When you travel to Thailand, it is a good idea to learn some basic Thai words and phrases. Most people in Thailand don’t speak much English, except in Bangkok and some big cities or tourist destinations. By knowing how to say few simple phrases, you can make friends with the local people and make your trip easier.

There are five tones in Thai language, low, middle, high, rising and falling. Most words carry middle or a low tone. Tones form the main characteristic and the most challenging part of Thai language and learners who speak a Latin-based language will have difficulty mastering the subtle changes of voice. The Thai alphabet is somewhat antiquated and has 46 consonants and 32 vowels (vowels are mostly long and short versions of the same sounds). You shouldn’t get too stressed about tones on your first trips, you might be able to distinguish the right meaning from the context of your sentence, but listening requires more effort.

When you want to sound polite, you can do that by adding a modifier at the end of each phrase or sentence. If you are a man, say “khrap”. And if you are a woman, say “ka”. For example, to say hello in a polite way, a male speaker can say “Sawa dee Khrap” and a female speaker can say “Sawa dee ka”. Don’t get confused about different writing you might see in Thailand, like “sawasdee, sawat dee or sawa dee”, same goes with “kap, Khrap or kap”. They are all the same but with western transliterating changes.

Hello = Sawa dee
Thank you (man says) = Kob Khun Khrap
Thank you (woman says) = Kob Khun Ka
How are you? = Khun sabai di mai?
I am fine thanks = (man says) Pom sabai di khrap.
I am fine thanks = (woman says) Chan sabai di ka.
You’re welcome = Yin dee khrap / ka
Wait = Roh sakru
I = pom (man)
I = chan (woman)
Come = ma
Come from = ma jak
I love Thailand = Pom/chan rak Meuang Thai.
I love you = pom/chan rak khun
I have come = ma leu
Go = pai
Gone already = pai leu
Go where = pai nai
Go soon = pai diauni
room = hong
water = nam
Toilet = hong nam
Where is the toilet? = hong nam yu nai?
to enter = kao
to understand = kao jai (literally: to enter the heart)
don’t understand = mai kao jai
Eat = gin
Drink = deun
Food = ahan
Have eaten already? = gin leu mai khrap/ka?
Rice = kao
to eat = kin kao (literally: eat rice)
I am hungry = pom/chan heeu kao
Are you hungry? = Khun heeu kao mai?
Tasty = aroy
I have eaten already thanks = Pom/chan kin leu khrap/ka
I am full thank you = Pom/chan im leu khrap/ka
I don’t know = Mai ru
want = ao
don’t want = mai ao
now = ton ni
today = wan ni
tonight = keun ni
this morning = chao ni
tomorrow = prung ni
yesterday = Meua wan
hour = mong
what time is it? = Ton ni gi mong?
water = nam
hard = keng
ice = nam keng (hard water)
hot water = nam ron
cold water = nam yen
rain = fon
raining = fon toc
shower = ab nam
maybe / perhaps = Bang ti
play = len
speak = pud
funny = sanuk
I know = pom/chan ru
I don’t know = pom/ chan mai ru
everything = took sing
large = yai
small = lek
fast = reu
slow = cha
very/ a lot = maak
have = mi
I have = pom/chan mi
I don’t have = pom/chan mai mi
you have = khun mi
you don’t have = khun mai mi
can not hear you = mai dai yin khun
I can hear you = pom/chan dai yin khun
work = tam ngan
I want = this can be said many ways: pom/ chan ao; pom/ chan tong karn; pom/ chan yak
I think = pom kid wa
why = tam mai
I am sick = pom/ chan mai sabai
good = di
happy = di jai (literally good heart)
I am happy = pom/ chan mi cuam suk; or pom. chan sabai di
I am not happy = pom/ chan mai sabai di
broken = sia
I am sad = pom/ chan sia jai (literally I have a broken heart)
I am sorry = pom/ chan koh tot
I am confused = pom/chan sap son
never mind = mai pen rai
a lot / very = maak
hurt / pain = jeb
I am full = im leu
I forget = Pom/ chan leum leu
where is = yu nai
over there = ti nun
here = ti ni
what = arai
when = meua arai
friend = peuang
problem = pang ha
I have a problem = pom/chan mi pang ha
smells bad = min
good = di
very good = di mak
bad = mai di
weather = akas
hot weather = akas ron
cold wind = lom yen
strong wind = lom reng
bathroom / toilet = hong nam
shower = ab nam
to look = du
to see = hen
again = ik krang
to promise = hai sanya
sorry = ko tot
to sleep = non/ lap
to wake up = teun
eyes = ta
to close your eyes (go to sleep) = lap ta
good night = lap fan di

Example sentences

I must go to a hospital! = Chan tong pai rong payaban
I lost my wallet. = krapao satang chan hai
I’m lost. = Chan long taang
Where am I? = Chan yu tee nai OR Tee nee tee nai
Can anyone here speak English? = Mee krai pood pasa angkrit dai mai
What is your name? = khun cheu arai?
You have a beautiful smile = khun mi yim sway
Happy to meet you = pom mi cuam suk ti dai pop khun
See you again = leu pop khun
I like you = pom/chan chob khun
What are you thinking? = khun kid arai?
I am shy = pom ki ai
You look good = khun sway di
You look beautiful = khun sway mak
Come watch a movie with me = pai du nang kap pom/chan mai?
Come eat with me = pai kin kao kap pom/chan mai?

Numbers

1 = neung
2 = song
3 = sam
4 = si
5 = ha
6 = hok
7 = chet
8 = pet
9 = kao
10 = sip
11 = sip et
12 = sip song
13 = sip sam
14 = sip si
15 = sip ha
20 = yee sip
21 = yee sip et
22 = yee sip song
23 = yee sip sam
24 = yee sip si
25 = yee sip ha
30 = sam sip
40 = si sip
50 = ha sip
60 = hok sip
70 = chet sip
80 = pet sip
90 = kao sip
100 = neung roi
150 = neung roi ha sip
500 = ha roi
1000 = neung pan