To be honest, I'm signed in here, but I'm still boardless. On the other hand, I have been reading/tinkering with an electronics text that takes an extremely positive outlook on all things Arduino, Basic Stamp, Raspberry Pi and others. Some sort of starter kit would probably suit me fine, as my attention likes to wonder away from the point a bit sometimes. That's part of the enjoyment, don't you think!? I've looked at a few prices, and reckon the starter kits do provide value for money. If I individually bought each item, it would probably cost more.
I live in a fairly remote part of this country, but I note there is an Arduino stockist very close. I've already communicated with them in English by email and I got a good response. It's also next to a university with engineering, medical and science faculties; which is probably why they chose that site. They also seem to stock quite a range of different sensors, which suits me because I am probably more interested in environmental projects than in say robotics. Not that I'm limiting myself. Audio, mapping and GPS are also long-term fascinations. There is also a large components shop close by.
I imagine that many of the branded boards sold locally are probably genuine Arduino because actually there is social catchet here in owning genuine stuff. Sure there are some scam artists and adapters around, but my long experience with IT here suggests that it won't be too difficult to get the real working thing. I imagine that a lot of the starter kits are say of Chinese manufacture, but the boards are genuine. Correct me if I'm wrong on that. (And if it actually works, maybe it shouldn't be entirely sneered at.) In any case, it's probably better to buy locally for the sake of greater social interaction. Local Facebook sites are mostly in Thai, and Google Translate or Steve Translate aren't that good yet. Am I alone in finding a lot of FB quite facile? I've long found most forums much more constructive, in comparison.
On the subject of set-up instructions and early tuition, my electronics text is quite informative. I have the IDE on my desktop and I see loads of resources on this site and others. And any instruction manuals in Thai will undoubtedly be of use to other members of my local family.
But the whole point of using English with this subject is in order to have some F2F interaction with locals and locally-based expats with similar interests. I'm an old retired fart with a desire to pursue some sort of retirement career, but I really could do with a bit more human and humane interaction.
I notice that Amazon.uk won't send Arduino to Thailand. I imagine that is because Arduino want to encourage local resellers. I see three official stockists listed here. but it could also be about import duty, I suppose. Anyone here have any experience of importation into Thailand? I doubt it would be too excessive. The local prices I have seen so far do NOT tend to indicate huge markups.