How to Learn Thai: 6 Convenient Ways to Learn Thai Effectively

Kelsey Wetherbee Last updated on January 18, 2023

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สวัสดีค่ะ If you’re learning Thai, finding the right way to study can be difficult. Not all major language companies make Thai apps and courses. And some that do, have sub-par material. This guide puts together the best resources available. Not everybody learns the same, so we included many different ways to help you on your language journey. From traditional methods like textbooks to more creative ways like YouTube videos, this list can help you find a resource that can help you learn Thai fast.

Best Thai App

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Best Thai Course

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Best Thai Tutors

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There are many reasons to learn Thai. First of all, it’s one of the most spoken languages in Asia and one of the most spoken languages in the world with over 60 million speakers. Known as the “Land of Smiles,” it’s an increasingly popular tourist destination. It has mountains, jungles, beautiful beaches and more. Learning Thai will make your trip to Thailand more enjoyable and give you a chance to speak with locals.

Perhaps a vacation isn’t long enough. Thailand has a huge community of foreigners that choose to live and work there. It’s a hub for digital nomads, as well as people that own a business or have retired there. Learning the language is essential for anyone living in a new country.

Even if you don’t plan to travel, learning Thai can be useful for talking with friends and family of Thai descent. The biggest population of Thai people outside of Thailand is in Los Angeles, California. There are also large Thai communities in countries like South Korea, Australia, Taiwan, Germany, and the United Kingdom.

How Long Will It Take You To Learn Thai?​

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How to Learn Thai: Follow These Steps to Become Fluent Fast!

Learning Thai doesn’t have to be difficult, but it does take hard work and dedication. One of the best ways to learn effectively is to create a language-learning routine and stick with it. Studying a little bit every day helps you see steady improvement and remember what you already learned.

Another useful tip is to use a variety of tools to study. One resource cannot sufficiently cover all the skills needed to learn a language. You can use an app, a book, take a class, and more. Be sure to include authentic Thai material in your studies, such as podcasts, newspapers, and tv shows. This will allow you to hear how Thai is spoken in a natural context. Now, let’s take a look at some of the best resources for learning Thai.

thai boats

Use the Best Thai Apps

Language apps are a popular way to learn Thai. They are easy to use and are an entertaining way to learn. There are apps to fit different learning styles. Some are more like games and can be addicting to use. Others have in-depth explanations and are better for serious learners. Pimsleur, Mondly, and Drops are good choices for a wide variety of learners and will help you learn Thai effectively.

Commitment: Low
Price: Low-Medium
Convenience: High

Look at more Thai apps

Pimsleur

Pimsleur is an excellent choice if you want to become conversational quickly. The focus is on pronunciation and conversation, and you’ll start speaking from the very first lesson. You also learn how to navigate everyday situations that you might encounter in Thailand. The lessons are audio-based so you can listen to them anywhere. Pimsleur offers a 7-day free trial, and you can also read more about the app in this Pimsleur review.

Mondly

Mondly is a good choice for beginners because you learn the basics of Thai vocabulary and grammar. The app offers flexibility and you can choose which lessons you want to complete, and in what order. The lessons are short and interactive, which makes learning Thai enjoyable. It tracks your progress so you can see how much you’ve learned. Mondly has a 7-day free trial so you can test it out. You can also read more about the app in this Mondly review.

Drops

Drops is an excellent app to learn a lot of Thai vocabulary quickly. You choose what topics you want to study from an extensive amount of vocabulary lists. The lessons are fun and keep your attention with unique animations. It’s a great addition to other study methods or if you want to learn some important words before a trip to Thailand. You can try Drops for free for 5 minutes every day. To learn more about the app, you can read this Drops review.

Take an Online Thai Course

If you prefer structure when learning a language, an online Thai course is a good option. Courses have a set lesson plan and you always know what to study next. Many courses now offer flexibility and can be tailored to how you want to learn. Some involve live classes while others are self-directed and you can learn on your own schedule. Banana Thai, Udemy, and Thai by Chom have Thai courses that range from beginner to advanced levels.

Commitment: High
Price: Medium-High
Convenience: Medium

Banana Thai

Banana Thai makes learning Thai “as easy as peeling a banana.” The school offers several self-directed courses that you can take at your own pace. You can take A1-B1 courses, as well as pronunciation classes, reading classes, and group conversational classes on zoom. They also offer private lessons if you prefer 1-to-1 tutoring. To see if Banana Thai is a good choice for you, you can join the 5-Day Challenge and receive 5 free video lessons sent to your inbox.

