Understanding Thai Street Addresses
One of the first things that many tourists and expats realize when they come to Thailand is that the Thai street addresses seem to make no sense. Actually, it does make sense but it is very different from the way we think of street addresses back in our countries so it takes a little getting used to.
For instance, let’s take a look at a typical Thai street address. Here’s the address for Cabbages and Condoms, the very popular Thai restaurant in Bangkok.
Khlong Toei, Bangkok 10110
It’s easy to assume that C&C is on Sukhumvit but it’s not. It’s on a side street called a “Soi”.
In Thailand the major roads (also called Thanons or ถนน in Thai script) are used to give you a reference point and the smaller streets (also called Sois or ซอย in Thai script) that branch off from the major roads are considered sort of like sub-roads of the major road.
Recently some maps have started to refer to sois as alleys. As you can see in this screen shot from Google Maps, they refer to each soi as an alley (interestingly, they refer to Soi 11 as Soi 11 but the other sois as “Alley”).
[Click the Photo to Enlarge]
An interesting tidbit about Thai street addresses is that all even numbered sois will be on the same side of the main road (thanon) and all odd numbered sois will be on the opposite side of the road. But, the part that messes people up a bit is that the odd and even sois branch off at different points so if you find yourself on Sukhumvit Soi 22, that does not mean that Sukhumvit Soi 21 or Soi 23 are near you. The closest odd numbered Soi near Soi 22 is Soi 29. And it’s quite a hike (especially during the hot or rainy seasons) from Soi 22 to Soi 21 so make sure you know which side of the thanon your destination is on.
[Click the Photo to Enlarge]
Another confusing aspect of soi numbering the fact that sometimes you may find multiple sois with what look to be same same number. As you can see in the map below, there is a Soi 7 and a Soi 7/1.
Thai Street Addresses . . . Continued
So all of that just gets you past the first two sections of Thai street addresses. What about Khlong Toei, Bangkok 10110?
Khlong Toei (also Romanized as Khlong Toey, คลองเตย in Thai script) is the Amphoe (also Romanized as Amphur) which is more or less a district. Bangkok is the city but it is also the Changwat or Province.
One way to understand this part of Thai street addresses might be to think about it in terms of a city like New York City, which in this example would be the Changwat or Province. Then there’s Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island which would be like an Amphur or districts.
The last part of the Thai street address is the postal code: 10110. This is similar to postal codes anywhere else around the world.
Advanced Thai Street Addresses
Everything we’ve covered so far should get you around Thai street addresses in a big city like Bangkok. But what about the more rural areas of Thailand?
Thai street addresses typically follow the below pattern:
Plot/House number, Village
Changwat/Province Postal Code
The Plot/House number is usually expressed something like 11/2. That means that the house sits on plot 11 and is designated as the second house on the plot.
The Village, also referred to in Thai as the Muban or Moo, is a sub-division within that tambon.
The Thanon or road would follow the same rules as discussed above including having sois.
The Tambon and Amphoe are the sub-district and district.
The Changwat would be the Province followed by the postal code.
And, of course, if sending mail from overseas, always include the country, Thailand.
Here’s an example taken from Wikipedia
7/22 Moo 5
Soi Ta-ied (Soi Chaofa 50), Chaofa West Road
This Thai address could be read:
Plot 7, House 22, Muban 5
Thanon Chaofa West Road, Soi 50 (Soi Ta-ied might be an alternate name used instead of 50 much like Soi Nana often replaces Soi 4 in Thai street addresses).
District Chalong (there seems to be no sub-district)
Postal code 83130