When? How long? and other ways to ask for the time
How to ask for the time in Thai? Bonus: Asking for a duration
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Lingo Ninja Research Team
4 min read · published June 5, 2021 · last update June 16, 2021

Asking for the time in Thai

There are multiple ways to ask for the time in Thai:
Bonus: How long?
Let's go through them one by one.

When? in Thai

เมื่อไหร่ when?
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usually appears at the end of the question, but can also appear at the beginning for emphasis:
In spoken Thai เมื่อไหร่ when?
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can be replaced with เมื่อไร when
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or เมอะไร when?
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.

The answer can be a specific time of the day (e.g. 3 p.m.), or something more abstract like "next week".

You cannot use เมื่อไหร่ when?
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to ask "What time is it now?".

Examples

Q: When are you going?
     คุณ Ms, Mrs, Mr; you
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ไป go; too
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เมื่อไหร่ when?
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?
     Literally: you - go - when?
Q: When are you going?
     เมื่อไหร่ when?
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คุณ Ms, Mrs, Mr; you
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ไป go; too
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?
     Literally: when? - you - go
A:  Next week
     อาทิตย์ week
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หน้า front; next, upcoming; face; page
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     Literally: week - next

Q: When does the shop open?
     ร้าน shop, store
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เปิด open
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เมื่อไหร่ when?
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?
     Literally: shop - open - when?
A:  At 8 a.m.
      8
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โมงเช้า 6 a.m. - 11 noon
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     Literally: 8 - morning

What time? in Thai using กี่โมง

กี่ how many
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โมง hour, o'clock
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literally means "How many hours?". You use it to ask for a specific time of the day
You can read more on "how many"- questions in this article: Questions of degree in Thai

Examples

Q: When did you eat breakfast?
     คุณ Ms, Mrs, Mr; you
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กิน eat
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อาหาร food
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เช้า morning
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กี่ how many
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โมง hour, o'clock
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?
     Literally: you - eat - food - morning - how many? - hour

Q: What time does the shop open?
     ร้าน shop, store
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เปิด open
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กี่ how many
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โมง hour, o'clock
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?
     Literally: shop - open - how many? - hour
A:  At 8 a.m.
      8
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โมงเช้า 6 a.m. - 11 noon
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     Literally: 8 - morning

Q: What time is it now?
     ตอนนี้ now
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กี่ how many
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โมง hour, o'clock
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แล้ว already; and, so
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?
     Literally: now - how many? - hour - already
A:  8 a.m.
      8
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โมงเช้า 6 a.m. - 11 noon
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     Literally: 8 - morning

Q: What time is it?
     กี่ how many
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โมง hour, o'clock
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แล้ว already; and, so
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?
     Literally: how many? - hour - already
A:  8 a.m.
      8
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โมงเช้า 6 a.m. - 11 noon
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     Literally: 8 - morning

What time? in Thai using เวลาเท่าไร

Another way to ask for the time is to use เวลา time; when
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เท่าไหร่ how much; not quite
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, literally meaning "how much time?". You use it to ask for a specific time of the day. Here is the pattern:
The above-mentioned article Questions of degree in Thai also has more information on "how much" questions in Thai.

Examples

Q: What time does the shop open? 
     ร้าน shop, store
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เปิด open
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เวลา time; when
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เท่าไหร่ how much; not quite
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?
     Literally: shop - open - time - how much?
A:  At 8 a.m.
      8
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โมงเช้า 6 a.m. - 11 noon
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     Literally: 8 - morning

Q: What time is it now?
     ตอนนี้ now
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เวลา time; when
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เท่าไหร่ how much; not quite
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?
     Literally: now - time - how much?
A:  8 a.m.
      8
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โมงเช้า 6 a.m. - 11 noon
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     Literally: 8 - morning

Q: What time is it?
     เวลา time; when
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เท่าไหร่ how much; not quite
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?
     Literally: time - how much?
A:  8 a.m.
      8
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โมงเช้า 6 a.m. - 11 noon
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     Literally: 8 - morning

Which time? using เวลาไหน and ตอนไหน

The question patterns are the following:
The answer to เวลา time; when
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ไหน where; which
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is a specific time of the day (e.g. 3 p.m.). The answer to ตอน at (a time)
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ไหน where; which
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can be a time of the day or more abstract like "next week".