Udemy

Udemy is an online learning platform for a large variety of subjects, but its language courses are some of the most popular. There are almost 400 Thai courses currently available. The majority are for beginners and focus on travel vocabulary, basic grammar, and even Thai for Muay Thai fighters. The courses are generally inexpensive and you can preview each one to see the content and what’s included before you buy anything. You can search for a course that you like on the Udemy website, or check out this Udemy review to learn more about the platform.

Thai by Chom

Kru Chom is a certified language teacher that has created a series of online courses. She uses entertaining content and you feel like you’re taking class with a friend. Some courses are self-directed so you can learn on your own schedule and at your own pace. You can also join live Zoom group classes if you prefer to interact with other students. You can learn more about the options available on the Thai by Chom website.

Find an Online Thai Tutor

Learning Thai with a qualified teacher is one of the most effective ways to study. You benefit from their knowledge and experience and receive instant feedback. It’s the best way to practice speaking and improve pronunciation. There are many platforms that offer online classes so you can take classes with a native Thai teacher from the comfort of your home. Italki, Preply, and Thai Style are secure platforms that can connect you with a qualified teacher.

Commitment: Medium
Price: Medium-High
Convenience: Medium

italki

Italki is an online platform that can help you find a native Thai tutor. There are currently over 60 tutors available that teach online lessons. You can search for a tutor based on different filters such as availability, what they teach, and price. Each teacher decides how much to charge per lesson so there’s a wide range available. Most teachers offer a discounted trial lesson to see if they are a good fit for you. You can also learn more information about the platform in this italki review.

Preply

Preply is another popular language platform where you can search for a Thai tutor. There are more than 100 Thai teachers available for lessons. Teachers create their own curriculum so you can study exactly what you want. In each teacher’s profile, you can watch an introduction video, see their schedule, and read past student reviews. Most teachers offer a free trial lesson so you can see if you like their teaching style. You can also read more about the platform in this Preply review.

Thai Style

Thai Style has group and 1-on-1 classes that you can take over a variety of platforms like Skype, Zoom, or Messenger. For private tutoring, you can buy a package of 10, 20, or 30 class hours. In addition to the live classes, you receive access to study material that you can use to continue your studies independently between lessons. You can take a free trial lesson to make sure you like your teacher and the platform.

Study with High-Quality Thai Books

Books are a traditional, but effective, way to study Thai. If you’ve ever taken a language class, you probably used a book. Now, there are many options that let you self-study Thai and include practice activities and audio components. They are a good option for dedicated learners who like to know the how and why of the language. Thai for Beginners, Thai: An Essential Grammar, and Read Thai in 10 Days are popular choices amongst Thai language learners.

Commitment: Low
Price: Medium
Convenience: Medium

Thai for Beginners

Thai for Beginners is a comprehensive overview of all the important language topics like reading, writing, listening, and speaking. It has clear explanations and step-by-step instructions. There are also practice exercises included. People who used the book liked that the explanations were understandable and the authentic examples. One reviewer said that by the end of the book, they could read in Thai and knew over 1000 words! See what other reviewers thought about the book here.

Thai: An Essential Grammar

Thai: An Essential Grammar is an in-depth reference book for Thai grammar. It covers essential topics like sentence structure, pronunciation, and the Thai writing system. While it’s not meant to be a stand-alone book for learning Thai, it’s a useful reference for upper-beginner to advanced learners. One reviewer called it “the best book on Thai grammar.” You can learn more about the book here.

Read Thai in 10 Days

Read Thai in 10 Days is a useful manual for learning how to read and write the Thai alphabet quickly. It’s broken down into 10 units - one per day - and teaches a manageable number of characters. There are pages to practice writing the characters and sound files so you can learn correct pronunciation. Reviewers agree that you can finish the book in 10 days if you have a few hours to dedicate every day, but it will probably take you longer. See what reviewers said about the book here.

Watch Thai YouTube Videos

Watching YouTube videos to learn Thai is a bit unconventional, but can be one of the most entertaining ways. Some YouTube channels focus on teaching specific grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation points, much like you would see in a classroom, and others focus on entertainment and conversations with Thai speakers. You’re improving your listening comprehension and having fun at the same time!

Commitment: Low
Price: Low
Convenience: High

Let’s Learn Thai!

let's learn thai

Let’s Learn Thai! With Kanitsa is a YouTube channels with videos about all kinds of topics related to the Thai language. She talks about tv series, has quizzes, and teaches thai slang. There are over 237 videos available and she’s still posting new videos.

