How to tell time in Thai – Everything you need to know

by | Jun 8, 2020 | Patterns, Vocabulary

Telling Time in Thai can be confusing for many foreigners. Many of my students have a hard time memorizing the different patterns needed. In this article, I will make it as easy as possible!

Telling time in Thai

how to tell time in Thai - time pattern

Midnight and Noon

Midnight (12 AM) and Noon (12 PM) is simple enough. Midnight is เที่ยงคืน (tîang keun) and noon is just เที่ยง (tîang).

An easy trick to memorize is that คืน (keun) means night. So เที่ยงคืน (tîang keun) is the one for midnight.

Please note that you can say เที่ยงวัน (tîang wan) to mean noon. วัน simply means day, so it should be easy for you to differentiate เที่ยงคืน (tîang keun) and เที่ยงวัน (tîang wan).

1 AM – 5 AM

The pattern for 1 AM – 5 AM is ตี (dtee) followed by 1-5. For example

1 AMตีหนึ่งdtee nèung
2 AMตีสองdtee sŏng
3 AMตีสามdtee săam
4 AMตีสี่dtee sèe
5 AMตีห้าdtee hâa

6 AM – 11 AM

The pattern from 6 AM – 11 AM is the number 6-11 followed by โมงเช้า (mohng cháo).

โมง means o’clock and เช้า means morning. For example

6 AMหกโมงเช้าhòk mohng cháo
7 AMเจ็ดโมงเช้าjèt mohng cháo
8 AMแปดโมงเช้าbpàet mohng cháo
9 AMเก้าโมงเช้าgâo mohng cháo
10 AMสิบโมงเช้าsìp mohng cháo
11 AMสิบเอ็ดโมงเช้าsìp èt mohng cháo

The example below is a pattern that a lot of people (especially older people) sometimes use for 8 AM – 11 AM. This pattern isn’t standard. So just keep this one in mind.

8 AMสองโมงเช้าsŏng mohng cháo
9 AMสามโมงเช้าsăam mohng cháo
10 AMสี่โมงเช้าsèe mohng cháo
11 AMห้าโมงเช้าhâa mohng cháo

1 PM – 4 PM

The pattern for 1 PM – 4 PM is บ่าย (bàai) followed by 2-4 followed by โมง (mohng). You can use this pattern for 1 PM as well but for 1 PM you should just say บ่ายโมง (bàai mohng).

บ่าย means afternoon.

1 PMบ่ายโมงbàai mohng
2 PMบ่ายสองโมงbàai sŏng mohng
3 PMบ่ายสามโมงbàai săam mohng
4 PMบ่ายสี่โมงbàai sèe mohng

5 PM – 6 PM

The pattern for 5 PM – 6 PM is 5-6 followed by โมงเย็น (mohng yen).

เย็น means late afternoon or early evening.

5 PMห้าโมงเย็นhâa mohng yen
6 PMหกโมงเย็นhòk mohng yen

7 PM – 11 PM

The pattern for 7 PM – 11 PM is the most confusing one. This is because the pattern doesn’t include 7-11. Instead, the pattern is 1-5 followed by ทุ่ม (tûm).

In this case, 1 represents 7, 2 represents 8, and so on until 5 represents 11.

An easy trick to remember this is to remember the store which is very popular in Thailand 7-11. Remember that 7-11 becomes 1-5.

7 PMหนึ่งทุ่มnèung tûm
8 PMสองทุ่มsŏng tûm
9 PMสามทุ่มsăam tûm
10 PMสี่ทุ่มsèe tûm
11 PMห้าทุ่มhâa tûm

Telling Minutes

To tell minutes you say the hour using the patterns explained above followed by the minutes followed by นาที (naa-tee). Please note you don’t have to use นาที (naa-tee) at the end as it is already implied.

Please note: There are 2 exceptions. For 5 PM – 6PM you omit the เย็น and for 6 AM – 11 AM you omit the เช้า (cháo).

For example:

  • 6:05 PM = หกโมง ห้า นาที (hòk mohng hâa-naa-tee) <- Please note the เย็น (yen) was omitted.

  • 7:20 AM = เจ็ดโมง ยี่สิบนาที (jèt mohng · yêe-sìp-naa-tee) <- Please note the เช้า (cháo) was omitted.

  • 1:43 AM = ตีหนึ่ง สี่สิบสาม (dtee nèung sèe-sìp-săam) <- You can omit the นาที (naa-tee)

  • 9:33 PM.= สามทุ่ม สามสิบสาม นาที (săam tûm săam-sìp-săam naa-tee)

If you want to say it is 30 minutes, then you would say ครึ่ง (krêung) which means half. For example:

  • 2:30 PM = บ่ายสองโมง ครึ่ง (bàai sŏng mohng krêung)

Asking for Time

To ask for time you would say กี่โมง (gèe mohng). For example:

  • Person A) กี่โมง (gèe mohng) = What time is it?
    Person B) สองทุ่ม (sŏng tûm) = 8PM

Other useful vocabulary for telling time

Time in general is เวลา (way-laa).

Morning is เช้า (cháo)

Afternoon is บ่าย (bàai)

Evening is เย็น (yen)

Night is ดึก (dèuk) or ค่ำ (kâm).

You use ตอน (dton) to say in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening, or in the night. For example ตอนเช้า (dton cháo), ตอนบ่าย (dton bàai), ตอนเย็น (dton yen), ตอนดึก (dton dèuk) or ตอนค่ำ (dton kâm)

The counter for night is คืน (keun). For example: I stayed there 3 nights.

Hour is ชั่วโมง (chûa mohng)

Minutes is นาที (naa-tee).

Seconds is วินาที (wí-naa-tee), however most Thai people just say วิ (wí).

So if you want to say 20 seconds you can say ยี่สิบวินาที or ยี่สิบวิ (yêe sìp wí).

If you want to say a long time you would say เวลานาน (way-laa naan). Please see this article for an explanation.

telling time in thai เวลานาน


I hope you now know how to tell the time in Thai, ask for the time in Thai, and learned about words related to time. There are a couple of patterns to remember to tell time but try to memorize the infographic.

If you want a bit more information on why we use words like ทุ่ม and ตี to tell time, I recommend you read this article. But to summarize, these terms come from the sounds of traditional timekeeping devices, such as when you strike a drum it would make a ทุ่ม (tûm) sound.

I also have a video about telling time here:

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