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New Releases
Sent to me for review by the author, a long-time member and visitor of this website, this book is a colorful look at—as the title coyly notes—"outrageous" colloquialisms in the Thai language. Not for the conservative or faint-of-heart, the book is nevertheless an engaging and well-researched look inside the unflattering side of R-rated Thai language. Informative sections interspersed with cute illustrations introduce the words and phrases, which are all summarized in an English-Thai index at the end.
Another long-time site member Chris Pirazzi has teamed up with prolific Thai language instructional writer Benjawan Poomsan Becker for this tour-de-force 2009 revision to her excellent 2002 pocket dictionary. A 'must-have' for being on-the-go in Thailand.

Editor's Choice
Thai-English Dictionary, 3rd Edition   BUY! (also available in hardcover)
J.D. Domnern Garden and Wannapok Sathienpong, ISBN 974-323-651-1 comments:
One of the great features of this Thai-English dictionary is the extensive set of appendices including common and scientific names of plants, fish, birds, and other animals; geographic names; military and police ranks; Thai government organizations; financial institutions; and public universities. The latest update contains many terms and phrases not included in previous editions. This newest edition of the Donmern-Sathienpong dictionary comes complete with a CD-ROM containing all the entries in the 3rd edition. In addition a right mouse click produces pronunciation of words and definitions in Thai and English. The entire CD can be downloaded to your computer. Although the hardcover dictionary is Thai-English, the CD can be searched in either language.

Matichon Dictionary of the Thai Language, 1st Edition (2004) (not available at
Matichon Printing Company, ISBN 974-323-264-8 comments:
This Thai-Thai dictionary is a boon for intermediate and advanced readers of Thai. The major feature of this newly published dictionary is the set of pictures and drawings provided along the margins. No longer need the reader struggle with word descriptions of culturally unique items. Phonetic pronunciations are provided for difficult to pronounce words. The lexicon is more up to date than the venerable Royal Institute dictionary which was last updated in 1999.

A Reference Grammar of Thai  
Shoichi Iwasaki and Preeya Ingkaphirom comments:
Expensive, but highly recommended for intermediate to advanced students.

Thai Reference Grammar: The Structure of Spoken Thai  
by James Higbie, Snea Thinsan comments:
Released in 2003, this exhaustive study sets the new standard for a comprehensive treatment of the subject. A must-have.

Thailand (12th Ed, Lonely Planet)  
by China Williams et al. (Paperback - August 2007) comments:
The standard to which all other guidebooks are compared. Although now no longer under the authorship of legendary Joe Cummings, this will still be the guidebook to beat. Essential.

Teach Yourself Thai Complete Course Audiopack  
by David Smyth (Paperback - November 2003) comments:
Popular new usurper to Benjawan Becker's recent reign.

Thai: An Essential Grammar (Routledge Grammars)  
by David Smyth comments:
November 2002 release from this prolific author of Thai learning books.

Print Language Courses
Thai for Beginners  
by Benjawan Poomsan Becker comments:
Part one of Becker's three-part, comprehensive, modern, and accessible course that covers it all right from page 1: reading, conversation, writing (including important practice forming letters). Tapes are available (see below); don't forget to order them also. One of the most popular items here, highly recommended.

Thai for Intermediate Learners  
by Benjawan Poomsan Becker
Thai for Advanced Readers  
by Benjawan Becker
Colloquial Thai  
by John Moore (Paperback - October 1994) comments:
I haven't read this one yet, but it looks like a fun and complete course, with sections on grammar, vocabulary, dialog, culture, etc. It looks like the sections on reading and writing are token—it's too bad that Thai script is not included alongside all of the transliterated words, especially since the important tone marks are omitted in the transliteration once a word has been intially introduced. I have also received some reports of typographical errors and inconsistencies.

A.U.A. Language Center Thai Course: Book 1  
by J. Marvin Brown comments:
This series is used as the textbook by many formal Thai language courses, including mine when I studied in an evening program. There are three books to the program, and writing can be studied optionally, right from the start. One disadvantage is that there are no photographs, and the material is quite dated, dry, and uninspired. But this is a serious and comprehensive course, with many cassette tapes also available (although apparently not through Amazon). A.U.A. (American University Alumni) has a formidable language learning presence at their library and school on Rajdamri Road in Bangkok. Recommended.

