Top 5 Thai Courses in Chiang Mai



Chiang Mai Thai Courses

There are literally dozens of Thai courses and schools available in Chiang Mai to choose from. Finding the right one can be tough, but a few are consistently recommended by friends of mine here in Chiang Mai that have spent some time on the Thai language learning scene.

Below you’ll find my pics for the top 5 Thai courses in Chiang Mai. My students have studied at all 5 of these places, and with several other smaller schools and private tutors that didn’t make the cut. These seem to be not only my picks but the picks of my students as well.

So, without further ado… ( In no particular order)

My Picks for the Top 5 Thai Courses in Chiang Mai:

#5- A.U.A Language Center
73 Ratchadamnern Road
Prasing, Chiang Mai 50200 Thailand
ph: +66 053 278407

Thai Courses Offered:
Thai 1, Thai 2, Thai 3, Small Talk, Basic Reading and Writing, Advanced Reading and Writing

Course Fees: 4200 Baht per course

Placement Tests / Interview: Yes (150 Baht)

Class Times:
10:00am – 12:00pm (or) 1:00pm – 3:00pm
Monday – Friday

Private Lessons: Yes (350 Baht / hr)

The good:These guys are a time tested option for ex-pats who live in Chiang Mai and want to study Thai. A lot of people have studied here and have good things to say about them. I found the classes to be good, but a bit slow.

The bad and the Ugly : They don’t offer student visas, even for long term students and the teachers also ignore the text and “teach from the hip”.

#4- YMCA Language Center
73 Ratchadamnern Road
Prasing, Chiang Mai 50200 Thailand
ph: +66 053 278407

Thai Courses Offered:
Thai 1, Thai 2, Thai 3, Small Talk, Basic Reading and Writing, Advanced Reading and Writing

Course Fees: 4200 Baht per course

Placement Tests / Interview: Yes (150 Baht)

Class Times:
10:00am – 12:00pm (or) 1:00pm – 3:00pm
Monday – Friday

Private Lessons: Yes (450 Baht / hr)

The good These guys are a time tested option for ex-pats who live in Chiang Mai and want to study Thai. A lot of people have studied here and have good things to say about them. I found the classes to be good, but a bit slow.

The bad and the Ugly They don’t offer student visas, even for long term students and the teachers also ignore the text and “teach from the hip”.

#3- Chiang Mai University
239 Huay Kaew Road
Muang District, Chiang Mai
Thailand, 50200

Thai Courses Offered:

One Year Thai Language and Culture Course, Speak Thai in 15 Days Introduction Course, Thai 1, Thai 2, Thai 3

Course Fees: 5,000 per unit, or 30,000 for the One Year Program

Placement Tests / Interview: Yes

Class Times:
Vary by class / instructor availability

Private Lessons: No

The good : Chiang Mai Unversity is regarded as Northern Thailand’s number one school, and with good reason. The language institute has a good reputation for their 45 hour Thai 1 course, when it is available.

The bad and the Ugly : The 30 hour course is basically a paid educational visa program. You pay 30,000 baht, you study 4 hours a week, and you get a 1 year visa from the Thai government. The Thai 1 class is good, but often doesn’t open because of lack of students. They won’t open a class if they don’t have at least 6-8 students. The Thai 2 course rarely (if ever) has enough students, and Thai 3 has not ever opened (yet) that I am aware of. Hopefully once word spreads of their Thai programs, this will change as the Thai 1 class has gotten good reviews.

#2- Banpasa Thai Language Institute

Room #208, 2nd Floor of ICON-SQUARE Computer Chiangmai (Fitness Thailand Building)
130 Manee Nopparat Road,

Muang Chiangmai,

Chiangmai 50000

Map of the location: HERE
Phone # 083-4805254


Thai Courses Offered:
Intensive Beginner – Advanced, Private Tuition

Course Fees: 300 baht / hr

Placement Tests / Interview: Yes

Class Times:
Available from 8:30am – 9:00 PM

Private Lessons: Yes

The good : Of course, I have plenty of good things to say about our program, and I can confidently place us in the top 5 on this list. Granted I’m a bit biased, but we do offer private lessons from yours truly, in your home for as little as 300 baht per hour. At that price we are competitive with the other big universities and you will get more personal attention.

The bad and the Ugly :There is something to be said for studying in a class with other people. You make friends, you meet people with similar interests and you can measure your progress against your classmates. So unless you can find a study partner, it will just be you and me. Also, if you don’t have a place for us to meet, you will have to come to our school in San Kampaeng, which is about a 25 minute drive from downtown depending on traffic.

#1- Payap University
Super highway, Chiang Mai – Lamphun Rd
Chiang Mai
Thailand, 50200

Thai Courses Offered:
Intensive Thai 1-8

Course Fees:7500 Baht per course

Placement Tests / Interview: Yes

Class Times:
9:00 – 12:00 or 1:00 – 4:00

Private Lessons: No

The good : Probably one of the best, and most intensive Classroom options in Chaing Mai. The instructors are top notch, and a few are authors of popular Thai study books here in Thailand. Some teachers do “teach from the hip”, but the classes are small and these teachers know what they are doing.

