Telling time confusion

One of the classic travel horror stories you’ll hear in Bangkok is miscommunication about telling the time. And you’ll often hear people say “Oh, kaochai phit” เข้าใจผิด, which means “Oh, I/he/she misunderstood” will say sorry and move on.

Imagine this. A guy from Berlin arrived at Suvarnabhumi airport getting ready to be picked up at 8 pm. He received a phone call that the taxi will be late due to extreme traffic and should be there at 3 instead.

As a tourist, I’d rather not wait until 3 am and it would be better to find another option to get to the hotel.

Lost in translation?

The Thai way of telling the time is slightly different. It’s confusing for some foreigners.

To fix this problem, you shouldn’t think of this system, especially after 6 pm.

To simplify, you can just say “I’ll be late due to extreme traffic, I’ll pick you up at 9 PM”, instead of saying at 3 O’clock.

In other cases, you might want to use military time as an alternative. “I’ll pick you up at 21:00” is still a better option.

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