Episode 20: How to Get the Haircut You Want

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Episode 20: In our last audio podcast, we are talking about how to get the haircut you want in Thailand. Listen and learn what to say when sitting in the barber or beauty shop’s chair! And stay tuned for our future video podcasts!

Download MP3 to listen offline

By Lani

Before moving to Thailand, I remember watching Rick Steves on PBS and listening to his advice:

Get a haircut in a foreign country. He said this as a way to have an authentic experience in another country and I thought, how brilliant!

When I moved here in 2009 to do my TEFL course in Bangkok, I remember very fondly getting a rockin’ haircut at the trendy Siam Square area. I thought, finally! Asians cutting an Asian’s hair! But I’ve heard lot of Caucasian foreigners complaining about getting the haircut they want.

First Hair Cut

So, can Thai barbers and hairdressers not cut farangs’ hair ?


Is it a matter of miscommunication?

 Let’s work on the latter since we cannot do anything about the former…

barber shop

ร้านตัดผม/ráan dtàt pŏm/barber shop


ตัดผม/dtàt pŏm/cut hair

มาตัดผม/maa dtàt pŏm/ (I’m here to) get a hair cut

trim hair

ตัดปลายออก/ dtàt bplaai òk/trim off the ends

ตัดออก3 เซ็น/dtàt òk săam cent/trim off 3 cms

cleaning hair

สระผม/sà pŏm/wash hair


เป่าแห้ง/bpào hâeng/blow dry


หวี/wěe/(noun,verb) comb,brush


ผมหน้าม้า/pŏm nâa máa/bangs


โกน/gohn/to shave




จอน / jon/ sideburns


ยาว / yaao/ long : สั้น/sân/short


ดัด/ dàt/ perm


ปิดผมขาว/ bpìt pŏm kăao/ cover the gray

Interestingly, Thais believe it is bad luck to get a haircut on Wednesday, so don’t be surprised to find a lot of hairdressers and barbers closed on this day.

This idea dates back to when everyone who lived in the Royal Palace would get their hair cut on Wednesday since there weren’t as many hairdressers at that time. (At least qualified ones!)

Plus Thais believe it is not a good idea to get something done the same day as the Royal Family – hence – the bad luck.

But good luck with your locks! Let us know how your new adventure goes

plug grey hair


Guess what are they doing?

8 thoughts on “Episode 20: How to Get the Haircut You Want

  1. Having a haircut in Thailand is a whole other experience! I suppose for men it is easier especially if, like me, you go for the clippers instead of scissors. A bit of sign language and ใช้ที่สามครับ (chai tii saam krap – use the number 3 please) and it’s done. It is quite worrying the first time when she (and it always seems to be a woman) decides that she will trim nostril and ear hair and then have a go at the eyebrows.

    An idea for another howto – buying tickets for trains, planes and long distance buses please

  2. WordPress doesn’t give me a comment notification anymore…seems like you all having fun without me lol
    Keith, great “how to” topics
    Lani, time to make a trip to the Airport, Bus and train station. 555
    John, thanks for the link, I hope you dont have the sideburns like that :-)

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