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Thai Language Schools in Pattaya

Thai Language Schools in Pattaya

Sourcing a Thai language school in Pattaya…

On moving to Pattaya one of my first orders of business was to find a decent Thai language school that could fulfill my two main requirements: provide me with a 1 year education visa and be able to teach me to speak Thai competently.

While the Education Visa is a necessity the actual learning of the Thai language is a goal anyone seeking to to live, or stay long term, in Thailand should have.

As I have chosen to live in Pattaya the schools I will be reviewing are all Pattaya based but some do have offices in Bangkok and Chiang Mai as well. While there are a multitude of Thai language schools in Pattaya I have chosen the top 3 schools in the area based on ease of access, variety of schedules and payment plans and the fact that these three schools all offered a 1 year student visa.

Disclaimer: The following review of Thai language courses offered in Pattaya is based on my personal experience attending a free class at each school and talking with both representatives of the school and students, as well as looking over their teaching materials. These reviews constitute my opinions and my opinions only, your experience may differ.

Also keep in mind that everyone has a different learning curve and style and what may work well for one student doesn’t necessarily work well for another. Anyone interested in learning the Thai language while in Thailand should do their homework and look into the various schools/teachers available and if possible sit in on a free class to get a feel for the teachers teaching style and the methods used by the school. Only then can you make an informed decision as to what is best for you.

Also note that all the free classes I sat in on were beginner’s courses which had all just started at the beginning of the week and at most had only a few classes under their belt.

Review: Thai language schools in Pattaya…

PLC: Pattaya School of Languages and Computers

Location: 194/10-11 Moo 9 Pattaya Klang Road

Info: As the name suggests PLC offers a wide variety of classes from Language to computers and web design. The representatives I spoke to were well-informed about classes, schedules and cost.

Materials: The lessons in the text book seemed to flow together nicely and the reviews at the end of each lesson were very helpful. Since I am new to learning Thai I can’t give a comprehensive report on the text book used but in my opinion I could easily follow the lessons which were in English and Thai with phonetic spellings and tone marks which helped to get pronunciation correct.

Teacher: The teacher who taught the free class I attended was very knowledgeable and spoke both English and Thai fluently. She took her time going through the lessons to make sure everyone understood the lesson. She also corrected bad pronunciation.

Students: Students seemed eager to start class and seemed to have a good grasp of vocabulary and speaking small sentences.

Class: This was a group class that consisted of 8 people. PLC also offers individual classes and smaller classes for a different fee.

Schedule: Classes are offered Monday through Friday at varying times to fit any schedule.

Cost: Learning Thai in a group class will cost you 3000 baht for 20 hours, 9000 baht for 60 hours or 17,000 baht for 120 which includes a 1 year Education Visa. There is a 100 baht nonrefundable registration fee for all classes.

My Take: The class, teacher and method seem to be put together well but the class was rather boring, sticking strictly to the materials at hand. I think I could learn to speak Thai well here but I worry that I might lose interest over time.

Pro Language

Location: 116/33 Moo.9 Central Pattaya Road (Pattaya Klang)

Info: Pro Language is another outfit that has offices in Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Pattaya. Their representatives were very knowledgeable about classes, schedule and pricing and even went the extra mile to make sure I learned a little Thai while signing up for the free class.

Materials: The course book is well laid out and lessons flow easily one into the next with reviews and vocabulary at the end of each lesson. The lessons are laid out in both Thai and English with phonetic spellings and tone marks to get the pronunciations correct. The beginner’s material actually has you dealing with not only words but sentence structure with later lessons dealing with reading and writing Thai.

Teacher: While the teacher followed the lesson plan he would often deviate from the lesson bringing students real lives into the examples and using real places in Pattaya to make his point. The class was much more interactive with the students being asked simple questions in Thai and giving the responses back in Thai using sentences and proper sentence structure. Emphasis was there when it came to pronunciation, tone and sentence structure.

Students: Seemed eager for class, showed great participation and had very good vocabulary and sentence skills.

Class: The class was small at just 4 people which made for a much more personal experience.

Schedule: Classes are offered 7 days a week at varying times to fit any schedule.
Cost: Group pricing starts at 9000 baht for 60 lessons up to 25,000 baht for 180 lessons and a 1 year Education Visa.

My Take: My teacher was very knowledgeable and both fluent in Thai and English. The materials are easy to follow so there should be no problem studying on your own. The class is very interactive and hands on which for me is very conducive for learning. The teacher made me feel like I was getting a one on one lesson and often used examples from the student’s lives to teach lessons which made the lesson much more personal and easy to remember.

Callan & Walen

Location: 194/74 Soi Paniad Chang Moo.9 Central Pattayaq Road (Pattaya Klang)

Info: Callan & Walen is a very well known School both in Pattaya and Bangkok. Their representatives were very knowledgeable about classes, schedule and pricing and the offices were very nice.

