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Learn the Names of Animals in Thai

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When a baby starts learning their native language, animal names are one of the first word categories their parents teach them. As a Thai learner, you’ll find it beneficial to learn the names of animals in Thai early on—this is a natural way to expand your vocabulary, and doing so will help you start conversations with native speakers. After all, who doesn’t love talking about their pets or favorite animals? 

In this article, we’ll teach you the names of common animals in Thai. This includes:

  • Pets
  • Farm animals
  • Wild animals
  • Marine animals
  • Bugs and insects
  • Birds
  • Reptiles and amphibians

In addition, we’ll teach you what to call the different body parts of animals and what sounds animals make according to Thai onomatopoeia. Make sure to stick around until the end, where we’ll introduce you to frequently used idioms that mention animals; this will help familiarize you with Thai culture and give you an idea of how these words might be used in a sentence.  

Let’s get started!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Thai Table of Contents
  1. Pets
  2. Farm Animals
  3. Wild Animals
  4. Marine Animals
  5. Bugs & Insects
  6. Birds
  7. Reptiles & Amphibians
  8. Animal Body Parts
  9. Animal Sounds in Thai
  10. Animal-Related Idioms in Thai
  11. Conclusion

1. Pets

The most popular pets among Thai people are dogs and cats, though some people own smaller mammals or even birds and fish. Here’s a list of common pets in Thailand:

  • สุนัข (sù-nák) = “dog” (formal)
  • หมา (mǎa) = “dog” (informal)
  • แมว (maaeo) = “cat”
  • กระต่าย (grà-dtàai) = “rabbit”
  • แฮมสเตอร์ (haaem-sà-dtôoe) = “hamster”
  • ปลาทอง (bplaa-thaawng) = “goldfish”
  • นก (nók) = “bird”

A Girl Hugging a Dog

Dogs are a popular pet in Thailand.

2. Farm Animals

Do you know which farm animals are most common in Thailand? Most of them are the same animals you’d expect to find on a farm in other countries. Take a look: 

  • โค (khoo) = “ox” / “cow” (formal) 
  • วัว (wuua) = “ox” / “cow” (informal) 
  • กระบือ (grà-buue) = “buffalo” (formal)
  • ควาย (khwaai) = “buffalo” (informal)
  • สุกร (sù-gaawn) = “pig” (formal)
  • หมู (mǔu) = “pig” (informal)
  • เป็ด (bpèt) = “duck”
  • ไก่ (gài) = “chicken”
  • ห่าน (hàan) = “goose”
  • ม้า (máa) = “horse”
  • ล่อ (lâaw) = “mule”
  • ลา (laa) = “donkey”

3. Wild Animals

Below, you’ll find the names of different wild animals in the Thai language. Many of these animals can only be found in zoos and national parks, and some of them are currently endangered or extinct. 

  • สิงโต (sǐng-dtoo) = “lion”
  • เสือโคร่ง (sǔuea-khrôong) = “tiger”
  • เสือดาว (sǔuea-daao) = “leopard”
  • จิ้งจอก (jîng-jàawk) = “fox”
  • กวาง (gwaang) = “deer”
  • ละมั่ง (lá-mâng) = “antelope” (endangered species)
  • สมัน (sà-mǎn) = “Schomburgk’s deer” (deer with the most beautiful antlers in the world)
  • เก้ง (gêeng) = “barking deer” (endangered species)
  • แรด (râaet) = “rhinoceros”
  • กระทิง (grà-thing) = “gaur”
  • แกะ (gàe) = “sheep”
  • แพะ (pháe) = “goat”
  • ลิง (ling) = “monkey”
  • ชะนี (chá-nii) = “gibbon”
  • ลิงกอริลล่า (ling-gaaw-rín-lâa) = “gorilla” 
  • ลิงชิมแปนซี (ling-chim-bpaaen-sii) = “chimpanzee”
  • ยีราฟ (yii-ráap) = “giraffe”
  • จิงโจ้ (jing-jôo) = “kangaroo”
  • ช้าง (cháang) = “elephant”
  • แพนด้า (phaaen-dâa) = “panda” 
  • หมี (mhǐi) = “bear”
  • หมีโคอาล่า (mhǐi-khoo-aa-lâa) = “koala” 
  • ฮิปโป (híp-bpoo) = “hippopotamus”

A Tigress with Her Cub

Let’s go see a tiger at the zoo!

4. Marine Animals

As with wild animals, Thai people most often get to see marine life in zoos or aquariums. Here are the names of common sea animals in the Thai language: 

  • สัตว์น้ำ (sàt-nám) = “aquatic animals”
  • กุ้ง (gûng) = “shrimp”
  • กั้ง (gâng) = “mantis shrimp”
  • หอย (hǎauy) = “shellfish”
  • ปู (bpuu) = “crab”
  • ปลา (bplaa) = “fish”
  • หมึก (mùek) = “squid” / “octopus”
  • วาฬ (waan) = “whale”
  • ฉลาม (chà-lǎam) = “shark”
  • โลมา (loo-maa) = “dolphin”
  • ม้าน้ำ (máa-nám) = “seahorse”
  • เต่า (dtào) = “turtle”
  • แมงกะพรุน (maaeng-gà-phrun) = “jellyfish”
  • พะยูน (phá-yuun) = “sea cow”
  • ม้าน้ำ (máa-nám) = “seal”
  • ปลิงทะเล (bpling-thá-lee) = “sea cucumber”
  • ดาวทะเล (daao-thá-lee) = “starfish”
  • ปะการัง (bpà-gaa-rang) = “coral”

A Hammerhead Shark

I saw a shark at the aquarium.

5. Bugs & Insects

In Thailand, it’s not uncommon to eat certain insects as food. Worms, grasshoppers, and crickets are especially popular! 

Here are the names of common insects and other bugs in Thailand: 

  • แมลง (má-laaeng) = “insect”
  • แมลงสาบ (má-laaeng-sàap) = “cockroach”
  • แมลงวัน (má-laaeng-wan) = “fly”
  • แมลงปอ (má-laaeng-bpaaw) = “dragonfly”
  • แมลงเต่าทอง (má-laaeng-dtào-thaawng) = “ladybug”
  • แมงมุม (maaeng-mum) = “spider”
  • แมงป่อง (maaeng-bpàawng) = “scorpion”
  • มด (mód) = “ant”
  • ยุง (yung) = “mosquito”
  • ผึ้ง (phûeng) = “bee”
  • ต่อ (dtàaw) = “wasp”
  • ตั๊กแตน (dták-gà-dtaaen) = “grasshopper”
  • จั๊กจั่น (ják-gà-jàn) = “cicada”
  • หิ่งห้อย (hìng-hâauy) = “firefly”
  • หนอน (nǎawn) = “worm”
  • ผีเสื้อ (phǐi-sûuea) = “butterfly”

Three Ladybugs

These ladybugs are so cute.

6. Birds

Below, you’ll find the names of common birds in Thailand and abroad. While Thai people can encounter some of these species in their daily lives, others can only be seen in zoos. 

  • นกพิราบ (nók-phí-râap) = “pigeon”
  • นกกระจอก (nók-grà-jàawk) = “sparrow”
  • นกแก้ว (nók-gâaeo) = “parrot”
  • นกกระจอกเทศ (nók-grà-jàawk-thêet) = “ostrich”
  • นกยูง (nók-yuung) = “peacock”
  • นกอินทรี (nók-in-sii) = “eagle”
  • นกกะเรียน (nók-gà-riian) = “flamingo”
  • นกฮูก (nók-hûuk) = “owl”
  • นกนางนวล (nók-naang-nuan) = “seagull”
  • หงส์ (hǒng) = “swan”
  • แร้ง (ráaeng) = “griffon”
  • อีกา (ii-gaa) = “crow”
  • เหยี่ยว (yìiao) = “hawk”
  • เพนกวิน (phen-gwîn) = “penguin”

7. Reptiles & Amphibians

In Thailand, there is a famous crocodile show held at the Samutprakarn Crocodile Farm and Zoo. If you plan on visiting the country anytime soon, make sure to check it out! 

Here are the names of common reptiles and amphibians in Thailand: 

  • กบ (gòp) = “frog”
  • เขียด (khìiat) = “green frog”
  • อึ่งอ่าง (ùeng-àang) = “bullfrog”
  • จระเข้ (jà-rá-khêe) = “crocodile”
  • งู (nguu) = “snake”
  • ตัวเงินตัวทอง (dtua-ngoen-dtua-thaawng) = “water monitor” (formal)
  • เหี้ย (hîia) = “water monitor” (informal)
  • กิ้งก่า (gîng-gàa) = “chameleon”
  • จิ้งจก (jîng-jòk) = “lizard”
  • ตุ๊กแก (dtúk-gaae) = “gecko”
  • จิ้งเหลน (jîng-lěen) = “skink”
  • อิกัวนา (i-gua-nâa) = “iguana”
  • ตะขาบ (dtà-khàap) = “centipede”
  • หอยทาก (hǎauy-thâak) = “snail”
  • กิ้งกือ (gîng-guue) = “millipede”

A Lizard

I hate lizards.

8. Animal Body Parts

Now that you’ve learned the names of several animals in Thai, it’s time to learn what their body parts are called! 

  • จะงอยปาก (jà-ngaauy-bpàak) = “beak”
  • ปีก (bpìik) = “wing”
  • หาง (hǎang) = “tail”
  • ขน (khǒn) = “feather”
  • เขา (khǎo) = “horn” / “antler”
  • งา (ngaa) = “ivory”
  • นอ (naaw) = “rhinoceros’s horn”
  • กระดอง (grà-daawng) = “shell”
  • ครีบ (khrîip) = “fin”
  • กรงเล็บ (grong-lép) = “claw”

9. Animal Sounds in Thai

In each country, people associate animals with different onomatopoeic sounds. If you live in the United States, for example, you likely say that dogs go “woof” and cats go “meow.” But do you know their sounds in Thai? 

Notice that most of the sounds below are doubled, as this is how they’re represented in the Thai language. 

  • โฮ่ง ๆ (hôong-hôong) = dog’s sound
  • เหมียว ๆ (mǐiao-mǐiao) = cat’s sound
  • อู๊ด ๆ (úut-úut) = pig’s sound
  • มอ ๆ (maaw-maaw) = ox’s sound
  • ฮี่ ๆ (hîi-hîi) = horse’s sound
  • เอ้กอีเอ้ก ๆ (êek-ii-êek-êek) = cock’s sound
  • จิ๊บ ๆ (jíp-jíp) = bird’s sound
  • ก้าบ ๆ (gâap-gâap) = duck’s sound
  • เจี๊ยบ ๆ (jíiap-jíiap) = chick’s sound
  • เจี๊ยก ๆ (jíiak-jíiak) = monkey’s sound
  • แปร๋น ๆ (brǎaen-brǎaen) = elephant’s sound
  • อ๊บ ๆ (óp-óp) = frog’s sound

10. Animal-Related Idioms in Thai

There are many idioms in Thai that mention animals. Learning them will give you a better idea of how we view animals in Thai culture, and using them yourself will help you sound more like a native speaker. Below, we’ve listed and explained the ten most common animal idioms. 

1 – กระต่ายหมายจันทร์ 

Pronunciation: grà-dtàai mǎai jan

Literal translation: Rabbit wants the moon.

Idiom meaning: This idiom comes from a children’s story, and it refers to a man who loves a woman of higher social or financial status. It compares a man to a rabbit and a woman to the moon. Despite how much the rabbit wants the moon, it can do nothing but stare. There are two ways to use this idiom: to say that a man is like a rabbit or to compare a man’s actions to those of a rabbit.

Example:
เมฆชอบดาวมาก แต่เขาก็เป็นได้แค่กระต่ายหมายจันทร์
mêek-châawp-daao-mâak dtàae-khǎo-gâaw-bpen-dâi-khâae-grà-dtàai-mǎai-jan
“Mek likes Dow a lot, but there is nothing he can do (because Dow is richer or has a much higher social status).”

2 – หนูตกถังข้าวสาร 

Pronunciation: nǔu-dtòk-thǎng-khâao-sǎan

Literal translation: A rat falls into a bucket of rice.

Idiom meaning: When a rat falls into a bucket of rice, it suddenly has a lot of food without needing to do anything. In the same way, a man who marries a richer woman gets more money without having to work for it. This idiom is typically used as an insult directed toward men who marry women of higher financial status. 

Example:
วินแต่งงานกับคนรวย เลยถูกดูถูกว่าเป็นหนูตกถังข้าวสาร
win-dtàaeng-ngaan-gàp-khon-ruuay looei-thùuk-duu-thùuk-wâa-bpen-nǔu-dtòk-thǎng-khâao-sǎan
“Win married a rich woman, so others look down on him.”

3 – วัวแก่กินหญ้าอ่อน 

Pronunciation: wuua-gàae-gin-yâa-àawn

Literal translation: Old ox eats young grass.

Idiom meaning: This idiom refers to a man who marries (or is in a relationship with) a much younger woman. The saying stems from the eating habits of oxen; young oxen only eat young grass, but old oxen can choose to eat either old or young grass. Older men who marry younger women are like an old ox that chooses to eat only young grass. We normally use this idiom in a negative way, as this type of relationship is quite improper in Thailand. 

Example:
ลุงเป็นวัวแก่กินหญ้าอ่อน เมียของลุงอายุน้อยกว่าลุงตั้ง 15 ปี
lung-bpen-wuua-gàae-gin-yâa-àawn miia-khǎawng-lung-aa-yú-náauy-gwàa-lung-dtâng-sìp-hâa-bpii
“Uncle is in a relationship with a young woman. His wife is 15 years younger than him.”

4 – รีดเลือดกับปู 

Pronunciation: rîit-lûueat-gàp-bpuu

Literal translation: Squeeze blood from crab

Idiom meaning: This idiom refers to a situation where someone tries to benefit or receive financial gain from those who have nothing to give. Crabs have little blood, so trying to get blood from them is next to impossible. 

Example:
เขารู้ว่าคนที่เช่าที่เขาไม่มีเงิน แต่ก็จะขึ้นค่าเช่า รีดเลือดกับปูชัด ๆ
Khǎo-rúu-wâa-khon-thîi-châo-thîi-khǎo-mâi-mii-ngoen dtàae-gâaw-jà-khûen-khâa-châo rîit-lûueat-gàp-bpuu-chát-chát
“The landlord knows that his tenant has no money. Still, he increases the rent. He threatens to get benefits from those who have nothing to give.”

5 – ขี่ช้างจับตั๊กแตน 

Pronunciation: khìi-cháang-jàp-dták-gà-dtaaen

Literal translation: Ride an elephant to catch grasshoppers

Idiom meaning: This Thai idiom refers to investing a lot only to get a little in return. Traditionally, elephants were used in big events such as war or long-distance travel; it wouldn’t make sense to use such a large animal for something small or insignificant (like catching grasshoppers). Likewise, one should not invest heavily in something that does not promise a high yield. 

Example:
ถ้าจะเปิดร้านขายขนม แล้วต้องใช้เงินเยอะขนาดนี้ ดูยังไงก็ขี่ช้างจับตั๊กแตนนะ
thâa-jà-bpòoet-ráan-khǎai-khà-nǒm láaeo-dtâawng-chái-ngoen-yóe-khà-nàat-níi duu-yang-ngai-gâaw-khìi-cháang-jàp-dták-gà-dtaaen-ná
“If you invest this much money to open a bakery shop, it is like investing a lot to get a little in return.”

