Thai Language Lessons for First Timers in Thailand

Since Thai is a tonal language, it is very different from most Western languages. To help you get by in Thai, our intro level Thai language lessons will make life easier for you as you travel around Thailand. This five essential tones can change the meaning of what you are saying. The Thai language is trickier to learn because of its tones, boasting one more than Mandarin.

Basic Thai Phrases

One of the most important basic Thai Phrases in Thai is Sawadee khrup/ka. “Hello” in Thai changes depending on whether you are male or female. Talking to a guy add khrup/krap at the end of your sentence. The ladies get a ka/kap. Best not to forget this little addition as you’re being respectful and polite.

Once you’ve got the friendly greeting sawadee krup/ka under your belt, we’ve got some more key phrases to get you talking:

Goodbye! – La gorn khrup/ka

Thank you – khop khun (khrup/ka)

Pood Thai mai dai‎: ‎I cannot speak Thai

Can you speak English? = Kun pood paasaa anggrit dai mai

Now that you’ve mastered these, we can push the boat out. Talking to people is one of the best ways to learn a language. You might be starting slowly but you’ve got to start somewhere.

Yes – Chai (khrup/ka)

No – Mai (khrup/ka)

Maybe – Aaj ja (khrup/ka)

Sorry/excuse me – Khor thoad khrup/ka

How are you? – Sa bai dee mai khrup/ka

Where is the restroom – Hong nam yoo tee nai khrup/ka?

I need a doctor – Phom dong gaan hai mor maa raak sa khrup/ka

Whatever happens while you’re traveling in Thailand, don’t forget Mai pen rai. It so much more than just “no worries”. You’ll hear it all the time everywhere.

Learning basic Thai phrases in 15 minutes

Useful Thai Slang

Sick of being seen as just another “farang”, you’ll need to brush up your language skills. Chí-mí (literally translates as ‘am i right?’).

Feeling Jaap? Depends who you are talking to. Amongst younger Thais, your appreciation and admiration will be noted. While if you’re hanging out with hipper, older Thais, your ‘cool? reference will be seen as sarcastic. Gét (I get it) or maybe not?

Confused? You will be. In Thai, joy means sad. It’s slang for being really seriously down in the dumps. Maybe, it’s cos you’re short on Tang? Without any money, you are going to feel so grop (poor). You might want to hook up with a dok faar. Translating literally as sky flowers, these are women from rich families whose cruise through life with ease. Sôm lòn. An orange dropping into your hand is fortuitous. How lucky!

How to Order Food in Thai

No-one eats at home in Thailand. It’s not just the tourists that eat out all the time. The Thais do it too. With delicious flavours and smells, eating Thai food is one of the reasons we’re here. Sitting in a restaurant or on the side of the road, being able to order food in Thai makes the whole experience so much more authentic. When you sit down, the first thing you’ll want to get ordering …

May I have a menu? — Kor Maynoo noi (khrup/ka)

I would like to order- sang aa-haan

These days, it seems that everyone has an intolerance/allergy or can’t eat something. Most servers have got basic English. If you still want to cover your back, try some of these:

I can’t eat seafood — Kin a harn talay mai dai (khrup/ka)

I can’t eat nuts — Kin tua mai dai (khrup/ka)

Pork — Moo

Chicken — Gai

Beef — Neau

Seafood — Talay

Thai food is all about the spice. Word of warning: Thai spicy is nothing like Western spicy. Order with care.

Not spicy — Mai pet (khrup/ka)

Little spicy — Pet nit noi (khrup/ka)

Very spicy — Pet mak mak (khrup/ka)

Hopefully the spice wasn’t too much of a killer, cos you might just need this next phrase like super quick:

Where are the toilets? — Hong nam yootinai (khrup/ka)

A favourite Thai word has to be arroy. In this “Land of Smiles”, the smile will get that little bit bigger with this compliment to the chef. Delicious!!