Thai numbers are used very rarely. How rarely? Well, I've lived in Thailand for seven years; there are only 10 numbers; and I still have problems remembering them. That rarely. Most of the time, Thais use standard Arabic numerals - the same as you and I.
Some Thai books use them for page numbering and sometimes you see fancy clocks, etc.
A numbering system that is known to Thais but unknown to the vast majority of foreigners in Thailand really only has one purpose. If you visit museums, important temples, historical parks, and tourist attractions in general, you will see Thai numbers used where you pay the entrance fee.
In the examples on this page, you will need to know the following words:
ผู้ใหญ่ - adult (poo-yai)
เด็ก - child (dek)
คนไทย - Thai person (kon tai)
ชาวไทย - Thai nationals (chaaw tai)
ชาวต่างชาติ - Foreign nationals (chaaw dtaang chaat - the polite version of farang)
The practice of dual pricing, while hiding the truth from foreigners by using Thai letters and numbers, is extremely widespread in Thailand. It happens everywhere.
I once saw a web site started by a farang listing the places where this happens. It would actually be much easier to list the places where dual pricing doesn't happen.
It makes me mad as hell because I can read the signs and it is so obvious what is going on. However, Thais continue to get away with this disgusting practice because the vast majority of foreigners can't read Thai.
Foreigners with no Thai language skills read the sign and assume the price shown in English applies to everyone. It doesn't.
And it's not just a small extra charge for foreigners. Quite often the difference is a factor of 10. Sometimes it's even free for Thais, but there is still a hefty charge for 'rich' foreigners.
As you can see from the photo at the top of the page, the charge for Thai kids is Bt10 but for foreign kids it is Bt100, while the respective charge for adults is Bt20 and Bt200. This is quite typical.
This particular sign was for a shell museum in Krabi where there were a few fossilised shells which were hardly worth seeing. I spent about five minutes in there. There were two entrances. I explained my situation to the woman at the first entrance but she wouldn't let me in for the Thai price.
However, the woman at the other entrance let me straight in for Bt20. If a foreign family with two children were to visit it would cost Bt600. The equivalent Thai family would pay Bt60.
The prices apply to all Thais, whether they be poor rural farmers or extremely wealthy Bangkokians. The general assumption is that all Thais are poor, and all foreigners are rich.
I wouldn't mind so much if Thais paid 10 times more for things when they travel to England, but of course they don't.
Sometimes Thais don't even have to pay at all. This, of course, is made clear to them, but because the vast majority of foreigners can't read Thai they will be oblivious as to what is going on.
คนไทย - Thai person/people (kon tai)
ไม่ต้อง - no need (mai dtong)
ซื้อ - buy (seu)
บัตร - card, ticket, coupon (but)
เข้าชม - enter, go to see (kao chom)
ฟรี - free (free)
After one period where I had done a lot of travelling in Thailand and encountered dual-pricing every day (often several times per day), I saw the following sign in a restaurant in Krabi. What a joke.
If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, feel free to contact me. Your feedback will help me to improve these pages.
The best way to remember the various characters used in Thai script is by writing them down on paper. In addition to improving your writing skills, the very act of writing the characters on paper will commit them to memory.
This is how Thai children learn and it is a very effective approach. The best way to practice your writing is by using the same worksheets that Thai children use. They are available everywhere in Thailand, but a lot more difficult to find outside of Thailand.
Thailand is an incredibly photogenic country, both for its landscapes and its people. Regardless of whether you enjoy large Asian cities, beaches and islands, or rice fields and mountains, Thailand has something for you and it is a dream destination for photographers.
One of the great things about visiting Thailand is that hotels are plentiful and a lot cheaper than in most other countries. I always use Agoda to book hotels in Thailand. The company was established in Thailand and has great local knowledge, as well as a huge inventory of hotels.
If you click on one of the destinations opposite you will get a list of hotel deals from Agoda. It's generally a good idea to book on-line because you will get a good room rate and you won't suffer the disappointment of arriving at a hotel to find that it is full.
I book hotels regularly in Thailand and I have always found Agoda to be the best on-line travel agent. At times I have spent a lot of time researching hotel prices and although other deals sometimes look better at first I always end up returning to Agoda.
If you don't wish to pay for your hotel at the time of booking, Booking.com normally allows you to pay when you check in at the hotel. Some people prefer this method, but I have always found Booking.com to be more expensive than Agoda.
If you want to compare prices between different on-line travel agents (OTAs) for a specific hotel, you can use a company such as HotelsCombined. However, you will normally find that Agoda is the cheapest and therefore you can save yourself time and money by just booking through Agoda in the first place.
Images of Thailand