Many long-term travelers come to Thailand to learn something. Thailand has classes and courses, both certified and otherwise, in many different subjects and most of them are at prices far cheaper than in the west. If you are planning on coming to Thailand and would like to spend some time learning something, what kinds of things can you learn and where?
Thai Language – Learning Thai language is probably the most obvious thing you can learn in Thailand. In Bangkok especially, there are many language schools set up where you can learn Thai for very low fees.
Last year, I took several Thai language courses at a local Thai language school. The classes met for three hours a day (9am to 12pm or 1pm to 4pm) for 20 days and the fee, including the text book, was only 5,000 baht (approximately $142).
You can also take shorter classes, just a week in length, or even hire a private tutor for one-on-one Thai language lessons.
Thai Cooking – A lot of people come to Thailand to learn Thai cooking. There are hundreds of Thai cooking schools set up all over Thailand that will teach aspiring cooks how to make typical Thai menus. Prices range from $30 a course to more than $500 if you go to some of the top schools, and will teach you basic Thai dishes like som tam, tom ka gai and mango and chicken green curry.
Gemology Classes – Thailand is actually very well-known for gemology and people who are interested in learning more about diamonds and other gems often take courses in Thailand. Courses are certified and non-certified and offer anything from Diamond Grading and Pricing to Gem Identification.
An Introduction to Gemology can be as low as $250 and a higher level class as high as $4,000, but these prices are still much cheaper than similar courses in the US or Europe.
Thai Massage Classes – Thailand is world-famous for Thai massage and almost everyone who comes to Thailand has, at one time or another, a Thai massage. Many people also want to learn Thai massage so there are numerous courses set up all over Thailand where you can learn.
The most famous place to learn Thai massage is in Bangkok at Wat Pho and here trained masseurs will teach you all about Thai massage in as short a time as a few hours or as long as a few weeks – depending on what you want.
Prices at Wat Pho are as low as $150 for a course and as high as $300, depending on what you study and for how long.
TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) Certification – A lot of would-be English teachers come to Thailand to study for a TEFL certificate, so that they can teach English in a foreign country. Thailand has many TEFL certificate courses on offer, from schools in Bangkok to schools near the beach in Phuket and Rayong.
Most courses are six weeks long and include teaching practice with local area Thai schools. Average cost of a course if between $1,000 and $1,500, which is a fraction of the price of a similar TEFL course in a western country.
I took my TEFL certificate course in Bangkok and highly recommend it to anyone who wants to learn how to teach EFL (English as a Foreign Language).
Muay Thai (Thai Kickboxing) Classes – Of course, Thailand is the world center for Muay Thai. Since the advent of the TV series ‘The Contender Asia’, Muay Thai has become even more popular and many western men (and some women) are now interested in learning Muay Thai.
You can take a stand alone Muay Thai class, sign up for a week or two’s training, or even work with a Muay Thai gym over a period of a few months if you’re serious about starting a Muay Thai career. Courses start at a couple of hundred dollars for a basic course up to more than $1,300 for a Professional Course.
As you can see, there are many things you can study in Thailand and most of them are available much cheaper than in western countries. If you do decide to learn in Thailand though, just make sure you do a search on the internet first to check out the school you plan on attending.
Most schools though are very good and, even if you don’t use whatever you are learning for a career, you can still leave Thailand knowing more than when you got here.