Going abroad always brings with it a sense of excitement and adventure. (Almost) everything is new or exotic. Nothing is what it seems.
Knowing that somewhere out there is another culture completely different from yours raises a lot of interesting questions – not to mention the chance to learn new things along the way as well. The most obvious being the language barrier.
You will most likely have a hard time trying to make sense of what is happening around you. What if there’s something you’d like to ask a local, but you don’t know how to say it in their native tongue? What if this person can’t understand English? These are common issues when traveling overseas.
While it takes a lot of time to be able to speak close to a local, being a respectful traveler in a foreign land is expected. Make your trip more meaningful by learning at least a couple of helpful phrases.
For those going to Thailand for a vacation, here is a list of Thai phrases you can use to get around:
Simple and Easy Thai Phrases for Travelers
The Rule: Being polite and respectful goes a long way. If you are male, you end sentences with “khrup” or “krap”. Females should end their statements with “ka.”
Basic Phrases for Everyday Use
- Sa-wat dee / Sawadee: Hello
- Bai / La gorn = Goodbye
- Sabaaidii mai? = How are you?
- Sabaaidii = I’m fine
- Chai = Yes
- Mai = No
- Kun chuu arai? = What’s your name?
- Pŏm/Chán chuu __. = My name is ___.
- Mai pen rai = no worries
- Mai khao jai = I don’t understand
- Khop khun = Thank you
- Khor thoad (khrup ka) = Sorry/excuse me
- Hong nam yoo tee nai (khrup/ka) = Where is the restroom?
- Mai pen rai = No worries
- Kun pood paasaa Anggrit dai mai = Can you speak English?
At The Market
Handy phrases you can use not only in a market, but also on anyone who might try selling you stuff:
- A nee tao rai? = How much is this?
- Ao annii = I want this one
- Mai ow = I don’t want
- Phaeng mark pai = [This is] too expensive
- Lot noi dai mai = Can you make it cheaper?
At The Restaurant/Bar
Practical statements when dining in, choosing a place to eat, or to describe your culinary experience as a traveler:
- Hiu = I’m hungry
- Raan aahaan = Restaurant
- Raan gaafee = Café
- Koortoot = excuse me
- Hongnaam = Bathroom
- Aow meenuu noi = May I have the menu
- Sang aa-haan = I would like to order
- Naam = Water
- Yen = Cold
- Rone = Hot
- Mai Sai Nam Tam = No sugar
- Mai aow nam khang = No ice
- Mai pet = not spicy
- Chawp pet noi = [I like it] a little spicy
- Pet mak = really spicy
- Khor iik nung = One more please
- A-roi = Delicious
Phrases and words for directions or transport: because traveling is a matter of getting around.
- Puut chaa chaa noi = Speak slowly
- Chai meter mai = Do you use the meter? (Very useful in Bangkok. Make sure your taxi uses the meter!)
- Yoo tee nai…? = Where is [your destination]?
- Glai glai = Nearby
- Dtrong bpai = Go straight
- Leo saai = Go left
- Leo kwaa = Go right
- Yut = Stop
- Bpai sanam bin = Go to the airport
- Sataanii = Station
- Bpaai rot mee = Bus stop
- Rot mee = Bus
- Rodfai faa = Skytrain
- Rodfai dtaaidin = Subway
- Kruang bin = Airplane
- Rot dtuu = Minibus
- Rot = Car
- Jakgrayaan = Bicycle
- Moodteesai = Motorcycle
- Rua = Boat
Other useful phrases: from enjoying a night out to making sure you’re safe, don’t forget these statements:
- Jep = [It] hurts
- Sataanii dtamruat yoo tee nai = Where is the police station?
- Rongpayaabaan yoo tee nai = Where is the hospital?
- Dahm rot pa-ya-bahn = Call an ambulance
- Long tahng = I’m lost
- Choo-ay dai mai = Can you help
- Phom dong gaan hai mor raak sa = I need a doctor
- Bpen soht = [I’m] Single
- Ja deum arai mai = Would you like a drink
- Mow = I’m drunk
- Chon gâew = Cheers
- Sanuk mai? = Having Fun?
- Khun naa rak [khrup/ka] = You are cute
While you’re yet on your way to be fluent, keeping these statements and phrases in mind gives you a better chance at a positive travel experience in Thailand.