, it is not necessary for you to speak Thai. However, does that mean to say you should not learn the language?
Many ex-pats will say it’s a waste of time learning Thai. It is always their excuse that there are many people around them who speak English, their wives or friends are always there to interpret for them should they need it.
These people do have a point. You certainly do not have to learn Thai to live in Phuket.
However, if you do learn to speak Thai you will enjoy your time here a great deal more. You will actually be able to interact with locals and share a joke and a laugh.
Going to the local market will be a lot more fun for you if you can converse even slightly with the stallholders. It will sometimes also help you get the Thai price for goods rather than the often inflated tourist price.
How frustrating is it not understanding a joke? If you’re in a group of Thais and westerners together and the Thais burst out laughing, the westerners often react as if the Thai’s are laughing at them. This is mainly because the westerners do not understand what they have said,. They are frustrated as they do not understand and don’t know what the joke is about.
Locals actually enjoy it when westerners try to speak even the slightest amount of their language with them. This is obviously not the case if you’re surrounded by Thai people who don’t want you to know what is going on and often this means they are up to no good. Therefore, it’s time for you to move in a different circle of Thai friends.
Most westerners who learn Thai whilst they are here usually have a more positive outlook on their life in Thailand. Learning to speak Thai will make the whole of your experience here a more enjoyable one.