Hi Zane. Welcome to South East Asia!
Yes, some of the Malays in the northern states (Kelantan, especially) speak Thai. I am way down south (Melaka) where nobody speaks Thai except the Thai foreign workers.
I do know the words sarwadika and kapunkar. I stayed in Chang Rai for a few days among the tribal people back in 1994. That was fun. Lights out early and early to rise!
Some of the Thai universities are among the best in Asia.
All the best with Moodle and all things Thai.