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11. Posted by cybervlad (Full Member 78 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

AndyB24, I think you can travel in SEA without knowing any local language. But if you learn several words (greetings, counting etc) you will have advantage :)
Thai is a tonal language. If you plan to learn Thai, you need audio course, because it is extremely difficult to learn and distinguish tones (high, mid, low, rising, falling) only with paper book. If you want to buy phrasebook select one with Thai script. You can just select phrase and show it instead to try spell it correctly :)
Also I can recommend to learn several patterns in Malay (Bahasa Melayu). Some people in the South of Thailand speak Malay and Indonesian language (Bahasa Indonesia) very similar to Malay.

12. Posted by missmatch. (Full Member 21 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

I believe the basics should be learned in most languages, just to help you get around.

Other than that, english and chinese are still the best choices. Most countries are knowledgeable in English and in countries you've listed, locals are mostly chinese (esp china, singapore).

13. Posted by opospa (Travel Guru 1837 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

yea, cybervlad is true. You need audio course to learn languages like Thai or Chinese. For Malay and Indonesian, they are very easy to learn. You can speak it at the Southern part of Thailand but with the Kelantanese dialect which is quite different from the original Malay language.

14. Posted by magykal1 (Travel Guru 2026 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

If you're looking for one on that list which is reasonably easy to pick up, go for Indonesian.

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