A Speedy Guide to Simple Thai Phrases You Need to Know

Asia

Thailand

Heading to Bangkok’s bustling streets? The Full Moon Party on the beach? The mountains in Chiang Mai? Diving in Ko Tao? Welcome to Thai class: 101.

The first rule of thumb to learning Thai is that you need to #COMMIT to your pronunciation. Why? Because this is a ~tonal~ language. AKA if you’re trying to say “mai” you could accidentally say “mai,” “mai,” “mai,” or even, “mai.” You feel me?????????

If you’re visiting Thailand, or heck if you just want to be able to say “thank you” in Thai next time you order a whopping bowl of Pad See Ew,  this is the fastest and shortest Thai-English Dictionary you’ll need.


Word: Sà-wàt-dii ka / Sa-wàt-dii khrap

Definition: Hello!

The “!” is for smiling. You are in the “land of smiles” after all. Thai people LIVE UP to that name.

If you’re a girl use “ka” if you’re a guy use “khrap.” It doesn’t matter who you are saying it to. Maybe we should start using “ka” and “khrap” in other countries to introduce our pronouns??? Also if I learn that there is a gender-neutral way to say this I will update y’all.

In a sentence: 

*walks down any street in Thailand and sees a street vendor* “Sà-wàt-dii ka!” *smiles* “Sa-wàt-dii khrap!” *smiles*

 

 

Word: Khàawp-khun ka/ Khàawp-khun khrap

Definition: Thank you!

You know how Hermione Granger says, “it’s leviosaaa not leviosa”??? Well, it’s khàawp-khun kaaaa not khàawp-khun ka. duh.

In a sentence

*Goes to 7/11 (the HUB of Thailand)* Cashier: “Water is 7 baht” You: “khàawp-khun kaaaa!”

Word: Khaosan (short for Khaosan Road)

Definition: A crazy-party-road in Bangkok.

You must attend at least once if you’re in Bangkok – for the experience. Get a hostel near Khaosan but not ON Khaosan because there is nooo way you’d be able to sleep. Think of normal club music but x10 and EVERY bar is blasting different music.

In a sentence

“Did you get too drunkskies on Khaosan Road?”

“I ate a fried tarantula on Khaosan Road.”

 

Word: Wai

Definition: A polite gesture used when thanking people or saying goodbye. You’ve probablyyyy seen it.

  • Step 1: Put your hands together in a prayer-ish looking pose (like that emoji)
  • Step 2:  Slightly bow
  • Step 3: Don’t forget to smile!

In a sentence: 

*Waiter serves you a delicious dish of Khao Soi* “Khàawp-khun kaaaa!” *does the wai*

Word: Lót-nàuy dâi-mǎi

Definition: Can you lower the price?

Yes, Thailand is indeed the land of smiles, but that doesn’t mean people don’t try to scam you. Scamming is a universal language.

So, if you need to get outta a sticky situation or heck, you just want to practice your haggling skills here ya go.

In a sentence

Tuk-Tuk driver: “800 baht to the floating market”

You: *smiles* “Lót-nàuy dâi-mǎi”

The smile is ESSENTIAL so you look cute and innocent.

Word: Chang

Definition: Basically the national beer of Thailand.

Often purchased in large quantities at 7/11 for 40 Baht. AKA even if you don’t like beer this is what you will be drinking. Not to be confused with the city Chiang Mai.

In a sentence

*How to ask someone on a date in Thailand* “Wanna grab a Chang with me tonight?”

(disclaimer: please take my dating advice with a grain of salt)

Word: hâwng-náam yùu năi khá / hâwng-náam yùu năi khráp

Definition: Where is the toilet?

TBH my friend tried to ask this though and this guy LOST it laughing. I also tried to say it and butchered the last couple of words. SO if you struggle like me, just smile and say “hâwng-náam?”

In a sentence

*Gets out of a Bangkok taxi after being stuck in it for an hour* “hâwng-náam yùu năi khá ?!?!”

Word: Grab

Definition: Thailand’s Taxi app

Like Uber / Lyft but you have a freakin’ MOTORBIKE option. Which is not only very fun, but cheaper than a car.

In a sentence: 

“I’ll be there in 15 minutes, I’m grabbing a grab!”


Got any favorite Thai phrases or tips for learning Thai? Let us know!

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