How to Say Thank You in Thai: 10 Phrases for Great Trips

Thailand has long been a fascinating location for tourists and globe-trotters. Thailand has long been a fascinating location for tourists and globe-trotters. According to The Tourism Council of Thailand (TCT), the Land of Smiles recorded tourist arrivals in 2022 at approximately 12 million, aiming to lure over 30 million visitors in 2023. Bangkok, the nation’s capital, has recently eclipsed London as the most visited city in the world.

When it is ultimately safe to travel to Thailand, it’s always advisable to plan for your trip to the country. The nation offers countless chances to gain long-lasting memories and enjoy life thanks to its stunning natural scenery, historic landmarks, full moon celebrations, and delicious local food. Now that Thailand has been able to stop the spread of the disease, any traveler will have a sense of security

Why not prepare for your next fantastic trip by learning some basic Thai words and practicing them? Knowing how to say thank you in Thai will enrich your journey and lead to some intriguing cultural encounters, even though the language barrier isn’t much of an issue in this country.

How to Say Thank You in Thai & Useful Travel Phrases

There is a little caveat before we get to the root of the matter: Thai is a tonal language, which means that different tones give the word different meanings. Thankfully, most of the time, people will be able to figure out what you mean from the context.

Thai has its own unique script in addition to its tonal system. That’s why it’ll take a long time to become fluent in the language. But, hey, there’s no need to panic just yet! Learning some simple Thai phrases like “hi” and “thank you” in Thai should not be too difficult, and we’ve included the corresponding pronunciations in English for your convenience.

Okay, let’s get the ball rolling!

Sawasdee/Sawadee – Hello

A simple hello is the first step for greeting in Thai. The most frequent way to say “Hello” in Thai is “sawasdee,” pronounced “sa-wah-dee.” You’ll hear this expression frequently if you have been to the nation previously. As well as being a universal greeting, the phrase also stands for “good morning,” “good afternoon,” and “goodbye” in this context.

There are different ways to welcome Thai friends if you’re willing to branch out of your comfort zone. Good morning is “Sawasdee don chao,” Good afternoon is “Sawasdee tohn bai,” and Good night is “ra tri sawat” in Thai.

Keep in mind that you can show proper respect by ending each phrase with ‘krap’ or ‘ka’ if you want to. ‘Krap’ is reserved for males, whereas ‘ka’ is used by women, such that the two syllables are gender-specific in a conversation. Saying “Sawasdee ka” is a polite way to greet someone in Thai, especially if you’re a woman. Don’t get the two confused or you’ll turn out to be silly.

“Sawatdee” is well known as a Thai greeting
“Sawatdee” is well known as a Thai greeting. Image: Studythai.org

Sabaaidii Mai – How Are You?

The general flow of a conversation is something everyone understands. A small chat follows the first welcome. Similarly, this is true in Thai. The question “How are you?” is a useful one to know, whether you care about the answer or not.

How are you? in Thai is pronounced “sabaaidii mai” (sah-bai-dee mai). Say “Pom sabaaidii krap” if you are a man or “Chan sabaaidii ka” if you are a woman.

Interestingly, “Gin khao ruu yang?” translates exactly to “Have you eaten yet?” and is therefore another method of asking “How are you?” in Thailand. It’s an odd question to pose just after shaking hands, but it accurately captures the spirit of the food-centric society in the Land of Smiles. Thai culture centers around food and the social interaction it fosters.

Either “Gin laew,” which means “Eaten already,” or “Yang,” which means “Not yet,” are acceptable responses. Learning this unique local greeting is a certain way to put a smile on someone’s face wherever you go!

Chai/Mai – Yes/No

The question word ‘chai mai’ actually means ‘isn’t it?’ in Thai. At first glance, it may be assumed that all you are doing is answering “yes” or “no.” It’s unclear why this is confusing, although it might also make sense to be translated as ‘isn’t it?’ in English.

