Thailand is a country with many things to offer. Whether you’re going on a family holiday, backpacking, or just going for the parties, Thailand has something for you.
Culture is very important in Thailand, and respect is a big part of their culture. Before you go and visit the country, you should definitely consider learning a few words, not only to make life easier when you’re there but also to show your respect.
You can also use your knowledge of Thai when travelling to Laos as the languages are fairly similar. Here, we will cover the top 10 basic words you need to know before travelling to Thailand.
Hello – Sawadee Ka/Kaap
This one is sure to raise many smiles as you travel around the country. Literally translated it means “easy and good”, and so can also be used to say goodbye. When greeting someone in Thailand, always remember to put your hands together like you are praying and give a slight bow to show your respect to the person. It’s important to note in Thailand that many phrases end with either Ka or Kaap. This denotes whether you are male or female (not the person you are talking to). If you’re female, you should end Sawadee with Ka, and if you’re male you should end it with Kaap.
Thank You – Kop Un Ka/Kaap
One of the most important words for travellers, Kap Un can be used to show your gratitude to someone.
Just like with hello, remember to put your hands together and give a slight bow for respect.
Sorry – Khot Hort
Always useful in markets and on busy streets as the cities of Thailand tend to be bustling with
people who you’ll find yourself bumping into very often. Get yourself out of a bad situation with
Where Is The Bus Station? – Pai Lot Mee Yu Tinai?
Never get lost in the big cities of Thailand with this useful phrase. While Thailand does have some train services, the busses tend to be more useful for travelers as they offer overnight services with sleeping busses saving you a night of accommodation.
What’s Your Name? – Khun Chuu Arai Ka/Kaap?
Fairly self-explanatory this one. If someone asks this to you, the answer would be “Chan (if you’re a girl) / Pom (if you’re a boy) chuu [your name].” How Much? – Tow Rai
This one is very useful in markets and when using tuk tuks or taxis. So you don't get ripped off or cause a scene, always ask for prices on tuk-tuks or taxis before getting in, and, if you can, make sure the taxi runs on a meter.
Can I Order – Sang Ahan
It Sounds like a local when you go to a restaurant with this helpful phrase. Follow this with the meal of your choice, e.g., Sang Ahan Pad Thai. – Can I order a Pad Thai? No Sugar – Mai Sai Namtaan In Thailand, sugar tends to go into everything, even in fried rice and pad Thai. If you’re trying to watch your sugar intake, you can use Vegetarian – Kin Jay. Even if a dish is served without meat, such as vegetable fried rice, Thai chefs have a tendency to use fish sauce when cooking for extra flavor. To be completely safe if you’re vegan or vegetarian, use this phrase when ordering your meal. Not Spicy – Mai Pet Food in Thailand is infamously spicy, especially for foreigners' taste buds, so use this one if you need to. Alternatively, if you like it hot, you can say “Pet Mak Mak” which literally means “I like spice”.