ThaiwithMod

Mod is a Thai language teacher that makes videos about important grammar and vocabulary topics. She explains concepts very clearly and includes the Thai characters and romanization of the word. There is a thorough Thai for Beginners series with over 100 videos as well as other short videos that teach useful words, common mistakes, and more. She has uploaded over 200 videos and continues to post new videos every week.

Thai Talk with Paddy

Paddy is an Australian who speaks Thai. In his videos, he walks around the streets of Australia and interviews people in Thai and English about travel and Thai culture. Recently, he returned to Thailand and started making videos about local Thai culture. He has over 100 videos and uploads a few new videos every month.

Listen to Thai Podcasts

Podcasts are an excellent way to improve listening comprehension and understanding. They’re easy to study with because you can go hands-free and listen to them anywhere. It’s a great way to squeeze in some study time, even if you have a busy schedule. ThaiPod101, Learn Thai | Motivated Beginner, and You Too Can Learn Thai are excellent options to learn something new. All you have to do is listen!

Commitment: Low
Price: Low
Convenience: High

ThaiPod101

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ThaiPod101 is an online platform and app that features hundreds of podcast lessons that cover language learning topics as well as Thai culture. Each podcast has a transcript and detailed lesson notes that help you practice what you hear. They have content for every level from absolute beginner to advanced. You can try ThaiPod101 for free for 7 days to see if you like it.

Learn Thai | Motivated Beginner

Learn Thai | Motivated Beginner is hosted by Grace and Edgar. Grace is a native Thai teacher who teaches the important aspects of the language and gently corrects Edgar, who is learning Thai. As the name says, it’s geared toward learners that already know some Thai but are motivated to improve. The episodes focus on topics like verbs, vocabulary, and useful phrases. All episodes are available for free on Spotify.

You Too Can Learn Thai

You Too Can Learn Thai is hosted by Khru Nan who has a Ph.D. in Linguistics. She teaches grammar and vocabulary topics, as well as includes episodes with Thai conversations so you can practice comprehension. It’s a good podcast if you don’t want to waste your time with chit-chat and want to jump into practicing. There are over 100 episodes available that you can listen to on Apple Podcasts.

How to Learn Thai: Final Thoughts

Becoming fluent in Thai won’t happen overnight, but it doesn’t have to be a painful process. It’s important to enjoy the journey, and using the right tools can make your study time pleasant and more effective. Using a variety of resources will help you improve all areas of language. For example, an app might help you learn vocabulary and grammar, but a podcast is better to practice listening. If you stick with it, you’ll be surprised at how quickly you’re progressing!

Want to learn more? Check out our Thai resource page.

How to Learn Thai: FAQ

How long does it take to learn Thai?

It takes 1100 class hours to learn Thai to a proficient level, according to the US Department of State. But this number is an estimation and will depend on other personal factors such as your natural ability to learn languages and if you already speak a language that is similar to Thai.

To see how long it will take you to learn Thai, check out this Fluency Calculator.

How can I learn Thai quickly?

To learn Thai quickly, you need to dedicate time every day to study. Consistent practice is key to seeing improvement and retaining what you already learned. You can use a variety of different resources to improve all language skills. For example, YouTube videos can help you improve listening and understanding, but a textbook can help explain difficult grammar topics.

How do I learn Thai at home on my own?

There are many options available to learn Thai at home. One of the most popular and effective ways is to use a language app like Pimsleur or Mondly. You can also take online group classes or with a 1-on-1 tutor to improve your conversation and listening skills. There are new options like listening to podcasts and watching YouTube videos that show you how Thai is actually spoken.

How hard is it to learn Thai?

Thai is considered a difficult language for English speakers to learn because it has significant linguistic differences. For example, Thai is a tonal language and uses a different writing system. But this doesn’t mean that learning Thai is impossible. By sticking with a study routine and with frequent practice, you’ll be able to reach your language goals.

How do I learn Thai fluently?

You can reach a good level of Thai by studying independently, but to become fluent, you will need to practice with native speakers to improve your speaking and understanding. You can see if there are any local Thai conversation groups in your area or take classes with an online tutor. This is a convenient option that allows you to learn from home but speak with someone located in Thailand.

How do I learn Thai for free?

There are many ways to learn Thai for free. Some language apps, such as Drops and ThaiPod101, allow you to access some of the content for free. If you don’t want limits, you could find a YouTube channel that teaches Thai or try the FSI Thai Language Course.

Kelsey Wetherbee

Kelsey is a language lover that wants to help others on their linguistic journeys. As a former ESL teacher and foreign language learner herself, she hopes her experiences can benefit others and help them learn more effectively. She loves to travel and enjoys meeting people from all over the world. Connect with Kelsey on LinkedIn.

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