A closer inspection, or the ability to understand the Thai letters, reveals a variant spelling. The ‘chai’ part of the phrase ‘chai mai’ is in fact the same word used for yes in Thai: ‘chai’. 

The other part is “mai,” but it’s pronounced a little differently from the word for “no.” To ask a simple yes/no question, you can use the question word mai. Other than the difference in script, the tone of one’s voice distinguishes the Thai word meaning “no” (mai) from the question word “mai”. They each adopt a falling and a rising tone, respectively.

Khor Thot – Sorry 

So, you accidentally fall and hurt someone’s foot? Unintentionally bother a Thai in any way?  Or you could need simple directions from a friendly local. To get by, remember to use “Khor thot” (“Khaaw tawt”). It means both “Sorry” and “Excuse me” in Thai.

And remember to conclude your sentences with a courteous “krap” or “ka” if you want to impress someone. A heartfelt apology spoken in the native tongue can not only get you out of an embarrassing situation, but it just could convert it into a warm and friendly meeting.

When the tables are turned and a local is trying to apologize to you, a simple “mai bpen rai” should do the trick. Make sure your tone doesn’t come out as aggressive or overbearing.

In a reversed situation, a local is trying to apologize to you, a simple “mai bpen rai” should do the trick. Make sure your tone doesn’t come out as aggressive or overbearing.

Khaawp Khun – Thank You

So, how do we say ‘Thank you’ in Thai? To show your appreciation to locals, you can say ‘Khaawp khun’ (pronounced “kohp koon”).

Being nice to everyone you meet, from shopkeepers to taxi drivers, will make your vacation more enjoyable. If you say it with a big, warm grin on your face and then end the statement with “krap” or “ka,” you’ll probably make someone’s day.

In response to someone who says ‘Thank you’ in Thai you might say “Mai bpen rai” (“mai pen rai”). This phrase has taken on greater cultural meaning than merely an expression. Don’t fret about that, it’s OK, or Never mind are the closest English phrases that come close to translating this phrase. There is a Thai principle called ‘greng jai’ that they are trying to express here: caring about others’ feelings and not wanting to cause them harm.

3 Ways to Say Thank You in Thai. Source: Learn Thai with ThaiPod101.com

Yoo Tee Nai… – Where Is…?

You can expect the locals to speak English if you visit Bangkok or Chiang Mai, two of Thailand’s most famous tourist spots. However, English is not the national language by any means. According to the statistics, only roughly a quarter of the Thai population is fluent in English, and many of them only speak it at a very basic level.

That being said, every tourist’s worst nightmare is being lost in a foreign country without a common language to connect with the inhabitants. If this happens to you, try to remain calm. You can ask a local for directions provided you have a map, either a paper one or one on your phone. To get anywhere, say “Yoo tee nai…?” and direct where you want to go; the locals will gladly show you the way.

Gee Baht – How Many Baht?

Shopping is one of the most thrilling activities in Thailand. What, therefore, should you say if you wish to purchase some gifts for your loved ones as mementos of your trip? Gee baht? is the phrase you should use to inquire about the pricing from the vendor.

This question literally means ‘How many baht?’ Now you can avoid the humiliation of spending half an hour attempting to explain to the vendor why the price is too high before realizing that you cannot afford it.

Say “Tao rai?” which translates to “How much?” for another option. Not knowing the Thai numerals is also not a problem. Most shopkeepers have calculators and would gladly plug in a price for you to see. Most marketplaces have some form of haggling, so feel free to make up a counteroffer and throw it in their face.

Knowing how to ask for the price in Thai benefits you greatly
Knowing how to ask for the price in Thai benefits you greatly. Source: Shutterstock

Mai Aow – I Don’t Want It

Struggle to politely decline the services of persistent street peddlers or tuk-tuk drivers? The phrase “mai aow” (which means “I don’t want that”) is an essential one to learn.