A.U.A. Language Center Thai Course: Book 2  
by J. Marvin Brown
A.U.A. Language Center Thai Course: Book 3  
by J. Marvin Brown
Thai Phrase Handbook: What You See Is What You Say   BUY!
by Somboon Inpradith (Editor), E. G. Allyn, Samorn Chaiyana comments:
Although the title calls this a "phrase handbook," it is really much more, a lengthy and comprehensive study course.

Easy Thai: An Introduction to the Thai Language, With Exercises and Answer Key  
by Gordon H. Allison comments:
Since the cover of this book is military camouflouge and the flap touts Thailand as "favorite rest & relaxation place for thousands of GIs," it was obviously intended for soldiers deployed for the Vietnam era. Despite the title, Thai is not easy with this book—there is too much focus on vocabulary and the Thai alphabet, with little information on grammar. Not recommended for beginners.

Conversational Thai in 7 Days (Language in 7 Days Series)  
by Buasai Somsong, David Smyth (Contributor) comments:
Covers basic conversations. Does not include any Thai script. Audio version available (see below).

Speaking Thai   BUY! (not available at
Sunthorn Kohtbantau comments:
Audio version also available (see below).

Learning Thai: Just Enough to Get By And More   BUY! (not available at
by Warankna Tuwayanonde & Paul Wallis comments:

Audio Courses
Thai: Compact Program: 10 Lessons [UNABRIDGED] comments:
Pimsleur method.

Thai a Complete Course for Beginners (Teach Yourself Series)  
by David Smyth comments:
Excellent course of topical lessons, including optional sections on reading and writing. I personally began my self-study of Thai reading & writing with this book. My copy is quite worn from use.

Thai for Beginners Tape Set  
by Benjawan Becker comments:
Highly recommended (see above).

Thai for Intermediate Learners Tape Set  
by Benjawan Becker
Thai for Advanced Readers Tape Set  
by Benjawan Becker
Essential Thai   BUY! (not available at
by James Higbie comments:
One cassette with an oversize 242 page workbook in an plastic clamshell case. Highly recommended.
Click here to order from Asia Books
Click here to order from

Lonely Planet Travel Talk Thai: A Three-In-One Survival Kit [ABRIDGED]  
by Inc. Penton Overseas (Editor) comments:
The following applies to an earlier edition of this product: [Companion to the highly recommended phrasebook, this product comes packaged in an attractive handmade Thai Cloth Wallet. The audio material is very well produced although it only covers a limited range of tourist travel scenarios. They are "out of the classroom" and fun to listen to, though, and simultaneously suited for many levels of Thai language student. Features the voice of veteran Thai traveler and legendary Lonely Planet Guides author Joe Cummings.]

In-Flight Thai [UNABRIDGED]  
by Living Language (Editor), Christopher A. Warnasch (Editor)
Thai Cassette Pack with Phrase Book  
by Berlitz Editorial Staff (Editor)
Thai/ Language 30 comments:
2 Casettes with phrase dictionary and study guide, also known as the Start Speaking Today series.

Colloquial Thai: A Complete Language Course  
by John Moore, Saowalak Rodchue comments:
(see information above)

Conversational Thai in 7 Days  
by Somsong Buasai, David Smyth
Spoken Thai  
by Mary R. Haas, Heng R. Subhanka comments:
Book 1 of the hard-core course from 1945.

Spoken Thai  
by Mary R. Haas, Heng R. Subhanka comments:
Audio cassettes only?

Spoken Thai: Book Two  
by Mary R. Haas, Heng, R. Subhanka
Speaking Thai   BUY! (not available at
by Sunthorn Kohtbantau comments:
With cassette Tape. This useful book is authored by a Thai native yet intended for English speakers.

