Titles / Forms of Address in Thailand

  • Titles are very important.
  • Many Thai business people are Chinese.
  • Chinese names generally consist of a family name, followed by two (sometimes one) personal names. In the name Chang Wu Jiang, “Chang” is the surname (or clan name). He would be addressed with his title plus Chang (Mr. Chang, Dr. Chang).
  • Ethnic Thais predominate in government positions, but they will also be found in the business world.
  • Since the adoption of surnames in the 1920s, ethnic Thais generally have two names. Their given name will come first, then their surname. Given names in Thailand are often unique, and given (first) name. The short Thai term for “Mr.”, or “Miss” is Khun (althought there are longer forms as well). Thus, former prime minister Chatichai Choonhavan could theoretically have been addressed as Khun Chatichai.
  • Nicknames are popular in Thailand. Do not be surprised if the Thais give you a nickname, particularly if your name is hard for them to pronounce.

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