Thai Talk – Thai For Beginners Lesson 1

My previous Thai talk post on dating and Thai love phrases proved pretty popular, so I thought I would create a useful set of “Thai for beginners” phrases that will be useful for travelers and those just starting to learn.

As always, I’ve written the phonetic English translation, and given you the Thai script.  The entire lesson is also in video format at the bottom of the page.

I hope you find this useful, and If there is a particular phrase or question you would like to know how to say, please feel free to hit me up in the comments section and I will reply with the correct translation:

thai for beginnersThai Talk – 25 Essential Thai Phrases For Beginners:

1. Hello – Sawadee khrup/ka – สวัสดี ครับ / ค่ะ

2. How are you? – Sa bai dee mai khrup/ka – สวัสดีไหม ครับ / ค่ะ

3. Fine, thank you – Sa bai dee khrup/ka – สวัสดี ครับ / ค่ะ

4. Thank you – khop khun khrup/ka – ขอบคุณ ครับ / ค่ะ

5. Yes – Chai khrup/ka – ใช่ครับ / ค่ะ

6. No – Mai khrup/ka – ไม่ครับ / ค่ะ

7. Maybe – Aaj ja khrup/ka – อาจจะ ครับ / ค่ะ

8. Never mind/it’s okay/no problem – Mai ben rai khrup/ka – ไม่เป็นไร ครับ / ค่ะ

9. I cannot speak Thai – Phom/chan puut passa Thai mai dai khrup/ka – ผม / ฉันพูดภาษาไทยไม่ได้ ครับ / ค่ะ

10. Please speak slowly – Ga ru na phuut cha cha khrup/ka –   กรุณา  – พูดช้าช้า ครับ / ค่ะ

11. I don’t understand – Phom/chan Mai kao jai khrup/ka –  ผม / ฉันไม่เข้าใจ ครับ / ค่ะ

12. Where is the rest room? – Hong nam yoo tee nai khrup/ka? –   ห้องน้ำอยู่ที่ไหน ครับ / ค่ะ

13. How much does this cost? – Ra ka tao rai khrup/ka? –  ราคาเท่าไหร่ ครับ / ค่ะ

14. Can you give me a discount please?– Ga ru na lot ra ka hai noi khrup/ka? –  กรุณาลดราคาให้หน่อย ครับ / ค่ะ

15. What is this? – Nee ku arai khrup/ka –  นี่คืออะไร ครับ / ค่ะ

16. That’s expensive! – Paeng mak khrup/ka! –  แพงมาก ครับ / ค่ะ

17. Can I have the bill please – Cor gep dang khrup/ka – ขอเก็บตังค์ครับ / ค่ะ

18. Goodbye! – La gorn khrup/ka – ลาก่อน ครับ / ค่ะ

(when you won’t see someone for a while. If it’s a general goodbye, you can say “bye bye”.

19. Good luck! – Khor hai khun chock dee khrup/ka – ขอให้คุณโชคดี ครับ / ค่ะ

(You can shorten this to “Chock dee”)

20. Sorry/excuse me – Khor thoad khrup/ka –   ขอโทษ ครับ / ค่ะ

21. I need a doctor – Phom dong gaan hai mor maa raak sa khrup/ka –  ผมต้องการให้หมอมารักษา ครับ / ค่ะ

22. Wait a moment please – Ror sak cruu khrup/ka –      รอสักครู่ ครับ / ค่ะ

23. I will come back in 5 minutes – Phom ja glap maa pai nai haa natie khrup/ka –  ผมจะกลับมาภายในห้านาทีครับ / ค่ะ
24. Do you like football? – Khun chorp footborn mai khrup/ka? –     คุณ  – ชอบฟุตบอลไหม ครับ / ค่ะ

25. Which team do you support? – Khun chorp fai nai khrup/ka –   คุณชอบฝ่ายไหน ครับ / ค่ะ

* Please note that the phonetic translations don’t have the tone marks required for a completely accurate pronunciation  However, if once you start using the phrases out and about, Thai people will happily help you with the correct tones. Practice makes perfect, and the only way to get better is to converse with native speakers.

If you want to learn Thai at home or enhance your school lessons, I highly recommend the Thaipod101 online course. I am currently combining this online course with my school learning and it’s working well for me.

I find it gives me a lift between classes and doesn’t allow me to solely rely on the two lessons a week. It also gives me some diversity away from the generic learning structure of the school syllabus. The video files for the program are iPod/iPad and Android compatible, which is cool because I can learn on the go while in cafes and on the train. You can register a basic account and start learning for free, too.

Anyway, it’s time to move onto lesson 2 to further expand your vocabulary!


  1. ken says

    I think all beginning speakers should know that the two languages do not always translate in a word for word fashion and dictionaries are often wrong – it’s good to see you using phrases as that cuts down on the inevitable errors of tone and makes you easier to understand. It can be frustrating at times but ultimately very rewarding as Thai people can be very funny and love to joke – for me, it will surely be a lifetime experience as I never stop learning and hopefully improving.

    one example of above – We “put on” clothing – we “put on” cream. Thai “sai seua pah” and “tah cream” – they use a different word entirely for the different usage. I am entirely street learned but I imagine there is nothing better than a good teacher.


