Learn How to Speak Basic Thai


Learn to Speak Basic ThaiThai is a monosyllabic tonal language belonging to the group of Ka-Tai languages, the five tones are monotone, low, falling, high, and rising. This can be a rather complicated language for the visitor; however, English is quite widely understood, particularly in Bangkok where it is almost the major commercial language.

There are no plural in Thai, nor are there tenses as such. A word or two is usually added to determine the past, present or future. If you run into difficulties, remember to speak slowly and clearly, stick to the simple present tense and don ‘t use slang or idioms.

In Thai there is a “politening” word attached to the end of anything you say. For men it is “krup” for women it is “kha”.The words have have little if any direct translation but a Thai will think very highly of you if you use it.

Here are a few Thai basic greetings and phrases to try.



Good morning, Good evening, Good afternoon, Good night, Hello, Good-bye Sa-wat-dee
Hello (male speaker) sawatdee krup
Hello (female speaker) sawatdee kaa
Yes Chai
No Mai
Mr/Miss/Mrs Khun
How are you? sabai dee reu
Fine thanks sabai dee
Thank you kop koon
Never mind mai pen rai
I can’t speak Thai phoot Thai mai dai
I don’t understand mai kao chai
Do you understand? kao chai mai
May I take a photograph? tai ruup dai mai
Where is the rest room? hong nam yoo tee nai
I am going to… Chan-cha-pai..
No, I won’t go Chan-mai-pai
Please drive slowly Prot-khap-cha-cha
Be careful Ra-wang
Turn to the right Liao-khwa
Turn to the left Liao-sai
Drive straight on Khap-trong-pai
Slow down Cha-cha
Stop Yut
How much does this cost? nee tao-rai
What is this? nee arai
Very expensive paeng maag
Any discount? Lot-ra-kha-dai-mai
Please wrap it for me. Ho-hai-duai
The bill please gep taang
please speak slowly Prot-phut-cha-cha
Very Good Di-mak
Not Good Mai-Di
Good-bye la gon
See you again laew phob gan mai
Good luck kor hai chok dee

Ordering Thai Food

Tom Yum Kung – Spiced Sour Soup with shrimp.
Kang Som – Seafood or chicken , vegetable ragout with sour and sweet flavour.
Kang Keow Wan Kai –
Green and sweet cooked with chicken.
Kaeng Mat Sa Man –
Rich beef or chicken curry with sweet potato.
Kaeng Ka Ri – A mild flavoured Indian type curry made with chicken beef or lamb with potatoes, tomatoes and onions.
Kang Liang – Thai style soup with vegetables.
Tom Khaa Kai – Chicken with galingale in coconut milk soup.
Khai Tom – Hard boiled eggs.
Khai Luak – Soft boiled eggs.
Khai Dao –
Fried eggs.
Khao Phad – Fried rice with choice of pork, chicken or seafood.
Phad Phak –
Fried vegetables with pork, chicken or seafood.
Phad Priew Wan – Sweet and sour fried vegetable with pork, chicken or seafood.

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Updated: December 21, 2010 by admin

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