6 Easy Thai phrases that made my trip way better
I had been learning basic Thai in preparation for my three week trip in Hat Yai, southern Thailand. Though I learned many basic things such as how to introduce myself or order food, I found these 6 phrases to be the ones I used the most.
I loved using these phrases because not only were they practical, they sometimes brought a smile to a person’s face. In most of my past trips I often was at a loss when it came to talking to a local, and had to resort to hand gestures. These phrases are not going to make you an excellent conversationalist, but they will definitely make your trip more pleasant.
1) Thank you.
Khop khun (maak) [kha/khrap].
Thank you (very) much.
Thank you. A simple, basic phrase that is without question the one you’ll be using the most.
Pro-tip: To show respect, say kha at the end of a sentence if you are a lady, and khrap if you’re a man. Include maak if you are very thankful.
2) How much?
Stalls in markets usually do not have price tags or signboards for their goods. You could just ask “Thawray?” alone, but it is more polite to include kha or khrap.
3) Can you give me a discount?
Lot noy dai mai [kha/khrap]?
This is probably the second most important question I have had to ask in Thai. That’s simply because I have been able to reduce my shopping costs quite a bit with this question.
When you ask this, the stall keeper will respond with “dai” for yes, and “mai dai” for no. The conversation will definitely be a lot smoother if you could memorise Thai numbers. But don’t worry, you can still get by if you use your fingers.
4) I don’t want it.
Mai ow [kha/khrap].
Sometimes, you just don’t manage to bargain for the price you want. It would be pretty awkward, not to mention, rude if you just walked away without an explanation.
So what I usually do is just smile and say “Mai ow kha. Khop khun kha.” That is — “I don’t want it. Thank you.”
Also, this phrase is a salesman repellent. When I firmly (but politely) tell hawkers I don’t want it in Thai, they often grin and walk away. It’s a huge difference as compared to my last experience being relentlessly flocked by hawkers.
Aroy (maak) [kha/khrap]!
Sometimes the Thai food you taste is so delicious you simply need to give compliments. Aroy directly translates to delicious, and it is a great way to compliment whoever cooked the food.
By the way, if you’re looking forward to eating Thai food, check out this article I wrote about the most aroy street food you need to try in Thailand.
6) Where’s the toilet?
Hong nam yu thinay [kha/khrap]?
This is the most important question you might need to ask. I’ve been in restaurants and cafes where even the menu is not in English. Similarly, the staff might not understand English as well. Ask them this question, and they will point you in the right direction.
That brings me to the end of this list. Even if time goes by and I eventually forget my basic Thai, I will always keep this list handy so that I’ll be able to get around Thailand more easily.
Do you have any other phrases you like to use? Or is there a new phrase you’d like to learn? Let me know in the comments!