Adventures in Thailand, travel

Part 5: How to learn really basic Thai

So before I left Canada, I decided if I’m going to be staying in Thailand for 6 months, I’m going to learn Thai.

My goal : to learn the Thai language!

I started listening to Pimsleur Thai about 2 months before I arrived in Thailand and by the time I was on the first plane, I could already say:

“Where is Sukhumvit Road? Here or there?”, “I don’t understand.”,  “Where are you going?”, “Yes” and “No” and then some.


I was pretty happy with myself. I was all like, oh yeahhhh, “I’m going to ask them where the bathroom is, just because I can!!!”

Then I got to Thailand. Maybe it was jet lag but somehow I had forgotten everything I had learned and everything became “Sawadee-ka” (hello).



I was ashamed. Here I was trying to be the integrated traveller, speak the local language and I wasn’t better than the average-full-moon-party-going-Aussie-college boy.

I decided, to reassess my goals for 6 months. Instead of learning “Thai,” I’m going to learn “really-basic-Thai.” Which is basically being able to count and haggle in Thai (which will come in really handy for shopping). After all, the key to success is achievable goals.

My new goal : to learn *basic* Thai

“Hungry. Eat pad thai. Please. Drink beer. Thank you.” would be everything I hope to achieve in 6 months.

For the first couple of weeks, I did pretty well. They were helpful and encouraging, they were slow and understanding. Smiley and helpful. I learned so much.

Then as I grew closer to them, and became actual friends with them, their attitude changed. As all close friends do, they began to give me a hard time. This is what it felt like:

11717185_10153337923716539_1704342788_nAnd this…

11693135_10153337923761539_1767723352_n 11717102_10153337923726539_815778760_n

And so, that’s the life I live here, annoying every Thai person I encounter. But I have come a long way from a month ago. And I can actually haggle now – oh yeah, all numbers and stuff. And I can order Pad Thai politely. And this right here:


I wrote that. It means “yoga.”

My goal status: Accomplished! Woot, woot.

The best way to learn Thai is to be rich and hire a tutor. If you cannot be rich, like me, be annoying and persistent.

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