As our cooking teacher repeated to us all day. “You say Sawatdee ka to Thai people and you will make them happy”
Wherever you are, a few conversational skills will get you a long way. Greeting someone in their own language shows people respect.
Even if you butcher your attempt, have a barely understandable accent, or say thank you in stead of hello… Greet someone in their own language and you will tell them more than just hello: You will tell them they matter.
A few must have phrases in Thailand
You’re a woman – Sawat-dee-kah
You’re a man- Sawat-dee-krap
You’re a woman- Kap-koon-kah
You’re a man- Kap-koon-krap
How are you:
Do you speak English:
Very Good: dee-mak
Eat in Thailand and you will need to know how to say that last one.
Easy to use resources for translating
the app: “Say Hi” which allows you to speak into your phone in one language and `it will speak and type the translation
Thai is not an overly formal langue- so if you have a couple of words in your vocabulary, you have a good chance of being understood, so give it a try!
Thai has it’s own alphabet and script. When you read an english translation, it’s an estimate of the phonetic spelling. So, you’ll find different spellings all over the place for the same thing.
Here’s a sample… let’s see if you can translate it.
Another important part of communicating in Thailand is the Wai.
When you’re greeting someone, especially an elder or someone with authority, place your hands together (like the classic praying pose) and bow your head. The deeper the bow and higher you raise your hands the more respect you show.
When in doubt, it’s Thailand so just smile!