The national language of Thailand is Thai, which is also called Siamese or Central Thai. This is also the native language of Thai Chinese. It is really good to have the word in thai to show the taxi driver or person you are asking. I cannot tell you how many times I have asked people and gotten lost. Too many to count. Copy the word in thai and show the person. Whenever you ask a question say “mai” after. If you are female, end the sentence with ka”. if you are male, end the sentence with (krap, krab, khop). This is important and shows politeness. For example: sa wat dee khrap= how are you. Also, a good idea is to take pictures of the street signs of your hotel or wherever you want to go/come back to. Do not expect anyone to speak english. I have found the younger generation to be better and more comfortable to approach to ask a question in english. Although 1/3 times the answer for directions can be correct:) Google maps is a great source and stick by it.
Some important thai phrases:)
สวัสดี sa wat dee -a polite greeting or farewell used when meeting or parting- hello; goodbye; good morning; good afternoon; good evening; good night; greetings
สบายดีหรือ -sa baai dee reuu “How are you?”
ขอบคุณ khaawp khoon – spoken formally to a person of higher rank or status, e.g. parents, teachers] “Thank you” [male: add ครับ ; female: add ค่ะ ]
นี่เท่าไร? nee thao rai “How much is this?”
ไม่เป็นไร mai bpen rai “It doesn’t matter.” — “Never mind.” — “You’re welcome” — “Don’t mention it.” — “It’s no big deal.”
แล้วพบกันใหม่ laaeo phohp gan mai “See you later.” — “See you soon!” — “Until we meet again.”
ขอโทษ khaaw tho “I apologize” — “I’m sorry” — “Excuse me” — “Pardon me.”
สบายดี sa baai dee to be feeling fine; I am fine; I’m fine.
สวัสดีครับ sa wat dee khrap [spoken politely by a male] hello; goodbye
สวัสดีค่ะ sa wat dee kha [spoken politely by a female] hello or goodbye
พูดไทยไม่ได้ phuut thai mai dai “I can’t speak Thai.”
ไม่เข้าใจ mai khao jai [I, you] don’t understand
เข้าใจไหม khao jai mai Do you understand?
ถ่ายรูปได้ไหม thaai ruup dai mai May I take a picture?
ห้องน้ำอยู่ที่ไหน haawng naam yuu thee nai “Where’s the restroom?”
นี่อะไร nee a rai “What is this?”
แพงไหม? phaaeng mai “Is it expensive?”
ขอให้โชคดี khaaw hai cho:hok dee “Good luck to you.”
ใครขายไข่ไก่ khrai khaai khai gai [tongue twister, alliteration] “Who sells chicken eggs?”
เก็บตังค์ gep dtang- ( check bin ) “Check, please.”
เป็นยังไงบ้าง bpen yang ngai baang “How’s it going?” — “How do you feel?” — “How do you do?” — “What’s up?”
คุณอายุเท่าไร khoon aa yoo thao rai “How old are you?”
อะไรก็ได้ a rai gaaw dai anything will do; that option would also be fine; whatever; anything will be okay; anything you want
ไปไหน bpai nai “Where are you going?”
คุณพูดภาษาอังกฤษได้ไหม khoon phuut phaa saa ang grit dai mai “Can you speak English?”
ขอบคุณมาก khaawp khoon maak [a person, younger and/or lower in status, thanking the other who is older and/or higher in status] “Thank you very much”
ขอไม่เผ็ด khaaw mai phet “Please don’t make the food spicy-hot.”
ขอเผ็ด ๆ นะครับ khaaw phet phet na khrap [spoken by a male] “Please make the food spicy-hot”
กรุณาพูดช้า ๆ หน่อย ga roo naa phuut chaa chaa naawy “Please speak slowly.”
อะไรนะ? a rai na “What?” — “Huh?” — “What did you say?” — “What was that?”
คุณอยู่ที่ไหน khoo yuu thee nai “Where are you?”
ไม่ใช่ mai chai “I don’t think so” — “not right” — “not so” — “not true” — “No, it is not”
คุณเป็นผู้ชายหรือผู้หญิง khoon bpen phuu chaai reuu phuu ying “Are you a man or a woman?”
กี่โมงแล้ว gee mo: hng laaeo “What time is it?”
ผมไม่เข้าใจ phohm mai khao jai “I don’t understand.” — “I do not understand.”
ผมเป็นคนอเมริกัน phohm bpen khohn american “I am an American.”
Thai Phrases for Foods
• Tom Yum: The dish consists of lime leaves, lemongrass, shallots and types of seafood/meat/tofu that provide the memorable smells, with chilis and fish sauce providing the kick.
• Pad Thai: The dish consists of noodles decorated with bean sprouts, tofu, onion, and peanuts crushed to dust.
• Kuay Tiew (Noodle Soup): Thin noodles are served up in a broth with any edible meat: chicken, pork, duck, seafood and pork.
• Som Tam: Spicy papaya salad
• Gai Med Ma Moung: Chicken Cashew Nuts
• Geng Kheaw Wan Gai: Green Curry Chicken
• Tom Kha Gai: Boiled galangal chicken includes coconut milk with lemongrass, galangal ‘ginger’s Asian sister ‘ and chicken.
• Kao Phad: Fried Rice
So if you want chicken with your rice, Say “Khao phad gai”, pig, = “Khao phad”
• Massaman Curry: The curry ingredients are potatoes, coconut milk, bay leaves, roasted peanuts, cinnamon, sugar and tamarind sauce. You can use the curry with chicken or beef.
• Khao man gai: Chicken and white rice