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As Thailand has never been colonized, not many Thais can speak English, but since the 1980s many Thais have started to learn English. As of 2011, English is compulsory in most schools, and spoken in the larger cities, although in rural areas a little Thai will come in handy. Outside Bangkok, students learn English from age 13 and learn at the basic level, so very few people can speak English. The 2012 research found that 10% of the population are fluent in English, and 32% can speak English at least at basic level, and the age group with most English speakers is 25-34.
In general, Thailand and
There is also a colloquial form of English spoken among Thais in urban areas, not inappropriately known as Tinglish, which takes a bit of getting used to if you intend to join in the conversation on local topics. Thais will almost always try to speak 'standardized English' when approached by Western travellers. In general, police stations and government offices will have English-speaking staff on duty, but you CANNOT rely on this. If you need to speak with the police or an official, if you can find someone to translate, things will be so much easier.