Understanding the Roads, Streets, Soi and Moobaan system in Thailand

If you guys have ever visited Thailand, you would have heard or seen words such as soi, thanon and moo baan. You would have also probably noticed that they’re are many ways to spell a particular street name in English, for e.g. Phahonyothin, Phahon Yothin, Pahon Yothin, Phaholyothin. All these words actually refer to the same street, however the spelling is different depending on where you see it. Thailand can be a very confusing place to navigate, even for a skilled navigator. This is even more true in a city in Bangkok, where there are way too many streets and alleys as well as huge roads. The main problem, however, is the language differences. So read on to find out what all those words mean so that you will have an easier time navigating through Thailand.

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What is Thanon?

Thanon are major streets in Thailand. However, it is usually translated to Roads here. For example, if you have travelled to Bangkok, chances are you have been to Thanon Sukhumvit, which literally means Sukhumvit Road. 

What is a Soi?

A soi is an alley that is connected to a road. Sois are numbered with odd number sois being on the left of the road and even number sois on the right. An example is Sukhumvit Road, which has many sois on either side of the road. For eg. Sukhumvit will be the road’s name and Soi 26 will be the alley or “soi” name. It does not sound too confusing at first, but in some cases, the odd and even sois are not opposite each other and may even be kilometers away from each other. For eg. Sukhumvit soi 39 and 40 are not directly opposite each other, they are a few kilometers away from each other. Furthurmore, the big and popular soi has their own names, such as Sukhumvit soi 3, which is also known as Soi Nana and may even have a sub-soi inside the alley. We know, nothing is ever simple and straightforward in Thailand.

What is a Moobaan?

Moobaan translated to English is housing village, however think of it as a housing community. Most houses in Thailand are located in a “Moobaan '' which are also gated most of the time. High-end luxury Moobaans with Full security guards, swimming pools, parks and gyms are also quite common, especially in bigger cities like Bangkok and Chiang Mai. 

In conclusion, Thailand can be a very tricky place to navigate not only because of the language differences, but also because it is not straightforward and in some cases, logical. There are also many alleys and sub-alleys all around the city which could make it very tricky for you to get to somewhere more hidden and secluded. However, if you become familiar with the vocabulary used here such as “Thanon”, “Soi” and “Moobaan”, you will have a much easier time navigating anywhere in Thailand and you will better understand the locals when asking for directions. We hope you have found the information useful.

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