Thailand is one of the top tourist destinations in the world and over 12 million tourists flock to the country every year. Most tourists can get away with very limited Thai and can say good morning, goodbye and order a beer or glass of wine. However, there is something unusual about Thailand in that many people return, and large numbers stay, and this means relationships and friendships are formed.
One of the biggest reasons to speak Thai is to build friendships and relationships. There is no denying the fact that many men are fascinated by Thai women, and to get to know them language is the key. Even returning for a vacation year after year will encourage people to learn Thai. That awkward feeling of being guilty or insecure as you converse with locals who speak in broken English soon goes when you speak their language.
The Thai people are renowned for their hospitality and friendliness, and this will become ever more apparent upon speaking Thai. Barriers drop quickly when a language is spoken and doors to new experiences are flung open in a new and exciting way. For some strange reason, speaking Thai draws you even further in to a country that pulled you in when you only had a handful of words in your pocket.
When you visit Thailand without speaking Thai, the people of Thailand can tell you are a tourist and will treat you as a tourist. Once you show that you speak Thai, you are seen differently and you will be elevated among the locals you meet when on vacation or when starting a new life. Conversation will open up and natural curiosity will spark what can easily become lifelong friendships.
Two words define the change when you speak Thai. The first is Trust. Trust is gained when you speak Thai as people can see that you have taken time and made the effort to learn their language. Sure, many speak English, as English has long been seen as the only way to get ahead or get out of Thailand. Returning the favour triggers a special emotion that you will only understand when you communicate with the locals in their native tongue.
The second word is Independence. Speaking any language automatically gives a level of freedom and independence that nothing else can provide. Without speaking Thai, your movement and choices of places to visit is somewhat limited. With speaking Thai, you can venture beyond the hotel bars and tourist attractions and discover the real Thailand. Speaking Thai can instantly make any local the perfect tour guide who will take you places and introduce you to people that you would never visit or meet without the language.
Thailand is constantly calling tourists; tourism is the mainstay of the economy, and if you want to heed that call and get more out of Thailand for pleasure or on business, learning to speak Thai will pay off. Thailand is more than just hotels and shrines; it is a country full of amazing places open to you and people who cannot wait to tell you more because you speak their language.
Travelling is an exciting opportunity which can be enhanced by learning the language before you go. This blog contains some interesting articles about language and travel.