I am a lazy blogger, I admit it! I returned to the USA in late June after a memorable trip to Colombia. I definitely plan to return there next year!
I have been in Thailand for over two months now. I spent my first month learning the Thai language at Piammitr language school in Bangkok. Then I moved to Chiang Mai where I am living now. I researched language schools before arriving and indeed the instruction at this school was absolutely first rate. My four week course, three hours per day, was 5700 baht (about $163). The class size was 2-3.
Do I speak Thai now? Absolutely not. I know perhaps 500 words and can make a few sentences. For a native English speaker, Thai is about twice as hard to learn and use as a romance language (but only half as difficult as Japanese, Arabic, Mandarin, or Korean). If you are curious about how difficult any particular language is to learn for a native English speaker, see this link.
Most people that I deal with in Chiang Mai speak some English. However, the difference between knowing something and nothing is big! I feel confident enough to travel around, can talk to a taxi driver, order food at a Thai-language-only Thai food stand, etc.