About three years ago, I purposely bought a laptop from Thailand to enable me to type in Thai language easier.
I already have basic knowledge of the alphabets and vowels in Thailand as I have attended a Thai class in Malaysia. In order to be able to type in Thai language, a keyboard equipped with Thai alphabets, numbers and vowels would be of great help:
Generally almost all keyboards and laptops in Thailand would be equipped with Thai alphabets and vowels. Whereas if you are based overseas, you may need to custom order which can be very expensive.
Important: Thai keyboard uses the standard Thai plug socket. Please ensure you also have an adapter to ensure you are able to plug in your laptop when you are back at your home country (you may already have a universal adapter if you are travelling to Thailand).
My friend took me to a departmental store to buy my laptop. Do note that you are eligible to claim back VAT refund (eligible for purchases of at least 5000 baht). My laptop cost me about 26000 baht. To make things simple, I charge using my credit card.
If you are planning to claim back VAT refund, the store needs to have staff who is familiar with the process as you would be given a set of forms and they would need to make a copy of your passport. If not mistaken they also need to key in the purchase via online.
You would be provided with official receipts and a document which enables you to claim back VAT refund from the airport. When you arrive at the airport (before going into immigration), the officer need to sight your laptop and the receipt then place a chop.
After passing through immigration, you would see the VAT refund where you line up and obtain back your refund- I opted for cash refund as I do travel to Thailand often and the Thai baht is useful.
Laptop with Thai keyboard.
As I have replaced my workstation with a keyboard of Thai alphabets, and gotten help of some guys from IT to enable my computer to recognize Thai language, I did not use my laptop often.
However after I left my job last year, I have been using my laptop regularly. The Thai keyboard has come in handy when I need to type some words in Thai or do some searches or translation.
If you are serious in learning the Thai language, it is easier if you purchase a laptop from Thailand which contains the physical keyboards in Thai. One downside is that the warranty may not extend to all countries- ie should there be any issues with the laptop, you may need to bring in back to Thailand to get it fixed within warranty period.
Of course, I also have the Thai virtual keyboard in my Smartphone and in fact, I am more familiar with my phone’s Thai keyboard than the one on my laptop (once it was the other way round).
Most important is to use it frequently and do not give up be it if you are using a physical keyboard or the virtual one on your phone. You would get familiarized with the keyboard given time and practice.