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All the Ways to Say “Hello in Thai”

How to Say Hello in Thai

When you start learning a new language, “Hello” is one of the first words that you’re likely to learn. Saying hello in Thai is easy and it’s also a convenient and good way to start a conversation in many situations. How Thai people say hello in Thai and the way Thai people greet represent Thai culture and give a glimpse into how they live their lives. This article will teach you all you need to know about this, from saying “good morning” in the Thai language to finally concluding your conversation.

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Understanding “hello” when making a trip in Thailand will be very important. Similar to other languages, there are many ways to say hello in Thai. Each one is used differently based on who you’re greeting and the situation you’re in.

Below, we outlined for you various ways to say hello in Thai along with detailed explanations. You’ll understand the context of the word more after reading this article, and as a result you’ll be able to say hello like a Thai native.

1. Hello

So, how do Thai people say “hello?”

Let’s start with a general explanation of the word “hello.” What is the Thai word for “hello?” How do you say “hello” in Thai? How do you spell “hello” in Thai? And what is “hello” in Thai translation?

“Hello” in the Thai language is สวัสดี (sà-wàt-dii). The word “hello,” in Thai means goodness, beauty, prosperity, and safety. Because of its good meaning, Thai people use this word as a greeting to wish other parties well. Sà-wàd-dee has been formally used as “hello” and “goodbye” in Thailand since January 22, 1943.

Sà-wàt-dii is one of the ways to say “hello” or “hi” in Thai. And it’s probably the safest choice of hello words you can use in any situation and with anyone. You can say it anytime of the day. You can say it to anyone, whether they’re older or younger. So it’s wise to remember this word, though it’s not the only way to translate “hello” in Thai.

sà-wàt-dii khâ

1- How to Use “Hello” in a Sentence

When putting “hello” in a sentence, there are a few ways you can use it, which are listed below:

  1. Just say sà-wàt-dii. If the other party knows you’re talking to him/her, you can just say sà-wàt-dii to greet him/her. This case can be used when you don’t know the other party’s name, as well.

    Example: You walk into a Thai restaurant. The waitress may say สวัสดีค่ะ กี่ท่านคะ (sà-wàt-dii khâ gìi thân khá), which means “Hello, how many people?”

  2. Sà-wàt-dii + name of people/noun/group of people. You can be more specific when greeting by saying the name of the person (or group of people) you want to greet after saying sà-wàt-dii.

    Example: A nephew greets his aunt with สวัสดีครับ น้าป้อม (sà-wàii-dii khráp náa bpâawm), which means, “Hello, Aunt Pom.”

  3. Name of people/noun/group of people + sà-wàt-dii. Another way you can use this greeting is to call the person’s name (or the group of people) you want to greet first to get their attention, and say sà-wàt-dii afterward.

    Example: In a company meeting, a manager may greet with ทุกคน สวัสดีค่ะ (thúk khon sà-wàt-dii khâ), which means, “Hello everybody,” before starting the meeting.

**Note: Females put ค่ะ (khâ) at the end of sentences to make them polite, while males put ครับ (khráp) at the end of sentences to make them polite.

Examples of How to Say Hello

  • “Hello children” in Thai is สวัสดี เด็ก ๆ (sà-wàt-dii dèk-dèk).
  • “Hello my love” in Thai is สวัสดี ที่รัก (sà-wàt-dii thîi-rák).
  • “Hello handsome” in Thai is สวัสดี สุดหล่อ (sà-wàt-dii sùt làaw).
  • “Hello girl” in Thai is สวัสดี สาวน้อย (sà-wàt-dii sǎao náauy).
  • “Hello boy” in Thai is สวัสดี หนุ่มน้อย (sà-wàt-dii nùm náauy).
  • “Hello beautiful girl” in Thai is สวัสดี สาวสวย (sà-wàt-dii sǎao sǔuai).

2- Hello in Thai Slang

Sometimes, when people who are familiar with each other greet, they shorten the word สวัสดี (sà-wàt-dii) to หวัดดี (wàt-dii) or ดี (dii). This is an informal way to greet, and is quite similar to the difference between “hello” or “hi” in English. This is a common way to say “hello” in Thai among friends.

Thai Greetings

2. Hello and Time

Now that you know what “hello” is in Thai, your next questions are likely to be: What is “good morning” in the Thai language? What is “good afternoon” in Thai? What is “good evening” in Thai? And so on and so on. So let’s learn Thai greetings for each time of day.

Also keep in mind before we get into it that there is a formal way of greeting, and an informal. The formal one is a bit hard to learn for foreigners. Fortunately, you’ll hear the formal greeting only in TV shows, radio shows, or in formal situations, but not much in daily conversation.

