Uncategorized Archives - Learn Thai from a White Guy

I Flew from Bangkok to Chiang Mai during Covid-19

After a month of accommodation problems in Hua Hin and Cha Am due to provincial governors trying their best to make it really hard for covid wildcards (foreigners and to some extent non-residents) to stay in their respective provinces,  I finally gave up on the beach for a bit and decided I’d fly back to Chiang Mai this past Saturday (May 10th) to see what’s happening.  

While I certainly spent a lot of time trying to dig through Thai provincial announcements, it can be difficult to find accurate, up-to-date information.  This post that went up a few days before I flew at least gave me the feeling that I could fly in without TOO much hassle.

At Don Muang Airport

I wasn’t sure what to expect so I arrived at Don Muang Airport maybe 3.5 hours before my flight.  There was a bunch of people, but much quieter than usual.  There was no check in line so once I got to the airline counter I was able to check in immediately.  There wasn’t anything different than usual other than we were both wearing masks and there was hand sanitizer on the counter.  

Airport Security

no lines at airport security

สะดวก ง่าย เร็ว

Security was also quick and easy.  There weren’t any lines to get through.  There was only one security line open and there were a couple people going in before me, but it only took a moment to get through.  Once past security, it was a lot more striking how quiet everything was.  To the left, the hallway was dark.  To the right, there were a handful of things open including Starbucks, but not much.  I walked to the lounge area and the Miracle lounge was open while the Coral lounge was closed.  I didn’t go inside.    

Just past security, it was super quiet.


Starbucks for the Win

Starbucks was open, but not much else so I sat there and worked for a while.  Actually, if everything was open, I’d still probably would have sat there a bit and then gone to the lounge.

starbucks don muang during covid

Boarding the Plane


At the gate people were sitting spaced apart.  When they announced boarding they told everyone to keep their distance, but it didn’t work very well. 

On the plane, middle seats were blocked off as expected.   My flight still had a fair number of people on it.  As far as I could tell, almost everyone was Thai.  I only noticed a handful of foreigners besides myself.   

There was some seat drama where an old person just sat in the row behind me, but it was someone else’s seat.  So the flight attendant just put them in my row.  There was a guy with a very unpleasant sounding cough in the row behind me which made me wince a few times.  

Not long after take off, a flight attendant came by to talk to the other guy in my row and said that as he was a ข้าราชการ [khaa-ratcha-gaan] (government employee), and normally entitled to a free meal, they couldn’t serve food on the flight so they gave him a voucher so he could get some food at the airport after landing.  I assume the government has deals with all the airlines so ข้าราชการ can get free food.  

On the plane, they passed out a form to fill out.  It asked where for the following information:

  • Flight + Seat Number
  • Flying to/from
  • Name / Date / Age 
  • Accommodation with a note in Thai with a pretty amusing mistake.
    • What they meant to write was; (โปรดระบุให้ชัดเจน) please specify (the address) clearly
      • โปรด [pprod] please (formal/written only You never need to say this ever)
      • ระบุ [ra-bu] indicate; specify 
      • ชัดเจน [chat-jen] clearly
    • What they wrote was โปรดระบุให้ จัดเจน 
      • จัดเจน [jat-jen] to be experienced or skilled at something (I don’t think I’ve ever heard a Thai person say this so don’t worry much about this word.)

Upon landing, they asked everyone to stay seated so they could control the exit flow rate and add in some social distancing.  They let everyone in the C seats exit first which kind of defeats the purpose of paying more to sit up front so you can deplane faster.  If you do book a seat on Nok, just make sure to choose a C seat in case they do that every time.  Most people adhered to it at least for a minute or so and then most people just stood up.  I don’t think there really was any more distance than usual. 

After exiting the plane, there were 2 people at the top of the escalator to slow down the line and keep people a metre apart.  

Arriving at Chiang Mai International Airport

Once you get to the bottom, there’s a sign which just says “foreigner” pointing off to the side.  I think if you looked Thai enough, you might be able to slip by this, but I’m not sure.   They didn’t ask me any questions, my appearance was enough to get me sent off to the side.  In the farang corner, there was a gaggle of immigration officers buzzing around. 

