Thai Land Measurement Units


Although Thai land measurement units may seem odd to the foreigner they are actually not only logical but are based on the metric system.
Once you have grasped the priciples behind the Thai land measurement units system you will find it easy to understand and to remember.

First Some Thai – English Translations

The Mett

The unit of linear measurement in the Metric System is the metre. (m)
The Thais have adopted this word but shortened it to simply ‘Mett’.
One Mett = one metre.

The Talang

Talang in Thai means squared in English.
So one Talang Mett means one metre squared or one square metre. (m2)
1 Talang Mett = 1 m2

The Wah

For some reason, the Thai land mesurement system is modular, not decimal.
The next unit of Thai land measuirement is the Talang Wah.
One Wah is two Mett or 2m.
One Talang Wah = one Wah squared or 2m x 2m i.e. 4m2
1 Talang Wah = 4m2

The Ngan

One Ngan is 100 Talang Wah = 100 x 4m2 = 400 m2
1 Ngan = 400 m2

The Rai

One Rai is 4 Ngan = 4 x 400m2 = 1,600m2

A Table of Thai Land Measurement Units

Here is a simple table of Thai land measurement units
1 Talang Mett = 1m2 (For example 1m x 1m)
1 Talang Wah = 4m2 (For example 2m x 2m)
1 Ngan = 400m2 (For example 20m x 20m)
1 Rai = 1,600m2 (For example 40m x 40m)

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2 Responses to “Thai Land Measurement Units”

  • Being American, I have enough problems with the metric system and the Thai system of land measurement boggles the mind. I do know that my wife and I (in her name) own 1 rai of land.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Hello Khon Kaen, and thanks for your comment.

    If you’re boggled with the Thai land measurement systems then you’ll be delighted that the Thai’s have a complete measurement system somewhat similar to the old English system. I mean the really old system when we had one foot and six inches equals one rod, pole or perch.

    My wife has in the past mentioned the old Thai measurement system and recently referred to the ‘Yok‘ as being the measurement unit when purchasing wood. (Apparently 1 Yok = 17.78 sq ft)

    More often she uses the nieu which is (I believe) the Thai equivalent of the British inch and, like the inch, was based on the length of the thumb from the knuckle joint. (nieu = 10/12 inch)

    I know it’s sad, but with me being an engineer I find the old traditional Thai measurement system fascinating and actually search on the Internet for some of the words my wife uses, like the nieu and the Yok.

    Recently I found a website that gave the history of the old Thai measurement system, showing how it was based on the limbs of the body, for example the length from the elbow to the tip of the fingers.

    I’m sure I bookmarked the website, but I must have been on a different computer at the time because I can’t find it now. Perhaps another visitor knows it and can post the url?

    There is a Thai government website that gives all the Thai measurements and conversion factors to Imperial and Metric units. it’s 9to me) fascinating. Here is the url:- http://www.eppo.go.th/ref/UNIT-ALL.html

    Perhaps I’ll add a few more of the tradditional Thai units of measurements and their conversions to the website later…

    … but that’s enough for now.

    Thanks for setting me off on my Thai units hobby-horse!

    [Reply]

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