Thai people use the less-formal one in daily speaking, and it’s very easy to learn and remember. You just put the time after the word sà-wàt-dii.

1- “Good morning”

  • Formal: อรุณสวัสดิ์ (à-run sà-wàt)
  • Less formal: สวัสดีตอนเช้า (sà-wàt-dii dtaawn cháo)

2- “Good afternoon”

  • Formal: ทิวาสวัสดิ์ (thí-waa sà-wàt)
  • Less formal: สวัสดีตอนบ่าย (sà-wàt-dii dtaawn bàai)

** The formal word for “good afternoon” is rarely used, even on TV or radio shows.

3- “Good evening”

  • Formal: สายัณห์สวัสดิ์ (sǎa-yan sà-wàt)
  • Less formal: สวัสดีตอนเย็น (sà-wàt-dii dtaawn yen)

4- “Goodnight”

  • Formal: ราตรีสวัสดิ์ (raa-dtrii sà-wàt)
  • Less formal: -

** raa-dtrii sà-wàt can be used in all situations, both in media and in daily conversation.

3. Hello in Various Situations

There are many situations where you can use Thai “hello” or sà-wàt-dii. Further, there’s a best way to say “hello” in Thai, depending on the context. Since you may be new to the language, we’ll show you sentences and phrases that you can use along with sà-wàt-dii in various situations.

1- Greeting When You First Meet Someone

Introduce yourself

This is the situation when you meet someone, greet him/her, and introduce yourself to him/her. Basically, it’s how to say “Hello, my name is…” in Thai.

Example:

  • ทศพล: สวัสดีครับ ผมชื่อทศพล ยินดีที่ได้รู้จักครับ
    Thót-sà-phon: sà-wàii-dii khráp phǒm chûue Thót-sà-phon yin-dii thîi dâi rúu-jàk khráp
    Todsapol: Hello, my name is Todsapol. Nice to meet you.”
  • ตฤณ: สวัสดีครับ ผมชื่อตฤณ ยินดีที่ได้รู้จักเช่นกันครับ
    Dtrin: sà-wàii-dii khráp phǒm chûue dtrin yin-dii thîi dâi rúu-jàk chêen gan khráp
    “Trin: Hello, my name is Trin. Nice to meet you too.”

2- Greeting People You Already Know, but Haven’t Met in a While

When you meet people you already know but aren’t very close with, you can greet them and have a little chat with them. So this is how you say “Hello, how are you?” in Thai.

Example:

  • ทศพล: สวัสดีครับ คุณตฤณ ไม่เจอกันนาน สบายดีมั๊ยครับ
    Thót-sà-phon: sà-wàii-dii khráp khun dtrin mâi jooe gan naan sà-baai dii mái khráp
    “Todsapol: Hello, Trin. Long time no see. How are you?”
  • ตฤณ: สวัสดีครับ คุณทศพล ไม่เจอกันนานเลย ผมสบายดี แล้วคุณทศพลเป็นยังไงบ้างครับ
    Dtrin: sà-wàii-dii khráp khun Thót-sà-phon mâi jooe gan naan looei phǒm sà-baai dii láaeo khun Thót-sà-phon bpen yang-ngai bâang khráp
    “Trin: Hello, Todsapol. Long time no see. I’m fine, what about you?”
  • ทศพล: ช่วงนี้ผมงานเยอะครับ แต่ก็โอเค
    Thót-sà-phon: chûuang níi phǒm ngaan yóe khráp dtàae gâaw oo-khee
    “Todsapol: I have a lot of work to do recently but I’m okay.”

3- Greeting a Lot of People at the Same Time

These greetings are used in situations where you want to greet many people at the same time, such as before a presentation, before a speech in a company party or at a university reunion party, etc. Here are some examples:

How to Say “Hello my friends” in Thai

  • สวัสดี เพื่อน ๆ ของฉัน (sà-wàt-dii phûuean phûuean khǎawng chǎn)

How to Say “Hello everyone” in Thai

  • สวัสดี ทุกคน (sà-wàt-dii thúk khon)

How to Say “Hello to all the staff” in Thai

  • สวัสดี พนักงานทุกคน (sà-wàt-dii phá-nák-ngaan thúk khon)

How to Say “Hello students” in Thai

  • สวัสดี นักเรียนทุกคน (sà-wàt-dii nák riian thúk khon)

