10+ Best Thai Textbooks & Phrasebooks for Beginners

Looking for the best Thai textbooks?

Some people like learning with Thai courses.

Others want language apps. And some people like learning with textbooks.

And Thai textbooks are a simple way to learn Thai. Why?

Books guide you from page 0, to page 1, to page 3… to page 100. From your first words to your first conversation. You learn tons of words and grammar rules along the way.

So, in this guide, you get…

Best Thai Textbooks & Phrasebooks

best thai textbooks

Important note: If you want to choose a Kindle version, be sure to try a free sample. Some kindle formats aren’t always easy to read and physical versions may be better.

1. Thai for Beginners

  • Publisher: Paiboon Publishing
  • 262 Pages
  • Focus: Overall, comprehensive textbook

This may be one of the best Thai textbooks out there. At least, according to reviews.

The book starts you off with tones and learning how to read and write Thai. If you don’t learn to read, you’ll have trouble moving on — which is good — a sink or swim situation.

But as with all textbooks, it follows the usual structure: dialogs, vocabulary, sample sentences, grammar explanations, and quizzes.

Just be sure to get the accompanying CD.

2. Easy Thai: Learn to Speak Thai Quickly (Includes Audio CD) (Easy Language Series)

  • Publisher: Tuttle
  • 192 Pages
  • Focus: Overall, comprehensive textbook

This another one of the better Thai learning books out there.

You get 12 chapters teaching you various conversations, words, grammar points, and it also includes exercises. Chapters cover common topics such as Greetings (Chapter 1), Food (Chapter 2), Family (Chapter 3), and so on.

As a bonus, there’s also a 1,000-word dictionary in the back.

Oh, and an audio CD to help you make sense of the pronunciation and listen to the dialogues.

3. Thai Language and Culture for Beginners Book 1

  • Publisher: Yuphaphann Hoonchamlong
  • 296 Pages
  • Focus: Overall, comprehensive textbook

Upfront, this is not the best Thai textbook for pronunciation. That’s a common complaint from other learners. That being said, you won’t learn much pronunciation from a book anyway.

Aside from that, the textbook does the job in teaching you grammar, vocabulary, basic dialogues, and cultural tips, as any normal textbook would do.

On the plus side, it is used at universities, which means the book is good enough.

If you’re interested, there’s also a second volume that you can get.

4. Master the Thai Alphabet, a Handwriting Practice Workbook:

This is more of a workbook than a textbook.

  • Publisher: Independently published
  • 126 Pages
  • Focus: Writing

But,  workbooks make for great learning resources because…. you have to do work! There’s no learning without practice and application. And when you’re learning a tricky writing system like the Thai alphabet, you’ll want practice.

You get to learn the stroke order and practice writing out the Thai letters. Plus, it includes notes on pronunciation and tone.

And it happens to be pretty cheap too. So, check it out.

5. Read Thai in 10 Days

  • Publisher: Independently published
  • 196 Pages
  • Focus: Writing & Reading

This one is similar to the above but promises to teach you in 10 days. Is this possible? Well…

According to reviews, people do enjoy it. It has you memorize characters and see the “patterns” in the characters so that you can also learn the tones.

Of course, if you want to get it done in 10 days, you’ll need to put in a few hours a day. But, you can always slow up your tempo and try finishing in 3 or 4 weeks.

6. Learn Thai: Start Speaking Today. Absolute Beginner to Conversational Speaker Made Simple and Easy! 

This is not a “serious,” academic textbook.

Basically,  a collection of grammar explanations, sentence structures, and phrases to help you speak Thai. The nice part about the book is that it guides you into being able to form your own sentences.

  • Publisher: Independently published
  • 128 Pages
  • Focus: Speaking & Grammar

You don’t need to know the Thai alphabet as there are romanized transliterations. This makes it a good supplemental resource for beginners or anyone that just wants to speak some Thai.

7. Outrageous Thai: Slang, Curses and Epithets (Thai Phrasebook) 

  • Publisher: Tuttle
  • 168 Pages
  • Focus: Speaking & Phrases

What is this doing on the list of best Thai textbooks?

Face it, there are some words that are “fun” to know. Learning slang is fun too, whether in your language or in another.

So, this is where this Thai phrasebook comes in handy. If you want to inject some fun into your study routine and do something other than drill grammar, this will do the job.

8. Thai Reference Grammar

If you want to take your Thai to a higher level…

…and speak with greater precision and range, you’ll want grammar.

  • Publisher: Orchid
  • 443 Pages
  • Focus: Grammar

This Thai book isn’t a book to read for fun, but something to review for 30 minutes a day, so that you don’t overwhelm yourself. You get to learn sentence structures and how to create your own sentences.

It’s definitely for any serious or dedicated learner who already knows beginner-level Thai. So, if you’re a brand new beginner, stay away, and stick with a beginner-friendly textbook. If you’re an upper beginner or at an intermediate level, you may want it.

Downside: For an intermediate level book, it overuses romanization.

9. Thai Phrasebook: Learn Thai Language for Beginners, 1001 Easy to Learn Thai Phrases

You know what else gets you speaking more Thai?

Words are nice.

But phrases are better. And much better so for people that just want to jump into speaking have set phrases to use.

  • 222 pages
  • Independently Published
  • Focus: Phrases

So, that’s where this Thai phrasebook comes in. And it’s on this list because of the volume: you learn a whopping 1000 phrases.

10. Thai Picture Dictionary: Learn 1,500 Key Thai Words and Phrases – The Perfect Visual Resource for Language Learners of All Ages

  • 96 pages
  • Tuttle
  • Focus: Phrases

This final Thai learning book is a great starter for beginners and anyone with a casual interest in Thai. Even as a gift. Why? Because you learn 1,500+ words and phrases through pictures. These words and phrases are organized into 38 themes to make learning easy.

The book does include transliterations but it expects you to know the tones.


These are some of the best Thai textbooks and books I’ve found so far.

But, if you want something a little more than a “book,” then I recommend ThaiPod101.

ThaiPod101 is a Thai learning program. You get audio/video lessons made by real teachers. The lessons get you speaking in minutes and are just 3-15 minutes in length. Just press the play button below to check out a lesson.

So, if you want to HEAR real Thai and learn faster with a program, I recommend them.

Click here to get a Free Lifetime Account at ThaiPod101.com.

– The Main Junkie

Learn Thai with ThaiPod101.com

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very good list.