Learning a new language is no easy task. When the new language is Thai, the difficult task seemingly transforms into an impossible feat. Thai grammar is relatively simple. The language is tonal, however (of which there are five). The meaning of every word depends on how it is said. Regardless of how easy or difficult learning a language can be, every traveller should memorise a handful of Thai words before venturing to the Kingdom. Luckily for you, we compiled 100 of the most basic Thai phrases that are sure to make your life easier while travelling Thailand.

Basic Thai phrases for greetings

Basic Thai greetings are hands down the most important of phrases visitors will want to memorise before journeying to the Land of Smiles. Speaking of smiles, those who can say these words are almost guaranteed to receive a smile in return to everyone they greet with them. The small effort it takes from travellers to memorise basic greetings goes a long way in the eyes of the locals in Thailand. Here are some of the most basic of phrases worth remembering.

  • Hello = Sawatdii
  • How are you? = Sabaaidii mai?
  • I’m fine = Sabaaidii
  • I’m not well = Mai sabaii
  • I come from (America) = Pom/Chan maa jaak (ameerigaa)
  • What country are you from? = Kun maa jaak bprateet arai?
  • Thank you = Khop kun
  • Sorry = Khot hort
  • No problem = Mai bpenrai
  • Goodbye = Bai
  • Can you speak English? = Kun pood paasaa anggrit dai mai
  • What is your name? = Kun chuu arai?
  • My name is __ = Pŏm / Chán chuu __.

Basic Thai words for questions

Conversing in Thai is confusing. The public transportation in Thailand is complicated. Thai menus are befuddling. Regardless of what it is that has you puzzled, you are going to need to know a few question words to clarify, well, everything.

  • Where? = Tiinai?
  • What? = Arai?
  • When? = Muarai?
  • How? = Yangngai?
  • Why? = Tum mai?

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Basic Thai phrases for addressing people

How you address people in Thailand is very important. People are addressed differently based on things like age and social rank. Addressing someone using the incorrect term can be oftentimes considered disrespectful. For example, addressing someone older than you with a title that is used for someone younger than you can be considered offensive to some. Here are the basic titles worth remembering so that this does not happen.

  • I (female) = Chán
  • I (male) = Pŏm
  • You = Kun
  • He/She/They = Kao
  • Female/Male (junior) = Nong
  • Female/Male (senior) = Pee

Basic Thai phrases for directions (taxis, buses, airport, etc.)

From Bangkok, the most congested city in the world, to island hopping in the south of Thailand, visitors are going to be utilising more than a handful of forms of public transportation. Here, some helpful phrases to get you from point A to point B.

  • Speak slowly = Puut chaa chaa noi
  • Do you use the meter? = Chai meter mai (Be sure taxi drivers use the meter in Bangkok!)
  • Nearby = Glai glai
  • Go straight = Dtrong bpai
  • Go left = Leo saai
  • Go right = Leo kwaa
  • Stop = Yut
  • Go to the airport = Bpai sanam bin
  • Station = Sataanii
  • Bus stop = Bpaai rot mee
  • Bus = Rot mee
  • Skytrain = Rodfai faa
  • Subway = Rodfai dtaaidin
  • Airplane = Kruang bin
  • Minibus = Rot dtuu
  • Car = Rot
  • Bicycle = Jakgrayaan
  • Motorcycle = Moodteesai
  • Boat = Rua

Basic Thai phrases for shopping

Thailand is home to an abundance of souvenirs worth stowing away in your carry-on for the long flight home. From night markets to luxury malls in the capital, knowing a few words in regards to shopping will prove to be more than a little bit helpful. Also, bartering is a must at stalls and vendors. Some Thai words will help shoppers get a better price. Here, the most useful ones to keep in your back pocket until arriving in the Kingdom.

  • How much? = Taorai
  • Very expensive = Paang mak
  • Can you reduce the price? = Lod noi dai mai
  • I want this one = Ao annii

Basic Thai numbers

Knowing a handful of numbers will better one’s chances of getting a better price on something. Those who can tell a merchant how much they want something to be will oftentimes get that price. Here, the basic numbers you should know in order to save some baht.

  • 1 = Nung
  • 2 = Song
  • 3 = Sam
  • 4 = See
  • 5 = Haa
  • 6 = Hok
  • 7 = Jet
  • 8 = Bpeet
  • 9 = Gaao
  • 10 = Sip
  • 20 = Yii sip
  • 21 = Yii sip et
  • 22 = Yee sip song
  • 30 = Sam sip
  • 40 = See sip
  • 50 = Haa sip
  • 60 = Hok sip
  • 70 = Jet sip
  • 80 = Bpeet sip
  • 90 = Gaao sip
  • 100 = Nung rooi
  • 500 = Haa rooi
  • 1,000 = Nung pan

Basic Thai phrases for restaurants or cafes

Bangkok’s caffeine scene is becoming more popular and thriving every day. From pet cafes to speciality coffee shops, visitors are going to want to try a cup of joe or two while travelling Thailand. Do not even get us started on Thai cuisine, either. As one of the most popular foodie destinations in the world, knowing these words while dining is a must. From street-side eats to the more luxurious of dining options in the capital, check out the most helpful phrases to utilise while chowing down in the Kingdom.

  • Restaurant = Raan aahaan
  • Café = Raan gaafee
  • Excuse me = koortoot
  • Bathroom = Hongnaam
  • What is this? = Annii arai
  • Hungry = Hiu
  • May I have the menu = Aow meenuu noi
  • Vegetarian = Mawng sa vee rat
  • Vegan = Gin jay
  • Water = Naam
  • Beer = Beer (easy, right?)
  • Chicken = Gai
  • Rice = Kaao
  • Cold = Yen
  • Hot = Rone
  • No ice = Mai aow nam khang
  • No sugar = Mai aow nam tan
  • 1 more please = Khor iik nung
  • I like spicy = Chan/Pom chawp pet
  • Not spicy = Mai pet

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Basic Thai phrases for an emergency

You take every precaution you could possibly fathom and are ready for your trip to Thailand. There is seemingly nothing that could happen that could derail your trip. All the vaccines and mosquito repellent in the world, however, cannot determine whether an accident may arise. In case one does, here are some phrases that will help during an emergency.

  • Hurts = Jep
  • Where is the police station? = Sataanii dtamruat yoo tee nai
  • Where is the hospital? = Rongpayaabaan yoo tee nai
  • Call an ambulance = Dahm rot pa-ya-bahn
  • I’m lost = Long tahng
  • Can you help = Choo-ay dai mai

Thai phrases for a night out

Thailand is home to some pretty epic nightlfe. From red light districts to nightclubs and more, you are going to want to enjoy a drink (or two) and experience all the country has to offer after the sun goes down. Here are some fun phrases that will come in handy on a night out.

  • Single = Bpen soht
  • Would you like a drink = Ja deum arai mai
  • I’m drunk = Mow
  • Cheers = Chon gâew

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10 COMMENTS

  1. […] We got a Tuktuk tour that brought us to only 6 temples but all worth it (Tuktuk – most famous passenger vehicle to get you around Thailand). We also met a filipina solo traveler, who easily became friend and she joined us to the tour. She overheard us converse in Tagalog and run toward us! Hahah! Funny girl Shei, told us she miss speaking in Tagalog and it was her first time to meet kababayan since the day she arrived in Bangkok. Because Thai people don’t speak/understand much English so you will talk to them using hand gestures and little English. Better to learn few local language as well like “hello – sawasdee“, “how much – Taorai?” and “Thank you – khop kun“. Learn more here. […]

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