Language & Culture


The Thai language is widely spoken throughout Thailand, but many Thais also have a good understanding of English, especially in Bangkok and the major tourist areas. As Thailand welcomes visitors from all over the world, English has become the common language for cross-cultural communication. However, learning a few basic words in Thai can be helpful for getting around and locals are usually happy to assist foreigners in their language learning journey.

The Thailand communications network is designed to be accessible and convenient for foreigners. Visitors can easily obtain a Thai SIM card at international airports, and rental mobile phones and SIM cards are readily available in popular destinations like Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Phuket. Post office workers generally speak some English, and there are internet cafes throughout the country that offer Skype headsets for visitors who want to communicate with their loved ones back home. Overall, the Thailand communications system is modern and user-friendly for tourists.

Thai Language

The Thai language is the official language of Thailand, but English has unofficially become its second language due to the influx of tourists and business visitors. In cities like Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and the islands, many people are fluent in both Thai and English. However, foreigners may find it challenging to pick up the Thai language as it is quite different from many other foreign languages.

One of the unique aspects of the Thai language is its five tones: high, mid, low, rising, and falling. Each tone can change the meaning of a word, making pronunciation a bit tricky for non-native speakers. Nevertheless, Thai people are generally supportive and willing to help foreigners with their pronunciation. Written Thai is based on an alphabet adopted from the Khmers of Cambodia and does not include spaces between words, making it more complex to read compared to speaking.

Fortunately, road signs in Thailand are written in both Thai and English, and many tourist areas provide maps, menus, and other literature in multiple languages. However, transliteration of Thai words into Romanized characters can sometimes cause confusion, as the pronunciation may differ from English. For example, the island of Phuket is pronounced as “poo-ket” in Thai, not “foo-ket” as it would be in English. Additionally, there are regional dialects in Thailand, such as the Lao language spoken in Northeastern Thailand. Despite these variations, all variants of Thai use the same alphabet.

Thailand Communications Network

The Thailand communications network is designed to be easy and convenient for foreigners to use. Whether it’s making phone calls, accessing the internet, or sending mail, visitors can stay connected with comfort and ease.

Telephone (Thailand Phones)

The telephone system in Thailand is modern and widespread. Pay phones can be found throughout the country, and cell phone reception covers almost all areas, except for the most remote islands. Visitors can easily purchase a second-hand Thai phone and a SIM card, which is cheap and readily available. Additionally, internet cafes in urban and tourist areas often have Skype installed on their public computers, allowing for international calls.

When making calls to or from Thailand, it is important to know the country codes. To call Thailand from overseas, the international country code is +66. To make a call from a Thai phone to another country, the code is 001 followed by the country code. Emergency numbers, such as the Tourist Police, can be dialed by calling 1155.

Public Telephones

Public telephones in Thailand are coin-operated and widely available throughout the country. Local calls usually cost around 1 baht per minute. Card phones, which accept prepaid phone cards or credit cards, are also common, especially in urban and tourist areas. Prepaid phone cards can be purchased at convenience stores like 7-11. General post offices also have public telephones that charge by the minute for local and overseas calls.

Thai Cell Phones

Thailand has widespread cell phone coverage, with reception available in most areas. Many overseas cell phones will work in Thailand if they are GSM compatible, as Thailand has both GSM 900 and 1800 networks. However, using a foreign cell phone for calls in Thailand can be expensive. It is more cost-effective to purchase a Thai SIM card, which can be inserted into a compatible phone. Prepaid phone cards are widely available at convenience stores. Alternatively, visitors can purchase a new or second-hand cell phone at locations like the MBK shopping mall in Bangkok.

In conclusion, the Thai language is widely spoken in Thailand, but English has become the common language for communication with foreigners. The Thailand communications network is designed to be accessible and convenient, with options for making phone calls, accessing the internet, and sending mail. Visitors can easily navigate the communication system and stay connected during their stay in Thailand.

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