6 – นกน้อยทำรังแต่พอตัว

Pronunciation: nók-náauy-tham-rang-dtàae-phaaw-dtuua

Literal translation: Small bird builds its nest big enough for itself.

Idiom meaning: You should adjust your spending patterns based on how much money you have, and never buy what you can’t afford. Just like a bird can build its nest with the basic materials it finds, so can we build our homes and our lives with however much money we have. 

Example:
แม่ว่ากระเป๋าใบนั้นราคาแพงไปหน่อยนะ นกน้อยต้องทำรังแต่พอตัวนะจ๊ะ
mâae-wâa-grà-bpǎo-bai-nán-raa-khaa-phaaeng-bpai-nàuuy-ná nók-náauy-dtâawng-tham-rang-dtàae-phaaw-dtuua-ná-já
(Mother talking to daughter) “I think that bag is too expensive. You should buy things based on the amount of money you have.”

7 – หมากัดอย่ากัดตอบ

Pronunciation: mǎa-gàt-yàa-gàt-dtàawp 

Literal translation: Dog bites, don’t bite back.

Idiom meaning: This Thai proverb means that we should not lower ourselves to the level of those who hurt us or do bad things. In Thailand, we view those who do bad things or act inappropriately as lower-class people. By doing the same actions in order to get back at them, one is no better than they are. It’s okay to be angry, but we should never stoop down to their level. 

Example:
ถึงเขาจะทำตัวหยาบคายใส่เรา แต่เราต้องไม่ทำแบบนั้น หมากัดอย่ากัดตอบ
thǔeng-khǎo-jà-tham-dtuua-yàap-khaai-sài-rao dtàae-rao-dtâawng-mâi-tham-bàaep-nán mǎa-gàt- yàa-gàt-dtàawp
“Although he acted rudely, we must not act rudely back. Don’t do bad things in order to get back at bad people.”

8 – จับปลาสองมือ

Pronunciation: jàp-bplaa-sǎawng-muue

Literal translation: Catch fish with two hands

Idiom meaning: This idiom refers to doing two difficult tasks at the same time, which will render your efforts unsuccessful. Think about trying to catch one fish in your right hand and another fish in your left hand at the same time; it would be very difficult! It’s better to do one thing at a time. 

Example:
เธอจะขับรถหรือจะโทรศัพท์ ทำทีละอย่าง อย่าจับปลาสองมือ
thooe-jà-khàp-rót-rǔue-jà-thoo-rá-sàp tham-tii-lá-yàang yàa-jàp-bplaa-sǎawng-muue
“Are you going to drive or use your mobile phone? Do one thing at a time. Do not do two things at the same time.”

9 – ชี้โพรงให้กระรอก

Pronunciation: chíi-phroong-hâi-grà-râawk

Literal translation: Point to a hollow for a squirrel

Idiom meaning: This Thai proverb warns people to be careful when speaking, because our words can encourage others to do bad things (even if that was not our intention). For example, imagine that a woman is telling a friend that her window is broken and that she’s afraid a thief will come in that way. If someone in need of money happens to overhear, they may decide to break into that woman’s house to steal. A saying with a similar meaning in English might be, “Keep honest people honest.” 

Example:
เธอพูดแบบนี้ ชี้โพรงให้กระรอกชัด ๆ
thooe-phûut-bàaep-níi chíi-proong-hâi-grà-râawk-chát-chát
“Your saying this is like encouraging someone to do a bad thing.”

10 – สอนจระเข้ให้ว่ายน้ำ

Pronunciation: sǎawn-jà-rá-khêe-hâi-wâi-nám

Literal translation: Teach a crocodile to swim

Idiom meaning: This idiom refers to teaching something to someone who can already do that thing well. Because crocodiles can already swim, there’s no need to teach them how. 

Example:
เธอจะไปสอนแนนทำอาหารทำไม สอนจระเข้ให้ว่ายน้ำชัด ๆ
thooe-jà-bpai-sǎawn-naaen-tham-aa-hǎan-tham-mai sǎawn-jà-rá-khêe-hâi-wâi-nám-chát-chát
Why will you teach Nan how to cook? She already cooks well.

A Woman Preparing a Meal

11. Conclusion

In this article, you learned several Thai animal names and some other relevant vocabulary. We also introduced you to the ten most common Thai idioms and proverbs that mention animals. It will take some time to memorize all of the words and phrases in this article, but you’re sure to get there if you practice often. Having these Thai words for animals up your sleeve will help you converse with native speakers about pets, favorite animals, and even nature in general! 

If you would like to continue learning Thai in the fastest, easiest, and most fun way possible, make sure to create your free lifetime account on ThaiPod101.com today. We offer our students a variety of audio and video lessons, vocabulary lists, and other free resources to help them make the most of their study time. 

Not sure where to start? We recommend you check out these fun articles:

Happy learning!

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Learn Basic Thai Phone Call Phrases

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Who doesn’t have a phone these days? 

In Thailand, nearly 90% of the population owns a mobile phone and uses it on a daily basis.

While chat applications and social media have grown in popularity over the years, phone calls are still an important means of communication. It’s through phone calls that we make appointments, stay in close contact with friends and family, ask for information, and complete other essential tasks. 

Because telephone communication is such an integral part of life, learning even a few basic Thai phone call phrases will greatly benefit you as a language learner. 

In this article, you’ll learn how to make a phone call in Thai. We will cover a variety of phrases and expressions you’ll need for answering the phone, introducing yourself, stating your reason for calling, handling connection issues, ending the call, and more! In addition, we’ve provided two sample phone conversations in Thai so you can see how these phrases might be used during an actual call.

Let’s get right to it.

A Guy on the Couch Talking on the Phone with a Remote in His Hand

I’m calling my Thai friends.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Thai Table of Contents
  1. How to Begin the Phone Call
  2. Stating Your Reason for Calling
  3. When They’re Not Available
  4. Problems During the Call
  5. Ending the Call
  6. Sample Phone Conversations
  7. Conclusion

1. How to Begin the Phone Call 

There are a couple of different ways a telephone conversation in Thailand might begin, depending on whether it’s a formal or informal situation. In either case, the call will begin with a greeting and the caller will ask if they have the right number. 

In a formal context, the caller will introduce themself and then state their purpose for calling. But if the context is informal, the caller will simply ask if they can speak to someone. 

With this in mind, here are the most typical Thai phone call phrases for greeting, checking, and self-introductions. 

1 – Greeting

There are two common ways to answer the phone in Thai:

Formal situation

Thai: สวัสดี
Pronunciation: sà-wàt-dii
English: Hello

Informal situation

Thai: ฮัลโหล
Pronunciation: han-lǒo
English: Hello

2 – Checking

After your greeting, you can check whether you’re contacting the right number by using one of these useful Thai phrases for a phone call.

Formal situation

Thai: ที่นี่ใช่___รึเปล่า
Pronunciation: thîi-nîi-châi-___-rúe-bplào
English: Is this ___?

Informal situation

Thai: ใช่___รึเปล่า
Pronunciation: châi-___-rúe-bplào
English: Is this ___?

3 – Introducing yourself

In formal situations, it’s proper to introduce yourself before stating your reason for calling. In many cases, the person who receives your call will inquire about who you are.

Question:  

Thai: ติดต่อมาจากไหน
Pronunciation: dtìt-dtàaw-maa-jàak-nǎi
English: Who is calling?

Answer:  

Thai: ดิฉันชื่อ…ติดต่อมาจาก… (Female answer)
Pronunciation: dì-chǎn-chûue-…-dtìt-dtàaw-maa-jàak-… 
English: My name is ___. I’m calling from ___.

Thai: ผมชื่อ…ติดต่อมาจาก… (Male answer)
Pronunciation: phǒm-chûue-…-dtìt-dtàaw-maa-jàak-… 
English: My name is ___. I’m calling from ___.

2. Stating Your Reason for Calling

During a formal call, the next step is usually to give your reason for calling. You can also skip this step and just ask if you can speak to someone (which is most often how an informal call goes). Below are several Thai phone conversation phrases you can use for these purposes. 

1 – I want to…

Question:  

Thai: ต้องการติดต่อเรื่องอะไร
Pronunciation: dtâawng-gaan-dtìt-dtàaw-rûueang-à-rai
English: How can I help you?

Answer:  

Thai: ต้องการสอบถามเรื่อง…
Pronunciation: dtâawng-gaan-sàawp-thǎam-rûueang-…
English: I want to ask about…

Thai: ต้องการจอง…
Pronunciation: dtâawng-gaan-jaawng-…
English: I want to book

Thai: ต้องการนัด…
Pronunciation: dtâawng-gaan-nát-…
English: I want to make an appointment

Thai: ต้องการเสนอ…
Pronunciation: dtâawng-gaan-sà-nǒoe…
English: I want to offer…

Thai: โทรกลับมาหาคุณ ___
Pronunciation: thoo-glàp-maa-hǎa-khun-___
English: I’m calling ___ back.

A Woman Talking on the Phone while Working Late at the Office

I’m calling Miss Pranee back.

2 – I want to speak to…

Formal situation

Thai: ขอเรียนสายคุณ ___
Pronunciation: khǎaw-riian-sǎai-khun-___
English: May I speak to ___?

Informal situation

Thai: ขอสาย___หน่อย
Pronunciation: khǎaw-sǎai-___-nàauy
English: May I speak to ___?

3 – Please wait a moment…

Formal situation

Thai: รบกวนถือสายสักครู่
Pronunciation: róp-guuan-thǔue-sǎai-sàk-khrûu
English: Please wait for a moment.

Thai: รอสักครู่ จะโอนสายให้
Pronunciation: raaw-sàk-khrûu jà-oon-sǎai-hâi
English: Wait for a moment, I will put you on the line.

Informal situation

Thai: รอแป๊บนะ
Pronunciation: raaw-bpáep-ná
English: Wait a minute.

Thai: ถือสายแป๊บนะ
Pronunciation: thǔue-sǎai-bpáep-ná
English: Hold on for a minute.

3. When They’re Not Available 

Sometimes, you may not be able to contact the person you intended to. In this case, the receiver will let you know why that person is unavailable and you’ll have the opportunity to leave a message.

1 – Reason for unavailability

Thai: ___ไม่อยู่
Pronunciation: ___mâi-yùu
English:  ___ is not here.

Thai: ตอนนี้___ไม่สะดวกรับสาย
Pronunciation: dtaawn-níi-___-mâi-sà-dùuak-ráp-sǎai
English: ___ can’t answer the phone now.

Thai: ตอนนี้สายไม่ว่าง
Pronunciation: dtaawn-níi-sǎai-mâi-wâng
English: The line is not available now.

Thai: ตอนนี้___ติดประชุมอยู่
Pronunciation: dtaawn-níi-dtìt-bprà-chum-yùu
English: ___ is in a meeting now.

2 – Leaving a message

In formal situations, the receiver will likely ask if you would like to leave a message. Here are a couple of phrases you could use to do so: 

Thai: ฝากข้อความเอาไว้ให้ได้มั้ย
Pronunciation: fàak-khâaw-kwaam-ao-wái-hâi-dâi-mái
English: Can I leave a message?

Thai: ให้โทรกลับมาที่___ได้มั้ย
Pronunciation: hâi-thoo-glàp-maa-thîi-___-dâi-mái
English: Can ___ call back at ___?

A Napkin that Says Call Me! with a Phone Number Written Down

Can he call back?

4. Problems During the Call

Any number of issues could arise during your phone call, such as a bad connection or unclear message. These Thai phone call phrases can help you navigate this type of situation:

Thai: ช่วยพูดเสียงดังหน่อยได้มั้ย ไม่ค่อยได้ยินเลย
Pronunciation: chûuai-phûut-sǐiang-dang-nàauy-dâi-mái mâi-khâauy-dâi-yin-looei
English: Can you speak louder? I can’t hear you.

Thai: สัญญาณไม่ค่อยดีเลย ได้ยินมั้ย
Pronunciation: sǎn-yaan-mâi-khâauy-dii-looei dâi-yin-mái
English: The connection is not so good. Can you hear me?

Thai: ไม่ได้ยินเลย
Pronunciation: mâi-dâi-yin-looei
English: I can’t hear you.

Thai: ไม่แน่ใจว่าสะกดยังไง
Pronunciation: mâi-nâae-jai-wâa-sà-gòt-yang-ngai
English: I’m not sure how to spell this.

Thai: ขอทวนอีกครั้ง
Pronunciation: khǎaw-thuuan-ìik-khráng
English: I will repeat it again.
Additional note: In formal situations, it is good to repeat the details of an important conversation to make sure that you understand things correctly.

Thai: คุณโทรผิด
Pronunciation: khun-thoo-phìt
Pronunciation: khun-thoo-phìt

5. Ending the Call

The final part of the phone conversation will be ending the call. Here are a few ways to end a phone call in Thai:

Thai: แค่นี้นะ
Pronunciation: khâae-níi-ná
English: That’s it.
Additional note: This is the most common phrase for ending phone calls in Thailand.

Thai: ขอบคุณ
Pronunciation: khàawp-khun
English: Thank you.

Thai: แล้วเจอกัน
Pronunciation: láaeo-jooe-gan
English: See you.

6. Sample Phone Conversations

Now that you’ve learned all the essential Thai phone call phrases, let’s see how they might be used in real phone conversations. Below are two sample conversations: one casual call between friends and one formal call about booking a table. 

A conversation between friends

เอ:  

  • ฮัลโหล
  • han-lǒo
  • Hello.

บี:  

  • ฮัลโหลเอ นี่บีเองนะ
  • han-lǒo-ee nîi-bii-eeng-ná
  • Hello, A. This is B speaking.

เอ:  

  • ว่าไงบี
  • wâa-ngai-bii
  • What’s up, B?

บี:  

  • วันเสาร์นี้ว่างมั้ย ไปกินข้าวกัน
  • wan-sǎo-níi-wâang-mái bpai-gin-khâao-gan
  • Are you available this Saturday? Let’s have a meal together.

เอ:  

  • ได้สิ เจอกันซัก 10 โมงดีมั้ย ที่ร้านเดิมนะ เดี๋ยวเราโทรไปจองโต๊ะให้
  • dâi-sì jooe-gan-sák-sìp-moong-dii-mái thîi-ráan-dooem-ná dǐiao-rao-thoo-bpai-jaawng-dtó-hâi
  • Sure, should we meet at ten a.m. at the same restaurant? If so, I will book a table for us.

บี:  

  • ได้ เสร็จแล้วไปซื้อของเป็นเพื่อนเราหน่อยได้มั้ย เราอยากได้แว่นกันแดดอันใหม่
  • dâi sèt-láaeo-bpai-súue-khǎawng-bpen-phûuean-rao-nàauy-dâi-mái rao-yàak-dâi-wâaen-gan-dàaet- an-mài
  • Yes. After the meal, can you go shopping with me? I want new sunglasses.

เอ:  

  • โอเค เราก็อยากได้เหมือนกัน แต่เราอยู่ได้ถึงแค่บ่ายสองนะ
  • oo-khee rao-gâaw-yàak-dâi-mǔuean-gan dtàae-rao-yùu-dâi-thǔeng-kâae-bàai-sǎawng-ná
  • Okay, I want a new pair too. But I can only stay until two p.m.

Two Friends Posing with Sunglasses on

We want new sunglasses.

