Learning a language, or at the very least some words and phrases is a huge part of travelling. Whether it’s being able to just say something simple like "please" and "thank you" learning basic words in the language of the country you are visiting shows effort, respect, and an open mind.
Basic Thai Phrases
If you are male, you end sentences with the word (khrup/krap) similarly if you are female, you end your sentences with the word (ka/kap). This is used to make your sentence or question polite and respectful.
Hello – Sawadee khrup/ka
Yes – Chai (khrup/ka)
No – Mai (khrup/ka)
Maybe – Aaj ja (khrup/ka)
Thank you – khop khun (khrup/ka)
Sorry/excuse me – Khor thoad khrup/ka
Where is the restroom? – Hong nam yoo tee nai khrup/ka?
I need a doctor - Phom dong gaan hai mor maa raak sa khrup/ka
No worries - Mai pen rai
Can you speak English? = Kun pood paasaa anggrit dai mai
These Thai phrases and expressions cover the essentials to help you travel around the country.
Basic Greetings in Thai
Out of all the essentials, you should at the very least be able to say hello, how are you and thank you. Mastering these three phrases will most likely make a friend or impress a local.
Hello – Sawadee khrup/ka
How are you? – Sa bai dee mai khrup/ka
Goodbye! – La gorn khrup/ka
Basic Thai for Eating and Ordering Food
Nothing is worse than being ridiculously hungry only to find out that your food is way too spicy to eat. Trust me, it happens more often than you think.
When eating in a restaurant, it pays to compliment them by saying “aroy” for the food as you’re about to pay. A small compliment goes a long way!
Not Spicy – Mai phet
A little Spicy - phet nit nawy
Really Spicy – phet mak
I would like to order - sang aa-haan
Delicious - Aroy
Basic Thai for Shopping
That’s expensive! – Paeng mak khrup/ka!
How much does this cost? – Ra ka tao rai khrup/ka?
Can you give me a discount please?– Ga ru na lot ra ka hai noi khrup/ka?
Basic Thai to Impress and Gain Street Cred
Neung, song, saam, see, haa, hook, jet, baat, gow, sip (one to ten)
You are cute – Khun naa rak khrup/ka
I’m drunk - Mao Laew
Having fun? – sanuk mai?
If you’re really serious about learning Thai, here are a few tips:
Invest in Thai lessons - If you’re serious about learning Thai while you are in the country, invest in lessons. Practising the basics and starting it off with proper knowledge on the languages’ phonemes and accents will help you in mastering this language.
Spend time with local Thais - Making friends and regularly hanging out with locals is the best and easiest way to pick up the language. That way, you can also improve your textbook-based learning into a more relaxed tone. Conversational Thai is the way to go!
Practice - Practice with locals, practice by watching music videos, game shows, or cartoons. Practice by downloading useful apps to help you practice.
If you’re worried about the level of English spoken in the country- don’t! It’s a very tourist-friendly country and if someone doesn’t understand the language, they will usually point you in the direction of someone who can speak.
Hopefully, this article has given you a useful overview of the various Thai phrases which will definitely come to use when travelling around.