99 Useful Thai Phrases For Travellers

Thai lady in Bangkok, Thailand

I lived in Thailand for five years and during that time I managed to pick up quite a lot of useful Thai phrases, at least enough to have basic conversations with local people whilst at the market, in tuk tuks, taxis and even whilst having a Thai massage (which I did quite a lot!).

The best thing about learning and speaking Thai in Thailand is the wonderful reaction that you will get from the local people. They will LOVE you for trying to learn Thai – it’s something that sadly, so few farang (foreigners) make the effort to do!

Here are 99 of the most useful Thai words and phrases that I picked up whilst in Thailand that can be used in daily life to make interactions easier.

Did you know? Farang is the word for foreigner in Thai, but it literally translates as ‘French person’. This is because the first Westerners that appeared in Thailand were actually French colonials over from nearby Indochina.


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99 Fun and Useful Thai Phrases for Travellers!

General greetings in Thai

  • Hello / goodbye – Sawasdee krap / ka
  • Sabaidee myee? – How are you?
  • Very good, thanks! – Dee mak mak krap / ka
  • Not good – My dee krap / ka
  • I’m not well – My sabai krap / ka
  • Have you eaten yet?* – Kin khao reang krap / ka
  • It’s nice to meet you – Yin dee tidy roojak khun krap / ka
  • Thank-you – Kop khun krap / ka
  • Thank you very much – Kop khun mak krap / ka
  • Excuse me – kotort krap / ka
  • Yes – Chy
  • No – My chy

Note: For polite conversation males should finish sentences with ‘krap’ and females should finish sentences with ‘ka.’ This is regardless of whether you are speaking to a male or female.

Being understood in Thai

  • I don’t understand – My kowjai krap / ka
  • I don’t know – My roo krap / ka
  • I don’t speak Thai – Mai poot passah Thai krap / ka
  • I speak a little bit of Thai – Poot passah Thai nit noy krap / ka
  • Do you speak English? – Poot passah Angrit dy my krap / ka
  • Do you speak Thai? – Poot passah Thai dy my krap / ka
  • You’re very good! – Geng mak mak
  • Sure! – Nenorn

Thai food and restaurant phrases

  • Do you have a menu please? – Mee menu my krap / ka
  • Can I have the bill please? – Chick bin krap / ka
  • I don’t want it spicy – My ped krap / ka
  • No sugar please – My sy nam dtang krap / ka
  • No MSG (mono sodium glutamate) please – My sy pong choo rote krap / ka
  • Can I have water please – Nam plow krap / ka
  • Can I have ice please – Ow nam keng krap / ka
  • I’m a vegetarian – Kin jay
  • I cannot eat nuts – Kin tua mai dai
  • I don’t eat pork/prawns/chicken/beef – My kin moo/gung/gy/neuya krap / ka
  • Two beers please – Song bia krap / ka
  • Two hot coffees please – Song kafe ron krap / ka
  • Iced coffee please – Kafe yen
  • Do you have tea? – Mee cha my krap / ka
  • Where is the toilet? – Hong nam yoo tinie krap / ka
  • I like Thai food – Chob ahan Thai
  • I like spicy food – Chob ahan ped
  • I don’t like spicy food – My chob ahan ped
  • I don’t like chilli – My chob prik
  • I’m really hungry – Hyoow mak mak
  • I’m really thirsty – Krahay nam mak mak
  • I want more – Ow eek krap / ka
  • One more please – Eek nung krap / ka
  • I am very full – Im mak mak krap / ka
  • Delicious – Arroy mak mak
  • Not tasty – My arroy
  • I don’t like it – My chob krap / ka
  • Do you have an ash tray please? – Mee tikeeaburi my krap / ka
  • It smells (bad) – Men
  • It smells (good) – Hom

Also See: Ordering Food in Thai Language.

Practise your Thai phrases at the restaurants in Thailand!

Noodle and rice lingo: *Have you eaten rice yet? (kin khao reang krap / ka) is a popular way to ask someone how they are doing in Thailand. In fact, many of the language’s phrases revolve around rice and noodles. One of my favourites is the phrase ‘my kin sen’ which literally translates as ‘we don’t eat noodles’ and means that you don’t get on with someone! Or the phrase ‘sen yai’ which means ‘big noodle’ which is like saying ‘big cheese’ in English and means someone who is an important person in the area!