They wanted to confirm that the address I wrote was correct, they asked for my phone number and that of a Thai person and also asked where I was coming from.  She also looked at my entry stamp which expired a few weeks ago.  

It was all pretty friendly and there were the usual questions like “How is it that you can speak Thai like this?”  in addition to covid related questions like “What country were you in before coming here?’  I told her all the details and I also told my story of getting essentially pushed from province to province due to accommodation problems.   It took less than 10 minutes.  

After she walked me over to the door where i had to go through the entire spiel with a doctor who had a table setup at the exit doors from the baggage claim.  That took a little longer as I had to convince the doctor that I had a place to hide out in for a while (at least 2 weeks) and that I wasn’t going to run around spreading the disease.  She said that I should self-quarantine.  I should point out that of all the people on the plane (maybe 50 or so?), it seems a little silly to only ask me to self quarantine.   Anyways, I’m hiding in my room as I write this so don’t worry, internet shamers.

If you are thinking of flying to Chiang Mai, I would make sure you have all of your bases covered.  I don’t know how this would have gone for someone who doesn’t speak Thai.  

  • Have accommodation booked and paid for (at least 2 weeks!).  If you keep an apartment here or are staying with a Thai person, that will likely win you some points as it will make them more comfortable.  
  • They asked me to give them contact info for a Thai person and I did, but another East Asian foreigner who was standing next to me did not have to do this.  It’s entirely possible that if you don’t have a Thai person’s contact that they would still let you through eventually.  

Here’s the handout they gave everyone:

What happens when Thai people fly to CM?  

I was pulled aside immediately, but from what I could see, Thai people were able to collect their luggage and then had to line up on their way out.  I assume that their information was collected, but the line seemed more like a lecture gauntlet where a few people were telling them all the things they needed to do to stay extra safe.  They also passed out a form with all the measures that they should follow.   I was given this form as well.  It’s all in Thai and doesn’t mention self-quarantining.  


Thai Language Notes:

The word ข้าราชการ [khaa-ratcha-gaan] mentioned above is pretty useful.  It’s used to refer to any government full-time employee/official.   The kind of job where a person works for the government and has all the accompanying benefits like pensions and health insurance.  


Embarrassing Day at the Market

Wet Market

Wet Market

Here’s another short real story from a native Thai speaker. In this one, a girl goes to the market with her mother and something embarrassing happens.

อาย – to be shy; to be embarrassed
ต่างจังหวัด – out of town (lit. to go to another province)
แวะ – to stop by somewhere for a short time
More Vocabulary and Notes

วันนั้นเรากับแม่กลับบ้านที่ต่างจังหวัดโดยขับรถไปกัน พอไปถึงก็เช้าพอดีแม่ก็หิวข้าวแล้วปวดฉี่มาก เลยไปเข้าห้องน้ำและแวะไปตลาดเช้า พอไปถึงก็มียายคนนึงขายพวงมาลัยนั่งอยู่ แม่เราก็ซื้อพวงมาลัยแล้วฝากเค้าเอาไว้เพราะต้องกลับมาทางเดิม ยายแกก็ทำท่าอึกอักๆเหมือนจะพูดอะไรแต่ไม่พูด ด้วยความที่แม่หิวก็รีบไปหาซื้อกับข้าว ขนมเพื่อที่จะเอากลับบ้านมากินกัน เราก็คอยเดินตามหลังแม่ก็เห็นมีแต่คนมองแม่เรา เราก็ไม่คิดอะไรเพราะคิดว่าเค้าคงไม่คุ้นหน้าแม่เลยมองปกติ พอขากลับแม่ก็กลับไปเอาพวงมาลัยก่อนขึ้นรถ ยายที่ขายพวกมาลัยก็บอกกับแม่เราว่า”หนูไม่ได้รูดซิปนะลูก” แม่เราก็อายมากเพราะเดินไปทั่วตลาดแล้วและแม่ค้าส่วนใหญ่จะนั่งขายของคือระดับสายตาจะอยู่ตรงเป้าเลย แม่เลยถามยายว่าทำไมไม่รีบบอก แต่ยายแกบอกว่า”ยายเห็นหนูรีบเลยกะว่าค่อยบอกทีหลัง” เรากับแม่ก็ขำกันใหญ่ ที่คนมองกันทั้งตลาดเพราะกางเกงในแม่เป็นลายสีแดง

  • คง
  • อาย
  • พอไปถึง
    after arriving
  • พวงมาลัย
    flower garland
  • ขำ
    to laugh
  • รีบ
    to hurry
  • บอก
    to tell
  • ฝาก
    to store; to deposit
  • All Done!