บี:  

  • ได้ งั้นเจอกันวันเสาร์นี้นะ
  • dâi ngán-jooe-gan-wan-sǎo-níi-ná
  • No problem, see you this Saturday.

เอ:  

  • เจอกัน แค่นี้นะ
  • jooe-gan khâae-níi-ná
  • See you.

Booking a table at a restaurant

เอ:  

  • สวัสดีค่ะ
  • sà-wàt-dii-khà
  • Hello.

พนักงานร้านอาหาร:  

  • สวัสดีครับ คาเฟ่บ้านยิ้ม ยินดีให้บริการครับ
  • sà-wàt-dii-khráp khaa-fêe-bâan-yím yin-dii-hâi-baaw-rí-gaan-khráp
  • Hello, this is Ban Yim Cafe. How can I help you?

เอ:  

พนักงานร้านอาหาร:  

  • ได้ครับ สำหรับวันไหนดีครับ
  • dâi-khráp sǎm-ràp-wan-nǎi-dii-khráp
  • Okay, on which date?

เอ:  

  • วันเสาร์ที่ 19 พฤศจิกายน เวลา 10 โมงค่ะ
  • wan-sǎo-thîi-sìp-gâo-phrúet-sà-jì-gaa-yon-wee-laa-sìp-moong-khà
  • Saturday, November 19, at ten a.m.

พนักงานร้านอาหาร:  

  • เรียบร้อยครับ ลูกค้าอยากจะสั่งอาหารไว้ล่วงหน้ามั้ยครับ วันเสาร์นี้จะมีเมนูพิเศษเป็นเครปมะพร้าว ครับ มีแค่ 20 ที่เท่านั้นครับ
  • rîiap-ráauy-khráp lûuk-kháa-yàak-jà-sàng-aa-hǎan-wái-lûuang-nâa-mái-khráp wan-sǎo-níi-jà-mii- mee-nuu-phí-sèet-bpen-khréep-má-práao-khráp mii-khâae-yîi-sìp-thîi-thâo-nán-khráp
  • Done. Do you want to order the food in advance? This Saturday, our special menu is “coconut crepe.” There will be only 20 pieces.

เอ:  

  • จองเครปมะพร้าว 1 ที่ค่ะ
  • jaawng-khréep-má-práao-nùeng-thîi-khà
  • Then, I want one coconut crepe.

A Plate of Crepes

I want one coconut crepe.

พนักงานร้านอาหาร:  

  • ได้ครับ ขอทวนอีกครั้งนะครับ ลูกค้าต้องการจองโต๊ะสำหรับ 2 ท่าน วันเสาร์ที่ 19 พฤศจิกายน เวลา 10 โมง และจองเครปมะพร้าว 1 ที่ครับ
  • dâi-khráp khǎaw-thuuan-ìik-khráng-ná-khráp lûuk-kháa-dtâawng-gaan-jaawng-dtó-sǎm-ràp-sǎawng- thâan wan-sǎo-thîi-sìp-gâo-phrúet-sà-jì-gaa-yon-wee-laa-sìp-moong láe-jaawng-khréep-má- práao-nùeng-thîi-khráp
  • Okay, I will repeat it again. You want to book a table for two people on Saturday, November 19, at ten a.m. and order one coconut crepe.  

เอ:  

  • ถูกต้องค่ะ 
  • thùuk-dtâawng-khà 
  • That is correct.

พนักงานร้านอาหาร:  

  • ขอทราบชื่อลูกค้าด้วยครับ
  • khǎaw-sâap-chûue-lûuk-kháa-dûuai-khráp
  • What is your name?

เอ:  

  • เอค่ะ 
  • ee-khà 
  • My name is A.

พนักงานร้านอาหาร:  

  • เรียบร้อยครับ ขอบคุณครับ
  • rîiap-ráauy-khráp khàawp-khun-khráp
  • All done, thank you.

7. Conclusion

In this article, you learned many different Thai phone call phrases for use in typical phone conversations. You should now have more confidence to make and take phone calls, but don’t forget to practice often! 

What are some common phone phrases in your language? How different are they from those in Thai? Let us know in the comments! 

Now that you know how to make a phone call in the Thai language, you may want to explore other interesting topics here at ThaiPod101.com. Here are suggestions for you:

Happy learning! 

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Learn How to Say “I Love You,” in Thai

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There are several words and phrases that students of a foreign language learn early on: 

Hello.
Thank you.
I’m sorry.

And…

I love you.

Depending on how long you’ve been studying the language, you might already know how to say “I love you,” in Thai. But are you familiar with the more nuanced expressions, or how to take your romantic relationship a step further? 

Knowing love expressions in Thai is essential. Love is one of the most important emotions anyone could feel, so you should absolutely learn how to express it. 

In this article, we’ll teach you several essential Thai love phrases you can use in various situations. Whether you want to woo a Thai love interest or strengthen your existing relationship with a native speaker, the words and phrases here will be invaluable to you!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Thai Table of Contents
  1. Pick-up Lines in Thai
  2. Thai Love Phrases for Her / Thai Love Phrases for Him
  3. Being Together and Getting Married
  4. Endearment Terms
  5. Sayings About Love in Thai
  6. Conclusion

1. Pick-up Lines in Thai 

If you’ve found yourself falling head over heels for a native Thai speaker, the following lines can help you get your foot in the door. There are two ways that Thai people usually begin flirting with someone: 

1) By asking if he or she is in a relationship.
2) By showing that they care about the person.

Below are a few Thai phrases for flirting you can start practicing right away.

1 – มีแฟนยัง

Pronunciation:
mii-faaen-yang

English translation:
Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend?

Additional explanation:
Literally, แฟน (faaen) means “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” in Thai. However, Thai people can also use this word in reference to a husband or wife.

2 – [pronoun “I” or name] + อยากเป็นแฟน + [pronoun “you” or name]

Pronunciation: 
[pronoun “I” or name] + yàak-bpen-faaen + [pronoun “you” or name]

English translation: 
I want to be your boyfriend/girlfriend.

Additional explanation: 
In Thai, there are many ways you can refer to yourself or to other parties. You can call someone by name, use a nickname, or use the pronoun “I” or “you.”

3 – จีบได้มั๊ย

Pronunciation:
jìip-dâi-mái

English translation: 
Can I court you?

Additional explanation: 
Another way you can express your interest is to say this sentence directly to the one you’re interested in.

A Man Flirting with a Woman in a Cafe

Can I court you?

4 – เป็นยังไงบ้าง / ทำอะไรอยู่

Pronunciation: 
bpen-yang-ngai-bâang / tham-à-rai-yùu

English translation:
How are you? / What are you doing?

Additional explanation: 
By asking about your love interest’s daily life, you’re showing that you care about the person. If someone asks you these questions, it might be an indicator that they have feelings for you—but remember that it doesn’t mean you’re courting yet!

5 – เป็นห่วงนะ

Pronunciation:
bpen-hùuang-ná

English translation:
I care about you.

Additional explanation:  
This phrase can be used to show that you care about someone. Saying เป็นห่วง (bpen-hùuang) implies that you think about that person and want him/her to be happy and physically well.

6 – เหนื่อยมั๊ย

Pronunciation:
nùueai-mái

English translation:
Are you tired?

Additional explanation:
When you’re feeling down or tired, being asked if you’re tired/okay can sometimes make you feel better. If someone asks you this, it’s a good sign that they still care about you.

7 – ฝันดีนะ

Pronunciation:
fǎn-dii-ná

English translation:
Have a good dream.

Additional explanation:
Wishing someone good dreams shows that you care about them, even as they sleep.

2. Thai Love Phrases for Her / Thai Love Phrases for Him

Once your romantic relationship is more solid, it’s time to keep your partner hooked by expressing your affection each and every day. Below are several love expressions in Thai you can use to do so! 

8 – [pronoun “I” or name] + คิดถึง + [pronoun “you” or name]

Pronunciation:
[pronoun “I” or name] + khít-thǔeng + [pronoun “you” or name]

English translation:
I miss you.

A Woman Embracing a Man from Behind

I miss you.

9 – [pronoun “I” or name] + ชอบ + [pronoun “you” or name] + มากกว่าเพื่อน

Pronunciation:
[pronoun “I” or name] + châawp + [pronoun “you” or name] + mâak-gwàa-phûuean

English translation:  
I think of you as more than a friend.

Additional explanation:
This phrase literally means “I like you more than a friend,” but its equivalent in English is “I think of you as more than a friend.”

10 – [pronoun “I” or name] + หยุดคิดถึง + [pronoun “you” or name] + ไม่ได้

Pronunciation:
[pronoun “I” or name] + yùt-khít-thǔeng + [pronoun “you” or name] + mâi-dâi

English translation:
I can’t stop thinking about you.

11 – [pronoun “I” or name] + อยากเจอ + [pronoun “you” or name] + ตลอดเวลา

Pronunciation:
[pronoun “I” or name] + yàak-jooe + [pronoun “you” or name] + dtà-làawt-wee-laa

English translation:
I want to see you all the time.

Additional explanation:
You can use this Thai love phrase to imply that you miss the other person.

12 – [pronoun “I” or name] + ชอบ + [pronoun “you” or name]

Pronunciation:
[pronoun “I” or name] + châawp + [pronoun “you” or name]

English translation:
I like you.

Additional explanation:
If you want to emphasize that you like the person “very much,” you can add มาก (mâak) to the end of the sentence.

13 – [pronoun “I” or name] + รัก + [pronoun “you” or name]

Pronunciation:
[pronoun “I” or name] + rák + [pronoun “you” or name]

English translation:
I love you.

Additional explanation:
As with the Thai love phrase above, if you want to say “I love you very much,” or “I love you so much,” you can add มาก (mâak) to the end of the sentence.

14 – [pronoun “you” or name] + มีความหมายต่อ + [pronoun “I” or name] + มาก

Pronunciation:  
[pronoun “you” or name] + mii-khwaam-mǎai-dtàaw + [pronoun “I” or name] + mâak 

English translation:
You mean so much to me.

15 – [pronoun “I” or name] + ชอบอยู่กับ + [pronoun “you” or name]

Pronunciation:
[pronoun “I” or name] + châawp-yùu-gàp + [pronoun “you” or name]

English translation:
I like being with you.

Additional explanation:
If you feel like the previous Thai love phrases were too cheesy or intense, you can opt for this more subtle one instead!

16 – [pronoun “you” or name] + ทำให้ชีวิตของ + [pronoun “I” or name] + มีความหมาย

Pronunciation:
[pronoun “you” or name] + tham-hâi-chii-wít-khǎawng + [pronoun “I” or name] + mii- kwaam-mǎai 

English translation:
You make my life meaningful.

3. Being Together and Getting Married

Thailand is a family-oriented society. This means that if you’re in a serious relationship with a Thai person, you’ll have to meet and interact with your in-laws to some extent. As your relationship moves forward, learning the following phrases can be very helpful.

17 – [day] + [pronoun “you” or name] + ไปทานข้าวกับพ่อแม่ของ + [pronoun “I” or name] + ได้มั๊ย

Pronunciation:
[day] + [pronoun “you” or name] + bpai-thaan-khâao-gàp-phâaw-mâae-khǎawng + [pronoun “I” or name] + dâi-mái 

English translation:
Can you have a meal with my parents on…?

Additional explanation:
Thai people often meet their boyfriend’s or girlfriend’s parents for the first time in a restaurant setting. So if your boyfriend/girlfriend asks you this question, it implies that he/she takes the relationship seriously.

18 – ช่วงนี้พ่อแม่ของ + [pronoun “I” or name] + จะมาหา + [pronoun “you” or name] + มาเจอพ่อแม่ของ + [pronoun “I” or name] + หน่อยได้มั๊ย

Pronunciation:
chûuang-níi-phâaw-mâae-khǎawng + [pronoun “I” or name] + jà-maa-hǎa + [pronoun “you” or name] + maa-jooe-phâaw-mâae-khǎawng + [pronoun “I” or name] + nàauy-dâi-mái

English translation:
My parents will come to see me, can you come to meet them?

Additional explanation:
Thai people usually visit family members during the holidays, so if your lover doesn’t live with his/her parents, he/she may ask you this.

19 – [day] + [pronoun “you” or name] + สะดวกมาบ้าน + [pronoun “I” or name] + มั๊ย ผมอยากแนะนำคุณให้พ่อแม่รู้จัก

Pronunciation:
[day] + [pronoun “you” or name] + sà-dùuak-maa-bâan + [pronoun “I” or name] + mái phǒm-yàak-náe-nam-khun-hâi-phâaw-mâae-rùu-jàk

English translation:
Are you available to come to my home on…? I want to introduce you to my parents.

Additional explanation:  
Apart from restaurant meetings, it’s also common for Thai people to meet their lover’s parents at his/her home. This way, in addition to getting to know his/her family members, you’ll also get to see how they live their daily lives as well.

20 – ย้ายมาอยู่ด้วยกันนะ

Pronunciation:
yáai-maa-yùu-dûuay-gan-ná

English translation:
Let’s move in together.

Additional explanation:
Nowadays, Thai people are more open to the idea of lovers living together before getting married. So if your lover is quite open-minded about this, he/she may say yes.

21 – คุณอยากย้ายมาอยู่กับ + [pronoun “I” or name] + มั๊ย 

Pronunciation:  
khun-yàak-yáai-maa-yùu-gàp + [pronoun “I” or name] + mái

English translation:  
Do you want to move into my house?

Additional explanation:  
Another question you can ask your lover if you’d like them to move in with you.

22 – แต่งงานกันนะ 

Pronunciation:
dtàaeng-ngaan-gan-ná

English translation:
Will you marry me?

A Man Putting a Ring on a Woman’s Finger on Their Wedding Day

Will you marry me?

23 – [pronoun “you” or name] + อยากมีลูกมั๊ย

Pronunciation:
[pronoun “you” or name] + yàak-mii-lûuk-mái

English translation:
Do you want to have a baby?

Additional explanation:
If you want to start a family together, you should know first whether your lover wants a child as well. Some Thai people do not like kids and plan to have no children. So if you’re in a serious relationship, don’t forget to ask about this to make sure that you have the same family goals in terms of kids.

24 – [pronoun “I” or name] + อยากมีลูก คุณเห็นว่าอย่างไร

Pronunciation:
[pronoun “I” or name] + yàak-mii-lûuk khun-hěn-wâa-yàang-rai

English translation:
I want to have a baby. What do you think?

Additional explanation:
Another way you can ask for your partner’s opinion about having children together.

25 – เรามาวางแผนมีลูกกันเถอะ

Pronunciation:
rao-maa-waang-phǎaen-mii-lûuk-gan-thòe

English translation:
Let’s make a plan about babies.

Additional explanation:
You can use this sentence when you’re sure that your lover also wants to have a baby.

A Woman Breastfeeding Her Baby

Let’s make a plan about babies.

4. Endearment Terms

When it comes to terms of endearment in Thai, you’ll find that Thai people have some odd ways of expressing affection. While we do have terms like “my love” in Thai, there are also some endearment terms that may sound more like verbal abuse in other cultures. It’s just how Thai lovers refer to one another. Despite the meaning, you have to focus on the tone as well.

26 – ที่รัก

Pronunciation:
thîi-rák

English translation:
Darling

Additional explanation:
It can be used to refer to both men and women.

