Learning to Speak Thai – Helpful Thai Phrases

Some helpful Thai Phrases to use on your trip to Thailand

As we settle into our new Thai life, we realise we are just infants inside this foreign land, where even uttering the simplest greeting takes us back to a child like state, learning and starting a fresh.
What should come easy to us, proves difficult.  
What made us back in our homeland means nothing.

Since our arrival in Thailand we have realised how important it is to speak the Thai language, as difficult and as overwhelming as it may seem, not being able to read the signs, coupled with not being able to speak the language has led to a rather alien existence. 
Going on sight and instinct alone is not enough.

A Thai phrase book is never more than an arm’s reach away from us.

thai phrase book

Learning Thai numbers can also be really helpful and is almost essential when visiting the food markets.  

I’ve compiled a list of some useful Thai phrases that can make a big difference to your stay in Thailand, even if you are here for just a couple of weeks. 

I recommend packing a Thai phrase book along with your sun cream and flip flops, it could prove invaluable, especially if you plan to explore outside of your resort or venture into the local markets and rural villages. 
A couple of useful points to know:
‘Pom’ is the male version for saying I or Me, ‘Di-chan’ is used instead if the speaker is female. 

Adding ‘Ka’ if you are a woman or ‘Khrup’ if you are a man onto the end of your sentences is a form of politeness in Thailand and shows respect to the person you are speaking to.

‘Khun’ is another polite word that is used before a person’s name.
In Thailand, surnames are rarely used, instead you would be addressed by your first name, in my case for example, Khun Sacha.  
Using ‘Khun’ to address others is very respectful and the polite way to get someone’s attention, a waiter in a restaurant perhaps would be to say ‘Khun Ka/Khrup.’

Some helpful Thai phrases to learn:

Sa wat dee ka/khrup – Hello (this translates as Good Day and so can be used to say goodbye as well as hello) 
Sa bai dee Mai ka/khrup – How are you
Korp kun ka/khrup – Thank you
Kor – Please
Kor Toht – Sorry (this can also be used for ‘excuse me’ to get someone’s attention)
Chai – Yes
Mai – No
Pom – I, Me, My (for a male) 
Di-chan – I, Me, My (for a female)
Pom/Di-chan mee – I have 
Cheu – Name 
Poo-a – Husband 
Mee-a – Wife 
Tao rai – How much
An nee tao rai – How much is this one
Kor bai set doo-ay ka/khrup – Can I have a receipt please
kor bin noy ka/khrup – Please bring the bill
A-rai nee – What’s this
Tee Nai – Where
Pom/Di-chan Mai kow jai – (m/f) I don’t understand 
Kun poot pah-sah ang-grit dai mai – Do you speak English
Mai ow – Not want
Chaa Chaa – Slowly (useful if you want the person to repeat what they have said more slowly!) 
Phet – Spicy (be warned, Thai’s like their food SPICY! If you are not used to spice in your food, or like things a little gentler on the tongue it may be worth knowing the next 2 phrases, or else you will be using a lot of tissues to mop the brow!) 
Mai phet – Not spicy 
Phet nit noy – Little spicy 
Aroy – Delicious 
Menu ang-grit dai mai – Do you have English menu?

Overall learning a new language can be fun, even if you get it wrong, mispronounce the words or are met with a blank face staring back at you, just smile, laugh and try again.
Remember a smile goes a long way in Thailand!

What I have written here is just a guideline.  
The correct pronunciation of the words and the different tones involved is just as important to learn as the words themselves. 

To listen to the spoken words, visit  www.thai-language.com and click on the speaker icons to hear audio clips.  

Happy Learning!! 


Sacha El-Haj – 8 Miles from Home 

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