Hey great start! I'm glad to see more of Thailand appearing. I was wondering if anyone has a good idea how to do the Thai names-- what I'd love is to settle on some sort of authority so we don't end up with Koh Phangan, Ko Pha Ngan and Kohpahngan (Ko(h) Sa(r)n Road is another good example). Any ideas? Majnoona
Mostly, if you do not know how to speak (pronounce) Thai, the romanizations you see will not help you talk to a Thai person. You will speak gibberish. Thai is tonal, and has many phonemes that do not present in many Western languages, esp. English. Seriously, if you try to pronounce ANY Romanized Thai phrases from ANY Romanization system, you will not even come close except maybe very short words, and that is questionable...
Take "Koh" or "Ko" as in 'island.' It is always pronounced by westerners with a [k] sound. It has become 'standard' among westerners. It is wrong! The word in Thai is pronounced with a [g] sound. This is because the "Koh" transliteration is based on IPA (not the beer - International Phonetic Alphabet) and in IPA, a 'k' is pronounced [g]. 'Kh' is pronounced [k], as in 'khao' ('mountain'). As for 'Tao,' as in 'Koh Tao,' the 'ao' vowel is spoken with a 'falling' tone, and speaking it in a flat, 'middle' tone renders it into a distinct and separate word. On Koh Tao, you can pronounce it like everyone. In Issan, in the Northwest, few outside of tour providers will have a clue what you are saying!
Your best bet, and I highly recommend this as a great way to meet Thai people anyway: STOP TRYING TO USE PHRASE BOOKS OR PRONOUNCE THINGS ON YOUR OWN! ASK A THAI PERSON TO TEACH YOU HOW TO SAY THE WORD! They will use correct tone, etc., and the process will no doubt cause much laughter and friendly exchange. You will find this to be a highlight of your trip if you do it often. You will come to recognize Thai people who are very willing to show you...Most consider it very respectfull of Thailand and Thai people if you show a desire to learn the language.
BTW I studied Applied Linguistics and I speak, read, and write Thai. Please trust me on this one!!Gst.steven (talk) 06:04, 2 February 2015 (EST)
Apparently there's a lot of problems with romanization of the Thai alphabet. According this article, "Ko" is the official word, but it's sometimes written as "Koh". I think that with no schematic romanization in popular use, maybe the best idea is to use the most official romanization. -- Evan 12:48, 5 Nov 2003 (PST)
Yah, got all that. What I'm hoping for is that we can find one source, or list of place names that we can point to and say "we're doing it like this" rather than have everyone's idea of what's "most official" (since the Thai gov can't quite decide either). Havign a list is easier than trying to look at the Royal Institute with Pattaya or whatever every time we want to sound out a name. I'll look around for one. Majnoona
Oh, man, it's a pain in the butt, actually. The Royal Institute has their Romanization ("Ko", for example), but other government organizations like the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) don't use it (they say "Koh"). I guess I'd say go with TAT, at this point, since they're the tourist resource and probably overseas and local tourist organizations would copy their names. -- Evan 13:01, 5 Nov 2003 (PST)
Better late than never: the above has been listed on Wikitravel:Romanization as policy for a while, and now I'm attempting to enforce it. Please help out. Jpatokal 01:17, 2 Feb 2005 (EST)
Romanization in Thai is really tricky. There is no standard and even if we develop a standard on this page it will probably be different once the traveler gets there. I know this is probably wiki-heresey but maybe its better to keep prospective travelers on their toes about the changing names. Gcilley
Hello! Can other travelers from the community that are familiar with this region confirm if what user TheFunkyBuddha wrote today is true? For the time being I moved his comments here. If Ko Tao citizens have indeed reputation of being unfriendly, I will put the edits back to the article. Thanks!
A final note for seasoned travelers:If you are a backpacker on the Southeast Asia trail going for months and used in incredible Thai hospitality and smiles all over, think again: Ko Tao may not be the place for you.
The island is arguably home to some of the most unfriendly people in Thailand. And there are several reasons for this. First, they run a 12 month season with little to no rest, while the months blend into years of endless hordes of tourists that never seem to end. Second, many of the tourists that visit the island are some of the most bad-tempered, demanding, aggressive and rude people that you'll ever come across. This has had already its toll on locals, which have grown from indifferent and unhelpful all the way to outright rude. You will often not feel welcomed, and the locals are over it - it's more than apparent. The third reason, as in any intensely touristic destination, is greed. Many will see you as a bottomless ATM, with prices going triple or more than those of mainland Thailand - for substandard service without a smile. Saying that, there are exceptions, but you'll be hard pressed to find them in today's Ko Tao. From a sustainability perspective, maybe the best gift you can do to the island is to simply not go there. There is equally stellar snorkeling and diving to be found elsewhere in Thailand, with authentic, friendly locals and fair prices, services, and attention to safety.
I've heard the same, but haven't been there. There are some good postings from the last 5 years or so which provide both more stories and some cautions:
I wrote the above piece 10 days ago, and since there seems to be no strong push to keep this section out, I'd like to give some of the thoughts behind this paragraph, which I would like to see being added back:
Although a very new member of the Wiki community, I have been traveling for more than 20 years, 10 of which have been on the "rougher" end of backpacking. Currently I'm in my 5th month of traveling.
I usually have not much interest in editing already rich, detailed articles on highly touristic places. So this is the first time. But seriously, Ko Tao has been the most unfriendly place that I have visited the last 5 months. I found people exceptionally rude, and although you guys have compiled an amazing article, I think it is incomplete without this very important aspect that many travelers will face.
I say many, but not all, and this is very important. As you can see the way I start the section, I specifically mention that this info is mostly relevant to long term backpackers, not necessarily everybody. I met a few people that stayed in their resort, did their diving and partied all night and absolutely loved it. But we are not all like that. I had discussions with locals, foreign workers, backpackers and other travellers before writing this piece. I know that there is a strong preference in the Wiki for referenced material, but anectodal first hand information is equally valuable to our readers.
To keep it short: If I would have read this before visiting the island, I would have made much better decisions for me and my friends, I would have saved a lot of money, and I would have had a much better time. So I think it should be added in order to help our fellow travellers make informed decisions.
If the majority of contributors do not oppose this section, I would like to push it back up in the next few days. Happy to give further clarifications/info as required. --TheFunkyBuddha (talk) 04:17, 12 August 2015 (EDT)
Hi TheFunkyBuddha, thank you for such detailed and meaningful explanation. It's highly appreciated. While we do have policies about avoiding negative reviews, I still think this is a meaningful discussion. I think if many locals are not friendly & helpful as generally expected elsewhere, a heads-up should be made for the traveler's benefit. However, let's give it a bit more time for others users, and let's try to keep the "negative review" part light if it's to be added. What do you say? --Binbin (talk) 07:35, 12 August 2015 (EDT)
Fully agreed with you and thanks for all your help and support so far. Apologies for not coming back to you, I'm still traveling and not so easy to check here regularly.
We have given this almost two months for people to comment, which I think is beyond reasonable. Anybody objecting has had more than ample time to comment. I think we now need to wrap this up. Would you be willing to put this post back up in the next couple of days?