When people think of Asian dramas, they will almost always think of South Korea, Japan, and China. This is probably due to their great influence over the world in other aspects such as anime, music, and more. However, there are other forms of Asian TV that many international fans are missing! Thai dramas, sometimes called lakorns, are slowly causing Thailand to become the fourth country in the popular three for Asian TV series. International fans are testing the waters, but it’s hard to know where to start.
Here are 10 T-Dramas that can help you start your journey!
Note: Both the English titles and the Thai titles are included due to the fact that sometimes they are easier to find or are more well-known with the Thai instead of the English.
1. The Gifted
Ritdha High School has a “Gifted Program” that holds a special class for a handful of “special” students that the school administrator chose. Pang (Nanon Korapat Kirdpan), a student from the lowest ranking class, surprisingly got into the Gifted Program. Eventually, he and his friends discover that the program was designed to awaken their “potentials.” Their lives change as their special powers reveal themselves.
There aren’t many Asian dramas that include superpowers, but this does it in a fun and thrilling way. Many fans especially loved this show because it was a step in diversifying Thai genres, as most T-Dramas are romance and drama-based. Each character is unique and full of depth, making it easy to love all of them.
2. The Crown Princess (Likhit Rak)
Princess Alice (Yaya Urassaya Sperbund)’s life is in danger after her coronation. To protect her, they send her to Thailand, where a navy man (Nadech Kugimiya) becomes her bodyguard.
For those who love those royalty and bodyguard stories, this is definitely for you. The chemistry of the two leads is amazing, and the attention to detail in each character’s backstories is engaging.
3. Full House (Woon Nuk Ruk Tem Barn)
Aom (Aom Sushar Manaying) is a writer who finds out that her house was sold while she was in Korea. It was sold to a man named Mike (Mike Angelo), and in an attempt to get her house back, she enters a contract marriage with him for one year.
No, this is nothing like the American sitcom; it’s actually the Thai adaptation of the K-Drama Full House! The adorable scenes between the two leads are guaranteed to melt you into a puddle.
4. Kiss Me (Rak Lon Jai Nai Klaeng Joob)
Taliw (Aom Sushar Manaying) is a cute and clumsy girl who has had a crush on a popular and genius boy named Tenten (Mike Angelo). Tenten just returned from Japan, and Taliw doesn’t know how to handle her feelings.
This story has many adaptations; however, K-Drama fans would know it as Playful Kiss. Many fans have agreed that while the original adaptation was good, the Thai adaptation adds something it really needed. The characters are more relatable, and they twist the story just enough to keep it similar but interesting.
5. Ugly Duckling Series: Don’t
After professing her love to her crush in elementary school, Maewnam (Mild Lapassalan Jiravechsoontornkul) is rejected in front of all his friends. He calls her ugly, so she decides to wear a box on her head when she goes outside. Forced to go back to school, Maewnam meets Minton (Victor Chatchawit Techarukpong) and Zero (Mek Jirakit Thawornwong). Minton is sweet and friendly, while Zero is a troublemaker who often gets into fights. Can she get past her insecurities? Who was the boy who called her ugly long ago?
Yes, the box-head is kind of odd at first, but you get used to it, and it doesn’t last too long. It is a typical love-triangle T-Drama that K-Drama fans would be quite familiar with. It is a very adorable love story with enough twists to keep you hooked.
The other shows in the Ugly Duckling series: Ugly Duckling Series: Perfect Match, Ugly Duckling Series: Pity Girl, and Ugly Duckling Series: Boy’s Paradise.
6. Love Destiny (Bupphesanniwat)
Kadesurang (Ranee Campen) is a history student. While traveling home from a school trip in Ayutthaya, Kadesurang and her friend, Ruengrit (Punjan Kawin Imanothai), get into a car accident. Kadesurang wakes up in the body of Karakade, the daughter of the ruler of Phitsanulok, in the Ayutthaya Kingdom, during the reign of King Narai (Praptpadol Suwanbang) (1656–1688). She lives with King Narai’s chief astrologer, Chaophraya Horathibodi (Nhing Nirut Sirijanya), the father of her fiancé, Date (Pope Thanawat Wattanaputi), a foreign ministry official. She amazes everyone with her knowledge of the future but learns things from the past that many have forgotten.
Time travel dramas are everywhere! This is an extremely popular T-Drama that can gently introduce you to some Thai history. Despite being a historical show, it manages to remain light-hearted and fun.
7. Beloved Loyal Wife (Padiwaradda)
To show gratitude to her adoptive father, Rin Rapee (Ranee Campen) accepts to pretend to be his real daughter and marry Saran (James Jirayu Tangsrisuk) to keep the promise their fathers had made in the past. Saran is a cold-hearted man who suffers from his previous love. Their love slowly grows but is soon tested when Duangsawad (Mint Nutwara Vongvasana), his ex, returns.
This show talks place a little bit in the past, around the 1950s. It is a classic story of arranged marriage and a jealous ex that K-Drama fans are probably very familiar with. Although, it surprisingly isn’t as dramatic as one would think and depicts an amazingly soft romance.
8. Waves of Life (Kleun Cheewit)
Jee (Yaya Urassaya Sperbund) is a famous model and actress. Her mother married an awful, rich man who secretly loves her. When he attempts to drug Jee, she escapes by driving away but unfortunately hits a woman in the road, killing her. The dead woman’s fiancé, Thit (Mark Prin Suparat), is a lawyer and vows revenge on the driver who killed his fiancée. Jee’s stepfather and mother use their influence and money to hide all evidence. Thit stalks her to find evidence that she’s evil, but he finds out she’s actually a good person and falls in love with her.
T-Dramas are often known for being dramatic, usually even more than K-Dramas, and this show is a great example of that. The acting is astounding, and the plot is a wild ride you don’t want to miss.
9. Together With Me
Knock (Tul Pakorn Thanasrivanitchai), a young engineering student, wakes up hungover and naked next to his childhood best friend, Korn (Max Nattapol Diloknawarit). After fighting and arguing, Knock and Korn agree to keep this a secret. Korn’s other best friend, Yiwha (Maengmum Tanshi Bumrungkit), takes matters into her own hands and tries to expose Knock’s girlfriend, Plern Pleng (Aim Satida Pinsinchai).
What’s interesting to know is that T-Dramas have actually gotten extremely popular due to the vast amount of LGBTQ+ representation (compared to other Asian countries). It’s a good exploration of sexuality but still sometimes falls into the typical “gay stereotypes” that Asian dramas often have trouble with.
Rated: 18+ for violence, profanity, and some steamy kisses
Note: This series occurs before the events of Bad Romance: The Series, even though Bad Romance came out first. It is not required to watch that series first, but it does help.
10. Hormones (Wai Wa Wun)
This series is about Thai secondary school students trying to find their way through the ups and downs of adolescence.
This is a story of youth and growth that deals with many problems that are relatable to people in high school. You easily fall in love with every character and see them grow and change throughout the series.
Rated: 18+, includes themes of violence, sexuality, substance abuse, and bullying