Learn The Thai Alphabet in a Day Review

A little while ago I stumbled across a cool book called Learn The Thai Alphabet In A Day, which teaches an alternative way of learning the Thai alphabet. I had just started learning Thai properly so this system intrigued me as an easier route to getting to grips with the Thai letters.

As you’ve probably already experienced the Thai “Gor Guy”, “Kor Kai”, “Por Samphao”, Ror Rua” “Lor Ling” system  is a little alien to us foreign folk, and as such it can take many months to fully digest all 44 consonants – and then of course there are 32 vowels to learn after that…..sigh. This book, however, uses fun illustrations that help those who’ve been brought up using the western alphabet get to grips with the Thai alphabet.

Why This Book is Awesome

It’s awesome because it’s very intelligent, and no doubt took a long time for the author to put together. It basically takes a letter of the Thai alphabet and creates an illustration that represents the sound of the Thai letter. But that’s not the clever part. The genius is that the illustration replicates the shape of the Thai letter. And so, when you next see that Thai letter you’ll remember it’s name through a dual association. Here’s a couple of examples:

Chor Ching = Chariot Traveller

learn the thai alphabet in a day

This is the Thai letter Chor Ching. It’s a “ch” sound and normally represented by cymbals in the Thai alphabet. The illustration resembles a Chariot with a traveller onboard, driving through mountainous Terrain. The imagery provides all the information  you need to recall when looking at this Thai letter.

1. The sound is Ch (chariot), when used at the start of a word.
2. Its class is High, symbolised by the high mountainous terrain in the background

The illustrations have three backgrounds, each representing the three classes of consonants, as follows:

1. High class consonants have a mountainous background.
2. Middle class consonants have an urban background.
3. Low class consonants have a sea level, seaside background.


learn the thai alphabet in a day

Here’s another example: Tho Phu Thao, which is normally represented by an old man in the Thai alphabet, is represented here by a man training ob Venice beach. The sound is ‘T’, and again the shape of the Thai letter is seen in the illustration. This is a low consonant, as represented by the sea level landscape.


Pretty clever huh? So when my teacher says “write Tho Phu Thao”, I simply remember the guy training on Venice beach. The ‘M’ shape with the two dumbbells is easy to draw, and I can even tell her what class the consonant is because I know he is on the beach!

Why Learning The Alphabet is a Must…Eventually

It’s very common for foreigners to be able to speak Thai but to not be able to read Thai, which is strange, right? Not really, actually, because it’s very easy to do. You can learn Thai from Thais and go to school without having to learn the alphabet. There are plenty of phonetic English translation books, and new oral lessons pop up on Youtube daily. But the fact is, at some point you are going to have to learn the Thai alphabet, if not just for your own sanity. If you start driving in Thailand you’ll want to be able to read road signs, if you want to do business in Thailand you’ll need to read contractual literature, and then there’s the simple stuff like knowing how to spot a pharmacy sign, the correct gender toilet and basic street signs. Moreover, if you end up with half Thai children you’ll want to be able to teach them.

If you are considering learning Thai then learning the Thai alphabet is a must, at least eventually, anyway, so you might as well make a start. If you are struggling to learn the alphabet with the pictures they use to teach Thai children then this Learn The Thai Alphabet In A Day book will make things a lot easier for you. As a disclaimer, a day is a little misleading, but certainly doable in a few days, if you put the work in.

Click here to go to the download page


  1. says

    Hi ,I am totally confused who is the real author then…Idon’t see any link else where for this book if someone could let me know that would be great thanks jackie

  2. says

    Does the guide still have references for the original thai pronunciation association? It is fantastic that the guy has this alternate association technique, but is there a side note with a smaller photo of what a Thai child learns? In this way, the foreigner can still associate the “gor for gai” so to speak. Like in English, A is for Apple.

    Do you think that a reverse strategy would be good to teach thai children or adults English Alphabet?

    A different question: Do thais have a phonetic alphabet for their alphabet? Similar to how the military and many organizations that use english use the phonetic alphabet to reduce mistakes when pronouncing letters over the phone or a mic. http://www.phonetic-alphabet.org.uk/

    • TheThailandLife says

      Thai children learn the alphabet gor gai, kor kai, por pla, mor mah etc, and in classes of consonant; low, medium, high. I don’t think a reverse strategy would help for Thai children because they hear the sounds every day from adults and as such have a huge familiarisation from birth. English adults, however, have a real hard time with the Thai alphabet because it is so far removed from our own. That’s why this book is pretty good for those struggling to get to grips with seeing pictures that are labelled with words that don’t register as a match in English. The book does still have the original Thai pronunciation.

  3. Paul J. Allison says

    All I want to know is how I can live & work in Thailand for the rest of my life, any offers, ideas, suggestions or anything else that can assist me in doing so would be very much appreciated..I’m 55yrs old, intelligent, multi skilled & well liked, I have been to Thailand on several occassions & have totally fallen in love with the place & get along with the Thai’s very well & have a great love of their culture, food, lifestyle & believe I have much to offer if I can just get a start there..Regards, Paul..

    • TheThailandLife says

      Hi Paul, if you’re in a position to retire you can get a retirement visa. If not perhaps consider teaching. My advice would be to try 3-6 months first before making a final decision; holidays are very different to living here day to day, particularly interaction with locals.

  4. ฟูฟู says

    I just went to buy this book which is 12.99 USD but converts it to double the price in Sterling on the payment page! Wants me to pay almost 26 USD when I convert it back! Shame as I wanted this book but don’t like getting ripped off!!

    • TheThailandLife says

      @ฟูฟู I just checked the book payment page. It isn’t $26, but the book has been put up to $19.99 = 657 Baht at the time I checked. In Sterling it is showing 13 pounds 30 pence. Sorry about that, I will update this page to reflect the change in price.

      • Foo Foo says

        Mai bpen rai krab

        Thank you for taking the time to come back to me, I am going to buy it anyway so hopefully it will help me! (I included VAT before which made it $26) think the exchange rate is lower today, only pennies but still.

        Oh and I do like your website, it is very useful, I came to it after searching about pang sin sod but I like your blogs :-)

        • TheThailandLife says

          ah, I see, I am not getting the VAT come up, that must be a territory thing. It is a great book though, although shame they whacked up the price a bit. Thanks for the compliment. The Sin Sod topic is always contentious because it varies from family to family, but hopefully the post coupled with the comments helped in some way.

    • TheThailandLife says

      Nice one, let me know how you get on. I am still waiting for Chris to send me a copy for giving it a plug :)

      • says

        The method for learning the tone rules is worth the price of the book alone.

        The system for learning the characters isn’t the best IMO but when it comes to the part of remembering the tone rules, its the best I’ve seen.

        Learning the tone rules can be hard as there is no easy way to remember them as they are:
        high class initial consonant + long vowel = rising tone
        But with the method in the book it converts it into an easy to memorise formula.

        If you are struggling with the tone rules, get this book.

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