About Sanuk

The word “sanuk”  (สนุก pronounced sanook as in “look”) in the Thai language, means to have a good time, to have fun, to enjoy oneself and to derive pleasure and joy from something. It is almost a rule of living for Thai people that whatever they do, it has to be sanuk. The concept of sanuk goes beyond having of a good laugh or a good time at a dance or a performance.

สนุก : Sà-nòok =
1. [modifier] fun ; enjoyable
2. [verb] be fun ; be enjoyable
3. [verb] to enjoy (something) ; to have a good time

a) used to indicate ‘something is fun or enjoyable’ e.g. หนังสนุก : Nŭng Sà-nòok (1&2) = fun movie/film ; enjoyable movie/film ; the movie/film is fun ; the movie/film is enjoyable [หนัง : Nŭng = movie ; film]

b) used to indicate ‘someone is fun or enjoyable to be with’ e.g. เขาเป็นคนสนุก : Kăo Bpe’n Ko’n Sà-nòok (1) = He/She is a fun person., เขาสนุก : Kăo Sà-nòok (2) = He/She is fun., คนสนุก : Ko’n Sà-nòok (1) = fun person/people

c) used with the word ‘กับ : Gùb = with’ to indicate ‘someone enjoys something’ e.g. เขาสนุกกับหนัง : Kăo Sà-nòok~Gùb (3) Nŭng = He/She enjoys the movie/film. / He/She is enjoying the movie/film.

More examples of Sanuk:

thamngan sanuk = to enjoy one’s work

khui sanuk = to enjoy talking; to be a good speaker

daa sanuk = to enjoy scolding other

thuuk daa sanuk = to enjoy being scolded

If you would like to learn more Thai words, please visit Thai Style’s facebook page.

Having a sanuk time dancing with elephants in Thailand

Most guide books to Thailand will tell you about the Thai concept of sanuk which often gets translated as meaning ‘fun’. But sanuk is more than having fun; it’s about striving to achieve satisfaction and pleasure from whatever you do. Whether it’s the office, the karaoke bar or working in the rice fields, Thai people will try and make it sanuk. A sense of humour and a sense of fun are two of the most important things to pack when you visit Thailand. Thai people will try and inject a sense of enjoyment into their daily life and as a visitor if you do likewise, you will fit in very well.

When bartering for shopping bargains or negotiating with a tuk-tuk driver, always smile and be a bit cheeky if you want. If you do it in the right manner, the Thai person will usually play along with the game. This won’t come easily for all tourists, but I highly recommend you try it during your stay in Thailand.

Roy @Thaizer.com

And so, the main purpose of this blog is simply sanuk! I lived and worked in Thailand for a large part of my life as a social/cultural anthropologist and continue to return nearly every year.  I now live in a beautiful region of Australia (Far North NSW) and enjoy photography, Asian culture and travelling in my spare time. In this blog, you will find many of my photo essays, some of my favourite recipes, places of interest, research topics and general  travel information that I find it interesting as well as informative.

Mai Pen Rai   🙂 aka Marti


Sanuk! Sanuk! is now on Facebook. Join us to receive the latest updates and a whole lot more.

A note about 555.  The equivalent of “hahaha” (or LOL) in English used by Thai people online is 555.  In Thai “ha” means 5. Thus, hahaha = 555

8 Responses to About Sanuk

  1. This is a great blog – your photos take me back to when I lived in Thailand (both in Bangkok and Lampang). Hope you don’t mind, but I’m linking your blog into my next post on a Thai style stir fry 🙂

    • Mai Pen Rai says:

      Thanks! I have very fond memories of Lampang where I lived as a post grad student during the ’80s. I go back often! I don’t mind at all if you link my blog to your next post. Much appreciated!

  2. Frans Betgem says:

    Hi Marti,
    Good afternoon. Very nice blog. I will follow it from now on.
    Greetings from Chiang Mai.
    Best regards

  3. Bill Delaney says:

    Re: Death of Bill Young.
    I got to know Bill Young quite well in the early 1970s. At the time he lived with his mother and father in Chiangmai in a wonderful house and compound. Eventually I would buy his mother’s powder blue VW bug and enjoyed visiting Harold, his father, at the Zoo where he held court. I travelled with Bill extensively to visit the Red Lahu. His linguistic competencies were superb as was his knowledge of jungle, woods, animals, and survival. Prof Chet Gorman, a close friend, hired Bill to handle his logistics and crew as they hunted for archeological sites in the Northwest of Thailand. Chet reported that in the most remote areas he had ever entered he would be met in the morning with bacon, eggs, and pancakes with syrup! Bill Young was organized, thoughtful, and amazingly capable guy mentally and physically in those days. Most of all, he could talk and describe and analyze complex political and ethnic situations.
    But there was the dark side and you did not want to cross him. We eventually had a falling out over some unremarkable thing and I respectfully started avoiding him. But I would not be honest if I did not add that Bill Young was a philosophic chap at heart, quite sophisticated, charismatic, and reflective. That is how he came across to me. I saw many acts of generosity and advice given to Lahu and Shan visitors.
    Eventually, I would write up the arrest of a major Opium Smuggler that appeared in Paul Rock’s, Drugs and Politics, and Bill helped with much of the research.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s