27 – เบบี๋ / บี๋

Pronunciation:
bee-bǐi / bǐi

English translation:
Baby

Additional explanation:
It can be used to refer to both men and women.

28 – อ้วน

Pronunciation:
ûuan

English translation:
Fat

Additional explanation:
This endearment term doesn’t sound nice at all, but Thai lovers do call one another this. Instead of using it in a negative or abusive way, they say it in a cute manner—like when you see a chubby puppy. It can be used to refer to both men and women.

29 – เหม่ง

Pronunciation:
mèng

English translation:
Wide forehead

Additional explanation:
Similar to อ้วน (ûuan), เหม่ง (mèng) is used as an affectionate term. Men often call their girlfriends this.

30 – เค้า / ตัวเอง

Pronunciation:
kháo / dtuua-eeng

English translation:
I / You

Additional explanation:
This is a very cute pronoun that Thai lovers use when talking to each other. เค้า (kháo) is “I” and ตัวเอง (dtuua-eeng) is “you.” These two words can be used for both men and women.

31 – พี่ / หนู

Pronunciation:  
phîi / nǔu

English translation:
I (male) / You (female)

Additional explanation:
This is another pronoun pair that Thai lovers use when the male is older than the female. พี่ (phîi) is “brother” and หนู (nǔu) is “I,” used when the speaker is younger than the other party.

32 – พ่อ / แม่

Pronunciation:
phâaw / mâae

English translation:
Father / Mother

Additional explanation:  
When a couple have children together, they sometimes change the way they call each other to พ่อ (phâaw) and แม่ (mâae).

5. Sayings About Love in Thai 

To sound more like a native and to gain more insight into romance in Thai culture, you should also learn some Thai idioms about love as well as popular Thai love quotes

33 – ดื่มน้ำผึ้งพระจันทร์

Pronunciation:
dùuem-náam-phûeng-phrá-jan

Literal translation:
drink honey moon

English translation:
honeymoon

Additional explanation:
This Thai idiom refers to a “honeymoon,” with nearly the same meaning as the English word.

34 – ข้าวใหม่ปลามัน

Pronunciation:
khâao-mài-bplaa-man

Literal translation: 
new rice, oily fish

English translation:  
newlywed

Additional explanation:
This Thai idiom is used to refer to a couple who has just gotten married.

ข้าวใหม่ปลามัน

35 – น้ำตาลใกล้มด

Pronunciation:
náฟm-dtaan-glâi-mót

Literal translation: 
sugar near ant

English translation:
If a man and a woman spend a lot of time together, they can fall in love.

Additional explanation:
This Thai idiom is used to explain that if a man and a woman are close to each other, there is a higher chance of them falling in love.

36 – ยามรักน้ำต้มผักยังว่าหวาน

Pronunciation:
yaam-rák-náam-dtôm-phàk-yang-wâa-wǎan

Literal translation:
Soup made with vegetables is sweet when you are in love.

English translation:
When you are in love, everything about your lover is good.

Additional explanation:
This Thai idiom compares couples when they’ve just fallen in love to someone eating vegetable soup and thinking it’s sweet. In other words, you think that everything about your lover is good simply because you love him or her.

37 – รัก คิดถึง แค่คำสั้น ๆ แต่มีความสุขทุกครั้งที่พูดมันออกไป

Pronunciation:
rák khít-thǔeng khâae-kham-sân-sân dtàae-mii-kwaam-sùk-thúk-khráng-thîi-phûut- man-àawk-bpai

English translation:
“Love,” “miss you,” they are just short words but I’m happy every time you say them.

38 – ความสัมพันธ์ที่ดี จะไม่ทำให้เราต้องมีคำถามใด ๆ ในความสัมพันธ์เลย

Pronunciation:  
kwaam-sǎm-phan-thîi-dii jà-mâi-tham-hâi-rao-dtâwng-mii-kham-thǎam-dai-dai- nai-kwam-sǎm-phan-looei

English translation:  
A good relationship is a relationship that you have no question about.

39 – ชอบ คือ ถูกใจในข้อดี รัก คือ ยินดีรับในข้อเสีย

Pronunciation:
châawp-khuue-thùuk-jai-nai-khâaw-dii rák-khuue-yin-dii-ráp-nai-khâaw-sǐia

English translation:
“Like” is liking the good part of someone. “Love” is accepting the bad part of someone.

40 – จงอยู่กับคนที่แสดงความรักให้เห็น มากกว่าคนที่แค่พูดให้ได้ยิน

Pronunciation: 
jong-yùu-gàp-khon-thîi-sà-daaeng-kwaam-rák-hâi-hěn mâak-gwàa-khon-thîi-khâae- phûut-hâi-dâi-yin

English translation:
Be with a person who shows you his/her love, not the one who just speaks it.

6. Conclusion

This is the end of the article. We hope you were able to pick up a few love phrases in Thai, some other romantic words, and even a couple of sweet quotes! Even if you can’t remember all of these Thai love phrases yet, you should now have more confidence in your ability to express your romantic feelings! 

What did you think about this lesson? Is the way Thai people express their love different from how it’s done in your country? Leave us a comment below to share your thoughts.

If you would like to continue learning Thai love words and phrases, or want to further explore romance in Thai society, make sure to check out the following pages on ThaiPod101.com: 

Happy learning, and wishing you success in your love life!

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Negation in Thai: Learn How to Form Negative Sentences

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One of the first words a baby learns to say is “no.” 

It turns out that this little word will come in handy for the rest of our lives! We use it to express our needs, wants, and boundaries on a daily basis. Whether saying no comes as naturally to you as breathing or you consider yourself a people-pleaser, one thing is certain: 

As a Thai learner, it’s crucial that you learn how to negate in Thai! 

“Negation” refers to the act of making a positive (or affirmative) statement negative, and this is a crucial skill to have for any conversation. It allows you to tell others no, answer questions negatively, and much more. 

In this article, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about Thai negation. You’ll learn about the rules and steps involved, pick up some useful negation words and phrases, and even gain some cultural insight along the way.

    → Before we start, you may want to look at our article about Thai tenses. This topic plays a large role in negation, so we recommend becoming familiar with it before diving into this article!
Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Thai Table of Contents
  1. An Overview of Negation in Thai
  2. Other Words of Negation in Thai
  3. Thai People and Negation
  4. Conclusion

1. An Overview of Negation in Thai 

The Thai word for “negation” is: 

Literally, this word refers to the action of saying no to someone or something. This word is also used as part of a longer phrase (ประโยคปฎิเสธ) which means “negative sentence.”

Fortunately for you, Thai grammar is very easy. Things like gender and number do not affect the structure of Thai sentences at all, and negating in Thai is as simple as adding the word “no” or “not” to the sentence. 

Below are several different ways you can make a sentence negative in Thai. 

1 – Negating Affirmative Sentences [present tense]

Negation particle used: 
ไม่ (mâi) = not

How to negate:
Subject + ไม่ (mâi) + Verb + Object [if any]

Example 1:
แม่ไม่ชอบสีแดง
mâae-mâi-châawp-sǐi-daaeng
Mom doesn’t like the color red.

Example 2:
ฤดีพรไม่เรียนไวโอลินวันเสาร์
rúe-dii-paawn-mâi-riian-wai-oo-lin-wan-sǎo
Ruedeepron doesn’t learn violin on Saturday.

2 – Negating Affirmative Sentences [past tense]

Negation particle used: ไม่ได้ (mâi-dâi) = not

How to negate:
Subject + ไม่ได้ (mâi-dâi) + Verb + Object [if any]
Subject + ไม่ได้ (mâi-dâi) + เพิ่ง (phôeng) + Verb + Object [if any]

Example 1:
ตุลย์ไม่ได้ไปโรงเรียนเมื่อวานนี้
dtun-mâi-dâi-bpai-roong-riian-mûuea-waan-níi
Tun didn’t go to school yesterday.

Example 2:
น้าไม่ได้ซื้อนมมาจากตลาด
náa-mâi-dâi-súue-nom-maa-jàak-dtà-làat
Aunt didn’t buy milk from the market.

Example 3:
ครูไม่ได้เพิ่งสั่งงานมา ทำไมยังทำไม่เสร็จ
khruu-mâi-dâi-phôeng-sàng-ngaan-maa tham-mai-yang-tham-mâi-sèt
The teacher didn’t just order the work. Why isn’t your work finished yet?

Example 4:
แก้วไม่ได้เพิ่งเริ่มเรียนภาษาจีน เธอเรียนมาแล้วสามปี จึงพูดภาษาจีนได้ดี
gâaeo-mâi-dâi-phôeng-rôem-riian-phaa-sǎa-jiin thooe-riian-maa-láaeo-sǎam-bpii jueng-phûut-phaa- sǎa-jiin-dâi-dii
Kaew didn’t just start learning Chinese. She has learned it for 3 years now so she can speak it well.

3 – Negating Affirmative Sentences [future tense]

Negation particle used: 
ไม่ (mâi) = not

How to negate:
Subject + จะ () + ไม่ (mâi) + Verb + Object [if any]

Example 1:
ณัฐจะไม่ไปพัทยาวันอังคารหน้า
nát-jà-mâi-bpai-phát-thá-yaa-wan-ang-khaan-nâa
Nut will not go to Pattaya next Tuesday.

Example 2:
พ่อจะไม่ทานข้าวเย็นกับพวกเราวันนี้
phâaw-jà-mâi-thaan-khâao-yen-gàp-phûuak-rao-wan-níi
Dad will not have dinner with us today.

4 – Negating Affirmative Sentences [present continuous tense]

Negation particle used:
ไม่ได้ (mâi-dâi) = not

How to negate:
Subject + ไม่ได้ (mâi-dâi) + กำลัง (gam-lang) + Verb + Object [if any]

Example 1:
นักเรียนไม่ได้กำลังเรียนหนังสืออยู่
nák-riian-mâi-dâi-gam-lang-riian-nǎng-sǔue-yùu
The student is not studying now.

Example 2:
เด็ก ๆ ไม่ได้กำลังนอนอยู่
dèk-dèk-mâi-dâi-gam-lang-naawn-yùu
The kids are not sleeping now.

5 – Negating Affirmative Sentences [perfect tense]

Negation particle used:
ไม่ (mâi) = not
ไม่ได้ (mâi-dâi) = not

How to negate:
Subject + ไม่ได้ (mâi-dâi) + Verb + Object [if any] + มา (maa) or ตั้งแต่ (dtâng-dtàae) + Time
Subject + ไม่ (mâi) + เคย (khooei) + Verb + Object [if any]

Example 1:
การะเกดไม่ได้ทำงานมา 3 วันแล้ว เธอป่วย
gaa-rá-gèet-mâi-dâi-tham-ngaan-maa-sǎam-wan-láaeo thooe-bpùuai
Garaget hasn’t worked for 3 days now. She is sick.

Garaget Hasn’t Worked for 3 Days Now. She Is Sick.

Example 2:
พิพัฒน์ไม่ได้อ่านหนังสือมาหลายอาทิตย์แล้ว เขายุ่งมาก
phí-phát-mâi-dâi-àan-nǎng-sǔue-maa-lǎai-aa-thít-láaeo khǎo-yûng-mâak
Pipat hasn’t read any books for many weeks now. He is very busy.

Example 3:
รำไพไม่เคยไปประเทศเกาหลี
ram-phai-mâi-khooei-bpai-phrà-thêet-gao-lǐi
Ramphai has never been to Korea.

Example 4:
ตั้มไม่เคยกินผลไม้ชนิดนี้มาก่อน
dtâm-mâi-khooei-gin-phǒn-lá-mái-chá-nít-níi-maa-gàawn
Tum has never eaten this kind of fruit before.

6 – The Negation of “Can” in Thai

Negation particle used:
ไม่ (mâi) = not
ไม่ได้ (mâi-dâi) = not

How to negate:
Subject + ไม่ (mâi) + สามารถ (sǎa-mâat) + Verb + Object [if any] + ได้ (dâi)
Subject + Verb + Object [if any] + ไม่ได้ (mâi-dâi)

Example 1:
นทีไม่สามารถกินเผ็ดได้
ná-thii-mâi-sǎa-mâat-gin-phèt-dâi
Nathi can’t eat spicy food.

Example 2:
นทีกินเผ็ดไม่ได้
ná-thii-gin-phèt-mâi-dâi
Nathi can’t eat spicy food.

Example 3:
ปริณไม่สามารถขับรถได้
bpà-rin-mâi-sǎa-mâat-khàp-rót-dâi
Prin can’t drive.

Example 4:
ปริณขับรถไม่ได้
bpà-rin-khàp-rót-mâi-dâi
Prin can’t drive.

Additional note: 
These two Thai negation patterns are completely interchangeable! The meaning of the sentence will not change if you use one instead of the other.

7 – Negating Thai Adjectives and Adverbs

Negation particle used: 
ไม่ (mâi) = not

How to negate:
ไม่ (mâi) + adjective / adverb

Example 1:
เสื้อตัวนี้ราคาไม่แพง
sûuea-dtuua-níi-raa-khaa-mâi-phaaeng
This shirt is not expensive.

This Shirt Is not Expensive.

Example 2:
คุณตาเดินไม่เร็ว เพราะ พื้นลื่น
khun-dtaa-dooen-mâi-reo-phráw-phúuen-lûuen
Grandpa doesn’t walk fast because of the slippery floor.

8 – Giving Negative Instructions and Commands

Negation particle used:
ห้าม (hâam) = do not
อย่า (yàa) = do not

How to negate:
ห้าม (hâam) + Verb + Object [if any]
อย่า (yàa) + Verb + Object [if any]

Example 1:
ห้ามเข้า
hâam-khâo
Do not enter.

Example 2:
ห้ามใส่กางเกงขาสั้น
hâam-sài-gaang-geeng-khǎa-sân
Do not wear shorts.

Example 3:
อย่ากลับบ้านดึกนะ
yàa-glàp-bâan-dùek-ná
Do not come home late.

Example 4:
อย่าใส่พริกเยอะ เดี๋ยวจะเผ็ดเกินไป
yàa-sài-phrík-yóe dǐiao-jà-phèt-gooen-bpai
Do not add too much chili or else it will be too spicy.

Additional note:
Both ห้าม (hâam) and อย่า (yàa) are commonly used when giving negative commands in Thai. However, the two are slightly different in meaning. ห้าม (hâam) is used when giving a strong order, while อย่า (yàa) is typically used for giving a suggestion.

9 – Answering Yes-or-No Questions

Negation particle used:
ไม่ (mâi) = no

How to negate:
ไม่ (mâi) + Verb in the question

Example 1

Question:
เธอจะเอาขนมหวานมั๊ย
thooe-jà-ao-khà-nǒm-wǎan-mái
Do you want dessert?

Answer:
ไม่เอา
Mâi-ao
No, I don’t

Example 2

Question:
มะลิชอบสีเขียวมั๊ย
má-lí-châawp-sǐi-khǐiao-mái
Does Mali like the color green?

Answer:
ไม่ชอบ
mâi-châawp
No, she doesn’t.

Additional note: 
Sometimes questions end with รึเปล่า (rǔe-plào), which is a casual version of ใช่หรือไม่ (châi-rǔue-mâi) meaning “yes or no.” To answer negatively in this case, you would say เปล่า (plào), meaning “no.”

