Thailand Expressions - Learn Thai

Don’t let the language barrier stop you from having a blast! The best thing about Thai people is their sense of fun. They’ll appreciate you trying to speak some common Thai phrases, so never mind if you mispronounce something. 

In this article, I’ll guide you through some essential Thailand expressions and Thai phrases that will make your travels a breeze.

Get Ready To Impress Locals With These Useful Thai Expressions:

Basic Thai Expressions

Before we get into teaching you some basic Thai expressions, it’s important to remember gender markers are essential in Thai language! 

When using any of the phrases below, be sure to add the appropriate ending based on your gender. For example, if you’re female, end your sentence with “Ka (khaa),” and if you’re male, use “Krup (khrap).” 

With these markers, you’ll be sure to impress locals and show respect for Thai culture! 

Don’t be shy to say hello in Thailand! Even if you struggle with pronunciation at first, locals will appreciate your effort and are usually happy to help. This basic greeting can go a long way in making connections and enhancing your travel experience.

Here are some basic Thai expressions to get you started:

  • Hello / goodbye – Sawasdee krap / ka
  • How are you? – Sa bai dee mai khrup/ka
  • Very good, thanks! – Dee mak mak krap / ka
  • It’s nice to meet you – Yin dee tidy roojak khun krap / ka
  • Excuse me – kotort krap / ka
  • Thank-you – Kop khun krap / ka
  • Thank you very much – Kop khun mak krap / ka
  • Yes – Chy
  • No – My chy

These essential Thai phrases will equip you with the basic language skills to travel in Thailand.

Of course, there are many more words and Thailand expressions to learn, but mastering these fundamentals is a great start! So go ahead and practice these phrases, and be bold and learn more as you go. 

In Thai language, the word for a foreigner is “Farang,” but its literal translation is “French person.” Interestingly, this is because the first Westerners to arrive in Thailand were French colonials from nearby Indochina.

Greetings in Thai

In Thai culture, adding a gender-specific word to the end of your sentence is crucial to show politeness and respect. 

For men, it’s “khrup” or “krap,” and for women, it’s “ka” or “kap.” This simple rule can make all the difference in your interactions with locals and help you immerse yourself in the language and culture. 

When it comes to learning greetings and Thai phrases, a few should be at the top of your list. 

Saying hello, asking how someone is doing, and expressing gratitude (saying thank you) are crucial for building connections and showing respect.

Greeting somebody in Thai – The Most Common Thai expressions

Thai people use different greetings depending on the social status of the person they are addressing, the context of the situation and the time of day. 

Additionally, using inflections and different tones can change a word’s meaning, making Thai a challenging but rewarding language to master. 

  • Hello – Sawadee khrup/ka
  • How are you? – Sa bai dee mai khrup/ka
  • Good Day- chohk dee
  • Good Morning- sawatdee tohn chao
  • Good Afternoon- sawatdee tohn bai
  • Good Evening- sawatdee tohn yen
  • Good Night- ra tree sawat
  • Goodbye! – La gorn khrup/ka
  • Very good, thanks – Dee mak mak krap / ka

For polite conversation males should finish sentences with ‘krap’ and females should finish sentences with ‘ka.’ This is regardless of whether you are speaking to a male or female.

Thai Expressions in The Restaurant or Cafe

Thailand Expressions - Pad Thai
Learn these food focused Thai expressions to eat well in Thailand

If there’s one Thai expression you should learn from the beginning, it is the word ‘aroy’. It means delicious and will make locals smile when you say ‘Aroy’ or even ‘Aroy mak mak’ (very delicious). 

Here are some Thailand expressions to help you when ordering one of these most popular Thai dishes

And, I’m sure you already know that Thai cuisine is one of the best cuisines in the entire world – it’s one of the top contenders in our 10 best food countries in the world.

  • Delicious- Aroy
  • Very Delicious – Aroy Mak Mak
  • Not Spicy – Mai phet
  • A little Spicy- Chawp Pet Noi (chop-pet-noy) 
  • Spicy – phet mak
  • I would like to order- sang aa-haan
  • Do you have a menu please? – Mee menu my krap / ka
  • No Sugar – Mai Sai Nam Tam (my-sigh-nam-tam) 
  • I’m Hungry – Hiu (hee-yoo)
  • Water – Nam
  • I’m a vegetarian – Kin jay
  • I like Thai food – Chob ahan Thai
  • One more please – Eek nung krap / ka
  • One beer please – Nung bia krap / ka
  • No MSG (mono sodium glutamate) please – My sy pong choo rote krap / ka
  • Can I have the bill please? – Chick bin krap / ka

Have you eaten rice yet? (kin khao reang krap / ka) is a popular way to ask someone how they are in Thailand.

