Bangkok - Post Report Question and Answers

How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

Taxi Thai is useful, e.g., being able to tell the driver your address, turn left, turn right, stop here. Maybe some basic numbers for street purchases. It is always nice to say pleasantries in the local language. Generally, the vast majority of expats here get along fine without knowing the local language. - Feb 2023

I know about five words and I've survived just fine. Google Translate is a wonderful app. The US Embassy does offer language classes. - Jan 2023

It's definitely helpful to have at least some "taxi Thai" and to know how to order food and count numbers / transact in Thai. Local classes and tutors are plentiful, and the Embassy language program is not bad. I've survived here for three years with very basic Thai and it's been fine. If you're able to learn Thai in depth, however, it will open up just that more of the local culture and food scene to you, especially if you travel outside of Bangkok or tourist areas. - May 2022

I get by with very little out here in Nichada. Basic phrases and numbers will get you by. Directional phrases are great for taxi rides. Local language classes are provided by the PTA of ISB inside the gate as well as the Embassy. - Aug 2019

Living downtown you need to know some Thai to navigate directions when riding in taxis and it's also good for eating out. The embassy offers classes and the instructor, Khun Nok, is really good. - Jun 2018

Within Bangkok and in more touristy areas English is common, once outside of the city you need a bit of Thai to get by. - Apr 2017

Most Thais in the consumer service industry speak enough English to get by. You should be fine if you don't speak Thai but obviously small polite phrases are always appreciated. - Nov 2016

It's nice to have a small vocabulary, but you can survive in Bangkok easily without it. Most people do. - Aug 2015

You can survive with very little, however, I strongly suggest (if you want to make the most of your time) that you learn as much Thai as possible. I wish I had learned more, and my Thai was so-so. It will also help when you have problem with a taxi driver, or when trying to shop or eat at a local establishment. - Aug 2014

A good set of "Taxi thai" phrases will get you far - enough to get you home at least. Beyond that, the language is very difficult and many, many expats know very little. Those who know more can perhaps explore off the beaten path more easily and more often. - May 2014

None-most people speak a bit of English or you can communicate by pointing and smiling. - Jul 2013

It helps and would make the experience of living here more enjoyable. Unfortunately, I don't speak the language, but I get by fine on my "taxi Thai". - Jun 2013

They speak a lot of English here, but a little Thai goes a long way. - Jul 2012

For daily living you can get by without it, but as in most places it would be really nice to know some for true ease of living. - Oct 2011

Very little. Thais appreciate you learning, but I know people out here who can survive using no Thai whatsoever. - Aug 2011

A little "taxi thai" will go along way in not getting ripped off (as much), and it makes life much, much easier. And the Thais love it when you can say a few words in their language. - Jul 2011

You can get by with English, but knowing at least some Thai will certainly facilitate daily living and enhance the experience. - Feb 2011

You can get by on English, but people love it if you speak even "taxi Thai". Learning to give directions and ask for certain kinds of food, say thank you and hello, are very useful. Not everyone speaks English and many people who do, speak it with a heavy accent and tones having learned English from other Thai speakers. - May 2010

Not very much. Most Thais understand some English. - Apr 2010

not much, some english is in use--but i am in the big urban city.english is much more rare in the country - Jan 2010

Of course having Thai under your belt would be a big help. English is not that widely spoken here, except for places where the farang (foreigners) frequent, mostly western establishments such as hotels, restaurants, or department stores. - Jul 2009

None but it helps to learn a little Thai. It really makes a difference with the locals. - Apr 2009

None, but a little helps. - Feb 2009

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