Thai Language Survival Guide – How To Say Basic Phrases

Are you looking to pick up some basic Thai? I’ve outlined in this article some basic Thai phrases to help you make the most of your trip.

Learning Thai as a tourist or expat will make your stay in the Kingdom more enjoyable, and once you’ve masted the basics, you’ll be able to impress the locals with small talk.

Thai is a tonal language, each word having up to five different meanings depending on the tone of mid, high, low, rising, or falling.

In my experience as a native English speaker, tones are one of the most challenging parts of the Thai language, so don’t worry if you can’t master these as a tourist!

Polite forms of the language will end with either kráp or ká, depending on if you’re a male or female.

sà-wàd-dee kráp – hello (male)

sà-wàd-dee ká – hello (female)

Tone Symbols Marks

ToneSymbolExample
midnonemaa
low`màa
failinĝmâa
highmáa
rising ̌mǎa

Greetings

How to say in Thai:

  • Hello or Hisà-wàd-dee (used to express either hello or goodbye)
  • Goodbyelaa-gàawn (more common to use sà-wàd-dee)
  • Byebáai-baai (incorporated from English)

General words

How to say in Thai:

  • Thank youkhàawp-khun
  • How are you?sà-baai dii mǎi
  • Yes châi or kráp/ká
  • Nomâi
  • What à rai
  • Come heremaa nîi
  • Time wee laa
  • See you laterléaw jer gan
  • Good dee
  • Deliciousa ròi
  • Beerbia

Numbers

NumberThai
0sǔun
1nùeng
2sǎawng
3sǎam
4sìi
5hâa ← pronounced “ha”
6hòk
7jèt
8bpàaet
9gâo
10sìp

What Does 555 Mean in Thailand?

Thais may use “555” on instant messaging platforms to represent laughter or amusement. The equivalent in the West or when using English in online chat is “Hahaha” or “lol”.

If they find something hilarious, they might add additional 5s or 555+ (add a plus sign) with the English equivalent being “hahahahaha” or “ROFL.”

The number 5 (hâa/ห้า) in Thai is pronounced as “Ha”, and sounds like laughter, making it a natural choice for expressing amusement in online chat.

Why not “ห้า ห้า ห้า” (555)? It’s shorter, faster, and easier to type numbers than Thai, similar to how people from the West type “lol” instead of “laugh out loud”.

Seasonal

How to say in Thai:

  • Happy Birthdaysùk sǎn wan kòet
  • Happy New Yearsa wàt dii pii mài
  • Merry Christmassùk sǎn wan khrís mâas

Did you know? Even though Thailand is a majority Buddhist country, some Thais like to decorate their homes during Christmas and have themed parties.

Relationship

How to say in Thai:

  • Beautiful sǔai
  • Handsom – lòr
  • Kiss jùup
  • Will you marry mekhun jà dtàeng-ngaan gàp chăn mái
  • I love youchǎn rák khun

Thai Cheatsheet

EnglishThai
Hellosà-wàd-dee
Goodbyelaa-gàawn
Byebáai-baai
Thank youkhàawp-khun
How are you?sà-baai dii mǎi
Yeschâi or kráp/ká
Nomâi
Whatà rai
Come heremaa nîi
Timewee laa
See you laterléaw jer gan
Gooddee
Deliciousa ròi
Beerbia
Happy Birthdaysùk sǎn wan kòet
Happy New Yearsa wàt dii pii mài
Merry Christmassùk sǎn wan khrís mâas
Beautifulsǔai
Handsomelòr
Kissjòop
Will you marry mekhun jà dtàeng-ngaan gàp chăn mái
I love youchǎn rák khun

Before you go…

Looking for other travel guides? We have compiled a list of helpful articles to help you plan your trip to Thailand.

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Written by Nicky

Hi! 👋 I'm an expat who has lived, explored, and worked in Asia for over 10 years. I started findyouthere.com to share the knowledge I've picked up over the years with travelers interested in visiting Asia. Find out more on our about page.

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