Top 10 Thai Words Every Foreigner Should Know Before Coming to Thailand
Thailand is a gorgeous country that has seen a huge rise in their tourism industry in recent years. This is mostly because of the relatively favorable exchange rate compared to the United States and Europe (not forgetting the hot climate and stunning views). More and more people want to travel around the world but are restricted by financial constraints. As a result, Thailand provides a great option.
While many travelers have no problem being unfamiliar with Thai when spending time in Bangkok or any other bigger cities, English is rarely spoken in more rural areas. Therefore, it is important for tourists to have a basic understanding of some Thai words and phrases to make sure they will be able to communicate effectively. Even if you don’t plan on leaving the cities, it is still polite and fun to attempt to learn some of the language, so that you can learn more about the culture.
To help you get started, we have compiled a list of the top ten words that every foreigner should know before coming to Thailand.
1. Sa-wat dee
It is so important to know how to say hello in the language of every country you visit to be respectful. It is also important to know that this phrase means both hello and goodbye (similar to aloha in Hawaiian). To make greetings and requests even more polite considering adding the word khap if you are a man or kha if you are a woman to the end of your statement.
2. Khop koon
This phrase means “thank you,” and it is a great way to show appreciation if someone helps you or does something nice for you.
3. Khor tort
This phrase translates essentially to “I’m sorry,” but it can also be used as “excuse me” if you accidentally bump into someone in a crowded market.
4. Mai pen rai
This phrase basically means “never mind,” but it is very commonly used in Thai culture. It can mean “it’s okay”, as in when someone apologizes to you. It can also mean “you’re welcome” or “no problem” when someone thanks you. If you ever get confused or frustrated with the language barrier then don’t be afraid to laugh and say this. You will fit right into the laid-back Thai culture this way.
In addition to these basic greetings above, if you are intending on doing any shopping, these phrases below can go quite far toward getting you a great deal.
5. Lot noi dai mai?
This means “can you make it a little cheaper?”. By attempting this phrase in Thai, some salespeople may be impressed and honor your request.
6. Mai aow
This means “I don’t want it” which can be very helpful when warding off persistent street peddlers.
7. Gee baht?
Ask how much something is with this phrase to make sure you will not be overcharged.
8. Neung, song, saam, see, haa, hook, jet, baat, gow, sip
These are the Thai numbers from one to ten which can be remarkably useful when trying to tell people at the market how much of something you want. This can also help you to tell tuk-tuk drivers how many people are in your group.
This word means “expensive.” So, if you think someone’s price is too much, you can use this word in protest.
10. Chai/mai chai
“Chai” means “yes” and “mai chai” means “no.” These two phrases will be extremely helpful when it comes to shopping or just generically trying to communicate.
One thing to keep in mind is that Thai pronunciations are not always like English ones. You may want to try to listen to some recordings before attempting to say these words so that you can make sure that your pronunciations are correct.
Hopefully, this small introduction into the beautiful Thai language will help you to feel much more confident in your travels. Now that you know the basics of the language, learn the basics of finding a place to stay with the help of Property Hua Hin!