Looking to visit or maybe buy or rent a condo or house in Thailand? It’s always a good idea to learn a few phrases in the native language, to help you navigate day-to-day life, make friends, buy food, and more. Here are ten phrases we think you should know.
Sawatdee Ka/Khap (Hello)
The people of Thailand are known for their friendly, welcoming personalities. Their kindness will only increase if you show some friendliness back. Being able to say hello in Thai will go a long way towards helping you make friends. The word is always said along with the appropriate polite article, which is “ka” if you’re a female and “khap” if you’re a male. These articles are also often included at the end of sentences, as a polite ending that is like saying “please.”
After spending some time in Thailand, you’ll be eager to mirror their friendliness. Being able to say goodbye in Thai will certainly earn you some smiles. Don’t forget the “ka” or “khap” on the end for politeness.
Pood Thai mai dai (I cannot speak Thai)
While Thai is the official language, many people in Thailand, and particularly in Bangkok, speak English as well. But knowing how to let someone know that you don’t speak Thai in their native language at least shows that you are making an effort to acknowledge that you are a visitor or recent resident to the country.
Houng-num yu nai (where is the toilet?)
Is there anything worse than being in the middle of an unfamiliar place and not knowing where to find a bathroom? Memorise this phrase just in case.
Thailand is known for its delicious food. Whether you are buying from a street cart or from a five-star restaurant, letting the cook or chef know that the food was delicious will always be appreciated. If you’re moving to Thailand and think you’ll frequent a certain food cart or restaurant, using this phrase often will help you become a welcome regular. Add “Mak” on the end to convert it into ‘very delicious’.
Chan/phom-long-tang (I’m lost)
Bangkok is a large, busy city, and it can be easy to get lost. Even if you must ask for directions in English, being able to let someone know that you’re lost might help you find a friendly stranger willing to point you towards your destination.
Kob-kun (Thank you)
It’s always a good idea to learn how to thank someone in their native tongue. Don’t forget to add “Ka” for female speakers and “khap” if you are male.
Lot noi dai mai (Can you give a little discount?)
If you plan to do any shopping in Bangkok’s famous street markets, you’ll want to know this phrase. Bartering is a common-and expected-practice throughout Thailand. Being able to ask for a cheaper price in Thai might just help you land a great deal. It also doesn’t hurt to brush up on your bartering skills ahead of time, especially if you plan on buying or renting property in Bangkok or elsewhere in Thailand and therefore staying in the country for a while.
An-nee-tao-rai (How much is this?)
If you learn this phrase in conjunction with the last one, you’ll never need to worry about whether a street vendor or store owner speaks English, because you’ll be able to work your way through any exchange.
Khun is unique in that it doesn’t have a direct translation to English. This word is used as a title before a person’s name, though it isn’t gender specific. It’s viewed as a polite way to address someone. For instance, if you wanted to get a waiter’s attention at a restaurant, you could say “khun ka” (if you’re female) or “khun khap” (if you’re a male).
Want to learn more and learn how to pronounce these phrases and more? Check out this YouTube video on the 25 Must-Know Thai Phrases
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