Starter Kit: Thailand
~ Part Five ~
A Starter Kit to get you kick-started on your Thai drama journey. To start a whole new country's drama database can be daunting, therefore, I have made a starter kit just for you, to help you get started.
Thai dramas always have undeniable chemistry between their leads and the skin-ship always happens so naturally, accompanied by cliché yet interesting stories. Thai drama writers have talent in creating depth and character growth that invests you in their story and makes you want to know more. Bonus: Thai dramas are never short on eye candy.
Dramas For Beginners
Thailand is better known nowadays for their BL dramas (often in a youth setting), a formula that undeniably works and that has awarded it with many loyal fanbases. Even though Thai dramas' impressions have been overshadowed by BLs, we cannot forget Lakorns.
Lakorns don't have a large range of genres outside of romance. Thai dramas’ romance often surrounds plots based around Revenge (Slap/Kiss), Love-Hate Relationship, Contract Marriage/Pretend Relationship, Cohabitation, Spy/Mafia, Bodyguard, and Historical.
Thai dramas generally have 13 - 15 episodes with 90 minutes each. There are some longer lakorns with 20 - 36 episodes with a run time of ~40 minutes.
Here are my recommendations if you are a newcomer to Thai dramas. I did so according to different tropes and genres that I believe to be very beginner-friendly as a gateway to Thai dramas.
Know Your Actors
Get to know some great actors and actresses that have a reliable track record of always delivering on enjoyable stories and performances.
Know Your Basics: Language
Within Thailand, there are four major dialects, corresponding to the southern, northern, north-eastern (close to the Lao language), and central regions of the country; the latter is called Central Thai or Bangkok Thai and is taught in all schools, is used for most television broadcasts, and is widely understood in all regions.
I’m Addressing You
In Thailand, when addressing someone, the first name is usually preceded by the word ‘Khun’ (pronounced ‘Koon’). This is used as a blanket term to refer to Miss, Mrs or Mr – for example, Khun Mary or Khun Simon.
People of importance, such as teachers, professors or monks, the first name should be preceded with ‘Ajarn’. Surnames are reserved for very formal occasions or written documentation.
ไม่เป็นไร (mâi bpen rai) is a phrase that shows you feel okay with the current situation, and there’s no need to do anything more for you.
เกรงใจ (kreng jai) - ‘kreng’ means to have a fear of something while ‘jai’ means heart. A two-word in Thai that means to have a thoughtful consideration for other people’s needs, feelings or action that they need to take in response to your action.
เจ้าชู้ (jaow chew) means playboy, but depending on the context, it can be used in a playful and jokey manner or (more rarely) as an insult.
ดอกฟ้า (dok faar) - 'dok' means flower and 'faar' means the sky, so 'dok faar' is literally a sky flower. The term is used for a woman who comes from a well-connected, powerful, or rich family.
จ๋อย (joy) is the Thai slang word for sad! It goes beyond simply feeling a bit gloomy though, and usually implies some element of sorrow, despair, or feeling despondent.
Know Your Basics: Culture
The wai is both a sign of respect as well as a greeting.
The ‘wai’ is the traditional form of greeting, given by the person of lower status to the person of higher status. Raising both hands, palms joined with the fingers pointing upwards as if in prayer, lightly touching the body somewhere between the chest and the forehead, is the standard form.
Literally translated, the Thai colloquial term ‘Lukkreung’ (ลูกครึ่ง) means ‘half-child’. It is used to refer to people who are of mixed Thai and European origin. The term originated during the Vietnam War (the 1960s and 70s), when a large number of mixed race children were born from Thai women and American soldiers. During that time, some racially mixed children faced discrimination but generally were accepted by Thai society.
In current Thai society, there are many racially mixed people who have attracted Thai public attention. There has been an increasing numbers of celebrities, television stars and actors of mixed origin. Half or part-Thai persons also match the predominant Thai beauty ideal of a Western look (i. e. light skin color, large eyes and a tall physique), this goes the same for half-Thai, half-oriental Asian.
Thailand's history starts with:
Nanchao Period (650 - 1250 AD), Sukhothai Period (1238 - 1378 AD), Ayutthaya Period (1350 - 1767 AD), Thon Buri Period (1767 - 1772 AD) and is currently in the Rattanakosin Period (1782 - the Present).
Most historical Thai dramas will either be set in the recent history (Rattanakosin) or in the Ayutthaya Period. Ayutthaya Period was the most prosperous time, and when many Thai traditions and cultures were explored and celebrated.
Where to Watch Your Drama
Most Thai dramas that are popular can be found with English subtitles on Viki and Netflix, but sadly there isn’t board selection if you are interested in more than what is just popular.
There is a variety of Thai dramas that are available on Youtube with English subs. You can follow these channels: GDH, Ch3, GMM.
Try and try again. Find what is good for you. Don’t give up after just one go. Keep an open mind and try something different that may be more your speed. A different genre, your favorite genre is usually maybe a different case here.
Branch Out. Not Only BL. Thailand definitely has a lot more to offer than just BL; there is a wide variety of lakorns that are available. Vice versa, there is a reason that you only really hear about Thailand’s BL; it might be your next fix.
Thai drama titles. Most of Thai dramas on MDL will use their Thai title, but their English titles will be available on their page, to help with any luggage barriers and giving a better perspective of the drama.
How did your Thai drama journey start?
Do you have any tips for the newcomers?
Are there any questions for us to settle any of your enquiries?
Do you predominantly watch Thailand’s BLs or Lakorns?
Thank You For Reading!
Continue Your Drama Watching! ^.^
❀ Cheers ❀
Edited by: YW (1st editor)