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Category: Learn Thai Language & Culture

May 31
Kon Mee Sanay: Charming & Enchanting Thai Women

In Thailand the two most common words used to describe an attractive woman are sŭay (สวย) and nârák (น่ารัก), which translate to “beautiful” and “cute,” respectively. But sometimes you may feel that neither of these words are the right one to describe a truly captivating Thai woman. In the Thai language, the compound word “mee […]

May 15
Karma in Thai Language & Culture

Previously, I talked about how Thai language and culture is intertwined with the “dharma” or teachings of Buddhism — the word “tham” (ธรรม) being the Thai word for “dharma,” as well as a root word for many other Thai words. Today, we will discuss how the Buddhist belief in “karma” is also woven into the […]

May 13
How Men Vs. Women Speak Thai

I was recently watching Khru Bo’s YouTube Channel “IWantToLearnThai” — a channel I highly recommend for intermediate Thai language students who want to practice their listening skills. Khru Bo does an excellent job with her choice of subject matter, her pacing and repetition, and her overall presentation. However, when watching her videos I was reminded […]

May 11
The Hidden Dharma of Thai Language & Culture

The deep connection between the Buddhist culture of Thailand and the Thai language is illustrated best by the usage of “tham” (ธรรม), meaning dharma. While the word “tham” has additional meanings, such as justice, righteousness, normality, and lawfulness, these meanings always are intertwined with dharma — which refers to the teachings of the Buddha and […]

May 06
Comforting Words for the Brokenhearted in Thailand

Live for a while in Thailand, and you are bound to encounter some brokenhearted friends or acquaintances. As a beginning learner of the Thai language, you’ll struggle to find the right Thai words to comfort the person with a broken heart, or as it’s called in Thai “ok hak” (อกหัก), which literally means broken breast […]

Apr 14
The Secret to Learning Thai For Free (Intermediate Level)

A secret strategy for learning Thai for free at an intermediate or advanced level is to use Thai websites and social media accounts that help Thai people learn English. These resources are filled with conversational English that’s also translated into conversational Thai, as well as other translated English texts you’ll find useful in your daily […]

Apr 13
Sanook Culture in Thailand & The Thai Word for Fun

Previously I talked about the Thai word for love, rák (รัก), and the feelings it evokes compared to the word for love in other languages. With the Thai New Year’s festival of Songkran upon us, I thought it a good time to discuss the word for fun in Thai, which is sànòok (สนุก). Like the […]

Apr 08
The Thai Word for Love: Its Cultural Meaning in Thailand

I’ve written before how the Thai language shapes Thai culture and the personality of the Thai people. For example, how the brevity of the language encourages concrete thought versus abstraction. Today, I’m going to talk about how the sound of a single word informs Thai culture. That word is “love”. Or as it’s said in […]

Mar 29
The Buddhist Era: How to Read Thai Dates

Thailand is the only country that uses the Buddhist Era calendar as its official date system, so it’s an important aspect of Thai life to understand. In the Thai language, the Buddhist Era is referred to as “PuttaSakarat” (พุทธศักราช). It gets abbreviated to the initials “พศ” when written beside dates, as frequently is seen in […]

Mar 17
The Architecture of Village Houses in Northeast Thailand

In the early 1960s, Pete Seeger made famous the Malvina Reynold’s song “Little Boxes,” which satirized the cookie-cutter existence of life in the suburbs of America, where people “all come out the same”. Today, the monotonous march of mechanized living stretches worldwide. Even in Thailand, there are neighborhoods filled with houses that all look alike, […]

Mar 06
How to Say Goodbye in Thai

In Thailand, the most common way to say goodbye is the same as the Thai greeting “sàwàt-dee” (สวัสดี) accompanied by a wai gesture. The polite particle khráp (for a man) or khá (for a woman) will of course also be tacked onto the end of the phrase, so it becomes “sà-wàt-dee khrap/kha”. In Thailand guidebooks […]

