The most comprehensive guide to meditation centers in SE Asia (and up-to-date) is at http://www.retreat-infos.de/page24/page24.html
(English and German). You will get the information from people who actually stayed there.
Another good overview of different centers in SE Asia is at http://www.wanderingdhamma.org/
Regarding the Vinaya standards of Thai monks, it is true that even in the previously strict forest tradition (Phra Pah), which mainly comprises the Dhammayut sect with the exception of Ajahn Chah monks and a few others, the rule about not keeping money has been falling by the wayside in recent years. So it is not uncommon to find Thai monks in brown forest monk's robes and with tudong gear putting some envelope with money into their bag or handling a credit card. However, I can confirm that Wat Pah Nanachat monks receive strict training on this and other Vinaya rules and are not allowed to handle or receive money themselves, nor keep it for the monastery. If someone wants to support their travel expenses or the building projects or printing of books, they can leave their donation in an appropriate box where it will be taken care of by a layperson (kappiya-karaka) accountant. The monks will be able to specify what they require and the layperson can then go and buy it. But we are not allowed to have personal accounts or credit cards or carry money with us.
Regarding the study of Pali and Tipitaka, the forest monks try to go back to the lifestyle of the Buddha's early disciples who lived simply and in nature, so they do not pursue academic studies generally. They also tend to rely on the early Pali texts and their message which is rather simple and straightforward, without going into all the refined details developed in the commentaries and sub-commentaries centuries after the Buddha. There has always been this division in Theravada and it will probably continue...