    • TheThailandLife says

      Totally agree, there are a number of words I have come across that they simply don’t have in Thai. I also bought a dictionary here and was told that a large portion of the words didn’t correspond correctly. I didn’t want to get into the tones thing just yet…that really is a difficult area I am yet to anywhere near master….a lifetime of learning indeed. Interesting about the cream…will quiz my Thai teacher about that:)


  2. savanit minglahong says

    Thai Talk for beginners is very interest,i’m lve in Italy,i want if my Mate begin to learn thai a little for understand something some phrass,it’s nice


    • TheThailandLife says

      Hi Savanit, I hope to be posting more Thai lessons up soon so make sure you check back or sign up for updates in the box on the right hand side of the page. Were you asking me what “it’s nice” is in Thai? I didn’t quite get that bit of your message.


    • khean bunchhoeun says

      I’m really don’t know way how to spell consonants ? and i want to know thai in fluent but i don’t know only one consonant .


  3. Keith Tyler says

    I am looking for a good Thai language school in Bangkok. I have plans to leave in November 2012. And would like to stay with a ED Visa a year at a time.
    Any suggestions of a good school that is not a scam?
    A good school will help with the ministry of Education to get the ED Visa in order. But I believe you have to pay for tuition first before application goes to MED. “Ministry of Education”.


    • TheThailandLife says


      Thanks for your message. Sorry for the late reply I am away for Songkran. In terms of a great language learning school in Bangkok you should try Language Express. They do an affordable ED visa for about 20,000 I believe. I studied there last year and really enjoyed it. You can read more about my experience of the school here:

      They are a reputable outfit and all is above board.

      I am currently using Thaipod101 to improve my Thai from home. I really love the program and it’s pretty cheap too. I wrote about this software here:

      I wish you all the best in your move to Thailand and hope you continue to enjoy the blog.


  4. elly says

    I’m going to Phuket on a holiday very soon. I dislike chilli and coriander in my food. Can you please tell me how to say to the waiter/chef, No coriander please! and No chilli please! thank you! cheers, elly


    • TheThailandLife says

      Hi Elly,

      I will try to simplify this as much as possible for you.

      You can say, “Cor Mai sai pik, mai sai pak chi, ka, khop khun ka.” Or you could say, “Mai ow pik, mai ow pak chi, kop khun ka.” (Literally I don’t want chili, I don’t want coriander, thank you”.

      A few notes that might help:

      Mai in this instance sounds like “may”
      Ow sounds like “oww” i hurt my foot
      Pik sounds like “pick”
      Pak sound like “pack”

      To say I don’t like chilli and coriander, you can say “Mai chop gin pik, mai chop gin pak chi”

      As you may have guessed, “mai” means no and chop means “like”.

      Add “ka” to be polite at the end of everything. This is the female form.

      Hope this helps.


  5. says

    Hi, I am little confused with khrup/ka.

    I have two things in mind and let me know which is correct?
    1 . When you’re a guy, address people with khrup (or ka if otherwise)?
    2. Use khrup when you’re talking to a gentleman or ka when you’re speaking to a lady?


    • TheThailandLife says

      Hi Ian. As a man, always address everyone with “khrup”. Whether you are talking to a man or a woman, use “khrup”.

      You will rarely hear a man use “ka”, as this is the polite feminine form. The exceptions, however, are gay men, and occasionally guys will reply to their girlfriends using “ka” when playing around or being sweet. This isn’t common though, and as a foreigner stick solely with “khrup” for everything.

      You may also hear women use “ja”. This is usually used between friends and people who know each other, and by older women when speaking with younger women. You also hear this up county a lot. “Ja” can also be used by men, but until your level of Thai is good enough to know the situations when “Ja” is appropriate, don’t worry about this term.


  6. Trevor says

    Hi, an excellent site! Have you any advice where to start learning Thai script. I have a friend who speaks good English but only reads script (except perhaps numbers). So when I text her its a long job using Google and back-checking – and still riddled with poor translations. Always defaults to ka, not krup for example. Script looks horrendous to learn.


      • Trevor says

        Thanks. That looks like a good site, with some good learning tips. Look forward to seeing your own contribution. Not easy is an understatement- first thing I noticed was 6 versions of “k”, 4 with a low tone and two high. Fun times ahead!


  7. TheThailandLife says

    Yes, there’s plenty more examples like that to come :) A friend of mine bought me some flash cards which are pretty cool. Not sure where he got them from but you could make them yourself.

    It ‘s just like a pack of card but each has a consonant or vowel on it, with the symbol, tone, class and phonetic translation. Great for learning on the go through memorisation and visualisation.

    All the best!


  8. Dawn Marie says

    Hello we are looking to move to Thailand and have some questions maybe you can help us please contact us at Justin and Dawn Marie
    Thank you


  9. Ajit Kumar says

  10. brad says

    I’m struggling with the pronounciation guide here. For example ‘kao’ is really pronounced ‘cow’. As an English speaker when I see kao I would read this as ka-o (a double vowel sound) which is nothing like cow. I get my Thai wife to pronounce the word in Thai otherwise I’m right off track.


    • TheThailandLife says

      Yes, some of the transliterations are hard to grasp which is why I provide the video lesson too. I try to stick to the accepted standard when writing the words in English, but occasionally it can be hard to work out for the reader because there are different tones and similar sounding words involved. In this case, this is “mai kao (high tone) jai”, as in “I don’t understand”, as opposed to “gin (pronounced as a ger not a jer like the drink) khao (high tone also but different word – means rice) ruu yang?” Have you eaten yet. It is a different “khao” and therefore the transliteration spelling differs for that reason. The word that sounds like ‘cow’ is the word for the colour white (pronounced ‘cowww’. Confusing because they all sound similar but have differentiate in Thai spelling and tone. It’s not easy :)

      It is always best when reading a transliteration to then go and practice and adjust the correct tones with a Thai speaker or by using the videos provided.


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