A guide to useful phrases in Thailand

While many Thai people speak good English, particularly in tourist areas, knowing your pleases and thank yous will earn you a lot of smiles and kudos throughout your Thailand holidays. Even though Thai script bears no relation to our own Latin alphabet, many signs and menus will feature a semi-phonetic spelling in familiar letters too, and sometimes even a full English translation. If you’re planning a Thai adventure soon, here are a few handy phrases to help you as you explore.

Common Thai phrases

Hello – Sà-wàt-dee kà (f) / Sà-wàt-dee krúp (m) (Sawaddy-kah / Sawaddy-krap)
How are you? – Sà-baai dee mài? (sah-bye dee my?)
I’m fine, thanks – Sà-baai dee kâ (f) / Sà-baai dee króp (m) (Sah-bye dee kah / Sah-bye dee krap)
Please – Kor (Core)
Sorry or Excuse me – Kor thot (Core tot)
Thankyou – Kòp kun ka (f) / Kòp kun krap (m) (Kop-koon kah / kop-koon krap)
Yes – Châi (Chai)
No – Mâi (My)

Numbers (these are phonetic translations)

One – Neung
Two – Song
Three – Saam
Four – See
Five – Ha (this is why in Thai text speak, 555 means hahaha)
Six – Hook
Seven – Jet
Eight – Baat
Nine – Gow
Ten – Sip

Out and about

How much is this? – Raa-kaa tâo rài? i? (rah-kah taow-rye?) or Tâo rài kaa? (Taow-rye kah?)
Do you speak English? – Kun pòod pa sà Angrit dai mâi? (Kun pud-pa sah Angk-grit dye my?)
Temple – Wat (Wot)
Cinema – Rong-nang (wrong nang)
Shops – Ran kha (Rahn kah)
Straight ahead – Trng pi (Trong bye)
Turn left – Leiyw say (Lee-ow sigh)
Turn right – Leiyw k¯hwa (Lee-ow kwah)
May I take a photograph? Tai ruup dai mâi? (Tye ruhp dye my?)

Eating out

Is there a restaurant near here? – Ráan aa-haan têe glâi sùt yòo nai? (ran aa-harn tee glye soot yoo nye?)
Do you have an English menu – Mi mai-nu paa-saa ang-grìt mai? (Mee may-new pah-sah angrit my?)
I’m a vegetarian – Pom gin M?ngs¯wir?ti (Pomm jin mang-sah-wee-rat)
Delicious! – A-roi! (Arr-oy!)
I don’t want it spicy – Mâi au pêt (Mai ow pet)
Where’s the toilet? – Hông náam yòo têe nai? (Hongnam you-tee-nigh?)

Food and Drink terms (these are phonetic translations)

Meat – Nuea / Noya
Beef – Nuea Wua / Noya wah
Chicken – Gai or Kai
Pork – Moo
Fish – Pla
Squid – Pla murk
Duck – Ped
Prawns – Kung
Egg – Khai
Ginger – King
Chilli pepper – Phrik
Rice – Khao
Vegetarian food – Ah-hahn jay
Massaman – A nut-based medium coconut curry
Kaeng Som – A hot-sour curry
Pad Thai – A fried rice-noodle dish with peanuts and your choice of meat or vegetables and tofu
Pad See-ew – A fried rice-noodle dish with soy sauce and your choice of meat or vegetables and tofu
Tom yam kung – Hot and sour shrimp soup with lemongrass and chillies
Tom yum – Hot and sour tomato soup with mushrooms, tomatoes and shrimp


Phuket is pronounced Pooget, Krabi is pronounced Grabee and Patong is known locally as Bpaatawng. Luckily, Thai people will understand what you’re trying to say if you pronounce these places the western way!