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First advise, never ever talk Thai to a government official. It's the mental equivalent of punching yourself in the face. Second advise is it's fine to hear and understand it -- but by no means allow anyone, I mean anyone to know that you can. If you can speak fluently, learn to speak like a newbie. Deliberately make mistakes. Also know that Thai isn't neatly encapsulated in one language - despite the governments best efforts. My wife speaks like a Princess on the phone in perfect centralized Thai. I did the Linguaphone Course, and I had to throw it out the window. Defenestration I think they call it. At home her Mother speaks in such a broad dialect, people down the road can't understand her. But I talk to her. And then there's the condescending voice my wife speaks to me from time to time as if I was a child, with some interesting vernacular thrown in which makes me laugh, which gathers her fury. I learnt how to speak to her Mum via her Nephew, because she doesn't want to teach me the local lingo so I don't chat up all the girls. The one time I chatted a girl up I was very nearly castrated (with the knowledge of the local police). Even so I've had Mothers giving me their girl's mobile numbers. She just wants a ลูกครึ่ง ( luk khrueng ) . And I've had many proposals. Such is life in the village. Finally, you won't like what you hear most of the time. You are a Farang, and your money is welcome, you may even hear you're a handsome man, and even believe it if you're a fool.