The bad and the Ugly : By far the most expensive option in Chiang Mai. If you want a student visa, be ready to cough up an extra 4500 baht and 2 months tuition up front (you will need to do this every 3 months). Like CMU, there are also problems with the availability of classes after Thai 2 or 3. Thai 4 and above rarely opens as there are rarely enough students to fill classes. Because they have a large International College however, you can expect each level to open at least once a year. Try to contact someone in admissions to find out the bests time to start a “cycle” so that you can go through the classes with the students in the Thai language major.

The Best information about Thai language Courses!

Well, there you have it, my top 5 picks for Thai Schools in Chiang Mai. These are the big 5, and I’m happy to slot myself in there on that list. If you’d like to talk to some of my current or former students (many who have tried a lot of the schools in the area), give me a call, and I will gladly put you in touch with them!

Let me know if there is anything else you would like to know about Thai Courses in Chaing Mai!!

All the best,

-Kru Simon

Phone # 083-4805254


Dear interested students,

Thank for visiting this blog.

My teaching format for the beginning level is concerning about conversational communication for 20 hours and then moving forward to learning Thai script that will take another block of time, The lessons focus on daily usage. However, all lessons are based on students requirement.

The private classes are paid upfront in 20 hour blocks costing 300 Baht per hour.This works out at 6,000 Baht for a block which is competitive with other private tutors.

Do you mind coming to my teaching place? I would like to invite you to my office, direction link provided below,

The classroom is in “ICON Square” right next to the north side of Chiang Mai’s famous moat. This is centrally located and every songtaew and tuk-tuk driver knows the name ICON so transport there and back is very convenient. Coming from everywhere in the city where your stay is might take about 10-20 minutes.

Within reason class times can be arranged around your schedule, So let’s share an idea of your exact dates and preferred times the easier it will be for me to fit you in around my other students.

Google search: icon square Chiangmai
Link of location map: Here
Hope to see you very soon.
You may call me any time for reservation: 083-4805254
All the best,
Kru Simon

Thai Starter

2Speak Thai Starter will teach you the foundational structure and essential vocabulary of the Thai language. You’ll master basic conversational skills, quickly and easily, like greeting someone, introducing yourself, and asking/answering simple questions. With over 200 hours of instruction, Thai Starter is ideal for total beginners or for those with little knowledge of the Thai language.

Thai Starter

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7 thoughts on “Top 5 Thai Courses in Chiang Mai

  1. “The bad and the Ugly : The 30 hour course is basically a paid educational visa program. You pay 30,000 baht, you study 4 hours a week, and you get a 1 year visa from the Thai government”

    Chiang Mai University Language Institute – The course now is actually 180 hours undertaken over one year. Yes, they give visa support in the way of a document which enables one to secure a ED visa, while outside of Thailand (before you arrive) if the Thai Consulate sees fit.

    The course is still 30 000 Baht, this does not include any visa costs. Most Thai language course providers advertise the one year visa…but seldom (if ever) is it covered in your fees or gauranteed. After all, no language school has any control over Thai Immigration.

  2. I enrolled in the Payap program in January and was disappointed in the level available (level 5). I have been studying for a few years now and I want to take my language to the next level. I am waiting to see if they will have level 6 or not but it depends on having enough students. I went to a trial class and it was ok. It seemed good for grasping basic fundamentals and structure but not sure beyond that. It is hard to judge on such a limited basis. On other hand, I have been seeing Kru Simon for the last month and am pleased with the results so far. Lessons are less structured but helpful if you see him regularly. He is like having a good Thai friend who is also a teacher and not too krengjai to correct you and make suggestions.

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  4. I know this is a rather old post, but I just completed a year of Thai at CMU and wish I could say it was a wonderful and valuable experience, but in actuality, my particular experience was about 2 stars, and at times 3. I wouldn’t put it on this list, not with my experience anyway. I know many had a poor experience. I hope many had an opposing one, but I want to share mine with you.

    According to my teacher, LICMU reopened after the major theft debacle a few years ago and I was informed by friends of my Thai fiancé that, despite that, it has a good reputation. The administration seemed as though it was a formal and structured course with strict rules and regulations. It seemed reputable, after all, it’s a university.

    Well, things were not as I was told they would be. I don’t know if it’s the teacher or the administration itself, but as far as I can tell, both are in part responsible. The teacher for not really leading and the administration for not knowing their staff.

    Things were not structured, at all. The first few months were ok, with the exception of the long breaks disrupting the learning process. Then students started leaving for various reasons. I understand people have lives, so it was sad to see new friends leave. Class went from 7 to to 5 quickly and from 5 to 3 even quicker. Unfortunately, as the class shrunk, so did the teacher’s motivation for teaching.

