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Useful Thai Words

Speaking Thai

Thai is the national and official language of Thailand and the native language of the Thai people, Thailand's dominant ethnic group. There are four regional dialects - northern, north eastern, central and southern - with central Thai being the most widely spoken and understood. Some words and phrases are used only in certain social situations and often vary according to geogrpahy. Other ethnic groups and pockets of Thais in remote areas speak languages unrelated to Thai.

There are five tones in the Thai language with differing inflections conceivably giving a new meaning to a word (which may cause confusion if mispronounced. Don't let that stop you though - Thais appreciate the effort!).

It is believed that the Thai language originated in southern China close to Vietnam. Words from Pali, Sanskrit and Khmer were introduced into the language following the adoption of Buddhism; the written language is based on the Brahmi script with influence from the Khmer language.

Thai is a gender-based language: remember to use kha if you're a woman or kap if you're a man when you say 'please' and 'thank you'.

Here are some words and phrases to help get you started.


Hello/Goodbye Sawadee
How are you? Sabai dee mai
I'm fine Sai bai dee
And you? Laew khun la
What is your name? Khun chue alai
My name is... Cheu...
Nice to meet you Yindee tee dai roojak
Sorry/Excuse me Kor toht
Good luck Kor hai chok dee!

Useful Phrases

Yes Chai
No Mai chai
Thank you Korp khun
Good Dee
Bad Mai-dee
Never mind Mai pen rai
Where is/are...? Yoo tee nai...
Is it far Glai mai
How much/many? Tao rai
How much does this cost? An-nee tao rai
Cheap Took
Expensive Paeng
I really like it chop-man-mak
Beautiful Sou-ay
I cannot speak Thai Phoot Thai mai dai
Does anyone speak English? Mee krai pood pasa ang-grit dai bang mai?
Do you understand? Kao chai mai
I understand Kao chai
I don't understand Mai kao chai
Where is the toilet? Hong nam u teenai
Today Wan-nee
Tomorrow Prung-nee
Airport Sanam bin
Hospital Rong prayabarn
Hotel Rong ruem
Motorbike Moto sye
Taxi Rod Taxi

At a Restaurant

Could I have a menu please Kaw menu aharn noi
A little spicy Ped nit noi
Very spicy Ped mak
Not spicy Mai ped
It was delicious Aloi mak
The bill please Gep taang
Drinking water Nam plao
Ashtray Ti kia buri
Fried rice Khao pat
Fried noodles Pad thai

Looking for cool travel trips? See Phuket Travel Tips

Here's the Do's and Don'ts of Thai Culture

For more information on Thailand and Phuket, see General Information

© Image Asia Events Co., Ltd. Content provided courtesy of IMAGE asia.

How much does this cost? - An-nee tao rai
Is it far? - Glai mai