Casual conversations with Locals

It’s always nice to learn a few Thai expressions to get to know someone a little better. Here are some basic Thai phrases to introduce yourself and tell them how much you enjoy visiting their country.

  • What is your name? – Khun cheur ally krap / ka
  • My name is Rachel – Chan cheur Rachel ka
  • How old are you? – Aa yoo towry krap / ka?
  • I like Thailand – Chob mak mak Prathet Thai 
  • No worries – Mai pen rai krap / ka
  • It’s nice to meet you – Yin dee tidy roojak khun krap / ka

Directions and transport

Impress your Taxi or Tuk Tuk driver by learning some Thai expressions regarding directions and getting around in Thailand.

They’ll think twice before charging you ‘tourist fare’ it sounds like you’re familiar with the area.

  • Where are you going? – By ny krap / ka
  • To the train station please – By settanee rot fy krap / ka
  • To the airport please – By sunambin krap / ka
  • Can you put the taxi meter on? – Dit meter dai mai ka
  • Where is the market? – Dalat, yoo tinie krap / ka
  • Where is the train station? – Settanee rot fy, yoo tinie krap / ka
  • Where is the bathroom? (hong-nam-you-tee-nye)
  • I am staying nearby – Yoo gly krap / ka
  • Not too far – My gly krap / ka
  • Turn left – Leo sy
  • Turn right – Leo kwa
  • Straight on – Dong by
  • Short cut – Tanglad
Thailand Expressions - Tuk tuk Thailand
Thai expressions and Thai phrases to help you get around in Thailand

Essential Thailand Expressions at the Market

Even though Thais are some of the friendliest people in the world, some of them do try and rip off visitors and tourists if given the chance.

Like travelling in any other country, it’s essential to be aware of cons and scams when travelling in Thailand. 

To avoid getting ripped off or overpaying for goods or services, learn how to ask “how much” in Thai and save yourself from potential scams.

By learning some essential Thai expressions for shopping, you can confidently navigate the markets and haggle like a pro. 

From asking for the price to negotiating and making purchases, these basic words and Thai phrases will help you get what you want at a fair price. 

  • How much is it? – Ra ka tao rai khrup/ka?
  • Too expensive! – Paeng mak khrup/ka!
  • Can you do a discount? – Lod dy my krap / ka
  • Can you do more discount? – Lod eek dy my krap / ka
  • I don’t want it thank-you – My ow krap / ka

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I always recommend at least learning how to count from one to ten when travelling in a new country.

It helps when asking how much a tuk-tuk ride will be, haggling for souvenirs, and ordering a kilo or two of fresh mangoes at the fresh market.

  • Sun (sun) / 0
  • Nung (nung) / 1
  • Song (song) / 2
  • Sam (sam) / 3
  • See (see) / 4
  • Da (da) / 5
  • Hok (hawk) / 6
  • Jed (jed) / 7
  • Baed (bed) / 8
  • Gao (gow) / 9
  • Sib (sib) / 10
Thailand Expressions - Wat

If you’re interested in learning more than just the basics of Thai, here are my recommendations:

Sign up for Thai lessons in Thailand – Thai language schools are everywhere, so if you’d like to take your Thai to the next level, learn the accents, and tones from a local Thai teacher, then enroll in a Thai language class and see where it takes you.

Thai Language Guides – The Lonely Planet Thai language phrasebook & dictionary will be beneficial when travelling in Thailand. Furthermore, I recommend you get the Lonely Planet Thailand Guidebook for expert travel advice to travel this fantastic country.

Learn Thai with Babbel – I love this App to learn new languages. It’s structured learning, and enjoyable at the same time. Sign up and get up to 50% discount on your subscription!

More Tips for Thailand

We’ve got a list of 26 useful tips for travel in Thailand to help you out on arrival. Some of our favourite places include Kata Beach, on the island of Phuket (here are 10 awesome things to do in Kata Beach).

Our other favourite place in Thailand is Chiang Mai. Find out more about where to stay in Chiang Mai; our accommodation guide includes what neighbourhoods will suit individual needs. 

And, our Complete Food Guide to Chiang Mai is unmissable! 

If you’re a remote worker or digital nomad looking for a new place to call home, Thailand is perfect!

Read our detailed digital nomad guides for Ko Samui vs Ko Pha-Ngan & Chiang Mai vs Chiang Rai. These two guides will provide you with insight into what to expect from the remote worker’s lifestyle in Thailand.

And, this list of 15 Amazing Things to do in Thailand will give you an incredible understanding of this diverse country.

Check out our Ultimate Southeast Asia Packing List for your adventures and you might enjoy reading our Best Travel Tips from Over 15 Years of Travel.

For more of our best travel tips, travel gear, and helpful advice, visit our Travel Resources Page.