Jan 16
Why Learn Thai? The Cognitive, Cultural & Health Benefits

When people talk about the best foreign language to learn, you’ll often hear suggestions like Spanish, French, German, Mandarin, or Japanese. What you rarely, if ever, hear suggested is the Thai language, as it is spoken only in Thailand — which has a population of about 70 million, and is still considered a developing country. […]

Aug 26
The Thai Word “Jai”: Its Meaning & Cultural Implications

One aspect of the Thai language that is critical to understanding Thai people, and successfully navigating through life in Thailand, is the word “jai” (ใจ). The Thai word “jai” encompasses 3 meanings: “heart,” “mind,” and “spirit”. This linguistic phenomenon significantly impacts Thai culture, psychology, and human relationships — for it reflects a holistic view of […]

Aug 04
Learn How to Speak the Isaan Language Quickly

The Northeast of Thailand is called Isaan. It also is spelled Isan, Esan, or Esarn, as there is no single accepted way to transcribe Thai words into English. The official language of Isaan is Thai. However, the language commonly spoken among friends and family members is the Thai dialect also known as Isaan. This dialect […]

May 30
The Best Learn Thai App

Based on our 20+ years of experimenting with Thai language books, learning software, and videos, we believe Ling to be the best Learn Thai app. If you have read reviews of the Ling language app, you already know that it is filled with engaging quiz-based material for learning Thai, as well as other languages. While […]

Apr 16
Greetings in Thai

The two most common Thai greetings are: “Sà-wàt dee khráp/khá” (สวัสดีครับ/ค่ะ), which is the equivalent of “Hello” or “Good Morning/Afternoon,” and “Sà-bai dee măi?” (สบายดีไหม), which means “How are you?”. Both greetings are accompanied by the polite “Wai” gesture. How to Say Hello in Thailand When using the Thai greeting “Sà-wàt dee khráp/khá” there is […]

Apr 10
Songkran Greetings in Thai and English

Songkran 2024 is upon us, so lets dive into some Songkran greetings in Thai that you can speak to friends, co-workers, or acquaintances in Thailand. To begin, there are 4 ways that you can say the equivalent of “Happy New Year!” to someone during the Songkran holiday. Each of these greetings you would deliver while […]

Jan 17
The Thai Lotus Memorial Monument to an Enduring Angel

When traveling Thai villages, you sometimes will see monuments where the dedication (or meaning behind the monument) is unclear. A few hundred meters north of Wat Nong Bua Sang (Sakon Nakhon) there is just such a monument in the form a large, closed lotus flower. It is named the Memorial Monument to an Enduring Angel […]

Nov 06
Learn Thai Slang Words & Idioms

Are you a Thai language student looking for the latest Thai idioms and slang? A tourist looking for a Thai language book that’s not filled with the same old stuff? An English teacher struggling to understand your Thai students? An expat professional wanting to communicate with Thailand’s young generation? If the answer is yes, then […]

Nov 05
The Thai Sniff Kiss – All About Kissing in Thailand

In this Thai language and culture lesson we will teach you how to say kiss in the Thai language and describe how people kiss in Thailand. There are two types of kisses in Thailand: the traditional Thai sniff kiss and a kiss with the lips. A sniff kiss in Thailand is called hăwm (หอม) and […]

Nov 05
Free Thai Lessons on the Language & Culture of Thailand

Free Thai lessons on language and culture should be fun. After all, Thailand is the Land of Smiles. However, if you have spent a bit of time with Learn Thai language books, you’ll probably have gotten a bit bored with the same old sentences again and again (even though they are very useful). So, we […]

Nov 05
Learn About Ghosts in Thailand

During the early 1900s, the great Irish poet William Butler Yeats contacted some paranormal researchers in the United States, encouraging them to investigate Ireland’s fairies. Yeats claimed that fairies were rapidly disappearing from the Irish countryside because people were starting to disbelieve in them. In other words, Yeats felt that the world around us is […]