Thai Level 1 (intensive Tapes series)  
by Warren Yates, Absorn Tryon comments:
Edition of Thai: Basic Course with audio tapes. A serious course developed by the Foeign Service Institute

Learning Basic Thai - Designed for Home Study (not available at
Diplomat's Language Course, ISBN 974-89164-6-4 comments:
Book with 16 cassette tapes. This book has not a single Thai character in it, and the transliteration used is the strangest of all the systems I've seen. For example, on pg. 1, khun sabaajdii rý. Expensive; not recommended except for the large amount of audio material. Order from AFD CO. Ltd. PO Box 28, Rathavee, Phayathai Rd. Bangkok 10404, fax 66-2 270-1933

For Kids
Thai for Kids Pictionary  
by Naam Sheakley
Thai for Kids Coloring Book (Volume 1)  
by Naam Sheakley

Print Dictionaries
The Bua Luang Compact Wysiwys English-Thai Dictionary   BUY!
by E. G. Allyn comments:
The best pocket Thai language tourist dictionary I have encountered; it betters most bulkier works. Includes both Thai script and an excellent, well-documented transliteration system, with tone markings. A joy. Highest recommendation.

Thai-English Dictionary  
by George Bradley McFarland comments:
Published in 1944, this definitive reference work has now been superceeded by many superior and more up-to-date works. Many usages and definitions are archaic, and a lot of space is given to arcane minutae. Like Haas' large dictionary, this one is essential for a serious student, until one becomes more able to use native-Thai dictionaries.

Thai-English English-Thai Dictionary for Non-Thai Speakers, Revised Edition  
by Benjawan Poomsan Becker comments:
Companion to the excellent language course (see below).

Robertson's Practical English-Thai Dictionary  
by Richard G. Robertson (Editor) comments:
Although widely distributed and recommended, I find this pocket dictionary not as complete as Bua Luang. There are a few useful appendicies including "Telling Time," "Classifiers," and "Yes and No."

The Oxford-Duden Pictorial Thai & English Dictionary   BUY! comments:
Good picture dictionary with alphabetical Thai and English cross-reference lists. Many of the over 30,000 listings are specialized terms of use only to the advanced student. Many of the pictorial situations are culturally western, so one is left with little taste of Thailand. Still, for obscure vocabulary within the detailed scenarios presented, there's no other source.

Thai-English Student's Dictionary  
by Mary R. Haas (Editor) comments:
De facto standard reference for most serious students.

Thai-English/English-Thai Dictionary and Phrasebook (Dictionary and Phrasebooks)  
by James Higbie comments:
I cannot recommend this book since it doesn't have any Thai script. The Thai-English part is basically useless unless you dedicate yourself to this book's particular transliteration scheme.

Thai (Hippocrene Handy Dictionaries)   BUY!
by Lexus, Manat Chitakasem, David Smyth (Compiler), Davidovic Mladen comments:
Useful English-to-Thai dictionary since it includes the defined word in several contexts. The Thai script is not given, however.

Thai-English Dictionary   BUY! (not available at
by Wit Thiengburanathum PhD., LL.B. comments:
Highest recommendation. A huge reference dictionary intended for Thai natives and serious students. Phonetic transliteration in roman script is rarely given, never with tones. More common are occasional phonetic transciptions of Thai words given in Thai. There are a few pages in the introduction discussing the history of the Thai language and general transliteration information, and an appendix of country names and capitals written in Thai. A preferred reference of this web site's Author.

SE-ED's Modern English-Thai Dictionary   BUY! (not available at
by Wit Thiengburanathum PhD., LL.B. comments:
Not nearly as complete as his Thai-English tome, but useful for advanced students who have some knowledge of Thai writing.

Longman English-Thai Photo Dictionary (not available at
Marilyn S. Rosenthal and Daniel B. Freeman comments:
Intended for native Thais who will be living in America, so most of the pictures depict scenes from life in America. Yet this book is tremendously useful and recommended for beginning students of Thai writing. Everything depicted in the topical photos is identified in Thai script as well as English. You will probably only be able to find this book in Thailand after some hunting.

Manich's English-Thai and Thai-English Dictionary (not available at
M. L. Manich CBE, MA, Dr. Ed. comments:
This tiny (7cm x 11cm) but thick pocket reference with a blue cover is not ISBN listed but it can be found in bookstores throughout Thailand. It is primarily meant for native Thais, since the Thai-English part has no roman character transliteration, while the English-Thai part does have Thai script transliteration of English.