Materials: The course book seemed very well put together but unfortunately there was no phonetic spellings and much of the course book is in Thai. This is in fact part of the Walen method in which they get you to start reading Thai early on and not rely on phonetic spellings. While this may be good in theory I think a little help in the beginning is paramount when starting off with Thai. One worry is that I would be lost with the materials when studying on my own.

Teacher: The teacher seemed to follow an inflexible lesson plan that hinges on mostly repetition of words. While this method may work well for others I can’t see where this would help me to speak Thai in the long run. The teacher seemed almost mechanical and I didn’t hear her correct the pronunciation of any of the students during the class.

Students: Seemed mechanical but had a good vocabulary although sometimes pronunciation was off.

Class: The class size was nice at 6 people but you would think with that few people there would be more interaction going on between students and teacher, there wasn’t much if any.

Schedule: Classes are on offer 7 days a week with lessons to fit any schedule.

Cost: Group lessons start at 9900 baht for 60 lessons, 19,200 baht for 120 lessons and 24,960 baht for 180 lessons which includes a 1 year Education Visa.

My Take: While the class size is perfect I don’t feel their method of teaching will work for me. Repetition can be a good thing but without sentence structure and pronunciation into the mix I feel I would be wasting my time. A strong vocabulary is important but if I can’t put that vocabulary into proper form then I don’t think I’ll be speaking Thai.

My choice of a Thai language school in Pattaya…

After sitting in on free classes offered by these schools I decided to go with Pro Language as their methods, materials and teachers really suited my style of learning and I feel I will get the most out of their classes.

This doesn’t mean the other schools aren’t worthwhile. If you are thinking about learning the Thai language in Pattaya I encourage you to sit in on the free classes offered by these schools. You may find that one of the other methods suits your learning style better. You may also have different teachers than I had for each class and they may make the learning experience much different than what I observed.

Whatever you choose, making the choice to learn the Thai language is a daunting one but one that I think will make your experience in Thailand all the richer.

Talen (AKA Tim Bull)

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26 Comments

  1. Well done Talen. I’m glad that you found something to suit your learning style. Pro language does sound like a good choice; I hope you keep providing updates of your progress. I also think that Pro Language should offer you a discount for your nice review :-)

  2. I’m starting to wonder if I am paying too much? :( I hope it’s a case of getting what I paid for. Time will tell.

    Talen, when the course outline states ‘one year visa included’ does this mean just the letter for immigration…or the actual fees attached? And, any idea what those fees are?

  3. Thanks Paul, I will be updating my progress both here and on Thailand, Land of Smiles so everyone can get an idea of how I am progressing or not progressing as it were.

    Snap Snap, the schools just take care of all the paperwork involved to get the 1 year ED Visa you still have to pay all the immigration fees involved.

  4. I’ve been looking forward to getting Talen’s on-the-ground views about learning Thai for awhile. We’ve both been patiently waiting for his arrival, and now here we are. Yeah!

    Ok. I lied. Neither of us have been particularly patient. But here we are anyway :-D

    Welcome to Thailand Talen. This is as real as life gets ;-)

  5. Cat, I’ve been looking forward having on the ground views. Had my second class today…I am still a little behind the rest of the class because I missed a few classes but I am catching up.

    The teacher doesn’t cut any slack either he was right in there asking me questions in Thai which made me freeze at first but now I am right there with the rest of the class answering back.

  6. Hi Talen,

    Good choice it seems.

    Regarding the student visa, how will you obtain this (besides having the right paperwork and such trivial stuff), in my business, my future dive students can only obtain these kind of visas in the West, none of the Thai Embassies in the surrounding countries here will issue a student visa. Enquiring minds do wonder!

    Good luck with your Thai language lessons. By the time we meet you’ll be fluent in comparison to me!

  7. Talen, sounds like you are going great guns with your Thai. And having Pookie to help will give you extra practice as well. Megga :-)

  8. Camille, All the schools are approved by the ministry of education. If approved by the ministry most foreign nationals can just cross the border into Laos or Cambodia and finish the deal at the Thai embassy.

    Cat, I don’t know about great guns but Pookie helping is great because the coursebook is helping her English as well.

  9. Talen you’ve written a good guide for Thai language schools in Pattaya. I have done a bit of Thai studying in Pattaya myself, but as you can probably guess, that was at The Classroom go go bar with a beer in my hand.

    Like you I would prefer the class size to be as small as possible providing the teaching methods suited me. Class interaction would have to be part of the teaching methods too.

    The lessons are very reasonably priced, about 150 baht a time. That pleases and surprises me as well. My Thai studying was a lot more expensive than that.

  10. Martyn, I have actually learned a bit of Thai at the Classroom :)

    The small class really works well and the interaction between the teacher and the students is great and really helping me learn.

    The price is pretty good and you won’t find anything cheaper that’s worthwhile.

