Thailand: The Basics


Police and general emergency call – 191
Medical emergency call – 1669
Fire – 199
Tourist Police – 1155


Highway Police – 1193
Traffic Information – 1197
Ambulance and Rescue – 1554
Crime suppression – 1195
Missing children – 1599
National Disaster Warning Centre – 1860 or 192
Tourist Information Inquiry – 1672


Royal Danish Embassy
Sathorn South Soi 1
Bangkok 10500
+66 (0)2 343 1100
[email protected]
H.E. Uffe Wolffhechel

Embassy of Finland
Athenee Tower, 14th Floor
63 Wireless Road (Witthayu)
Lumpini, Pathumwan
Bangkok 10330
+66 (0)2 207 8700
[email protected]
H.E. Satu Suikkari-Kleven

Royal Norwegian Embassy
UBC II Building, 18th floor
591 Sukhumvit Road, Soi 33
Bangkok 10110
+66 (0)2 204 6500
[email protected]
H.E. Kjersti Rødsmoen

Embassy of Sweden
One Pacific Place 20th Floor
140 Sukhumvit Road (between soi 4 and 6)
Bangkok 10110
+66 (0)2 263 7200 – 1
[email protected]
H.E. Staffan Herrström




The first thing you need is a Sim card with data transfer and some phone time. You can get that in any shop of the three main providers: True, Dtac or AIS. You will often find them in department stores. Don’t forget to bring your passport. You may need help from a local with setting up your phone so you can read your emails and surf websites and applications online, but mostly it works automatically


With the spread of smartphones the number of internet users in Thailand has exploded and is probably today over 50 million people – although the vast majority don’t think of themselves as surfing the internet, but only playing with their phone!

Currently, True is the largest regular internet provider in the country. Other ADSL companies are AIS, DTAC, or 3BB. True provides home entertainment  services with their True Move service as well. To get online with you laptop, you can either find a Wi-Fi spot in most restaurants or – for more mobility – buy a USB plugin that includes Wi-Fi access from your laptop, tablet or mobile phone. In Thailand they call them “aircards”. If you bought a local sim card, you can also use your phone as your internet gateway either using Bluetooth or your data/charger cable.


If you plan to stay for six months and above in Thailand, it is highly recommended that you find a Thai language course near where you live. Do this as soon as possible because if you learn from friends and taxi drivers to say “turn left”, “turn right” and “where is the toilet”, you feel less of an urge to take this course. Soon your progress with the Thai language will come to a stop if you don’t take a systematic approach.

Thai, or more precisely Central Thai, is the national and official language of Thailand. It is spoken and understood by all Thai people. But for many, their local dialect will remain their first language. Although most words are the same, these dialects will have a different sound and many of the words will be quite different to Central Thai.  The Thai language is tonal and has a unique script with far more character than the western alphabet. It has also three  relational markers which help the Thai reader understand how the word is pronounced.

Some words in Thai have roots back to Pali, Sanskrit and Old Khmer. Some words have been assimilated from Chinese and recently, many words have been adopted from English, however these borrowed words are often used with a convenient abbreviation that makes it hard to recognize.

The most famous word adopted from French is the Thai word for all white skinned foreigners, “farang”. The word comes from the Thai pronounciation of the country France, “Farangcet”.

Week Days and Months

Although the names of the days of the week in Thai are very different from in English, they are derived from the names of planets in the same way. In a similar fashion, the names of the months in Thai are named after signs of the Zodiac.

English Thai Named after
Monday วันจันทร์ wan jan  The moon , จันทร์ jan
Tuesday วันอังคาร wan ang-kaan Mars , อังคาร ang-kaan
Wednesday วันพุธ wan pút Mercury , พุธ pút
Thursday วันพฤหัสบดี wan pá-réu-hàt-sà-bor-dee Jupiter , พฤหัสบดี pá-réu-hàt-sà-bor-dee
Friday วันศุกร์ wan sùk Venus , ศุกร์ sùk
Saturday วันเสาร์ wan săo Saturn , เสาร์ săo
Sunday วันอาทิตย์ wan aa-tít The sun , อาทิตย์ aa-tít


The Thai word for Thursday is usually abbreviated to just วันพฤหัส wan pá-réu-hàt .