4- Greeting in Shops or Restaurants

When you go into some shops or restaurants in Thailand, the staff, waiter, or waitress normally greets you and asks if you want any help. It’s not rude to simply tell them what you want or just answer their questions without greeting them back. But if you want to greet them back, that’s okay as well. Here are some examples of how to do this:

Greeting in Shops

  • พนักงาน: สวัสดีค่ะ ยินดีต้อนรับค่ะ สนใจสินค้าตัวไหนคะ
    phá-nák-ngaan: sà-wàt-dii khâ yin-dii dtâawn-ráp khâ sǒn-jai sǐn-kháa dtuua nǎi khá
    “Staff: Hello, welcome to our shop. What are you looking for?”
  • ทศพล: (สวัสดีครับ) ผมต้องการซื้อทีวี มีรุ่นไหนแนะนำบ้างครับ
    Thót-sà-phon: (sà-wàt-dii khráp) phǒm dtâawng-gaan súue thii-wii mii rûn nǎi náe-nam bâang khráp
    “Todsapol: (Hello) I want to buy a television. Do you have any recommendations?”

Greeting in Restaurants

Hello, what do you want to order?

Hello, what do you want to order?

  • พนักงาน: สวัสดีค่ะ ยินดีต้อนรับค่ะ จะรับอะไรดีคะ
    phá-nák-ngaan: sà-wàt-dii khâ yin-dii dtâawn-ráp khâ jà ráp à-rai dii khá
    “Staff: Hello, welcome to our restaurant. What do you want to order?”
  • ตฤณ: ร้านนี้มีเมนูแนะนำอะไรครับ
    Dtrin: ráan níi mii mee-nuu náe-nam à-rai khráp
    “Trin: Which dish do you recommend?”
  • พนักงาน: ก๋วยเตี๋ยวต้มยำเป็นเมนูแนะนำของเราค่ะ
    phá-nák-ngaan: gǔuai-dtîiao dtôm-yam bpen mee-nuu náe-nam khǎawng rao khâ
    “Staff: Our signature dish is tôm-yum noodle.”
  • ตฤณ: ถ้าอย่างนั้นเอาบะหมี่ต้มยำหนึ่งที่ครับ
    Dtrin: thâa yàang nán ao bà-mìi dtôm-yam nùeng thîi khráp
    “Trin: Then, I will get one bowl of bà-mhèe-tôm-yum.”

5- Replying to Greetings from Staff

In some condos or department stores, the staff is trained to greet residents or customers. You can simply say “hello” in Thai back if you want. Still, it’s not rude to just nod your head back, or just smile. Here’s an example of how you can reply when a staff member says “Hello, sir,” in Thai to you as you pass by:

  • พนักงาน: สวัสดีตอนเช้าค่ะ
    phá-nák-ngaan: sà-wàt-dii dtaawn cháo khâ
    “Staff: Good morning.”
  • ตฤณ: สวัสดีครับ
    Dtrin: sà-wàt-dii khráp
    “Trin: Hello.”

4. To Greet without Saying “Hello”

In Thai, saying sà-wàt-dii or “hello” in Thai isn’t the only way you can say hello. There are other words and phrases you can use for greeting in both Thai and English.

Among friends or close relatives, Thai people don’t really say sà-wàt-dii when they meet each other, especially if they meet each other everyday (though they certainly can if they choose to). They call the other party’s name instead of saying hello, and if they haven’t met in a long time, they ask “How are you?”

It’s like saying “What’s up?” in Thai or “How’s it going?” in Thai. This is an informal or casual way to greet for people who already know each other or are close to each other.

Greeting When You First Meet Someone

Here are some other Thai ways to say “hello”:

1- How are You?

These phrases all have the same meaning: “How are you?” or “What’s going on in your life?”. However, the level of casualness of each phrase is different. The shorter the phrase is, the more casual it is.

  • เป็นอย่างไรบ้าง (bpen yàang-rai bâang)
  • เป็นยังไงบ้าง (bpen yang-ngai bâang)
  • เป็นไงบ้าง (bpen ngai bâang)

2- Are You Fine?

Another way of saying hello in Thai is to ask if someone is doing okay. Similar to the phrase “How are you?” in Thai, despite having the same meaning, the shorter the phrase is, the more casual it is.

  • สบายดีรึเปล่า (sà-baai-dii rúe bplào)
  • สบายดีมั๊ย (sà-baai-dii mái)

3- Long Time No See

Apart from calling someone’s name and asking “How are you?” in Thai or “Are you fine?” in Thai, Thai people also use the phrases listed below when they meet people who they haven’t met for a long time. These sentences mean “Long time no see.”