  11. Was very interested in this article. I wish that the 1 year ED Visa had not been a criteria though, as this would have opened up more options that I would have liked to read your opinion on. Specifically, I would like to have seen the schools you did mention compared with AUA (at Dolphin roundabout). I have attended that school off and on for about 4 years now, so it would have been interesting to see a comparison involving that school. Last time I checked, AUA Bangkok DOES offer an ED visa while AUA Pattaya does not (I assume this is because many people in Pattaya are already on the retirement visa).

    Gene

  12. Gene, I have heard a lot of good things about AUA but unfortunately they didn’t seem to offer the ED visa. It would have been nice not to be constrained by that criteria but The ED visa played an integral part in my staying in Thailand.

    I hope after my first year I can check out more classes and write another review on Thai language classes in Pattaya.

  13. As a foreigner I ‘misunderstood’? the words in many course cost inclusions ‘One Year ED Visa’ on one particular website. Silly me! As far as I know, only the Thai Embassy can issue/approve visas. Language Institutes can only provide supporting documents.

    The AUA Chiang Mai website learnthaiinchiangmai.com/visaconcerns.htm states it offers visa support, the other AUA website http://www.auathailand.org/faqs.php states, it does not.

    Sorry about the prattle, I have visas on the brain at the moment.

  14. Yes, Visa “support” is probably a more accurate description. Even AUA Pattaya can give you a letter stating your course history, sort of like a transcript, which you can use as a support document for getting the ED Visa. In my experience, the honorary consulates (generally a law office) located in your home country, are very easy to deal with.

  15. Actually, it’s not just a letter that the ministry approved schools give to you for the ED VISA…they fill out all the paperwork for the visa and send it in to the Ministry of Education. The Ministry then either approves you for the ED visa or Doesn’t based on that paperwork and a check on your history. It has nothing to do with school transcripts.

  16. That’s funny, some 16 years I had my first Thai lessons in the Classroom as well. Must’ve been a popular joint!

  17. Well i admire that you checked out 3 schools in Pattaya but the largest language school on the eastern seaboard is CTLS Language School, I am in my 3rd year of study with them and i am reading and writing in Thai, I can and will recommend this school to anyone that asks, The Facilities are wonderful and the teachers are great.

  18. Shamrock, TLS Language School is in Bangkok. Correct? It hasn’t been reviewed yet but here’s the Thai Language Schools in Bangkok series. Todd Daniels is the author.

  19. I see that you missed Progress Language School as a candidate for learning Thai. It would only be fair to list us as a candidate since we attract about as many students as the ones you mentioned, and we are only one school. There must be a reason for that, I guess. We are located near the bus station on North Pattaya Road. Our prices are the lowest in Thailand, and that is not just a gimmick. We have clean, air con rooms, degreed teachers, and our visa services are as good as anywhere else: even better… and fast. I ask people to shop our school and compare. We aren’t perfect, but we’re aiming high. Our website will be up and running by the end of November. John, General Manager, Progress Language School 086-148-2966 (Local Pattaya). Thank you for letting me put some light on Progress.

  20. Hi John, I don’t know if Talen checked out your school, he’s out of touch at the moment. When he gets back I’ll point him your way.

    Note: I changed your name from ‘Progress Language School’ to ‘John’. It’ll keep you out of my spam folder…

  21. Hello Talen,

    I have to agree with your comments on Walen. I attended the classes there. I opted for the private 1 to 1 tuition. It is extremely repetative and very mechanical. You basically sit there and go through the book repeating with the teacher. Even if you dont fully understand something they just work through the book then loop back to the start and do it again. Dont get me wrong, my spoken Thai did improve and I can now read a little. However, I think this was due to the fact that most nights I spent a few hours going through everything at home rather than gains made in the Walen class. The method used is extremely boring and I ended up losing interest. I still have about 6 private lessons left but I just cant bring myself to go back and sit through such a boring course.
    I may well give Pro Language a go.

  22. I tested few school in Pattaya and I’ve been really disapointed.

    Then I try the Polyglot Club, this is a language exchange club and this is free. Once a week we meet to talk and practice language in a coffee. The real advantage of this club is that some teacher of different school are joining so you can meet and test them for free before to sign in a language school.

    Polyglot club – Pattaya / http://anchorcoworking.com/Events/polyglot-club.html

  23. Thank you Raymond. If you (or others attending) have the time, I’d love to share your experiences about the Pattaya Polyglot Club in a dedicated post on WLT.

  24. Have been a student at Walen thai, and that is not a good school. The teachers are on a very low level, and the system will not learn you how to speak thai. You have to have a high level before you arrive, and then you can learn more vocab. But if you are a beginner. Stay away. It’s a waste of money.

  25. Hard to believe this article is 6 years old. Still has a lot of good info in it. I’ll be doing some research on Thai language schools in Pattaya in November. This gives me a good start.

    Whatever happened to Talen (Tim)? He just kind of dropped off the face of the blogging world several years ago. I used to like reading his blog.

  26. Talen is back in the US and has since quit blogging. I miss his blogging as well … he’s on Facebook but his posts on his experiences in Thailand were great fun.

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