Tag Archives: Thai

This is why Thailand is called Amazing Thailand!


Keep watching and you shall see.

I really like the song and she sings the song really well. I particularly like the interview after the song when she mentions that her father used to hit her, when he tried to correct her sexuality. Despite the objection, she still wants to tell her dad of her accomplishment. I am sure that after all she makes him proud.


Thai short story translation


Here is my translation of Win Lyovarin’s “The Drama in the Black and White Room.” It is a part of a collection of short stories which won the Southeast Asian Writer award back in 1999 (S.E.A. Write Award). The translation was a part of my graduate work and it is intended for non-commercial use only.

Mr. Lyovarin is my most favorite Thai author. The story depicts the cosmopolitan Bangkok. The story brings you to crossroad of traditional Thai societal norms and sexuality.

Comment on the translation will be much appreciated.

The Drama in the Black and White Room

Photo Credit

Continuity is key to learning a new language.


ความพยายามอยู่ที่ไหน ความสำเร็จอยู่ที่นั่น– Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

I have been thinking about Thai students that I have taught over the past five years and one word best describes the successful students–continuity. Learning a new language when you have limited exposure to the language can pose a challenge. Your only exposure might be the Thai restaurant in your neighborhood where the wait staff might be busy to talk to you more than taking your order.

My recommendation to learning Thai when you are not in Thailand is to keep at it. You definitely should find yourself a good teacher, find resources outside of your lesson and be disciplined. The goal to become proficiency in Thai reading and speaking is surely obtainable within one year or less, with only a lesson a week. I have seen countless students do it and so can you.

Picture Credit

Thai language book review


David Smyth’s Thai: An Essential Grammar

I have been using this book for around four years as it was recommended to me by a former Thai student who studied Thai in college in America and I think it offers the best explanation for non-native Thai learners. As a Thai, David Smyth’s book offers a clear sense of how Thai structures work since I did not learn Thai the way I learned English syntax. Personally, I think that this book offers a better explanation of Thai structural concepts than Thai Reference Grammar by James Higbie. Higbie’s book though focuses mostly on colloquial Thai, I find the book’s content arrangement confusing. If you are serious about learning Thai and can get a hold of this book cheap, I highly recommend this book. The part that is a “turn off” for most students when they use this book is transliteration. However, if you are not willing to learn the Thai basic writing, you will have to face that problem that all Thai books use a different system of transliteration anyway.

The way to use this book: start from the Appendix in the back and you will learn how Smyth’s transliteration system works. After you learn the transliteration system works on the chapter on verb and question.

Benjawan Poomsan Becker’s Thai for Beginners

I typically use this book for vocabulary learning. Considering its inexpensive price, it should be your first Thai learning book. If you can get a hold of the audio CD, it will also be helpful. The multimedia version, however, has not been as useful to my students. I recommend using this book for its extensive word list and David Smyth’s Thai: An Essential Grammar for structure.  Both books should get you started in putting the sentences together and engage in a conversation. Try to categorize the words you learn from Becker’s book since if you jump in to try to memorize all the words from lesson one to ten, you might have a real serious headache, and give up learning Thai altogether. For example, memorizing places from lesson two and try to use a visual map of your neighborhood and start calling the post office as Bprai-Sa-Nee.

Thai Phrasebook from Lonely Planet

This is a quick reference book if you are about to go on a trip to Thailand. Some of the words will need a major revision since Thai expressions do not work the same way as English does so you cannot simply do a direct translation. However, my students find the dictionary at the end of the book really useful.

Colloquial Thai by John Moore and Saowalak Rodchue

The merit of this book is in its extensive exercise. It also provides a learner with funny and realistic conversations. I think the chapters progress naturally and the book includes the Cultural section which I find tremendously useful. The horrendous part is still the transliteration so the book should be useful after you have some knowledge of the basic Thai writing.

Everyday Thai for Beginners by Dr. Wiworn Kesavatana-Dohrs

Finally, the Thai learning book with a good illustration. This book is highly recommended if you are choosing a book to use for a small class. The content is categorized into different topics, similar to Progressive Thai by Rungrat Luanwarawat. However, I personally prefer using Everyday Thai for Beginners to reinforce vocabulary when I teach  based on scenarios. For examples, when I teach on a restaurant and ordering food chapter, Everyday Thai for Beginners offers possible sentences than merely offering the names of food items like in Progressive Thai.

