The difficulty in trying to learn some Thai from the written English (often called - Thinglish) word is that the various transliterations cannot communicate the correct tones. Without knowing the tones or inflections, almost anything you try to say beyond the most basic, may make no sense to the Thai ear. Words like "soi" (lane/small street), "BTS" (Bangkok Mass Transit System), "Sukhumwit" (name of Bangkok's main road) and "Su-wan-napoom" (Suvarnabhumi -  Bangkok International Airport) are straightforward, but that's not usually the case.

The only way to progress beyond the Thai "baby" stage, is to listen and mimic.

View some simple Thai phrases here.

Listen to some common Thai phrases here.

Listen and learn the Thai alphabet, consonants, vowels and tonal marks here.

Thai Language - a brief introduction here.

Common Thai words - an A - Z explanation here.

If you are travelling in the major tourist areas of Thailand you will have little trouble finding locals who speak a little English. However, a few handy phrases can go a long way to getting a friendly reception wherever you go in the country. Plus, the more you try to speak it, the more you’ll learn, and Thai people really DO appreciate visitors that attempt their language.

The first thing you need to know is that the Thai language changes a bit depending on whether the speaker is a man or a woman. The addition of the word Krub/khrup (male speaker) and Kah/kaa (female speaker) makes what is being said "polite". Personal pronouns also change according to the gender of the speaker.

Listen to the names of Bangkok neighbourhoods here

Listen to the Thai pronounciation of BTS Skytrain stations here.

Listen how to politely fend off street vendors, tuktuk drivers and the like here.

Listen to the Thai talking menu here.

Listen to the Thai pronounciation of the popular shopping centres and markets here.

Listen carefully and try to imitate the tones of each syllable.

A few handy phrases:

Mai Aow (krub/kah) - I don't want it. (smile when you say this, it is polite, yet will dissuade any street seller from pursuing you further).

(In some areas "R" words take an "L" sound.  i.e. "roi" (100) becomes "loi" and "Chiang Rai" sounds like "Chiang Lai". The Rs and Ls may also be dropped altogether;  i.e. Sri Racha is pronounced "See Rachaa". "Pla" (fish) becomes "Pah" and, "Krub/Khrup" sounds more like "carb".

 

Sawatdee (krub/kah)  Hello
Sabai dee ru (krub/kah)  How are you?
Sabai dee (krub/kah)  Fine
Khob Khun (kup/kaa) Thank you
chai Yes
mai chai
No
dai
(you/ I) can
mai dai
can not

mai pen rai

never mind (handy all purpose phrase to express the Thai go-with-the-flow attitude)

pood Thai mai dai I can not speak Thai.
kow jai mai
do you understand?
mai kow jai
I do not understand
nee Tao Rai? How much?
pang
expensive
pang mak
very expensive
lot noi dai mai
can you give a little discount
took
cheap
naam
water
chok dee
good luck
sanaam bin
Airport
ron
hot
nao
cold
hong naam
toilet
naam keng
ice
nit noi
small - not much - a little bit
yai
large
bia
beer
soopburi
smoke (inhale cigarette smoke)
neung 1
song
2
sam
3
see
4
haa
5
hok
6
jet
7
paed
8
gow
9
sip
10
sip-et
11
sip-song
12
yee sip
20
saam sip
30
roi/loi
100

 

 

 


 

 

 

Allergies to Nuts, Dairy etc.

For people concerned with allergies and anaphylaxis, the list below may prove useful. It is suggested you pick out and print the appropriate phrase (perhaps laminate it, or make several business card sized copies) for peace of mind when dining at restaurants in Thailand.

I am allergic to...

If I eat I will die.

I am allergic to nuts

I am allergic to shellfish.

I am allergic to honey.

I am allergic to eggs.

I am allergic to beancurd

I am allergic to bread

I am allergic to noodles

I am allergic to nuts and eggs a lot. If I eat I will die.

I am allergic to oranges (orange juice)

I am allergic to soya

I am allergic to wheat

I am very allergic to nuts and spinach

I am very allergic to meat, dairy and eggs

LISTEN TO THE SPOKEN WORD FOR ALLERGIES HERE

So go ahead and learn to speak some thai language (pood pasa thai). At the very least your efforts will amuse, and possibly even impress Thai people. Most of all, HAVE FUN (mee sanuk).