Birthday Facial

Here’s a funny high school story in Thai. I recommend trying to read through the parapgraph a couple of times before clicking through to the document with vocab and sentence pattern explanations.

ตอนนั้นกำลังเรียนอยู่มัธยม คือที่โรงเรียนช่วงเช้าๆ ชอบมีบูธมาแจกของขนาดทดลอง พวกขนม ของต่างๆ จำได้แม่นเลยวันนั้นไปซื้อเค้กให้เพื่อนเลยมาโรงเรียนสายเพราะคือถ้ามาสายกว่า 8 โมงจะต้องถูกทำโทษหน้าโรงเรียน วันนั้นก็มีบูธมาเหมือนเดิม พี่ๆเค้าก็รีบแจกของมาให้เยอะแยะเพราะด้วยความที่โรงเรียนจะเข้าแล้ว เราก็รีบเข้าโรงเรียนมากเพราะกลัวโดนทำโทษ นี่ก็รีบหยิบแล้วไปเข้าแถว พอถึงบอกพักเที่ยงเป็นวันเกิดของเพื่อนในกลุ่มพอดี แล้วมีการเล่นเอาเค้กป้ายหน้ากัน ทุกคนก็หน้ามันกันหมด ลืมตากันไม่ได้เพราะครีมเค้กเปื้อนกันทุกคนแต่ไม่มีใครเอาโฟมล้างหน้ามาเลย เราก็นึกได้ว่า เออเมื่อเช้าได้โฟมล้างหน้ามาเยอะ ก็แจกเพื่อนๆ ไปล้างหน้ากัน ทุกคนก็ล้างหน้ากันเสร็จ เพื่อนๆบอกหอมคือเย็นสบายหน้ามาก จากนั้นทุกคนก็หันหลอดนั้นมาสรุปแล้วมันคือยาสีฟัน จังหวะที่ทุกคนรู้ว่ามันคือยาสีฟัน เพื่อนคนนึงวิ่งออกมาแล้วบอกว่า”มึงมันไม่ใช่โฟม มันคือยาสีฟัน!!” ตอนนี้ก็ขำกันหมดเพราะใช้ล้างหน้ากันไปทั้งกลุ่มแล้ว

Do Farang even Shower?

Here’s some more Thai reading practice.  It’s a Thai person’s quick thoughts on showering habits of Thais vs Farangs.

Try to read it here first a couple of times without any help.  Skip words you don’t understand and just see if you can work out what’s happening.  After a couple of tries, go to the doc and try again in the gdoc reader.  Ready to read some Thai?

Do Farang even Shower? 



คนไทยชอบอาบน้ำ ส่วนใหญ่จะอาบน้ำวันละสองครั้งคือตอนเช้าและตอนเย็น ถ้าอากาศร้อนมากๆอาจจะอาบอีกครั้งตอนบ่ายๆด้วย

ถ้าได้ยินว่าฝรั่งอาบน้ำแค่วันละครั้ง หรือหลายๆวันครั้ง จะตกใจมากเพราะไม่เข้าใจว่าทนไม่อาบน้ำนานๆได้ยังไง ทำไมไม่รู้สึกว่าตัวเหม็นและสกปรก

หรือถ้าฝรั่งไปเที่ยวบ้านคนไทยแล้วใส่รองเท้าเดินในบ้าน ก็อาจจะโดนดุเอาได้

ใส่รองเท้าออกไปเดินข้างนอกแล้วเข้ามาเดินในบ้านพื้นจะเลอะ ควรถอดไว้นอกบ้าน

เรื่องที่คนไทยไม่ชินอีกอย่างนึงคือการใช้เท้าชี้หรือเขี่ยสิ่งของ เพราะคิดว่าเท้าเป็นของต่ำจึงไม่สุภาพที่จะใช้แทนมือ


Sentence Patterns:

  • มีหลาย _____ – There are a number of/a bunch of  _____
    • มีหนังหลายเรื่องที่อยากดูกำลังจะเข้าโรง – There are a bunch of movies I want to see about to come out.  
  • ทำ (SOMEONE) ให้ รู้สึก SOMETHING
    • แฟนทำให้เราน้อยใจนิดนึงที่ไม่ได้พาไปญี่ปุ่นด้วย – my gf/bf made me feel a bit bummed because he/she didn’t bring me along to Japan.
  • วันละครั้ง – once per day
    • ออกกำลังกายอาทิตย์ละกี่ครั้ง – how many times a week do you exercise?


In this video, Night tells about her internship.


B: เออ ! โอเค ไนท์ ขอเล่าให้ฟังหน่อย เอ่อ.. ตอนนี้เราฝึกงานอะไร
N: ฝึกงานที่เครือข่าย เฮด ไอ วี อีท อะค่ะ เป็นกองทุนโลกอ่ะค่ะ เป็นของ เค้าเรียกไอเน็ต เค้าจะเรียก
B: ไอเน็ต คืออะไร ?
N: ไอเน็ต ก็คือ เดี๋ยวนะ ชื่อมันยาวอ่าจำไม่ได้
B: อ่าวหรือ International อะไร อะไร พอ (หัวเราะ)
N: อืม อะไรประมาณนั้นแหละค่ะ และก็ มันจะแบบเหมือนกับเป็นเครือข่ายมี 3 ศาสนา ก็มี พุทธ คริสต์ อิสลาม ไรอย่างเงี๊ย ใน ใน ในที่ ที่ทำนะคะ เค้าจะมีแกนนำเป็นประสานงานกับทั่วประเทศอ่ะค่ะ แต่แบบเนี่ย ตั้งที่เชียงใหม่ที่เดียวนะ แบบที่ศูนย์มันจริงๆ เซสเตอร์จริงๆ อ่ะ ก็นอกนั้นก็เป็นแบบ ถ้าตามต่างจังหวัดก็เป็นแบบวัด เป็นอะไรอย่างเงี๊ย
B: แล้วได้ทุนจากที่ไหนเนี่ย
N: กองทุนโลกอ่ะค่ะ
B: โอเค
N: อืม ก็เพราะว่าเป็นเกี่ยวกับเอดส์ด้วยรึเปล่าไรเงี๊ย แล้วมันเป็นที่แรกที่แบบว่าเป็นศาสนามารวมกัน เพราะว่าที่จริง มุสลิม อิสลาม เค้าจะไม่มารวมกับนี้นะ เค้าจะแบ่งนะ เค้าจะถือนะ แต่แบบ คืออยู่ด้วยกันได้อะไรอย่างเงี๊ย อืมนั่นแหละ ก็มีไปเวิร์กช็อป ก็มีไปคุยกับคนเป็นเอดส์บ้าง แล้วก็แบบ เหมือนกับถามว่าเป็นยังไงบ้าง ก็คือให้เค้าแบบมีคุณค่าอะไรอย่างเงี๊ย เพราะว่าพวกที่เค้าเป็นมีเชื้อนะคะ เค้าจะแบบว่า มีแบบ เค้าเรียกว่า อืม ! ยังไงอ่า แบบรู้สึกว่าตัวเองไม่มีค่า มีปมด้อย อยากฆ่าตัวตาย หรือไม่ก็ประชดโดยการที่แบบไปแพร่เชื้ออะไรอย่างเงี๊ยไง เราก็ต้องทำให้เค้าแบบมีคุณค่า แบบ เชลเอสตีม (Self Esteem) อะไรอย่างเงี๊ยอ่าค่ะ แค่นี้แหละค่ะ บ๊าย บาย
B: โอเค แต๊งกิ้ว

5 Ways to Learn Thai without Feeling Overwhelmed

Learning a new language like Thai can be lots of fun.  Who doesn’t want to travel to a new country and be able to speak to the locals? Learning about a new culture and sharing new experiences are a big part of the enjoyment you can get out of it.

