Daylight Time




Night Time







In Thailand, there are two ways to tell the time: formal and informal. The formal system employs the 24-hour clock, whereas the informal system uses 4 six-hour cycles. The former is used on radio, TV., and official announcements. The latter is usually used in daily conversation with family and friends. Formal time is simple, numbering the hours from 1-24 (midnight). Informal or colloquial time divides the day into 4 segments starting at 6:00 a.m. It is rooted in the agricultural life of the Thai and the fact that the sun rises and sets at nearly the same hour every day because Thailand is close to the equator. The following, specific words are used to tell the time in the informal way.

  • 'โมง' (mong ) is always used for the 12 daylight hours with the words 'เช้า chaaw' (morning) , 'บ่าย baai' (early afternoon) and 'เย็น' (late afternoon or early evening.) The word 'โมง mong' is used to tell the time starting from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. It comes from the sound of a gong (khawng mong ), a classical Thai music instrument, which was used to announce the time of daylight hours in the old days.

  • 'เที่ยง' (thiang ) is used with 'วัน wan' (day) and 'คืน kheun' (night) for noon and midnight. Used by itself, 'เที่ยง' means 'noon' or 'midday.' Midnight can also be called 'สองยาม song yam' (the second watch.)

  •  'บ่าย' (baai ) which means 'afternoon' is used to tell the time starting from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

  •  'เย็น' (yen ) which literally means 'cool' but it is used to tell the 'late afternoon' or 'early evening' time starting from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., when the day begins to cool down.

  •  'ทุ่ม' (thoom ) is used to tell the time starting from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. This word comes from sound of the drum (glawng ) which was used to announce the time of the night hours.

  •  'ตี' (tii ) which refers to very early morning is used to tell the time starting from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. The word 'ตี' literally means 'beat or strike' and it originates from the sound of the night watchmen in the past striking a bell to announce the time and to show that all is well in the middle of the night and early morning.


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