New Model Thai-English Dictionary (not available at
So Sethaputra comments:
For native Thais. "New model" that in the defintions, the word is used in the context of an example sentence, with the defined word italicized.

Phrase Books
The Notebooks: An English-Thai Lingualicious Treasure Trove [Paperback]   BUY!
by Alan Niles
Thai - Isan - Lao Phrasebook (not available at
by Asger Mollerup comments:
'The Thai-Isan-Lao Phrasebook is the first and only of its kind describing three Tai-Kadai languages comparatively in one book, using IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet)' Click here for more information.

The Rough Guide Dictionary Phrasebook Thai (Rough Guide Phrasebooks)  
by Rough Guides (Editor) comments:
(see below for review of previous edition) Assuming this book improves on the previous edition, it is very highly recommended.

Lonely Planet Thai Phrasebook (4th Ed)  
by Joe Cummings comments:
Brilliant, as we have come to expect from all of Joe's work. Includes a non-trivial section on grammar, a handy menu decoder where the Thai script is listed first, and now includes hill tribe languages (previously a separate book). I'll forgive them for stealing's color scheme. Essential.

Thai Phrase Book & Dictionary   BUY!
Berlitz comments:
Very good, comprehensive, and well-organized phrase reference for tourists, with Thai script as well as phonetic transliteration. Although the book's petite size is convenient—it would not be noticed in a back pocket—tiny and faint printing had to be used to fit in the considerable content; some might find it hard to read, especially the Thai script. Recommended.

Thai Phrase Book   BUY!
by Sanya Bunag, BBC
Thai for Lovers  
by Nit, Jack Ajee (Paperback) comments:
For your raunchy-smutty vocabulary needs.

Making Out in Thai   BUY!
by John Clewley comments:
A small collection of slang phrases with a marketing-driven title. Not recommended due to lack of tone indications on the transliterations—and with no Thai script present your Thai friend won't be able to help figure out what you're supposed to be saying.

Eyewitness Travel Phrase Book: Thai   BUY!
Practical Thai   BUY! (not available at
Suraphong Kanchananaga, Sitala Navamanond (Editor) comments:
Comprehensive phrasebook marred by the lack of tone markings.

In the Bedroom - Out of Trouble 2 : The 'Only' Intimate Phrase Book (not available at
by Bud Knackstedt and Oiy Ford comments:
This unusual book starts with several chapters on topics such as how to meet people in Thailand, how to find a Thai wife, cultural issues, etc. Next comes a lengthy phrase book, and finally some useful appendicies. No tone marks on the transliterations, and the Thai script uses a highly stylized font which renders many characters mysterious to beginning readers. Interesting. Available from Powell's City of Books

English-Thai: All You Have To Know   BUY! (not available at
by Georg Gensbichler and Sarika Puangsombat comments:
Very good pocket phrasebook.

Thai for Travelers (2nd Ed.)   BUY! (not available at
by Suraphong Kanchananaga
Thai: A Rough Guide Phrasebook (Rough Guide Phrase Book)   BUY! comments:
Excellent phrasebook, includes Thai script with phonetic transliteration and Thai script. Especially useful is the unusually detailed introductory section on grammar. Very highly recommended. Newer edition available above.

Language Learning Software
Thai Interactive (not available at
Courage Software comments:
Excellent new product available through Amazon ZShops. The author of recommends this product.

Rosetta Stone Thai Personal Edition Level 1  
Fairfield Language Technologies
Rosetta Stone Thai Explorer  
Fairfield Language Technologies
World Talk Thai  
So Sethaputra Dictionary (not available at comments:
CD-ROM version of Sethaputra's New Model Thai-English & English-Thai Dictionary, available in Thailand. (not available at comments:
Free and paid software available. Uses Spaced Repitition Learning Systems method to teach vocabuarly through flashcards, audio, and pictures. Available through (not available at comments:
Downloadable podcast series that teaches Thai vocabulary and grammar through video, audio, and text lessons. Several courses are available for reading, speaking, and writing Thai, while maintaining a very affordable price structure. Available at

Advanced Study
Thai Reference Grammar: The Structure of Spoken Thai  
by James Higbie, Snea Thinsan comments:
Just released in 2003, this exhaustive study sets the new standard for a comprehensive treatment of the subject. A must-have.

