How to tell Time in Thai

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Hello fellow humans!

If you are planning to reside in Thailand for a few months, there is one thing that you must learn in the Thai language (besides ordering food and asking for the restroom)…. That is TIME. Whether you are reserving a seat for a manicure, asking newly-made friends for dinner, or even having a regular conversation with the security guard of your hotel, you will need to understand how to tell time and ask for time to ensure there is no confusion.

Now disregard everything you have learned about how to tell time in America (or wherever you are from). Telling time in Thai is not as simple as we may think it is but it also not as difficult as you may eventually claim it to be. Time, like any other subjects within the Thai language, must be learn and practice for one to be advanced at. To also add, they use military time here on digital clocks therefore you must a bit of that as well.

Let’s start off with military time. This is very simple. This utilizes 24:00 format. I will list this below along with the equivalent time in a.m. and p.m. so you won’t get lost.

Military Time

1:00 a.m.                              1:00

2:00 a.m.                              2:00

3:00 a.m.                              3:00

4:00 a.m.                              4:00

5:00 a.m.                              5:00

…                                      …

This continues until the clock strikes 1:00 p.m. As you will find out from below:

1:00 p.m.                            13:00

2:00 p.m.                            14:00

3:00 p.m.                            15:00

4:00 p.m.                            16:00

5:00 p.m.                            17:00

…                                      …

This continues until the clock strikes 1:00 a.m and it starts all over again.

10:00 p.m.                           22:00

11:00 p.m.                           23:00

12:00 p.m.                           24:00

1:00 am                                1:00

…                                     …

Amazing! Now that you have learned military time. I will give a quick crash course on Thai numbers so that it won’t be too difficult to learn time.

1 – nung                 2 – song

3 – sam                   4 – sii

5 – ha                      6 – hok

7 – jed                     8 – bped

9 – gow                  10 – sii

11 – seeb-ed

Awesome! Now that you have learned Thai numbers. I will use that to help me teach Thai time. Let’s start off with 6:00.

Military Time                            Thai Time

6:00                                        Hok mong shao

7:00                                        Jed mong shao

8:00                                        Bped mong shao

9:00                                        Gow mong shao

10:00                                      Seeb mong shao

11:00                                      Seeb-ed mong shao

12:00                                      Tieng

13:00                                      Buy-mong

14:00                                      Buy-song

15:00                                      Buy-sam

16:00                                      See mong yen

17:00                                      Ha mong yen

18:00                                      Hok mong yen

19:00                                       Nung-toom

20:00                                       Song-toom

21:00                                       Sam-toom

22:00                                       See-toom

23:00                                       Ha-toom

24:00                                       Tieng Koon

1:00                                         Dtee nung

2:00                                         Dtee song

3:00                                         Dtee sam

4:00                                        Dtee see

5:00                                        Dtee ha

Now this is time in Thai. They do not use a.m. and p.m. like us. This may seem hectic and difficult at first but practice will make you a better speaker and maybe dwelling with the locals will be less difficult than before. Other than that, have a great day! :)