Thai for Muay Thai Practioners


ศิลปะการป้องกันตัว              Si-la-bpa-gaan-bpong-gan-dtua                                Martial Arts
มวยไทย                                 Muay Thai                                                           Thai boxing
มวยโบราณ                           Muay boran
the word “boran” literally means ancient  so the word muay boran means ancient boxing
ชก                                          chok                                                                       to punch, to hit
ต่อย                                        dtoy                                                                       to strike
ศอก                                       sok                                                                         elbow (n.)
หมัด                                        mat                                                                        fist, punch
เหวี่ยงหมัด                            wiang-mat                                                          to throw a punch
ไหว้ครู                                   wai-kruu
A ceremony performed prior to a fight to show respect for one’s teacher
รำมวย                          ram-muay
A dance performed to pay respect to one’s Muay Thai master before a fight (Please see)
มงคล                                      mong-kon
Auspicious fillets worn as a head piece. It is typically removed before a fight.
เตะ                                          dte                                                                         to kick
ถีบ                                           teep                                                                       to kick, to push with the foot (for more information see)
ฝ่ายรุก                                    faai-rook                                                              offense side
ฝ่ายรับ                                    faai-rap                                                                defense side
หัว                                           hua                                                                        head
หน้าแข้ง                                 na-kaeng                                                             shin
กำปั้น                                      gum-bpan                                                           fist
คาง                                         kaang                                                                    chin
หัวเข่า                                     hua-khao                                               knee
เท้า                                          thao                                                                       foot
ขา                                           kaa                                                                         leg
แขน                                        kaen                                                                      arm
สะโพก                                    sa-poke                                                                hips
หมุน                                       moon                                                                to turn one’s body
กระโดด                                  gra-dot                                                                to jump
โจมตี                                      jome-dtee                                                           to attack
คู่ต่อสู้                                      k00-dtaw-soo                                                    opponent
รอบ                                         rop                                                                         rounds
เวทีมวย                                  way-tee-muay                                                   boxing ring
สู้                                             soo                                                                         to fight
การแข่งขัน                            gaan-kaeng-kun                                          competition
คะแนน                                   ka-nan(nan as in van)                                    score
กรรมการ                               gum-ma-gaan                                                    judges
ชนะ / แพ้                               cha-na/pae                                                         win/lose
แข็งแรง                                 kaeng-raeng                                                       strong
แข็ง                                         kaeng                                                                    stiff
เหนื่อย                                    nuai                                                                       to be tired
เจ็บ                                          jep                                                                          sore
ช้ำ                                           chum                                                                     bruise
เลือด                                       luat                                                                        blood


New York Thai Restaurant Reviews


Reigning as the most authentic Thai food in the New York City area is Sripraphai in Woodside, NY. However, many newcomers and old-timers are thriving in NY area as well.

Here is a list of noteworthy AUTHENTIC Thai restaurants in NYC.

31 E 21st St
New York, NY 10010
(212) 420-7500


Neighborhood: Flatiron

Great Pad Thai, Great Staff– I am a fan! 

I have always liked food at Rhong Tiam since the first one opened near NYU library. Though my life does not allow me to venture to its several locations in the city before they open this location, food at Rhong Tiam ranks pretty high on my Thai standard. The Thai food there is cooked as a hotel-style in Bangkok as the name suggests the word Rhong Tiam means hotel. There is a certain nostalgia when you mention the word to a Thai person also; it is not just hotel where you go to stay, but it is a place where good food is served after you just come back from a long journey. I can almost picture myself as a well traveled Chinese warrior stopping by for a quick bite.

Though the new menu for this location adds several items that caters to the health-conscious crowd, they still have the Thai popular selections. The Pad Thai was brown and only slightly sweet as it should be. It seems that the place open late so I can’t wait to go back to check it out.

Check out New York Times Review of the restaurant

Wondee Siam II

813 9th Ave
(between 53rd St & 54th St)
New York, NY 10019

(917) 286-1726

First of all, it is difficult to come by any authentic Thai restaurant in Manhattan area. Not that I have anything against Thai/Asian fusion food with a beautiful decor , but hey I am Thai so I search for food that reminds me of the motherland. Wondee Siam II does a wonderful job in satisfying my craving when I am in the city. Ask for the secret Thai menu if you can read Thai and you should find items that are really authentic including some Northern and Northeastern Thai dishes that you don’t normally find in other places. If you feel adventurous, try asking the waitress to spice up your Thai food (the only way it should be eaten). I tried ground chicken stir fry with basil, topped with fried egg (Khao Pad Kra Phao Gai)and my childhood memories came flashing back. I think the majority of food I tried here has been cooked according to Bangkok standard and the service is prompt so I highly recommend this place.

Leng Authentic Thai

33-09 Broadway
Astoria, NY 11106
Neighborhood: Astoria

(718) 956-7117

Pad Kee Mao (Drunken Noodle) here is beyond my fantasy. First of all, I live in the opposite side of Queens but I am willing to drive half an hour to go pick up the food from here. I normally ask them to cook it really spicy that my predicament will be that the food hurts so good but I cannot stop myself from eating it. The ambiance is serene that I just want to lounge there for hours. If you go during the day, the relaxing ambiance reminds me of being back working on my translating jobs while sipping a cup of coffee in Chiang Mai, Thaiand. The plus size of this restaurant is its generous portion. Of all my time living in the US, this restaurant gives me the most amount of food. It seems that typical Thai restaurants seem to charge you American price while giving you Thai portion. So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and check this place out.

Photo Credit: mackarus on Flickr.com

To be continued…