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How to Break Thai Money – Making Change

Anyone familiar with Thailand knows how to break Thai money. You go to the nearest Seven-Eleven! Unfortunately 7-11 stores (as ubiquitous as they are) sometimes are not an option — especially in small Thai villages in Sakon Nakhon. In such situations, it is handy to know how to ask the shopkeeper if they can break a 1000 baht note. Before eating at a small Thai food stall, it’s also a good idea to ask the owner if they can break a thousand (if that’s all you have) before you sit down to order. So without further ado, let’s get to our Learn Thai language lesson on money.

Break v. – แตก – dtàek
Can you break a thousand? I don’t have anything small.
แตกแบงค์พัน ได้ไหม ไม่มีแบงค์เล็ก
Dtàek baeng pan, dâi măi? Mâi mee baeng lék.
[Break bank-note thousand, can (question)? Not have bank-note small.]

Learn Thai Language Tip: Have you ever noticed that farangs who have learned the Thai language and go on Thai television tend to have weird facial mannerisms or facial tics when speaking Thai? This is common among Westerners who learn tonal Asian languages. It has to do with the speaker’s formal language training, which includes an overemphasis on mastering tones. As we mention in our post about How to Learn Thai, the most important thing for Thai language learners is to get the word order right and just let the Thai tones come naturally as you practice your Thai.


David Alan