Shopping / market phrases in Thai

  • How much? is it Towry krap / ka?
  • Too expensive: Paeng mak!
  • I don’t want it thank-you – My ow krap / ka
  • Can you do a discount? – Lod dy my krap / ka
  • Can you do more discount? – Lod eek dy my krap / ka

Getting to know Thai people

  • What is your name? – Khun cheur ally krap / ka
  • My name is John – Pom cheur John krap
  • My name is Suzy – Chan cheur Suzy ka
  • How old are you? – Aa yoo towry krap / ka?
  • I really like Thailand – Chob mak mak Prathet Thai
  • What country are you from? – Khun majak prathet arry krap / ka?
  • I am from England – Pom (m) / Chan (f) majak Angrit krap / ka
Learning Thai phrases can help you make new Thai friends!
Learning Thai phrases can help you make new Thai friends!

Random Thai sayings

  • Very beautiful – Suey mak mak
  • It’s very hot – Ron mak mak krap / ka
  • It’s very cold – Now krap / ka
  • No worries – Mai pen rai* krap / ka
  • Don’t worry – My tong huan
  • Good luck – Chok dee krap / ka
  • Cheers! – Chorn!
  • Calm down – Jai yen yen (literally means cool your heart)
  • Be careful – Lawang krap / ka
  • Drunk – Maow
  • Hangover – Maow kang

Mai pen rai (which means no worries, hakuna matata, no pasa nada…) is one of the most frequently used phrases in Thailand and has often been used to denote the laid back lifestyle of Thailand. You will see many beach bars, backpacker cafĂ©s and hostels named after this beloved Thai saying. In the South, the saying can also be ‘mai plu’.

Directions and transport

  • Can you put the taxi meter on? – Dit meter dai mai ka
  • To the train station please – By settanee rot fy krap / ka
  • To the airport please – By sunambin krap / ka
  • Where are you going? – By ny krap / ka
  • Where is the market? – Dalat, yoo tinie krap / ka
  • Where is the train station? – Settanee rot fy, yoo tinie krap / ka
  • I am staying close by – Yoo gly krap / ka
  • Not far – My gly krap / ka
  • Turn left – Leo sy
  • Turn right – Leo kwa
  • Straight on – Dong by
  • Short cut – Tanglad
  • Traffic jam – Lot tit
  • Rush hour – Cheur mong reng duen
Bangkok Traffic
Cheur mong reng duen (rush hour) in Bangkok! (Say this to a taxi driver and they will LOL!)

Time and special days

  • Today – Wonee
  • Tomorrow – Prungnee
  • Yesterday – Meuya wonnee
  • Happy Birthday – Sawasdee wongurt krap / ka
  • Happy New Year – Sawasdee pee my krap / ka
  • What time is it? – Gee mong leow ka?
  • Six o clock – Hok mong chao
  • Half past six – Hok mong kleung
  • What time does it open? – Burt gee mong leow krap / ka?
  • What time does it close? – Pit gee mong leow krap / ka?
  • Do you have a room? – Mee hong wan my krap / ka (for accommodation)

Getting a Thai massage

  • I like Thai massage – Chob nuat Thai
  • I want a foot massage – Ow nuat tao krap / ka
  • I like oil massage – Chob nuat nam man krap / ka
  • I’d like it harder (massage) – Ow raeng krap / ka
  • I’d like it softer (massage) – Ow bao krap / ka
  • It hurts here – Jeb tinee / ka
  • I feel good – Sabai jy
Leg stretch - Thai massage
“Sabai jai” (it feels good) when having a Thai massage!

What other Thai phrases would you like to know? Let us know in the comments below!

Founder & Editor at South East Asia Backpacker | Author\'s Blog

Nikki Scott is the founder & editor of South East Asia Backpacker. A traveller-turned-entrepreneur, she left the UK in 2009 and after 6 months on the road, she started a bi-monthly print magazine about backpacking in Asia. South America Backpacker soon followed and today she runs her backpacking enterprise from her base in Spain. Her honest and fascinating book, Backpacker Business, tells the story of her success in the face of adversity.

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