    No attendance rules, no quizzes or tests, no accountability, no structure. Field trips because a husband and wife couple (the other 2 who made it 3 with me) didn’t really want to learn anymore and mostly just wanted visas I guess. So, in about 2 months I learned about 1 week’s worth of material.

    As class fizzled out and I was the only one left, and after about 4 schedule changes and a total of 6 months, I was still interested in finishing the books we were only about halfway through. So, my teacher had me join a different class of hers, which was very far behind me. So, again, I was bored. Previously, the teacher played “catch-up” with all the slow students, who were slow because they either didn’t study or didn’t show up. So much for the strict attendance policy! Class fell apart and I wondered why I even came. If we studied it was me reading the same story for the 5th time or more and the teacher, after getting frustrated, telling me to explain things that were not understood. What!?!

    I got my certificate because by this time the class finished on the calendar, but not in material, and continued to join a class, which fizzled out during my second class because people switched teachers. Drama! By the time I actually finished class I was with only 1 other student and the books were still incomplete. I didn’t even take the final test because I was sick but it wasn’t necessary to complete the course. In fact, I never took any tests. Just a quiz and a speaking “test” at the end.

    I liked my teacher, unfortunately, she’s not a very good teacher unless you’re an “easy” student and she doesn’t really have to teach.

    Despite this experience, I knew of others who had a teacher they liked quite a bit so I decided to start a second level course with someone who I was told was very good. We just needed 5 students willing to open a class around the same time, for visa extension purposes. Well, that’s nearly impossible when classes fizzle out and there were not even 5 students completing a level 1 course at one time!

    About 3-4 of us came together to join a class. We each contacted the administration to inform them and see what we needed to do next and what they could do to make the visa situation work. Some got answers, others, like me, could never reach anyone. Never in the office and didn’t answer questions fully via email. Didn’t even end the email with their name so I never knew who I was corresponding with. The guy in charge of the Thai courses didn’t even respond to my direct email. He forwarded it to someone else who signed off with a blank space so the email signature was all I read, “LICMU Administration”, or something similar.

    Needless to say, after 2 months of basically getting nowhere and being told I couldn’t sign up and make a down payment until our 5th person was found, by us, and for a class that would be 3-4 months out, I quit. They seemed upset but I didn’t care. I told them I found a place that was willing to communicate, effectively and rapidly, with me. And that the teaching style was all inclusive! No teacher shutting you down when you have questions. Instead, explaining!

    So, I am now about to take a level 1 course at a new institute until I am up to speed and the gaps are filled, at which point they’ll let me start a higher level and pro-rate the course! They open classes with only 2 students and are very personable and work WITH you so they, and you, succeed. Effective Thai. That’s the place. East of the river. Try them, or almost anyone, before CMU. They even walk you STEP BY STEP through the visa process!! If you do try CMU, sit in on a few classes with different teachers and hang out in the commons area by the coffee shop and talk to the students taking the course. Find out their experience and get a good teacher. And if you want to further your studies, search for people well before your first year is complete!

    Supposedly CMU is actually following protocol as of January 2014, but I wouldn’t know, nor will I be finding out anytime too soon. I hope they are. I hope they can pull the loose ends together and tie them into a neat little bow. But if they don’t, I won’t be there to feel it unravel, thankfully!

  5. hello buddies

    i have experiences that happened to me about Thai Learning in ChiangMai.
    i was so upset myself once when i was first day arrived ChiangMai that i can’t understand a Thai lady at store, trying to buy an item, just not long conversation there, and she tried very hard to speak English to me………….but doesn’t work that i couldn’t understand at all. So i gave up on buying and walked away. this such situations happened to me almost every day, that annoyed me often when iam thinking to do something important. Later…….the only way to make this easy is speaking Thai……….so then find many Thai schools in ChiangMai, i chose the best Thai Course at Korean School that they opened Thai Class and Korean Class. on their school profile saying that many foreigners finished from here and most of them are satisfied of this School as i talked to an American man who just finished the Thai Class. and his Thai skill is excellent!

    i went to take the Thai Class decidedly, i applied for Thai Class with Thai 1 year ED Visa. a year later…… i speak Thai with confidence, it’s amazing! that i learned lots of thing from Thai people i spoke to…….they have something amazing hidden in their life, we never know till we speak their Language. that’s all i need to share for now.

    For anybody interested Thai Class i recommend the Thai Class at this school i confirm!!

    The School name” Korean Culture Center ChiangMai” there is Korean Restaurant close to it, they have Korean dishes with good prices.

    here is number for the school 053 404 434.
    Or i have the Thai Teacher’s number here 082 034 5470 you can call him anytime. his name

  6. As a tourist I spent about twenty hours learning Thai with Simon. It was a great experience. For one thing: Simon is really experienced in teaching — he has so many tricks to help me remember words quickly, and his explanation is always clear and precise. Haven’t tried out any other schools yet, but I’m pretty satisfied with Simon.

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