Say – Sawatdee

Phrases You Must Know for a Happy Thai Time

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

Thank you:

You’re a woman- Kap-koon-kah

You’re a man- Kap-koon-krap

How are you:


Do you speak English:



Chicken: Gai

Pork: Moo

Beef: Noo-ah-wah

Rice: Khao

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

google translate 

the app: “Say Hi”  which allows you to speak into your phone in one language and `it will speak and type the translation

More Thai

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!