Learning commonly used Thai words is a great way to start learning the language, and will prove useful when traveling abroad or wishing to communicate in Thai. If you are traveling in the major tourist areas of Thailand, you will not have trouble meeting locals who speak English. However, knowing a few handy Thai words and phrases can go a long way and garner you a friendly reception when abroad. Locals appreciate when you attempt to learn their language. Also, once you start to learn a language, the easier it is to learn even more of it and become fluent. The more you speak it, the more you learn!
It is essential to learn how to pronounce Thai words correctly if you wish to learn the language, and incorporating language learning and memorization methods can help make the process easier.
Familiarize yourself with the Thai alphabet and it will become easier to learn to decipher how to pronounce Thai words.
Let’s take a look at commonly used Thai words and phrases with the phonetic pronunciations.
Basic Thai Words and Phrases
Thai language uses long and short tones, high tones and low tones in pronunciation to describe a word. For example, a word such as “kao” has many meanings, depending on the tone with which it is spoken. “Kao” can mean: nine, knee, rice, come in, or news, depending on the tone used when it is spoken.
The words listed below have been written as you would pronounce them in English. Because the Thai alphabet is different than the one we use in English, it requires learning the different letters and how to pronounce them in order to read Thai. Let’s take a look first at common Thai words, but using our Latin alphabet. This way you will gain an understanding of how to pronounce Thai commonly used Thai words and a feel for the sound of the language. Then, we will take a look at Thai words and phrases written in the Thai alphabet.
The best way to learn is to be unafraid of practicing with the locals when you are traveling abroad. Going to markets where you have to communicate with many people is a fun way to learn basic Thai and learn more about the local culture.
English Word/Phrase Pronunciation of Thai Word
Hello Sawa dee
Thank you Kob Khun Krap (man says)
Thank you Kob Khun Ka (woman says)
How are you? Khun sabai di mai?
I am fine thanks Pom sabai di krap. (man says)
I am fine thanks Chan sabai di ka. (woman says)
Basically, women say “ka” at the end of a sentence in Thai, while men say “krap.”
You’re welcome Yin dee krap / ka
Wait Roh sakru
I pom (man)
I chan (woman)
Come from ma jak
I come from Australia Pom ma jak pratet Australia. (man)
Chan ma jak pratet Australia. (woman)
I love Thailand Pom/chan rak Meuang Thai.
I love you Pom/chan rak khun.
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
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
Eating and Drinking
Following are commonly used Thai words and phrases pertaining to eating and drinking. They will prove helpful to know and are words and expressions used daily, so try to memorize them before you travel abroad!
English word Thai word pronunciation
Have eaten already? gin leu mai krap/ka?
to eat kin kao (literally: “eat rice”)
I am hungry Pom/chan heeu kao
Are you hungry? Khun heeu kao mai?
I have eaten already, thank you. Pom/chan kin leu krap/ka
I am full, thank you. Pom/chan im leu krap/ka
ice nam keng (literally: “hard water”)
hot water nam ron
cold water nam yen
Speaking of food…while learning another language is a great way to gain insight into the country’s culture, so is learning about additional aspects of the culture, such as local cuisine.
Take a look at option for learning about other areas of Thai culture that may be of interest and try a cooking course. Becoming familiar with multiple aspects of a culture only further enhance and enrich your experience with it and the language. Give it a try!
How to Ask a Question or Make a Negative Phrase
To ask a question in Thai, just add mai at the end of the phrase or sentence.
To make the statement negative, just add mai at the beginning of the phrase or sentence.
Let’s take a look at some examples!
English phrase Thai pronunciation
Are you hungry? khun heeu kao mai?
Are you happy ? khun di jai mai?
Do you have a boy friend ? khun mi fen leu mai?
I don’t understand. mai kao jai. (literally: “doesn’t enter the heart”)
No, thanks you. mai ao krap/ka.
I don’t know. mai ru krap/ka.
I don’t like it. mai chob krap/ka.
Following is a list of basic numbers and the Thai pronunciation of the number. Knowing basic numbers will prove useful when shopping at the markets or ordering at restaurants when abroad, as well as in just communicating in Thai on a basic level.
Number Thai pronunciation
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
1500 neung pan ha roi
2000 si pan
5000 ha pan
Thai Phrases and Language Difficulties
Following are commonly used Thai words and phrases pertaining to communicating in Thai or English when you are abroad. The Thai words as written in the Thai alphabet are included below, as well as a phonetic pronunciation of the word, using English as a reference. While it may seem intimidating at first, don’t be afraid! The more familiar you become with the words and phrases, the easier they will be to learn. Practice using language learning methods, too, to make your progress faster and easier!
English Phrase Thai Phrase Thai Pronunciation
Do you speak English? คุณพูดภาษาอังกฤษหรือเปล่า? kun pôot paa-săa ang-grìt rĕu bplào?
Do you speak Thai? คุณพูดภาษาไทยเป็นไหม? kun pôot paa-săa tai bpen măi?
I don’t speak Thai. ฉันพูดไทยไม่เป็น chăn pôot tai mâi bpen.
Please speak more slowly. พูดช้าลงหน่อย pôot cháa long nòi.
Please say that again. พูดซ้ำอีกทีสิ pôot sám èek tee sì.
Please write it down. เขียนลงบนกระดาษได้ไหม? kĭan long bon grà-d.
Can you translate it for me? แปลให้ฉันได้ไหม? bplae hâi chăn dâi măi?
What does this mean? อันนี้แปลว่าอะไร? an née bplae wâa à-rai?
How do you say…in Thai? ภาษาไทย … พูดว่าอย่างไร paasăa tai … pôot wâa yàang-ra?
How do you pronounce that? คำนั้นออกเสียงว่าอย่างไร? kam nán òk sĭang wâa yàang rai?
Do you understand? เข้าใจไหม? khâo jai mái?
What is your name? คุณชีออะไร? kun chêu a-rai?
My name is… ผมชื่อ … pŏm chêu … (male says)
ดิฉันชื่อ dì-chăn chêu …(female says)
Where are you from? คุณมาจากทีไหน? kun maa jàak tee năi?
I am from… ผมมาจาก … pŏm maa jàak … (male says)
ดิฉันมาจาก … dì-chăn maa jàak … (female says)
I understand. เข้าใจแล้ว kâo jai láew
I don’t understand. ไม่เข้าใจ mâi khâo jai
Helpful Travel Phrases
Following are Thai words and phrases pertaining to travel that may come in handy during your travels abroad.
English phrase Thai pronunciation
I’d like to check out chăn jà chék ao
Could you please call me a taxi? ak táek-sêe hâi nòi?
May I see the bill, please? kŏr doo bin nòi?
How much is the total bill? táng mòt tâo-rai?
I think there is a mistake on the bill. chăn wâa bin pìt ná
Practice, Practice, Practice!
The best way to learn a foreign language is to practice speaking it. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes, everyone does! And you will certainly improve your ability to speak Thai with practice. Practicing memorization of Thai words and phrases with the help of language learning methods may help the process easier.
It may prove helpful to bring along these lists of Thai words and phrases during your travels abroad. If you have trouble memorizing them, you can always reference them if you have them handy.
Don’t forget to take lots of photos on your trip! Take a look at these helpful tips for taking great travel photos, and turn your travel photos into works of art.
Whatever you are attempting to learn that is new – Thai, photography, cooking – don’t be afraid to dive in and give it a try. Why not get started today?