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Thai language forum

Taxi Thai Plus

Posted by AjarnPasa on 26/5/2010 at 20:01

Welcome to Learning Thai with Travelfish and TweetYourselfThai.

And welcome to our first lesson. This is absolutely essential if you plan spending any time in Thailand, and you want to put to good use all that fabulous insider knowledge you've been soaking up like a sponge from Travelfish in preparation for your visit.

If it isn’t on the Sky Train or MRT route then your as likely as not navigating your way round Bangkok in a Taxi or a tuk-tuk.

While your driver might know where the Grand Palace, The Oriental is, getting safely to that tiny noodle bar that you've read rave reviews about on Travelfish in some un-numbered sub-soi, behind a Honda showroom, three-quarters of the way down Lat Phrao in time for dinner is no sure thing.

'Taxi Thai' is the first Thai we learn after สวัสดี and ขอบคุฌ and there’s good reason.

While there are legions of fabulous taxi drivers in the City of Angels, there are more than a few who benefit from gentle pointers to get you from ก to ข without going through the other 42 letters of the Thai alphabet.

Here is some key vocab for ascertaining whether the cabbie knows where you’re talking about, and if not, some key words to help you direct him there. For first time visitors to Thailand, if he doesn’t appear to know where you’re talking about right off the bat best to cut your losses, smile and say ไม่เป็นไร mâi bpen rai, before looking for another cab.

The Basics: does your driver know the way?

Know: ทราบ/รู้จัก sâap/róo jàk

Way/direction: ทาง taang

So for example you could, after stating your destination, ask:

คุฌ ทราบ ทาง หรือ เปล่า

khun sâap taang rĕu bplào

(Do) you know (the) way, or not?

If he doesn’t, don’t worry, just say:

ไม่ เป็น ไร จะ บอก ให้

mâi bpen rai ja bàwk hâi

No problem, (I) will tell (you).

Real-time directing

Once you’re on your way you’ll need to keep your wits about you and use these words to keep the driver on track.

Turn: เลี้ยว líeow

Left: ซ้าย sáai

Right: ขวา kwăa

Straight on: ตรง ไป dtrong bpai

Right here: ตรง นี้ dtrong née

Stop: จอด jàwt

Intermediate Taxi Thai

After a few journeys, once you've got the hang of directing in real time, you can try directing in anticipation of what you can see is up ahead.

(To) pass: เลย luhy

Left hand side: ซ้าย มือ sáai meu

Right hand side: ขวา มือ kwăa meu

Roundabout: วงเวียน wong wian

Traffic lights: ไฟแดง fai daeng

Intersection: แยก yâek

Pedestrian bridge: สะพานลอย sà-paan loi

So for example:

เลย สะพานลอย และ เลี้ยว ซ้าย ที่ ไฟแดง

luhy sà-paan loi leh líeow sáai têe fai daeng

Pass the pedestrian bridge and turn left at (the) traffic lights.

Advanced Taxi Thai

When you’re really feeling confident, you can start to give the driver pointers well before you get within sight of key way-points.

Opposite to: ตรง ข้าม กับ dtrong kâam gàp

Close to: ใกล้ๆ กับ glâi glâI gàp

Next to: ติด กับ dtìt gàp

Here’s an example:

ร้าน อาหาร อยู่ ใกล้ๆ กับ Central พระราม สาม

ráan aa-hăan yòo glâi glâi gàp Central prá-raam săam

(The) restaurant is close to Central Rama III

So, good luck getting to your destination. Have a go at mixing up some of the vocab here and make those cab rides less of a magical mystery tour.

If you liked this, you'll love our blog. Check out short, timely lessons in Thai at and follow us on Twitter @AjarnPasa

And if you have any questions or suggestions for topics for future lessons on Travelfish, feel free to leave a comment.

See you next time


#1 AjarnPasa has been a member since 26/5/2010. Location: Thailand. Posts: 27
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Posted by sayadian on 26/5/2010 at 23:51

This is absolutely brilliant.Very useful.

#2 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
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