10 – Double Negation in Thai

Negation particle used:
ไม่ได้ (mâi-dâi) = not
ไม่ใช่ (mâi-châi) = not

How to negate:
ไม่ได้ (mâi-dâi) or ไม่ใช่ (mâi-châi) + Normal negation form

Example 1

Question:
เธอไม่ชอบฉันเหรอ
thooe-mâi-châawp-chǎn-rǎaw
Do you not like me?

Answer:
ฉันไม่ได้ไม่ชอบเธอ
chǎn-mâi-dâi-mâi-châawp-thooe
I don’t dislike you.

Example 2

Question:
ไอศครีมร้านนี้ไม่อร่อยเหรอ
Ai-sà-khriim-ráan-níi-mâi-à-hràauy-rǎaw
Does ice cream at this shop not taste good?

Answer:
ไอศครีมร้านนี้ ไม่ใช่ไม่อร่อย แต่แพงเกินไป
ai-sà-khriim-ráan-níi mâi-châi-mâi-à-ràauy-dtàae-phaaeng-gooen-bpai
The ice cream at this shop is good but too expensive.

This Ice Cream Is Delicious but Too Expensive.

Additional note:
Thai people often use double negation when answering questions. You can use both ไม่ได้ (mâi-dâi) and ไม่ใช่ (mâi-châi), as there’s no difference in meaning between the two words.

2. Other Words of Negation in Thai

Of course, there might be situations where you want to give a stronger (or more colorful) negative response. Following are several words and phrases you can use to add flavor to your speech and sound more like a native speaker. 

1 – ไม่มีทาง

Pronunciation:
mâi-mii-thaang

Literal translation:
No way

Explanation:
This phrase is used exactly like “no way” is in English. It’s used to express that you strongly disagree with an offer.

Example 1:
ไม่มีทางที่ฉันจะให้เธอยืมเงิน
mâi-mii-thaang-thîi-chǎn-jà-hâi-thooe-yuuem-ngoen
There is no way that I will let you borrow my money.

Example 2:
ไม่มีทางที่ปราณแต่งงานกับอรณี เขาไม่ชอบเธอ
Mâi-mii-thaang-thîi-bpraan-jà-dtàaeng-ngaan-gàp-aawn-rá-nii khǎo-mâi-châawp-thooe
There is no way that Pran will marry Onranee. He doesn’t like her.

2 – หัวเด็ดตีนขาดก็ไม่…

Pronunciation:
hǔa-dèt-dtiin-khàat-gâaw-mâi-…(verb)

Literal translation:
Even my head and leg are cut, still no.

Explanation:
This phrase is stronger than the one above. It means that even if someone tries to force you into agreement by threatening to cut off your leg or head, you’ll still say no.

Example 1:
หัวเด็ดตีนขาดก็ไม่ไป
hǔa-dèt-dtiin-khàat-gâaw-mâi-bpai
I WON’T GO.

Example 2:
ข้อเสนอบ้าบออย่างนี้ หัวเด็ดตีนขาดก็ไม่ตกลง
khâaw-sà-nǒoe-bâa-baaw-yàang-níi hǔa-dèt-dtiin-khàat-gâaw-mâi-dtòk-long
I WON’T AGREE with this ridiculous offer.

3 – ฝันเอา / ฝันไปเถอะ

Pronunciation:
fǎn-ao / fǎn-bpai-thòe

Literal translation:
Dream it

Explanation:
This phrase is used much the same way as the English phrase “in your dreams.”

Example 1:
ฝันไปเถอะ ยังไงฉันก็ไม่ตกลง
fǎn-bpai-thòe yang-ngai-chǎn-gâaw-mâi-dtòk-long
You have to dream it. I won’t agree nonetheless.

Example 2:
ใครจะไปซื้อไหว แพงขนาดนั้น ฝันเอาแล้วกัน
khrai-jà-bpai-súue-wǎi phaaeng-khà-nàat-nán fǎn-ao-láaeo-gan
Who will be able to buy that? It is that expensive. You have to dream it.

4 – บ้ง

Pronunciation:
bông

Literal translation:
Worm

Slang translation:
Not good

Explanation:
This is a slang term used among youngsters. It means “not okay.”

Example 1:
เธอใส่ชุดนี้แล้วบ้งมาก ไม่ควรซื้อ
thooe-sài-chút-níi-láaeo-bông-mâak mâi-khuuan-súue
You don’t look good in this dress, so you shouldn’t buy it.

Example 2:
วันนี้ขายของไม่ได้เลย บ้งมาก
wan-níi-khǎai-khǎawng-mâi-dâi-looei bông-mâak
I can’t sell anything today, not good.

5 – มองบน

Pronunciation:
maawng-bon

Literal translation:
Look up

Slang translation:
Not happy with something

Explanation:
This is another slang term used by youngsters. It’s used to imply that one is not happy with something.

Example 1:
เธอได้ยินปัญหาแล้วก็อดมองบนไม่ได้
thooe-dâi-yin-bpan-hǎa-láaeo-gâaw-òt-maawng-bon-mâi-dâi
Once she heard of the problem, she was not happy with it.

Example 2:
ทำไม่ต้องมองบนขนาดนั้น
tham-mai-dtâawng-maawng-bon-khà-nàat-nán
Why are you that unhappy?

6 – เซ็งเป็ด

Pronunciation:
seng-bpèt

Literal translation:
Bore of the duck

Slang translation:
Not in a good mood

Explanation:
This slang term is used to say that you’re not in a good mood or that something has put you in a bad mood.

Example 1:
เห็นงานที่ต้องทำแล้วเซ็งเป็ดเลย
hěn-ngaan-thîi-dtâawng-tham-láaeo-seng-bpèt-looei
I’m not in a good mood now after seeing the work that I have to do.

I’m Not in a Good Mood Now After Seeing the Work that I Have to Do.

Example 2:
อากาศแบบนี้ออกไปข้างนอกไม่ได้ เซ็งเป็ด
aa-gàat-bàaep-níi-àawk-bpai-khâang-nâawk-mâi-dâi seng-bpèt
I can’t go out in this weather. I’m not in a good mood now.

3. Thai People and Negation

Now that you know how to properly use negation in Thai, there are a couple of cultural aspects you should be aware of. 

1 – เกรงใจ

เกรงใจ (greeng-jai) is a trait that many Thai people possess. This word refers to the feeling of not wanting to disturb, inconvenience, or cause problems for another person. Someone who feels เกรงใจ (greeng-jai) will find it hard to say “no” to someone who has asked a favor of them. They may also try to make life as easy as possible for others. 

For example, imagine that a Thai person is visiting their neighbor’s home. If the neighbor asks this person if they would like anything to drink, the person may feel เกรงใจ (greeng-jai). As a result, they might ask for something simple (like plain water or juice) even if they would prefer something else (like a smoothie or cocktail). 

If you were asked a favor by a coworker in the workplace to assist his/her tasks, in the case that you were feeling เกรงใจ (greeng-jai), you might end up agreeing to help that coworker complete their tasks—even if you already had a lot of work to do and needed to stay overtime for that. This is because saying “no” would hurt the feelings of your coworker.

So, when you ask a Thai person to do something, you have to look at their body language as well. If they look reluctant but still say yes, you should know that they are เกรงใจ (greeng-jai) and may not actually be willing to help.

Thai People Can’t Say No

2 – Using Negation to Save Someone’s Feelings

Sometimes, saying things directly can hurt other people’s feelings. To avoid doing so, Thai people use negation in order to convey the same message in a more indirect manner.  

Example 1: เตี้ย

Saying that someone is short can hurt that person’s feelings. Instead, you could use “not tall” instead of “short.”

  • เขาเตี้ย
  • khǎo-dtîia
  • He is short.
  • เขาตัวไม่สูง
  • khǎo-mâi-sǔung
  • He is not tall.

Example 2: ถูก

Since quality and price are often related, some Thai people feel that saying that something is cheap is like looking down on its quality. So instead of using “cheap,” you could use “not expensive.”

  • อาหารร้านนี้ถูกมาก
  • aa-hǎan-ráan-níi-thùuk-mâak
  • The food at this restaurant is very cheap.
  • อาหารร้านนี้ราคาไม่แพง
  • aa-hǎan-ráan-níi-raa-khaa-mâi-phaaeng
  • The food at this restaurant is not expensive.

4. Conclusion

As you can see, Thai negation is relatively simple. The only thing you really need to worry about is how to correctly use the negating words ไม่ (mâi), ไม่ได้ (mâi-dâi), and ไม่ใช่ (mâi-châi). It might take some time, but with enough practice you’ll become familiar with them. 

What are your thoughts on this lesson? Did you find it difficult, or was this pretty easy for you? And how does negation in Thai differ from that in your language? 

We look forward to hearing from you! 

If you would like to continue learning about the Thai language and culture, make sure to explore ThaiPod101.com and create your free lifetime account today. Not sure where to start? How about you try these lessons:

Happy learning!

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10 Reasons Why You Should Learn the Thai Language

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So, you’re thinking about learning a foreign language…but you’re not quite convinced that it’s worth the time and effort. Or maybe you’re aware of the benefits bilingualism can bring, but you’re not sure which language you should pursue. 

If you’re feeling stuck and need that extra push to start working toward your linguistic aspirations, you’ve come to the right place! 

In this article, we’ll give you 10 compelling answers to the question “Why learn Thai?” 

Some of the reasons we list can be applied to any foreign language (career opportunities and personal growth), while others are unique to Thai (familiarity with the Thai culture and better access to the country). 

Let’s dig in!

A Woman Thinking against a White Background

Why should you learn Thai?

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Thai Table of Contents
  1. Thailand has a rich culture.
  2. It’s a nice place for retirement.
  3. Learning Thai will increase your work opportunities and career options.
  4. It will also increase your business opportunities.
  5. You’ll have better travel experiences.
  6. You’ll be able to communicate better with loved ones.
  7. Your life in Thailand will be much more convenient.
  8. You’ll have a better chance of wooing a Thai lover.
  9. The grammar is actually pretty easy!
  10. You can learn Thai online, anywhere and anytime.
  11. Conclusion

1. Thailand has a rich culture.

Thailand may be a famous travel destination with natural beauty and an inexpensive cost of living, but many people become interested in something else while visiting: the Thai society and culture. 

Thai food is delicious, the local art is unique and beautiful, and many people like how Thai people live.  

If you like Thailand, this is a great reason why you should learn Thai. The language itself is a part of Thai culture, and knowing at least the basics will enable you to understand the culture and society better.

2. It’s a nice place for retirement.

Thinking about retirement? Here are just a few reasons Thailand is the perfect place to spend your golden years: 

But there’s a hitch: Not all Thai people can speak English.  

Close your eyes and imagine you’re grocery shopping or trying to go somewhere by yourself. You try asking someone for help, but you cannot communicate with anyone because of the language barrier. As a result, you end up spending money on something you don’t want or get lost.

So, if your retirement plan is to live in Thailand, learning the Thai language is essential. If you can communicate, life will be much easier for you!

An Old Man Painting Something

I want to live in Thailand after retirement.

3. Learning Thai will increase your work opportunities and career options.

Another compelling reason why you should learn Thai is that it will benefit your work life—especially if you plan to work abroad or with an international company! 

First of all, it will make communication with your coworkers so much easier. Most of the Thai people you’ll work with may not be able to communicate in English well, so knowing their language will allow for smoother operations in the workplace.

Second, learning the Thai language will help you understand the Thai culture and how Thai people think. When working abroad, cultural differences in the workplace often cause problems. Knowing the Thai language can help you see your coworkers’ point of view and reduce the number of issues resulting from cultural differences. 

Third, better communication can improve the quality of work and even lead to a promotion!

Finally, learning a foreign language broadens your career options. Thailand is quite open to foreign workers, and knowing Thai will give you more career opportunities in this beautiful country. 

4. It will also increase your business opportunities.

As mentioned earlier, learning the language will help you understand Thai people better—and this is the key to doing good business here! 

Your cultural knowledge, combined with the insight you gain through conversations with others, will make you a more appealing individual with whom to do business. And believe us, there are tons of business opportunities here! For example, you could…

  • …invest in interesting projects that have a chance to be successful but have no funding.  
  • …invent products and services for Thai people.  
  • …find markets for Thai exported products.
  • …own and operate a big business in Thailand.
A Man Shaking Hands with a Woman During a Business-related Meeting

Because I know Thai, I am able to make great business deals.

5. You’ll have better travel experiences.

When you travel, it’s always better to know the language of the country you’re visiting. Before we get ahead of ourselves, though…what makes Thailand such a fantastic travel destination? 

  • Thailand is full of natural beauty.
  • The country has a unique art scene. 
  • The food here is to die for! 
  • Believe it or not, traveling in Thailand is fairly inexpensive. 

Future plans to visit this stunning country is a great reason to learn Thai, and here’s why: 

First of all, there will be less chance of you getting lost—and even if you did get really lost, you could ask locals for directions. On a side note: Don’t be afraid to ask locals for help! Even if your Thai isn’t up to par yet, most locals will be more than willing to help you out. 

Second, you’ll be able to experience living like a local. Some tourists worry about the language barrier; they typically feel more comfortable going to restaurants with menus in English or places with English-speaking staff. However, if you know the Thai language, you won’t have to worry about that at all. You’ll be able to visit the restaurants and places most popular among locals.

Third, you can bargain and ask for discounts when shopping. Anyone who loves shopping also loves a good discount. And let us tell you, if you go to a Thai market and can talk the talk, most sellers will often give you a small discount or giveaway.  

6. You’ll be able to communicate better with loved ones.

Speaking in English with Thai people—even if they know the language well—is not the same as using their native tongue. 

If you have family members, a partner, or friends who are Thai, communicating with them in their mother tongue can strengthen your bonds with them. Taking the time and putting in the effort to learn their language will show them you care and really want to maintain a good relationship.

Moreover, your loved one will be more than happy to help you practice your Thai once you make the commitment—it’s a win-win situation!

Two Thai Women Sitting on a Sofa and Talking

I can talk to my Thai friend in Thai.

7. Your life in Thailand will be much more convenient. 

Do you plan to live or work in Thailand? Or maybe you want to visit often? These are good reasons why you should learn Thai! 

We’ve touched on this a little bit in our previous points, but to recap, you’ll be able to…

  • …visit a greater variety of restaurants, shops, and less-touristic locations with ease! 
  • …read signs and understand announcements. 
  • …communicate with Thai people who do not speak English well (juristic office staff, mechanics, etc.). 

8. You’ll have a better chance of wooing a Thai lover. 

Communication is key in any romantic relationship. When you live together with someone, you want to talk to one another and share your thoughts. 

If you’ve recently found yourself swooning over a potential Thai lover, you should consider making the effort to learn their native tongue. After all, Google Translate isn’t really a practical way to share your innermost feelings with someone. 

Do you already have a Thai partner? Then learning their mother tongue will show them that you’re willing to go the extra mile! 

9. The grammar is actually pretty easy! 

While deciding whether to learn a foreign language or not, one usually takes into consideration how difficult that language is. If a given language is particularly difficult or has complex grammar rules, you might opt to study a different one. 

Fortunately for you, Thai grammar is very easy! Here’s why:

  • There is no grammatical gender.
  • There is no verb conjugation.  
  • Most of the sentence structures are quite simple and similar to those in English.  

For more useful information on the topic, visit our lesson on Thai Grammar or read our article Is Thai Difficult to Learn? (And Tips to Succeed!).

10. You can learn Thai online, anywhere and anytime.

Still wondering why to learn Thai? 