Thai: An Essential Grammar   BUY! (also available in hardcover)
by David Smyth comments:
To be released in late 2002, pre-order your copy now.

Reading and Writing Thai   (also available in hardcover)
by Marie-Hélène Brown comments:
When you've given up on all other methods of learning to read or write Thai, turn to this: the complete and concise explanation of all the pronunciation rules and exceptions, with very little else. Dry, technical and forbidding?—Yes; can you do without it?—no. This bible provided the heuristic foundation for's automatic transliteration engine. Highest recommendation; if you come across this very difficult-to-find reference, snatch it.

Learning to Read Thai   BUY! (not available at
by Sriwilai Ponmanee comments:
One of the best ways for a foreigner to learn Thai is take the eight-week summer Thai language program at the Center for Teaching Thai as a Foreign Language at Chiang Mai University (contact This book gives you some idea of a portion the course content. Recommended.

Thai System of Writing  
by Mary R. Haas
Thai Vocabulary  
by Mary R. Haas
Thailand Country Study Guide (World Country Study Guide)  
by USA International Business Publications
Teaching Grammar of Thai   BUY!
by William Kuo comments:
This thorough course from a Berkeley professor eschews all transliteration, so you'll have to know basic reading to begin. Given that, it's interesting that this course starts with extremely basic Thai. All Thai script in the book is handwritten, and the illustrations are amateurish. Recommended for its impressive scope.

Thai Reader   BUY!
by Mary Haas comments:
A collection of progressively more difficult samples to read, beginning with very simple sentences. By the end of this short book you should be reading whole paragraphs. The vocabulary used is defined, but otherwise there is no explanation provided—it's just a reader. A good way to solidify developing reading skills. Recommended.

Thai: Basic Course  
by Warren G. Yates, James R. Frith (Preface), Absorn Tryon comments:
I believe this is the book-only edition of this intensive Foreign Service Institute course. See above for audio version.

Thailand Guidebooks
Thailand (12th Ed, Lonely Planet)  
by China Williams et al. (Paperback - August 2007) comments:
The standard to which all other guidebooks are compared. Although now no longer under the authorship of legendary Joe Cummings, this will still be the guidebook to beat. Essential.

Moon Handbooks: Thailand (3rd Ed.)  
by Carl Parkes
The Rough Guide to Thailand  
by Paul Gray, Lucy Ridout, Ron Emmons (Contributor) comments:
This successful series generally takes a more opinionated stance, which some travelers prefer.

Footprint Thailand Handbook : The Travel Guide  
by Joshua Eliot, Jane Bickersteth
Frommer's Thailand (Frommer's Thailand, 4th Ed)  
by Jennifer Eveland, John Bozman
Eyewitness Travel Guide to Thailand  
by Philip Cornwel-Smith (Editor), Deni Bown comments:
Like the rest of the Eyewitness series, this beautiful guide is especially good on historical and cultural background. An entertaining read with gorgeous photos and layout.

National Geographic Traveler Thailand (National Geographic Traveler)  
by Phil MacDonald, Carl Parkes
Insight Guides Thailand   BUY!
by Hans Hoefer
Fodor's Thailand  
A Guide to Khmer Temples in Thailand & Laos  
by Michael Freeman (Photographer) comments:
One of my personal favorites—craft your own unique vacation in Thailand by seeking out the spectral ruins of 13th century Khmer temples scattered across Thailand's arid northeast. You won't run into other tourists and will discover fantastic sites, usually having them all to yourself (except a few curious Thais wondering how you lost your way). In my opinion, checking off some of these obscure sites makes a fantastic pretext for exploring Thailand and its beautiful people at your own pace. Best of all, you'll have the help of Freeman's guidebook, with maps, directions, and history. But don't worry, you'll still get lost and have plenty of adventures—I only found this book half-way through my own quest for the ruins, and, in comparing with my notes from sites I had already visited, found enough minor glitches in Freeman's work to keep you asking the locals where to go. Highest recommendation.

Thailand for Travelers by Travelers  
by Stuart McDonald, Danielle Karalus (Contributor) comments:
Comprehensive guidebook is now showing its age.

