In our experience, English-speaking tourists in Thailand don’t find it difficult to find their way around. Many locals in the big cities and resort islands speak English well enough to help you – most in the hospitality line would have an even greater command of the language. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t learn a few Thai phrases to break the ice with your hosts or new friends. First, it’s polite. And second, it shows that you’re interested in their culture.
Something to remember: add kha at the end of your sentence if you’re talking to a woman; khrab (sounds like ‘krub’) if you’re talking to a man. We asked our friends at Luxury Villas & Homes to teach us a few phrases.
Sa wad dee kha (for woman); sa wad dee khrab (for man)
Khop khun kha; khop khun khrab.
Tip: Thea sounds like ‘tao’.
“Where is the beach?”
Chay haad yu thi ngai?
Sra way nam.
Tip: Sra sounds like ‘sa’ in ‘Melissa’. Way sounds like ‘wai’ in ‘why’.
“It’s pool time!”
Thung wela sra way nam laew!
Tip: Hiw sounds like ‘yew’.
Tip: Xaharn sounds like ‘ahan’.
“Eat rice” (an invitation to eat together)
Than khao hai aroi na.
“This villa is very beautiful”
Villa ni suay mak.
“I love your villa!”
Chan rak villa khong khun!
“How do I get to the airport?”
Chan cha phai thi sanam bin dai yang rai?
“I will be back!”
Chan cha klrab maa xik!
Tip: Xik sounds like ‘ik’.
“I hope to see you again”
Chan wang waa cha dai phob gan xik khrang.
Read also: Koh Samui: A guide to the top neighbourhoods