Thai Language Guide: Vocabulary

This is a simple guide for the benefit of visitors and to help those intending to learn Thai to get started. We’ve left the proper learning to the experts, which can be found listed in the resources section. But the following basic words, along with our introductory tutorial in the grammar and sentence structure sections, should help you to communicate at a basic level. We’ve also made this section print friendly so you can take a copy with you as you travel.

Hello sawasdee (krup/ka) You khun
How are you? sa-bai dee mai? (rising tone) He, She, They kao
I’m fine chan sa-bai dee Us, We rao
Thank you khob khun What is your name? khun chue a-rai?
Bye Bye la kon Yes/No chai/mai chai
See you again phop kan mai (rising tone) You’re welcome duai khwam yin-dee
Excuse me/Sorry kho thot Welcome to… yin-dee ton-rap
I, Me phom(male) di chan(female) or chan Never mind mai pen rai

mai pen rai is universally used to mean, ‘its ok’, ‘oh well’, ‘you’re excused’, ‘forget about it’ and more.

Thais are very civil and polite by habit and will always add krup (male) or ka (female) to the end of the sentence when addressing others unless they are very familiar with them. Often they will also, as a matter of course, add na in front of this to soften any commands. It’s important to get into this habit from the start.

 

Actions
Want (something) tong-kan Walk dern (pai) as in trekking
Want (action) yaak Find phop
Go pai Repair som
Come maa Take a look long-duu
Take ao (lit; want & go) Speak phuut
Would like yak cha Chat kui
Bring ao maa Drive/Ride khap/khi
Buy sue (low tone) Pay jaai

 

Every Day Items
Money ngoen Motorcycle (Rot) mor-tor-sai
Baggage/Bags gra-pao Boat ruea
Clothes suea pha Books nang-sua
Mobile Phone meu thue Map phaen tee
Taxi thaek see Things sing khong
Bus rot bas Soap sa-buu
Train rot fai Towel pra-chet-tua
Airplane kruang bin Pen pak-ka
Car rot yon Spectacles wen ta
Gasoline naam man  

 

Numbers
One nueng Eleven sip-et
Two song Twelve sip-song (and so on)
Three saam Twenty yee-sip
Four see Twenty One yee-sib-et (and so on)
Five haa (falling tone) Thirty saam-sib
Six hok Hundred rooi
Seven jet Thousand phan
Eight paet Ten Thousand muen
Nine kao (short and low) Hundred Thousand saen
Ten sip Million laan

 

Days and Times
Monday wan jan Month duean
Tuesday wan ang-khan Year pii
Wednesday wan phut Hour chua mong
Thursday wan pharue-hat Minute na-tee
Friday wan suk Morning ton chao
Saturday wan sao Afternoon ton bai
Sunday wan ah-tit Evening ton yen
Weekend sud sap-da Night ton klang-khuen

Expressing time: this is somewhat tricky in Thai as they have traditionally broken the 24-hour clock into four sections. As a beginner, it’s too confusing to follow and your best bet is to stick to a 24-hour clock (e.g. 1pm would be sib-saam chua mong or 13 hours).

 

Questions
What? a-rai?
How? (action yaang rai?
Where? (thee) nai? (sometimes ‘nai’ is used on its own)
Is? (is not) mai? (rising tone)
When? muea-rai? or kee mong? (at what time)
Can (cannot) dai mai? (rising tone)
How much? tao rai?
Have? (action) rue yaang? (as in ‘have you finished?’)
How many? kee? (comes before the subject, as an exception to the rule)
Are? (to be) rue plao? (as in ‘are you Thai?’)

 

Hospitality
Hotel rong ram Fan phad lom
Guest House baan phak Storey chan
Restaurant raan ah-harn Swimming Pool sa-wai-naam
Toilet/Bathroom hong naam Knife, Fork, Spoon mit, som, chon
Hot Water naam ron Bill check bin
Room hong Telephone tho-ra-sap
Bed thii non TV tho-ra-that
Massage nuat Cable sai-khe-boen
Air Con air con    

 

Eating and Drinking
Food ah-harn Pork (all kinds) muu
Seafood a-han tha-le Beef nuea-wua
Drinking Water naam plao Shrimp/Prawns gung
Beer bia Tofu tao hoo
Ice naam khaeng Vegetables phak
Liquor lao Noodles kuai-tiao
Fruit Juice naam phon-lamai Bread kha-nom pang
Fruit phon-lamai Bakes/Snacks kha-nom
Lunch ah-harn klang wan Sugar naam-taan
Breakfast ah-harn chao Sweet wan
Dinner ah-harn yen Salt(y) kem
Rice kaow (falling tone) Spicy/Chilli pet/prik
Fried Rice khao phat MSG pong chu rot
Chicken gai Wheat kao saa lii

If you don’t want an ingredient included simply add mai ow (lit; not want) before any of these (e.g. mai own pon suu rot).

 

Places
City/Town muang National Park u-tha-yan hang-chat
Village moo baan Waterfall naam tok
House baan Museum phi-phit-tha-phan
Beach haad Bank tha-na-karn
Island koh Bus Station sa-tha-ni rot bas
Bay aow Train Station sa-tha-ni rot fai
Mountains phuu-khao Airport sa-nam-bin
River mae naam Police Station sa-tha-ni tam ruat
Market talad Post Office prai-sa-nee
Park suan-sa-tha-ra-na    

 

Adjectives
Fast reo Slow cha
Big yaai Small lek
Fat uan Thin phom
Early chao Late saai
Cheap tuuk Expensive paeng
Long yao Short san
Difficult yaak Easy ngaai (falling tone)
Full tem Empty mot
Hot ron Cold yen (naow – weather)
Loud siang dang Quiet ngiap
Near glai-ee (falling) Far glai (low tone)
Black sii dam White sii khao (rising tone)
Red sii dang Blue (light/dark) sii faa/sii nam ngoen
Yellow sii luang   siik kieow
Gold sii thong Grey sii tao
A Lot yoe/maak Little nit noi
Long time naan

 

Emergency
Help! chuay duay Danger aan-ta-rai
Not well mai sa-bai Hurt/Pain jep/puat
Stomach ache puat tong Head ache puat hua
Tooth ache puat fun Eyes sore puat taa
Hospital rong pa-ya-baan Police Station sa-tha-ni tum ruat
Doctor maw Dentist maw fan
Thief/Stolen ka-moy-ee Accident u-bat-ti-het
Medicine yaa Lawyer nak-kot-mai
Tired nuay Afraid klua
Must have tong mee

 

Essential Phrases
I don’t understand chan mai kao jai
Do you understand? khun kao jai mai? (rising tone on last word)
I want to go to… chan yaak pai…
Do you have a room? khun mee hong wang mai? (rising tone on last word)
What time will you leave? khun ja pai gee mong?
What time will it open? pert gee mong?
What time does it close? pit gee mong?
Which way? tang nai?
Turn Left/Right leo saai/kwaa
Go Straight/Stop! trong pai/yuut!
I don’t want any thanks chan mai aow krap/ka!
Go Away pai sii!!
Can you fix this? khun som nee dai mai? (falling and rising tone on dai mai)
How much is this? nee tao rai?
Can you make it cheaper? lot dai mai? (falling and rising tone on dai mai)
I don’t like (this) … chan mai chop (nee)…
Can we meet again? rao phop kan ik khrang dai mai? (rising tone on mai)
I love you chan rak khun
I miss you chan kit thung khun
…very much maak

 

Further reading…