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Top 10 phrases to learn for holidays to Thailand

As most British travellers who have taken holidays to Thailand will attest to, you can get by pretty comfortably in Thailand without speaking the local lingo. Tourism provides approximately 6% of Thailand’s GDP and with English seemingly the universal language, most locals working in the tourism industry will have a pretty good grasp of England’s mother tongue anyway.

But that doesn’t mean that learning a few choice Thai phrases isn’t worthwhile because it is! Picking up and trying a few key sentences may well enrich your travelling experience Great Thai beachesand put you in favour with the locals. Even if you get the words wrong and mess up the pronunciation, just having a go is often greatly appreciated.

So here are ten key phrases for you to give a whirl on your Thailand holiday. As a tonal language, it can be a little tricky to get the pronunciation of Thai words correct, so if you can listen to some examples and practice before you go, so much the better.  One point to note – when you are referring to yourself in Thai, there are different words depending on whether a male (phon or phom) is speaking or whether a female (chan) is speaking.  The below phrases are written as if a man was saying them so If you are a female, just change ‘phon ‘or ‘phom’ for ‘chan’.

1. Do you speak English?
Kun poot pah-sah angrit dai mai?

A great one to start with - you may not even need any more Thai if the answer to this question is “Chai” (yes). Although if the answer comes back as “mai-chai” (no) you may have to think again.

2. Thank you very much
Kob-kun-mak

3. How are you? / I’m fine thanks
Sa-bai-dee-mai? / Sa-bai-dee, kob-kun

4. Good Morning
A-roon-sa-was

5. Good evening
Sa-yan-sa-was

6. What's your name? / My name is ...
Kun-cheu-a-rai? / Phom-cheu...

7. How Do You Say "[insert English word here]" In Thai?
Kam-wa-“[English word]”-nai-pa-sa-thai-pood-yang-rai?
A great phrase for picking up some new Thai words.

8. What’s that called in Thai?
An-nee-pa-sa-thai-reak-wa-a-rai-ka.

...although this one is even better. This is usually accompanied by plenty of pointing or holding up of various objects.

9. I need a doctor
Phom-yak-pob-maw.

This is a pretty important sentence and definitely one to memorise

10. I love you!
Phon-rak-kun-mak!

Because you never know who you might meet...


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