Are you the type of person who gets lost all the time? It is nothing to be ashamed of as it happens to everyone. I sometimes find myself going in the wrong direction, even after people point me the right way. Now that is embarrassing. It is much more helpful when you give instructions about where to go using directions or pointing out landmarks to look out for. So what happens when you are in Thailand and need to go somewhere? I can help you out with that as today we look into giving directions to locations in Thai.
The way to express locations in Thai is by using a preposition. These are a type of word that explain the relationship between things. There are a number of different examples of these words that will help you give some more detail when explaining where things are located, especially in relation to other things.
The word ‘inside’ is an example of a preposition that provides details about an object or person. In Thai, the word for inside is ‘pai nai’ (ภายใน). If there is a toilet inside of the shop, then you would use this word to tell them how to get there.
Around is another word you can use for giving directions. In Thai, the word is ‘rorp’ (รอบ). You can use the word ‘at’ too, which is ‘tee’ (ที่) in Thai. If something is adjacent to something, you can use the word ‘dit gap’ (ติดกับ), or if it is next to something you use ‘khang’ (ข้างๆ). Near is another useful word, which in Thai is ‘glai’ (ใกล้).
We have spoken a little bit about directions before, but I think it would be good to cover them again. Starting with the basics, left and right in Thai are ‘sai’ (ซ้าย) and ‘kwaa’ (ขวา) respectively. While these should be enough for going around day to day, there are some more words you can learn.
Up and down are also useful words to know when giving directions in Thai. Up is ‘kun’ (ขึ้น) in Thai, while down is ‘long’ (ลง). These can also mean to get on or to get off too, when talking about vehicles for example.
There are also the compass directions. Starting with North, in Thai it is called ‘nuua’ (เหนือ). South in Thai is ‘dtai’ (ใต้). East and West in Thai are ‘dta wan ok’ (ตะวันออก) and ‘dta wan dtok’ (ตะวันตก).
For the directions in between, you can simply add ‘chiang’ (เฉียง) between each word. Interestingly, in Thai, the ‘North’ and ‘South’ part is placed at the end of the word. So Northwest would be ‘dta wan dtok chiang nuua’ (ตะวันตกเฉียงเหนือ) and Southeast would be ‘dta wan ok chiang dtai’ (ตะวันออกเฉียงใต้).
Now that you know some new vocabulary, you should now be able to understand where people are telling you to go. Of course, this also means that you can help others out. I can only imagine how impressed a local would be if you were able to point and explain where they need to go. Sometimes, learning Thai proves most useful in little moments like these.
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