It’s not all fun and games, however.  There are definitely times where you can feel stressed or hopeless.  The way to combat this is by having a plan, some great resources and perhaps most importantly, some sort of motivation that keeps you going.  That might be a friend or partner, or maybe you’ve grown fond of Thai dramas.  It doesn’t matter too much what keeps you going as long you have something to hold on to during those stressful moments where you are feeling overwhelmed.

There are a few small hills to climb over when you’re learning a new language like Thai.  While the grammar and sentence structure isn’t as complex as some languages,  it is a tonal language, and the Thai script may be a bit intimidating when you first encounter it.  Don’t let these discourage you from moving forward.  If 67 Thai babies can learn to speak, read and write the language, so can you!

Not sure where to begin?  I recommend learning the script and sounds first.  It shouldn’t take more than 10 hours or so to get a good grasp of how the sounds are different from your own language and this will make everything you do after in Thai language much easier.  There are many Thai learning courses these days, but you should consider trying mine.  I’ve helped many thousands of people learn to speak Thai with my methodology.

Learning Thai or any language requires a pretty significant time investment.  It’s a good idea to have a plan in place.  Here are some tips on how to keep from getting overwhelmed.

    • Have a Routine 

You’ll make progress much faster if you incorporate your Thai language learning into your daily routine.  Maybe, you listen to a recording while you are getting dressed and/or brushing your teeth every morning.  Just block off as much time as you can that won’t interfere with the rest of your life.  You can make progress with as little 15 minutes a day if you stick to it long enough, but if you want to get conversational in a few months, you’ll need to put in more time and effort than that.

    • Study Each Session with a Purpose

What are you working on today?  Are you still practicing the Thai script?  Do you want to practice reading Thai signs?  Don’t skip around.  Really try to focus that 15 minutes (or more!) Keep a journal of your progress and check it every month.  How many hours did you study?  Make sure to look over material you’ve studied again later.  Repetition is a very important part of learning.  Looking at a word or sentence only once won’t work most of the time.  You need to connect with that new word or phrase multiple times in many contexts for you to really learn it.

    • Take Breaks

You are going to get stressed out sometimes.  This is perfectly normal.  If you start studying something and you feel like it’s too difficult and you feel yourself panicking, just take a break.  You can always try again later or tomorrow.  If you don’t want to give up entirely for the day, then just move on to some other form of exposure to Thai that’s less intensive.  Maybe try watching a tv show or some videos about Thai language on youtube.

    • Master the Thai Script and Sounds

The most important part of learning to speak Thai is communication.  If your goal is to be able to speak Thai fluently then it’s necessary to spend a bit of time getting familiar with the Thai sounds.   While there are some sounds that may sound familiar to you, many of these sounds are not exactly the same.  In order for you to communicate in the language effectively, you need to learn how to pronounce these new sounds.

    • Practice Speaking Thai with Locals

Learning a language isn’t just about studying.  Ultimately, how much time you spend actually trying to interact with Thai people is going to play a huge part in how fluent you get in Thai.  If you are already in Thailand, just go outside everyday and try to talk to people.  When you mess up, make a note about it and learn how to fix it.  If you hear a word or phrase many times and aren’t sure what it means, go find out!  If you aren’t in Thailand, you can always try language exchange or tutor sites like iTalki to get you some opportunities to practice speaking Thai.


With all this talk about how hard it can be to learn a language (it’s not really that hard, but it takes a while!), it’s easy to forget how fun it can be.  If you stick with it long enough, you can get conversational in a reasonably short period of time and maybe even get really fluent some day.  Just work hard a little bit every day and don’t give up.  It’s a long journey, but the benefits far outweigh the effort.

How to Eat Vegan in Thailand

People often wonder how I could possibly ever survive here in Thailand as a vegan. Considering I’ve been here well over 10 years and I still haven’t died, I think I’m doing fairly well. There is veggie food all around you, and I’m not just talking the salad shops that have sprung up in the last 2 years or. There are tons of veggie spots in town. On Suthep road alone, there are 3 lined up in a row each doing their own thing and there are 3 more down back roads within 5 minute walking distance from the first 3.

There are 2 main types of vegetarian/vegan eats in Thailand and while they both avoid meat entirely, there are a some important differences.