Nov 05
Learn Thai Grammar: How to Use Hai (ให้) in Thai

Ready to learn Thai grammar? In this post, we will teach a quick grammar lesson on the usage of hâi (ให้) in the Thai language. The Thai word hâi is often a difficult one for farangs to get their heads around because it seems to have so many meanings and is used in such a […]

Nov 05
Learn How to Stop Diarrhea in Thailand

In one of our Thai language lessons, we taught you how to order a large plate of Thai food. So, today we’ll cover what you need to know in case a big plate of khâo man gài sends you scrambling for the toilet. Occasional bouts of diarrhea are common in Thailand. Although tourists might find […]

Nov 05
Learn Thai for Expat Family Life in Thailand

In Sakon Nakhon, there are a number of long term expats with Thai families. So, in this post we are going to help those married expats with a Learn Thai Language lesson that is targeted to family life. In the flip book below, you’ll find 40 common sentences which Thai parents speak to their children […]

Nov 05
How to Flirt in Thai

Learn how to flirt in Thai with 40 sentences that Thais use to flirt with both lovers and friends of the opposite sex. Flirting in Thai really is no different than flirting in your own native language. To do it successfully (and without potentially offending the other person) just means keeping a smile on your […]

Nov 05
Common Thai Expressions – Learn Colloquial Thai Phrases

One of the best ways to learn Thai is when related material is clustered together in easy accessible chunks, like it was in our earlier language post about Thai Heart Words. In this lesson, you are going to learn 40 of the most common Thai expressions — that is, useful colloquial Thai phrases, many of […]

Nov 05
Thai Words with Heart (Learn Jai Words)

Today we will help you learn the most 40 commonly used heart words (jai words) in the Thai Language. In the flip book below, you’ll learn all the Thai heart words needed to share your feelings with your Thai friends, and to better understand their feelings too. Each Thai heart word is written in both […]

Nov 03
Mai Pen Rai (Its Real Meaning)

In Thailand the ubiquitous phrase “mai pen rai” is well known to foreigners who have visited the Kingdom. Used in a variety of situations, mai pen rai is often translated as “never mind” or “it’s no big deal” in guidebooks, but a more accurate, albeit wordy, translation would be “this matter is so insignificant, let […]

Nov 03
Thai Sayings & Proverbs About Life and Love

The following is a collection of original sayings and proverbs, which I’ve written over the years with the help of my Thai colleagues. These proverbs and sayings were inspired by the life lessons I’ve gained by living in Thailand. In each of the entries, the Thai language version is written first, followed by a transliteration […]

Oct 29
Thai Food That’s Not Spicy

One of the great joys of living in Thailand is the Thai food. Simple and delicious Thai dishes can be found everywhere for a little more than a dollar. You don’t have to be a spicy food fanatic to enjoy Thai food. There are plenty of Thai dishes that are not spicy but no less […]

Oct 29
Ordering a Larger Portion of Thai Food

Today’s post is not only for tourists to Sakon Nakhon, but also the expats who want to learn how to order a large portion of Pad Thai or other Thai dish. Dining at a Thai food stall or village food vendor is delicious and cheap, but portion sizes can be a little small for the […]

Oct 29
How to Pronounce Thai Beer Brands

The three most popular Thai beer brands that you will come across in Thailand are: Chang, Singha, and Leo. The latter is rarely mispronounced, since Leo sounds just like it does in the West. However, the first two Thai beer brands are regularly pronounced incorrectly — even among long term expats in Thailand (which is […]

Oct 29
Soi Dogs in Thailand

If you are in the habit of reading Thailand-based websites written by expats, you will undoubtedly have run across many stories of farangs confronting surly Thai soi dogs (i.e. stray Thai dogs that wander the alleyways). For some strange reason, Thai soi dogs seem to be a favorite literary topic for farang writers, second only […]

