later at a rate of 650 baht per class.
Another option is hiring a freelance tutor. In Bangkok, rates for a private tutor range from 300 baht to 500 baht per hour.

Learning Thai online

The best methods for learning the Thai language | News by Thaiger
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Studying the Thai language online is another popular option. As you don’t have to leave the comforts of your home and can study whenever you want, it is a more convenient option for many. However, your motivation must be high as it is easy to put off studying using this method.

Online learning does have its cons, however, as the lack of physical and social interaction is evident. Immediate feedback from teachers is missing as well. is a reputable online learning platform for Thai and upon signing up, you get a free, 7-day premium class trial. Their lessons are divided into 4 different proficiency levels, allowing you to choose which one you think suits your skills the best. The lessons revolve around using the language practically, as they include everyday phrases that you can use in daily life.

The platform also offers cheat sheets, flashcards, word banks, and bonus apps for additional learning.
Learn Thai from a White Guy is also a popular online learning platform. Brett Whiteside, the “White Guy,” created his system that was based on 10+ years of direct experience and teaching Thai to foreigners. As a native English speaker, he is accustomed to the many questions and issues that non-native Thai speakers may face when learning the language. He also knows the problems associated with a speaker of a non-tonal language learning a tonal language.

His course is broken into 3 areas that are divided over 4 courses. Those areas include:

1. Read Thai
2. Learn common Thai sentences and phrases
3. Understand basic conversations

Those who enroll in the courses, get access to audio clips, examples, exercises and almost weekly supplemental material by email.

Online tutoring

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An online tutor is another great way to tackle the Thai language. A tutor can provide uninterrupted attention, while answering your specific questions. They can also teach you exactly what you want or need to know. As they are usually cheaper than taking private classes, it could be a great way to learn the language. is a great website that will allow you to choose your online Thai tutor. After choosing, you get a half-priced trial hour in which you can try out the tutor and lesson to see if it is right for you. If it is, you can go ahead and continue learning with your chosen teacher. If it is not, you can switch.

Reading Thai language books

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If you like to learn through reading books, this is a good option. However, beware of the pitfalls in learning the correct tones that are used in the Thai language. As you don’t have someone speaking to you or someone to assess your tonal skills, it could not be as efficient as some of the other methods listed. It is recommended to use books as a secondary resource due to the absence of hearing, seeing, and speaking to someone who can give you feedback.

So, which method do you think is best for you?



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