Any agitated traveler will feel relieved to read this statement. If you remember to add ‘krap’ or ‘ka’ at the end of your phrases, you can escape the merchants’ unwelcome attention.

Phaeeng Maak Pai – Too Expensive

When shopping in Thai marketplaces, one of the most helpful words you can learn is “Phaeeng maak pai” (“feng mak pie”). This one means “far out of my price range.” This one is for when you find the price to be too high and want to show the dealer that you know how to shop and negotiate like a pro.

Knowing the language will help in situations like this. Better bargains may be possible if you speak more than one language. Do you still intend to buy that memento despite your concerns about its high price? Smile warmly and ask, “Lot noi dai mai?” (Can you provide a little discount?)

It was previously indicated that you might also provide your counteroffer. A good rule of thumb is to offer half of the original price as a starting point for negotiations and work from there. However, if the seller is firm on their asking price, resist the urge to lowball. Despite Thailand’s reputation as “the Land of Smiles,” no one is happy when dealing with an aggressive buyer.

Jur Gan – Goodbye  

There are other ways to say farewell in Thai, but “Sawasdee” or “Jer gan” (‘See you again’/’Until next time’) are the most common and most polite. The natives always use these phrases, and they apply to any circumstance.

The word “laagorn,” which may mean “hello” or “hi” is recommended by several users on Quora. This saying, however, suggests that you won’t see each other again. You could use it to bid your newfound travel companions farewell, but you won’t hear many Thais using the word “laagorn”. This phrase is common in fiction and music but rarely in everyday situations.

Laagorn – “Goodbye” / “Farewell”
Laagorn – “Goodbye” / “Farewell”. Source: Twinsterphoto via Canva Pro

You can also say “Wai jer gan” (“Take care”), “Jer gan mai” (“See you again” or “Until the next time”), or “prung nii jer gan” (“See you tomorrow”). They are all courteous, kind, and completely at ease in social situations.

Other Things for Your Trip to Thailand

Now that you know a few more practical words in Thai, how else can you enhance your trip? Things to remember are as follows:

During COVID-19 Pandemic…

If a vacation to Thailand is in your future, you may be relieved to learn that the country is emerging from the worst wave of the outbreak.

Thailand will once again accept vaccinated overseas visitors beginning November 1. A waiver of the mandatory 21-day quarantine period is granted to visitors who have recently returned from 63 countries and territories. While waiting for the results of the COVID-19 test, you will be obliged to spend the night at a government-sanctioned hotel.

It is acceptable to travel to these nations and territories from Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Germany, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

If you are entirely vaccinated, but your nation is not on the list, you can still visit Thailand under the “sandbox” scheme, but you will need to spend at least seven nights in a hotel or resort within one of the 17 “blue zones” designated by the Thai government. If you wait until that time, you won’t be able to move about the nation freely. Vacationers who haven’t had their shots might spend 10 days in quarantine at a designated hotel.

Visit the Land of Smiles Right Time 

It’s a good idea to come to the Land of Smiles during November and March, during the dry season, when the temperature seldom drops below 70 degrees. The terrain will be lush and lovely after the previous monsoon season, and the average temperature will be around 80 degrees Fahrenheit, so your journey will be nothing short of fantastic. Further, key Thai festivals occur around this season, giving you extra opportunities to learn about the local customs and traditions.

Conversely, the months of November through March are also the holiday season. This is the most expensive and crowded period to go. For those on a tighter budget, low/monsoon season might be a good option (between July and September). Rainy season travel is always an adventure. Access to the island and boat transportation may be delayed for many days if the forecast calls for bad weather. Travelers who are adaptable and well-organized, on the other hand, may score the greatest rates on everything from accommodations to excursions.

Change Money into Thai Baht

The widespread acceptance of credit and debit cards has reduced the need for nimble vacationers to carry significant amounts of cash. To my dismay, card payments are not often accepted in Thailand. Food and drink purchases at bars and restaurants often need cash only (even when you see a POS card machine).

