Taxi Thai Plus

26 05 2010

If it isn’t on the Sky Train or MRT route then your as likely as not navigating your way round Bangkok in a Taxi or a tuk-tuk.  While your driver might know where the Grand Palace, The Oriental or some other equally well-known landmark is, getting safely to that tiny noodle bar that you’ve read rave reviews about on Travelfish in some un-numbered sub-soi, behind a Honda showroom, three-quarters of the way down Lat Phrao in time for dinner is no sure thing.

Image by BKKPhotographer

‘Taxi Thai’ is the first Thai we learn after สวัสดี and ขอบคุฌ and there’s good reason.

While there are legions of fabulous taxi drivers in the City of Angels, there are more than a few who benefit from gentle pointers that get both of you from ก to ข without going through the other 42 letters of the Thai alphabet.

Here is some key vocab for ascertaining whether the cabbie knows where you’re talking about, and if not, some key words to help you direct him there.  For first time visitors to Thailand, if he doesn’t appear to know where you’re talking about best to cut your losses, smile and say ไม่เป็นไร mâi bpen rai, before looking for another Taxi.

The Basics:  does your driver know the way?

Know: ทราบ/รู้จัก sâap/róo jàk

Way/direction: ทาง taang

So for example you could, after stating your destination, ask:

คุฌ ทราบ ทาง หรือ เปล่า

khun sâap taang rĕu bplào

You know (the) way or not?

If he doesn’t, don’t worry, just say:

ไม่ เป็น ไร จะ บอก ให้

mâi bpen rai ja bàwk hâi

No problem, (I) will tell (you).

Real time directing

Once you’re on your way you’ll need to keep your wits about you and use these words to keep the driver on track.

Turn: เลี้ยว líeow

Left: ซ้าย sáai

Right: ขวา kwăa

Straight on: ตรง ไป dtrong bpai

Right here: ตรง นี้ dtrong née

Stop: จอด jàwt

Intermediate Taxi Thai

After a few journeys, once you have got the hang of directing in real time, you can try directing in anticipation of what you can see is ahead.

(To) pass: เลย luhy

Left hand side: ซ้าย มือ sáai meu

Right hand side: ขวา มือ kwăa meu

Roundabout: วงเวียน wong wian

Traffic lights: ไฟแดง fai daeng

Intersection: แยก yâek

Pedestrian bridge: สะพานลอย sà-paan loi

So for example:

เลย สะพานลอย และ เลี้ยว ซ้าย ที่ ไฟแดง

luhy sà-paan loi leh líeow sáai têe fai daeng

Pass the pedestrian bridge and turn left at (the) traffic lights.

Advanced Taxi Thai

When you’re really feeling confident, you can start to give the driver pointers well before you get within sight.

Opposite to: ตรง ข้าม กับ  dtrong kâam gàp

Close to: ใกล้ๆ กับ glâi glâI gàp

Next to: ติด กับ dtìt gàp

Here’s an example:

บ้าน เพื่อน อยู่ ใกล้ๆ กับ Central พระราม สาม

bâan pêuan yòo glâi glâi gàp Central prá-raam săam

(My) friend’s house is close to Central Rama III

So, good luck getting to your destination.  Have a go at mixing up some of the vocab here and make those cab rides less of a magical mystery tour.

This short, timely lesson is brought to you in association with Travelfish, original Asia travel intelligence you can trust.

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One response

3 06 2010

Check out ThaiFAQ’s great video with 5 top tips for taking taxis in Bangkok Here

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