Well, studying foreign languages is so much easier today than in times past. 

With the internet, you can learn Thai at your own pace from anywhere in the world. If you’re wondering where to learn Thai online, look no further than ThaiPod101.com! While there are a few different resources available, we can offer the best results! 

Our professional language learning platform has become one of the best ways to learn Thai. We create lessons and materials designed to speed up your learning progress, and we even design curated pathways for learners at different levels. When you create your account with ThaiPod101, you get all of this in addition to support from Thai teachers and practical tips on how to learn Thai effectively.

A Woman Doing Something on Her Tablet

It’s so convenient to learn Thai online at ThaiPod101.com.

11. Conclusion

As you can see, there are many good reasons for you to learn Thai.  

After reading this article, what are your thoughts on learning the language? Are you any closer to making a decision? 

If you would like to sample what to expect from the Thai language (and from our learning platform), we recommend checking out these fun lessons on ThaiPod101.com: 

Happy learning!

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How Long Does it Take to Learn Thai?

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If you’re like most aspiring language learners, you’ve probably asked this all-too-common question at some point: How long does it take to learn Thai? 

Thai is not an easy language to learn, especially for a native English speaker. You’ll have to learn a whole new reading and writing system, study a new set of grammar rules, and—most difficult of all—get the hang of Thai pronunciation. Fortunately, the grammar part is pretty simple as there’s no verb conjugation to worry about (tense, mood, and gender play no role here).  

Taking the language’s difficulty into consideration, what kind of time commitment should you expect? 

In this article, we’ll take a look at the three different levels of Thai fluency: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. For each level, we will provide a list of abilities the learner should have at that stage (based on the CU-TFL test for non-native speakers). In addition, we’ll talk about the different factors that can influence your progress and give you tips on how to learn the Thai language faster. 

Let’s go!

How Long Does It Take to Learn Thai?
Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Thai Table of Contents
  1. Factors That Affect Your Thai Language Learning
  2. How Long Does it Take to Achieve Beginner Level?
  3. How Long Does it Take to Achieve Intermediate Level?
  4. How Long Does it Take to Achieve Advanced Level?
  5. Conclusion

1. Factors That Affect Your Thai Language Learning

Before we get ahead of ourselves, you should know that there’s no concrete answer regarding how long it takes to learn Thai. There are many factors that can affect your Thai learning progress:

  • Where you live.

    If you live in Thailand or visit the country often, you’ll naturally become more familiar with the Thai language. This frequent exposure will help you pick up basic words and phrases, and get you acquainted with Thai pronunciation.
  • Whether you have Thai people in your life.

    One of the best ways to gain Thai speaking skills is to practice with native speakers. If you have family members, friends, or colleagues who are Thai, you can pick up the language much more quickly!
  • Your reasons for learning the language.

    Why are you learning Thai? If you chose to learn Thai for personal reasons, such as interest in the culture or a loved one who speaks the language, you’re more likely to learn it well!
  • Your opportunities to use Thai.

    The more you use the language, the better your language skills will become. By practicing what you learn, you’re allowing yourself to internalize the information and concepts—the ultimate key to success!
  • Your learning ability.

    Is langu1age learning your specialty, or are you better at math and science? Are you a fast learner in general? How’s your memory? Your learning experience and abilities have a massive effect on how long it will take you to learn Thai.
  • Your learning resources and methods.

    Who’s teaching you Thai? What materials are you using? Having good Thai learning resources for your studies is like having a good car for driving: It will help you get to your destination faster and with fewer issues.

To put it simply: If you’re in a good environment for learning Thai, you can learn it faster.

2. How Long Does it Take to Achieve Beginner Level?

So, how long does it take to learn basic Thai? 

It should take around 500 hours (20 weeks if you study 25 hours a week).  

Thai Skills Needed for Beginner Level

In order to reach the beginner level, there are a few skills you’ll need to master. 

Reading: 

  • Memorize all characters of the Thai script. 
  • Memorize the vocabulary used in daily life.
  • Understand basic phrases and sentences. 
  • Read and understand signs written in basic language.
  • Understand basic written orders and instructions.
  • Understand vocabulary associated with the characteristics of objects, people, and places.

Listening: 

  • Understand short, simple sentences.
  • Understand the phrases used in day-to-day conversations.
  • Memorize key phrases used during social interactions.

Speaking: 

  • Use simple words and sentence structures to make basic conversation. 
  • Communicate effectively in daily life.

Writing: 

  • Write simple words, phrases, or sentences used in daily life.
  • You tend to use the same simple sentence structures over and over again.
  • You will probably make a lot of spelling and spacing mistakes.  

Learning Tips for Beginners

500 hours is a long time! But luckily for you, we’re here with some tips on how to learn basic Thai more effectively. 

  • Memorize all 44 consonants and 21 vowels early on.

    Instead of learning with romanization, you should learn all of the Thai characters right from the start. Doing so will make Thai pronunciation easier for you to master. A great way to really internalize them is to listen to and repeat after the alphabet songs Thai children listen to.
  • Practice the five tones.

    The hardest part of learning Thai is the pronunciation, especially when it comes to the tones. In Thai, the consonant and vowel sounds combine with one of five tones in order to form different words. Practicing these five tones early on will help you become familiar with them from the start, and help you make faster progress later on!
  • Memorize the most important vocabulary used in daily life.

    Beginner-level students should be able to make and understand day-to-day conversations, so it’s very important to remember key vocabulary. Using flashcards and trying to remember words and phrases based on category is a great idea at this point.
  • Listen to Thai songs.

    Listening to Thai songs is a great way to become familiar with the pronunciation, even if you can’t understand the lyrics. This is an enjoyable study method that you can do at the same time as other activities: during your morning routine, on the way to work, while exercising, etc. It won’t take long for you to find yourself pleasantly surprised at how much vocabulary you’ve picked up through songs!
I Love Thai Songs.
  • Watch educational kids’ shows or cartoons.

    Even Thai children pick up the language through educational shows and cartoons, which makes this a wonderful learning resource for non-native beginners.
  • Read kids’ tales or stories.

    Stories for children are often written using simple language, which makes them good for both reading and pronunciation practice.

How ThaiPod101 Can Help

ThaiPod101.com is the best place to learn Thai online. In addition to our recommended lesson pathways for beginners, we have plenty of fun and effective resources you can take advantage of from Day One! 

  • Our Thai Alphabet Video

    If you’ve just started learning Thai, we recommend beginning with our Thai alphabet video. As mentioned earlier, learning the Thai alphabet should be your first priority as this will speed up your progress and make your continued studies easier. We have a few lessons and articles on our website covering this topic, but many new students benefit from visual and auditory learning. Click the link above to visit our Thai alphabet video on YouTube!
  • ThaiPod101 YouTube Channel

    Speaking of YouTube, have you been to our channel? We provide fun, engaging content on a range of topics, from vocabulary and pronunciation to culture!
  • Flashcards

    Wondering how to learn Thai vocabulary effectively? Use the spaced repetition flashcards on our website to memorize new words and phrases via a proven method!
  • Painless Thai Grammar

    Our Painless Thai Grammar lesson is the perfect place to get some useful tips on how to learn the more difficult grammar concepts. However, we also have tons of other lessons on various Thai grammar points! You may find it useful to write three original sentences after each lesson, applying the concept(s) you just learned; this will help you ensure you understood the lesson correctly.
  • Introduction to Thai Writing

    If you aren’t sure how to learn Thai writing, we recommend visiting our Introduction to Thai Writing page. Here, you’ll find all of the information you need to know as a beginner. Learning to write in Thai will be even easier with the help of a native speaker, so you may want to upgrade to Premium PLUS and utilize our MyTeacher service. This way, you can practice writing sentences and then send them to your personal teacher for feedback!
Write Three Original Sentences for Your Teacher.
  • Ultimate Thai Pronunciation Guide

    Another page you should visit is our Ultimate Thai Pronunciation Guide. This lesson will provide you with all of the basics you need to know, so you can get a good headstart on your learning. It will be hard to get the pronunciation and tones correct by yourself, so you should record yourself speaking and send the audio to your teacher for feedback.

3. How Long Does it Take to Achieve Intermediate Level?

How long does it take to learn intermediate-level Thai? It should take around 1,100 hours (44 weeks if you study 25 hours a week). Following is a breakdown of what you should know… 

Thai Skills Needed for Intermediate Level

To complete the intermediate level, here are the Thai language skills you need to have. 

Reading:

  • Understand short essays or stories on topics that interest you (or that you’re specialized in) with long and complicated sentences.   
  • Identify the main idea of an essay or story. 
  • Understand the context of a sentence.

Listening:  

  • Understand stories when spoken in a clear fashion at normal speed.
  • You might still be unable to understand long and complicated stories.

Speaking: 

  • Use both formal and informal language when speaking, and offer opinions on topics that are familiar to you.
  • Communicate with Thai people on less-familiar topics (though you might struggle) and use some non-verbal language.

Writing:  

  • Write essays with a good flow in terms of time, ideas, and logic.
  • Use conjunctions in essays and other texts.
  • Describe, explain, and give information via writing.
  • You might still make some mistakes in spelling, spacing, and word choice.

Learning Tips for Intermediate-Level Students

Reaching this level is a huge time commitment, but we have a few tips on how to learn Thai more quickly. 

  • Read short stories or essays on topics that interest you.

    To write well, you should start by reading so you become more familiar with sentence structure and how to use conjunctions. By reading stories or essays that match your interests, you’ll make the process more enjoyable and might be able to memorize even more vocabulary.
  • Translate short stories or essays.

    This will allow you to pick up more useful vocabulary and become familiar with things like conjunctions and essay structures. As with the tip above, you should make sure to pick short stories or essays on topics that fascinate you. For example, if you like cooking, try translating your special recipe into Thai.
  • Watch Thai TV shows, movies, or dramas.

    Watching Thai TV shows, movies, or dramas is a great way to practice listening and become more familiar with how Thai people speak in various situations.
Thai Movies Are Fun.

How ThaiPod101 Can Help 

ThaiPod101.com has plenty of useful resources for intermediate learners, too! Here are just a few recommended pages and tools for you. 

  • 5 Tips to Reach Intermediate Level 

    If you’re feeling stuck at the beginner stage, listen to these five tips from Alisha on how to finally move forward to the intermediate level.
  • Intermediate-Level YouTube Videos

    Of course, our YouTube channel features plenty of fun and educational videos designed for intermediate-level learners. Check it out!

4. How Long Does it Take to Achieve Advanced Level?

To become completely fluent in Thai, you’ll need to put in a whopping 2,500 hours (100 weeks if you study 25 hours a week). Here’s everything you should know about reaching the advanced level. 

Thai Skills Needed for Advanced Level

Reading:

  • Understand both academic and non-academic texts on a variety of topics, featuring both complex and simple sentences. 
  • Know and be able to use Thai idioms, proverbs, and other sayings that aren’t used much in daily life.

Listening: 

  • Understand both academic and non-academic stories, even when the speaker talks quickly. 
  • Understand the tone of the speaker and the cultural/societal context within the story. 

Speaking: 

  • Use formal/informal language as required by the situation. 
  • Communicate well on a variety of topics. 
  • Give explanations and opinions, influence and persuade others, and make compromises. 
  • Use all Thai vocabulary and grammar correctly, including slang, idioms, and proverbs.
  • Have a good understanding of Thai culture and apply this to your speech. 

Writing:

  • Write essays on various topics.
  • Explain, discuss, share opinions, and do creative writing.
  • Use suitable words and sentence structures, as well as idioms, proverbs, and other Thai sayings.
  • Write essays with good flow in terms of time, ideas, and logic, with a solid conclusion at the end.

Learning Tips for Advanced Students

  • Read and summarize academic essays.

    You likely have no problem with non-academic topics at this point, so you should focus on the academic part. By reading and summarizing essays written in Thai, you can learn new words and structures and practice writing.
  • Watch or listen to Thai news.

    Listening to something more formal like the news will help you become familiar with academic vocabulary that’s less common in daily life.
  • Watch Thai TV shows, movies, or dramas in various genres.

    Watching Thai movies and shows is a great way to practice your listening and become more familiar with Thai culture. It will also expose you to various Thai accents, and give you a better idea of how idioms and proverbs are used in different contexts.
  • Debate on various topics.

    Try debating with your Thai friends on various topics. This will help you practice explaining concepts, giving your opinions, influencing others, persuading your audience, and making compromises.
Let’s Debate on Which Is the Healthier Way to Cook: Boiling or Steaming?

How ThaiPod101 Can Help

  • Conversation Starters for Advanced Listeners

    Knowing how to start and hold conversations is a crucial skill for advanced-level learners. In our Conversation Starters for Advanced Learners series, you can listen to various Thai-related stories to improve your listening and speaking skills.
  • Must-Know Thai Slang Words & Phrases

    Knowing how to use slang, idioms, and proverbs is a major step forward. In our Must-Know Thai Slang Words & Phrases series, you’ll be able to learn phrases you wouldn’t find in a textbook—from sayings about personalities and electronics, to words you can use to sound cuter!
  • Advanced-Level YouTube Videos

    Finally, our YouTube channel has plenty of videos geared toward advanced-level learners. Pick up more complex phrases and sentences, dive deeper into various grammar concepts, discover more about Thai culture, and have fun the entire time!

Conclusion

By this point, we’re sure that you have a better idea of how long it takes to learn Thai. What are your thoughts on the topic? If you’ve already started learning Thai, please comment below to let your fellow language learners know how long it took you to get where you are!

Since you’re reading this article, you’re surely interested in the Thai language and/or culture. ThaiPod101.com has an array of fun but practical lessons and materials you’re sure to enjoy going through! Create your free lifetime account today to get the most out of your time studying with us, and see your progress soar.

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The Top 30 Thai Proverbs and Sayings

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Thai people have been using metaphors in day-to-day life for a very long time, so it’s not surprising that proverbs are so prominent in the Thai language today. As a learner of the language, you can greatly benefit from studying Thai proverbs. Doing so will not only help you sound more like a native speaker, but it will also give you more insight into Thai culture and the way Thai people think. 

In this lesson, we’ll go over the characteristics of Thai proverbs and present you with a list of the top thirty Thai proverbs and sayings you should learn. Each proverb on our list is accompanied by a detailed explanation and an example of how to use it properly. 

Enjoy!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Thai Table of Contents
  1. An Introduction to Thai Proverbs
  2. Good Doctrines
  3. Things You Should Do
  4. Things You Shouldn’t Do
  5. Conclusion

1. An Introduction to Thai Proverbs 

To begin, let’s break down the Thai word for “proverb”: สุภาษิต (sù-phaa-sìt).

  • สุ () – good
  • ภาษิต (phaa-sìt) – educational phrases that have been passed down from generation to generation

So literally, สุภาษิต (sù-phaa-sìt) refers to a good phrase that has been used to teach people for a long time.

A สุภาษิต (sù-phaa-sìt) is a metaphor that’s used to teach people so that they learn and become better. It’s often written in rhyme, making it easy to remember. 

In Thai, idioms and proverbs are very similar. Because they’re both metaphors, Thai people have a hard time differentiating between the two and often group them together as สำนวนสุภาษิตไทย (sǎm-nuuan-sù-phaa-sìt-thai). One trick you can use is to ask, “Can you use this phrase to teach people or not?” If you can, then it’s a สุภาษิต (sù-phaa-sìt), or Thai proverb. If you can’t, then it’s just a Thai idiom, or สำนวนไทย (sǎm-nuuan-thai).