Oct 29
Thailand Karaoke Bars – Singing in Thai Language

One of the best ways to learn the Thai language is to learn how to sing in Thai. If you live in Sakon Nakhon (or any larger city in Thailand), there will be plenty of opportunities for you to practice your Thai singing skills beyond the shower or inside your car. Singing karaoke is a […]

Oct 29
Sakon Nakhon Toilets

There is some truth to the idea that the culture of a country is largely revealed by how its people handle themselves when in the toilet. That Americans and Brits clean themselves up by smearing their bottoms with toilet paper, then saunter off as though clean, reveals a lot about the way they deal with […]

Oct 29
How to Learn Thai in Sakon Nakhon

Plucking up the courage learn Thai? That’s great. The blog area of has Thai language lessons for all types of Thai language learners. English teachers who want to learn Thai to better manage their classrooms. Tourists who want to learn Thai to experience the real Thailand. Long term expats who want to take their […]

Oct 29
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 […]

Oct 29
Dual Pricing in Thailand

Expats who complain about dual pricing in Thailand usually enjoy complaining as a pastime. We have never understood the whinging about dual pricing in Thailand — dual pricing being the phenomenon where locals pay less than tourists do. It’s not like dual pricing doesn’t occur elsewhere around the world. In Europe and the United States, […]

Oct 29
How to Haggle in Thailand

Haggling over prices is common in Thailand’s markets and mom and pop retail stores. However, it is not always easy for a foreigner to haggle successfully. Many Thais are under the assumption that all farangs are rich. If you try to haggle, a Thai store owner may think that you’re simply being a Cheap Charlie […]

Oct 29
Is Thailand a Patriarchal Society?

Today we are going to mix a learn Thai culture lesson with a Thai language lesson. Many people unfamiliar with the kingdom have asked is Thailand a patriarchal society? The answer is complicated. While commentators do often refer to Thailand as a patriarchal society, nothing is ever as simple as it appears on the surface […]

Oct 29
Thai-Farang Relationship Advice | Managing Arguments

It is easy for foreigners in Thailand to make missteps with Thai wives, especially when it comes to handling arguments. Farang husbands often manage matrimonial fights the same way they would if they were married to a Western woman, forgetting that Thai logic and cultural norms are different in Thailand. So in today’s post, we […]

Oct 29
MSG in Thai Restaurants in Thailand (Misconceptions)

For decades, people in the West have associated the consumption of MSG with a wide variety of ailments. However, as journalist Alex Renton wrote in his MSG expose in the Guardian: “If MSG is so bad for you, why doesn’t everyone in Asia have a headache?” Renton’s article (which you can read here) is a […]

Oct 29
Being an Open-Minded Thailand Expat

The eccentric American rock musician Frank Zappa once said that the mind is like a parachute; it doesn’t work unless it is open. That is good advice for expats who are planning to start a new life in Thailand or tourists who are visiting the Kingdom on holiday. The ways that things are done in […]

Oct 29
Thailand Relationship Advice | Heart Logic

Expats in Thailand often have trouble making heads or tails of Thai logic, and search in vain for the reasons why their Thai partners or colleagues do the things that they do. The problem is that foreigners think too often with their heads and not with their hearts. When it comes to thinking and decision […]

Oct 29
Working in Sakon Nakhon

When Americans, Brits, and other farangs start entertaining the idea of working in Sakon Nakhon (or Thailand in general), this often means taking a teaching position. However, today’s advice on working in Sakon Nakhon covers all job seekers. The topic of working in Thailand is too large cover all in one post, so we are […]

Oct 29
Thai Relationship Advice | Avoiding Why Questions

When learning the Thai language in Thailand, you also learn certain things about yourself. One thing that Brits, Americans, and other farangs learn about themselves is how much they abuse why questions. Westerners frequently use why questions not because they are seeking the unknown but because they are trying to coerce an apology or an […]

Sep 17
What is the Best Way to Learn Thai?

