A little understanding can go a long way

Young Learners and their Teacher

Sawaddee Kha

Thai language can be somewhat difficult for the average westerner to attempt, let alone master. This useful phrase book will help you to learn to speak a few words and phrases. It’s always appreciated by the locals  if you can  attempt a few words and it will certainly put a smile on their faces and perhaps even a few giggles as well.

Also, you should not be offended as it will definitely break the ice so to speak. Remember that you are on their turf so it is just polite to be able to exchange a few pleasantries with whoever you should meet as you travel around this vast continent, whether in the cities or the back roads and beyond. Besides it can also be a lot of fun as well.

Most Thai’s can speak a little English and there are many English and Thai teaching schools all over Thailand where you can try your hand improving your language skills. I shall get to the various schools later should you be spending more than the average time in Thailand.

Thai Language and Phrases

The more important words and phrases listed below are all you need to know for a short vacation in Thailand. There really is little need to be even remotely fluent as most of the time you will be understood in English.

Just remember to speak in a clear voice and ever so slower. Should you like to try a little Thai however, then please note that words or phrases take the suffix kha should the speaker be female and khrap should the speaker be male. Shall we begin with our first lesson!

Sawadee Kha (you as the female speaking) Hello or Goodbye

Sawadee Khrap (you as the male speaking) Hello or Goodbye

Khawp Khun Kha (you as the female speaking) Thank you

Khawp Khun Khrap (you as the male speaking) Thank you Are you beginning to get the idea of how it works? Just follow the simple male /female speaking terms and after a few mistakes, you will in time, master the correct pronunciations.

I’m still learning the Thai language all the time myself, so don’t feel bad. Besides, when you make a mistake, Thai’s maybe a little amused, but they will give you 10 out of 10 for trying.

It will almost certainly open up a few new doors and avenues. You only need to ask and Thai’s will gladly help put things right for you. Have some fun with it and enjoy the pleasantries that go with it. Just remember the Khrap and Kha component and you’re almost there.

You pronounce Kha as in Ka and Khrap as in Krup – Lets move on.

Young School Kids

Chai Yes

Mai No

Sabai dee mai? How are you?

Sabai dee I’m fine

You nai…? Where is…?

Yaak pai… I want to go…

Hawng nam Bathroom

Taw rai…? How much…?

Paeng marg Too expensive

Khun cheu arai khrap? What is your name? (Male is speaking)

Khun cheu arai kha? What is your name? (Female speaking) Leou khwa Turn right

Leou sai Turn left

Trong pai Straight ahead

Yoot tee nee Stop here

Wan nee Today

Meua wan nee Yesterday

Proong nee Tomorrow

Rawng ram Hotel

Raan ahaan Restaurant

Sathanee tamruat Police station

Prai-sannee Post Office Rong phaya-bahn Hospital

Sanam bin Airport

Kreung bin Aeroplane

Sathanee rot fai Train station

Sathanee rot meh Bus station

Taksee Taxi

Rot Car

Reua Boat

Hew nam Thirsty

Nam Water

Hew kao Hungry Ahaan Food

Neua Beef

Gai Chicken

Moo Pork

Plaa Fish

Cafe Coffee

Cha Tea

Khao Rice

Pahk Vegetables

Kai Egg

Pohlamai Fruit

Young Children on their way to School

Pronunciation Guidelines

Please note that you pronounce syllables as if they form English words.

a as in ago

b as in hen

c as in thin

e as in pet

o as in on

ah as in rather

ai as in Thai

air as in pair

ao as in maoism

ay as in day

er as in enter

ew as in few

oh as in go

oo as in boot

oy as in toy

g as in give

ng as in sing

This concludes our lessons for the day. We shall start afresh tomorrow with a brand new lesson… No, just kidding! This is as far as I shall take you because I am not that great a Thai language teacher. Besides, you probably haven’t a clue as to what I have tried to teach you up till now, but I did give it my best shot.

I’ll leave the rest up to you as you go along. And you know what they say… practice makes perfect. Good luck and have a great time in Thailand.

Thai Children Play after School