The verb “เที่ยว [tîao]” can be quite confusing to someone learning Thai. Most of the time, this word gets translated as “to travel” or “to go on a trip.” But it’s more complicated than that. In fact, “เที่ยว [tîao]” can be used any time you go out and have fun or go somewhere for enjoyment or leisure, not only limited to going on a vacation. You can use “เที่ยว [tîao]” to say that you went or will go hang out with your friends at the mall or go the beach, for example.

On the contrary, if you’re traveling somewhere for business, work or a conference, “เที่ยว [tîao]” can’t be used because the purpose of your travel is not to have fun or relax. (In that case, we use the verb “เดินทาง [dern taang]” for “to travel” instead. The word “เดินทาง [dern taang]” generally means “to go from one place to another.” Besides “to travel,” it can also be used to say “to commute.”)

Similarly, if you go to the mall with a purpose of doing something other than strolling around, dining or shopping, for example returning a bought item, or picking up your children, then you can’t use “เที่ยว [tîao]” either. Remember, this word is always associated with the idea of fun and pleasure.

Lastly, “เที่ยว [tîao]” can also be used in the context of nightlife. In that case, it means “to hang out at a bar” or “to go clubbing.” To differentiate it from other meanings, the term “เที่ยวกลางคืน [tîao glaang keun] is often used. “กลางคืน [glaang keun]” alone means “night.” Note that when used in this context, it can carry a negative connotation.

Below are examples of how to use the words “เที่ยว [tîao]” (and “เดินทาง [dern taang]”)

1. ปีก่อน ฉันไปเที่ยวสวีเดนมา
[pii gàwn chán pai tîao Sweden maa]
Last year, I went to Sweden for vacation.

2. ปกติ ครอบครัวเราจะไปเที่ยวต่างจังหวัดกันทุกเดือน
[pòkgatì krâwp krua rao ja pai tîao tàang jang wàt gan túk deuan]
Our family usually goes on a trip out of town every month.

3. คุณจะไปเที่ยวหรือไปทำงาน
[khun ja pai tîao rěu pai tam ngaan]
Are you going there for work or vacation?

4. ฉันกับเพื่อนชอบเที่ยวสยามสแควร์
[chán gàp peûan châwp tîao Siam Square]
My friends and I like to hang out at Siam Square.

5. พรุ่งนี้พาลูกไปเที่ยวสวนสัตว์กันเถอะ
[prûng níi paa lûuk pai tîao sǔan sàt gan tèr]
Let’s take the children to the zoo tomorrow.

6. เมืองนี้เหมาะสำหรับเที่ยวกลางคืน
[meuang níi màw sǎmràp tîao glaang keun]
This city is good for nightlife.

7. ผมชอบผู้หญิงที่ไม่ดื่ม ไม่สูบ ไม่เที่ยว
[phom chàwp pûu yǐng tîi mâi dèum mâi sùup mâi tîao]
I prefer girls who don’t drink, smoke and party.

8. อาทิตย์หน้า ผมจะเดินทางไปสัมมนาที่เชียงใหม่
[aathít nâa phǒm jà dern taang pai sǎmmanaa tîi Chiang Mai]
Next week, I’m traveling to Chiang mai for a seminar.

9. จากบ้านไปโรงเรียนใช้เวลาเดินทางไปกลับสามชั่วโมง
[jàak bâan pai rong rian chái welaa dern taang pai glàp sǎam chûai mong]
A round trip from home to school takes 3 hours.

10. ฉันไม่ชอบเดินทางนานๆ
[chán mâi châwp dern taang naan naan]
I don’t like to travel long hours.

Photo by Yuki Tachaya, taken at Gardens By the Bay, Singapore.

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