  • ไม่ได้เจอกันตั้งนาน (mâi dâi jooe gan dtâng naan)
  • ไม่เจอกันตั้งนาน (mâi jooe gan dtâng naan)
  • ไม่เจอกันนานมาก (mâi jooe gan naan mâak)
  • ไม่เจอกันนาน (mâi jooe gan naan)

4- Example

  • Situation 1: Todsapol and Trin are friends. They haven’t seen each other in two years.

    ตฤณ: ทศพล ไม่เจอกันตั้งนาน เป็นยังไงบ้าง
    Dtrin: Thót-sà-phon mâi jooe gan dtâng naan bpen yang-ngai bâang
    “Trin: Todsapol. Long time no see. How are you?”

    ทศพล: ตฤณ ฉันสบายดี นายล่ะ
    Thót-sà-phon: Dtrin chǎn sà-baai-dii naai là
    “Todsapol: Trin, I’m fine. What about you?”

    ตฤณ: ดีๆ ไปกินข้าวกันมั๊ย
    Dtrin: dii dii bpai gin khâao gan mái
    “Trin: I’m good. Do you want to have a meal together?”

  • Situation 2: Ann and Bee are high school friends. They meet each other on a daily basis at school.

    แอน: บี ทำการบ้านเสร็จยัง
    Aaen: Bii tham gaan-bâan sèt yang
    “Ann: Bee, have you finished homework?”

    บี: ทำเสร็จแล้ว แอนหละ
    Bii: tham sèt láaeo Aaen là
    “Bee: Already finished. What about you?”

    แอน: เกือบแล้ว ขอลอกหน่อยดิ
    Aaen: gùueap láaeo khǎaw lâawk nàauy dì
    “Ann: Almost finished, can I copy you?”

5. Interesting Facts About Hello

When speaking of the word “hello” in Thai, these interesting facts pop up:

1- Wâi

In Thai, when people greet each other, they do an action called ไหว้ (wâi) along with saying sà-wàt-dii. There are many ways to wâi depending on whom you’re doing the action for and how old that person is. Generally, if you want to wâi, mirror the pictures below.

1. Thai style of greeting

Thai style of greeting

2. Wâi action from the front

Wâi action from the front

2- Hello in Thai Song

If thinking about the word “hello” and songs, Thai people who were born in the 80s and 90s automatically think of the song Hello by Mos Pathiparn. When Thai people pick up the phone, they normally say “hello” or ฮัลโหล to let the person on the other end know they’ve picked up. This song represents this action; it’s about a man who keeps calling a woman to ask where she is, so in the song, the word “Hello” is sang repeatedly.

3- สะบายดี

As mentioned above, Thai people can use the word สบายดี (sà-baai-dii). Coincidentally, สะบายดี (sà-baai-dii) is a word for hello in Laos. (Despite different spellings, their pronunciations are the same.)

4- Hello and Days

In Thai, there’s a type of picture that people in Generation X like to send to others via the Line app or on Facebook. On the picture will be one of the following greetings:

  • สวัสดีวันจันทร์ (sà-wàt-dii wan jan) = “Hello, Monday”
  • สวัสดีวันอังคาร (sà-wàt-dii wan ang-khaan) = “Hello, Tuesday”
  • สวัสดีวันพุธ (sà-wàt-dii wan phút) = “Hello, Wednesday”
  • สวัสดีวันพฤหัสบดี (sà-wàt-dii wan phá-rúe-hàt-sà-baaw-dii) “Hello, Thursday”
  • สวัสดีวันศุกร์ (sà-wàt-dii wan sùk) “Hello, Friday”
  • สวัสดีวันเสาร์ (sà-wàt-dii wan sǎo) “Hello, Saturday”
  • สวัสดีวันอาทิตย์ (sà-wàt-dii wan aa-thít) “Hello, Sunday”

On the picture, apart from the day’s greeting, there’s usually nice picture as the background, such as a flower, beautiful scenery, or a cute animal. The color tone of each picture is often based on the day; for example, yellow for Monday and pink for Tuesday. So if you’re friends with Thai people in Generation X, you’re likely to get this picture from them as a greeting.

6. Conclusion

In summary, learning how to say “hello” is a nice way to start learning Thai, as you can use this word to start conversations with Thai people. Knowing “hello” when travelling to Thailand is the first step in forming new friendships and relationships.

And as shown in this article, there are many ways to say “hello” in Thai, so keep practicing how to use it in various situations. Once you’ve mastered how to say “hello,” you can visit ThaiPod101.com to learn and practice other Thai lessons. Sà-wàt-dii khâ ^^

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