เจ (jeh) Vegan versus มังสวิรัติ (Mangsawira) Vegetarian

มังสวิรัติ [mang sa wi rut] comes from the Sanskrit mamsa, which means “meat” and virat which means “without.” So this is essentially an acceptable translation of “vegetarian.” As with in English, some people may or may not eat eggs and/or dairy.
เจ [jeh] comes from the Chinese word 齋 (jai1/jaai1) which is also the source for the equivalent words in Korean, Japanese, and Vietnamese.

If you happen to be reading this in October, then you are in luck, my friend. This is when the Vegetarian Festival (เทศกาลกินเจ) happens. During that time almost everybody gets on the jeh train for a bit. Some people eat jeh for the entire month, the entire 10 day festival, and most franchise restaurants (Black Canyon, MK, etc) offer at least one jeh option, but some actually have a full jeh menu during the festival. The only downside is that a lot of regular jeh restaurants don’t really do anything special during this time except get a lot more crowded than usual and in some cases raise their prices. Yay for jeh.
As far as the food goes, the main difference between Jeh and Mung is that real Jeh forbids eating food with really strong flavours and/or smells as it is believed that each one does harm to different parts of the body. This includes stuff like chives, garlic, parsley, and onions.

So what does all this mean for you? Real Jeh food will always be vegan. But, you need to be careful as some jeh places will have 1 or 2 Mung options which may contain egg. And even though jeh avoids really strong flavours, it can still taste pretty awesome. They often make all kinds of fake vegan meats to help ease the suffering of all those poor meat eaters who torture themselves by abstaining from me for a meal, a day or the entire vegetarian festival.

What are my choices?

  • Jeh – Technically vegan, but watch out for those handful of places that will have one or 2 dishes with egg. Jeh spots will almost always have one or more yellow flags posted both inside and out. The flag will either say เจ, the Chinese character the word is based on or both. They often use a Chinese-y font so sometimes the word เจ looks a bit like the number “17”.
  • Mung(sawirat) – Vegetarian w/eggs. As far as things eaten with rice, dairy is pretty rare, but pastries and other sweets sold at Mung places may contain butter, cream and/or milk.

What do I do if I can’t find a jeh place?

Some regular restaurants may attempt to accommodate you or at least make you think they are doing so.

How to Avoid Eating Animal Products in Thailand:

More than anything else, you’ll want to watch out for oyster sauce.  Vegetable dishes at regular restaurants will almost always be cooked with oyster sauce. Oyster sauce is dark, oily and gummy. And it comes from oysters! If you don’t want it in there, you gotta say so. You’ll know if it’s not in there, because they will probably only have used soy sauce and vegetable oil. So it may be bland, but vegan.
Solution: ไม่ ใส่ น้ำ-มัน-หอย (mai sai nam-man-hoi) – Don’t put in oyster sauce.

Fish sauce is another standard ingredient in a lot of (almost all!) Thai dishes.
Solution: ไม่ ใส่ น้ำ-ปลา (mai sai nam-plaa)
Soup broth – At non-jeh places, even if they say there isn’t any meat in it, it will still have meat stock so skip the soup.

Thai Dishes that usually Contain Egg:

  • ข้าวผัด – fried rice (khaao pad)
  • ผัดไทย – pad thai
  • ผัดซีอิ๊ว – pad see-yu

Notice the word ผัด (pad) appears in all 3 of the words above. ผัด = stir-fried/sauteed

How to say “Don’t put egg in”
ไม่ ใส่ ไข่ (mai sai kai) = don’t put in egg

Even if you ask for something jeh, they don’t always really know what that means so you are better off making it as clear as possible.

Full Sentence: เอา ข้าวผัด เจ ไม่ใส่ไข่ (ow kaaw pad jeh mai sai kai) – I’d like fried rice (jeh) without egg.

First thing you want to do is find out if they are willing to try to make you something jeh/mung. And just because they tell you they can, doesn’t mean they aren’t going to forget and give you something wish oyster sauce or fish sauce. Aside from being a tonal language, Thai also contains a whole lot more vowel sounds than English and when you say the vowels wrong, people probably won’t understand you. Be patient with them as you are the one who needs something from them and may not be able to
speak their language.

I remember this one time, a buddy of mine ordered a bottle of water and got a coconut, so watch out friends, watch out.

Look for the yellow flag!

