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Learning Thai & other language difficulties

By the far the biggest problem you will encounter in Krabi is the language barrier. Most expats try to learn some basic vocabulary, such as how to order food and drinks – and that may be all you need to get by, especially if you have a Thai partner helping you out.

But in other situations – work needing to be done in your home, buying electronics in Krabi Town, even making Thai friends – you may find your lack of Thai language leaves you in difficulty. English is spoken less well and by fewer people here than in almost any other tourist area of Thailand. So figure a Thai course to be essential (available here), and resign yourself to speaking ‘pidgeon’ English most of the time. While you may not approve, practicality dictates that we all end up using it eventually.

Even if you’re fluent in Thai, if you’re moving from another part of Thailand, particularly from the north and central plains, you’ll find the local dialect impenetrable. Most people in Krabi can speak Central Thai, however, albeit with a heavy southern accent.

Some expats who plan on living in Krabi for a while also learn to read and write Thai script – again language courses are available for this, some with the added advantage of offering a year long education visa to all participants (attendance is compulsory), much more generous than the standard tourist visa. While not for everyone, these courses are highly recommended as they will give you a much better understanding of the (standard, Central Thai) language and culture.

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Last updated: August 29, 2012