What is Ground Floor in Thailand. How to count floors in Thailand

If you are not a native English speaker, then you should know about “Ground Floor” from your English lessons in high school.

The following picture shows how British English and American English speakers see the world:

In British English, the first floor we are used to is the “ground floor”, and what we call the second floor is the “first floor” for them.

In terms of American English, and many other languages as well, the fourth floor is what the British would call the third floor.

In apartments (housing without a pool, security and underground parking), as well as in condominiums without underground parking, the floor numbering starts from the first floor, the concept of “ground floor” is not used.

That is, in Thai “ground floor” ≠ “first floor”.

In Thailand, “ground floor” is closest to the concept of “underground floor” or “semi-basement” (“a floor of a building that is half below ground, rather than entirely such as a true basement or cellar”).

So “ground floor” in Thailand is something like “underground floor”, “semi-basement”, or “basement”.

This is what the ground floor might look like – parking just below ground level, access to the elevators and the pool.

In malls, the “ground floor” is usually an actual underground floor that is entirely below ground level.

How to count floors in Thailand

So, “ground floor” in Thailand is not the first floor. On the “ground floor” there may be parking and technical premises (for servicing water pumps and other things) or nothing at all (a house on poles), but residential apartments cannot be on the “ground floor”.

If you give your address, then you do not need to increase the floor number by 1. That is, ground floor is ground floor, and the first floor is the first floor.

Even if visually the first floor is significantly higher than ground level, it is still considered the first. At least this is true from the point of view of the Thais.

The first floor does not have to be the first or even the second…

In shopping centers, hotels and other large buildings, in addition to the “ground floor”, you can find the “management floor” (in elevators it is indicated by the letter “M”) and other types of floors. Usually they are located in front of the first floor. As a result, the “first” floor is actually the third floor if it is preceded by “ground floor” and “management floor”.

How many floors in a Thai house on pillars

By the way, how many, from the point of view of Thais, are there floors in a traditional Thai house on poles?

I talked to the Thais, and they explained to me that, from their point of view, if there are no rooms below, then houses similar to the one in the picture above are considered one-story. That is, it is wrong to talk about the “first floor” and “second floor” for such a house. This house has only one floor.

This is different from the European perception. At least for me, this house has two floors: the first floor is not residential, and the second floor is residential.

Similarly, with “ground floor” and “first floor” – it's very unusual for me to call the floor the first, if I know that there is at least one more floor below it.

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