Days, Months, And Years: The Thai Calendar

How to tell the date in Thai

Have you ever been stopped in the street by someone, asking for the date? With mobile phones becoming so popular, it is not so common anymore, but there is no better feeling than helping out a stranger. Now, imagine that happens while you are traveling abroad. That would probably feel even better. The Thai calendar can be pretty confusing at first glance, though. While locals are unlikely to stop to ask you in the streets, there are still many situations where you can help them out.

Carrying on from one of our previous posts where we looked at numbers in Thai, we will look closer at how to give the date in Thailand.

How To Say The Date In Thai

Saying the date is not much different that saying the numbers. We covered it briefly before, and mainly involves placing ‘wan tii’ (วันที่) in front of the number. It is that simple:

English Transliteration Thai
First (Day) wan tii neung วันที่หนึ่ง
Second (Day) wan tii song วันที่สอง
Third (Day) wan tii sam วันที่สาม
Fourth (Day) wan tii sii วันที่สี่
Fifth (Day) wan tii ha วันที่ห้า

So ‘wan tii sam sip’ (วันที่สามสิบ) mean the 30th and so on. You get the idea. I think this is quite simple to remember, thankfully. Also, day is ‘wan’ (วันแ) in Thai

So then, what about the months in Thai? Or as they say in Thai, ‘duen’ (เดือน)

The Thai Months

English Transliteration Thai Abbreviation
January ma ga ra khom มกราคม ..
February gum paa phan กุมภาพันธ์ ..
March mee nah khom มีนาคม มี..
April may sah yohn เมษายน เม..
May pruet sa pah khom พฤษภาคม ..
June mi tu nah yohn มิถุนายน มิ..
July ga ra ga da khom กรกฎาคม ..
August sing ha khom สิงหาคม ..
September gan yaa yohn กันยายน ..
October dtu lah khom ตุลาคม ..
November pruet saji gah yohn พฤศจิกายน ..
December tan wah khom ธันวาคม ..

Did you notice any pattern here? At first glance, it does seem to appear quite random, but if you look closer you should see how the naming works. 

The pattern is that all the months that have 31 days end with ‘khom’ (คม) and those with 30 days end with ‘yohn’ (ยน). Then there is February, which is the odd one out and ends in ‘phan’ (พันธ์). It is worth mentioning that the months are named after the Zodiac signs. August is named after lion or Leo, for example.

Abbreviations may be used as the month names can be quite long. Having a short hand way of writing it can help keep things brief. 

Finally, there is the year.

The Thai Calendar System

One thing that can be particularly confusing when in Thailand is seeing the year written as 2562. First of all, don’t worry. You did not travel to the future. In Thailand, they often use the solar calendar in official contexts. In the West and other countries, it is the lunar calendar that is generally used. I all comes down to some maths when working out what each should be.

Ultimately, to figure out the ‘Gregorian calendar’ date, it is just a case of subtracting 543 years from the Thai date.

For example, the current year according to the Thai calendar system is 2562. 2562 take away 543 would be 2019, the current year according to the Gregorian calendar. That is all it takes. 

Pretty much everyone will recognize either system so there is little need to worry about adjusting how you write it, unless you are told otherwise. As for saying the year in Thai, it is just a case of using the regular number system.

The Ability To Give Details

Date and time are both very important concepts. It really helps to build context about things you are talking about, and add more detail. Also, there are situations where it can be very helpful to understand vocabulary relating to date and time in Thai. Maybe if someone is telling you when and where you will be meeting, or the time for an appointment at immigration. Thankfully, there is little extra to learn here after learning the numbers, it is just a case of not mixing these up.

Another great way to practice your ability to tell the time and the date in Thai is with the Ling Thai app. Use visuals and audio to help cement this vocabulary in your mind. Soon, you will be able to read your watch while thinking in your new language.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *