Lonely Planet Thai Phrasebook Will Save Your Life

Big Buddha statue in Bangkok

Let’s face it – when you travel, it’s usually not the mundane, practical phrases you want to know. “How much is that?” “Where is the bathroom?” “Please take me here”. Boooooring. We often run into situations that guidebooks and phrasebooks do not prepare us for. Life isn’t all about asking people for directions and bathroom locations in nuanced contexts. Frequent travelers know that well. When I recently went to Thailand, one of my friends brought along the Lonely Planet Thai Phrasebook, by Bruce Evans, an incredibly helpful guide that delved into the  crosscultural makings of friendship, romance, health, legality and the complex twists and turns of imbibing what you want to imbibe in a foreign land.

It made the Thai language so much more approachable and much less intimidating to speak to it Thais. At your fingertips, you’ve got everything from a map, to a two-way dictionary, a pronunciation guide, and a phrasebook.

The phrasebook sections are broken up into Practical, Social, Food and Safe Travel sections, and those are split up into about 10 to 15 divisions, which are also partitioned into their own very neatly organized and easily searchable parts (obviously important for something to packed with information).  Each part has essential information for building relationships, platonic and romantic, expressing common interests, cooking and shopping for food, even attending sporting events.

Those staying shorter than a month won’t necessarily need to know how to find a dentist or discuss religion and politics, but the cost on Amazon, which ranges from $4 to $10, for such a comprehensive, helpful, and compact guide, is either less than or equal to the cost of other Thai phrasebooks or guides, so it makes sense to invest. I can’t emphasize how amazing this little book was, and how priceless it was for someone who knows no Thai to feel comfortable attempting to speak and interact with people in a foreign country.

One Response to “Lonely Planet Thai Phrasebook Will Save Your Life”
  1. Liz says:

    I wish I had the Mandarin version when I was in China- would have helped when I was attempting to find a tattoo parlor- saying “where” and pointing at a friend’s ink, to a guy with a Mohawk, in theory seemed like it would work, but left him really confused and perhaps insulted?

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