In the following section, you’ll learn a variety of Thai proverbs and sayings. We’ve included the literal translation of each proverb, as well as a close English proverb and an explanation of how to use it. These proverbs are divided into three categories: 

  • Good Doctrines
  • Things You Should Do
  • Things You Shouldn’t Do 

Let’s get to it! 

2. Good Doctrines

Here are several Thai proverbs about life and how to live well. 

1 – คุณค่าของคนอยู่ที่ผลงาน

  • Pronunciation: khun-khâa-khǎawng-khon-yùu-thîi-phǒn-ngaan
  • Literal translation: The value of a man comes from his works.
  • Close English proverb: A man of word, not a man of deed, is like a garden full of weeds.

Explanation:
We determine the value of a person’s life based on their actions and the results of those actions. This expression is used to teach people to work diligently and not just lay around all the time. When you work, you get something from it; if you don’t work, it lessens the value of your life.

Example:
คุณค่าของคนอยู่ที่ผลงาน ถ้าไม่ตั้งใจทำงาน เอาแต่เที่ยวเล่น เธอก็จะกลายเป็นคนไม่มีค่า
khun-khâa-khǎawng-khon-yùu-thîi-phǒn-ngaan thâa-mâi-dtâng-jai-tham-ngaan ao-dtàae-thîiao-lên thooe-gâaw-jà-glaai-bpen-khon-mâi-mii-khâa
The value of a man comes from his/her actions. If you don’t pay attention to work, only to partying and drinking, you become worthless.

2 – สำเนียงส่อภาษา กริยาส่อสกุล

  • Pronunciation: sǎm-niiang-sàaw-phaa-sǎa-gì-rí-yaa-sàaw-sà-gun
  • Literal translation: The accent implies your language and the manner implies your clan.
  • Close English proverb: Good manners are part and parcel of a good education.

Explanation:
This Thai proverb means that the way you speak and act reflects how you were raised. It shows whether your parents took care of you and taught you properly. This proverb also reflects the importance of the family unit in Thai society.

Example:
ลูกควรจะพูดจาให้สุภาพตลอดเวลา เพราะ สำเนียงส่อภาษา กริยาส่อสกุล ถ้าพูดจาหยาบคาย คนอื่นจะหาว่า พ่อแม่ไม่สั่งสอนได้
lûuk-khuuan-jà-phûut-jaa-hâi-sù-phâap-dtà-làawt-wee-laa phráw sǎm-niiang-sàaw-phaa-sǎa-gì-rí- yaa-sàaw-sà-gun thâa-phûut-ja-yàap-khaai khon-ùuen-jà-hǎa-wâa-phâaw-mâae-mâi-sàng-šaawn dâai
[speaking to your child] You should speak politely all the time because the way you speak and act reflects how you are being raised. If you speak rudely, others will say that you are not being raised well by your parents.

3 – ไม่มีอะไรสายเกินแก้

  • Pronunciation: mai-mii-à-rai-sǎai-gooen-gâae
  • Literal translation: Nothing is too late to mend.
  • Close English proverb: It is never too late to mend.

Explanation: 
Everybody makes mistakes. This Thai proverb aims to encourage people to fix their mistakes.

Example:
ถึงเธอจะเคยทำตัวไม่ดี แต่เธอก็สามารถปรับปรุงตัวได้ ไม่มีอะไรสายเกินแก้
thǔeng-thooe-jà-khooei-tham-dtuua-mâi-dii dtàae-thooe-gâaw-sǎa-mâat-bpràp-bprung-dtuua-dâai mâi- mii-à-rai-sǎai-gooen-gâae
Despite being bad before, you can improve. Nothing is too late to mend.

4 – ความพยายามอยู่ที่ไหน ความสำเร็จอยู่ที่นั้น

  • Pronunciation: khwaam-phá-yaa-yaam-yùu-thîi-nǎi khwaam-sǎm-rèt-yùu-thîi-nân
  • Literal translation: Where there is an effort, there is a success.
  • Close English proverb: Where there is a will, there is a way.

Explanation:
This Thai proverb means that if you try hard, you’ll be successful. It aims to teach people not to give up easily as everything in life has its challenges.

Example:  
ถึงมันจะยาก แต่ฉันจะทำให้ได้ ความพยายามอยู่ที่ไหน ความสำเร็จอยู่ที่นั่น
thǔeng-man-jà-yâak dtàae-chǎn-jà-tham-hâi-dâai khwaam-phá-yaa-yaam-yùu-thîi-nǎi khwaam-sǎm- rèt-yùu-thîi-nân
Despite it being hard, I will do it. If I try hard, I will be able to do it.

5 – ทำดีได้ดี ทำชั่วได้ชั่ว

  • Pronunciation: tham-dii-dâai-dii tham-chûua-dâai-chûua
  • Literal translation: If you do good, good things come to you. If you do bad, bad things come to you.
  • Close English proverb: What goes around comes around.

Explanation:  
This saying, influenced by Buddhist doctrine, encourages people to always do good things.

Example:  
ถึงแม้จะไม่มีใครเห็น เธอก็ไม่ควรทำสิ่งที่ผิด เพราะ ทำดีได้ดี ทำชั่วได้ชั่ว
thǔeng-máae-jà-mâi-mii-khrai-hěn thooe-gâaw-mâi-khuuan-tham-sìng-thîi-phìt phráw tham-dii-dâai-dii tham-chûua-dâai-chûua
Even though no one will see, you shouldn’t do the wrong thing because if you do good, good things come to you and vice-versa.

6 – คบคนพาล พาลไปหาผิด คบบัณฑิต บัณฑิตพาไปหาผล

  • Pronunciation: khóp-khon-phaan phaan-bpai-hǎa-phìt khóp-ban-dìt ban-dìt-phaa-bpai-haa-phǒn
  • Literal translation: If you have bad friends, they lead you to bad. If you have graduated friends, they lead you to good.
  • Close English proverb: Tell me who your friends are, and I will tell you who you are.

Explanation:  
This Thai proverb means that bad friends will influence you to do bad things, while good friends will influence you to do good things. It aims to teach people that friends or other people you spend time with influence you. If you want to be good and successful, spend time with good people.

Example:  
เวลาคบเพื่อน ให้เลือกคบเพื่อนที่ตั้งใจเรียนนะคะ คบคนพาล พาลไปหาผิด คบบัณฑิต บัณฑิตพาไปหาผล
wee-laa-khóp-phûuean hâi-lûueak-khóp-phûuean-thîi-dtâng-jai-riian-ná-khá khóp-khon-phaan phaan- bpai-hǎa-phìt khóp-ban-dìt ban-dìt-phaa-bpai-hǎa-phǒn
When making friends, choose people who pay attention in class. If you have good friends, they influence you to do good things and vice-versa.

3. Things You Should Do

Now that we’ve gone over a few general sayings about how to live life well, let’s look at some common Thai proverbs that talk about what you should do to be successful. 

7 – นกน้อยทำรังแต่พอตัว

  • Pronunciation: nók-náauy-tham-rang-dtàae-phaaw-dtuua
  • Literal translation: A small bird builds its nest big enough for itself.
  • Close English proverb: Cut your coat according to your clothes.

Explanation:  
This Thai proverb means that you should only buy things you can afford.

Example:  
แม่ว่าหนูซื้อรถรุ่นนี้ก็พอ รุ่นนั้นแพงเกินไป นกน้อยทำรังแต่พอตัวนะจ๊ะ
mâae-wâa-nǔu-súue-rót-rûn-níi-gâaw-phaaw rûn-nán-phaaeng-gooen-bpai nók-náauy-tham-rang- dtàae-phaaw-dtuua ná-já
[mother talking to daughter] I think you should buy this model (car). That model is too expensive. You should buy things based on the amount of money you have.

8 – พูดไปสองไพเบี้ย นิ่งเสียตำลึงทอง

  • Pronunciation: phûut-bpai-sǎawng-phai-bîia nîng-sǐia-dtam-lueng-thaawng
  • Literal translation: Speaking lost two silvers, being silent got one gold.
  • Close English proverb: Silence is golden.

Explanation:  
Sometimes, staying silent is better or more appropriate than speaking out.

Example:  
เขากำลังโกรธ พูดไปก็สองไพเบี้ย นิ่งเสียตำลึงทอง รอเขาอารมณ์ดีก่อนดีกว่า
khǎo-gam-lang-gròot phûut-bpai-gâaw-sǎawng-phai-bîia nîng-sǐia-dtam-lueng-thaawng raaw-khǎo- aa-rom-dii-gàawn-dii-gwàa
He is angry now. It is not good to speak now, so you better stay silent and wait until he is in a good mood.

Silence Is Golden

9 – เข้าเมืองตาหลิ่ว ให้หลิ่วตาตาม

  • Pronunciation: khâo-muueang-dtaa-lìu hai-lìu-dtaa-dtaam
  • Literal translation: Go into the city where people look with one eye, and follow them by looking with one eye.
  • Close English proverb: When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

Explanation:  
This Thai proverb encourages us to act as most people do in a given society. When you go to a new place, you should follow the customs and actions of the people there.

Example:  
เข้าเมืองตาหลิ่ว ให้หลิ่วตาตาม ตอนนี้มาอยู่ที่อเมริกาแล้ว จะกินข้าวทุกมื้อก็คงจะไม่สะดวก
khâo-muueang-dtaa-lìu hai-lìu-dtaa-dtaam dtaawn-níi-maa-yùu-thîi-a-mee-rí-gaa-láaeo jà-gin- khâao-thúk-múue-gâaw-khong-jà-mâi-sà-dùuak
You should act as most people do in society. Now that you are in America, eating rice with every meal would be inconvenient.

10 – กันไว้ดีกว่าแก้

  • Pronunciation: gan-wái-dii-gwàa-gâae
  • Literal translation: Prevent is better than repair. 
  • Close English proverb: Prevention is better than a cure.

Explanation:  
This Thai proverb means that it’s better to prevent problems from happening than to solve them. It emphasizes the importance of prevention and preparation, as many problems won’t happen (or have a lesser chance of happening) if you take action in advance.

Example:  
ไปดูทีว่าปิดประตูบ้านดีหรือยัง กันไว้ดีกว่าแก้นะ
bpai-duu-thii-wâa-bpìt-bprà-dtuu-bâan-dii-rúue-yang gan-wái-dii-gwàa-gâae-ná
Go check whether the door is locked properly or not. It is better to prevent problems from happening.

11 – เข้าเถื่อนอย่าลืมพร้า

  • Pronunciation: khâo-thùuean-yàa-luuem-phráa
  • Literal translation: Don’t forget to bring a knife when you go to the jungle.

Explanation:  
This is just another way of saying, “Don’t be reckless.” You have to prepare yourself before doing things.

Example:  
พรุ่งนี้เธอจะเดินทางแล้ว เตรียมตัวหรือยัง เข้าเถื่อนอย่าลืมพร้านะ
phrûng-níi-thooe-jà-dooen-thaang-láaeo dtriiam-dtuua-rǔue-yang khâo-thùuean-yàa-luuem-phráa ná
Tomorrow, you will go traveling. Are you prepared? Don’t be reckless.

12 – คบคนให้ดูหน้า ซื้อผ้าให้ดูเนื้อ

  • Pronunciation: khóp-khon-hâi-duu-nâa súue-phâa-hâi-duu-núuea
  • Literal translation: Look at the face before making a friend with someone, like looking at the cloth itself before buying the clothes.

Explanation:  
There are good people and bad people in society. You should determine whether or not a person is good before becoming friends with them.

Example:  
คบคนให้ดูหน้า ซื้อผ้าให้ดูเนื้อ ฉันว่าคนนั้นพูดจาหยาบคาย เราอย่าไปยุ่งกับเขาเลย
khóp-khon-hâi-duu-nâa súue-phâa-hâi-duu-núuea chǎn-wâa-khon-nán-phûut-jaa-yàap-khaai rao- yàa-bpai-yûng-gàp-khǎo-looei
We have to think before making friends with someone. That person speaks rudely. We shouldn’t associate ourselves with him.

You Should Make Friends with Good People.

13 – ช้า ๆ ได้พร้าเล่มงาม

  • Pronunciation: cháa-cháa-dâai-phráa-lêm-ngaam
  • Literal translation: Slowly to get beautiful knife
  • Close English proverb: Haste makes waste.

Explanation:  
When you do things, you should take the time to do them carefully. The metaphor refers to how you can only make a good knife by taking your time.

Example:  
จะทำงานศิลปะต้องค่อย ๆ ทำถึงจะได้งานที่สวย ช้า ๆ ได้พร้าเล่มงาม
jà-tham-ngaan-sǐn-lá-bpà-dtâawng-khâauy-khâauy-tham-thǔeng-jà-dâai-ngaan-thîi-sǔuai cháa-cháa- dâai-phráa-lêm-ngaam
When you do artwork, you have to do it slowly to get beautiful work. When you do things, you shouldn’t rush; instead, take the time to do it carefully.

14 – น้ำขึ้นให้รีบตัก

  • Pronunciation: náam-khûuen-hâi-rîip-dtàk
  • Literal translation: Quickly fetch the water during the rising tide.

Explanation:  
This Thai proverb means that you should take advantage of opportunities as they arise.

Example:  
ช่วงนี้ ฉันเปิดร้านเร็วกว่าปกติ 1 ชั่วโมง เพราะ คนมาเที่ยวเยอะ น้ำขึ้นต้องรีบตัก
chûuang-níi chǎn-bpòoet-ráan-reo-gwàa-bpòk-gà-dti-nùeng-chûua-moong phráw khon-maa-thîiao-yóe náam-khûen-hâi-rîip-dtàk
Recently, I opened my shop one hour earlier than usual because there are a lot of travelers. I have to take a chance when I have one.

15 – อยู่บ้านท่านอย่านิ่งดูดาย ปั้นวัวปั้นควายให้ลูกท่านเล่น

  • Pronunciation: yùu-bâan-thâan-yàa-nîng-duu-daai bpân-wuua-bpân-khwaai-hâi-lûuk-thâan-lên
  • Literal translation: Don’t do nothing in another’s home; make a cow doll for their child.

Explanation:  
This Thai proverb means that if you live in another person’s house, you should help them. If someone lets you live with them for free, it’s good manners to help them out around the house.

Example:  
ไปพักอยู่บ้านคุณป้าก็ช่วยคุณป้าทำงานบ้านบ้างนะ อยู่บ้านท่านอย่านิ่งดูดาย ปั้นวัวปั้นควายให้ลูกท่านเล่น
bpai-phák-yùu-bâan-khun-bpâa-gâaw-chûuay-khun-bpâa-tham-ngaan-bâan-bâang-ná yùu-bâan- thâan-yàa-nîng-duu-daai bpân-wuua-bpân-khwaai-hâi-lûuk-thâan-lên
Once you live with your aunt, you should help do some of the housework. If you live in another person’s house, you should help them.

Help Your Aunt do Some Housework

16 – เอาใจเขามาใส่ใจเรา

  • Pronunciation: ao-jai-khǎo-maa-sài-jai-rao
  • Literal translation: Put his/her heart into our heart

Explanation:  
This saying means that you should think of others, and pay attention to how they think and feel.