Getting Around Chiang Mai

Getting Around Chiang Mai

    There are currently 3 main forms of public transportation in Chiang Mai:

  • สองแถว -song taew (red trucks)
  • ตุ๊กตุ๊ก – tuk-tuks (motorized 3 wheeled-monsters)
  • Uber – you may have heard of it

There are 2 other forms that deserve an honorable mention:

  • metered taxis – motto: “We no use meter!” They will never turn on the meter. You can find them at the airport, and parked outside some of the malls and supermarkets. They will always give you an inflated set rate. A song taew is always a better option.
  • motorbike taxis – only found in/around Arcade bus station.

Song Taews:

Riding in a song taew can be rather intimidating when you first get to Chiang Mai. Especially if you don’t speak any Thai. The way they operate here is also quite different from other provinces in Thailand. In the province of Chiang Mai, there are actually a few different color-coded song taews. Each color serves to bring people to/from another part of the province. This article focuses on the red song taews which tend to operate within the city limits, but they are also for hire to take you just about anywhere.

The first thing to be aware of is that many song taew drivers will overcharge you if they can. The key to avoiding this is to know how much it’s supposed to cost. The current fare is 20 baht. In town, there are sometimes set routes that operate for a set price, but the routes change all the time so if you do find yourself going to a major destination on a regular basis (CMU, for example), it may be worth asking around to find out if there is a better option for you.

Song taews aren’t usually as aggressive as tuk-tuk drivers in terms of yelling “taxi” at you although they may honk at you and will likely stop if you are standing on the side of the road looking lost or are with a big group of people who appear out of place.

    • Rule #1 – If it isn’t far away, don’t ask the driver “how much?” Asking means you don’t know that the price is 20 baht.

*Exceptions: Airport, bus station, train station or anywhere across the super highway.

The fact that the transportation hubs are not very far away doesn’t do anything to help us as a passenger here. The more visible power they have over a particular situation, the more they are going to be able to charge you. If it’s raining and/or you are carrying loads of luggage, you are more likely to get gouged. From anywhere in/around the moat, you should be able to get to the airport for 50-100 baht.

    • Rule #2 – Learn some Thai!

It’s worth it to learn the numbers and a few phrases even if you are going to be here for just a short time. It makes getting around and things like shopping a lot easier, and a lot more fun.

The 3 newest shopping malls are all along the super highway which has long been an invisible forcefield that song taew drivers are generally unwilling to cross without serious incentive. Getting out to those places will always be more expensive, and getting back will be worse. Any time you find yourself in a place with a queue of song taews in front of a mall or big store, you are probably going to have pay a bit to get out of there.

    • Rule #3 – Expect to get ripped off now and then.

It’s going to happen. Don’t let it stress you out too much. Try to learn from it and figure out what you could do better next time.

Useful Thai for Getting Around :

*It’s referring to the 2 benches in the back of the truck

*This name is a bit more old school, but you still hear it now and then.

Stuff to watch out for:
ไปกี่คน – how many people are going?
*This always means you are about to get ripped off.
Drivers who have their wives sitting next to them.

Useful Words:

Thai Movie Posters: Fast Times at Ridgemont High

Good times indeed! This latest poster is from Fast Times at Ridgemont High, released in 1982.

Thai poster from the 1982 film, "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" Phoebe Cates. That's all that needs to be said.

Thai poster from the 1982 film, “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” Phoebe Cates. That’s all that needs to be said.

Top Right:

Fast Times at Ridgemont Hot

Bottom Left:
ฟีบี แคทส์
ฌอน เพนน์
เจนิเฟอร์ เจสัน ลีห์

Thai Movie Posters: Duel

Today’s latest Thai movie poster is from the 1971 film Duel, which was directed by Stephen Spielberg and pitted an electronics salesman being terrorized by an unseen driver of a tractor-trailer.

Thai Poster for Duel, a 1971 Spielberg film.

Top Center:
ระหว่างรถยักษ์ 10 ล้อ กับมนุษย์ 2 เท้า

Duel of Death

Bottom Center:
เดนนิส วิวเวอร์
แจ็คเกลีน สก็อตต์

Bottom Right:
สตีเว่น สปิลเบิร์ก