Essential Thai is a large format (A4) beginning Thai book which uses the phonetic system and tone markers described onn this webpage. It was published in 1997 by the Bangkok Post.

The first half of the book follows a cumulative approach, with vocabulary and structures building up from chapter to chapter, so it is a good tool for tutoring or self-study. The second half of the book contains topic material for living and traveling in Thailand, including food, hotels, directions, and emergencies. All of the sentence structures used with the topics are explained in the first half of the book.

Essential Thai was written with the assumption that the learner takes an active role in understanding the use of vocabulary and phrases when learning a second language. The book contains explanations of the use of basic vocabulary and how usage differs from English.

The book is sold in a folding plastic case with a tape included which covers pronunciation and the first lessons of the book. The Bangkok Post found a speaker with a good Texas accent to read the English on the tape.

The book was laid out in the old days (1995-1996) when computer layout could only be done by professionals on a Macintosh. They layout took a full year to complete because at that time Thailand was at the height of its economic miracle and there was a huge demand for layout work.

Essential Thai is a popular book in Thailand and can be found at bookstores all over the country. Unfortunately the Bangkok Post discontinued its book division in 2004 so the book is now out of print. There are still copies available and we're looking forward to a reprint by Orchid Press.