How comfortable is it in Thailand without knowing Thai?
October 17, 2022
Planning to visit Thailand but worried about the language barrier? Perhaps your fears are unfounded (or perhaps not!).
First, it should be noted that the service sector is actively adjusting to foreign customers. Therefore, you can be sure that at airports and large hotels and shops you will be able to communicate with staff in English.
But you need to understand that the penetration of English in resort and large cities (Bangkok, Pattaya, Hua Hin) is much higher than in remote parts of Thailand. Therefore, if you decide to go to places that are not popular with tourists (for example, the province of Sakon Nakhon), then you can really face the fact that no one will understand English.
Price tags in stores are always duplicated in English
At least in large shopping centers in cities with a lot of tourists.
In cities like Bangkok or Pattaya, most likely you will not be able to find a sign in the store that would not be duplicated in English. And often the inscriptions in English come first and are written in a larger font.
Salespeople in large malls usually understand English.
Sellers in small shops and street stalls will also be able to explain to you how much the food or product you are interested in costs.
Product labels almost always have all the necessary information in English.
Most (with minor exceptions) products have the name of the product, its main properties and (if necessary) instructions for use in English.
Look at this package of bread – you won't even immediately guess that it was bought in Thailand.
Description, ingredients, and instructions for use are fully duplicated in English.
It doesn't say anywhere on the packaging, but it's milk. Knowing English, you can understand that this milk is lactose-free and with 0% fat content.
Product packaging on which all important information is duplicated in English.
The administration (Juristic Person) of the condominiums speaks English
Having at least one English-speaking worker with a decent level of English in a condominium is standard.
The inscriptions on road signs are almost always duplicated in English
Interchanges at major transport hubs must contain inscriptions in English.
In cities like Pattaya and Bangkok, almost all road signs are translated into English: directions to objects and explanations for road signs.
Important public institutions (police stations, hospitals) are named in English even in remote parts of Thailand.
In large cities, there may even be a special tourist police, whose task is to help tourists specifically.
Road signs and road markings are the same as in other countries. (But the rules of the road may differ – at least keep in mind that the traffic here is on the left!)
Is it so comfortable to live in Thailand without knowing the Thai language?
If you are planning to live in big cities like Bangkok or Pattaya and if you buy groceries and other goods in malls, then you will not feel any discomfort due to the language barrier, since all signs will be duplicated in English and the staff speaks English.
Immersion in English is so complete that sometimes you forget that you are in Thailand and not in some English-speaking country.
If you are going to visit small towns in remote parts of Thailand, then English may be worse there. The way out of this situation is to bring along a Thai friend or girlfriend who will help you communicate with the locals (if you need it).
If you need to translate an inscription from the Thai language, or communicate with a person who does not know English, then use the Google Translator application, which can now translate audio speech, as well as the inscriptions on which you pointed the camera or inscriptions on pictures and photos on your phone.
If you do not speak English, then you will have to use Google Translator, since you should not really expect that the locals speak any other language than Thai or English – although you may be lucky.