The names of the months of the year in Thai are long, very different from English and typically difficult for learners of Thai to remember. The names are derived from the names of signs of the Zodiac in Thai, combined with the suffix อาคม aa-kom or อายน aa-yon both of which mean “the arrival of…”. Only February has a different suffix, พันธ์ pan , which means “the tying of…”.

The names of the days of the week have a similar celestial origin, being named after the planets.

English Thai Thai Abbreviation Named after
January มกราคม 
mók-gà-raa kom
ม.ค. Capricorn ( มกร má-gon )
February กุมภาพันธ์ 
gum-paa pan
ก.พ. Aquarius ( กุมภ์ gum )
March มีนาคม 
mee-naa kom
มี.ค. Pisces ( มีน meen )
April เมษายน 
เม.ย. Aries ( เมษ mâyt )
May พฤษภาคม 
préut-sà-paa kom
พ.ค. Taurus ( พฤษภ préut-sòp )
June มิถุนายน 
มิ.ย. Gemini ( มิถุน mí-tŭn )
July กรกฎาคม 
ก.ค. Cancer ( กรกฎ gor-rá-gòt )
August สิงหาคม 
sĭng hăa kom
ส.ค. Leo ( สิงห์ sĭng )
September กันยายน 
ก.ย. Virgo ( กันย์ gan )
October ตุลาคม 
dtù-laa kom
ต.ค. Libra ( ตุล ตุล )
November พฤศจิกายน 
พ.ย.  Scorpio ( พฤศจิก préut-sà-jìk )
December ธันวาคม 
tan-waa kom
ธ.ค. Sagittarius ( ธนู tá-noo )


If you’re having trouble with remembering all these, there is something of a clue in the last syllable of each one. Months with 31 days all in -คม kom , months with 30 days all end in -ยน yon ) and only February with its 28 or 29 days has the different ending of -พันธ์ pan. In normal speech, this last syllable of the month’s name is sometimes dropped though.


Google translate is not yet good enough to use as online translation from Thai to English or from English to Thai.

Online, the following services are free: and, which is really good.

There are are also several handheld devices specifically developed to translate from Thai to English and from English to Thai, often with sound option. You will find them in the electronic department of any department store.

For official translation of documents, there are many small and inexpensive service operators in the main tourist centres of Thailand.


Thailand has a tropical climate, high in both temperature and humidity. April and May are the hottest months of the year . June brings the South West Monsoon and the rainy season until October. From November to the end of February, there is a cooling North East breeze and a reduction in the humidity level. It is always much cooler in the north where the temperature may occasionally drop to as low as 2°C.


The Thai culture incorporates cultural beliefs and characteristics indigenous to the area known as modern day Thailand. It is coupled with much influence from ancient India, China and Cambodia, along with the neighboring pre-historic cultures of Southeast Asia. It is influenced primarily by Animism, Hinduism, Buddhism, as well as by later migrations from China and southern India.


The Thai cuisine is the national cuisine of Thailand. Blending elements of several Southeast Asian traditions, Thai cooking places emphasis on lightly prepared dishes with strong aromatic components. The spiciness of Thai cuisine is well known. As with other Asian cuisines, balance, detail and variety are of great significance to Thai chefs. Thai food is known for its balance of three to four fundamental taste senses in each dish or the overall meal: sour, sweet, salty, and bitter.


Thailand has a rich mix of English language media and even a few in various Nordic languages.

The most comprehensive Nordic news website is serving news daily for Scandinavian residents in Thailand and other countries in South East Asia.

For residents in Pattaya, there is a Norwegian newspaper and a Nordic magazine apart from the local website.

The local news service in English is very good:

Bangkok Post

The Nation

Thai PBS in English

Khaosod in English

About Gregers Møller

Editor-in-Chief • ScandAsia Publishing Co., Ltd. • Bangkok, Thailand

View all posts by Gregers Møller

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