Having returned from Bali in November of 2017, the lease on my small apartment in Australia was due for renewal and so it was, that I decided to pack up my belongings in Australia, move out of my apartment and board a flight to Phuket Thailand.
The decision to relocate to Thailand for me was a no-brainer. The people, culture and food has a way of embedding itself into your very soul - for anyone who has visited this wonderful destination before they must surely know this to be true. I applied for my visa in Australia and lodged the application together with my passport for processing at the Royal Thai Consulate in Brisbane, Queensland. Within a few days my passport arrived in the mail complete with my Tourist Visa which is valid through until 16th January 2018.
Departing Australia on 13th November I landed at a reasonable hour at Phuket International Airport where I met with my driver and headed off in the mini-bus for the one hour drive to Patong.
The famous 'Welcome To Patong Sign' Bangla Walking Street
I arrived at the Ashlee Hub Hotel Patong which I'd pre-booked for a one week stay using booking.com and although the cost was reasonable for a one week stay (however its not an expense I wished to sustain into the future).
I later booked a hotel for a one month stay (unfortunately it is peak holiday season here in Phuket) and I did manage to find accommodation at a good price - you will be able to read about it in an upcoming post title, Sourcing Long Term Accommodation In Phuket.
Over the course of the next few days I took frequent walks for many hours around the area in order to orientate myself and do some exploring. The additional benefit being to relieve my body of the excess weight I had managed to put on over the last few months (my body craved thick heavy food to nourish me through the first winter in 5 years that I had experienced after living in North Queensland, where there is no winter). Thankfully the weather in Thailand is similar to North Queensland, Australia.
Source/Credit: Google Maps - Ashlee Hub Hotel Patong
On Wednesday the 15th November I made my way to the Patong Language School to complete an application for the Thai Language Course I was interested in participating in. Having researched a number of schools available in the area from the comfort of my home in Australia I settled on this particular school due the number of favourable reviews, its proximity to where I wanted to base myself and of course, cost is always a consideration.
I opted to enrol in the 24-week Easy Going Thai course at a cost of 22,800 Baht (AUD$917 / USD$695 / GBP$525) with a tentative start date of 9th January 2018. I'm very excited to finally learn the Thai language as I really enjoy interacting with the Thai people, it’s one of the great things about this country - the people are so warm, friendly and such fun to be around.
The course content and details are provided on the Patong Language School website. This information includes:
How many students are enrolled in each class?
Easy Going group Thai lessons can accommodate up to 12 students per group.
When are the classes held?
Easy Going Lessons are on Mondays & Wednesdays or Tuesdays & Thursdays between 11.00am and 12.50pm with a 10 minute break from 11.50am until 12 noon.
Facade, Patong Language School Phuket, Thailand
The school offers some flexibility as classes are ongoing throughout the year. Completion of the Thai Foundation Course is required before moving on to the Easy-Going group which is included in the price of my particular course.
What study materials are used?
The course fee includes a ring-binder containing pre-prepared individual loose-leaf study sheets for each Easy Going Thai class. There are sufficient sheets to study longer than 12 months.
How much do the courses cost?
- A 12-week Easy Going Thai course costs 13,800 Baht per person.
- A 24-week Easy Going Thai course costs 22,800 Baht per person.
- A 48-week Easy Going Thai course costs 40,800 Baht per person.
As these classes are group sessions, students cannot postpone classes or make up any unattended classes.
What will students in the classes learn?
Each week introduces a new subject and does not require knowledge of previous materials. Even joining a class with students that have been studying for some weeks is possible as each week brings new study subjects.
Here are just some of the subjects covered in the Easy Going Thai class:
- At the bank
- At the post office
- Buying fruit
- Prepositions of place
- Good, better, best
- About time
- In the bathroom
- Shapes and colours
- In the bedroom
- Comparatives and superlatives
- Have you ever?
- Weights and measures
- Family relations
- Prepositions of time
- Buying and renting a house
- Seasons and weather
- Asking and giving directions
- At the dentist
- Buying vegetables
- At the pharmacy
- Repairs – the plumber
- At immigration
- Motorcycle repair and rental
I completed the 3-page application form and supplied the school with a total of 8 passport photos which were taken at a nearby internet cafe for a total of 250 baht (AUD$10.00 / USD$7.60 / GBP$5.70). Being I was dressed casually in a loose-fitting T-Shirt the photographer digitally enhanced the image by overlaying a formal white shirt & black jacket over my T-Shirt. Nice work indeed!
I was asked to return the next day to sign off on the application which needed to be translated into Thai for submission to the Education Department for processing. So come next day I made my way to the school - a distance on foot of about 20 minutes and signed off on the application.
Soi nearby to the Patong Language School.
So now the waiting begins as the application can take between 4 to 6 weeks to process. For now, I have plenty of time to explore the area of Phuket and settle in at my new location. The school is close to the beach and in the heart of Patong and it seems that with every street corner I turn into I find a delightful group of Thai ladies offering a massage.
Thank you to the lovely ladies at Song Pee Nong Massage, Patong.
As the saying goes, when in Rome.... On both days when I visited the Patong Language School I received a great massage at the nearby Song Pee Nong Massage. On the first day I choose a one hour foot massage for 200 Baht (AUD$8 / USD$6 / GBP$4.60) and on my second visit a full body oil massage for 250 Baht (AUD$10.00 / USD$7.60 / GBP$5.70).
If you would like to know more check back often for updates on my progress through Learning Thai In Thailand by heading over to my next post 'Securing an ED Visa In Thailand'.