You can always locate an ATM. There is a catch, though: There is a fee of 350 Baht (about $11) for foreigners to withdraw money from a Thai bank. This cost is structured to appear as a withdrawal on your bank statement, in addition to the exchange rate and possible second transaction fee. When you finish the transaction, you can lose $30 on a modest withdrawal. These charges might add up quickly if you use an ATM frequently throughout your vacation.

ATM cash machines at Siam Paragon shopping mall, Bangkok
ATM cash machines at Siam Paragon shopping mall, Bangkok. Source: Thinnapob Proongsak / Shutterstock

Exchanging money before embarking on your trip is the best option. The minimum amount of cash necessary to enter the nation is 10,000 Baht, although this amount is flexible depending on your budget and the duration of your stay. There are money exchanges on every Thai street, so don’t forget to carry some cash in your local currency. If you compare their rate to that of the airport, you’ll find that it’s far lower.

Follow the Dress Code When Sightseeing

When visiting Thailand, what is the dress code for visitors? All visitors and locals are expected to adhere to a strict dress code while entering Thai temples, which includes taking off shoes, covering shoulders, and wearing slacks or skirts that reach at least to the ankles. There is no formal dress code everywhere, but remember that first impressions are quite important in this country.

The COVID-19 epidemic has, of course, also influenced how visitors to Thailand should dress. Don’t forget the face mask when considering what to pack for Thailand.

It should be noted that rules for wearing face masks in Thailand vary from province to province. The Phuket provincial governor, for instance, has issued a directive for its citizens to get their faces masked in public. Those who disobey this regulation might face a $638 fine (20,000.00 Baht).

Keep Your Eyes Peeled for Prices

Slick negotiators are in every place, and Thailand is no different. When I first visited Thailand, I took a motorbike taxi, and the driver charged me 10 times the going cost. I paid 500 Baht, five hundred times the average price of 50 Baht.

You may think of it as a tourist fee, but you’d do your pocketbook a favor by haggling over the price first. You may save costs significantly if you know the going rate for services like taxi trips and massages.

How to Bargain in Bangkok, Thailand (Bargaining Tips). Source: Alec Torelli

Pay Close Attention to the Road Ahead

The Thai public transit system is notoriously disorganized. People driving automobiles in any direction and swerving in and out of lanes to avoid collisions is widespread. Traffic lights are another form of street lighting that may be ignored. Thailand is unique in that its drivers operate on the left side of the road.

What’s the good news? Local drivers seldom have collisions. Worse yet? It is usually the visitors that cause problems. Renting a bike and driving around town is a fun and inexpensive way to see the sights. A combination of the heavy traffic and your right-hand-drive American inclination might be disastrous. When driving in Thailand, it’s important to exercise additional caution. Develop quick reflexes, always use a helmet, and maintain focus on the road in front of you.

What Are People from Thailand Called?

Current-day Thailand is located in Southeast Asia, north of Malaysia and Indonesia and south of Malaysia and Vietnam. Until the 1930s, the country’s name was Siam, but it was formally changed to the Kingdom of Thailand after that.

To that end, what do you call people from Thailand? The fact that some Americans refer to Thais as Taiwanese astonished many, but it’s not that unrelated after all. The word “Thai” refers to a person as a citizen of Thailand, while Thailand citizens are Thais (plural). Thai is the national language of Thailand; its name comes from the Sanskrit phrase for “free people,” which is also the origin of the Thai alphabet.

Jer Gan Mai’ – Until Next Time! 

Simply put, the Land of Smiles is a mystical paradise on Earth. Your attention will be captivated by the beautiful scenery, delicious food, and warm welcome of the residents. With helpful words like “Thank you” in Thai and advice from fellow travelers, your trip to Thailand will be unforgettable.

Are there specific words or expressions in Thai that you would like to learn in preparation for your future trips? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!

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