Both expats and tourists visiting Sakon Nakhon, often wonder what is the best way to learn Thai. There are many different opinions on the best ways to learn the Thai language. Some successful Thai language students are adamant that the best way to learn Thai is at a language school or a Thai language program […]

Sep 17
What Does Farang Mean in Thai?

If you are a Western tourist or expat in Thailand, you may hear the expression “farang” spoken in your direction. There is probably no word which causes more arguments in Thailand’s expat community than the word farang in Thai. Many expats find the term “farang” to be racist and resent any and all usage of […]

Sep 17
Talking Thai to Sakon Nakhon Locals

In Sakon Nakhon there are many Thais who like to talk with foreigners, especially students attending Sakon Nakhon Rajabhat University. But they are a bit nervous about speaking English. They might even come over and ask if they can talk to you. Rather than speaking with your new Thai friend immediately in English, you can […]

Sep 12
Thai/English Pronunciation Guide

The following is the pronunciation guide for the free Learn Thai material at While we encourage serious students of the Thai language to learn how to read Thai, this Learn Thai online pronunciation guide will help those who don’t have the time to learn written Thai and need to get talking right away. Learn […]

Sep 11
Speaking English in Thailand – Thailish Language Tips

It certainly helps to know a little bit of the Thai language when traveling around Thailand, especially if you are traveling off the beaten track to provinces like Sakon Nakhon. Many upcountry people have little to no experience interacting with foreign tourists, since so few come to their provinces. It also helps to know how […]

Sep 10
Learn Thai Pronouns

When you learn Thai it is important to pay attention to correct Thai pronoun usage. When younger Thais talk to each other, they usually will use different pronouns to refer to each other than many older Thai adults would — unless the adults are very close friends. You could cause offense if you use informal […]

Sep 05
How to Say “Like” in Thai Like Your Really Mean It!

In today’s learn Thai lesson, we are going to teach you not only how to say like in Thai but to how to say like in Thai like you really mean it! The word like in Thai is among the most common words you will hear in Sakon Nakhon. It also is one of those […]

Sep 03
Does Thailand Smell?

Does Thailand smell? Yes, it does! One of the great pleasures of living in Thailand is the wide variety of smells: some delicious, some putrid, some intoxicating, and some downright bizarre. In other words, the smells of Thailand reflect life in its beautiful diversity. We all have different likes and dislikes. Just as one person’s […]

Sep 01
Don’t Be So Serious in Thailand

Are you a serious kind of person? Well, you may have some rough going if you chose to move to Thailand. In the Land of Smiles, a friendly person will always be more welcomed than a serious person. Anyone who has spent time working in the Kingdom will tell you this, especially expat English teachers. […]

Aug 30
You Can’t Always Get What You Want in Thailand

When learning Thai there are times when words of wisdom pop into your head that you want to share but lack the Thai language skills to do so. For example, if you are an expat living in Sakon Nakhon there probably has been occasions when you have wanted to quote the Rolling Stones and say […]

Aug 28
How to Say Please in Thai – Being Polite in Thailand

When starting out learning a foreign language, one of the first words that people often seek out is the word for please. After all, most people like to be polite. And foreign tourists learning Thai often quickly seek out how to say please in Thai because they have heard that the Thai people place a […]

Aug 20
How to Say Boss in Thai

In today’s Thai lesson, we are going to teach you how to say boss in Thai. Remember that when talking to your Thai boss you should always use the most polite form of the Thai language. The most common Thai words for boss are phôo-nam (ผู้นำ), which literally means person who leads, hŭa-nâh (หัวหน้า), which […]

Apr 29
Thailand Bride Price – Paying a Sin Sot

Read our updated, in-depth article on paying a Thailand bride price at: Thai Dowry. The Thailand bride price or sin sot (สินสอด) is one aspect of Thai culture that causes consternation (and more than a few arguments) in the farang expat community. The idea that one is expected to pay money to the bride’s family […]