Similar to เมื่อไหร่ when?
See in Dictionary
(when?), you cannot use เวลา time; when
See in Dictionary
ไหน where; which
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or ตอน at (a time)
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ไหน where; which
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to ask "What time is it now?"

Examples

Q: Until which time is the shop open?
     ร้าน shop, store
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เปิด open
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ถึง to, until; arrive
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เวลา time; when
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ไหน where; which
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?
     Literally: shop - open - until - time - which?
Q: Until which time is the shop open?
     ร้าน shop, store
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เปิด open
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ถึง to, until; arrive
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ตอน at (a time)
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ไหน where; which
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?
     Literally: shop - open - until - time - which?
A:  Until 5 p.m.
     ถึง to, until; arrive
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ห้า 5
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โมงเย็น 4 pm.- 6 pm.
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     Literally: Until - 5 - late afternoon

Bonus: Asking "How long?" (for a duration of time)

The most common patterns to ask for a duration of Time (How long...?) in Thai are:
Note: The same pattern can also mean "how old ...?" when talking about an object. This might create confusion.
Note II: เท่าไหร่ how much; not quite
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and แค่ไหน how much
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mean "how much?". To learn more about "How much?"-questions, read the article on Questions of Degree in Thai.

Example

Q: How long is the shop open?
     ร้าน shop, store
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เปิด open
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นาน a long time
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แค่ไหน how much
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?
     Literally: shop - open - duration - how much?
Q: How long is the shop open?
     ร้าน shop, store
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เปิด open
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นาน a long time
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เท่าไหร่ how much; not quite
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?
     Literally: shop - open - duration - how much?
A:  3 hours
     สาม 3
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ชั่วโมง an hour
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     Literally: 3 - hour

Q: How long do I need to wait for the food?
     รอ wait
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อาหาร food
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นาน a long time
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เท่าไหร่ how much; not quite
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?
     Literally: wait - food - duration - how much?
Q: How long do I need to wait for the food?
     รอ wait
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อาหาร food
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นาน a long time
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แค่ไหน how much
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?
     Literally: wait - food - duration - how much?

Q: How long have you been (his/her) girlfriend/boyfriend?
     เป็น be, is, am, are
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แฟน boyfriend / girlfriend
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กัน together; one another, each other; separate, prevent, trim
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นาน a long time
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เท่าไหร่ how much; not quite
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?
     Literally: Be - girlfriend/boyfriend - together - duration - how much?
Q: How long have you been (his/her) girlfriend/boyfriend?
     เป็น be, is, am, are
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แฟน boyfriend / girlfriend
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กัน together; one another, each other; separate, prevent, trim
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นาน a long time
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แค่ไหน how much
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?
     Literally: Be - girlfriend/boyfriend - together - duration - how much?

Q: How long will you stay here? / How long have you stayed here? 
     มา come, arrive
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อยู่ is (located at); live (at); happening now
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นาน a long time
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เท่าไหร่ how much; not quite
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?
     Literally: come - stay - duration - how much?
Q: How long will you stay here? / How long have you stayed here? 
     มา come, arrive
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อยู่ is (located at); live (at); happening now
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นาน a long time
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แค่ไหน how much
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?
     Literally: come - stay - duration - how much?

Example - how long / old

Q: How long/old is this movie?
     หนัง a movie
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เรื่อง quantifier for dreams, stories, movies; story, topic
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นี้ this
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นาน a long time
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เท่าไหร่ how much; not quite
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?
     Literally: movie - classifier for movies - this - duration - how much?
Q: How long/old is this movie?
     หนัง a movie
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เรื่อง quantifier for dreams, stories, movies; story, topic
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นี้ this
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นาน a long time
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แค่ไหน how much
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?
     Literally: movie - classifier for movies - this - duration - how much?
A:  3 hours (long)
     สาม 3
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ชั่วโมง an hour
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     Literally: 3 - hour
A:  30 years (old)
     สาม 3
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สิบ 10
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ปี year
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     Literally: 3 - 10 - year
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