21 Essential Phrases You’ll Need in Thailand

Are you visiting Thailand for vacation? To get you started, here is a collection of 21 Thai paa saa phrases. Traveling more easily and interacting with your local hosts more easily can both be achieved by learning a little of the local slang. “Yin Dee!” (No issue!)

Greetings and essentials

21 Essential Phrases You'll Need in Thailand

Sa Wat Dee ( sa-wat-dee ) / Hello

Say hi to everyone that walks by you. At first, you’ll probably forget the term, but the Thai people will soon teach you how to say it, and this straightforward greeting will undoubtedly help you continue your journey.

Kawp Koon ( kop-koon ) / Thank You

Your experience will be better the more knowledgeable you are. Learn how to “wai” (bend deeply) when utilizing this useful phrase, if you can.

Chai/Mai Chai ( chai / my-chai ) – Yes/No

Always take the time to learn the fundamentals. You’ll be surprised at how often you can use a simple “chai” or “mai chai,” even if you don’t understand everything that is being said.

Kor Tot ( kor-tot) / Excuse Me

Thailand is a populous country. You’re going to walk on a few toes, both literally and figuratively, whether you’re taking the elevated rail or a boat to the island. Be ready for these situations: Practice saying “pardon me.”

Mai Khao Jai ( my-cow-Jai ) / I don’t understand

Don’t get upset (or everything) when I don’t comprehend something. Instead, simply keep repeating this sentence until someone can (hopefully) interpret it.

Lah Gorn ( la-gon ) / Goodbye

Uncertain about what to say as you part ways? A straightforward “lane gorn” or “wai” will do.


What’s your name, Yuu Thee Nai? Where Is The Bathroom? (hong-nam-you-tee-nye)

In Thailand, it can be difficult to find a restroom, and frequently you won’t be able to find one until it’s necessary. With one little phrase, you can abandon the fruitless quest (and get ready for toilets and guns).

Leo Sai / Leo Kwaa ( lee-yo-sigh / lee-yo-kwa ) – Turn left / turn right

The worst offenders when it comes to being taken advantage of are taxi drivers. You’ll be less likely to reach the incorrect location if you are equipped with a map and have a rudimentary understanding of Thai directions.

Yut / Bai ( yut / bye ) – Stop / Go

Make a good impression on your driver by knowing the fundamentals of navigation. You’ll probably save time and money if you can tell the Songtaew, tuk-tuk, or taxi driver where to go.

Hai Chah Long ( high-cha-lom ) / Slow Down

If your tuk-tuk driver is travelling at a fast rate of speed and you want them to slow down, this phrase will come in handy. Or, you can use this statement to point someone in the right direction.

In the restaurant / bar

21 Essential Phrases You'll Need in Thailand

Hiu ( hee-you ) / I’m hungry

World cuisine’s best delicacies can be found in Thailand. Learn other ways to express your hunger other than just massaging your stomach.

Mai Sai Nam Tam ( my-sigh-nam-tam ) / Without sugar

Similar to how salt is to the West, sugar is to Thailand. From noodle soup to black coffee, everything contains sugar and condensed milk. Know this short phrase if you want your coffee strong or simply don’t want the extra calories.

Cheap Pet Noi ( chop-pet-noy) / I like it a little spicy

Thais adore hot meals. A restaurant may occasionally purposefully make a dish a little spicy if they know that a foreigner won’t be able to handle the heat. Learn this short sentence to lessen your risk of experiencing mouth burn.

Nam ( nam ) / Water

It is arguably one of the most crucial words to master in Thai, especially if you find yourself strolling around in the scorching sun and feeling thirsty.

Aroi ( a-roy ) / Delicious

Do you want to express gratitude to the delectable meal you just ate? While a gratuity is always welcome, complimenting the cook on their work will almost always result in a smile.

In The Market

21 Essential Phrases You'll Need in Thailand

To Nee Tao Rai? ( a-nee-tow-rye ) / How much does this cost?

Thai people are extremely friendly, but in Thailand, like anywhere else, foreigners should be wary of scams. Reduce your chances of paying twice what a Thai would for the same item by learning to ask “how much” in your native language.

Phaeng Mark Pai ( Feng-make-pie ) / Overpriced

Does anyone charge you a little baht for your memories? Speak your mind with this market soundbite.


Sun ( sun ) / 0

Nung ( nung ) / 1

Song ( Song ) / 2

sam ( sam ) / 3

view ( view ) / 4

Day ( day ) / 5

Hok ( Falcon ) / 6

Jed ( Jed ) / 7

Baed ( bed ) / 8

Gao ( gow ) / 9

Bb ( bb ) / 10

Making friends

21 Essential Phrases You'll Need in Thailand

Gin Khao Lou Mai? ( gin-cow-lou-mye ) / Have you eaten yet?

This expression is used in Thailand in a variety of contexts beyond its literal meaning and is sometimes even a means to say “hello.” It serves as a conversation starter and a means to see how someone is faring.

Suay/Lo Mak ( soo-way/low-mak ) – Very beautiful/handsome

Never underestimate the impact of a compliment, especially while visiting a new nation.

For everything else.

Ron Mak ( ron-mak ) / I’m so hot

It becomes very hot during the summer and can occasionally be challenging. Learn this expression to communicate with and commiserate with your hosts in the area or to justify why you are crimson, perspiring, and in need of help.

Liam Lee

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