Lonely Planet Bangkok (Bangkok, 5th Ed)  
by Joe Cummings
Moon Handbooks: Bangkok (3rd Ed.)  
by Carl Parkes
Lonely Planet Bangkok: City Map  
Groovy Map & Guide Bangkok by Night  
by Aaron Frankel
Groovy Pattaya By Night Map n Guide  
by Aaron Frankel
Lonely Planet Chiang Mai & Northern Thailand (Chiang Mai and Northern Thailand, 1st Ed)  
by Joe Cummings
Lonely Planet Diving & Snorkeling Thailand  
by Mark Strickland, John Williams
The Rough Guide Thailand's Beaches & Islands (Rough Guides)  
by Paul Gray, Lucy Ridout
Fodor's Exploring Thailand (3rd Ed)   BUY!
by Martin Clutterbuck, Dick Wilson, Tim Locke
Culture Shock: Thailand  
by Robert Cooper (Editor), Nanthapa Cooper (Editor)
Koh Samui and Environs: Thailand's Tropical Haven (2nd Ed)   BUY!
by Daniel P. Reid, Alberto Cassio, Dan Reid
The Dive Sites of Thailand   BUY!
by Paul Lees comments:
Highly recommended for divers of all levels.

The Treasures and Pleasures of Thailand: Best of the Best (Impact Guides)  
by Ronald L. Krannich, Ron Krannich, Caryl Rae Krannich (Contributor)
Knopf Guide Thailand (Knopf Guides)  
Globetrotter Travel Pack Thailand  
Thailand (map)  
by Berndtson & Berndtson

The Dream of a Thousand Lives: A Sojourn in Thailand  
by Karen Connelly comments:
"Canadian poet Karen Connelly was a young woman when she left home to live for one year in Denchai, a small farming community in northern Thailand. This lyrical portrait of her true-life adventures radiates wit and literary charm. The swampy jungles, the lure of hedonistic Bangkok, the austere, ambient Buddhism, and the torrential rains serve as backdrops for Connelly's carefully crafted prose."

When Broken Glass Floats: Growing Up Under the Khmer Rouge  
by Chanrithy Him comments:
"Chanrithy has written a first-person account of the killing fields that's remarkable for both its unflinching honesty and its refusal to despair. In wrenchingly immediate prose, she describes atrocities the rest of the world might prefer to ignore..."

Thai for Gay Tourists  
by Saksit Pakdeesiam comments:
Gay version of Thai for Lovers (see above) by the same publisher, some overlap. Includes some translated chapters from Queer, by the same author (see below). Recommended.

The Men of Thailand : (6th Edition): Thailand's Culture & Gay Subculture   BUY!
by E. G. Allyn, Samorn Chaiyana (Editor)
Dear Uncle Go: Male Homosexuality in Thailand  
by Peter A. Jackson
Trees in the same forest : Thailand's culture and gay subculture   BUY!
by Eric Allyn
Lady Boys, Tom Boys, Rent Boys: Male and Female Homosexualities in Contemporary Thailand  
by Peter A. Jackson (Editor), Gerard Sullivan (Editor)
The Dove Coos II: Gay Experiences by the Men of Thailand  
by David Jonathan, E.G.Allyn
Queer : Facts About Gays and Lesbians  
by Saksit Pakdeesiam comments:
Written in Thai.

Coffee Table
Thailand: The Golden Kingdom  
by William Warren, Luca Invernizzi Tettoni (Photographer)
Classic Thai: Design, Interiors, Architecture  
by Chami Jotisalikorn (Photographer), Luca Invernizzi Tettoni, Phuthorn Bhumidon, Virginia McKeen Di Crocco
Thai Style  
by William Warren, Gretchen Liu (Photographer), Luca Invernizzi Tettoni (Photographer)
Contemporary Thai  
by Wongvipa Devahastin Na Ayudhya, Jane Marsden Doughty (Photographer), Wongvipa Devahastin na Ayudhya, Luca Invernizzi Tettoni (Photographer)
The Grand Palace  
by Nngnoi Saksi, Naengnoi Suksri, Michael Freeman (Photographer)

Hard-to-find books may be available by overseas mail-order from Asia Books ( in Thailand.

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