Self-Learning Thai while being Stuck in Singapore

Want to pick up the Thai Language, but unable to get a stint in Thailand? Even in Singapore, here are 3 easy ways to get started!


It is a known fact that any form of exposure will help you pick up a foreign language more quickly. This is especially so for Thai – which is near-to-impossible to learn properly solely from textbooks or even online courses. However, what should you do if you are stuck in Singapore, with no chance for a holiday in Thailand given #covid? How do you learn the “Thai way” of saying things if you have no one to practice Thai speaking with?

Fret not! I have come up with 3 simple ways to stay in touch with the Thai language, while being based in Singapore and without paying a single cent. Try them out for yourself and improve your Thai conversational skills by leaps and bounds!

1. Make friends online and immerse yourself in a language-learning community

It is difficult to be motivated to learn a language by yourself especially when you’re stuck in Singapore, with no chances of a holiday in Bangkok or a Thai friend to converse with. Hence, finding like-minded friends who are also keen to learn the Thai Language will help you A LOT. There are many platforms out there for you to get started – I’ve used Mundo Lingo Singapore, a Facebook group recommended to me by another fellow Singaporean keen on language learning. Just join the group and start finding friends who are teaching/learning the Thai language. 

2. Watch Thai Lakorns (with subtitles) and note how Thai people converse in everyday life

There are many Thai Lakorns (Lakorn = Drama) with English subtitles that you can watch for free in SIngapore. Some of the very famous lakorns are even available in YouTube 🤩 There are two series that I recommend – the Ugly Duckling series (trailer embedded below) and the U Prince series. Both series are readily available online with English subtitles and feature teenagers/everyday school life, which will be very helpful for you to pick up colloquial Thai and Thai slangs. If you are only watching Thai Lakorns to learn Thai speaking, avoid watching dramas featuring royalties or dramas that time travel back to a different era – This is because the Thai Language has greatly evolved over time and using whatever phrases you’ve picked up from watching such dramas will make your spoken Thai sound weird. I have written a post on all the different ways to say “I” in Thai in everyday life – this was not taught to me by any Thai teacher or Thai friend. Instead, I learnt it on my own from watching Thai dramas. 

Ugly Duckling Trailer – Don’t

3. [For more advanced Thai Learners] Watch Thai variety shows

I’ll be straight up – This will be much more difficult for beginner Thai learners simply because it’s difficult to find videos with English subs while based in Singapore (line TV is restricted to users based in Thailand). However, for advanced Thai Learners, this will be a very good chance for you to practice your Thai listening skills because you can’t read off any English subs – you’re forced to listen carefully to understand what’s going on. That said, this is going to be very useful for you to continue immersing yourself in the “Thai environment” even though you are in Singapore. Enjoy watching/listening na ka~

About the author – see the About page for more information

Joanne Tan is an aspiring polyglot and has so far mastered English, Chinese and Thai languages. She first started learning Thai in 2015 before staying in Bangkok for 5 months, and then continued studying Thai up to Advanced Levels at the National University of Singapore. In 2017, Joanne was awarded ‘Advanced Thai Proficiency’ by the Sirindhorn Thai Language Institute of Chulalongkorn University. Today, Joanne continues to teach her friends basic Thai speaking and helps her Thai friends actively promote Thai culture.