How to say North, South, East, West in Thai 🧭

by | Oct 24, 2020 | Thai

In this article, I will explain how to talk about north, south, east, west in Thai language.

How to say North, South, East, West in Thai 🧭 1

Cardinal Directions

If you are talking about the cardinal / compass directions like in a map then you would say the following:

  • North: ทิศเหนือ tít nĕua (literally: direction north)

  • South: ทิศใต้ tít dtâi (literally: direction south)

  • East: ทิศตะวันออก tít dtà-wan òk (literally: direction sun exits)

  • West: ทิศตะวันตก tít dtà-wan dtòk (literally: direction sun falls)

In the above directions, the first word ทิศ tít means direction and the word that follows is the direction. To make it short, you can just remove ทิศ tít.

ตะวัน (dtà-wan) in the words for east and west means sun. ออก (òk means to exit and ตก (dtòk) means to fall. So east (ทิศตะวันออก tít dtà-wan òk) is literally “direction the sun exits”. West is literally (ทิศตะวันตก tít dtà-wan dtòk) the “direction the sun falls” (sunset).

Another way to say the cardinal directions in Thai language is the following. Keep in mind, the below way is not really used.

  • North: อุดร ù-don

  • South: ทักษิณ ták-sĭn

  • East: บูรพา boo-rá-paa

  • West: ประจิม bprà-jim

Intercardinal / Ordinal Directions

  • Northeast ทิศตะวันออกเฉียงเหนือ tít dtà-wan òk chĭang nĕua
    or อีสาน ee-săan

  • Northwest ทิศตะวันตกเฉียงเหนือ tít dtà-wan dtòk chĭang nĕua
    or พายัพ paa-yáp

  • Southeast ตะวันออกเฉียงใต้ dtà-wan òk chĭang dtâi
    or อาคเนย์ aa-ká-nay

  • Southwest ทิศตะวันตกเฉียงใต้ tít dtà-wan dtòk chĭang dtâi
    or หรดี hŏr-rá-dee

Notice how in Thai, it’s like saying “Eastnorth”, “Eastsouth”, “Westnorth”, “Westeast”. เฉียง chĭang means to be askew/slanted.

So as an example, Northeast (ทิศตะวันออกเฉียงเหนือ tít dtà-wan òk chĭang nĕua) in Thai language is literally like saying “direction east slanted north”.

Regions in Thailand

An important thing to note is that (although it can be done scientifically), Thais don’t split Thailand into North, South, East, West sections. Instead, they divide Thailand into the Northern region, Northeast Region, Central Region, and Southern Region.

  • Northern Region: ภาคเหนือ pâak nĕua (literally: region north)

  • Northeast Region: ภาคอีสาน pâak ee-săan (literally: region Isan)

  • Central Region: ภาคกลาง pâak glaang (literally: region center)

  • Southern Region: ภาคใต้ pâak dtâi (literally: region south)
Regions in Thai

The word ภาค (pâak) in all these words means region/part.

อีสาน (ee-săan) is just the way Thai people call the north-eastern region of Thailand.

กลาง (glaang) by itself means central/middle.

I hope you now know how to talk about north, south, east, west in Thai and also learned how to say the different regions in Thailand.

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