Thailand is a visually stunning, culturally diverse, thrilling and exciting destination for travelers of all kinds. But even though this Asian gem has been hosting tourists from across the globe for decades, it’s still difficult to find English-speaking locals or English directories and signages. In fact, Thailand has one of the lowest percentages of English speakers in Asia. Because of this, locals will often speak in broken English or refrain from interacting with tourists altogether. However, as a traveler you will find that locals (in any country) will highly appreciate your effort to speak the language of the land regardless of how flawed it is. Local Thais are very helpful and kind, but making an effort to learn their culture will often invite them to open up to you more. You will definitely leave with more Thai friends than you arrived with if you try out our helpful list of Thai phrases:

  1. Hello: Sawat-dee
  2. Thank you: Kop-khun
  3. Welcome: Yindee
  4. How much (does this cost): Tao lay
  5. No problem: Mai bpen rai
  6. Please help me: Koh chuay duay
  7. Which way (do I go): Pai nai

In Thailand the locals also say ‘kha’ and ‘khrap’ after every sentence or word as a sign of respect. The words are gendered, so kha is what women say and khrap is what men say. So for example, if you identify as a woman and you want to ask a shop vendor for a price you can say ‘Tao lay kha’. In another instance, if you are a man and would like to express your gratitude to a local, you can say ‘Kop-khun khrap’. In Thailand it is also very common to bring your hands together, with palms and fingers pressed together, when you are greeting someone or saying thank you. Try it out!