The Ultimate Newbie Guide to Thailand

Thai Language, Words & Phrases 

The Thai language is very different from languages that use the Latin alphabet, such as English, the Scandinavian and the Central and South European languages. It consist of 44 script characters, to each of which can be added various tonal markers of pronunciation. The reason for this is that Thai is a tonal language and there are five basic tones or tone levels in the pronunciation of the language. For the benefit of Westerners the language may be written out in a transliteration form; however this will not accurately account for the different tones and other irregularities in pronunciation. A case in point is the letter "R" which many Thais pronounce as an "L". For example, the Thai word for “Darling” (or my love) is Teerak and is pronounced Teelak, with a high sound for the “lak” part.

It would be a simplification to say that only one language is spoken in Thailand. Central Thai is the official language of the Kingdom and taught in all primary and secondary schools, but in the North East, a dialect called “Issan” is spoken, which is closely related to the main language of Laos. In addition to this, area-specific dialects are spoken in the South and in the East. Khmer is spoken by many Thais in the province of Surin and on the Cambodian border. Moreover to this, a Chinese dialect from Shanghai is spoken as a second language by quite a few Thai-Chinese especially in Bangkok and the largest cities.

The purpose of the following is not to present detailed information about Thai pronunciation, tones or script, rather to provide a few handy words, phases and numbers. For words and phrases that are not suitable for polite everyday or public conversation and are more closely related to the P4P scene, please refer to the Abbreviations and P4P Phrases Section.
Note that word Khrap (near silent R) is used often. It is a polite way for a man to finish a sentence addressing a second party. When a female is talking in the same manner she will use the word Kha (long A) instead.
Hopefully you will learn even more when visiting Thailand or searching the Internet, but be very careful in using swearwords or offensive phrases as that surely could spell trouble.

This page is separate from the page that covers: Abbreviations, Acronyms and P4P Phrases 

Thai Words or Phrase


English translation and additional comments

Sawatdee Khrap


Greeting, Hello.  May also be used for Goodbye

La Korn



Sabai Dee Mai


How are you? (Formal: Khun Sabai Dee Mai)

Sabai Dee Khrap


I am fine




Khor Toat



Khap Khun Khrap


Thank you

Mai ben Rai (Lai)


You are welcome (replying a thank you) also means never mind

Mai Ow khrap


Don't want or No thank you

Mai khauw Djai


Don’t understand

Bai nai khrap


Where are you going?

Arai na


I beg your pardon?


Chai / Mai Chai





Very. Mak Mak = very much or too much



Feel pain



Hurry (busy)



Hurry (hurry up)




Cha cha


Slow, slow down


Gee Baht


How Much

Lot Noi Dai Mai


Can you make it cheaper?


Aroy (Aloy)


Delicious (Aroy Aroy = very delicious, same as Aroy Mak)

Mai Aroy


Not delicious (taste bad)

Khor Eak Dai Mai


Can I have more?





Mai Ped = Not Spicy

Ped Nid Noi = Little bit spicy

Ped ha sip ha sip = Medium Spicy

Ped or Ped Dee = Typical Spicy for Thais

Ped Mak = very spicy

Ped Mak Mak= Extremely spicy



Full (eating).


Em Sabai or Em Po Dee = comfortably full

Em Mak = very full

Geb Tung Khrap


Bill/Check please


Hong Naam



Hong Norn


Bed Room


Teerak (Teelak)


Darling or My Love

Som Nam Naa


Equivalent of saying 'serves you right' or 'what comes around goes around'



'To have fun', generally use in the sense of fun together


0 =








1 =



11 =

Sib et


100 =

Nueng Roi

2 =



12 =

Sib Song


20 =

Yee Sib



3 =



13 =

Sib Saam


30 =

Saam Sib


1,000 =

Nueng Pan

4 =



14 =

Sib See


40 =

See Sib



5 =



15 =

Sib Ha


50 =

Ha Sib


10,000 =

Nueng Muen

6 =



16 =

Sib Hok


60 =

Hok Sib



7 =



17 =

Sib Jed


70 =

Jed Sib


100,000 =

Nueng Saen

8 =



18 =

Sib Paed


80 =

Paed Sib



9 =



19 =

Sib Gao


90 =

Gao Sib


1,000,000 =

Nueng Laan

10 =








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