Example:  
ถ้าจะอยู่ด้วยกัน ก็ต้องเอาใจเขามาใส่ใจเรา
thâa-jà-yùu-dûuai-gan gâaw-dtâawng-ao-jai-khǎo-maa-sài-jai-rao
If you want to live together, you have to think of one another.

4. Things You Shouldn’t Do

To conclude our list of popular Thai proverbs, let’s look at some words of wisdom on how not to act. 

17 – หมากัดอย่ากัดตอบ

  • Pronunciation: mǎa-gàt-yàa-gàt-dtàawp 
  • Literal translation: Dog bites, don’t bite back.

Explanation:  
This Thai proverb means that you shouldn’t lower yourself to a bad person’s level in order to fight back. Thai people view those who do bad things or act inappropriately as lower-class people. By doing the same action those people do, you lower yourself. So even when you’re angry at how someone hurt you, you should avoid hurting them back.

Example:  
ถึงเขาจะพูดจาหยาบคายใส่เรา แต่เราต้องไม่พูดจาหยาบคายกลับไป หมากัดอย่ากัดตอบ
thǔeng-khǎo-jà-phûut-jaa-yàap-khaai-sài-rao dtàae-rao-dtâawng-mâi-phûut-jaa-yàap-khaai-glàp-bpai mǎa-gàt-yàa-gàt-dtàawp
Although he talked to us rudely, we must not speak rudely back. Don’t do bad things in order to fight back against bad people.

18 – กินบนเรือนขี้บนหลังคา

  • Pronunciation: gin-bon-ruuean-khîi-bon-lǎng-khaa
  • Literal translation: Eat in the house and then poop on the roof.
  • Close English proverb: Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.

Explanation:  
This Thai proverb refers to a situation where someone is being unthankful and doing harm to people who are good to them and have helped them before. It encourages us to be thankful to parents, teachers, and our benefactors.

Example:  
คนที่กินบนเรือนขี้ยนหลังคาเป็นคนที่คบไม่ได้
khon-thîi-gin-bon-ruuean-khîi-bon-lǎng-khaa-bpen-khon-thîi-khóp-mâi-dâai
People who are unthankful and doing harm to people who are good to them shouldn’t be associated with.

19 – สาวไส้ให้กากิน

  • Pronunciation: sǎao-sâi-hâi-gaa-gin
  • Literal translation: Pull the intestine out for the crow to eat.
  • Close English proverb: Don’t wash dirty linen in public

Explanation:  
This saying refers to a situation where someone reveals a bad secret concerning family or friends to others. You shouldn’t tell secrets (bad things) about people who are close to you.

Example:  
เรื่องทะเลาะกันของพี่น้อง อย่าเล่าให้คนอื่นฟัง จะเป็นการสาวไส้ให้กากิน
rûueang-thá-láw-gan-khǎawng-phîi-náawng yàa-lâo-hâi-khon-ùuen-fang jà-bpen-gaan-sǎao-sâi-hâi- gaa-gin
You shouldn’t tell others about a fight between siblings. It’s like revealing bad things about your family to others.

20 – หาเหาใส่หัว / แกว่งเท้าหาเสี้ยน

  • Pronunciation: hǎa-hǎo-sài-hǔa / gwàaeng-tháo-hǎa-sîian
  • Literal translation: Find the louse and put it on the head. / Sway your feet for the bur.
  • Close English proverb: Let a sleeping dog lie.

Explanation:  
Both of these Thai proverbs encourage us not to interfere in a situation that’s already good enough, because it can lead to more problems.

Example 1:  
รู้ก็รู้ว่าเพื่อนทำผิด ยังจะไปช่วยอีก หาเหาใส่หัวชัด ๆ
rúu-gâaw-rúu-wâa-phûuean-tham-phìt yang-jà-bpai-chûuay-ìik hǎa-hǎo-sài-hǔua-chát-chát
You know that your friend did a bad thing but you still helped him. You just found yourself a problem.

Example 2:  
อย่าแกว่งเท้าหาเสี้ยนเลย แม่ขอร้อง
yàa-gwàaeng-tháo-hǎa-sîian-looei mâae-khǎaw-ráawng
[mother speaking to her children] I beg you, don’t do things that will bring problems.

21 – วัวหายล้อมคอก

  • Pronunciation: wuua-hǎai-láawm-khâawk
  • Literal translation: Making a stall after the cow is lost
  • Close English proverb: Locking the stable door after the horse is stolen

Explanation:  
This Thai proverb means that you shouldn’t wait to take action until after the problem arises, because it’s then useless. You should rather prevent the problem from happening in the first place. There’s no point in taking preventative measures afterward, because you can’t bring back what you already lost.

Example:  
ผมว่าหน้าต่างบ้านคุณดูไม่แข็งแรงเลย น่าจะเปลี่ยนใหม่นะ อย่ารอจนวัวหายแล้วค่อยล้อมคอก
phǒm-wâa-nâa-dtâang-bâan-khun-duu-mâi-khǎaeng-raaeng-looei nâa-jàa-bplìian-mài-ná yàa- raaw-jon-wuua-hǎai-láaeo-khâauy-láawm-khâawk
I don’t think your window is in good condition. You better change it. Don’t wait until the damage is already done to take some action.

22 – จับปลาสองมือ

  • Pronunciation: jàp-bplaa-sǎawng-muue
  • Literal translation: Catch fish with one hand at the same time
  • Close English proverb: He who hunts two hares, leaves one and loses another.

Explanation:  
Doing two difficult things at the same time will lead to failure in both. Imagine how hard it would be to catch a fish in each hand at the same time! Instead, we should focus on doing one thing at a time.

Example:  
จะทำอะไรก็เลือกเอาสักอย่าง อย่าจับปลาสองมือ
jà-tham-à-rai-gâaw-lûueak-ao-sák-yàang yàa-jàp-bplaa-sǎawng-muue
Choose one thing that you want to do. Don’t try to do two difficult things at the same time.

23 – ตีตนไปก่อนไข้

  • Pronunciation: dtii-dton-bpai-gàawn-khâi
  • Literal translation: Think that you have a fever before you actually have a fever
  • Close English proverb: Don’t cross the bridge until you come to it.

Explanation:  
This Thai proverb refers to a situation where someone is fearful or worried about something that hasn’t happened yet. It encourages us not to worry too much about problems that haven’t happened yet. In the end, that problem may not happen at all!

Example:  
ยังไม่เกิดปัญหาอะไร อย่าเพิ่งตีต้นไปก่อนไข้ จะปวดหัวเปล่า ๆ
yang-mâi-gôoet-bpan-hǎa-à-rai yàa-phôoeng-dtii-dton-bpai-gàawn-khâi jà-bpùuat-hǔua-bplào-bplào
There’s no problem yet. Don’t worry about things that haven’t happened yet. You’ll have a headache for nothing.

24 – กำแพงมีหู ประตูมีช่อง

  • Pronunciation: gam-phaaeng-mii-hǔu bprà-dtuu-mii-châawng
  • Literal translation: Walls have ears. Doors have holes.
  • Close English proverb: The walls have ears.

Explanation:  
When talking about a secret, you have to be very careful because people may overhear and reveal it to others. Even if you’re in a room with the door closed, there may be people outside trying to eavesdrop.

Example:  
จะพูดอะไรให้ระวังหน่อย กำแพงมีหู ประตูมีช่อง
jà-phûut-à-rai-hâi-rá-wang-nàauy gam-phaaeng-mii-hǔu bprà-dtuu-mii-châawng
Be careful when speaking. People may hear your secret and reveal it to others.

Be Careful When Speaking; Walls Have Ears

25 – เอาไม้ซีกไปงัดไม้ซุง

Pronunciation: ao-máai-sîik-bpai-ngát-máai-sung

Literal translation: Use a thin stick of wood to wedge a log

Explanation:  
If you fight or disagree with people who have more power, there’s a good chance you’re going to lose. This proverb encourages us to choose our fights carefully.

Example:  
ตัวเล็กแค่นี้ ยังไปท้าต่อยตีกับเค้า เอาไม้ซีกไปงัดไม้ซุงแท้ ๆ
dtuua-lék-khâae-níi yang-bpai-tháa-dtàauy-dtii-gàp-kháo ao-máai-sîik-bpai-ngát-máai-sung-tháae-tháae
You’re this small but still pick a fight with others. You’re going to lose as you fight with bigger people.

Don’t Fight People Who Are Bigger Than You

26 – กวนน้ำให้ขุ่น

  • Pronunciation: guuan-nám-hâi-khùn
  • Literal translation: Stir the water, making it muddy

Explanation:  
This proverb refers to a situation where things are about to become good again, but someone ruins it. It’s often used when someone is about to forget about a bad thing that happened, but someone does something to remind them of it again.

Example:  
พ่อกำลังจะลืมอยู่แล้ว จะพูดขึ้นมาเพื่อกวนน้ำให้ขุ่นทำไม เดี๋ยวพ่อก็โกรธอีก
phâaw-gam-lang-jà-luuem-yùu-láaeo jà-phûut-khûen-maa-phûuea-guuan-nám-hâi-khùn-ìik-tham-mai dîiao-phâaw-gâaw-gròot-ìik
Dad is about to forget. Why do you speak about it to make him remember? He will get angry again.

27 – กบเลือกนาย

  • Pronunciation: gòp-lûueak-naai
  • Literal translation: Frog chooses boss.

Explanation:
If you’re too choosy, you may end up making a bad decision in the end. This proverb aims to teach people that it’s good to consider your options, but you shouldn’t overdo it.

Example:  
อย่าทำตัวเป็นกบเลือกนายหน่อยเลย เลือกเอาจากตัวเลือกที่มีก็พอ
yàa-tham-dtuua-bpen-gòp-lûueak-naai-nàauy-looei lûueak-ao-jàak-dtuua-lûueak-thîi-mii-gâaw- phaaw
Don’t be too choosy or else you may end up with the bad choice in the end. Just choose from the options you have.

28 – ขี่ช้างจับตั๊กแตน 

Pronunciation: khìi-cháang-jàp-dták-gà-dtaaen

Literal translation: Ride the elephant to catch the grasshoppers

Explanation:  
This Thai proverb refers to a situation where you invest a lot but only get a small return. It warns us to be careful with our investments so that we don’t end up losing out in the end.

Example:  
คิดยังไงถึงจะลงทุนซื้อรถคันใหม่เพื่อไปส่งของแค่ไม่กี่ครั้ง ขี่ช้างจับตั๊กแตนชัด ๆ
Khít-yang-ngai-thǔeng-jà-long-thun-súue-rót-khan-mài-phûuea-bpai-sòng-khǎawng-khâae-mâi-gìi- khráng khìi-cháang-jàp-dták-gà-dtaaen-chát-chát
What are you thinking? Buying a new car to deliver packages for a few times. You’re investing a lot for a small return.

29 – ชี้โพรงให้กระรอก

  • Pronunciation: chíi-phroong-hâi-grà-râawk
  • Literal translation: Point cavity for squirrel

Explanation:  
This proverb encourages us to be careful about the things we say, because we may unintentionally invite others to do something bad. For example, someone may say that the window of her house is broken and she is afraid a thief may come in that way. People who are in need of money may overhear what she said and decide to break into her house to steal.

Example:  
จะพูดอะไรต้องระวัง เดี๋ยวจะเป็นการชี้โพรงให้กระรอกเสียเปล่า ๆ
jà-phûut-à-rai-dtâawng-rá-wang dǐiao-jà-bpen-gaan-chíi-phroong-hâi-grà-râawk-sǐia-bplào-bplào
You have to be careful when speaking or else you may unintentionally advise someone to do bad things.

30 – อย่าไว้ใจทาง อย่าวางใจคน จะจนใจเอง

  • Pronunciation: yàa-wái-jai-thaang yàa-waang-jai-khon jà-jon-jai-eeng
  • Literal translation: Don’t trust the way, and don’t trust people or else you will be in trouble.

Explanation:  
This Thai proverb warns us against trusting people too easily, because doing so can cause us trouble in the long run.

Example:  
ถึงแม้ว่าเพื่อนของเธอจะแนะนำ แต่เธอก็ต้องดูรายละเอียดของบริการเองด้วย อย่าไว้ใจทาง อย่าวางใจคน จะจนใจเองนะ
thǔeng-máae-wâa-phûuean-khǎawng-thooe-jà-náe-nam dtàae-thooe-gâaw-dtâawng-duu-raai-lá-ìiat- khǎawng-baaw-rí-gaan-eeng-dûuai yàa-wái-jai-thaang yàa-waang-jai-khon jà-jon-jai-eeng
Even though it was recommended by your friend, you still have to look at the service details. Don’t trust people easily.

5. Conclusion

In this article, you learned thirty of the most common Thai proverbs, what they mean, and how to use them. How many of them can you relate to? And are there similar proverbs in your language? 

If you enjoyed this lesson, we recommend continuing to explore ThaiPod101.com. We provide tons of fun and informative lessons from native speakers, free vocabulary lists, an online dictionary, and much more. Here’s just a sample of what you can expect: 

Happy learning!

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Common English Words in Thai: Do You Know Tinglish?

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Because English is a global language, it’s only natural that it would influence and be used in other languages, including Thai. If you know anything about Thai culture or have lived in Thailand for any amount of time, you’ll know that Thai people are very open-minded concerning outside influences. For this reason, there are many English loanwords in the Thai language. 

However, this influence has not been heavily reciprocated, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find any Thai words used in English. 

In this article, we’ll introduce you to Tinglish (Thai+English), English loanwords in Thai, and more!

A Woman Reading a Book on the Bus

Let’s learn Tinglish and English loanwords!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Thai Table of Contents
  1. Introduction to Tinglish
  2. English Loanwords Used in Thai
  3. How to Say These Names in Thai
  4. Conclusion

1. Introduction to Tinglish

As mentioned earlier, Thai people are pretty open-minded. They have been greatly influenced by foreigners in terms of food, clothing, and language. There is no clear evidence indicating how Tinglish became so popular, but a possible explanation is that some Thai people heard these English words used in a specific context and misunderstood the actual meanings. As a result, they began using these words incorrectly.

Although the pronunciation of Tinglish words is the same as (or very similar to) that of the original English words, you have to know their Thai meaning in order to communicate effectively with Thai people. 

To help you start strong, we’ve compiled several examples of Tinglish, or common English words used in Thai with different meanings. 

1 – Fit 

Thai word: ฟิต (fít)

English meaning: the perfect size

Thai meaning: too tight or too small 

Example:  
ชั้นใส่กระโปรงตัวนี้ไม่ได้แล้ว มันฟิตเกินไป ต้องลดความอ้วนแล้วหละ
chǎn-sài-grà-bproong-dtuua-níi-mài-dâi-láaeo man-fít-gooen-bpai dtôong-lót-khwaam-aûuan-láaeo-là
I can no longer wear this skirt. It is too tight. I have to go on a diet now.

2 – Check bill 

Thai word: เช็คบิล (chék-bin)

English meaning: In English, people use either “check” or “bill.”

Thai meaning: Thai people use both words together as เช็คบิล (chék-bin).

Example:  
เช็คบิลเลยค่ะ และอาหารที่เหลือนี่ห่อกลับบ้านนะคะ
chék-bin-looei-khà láe-aa-hǎan-thîi-lǔuea-nîi-hàaw-glàp-bâan-ná-khá
Bill, please. And pack this leftover food to take home.

A Man Asking for the Check at a Restaurant

Should I say “check bill” or “bill”?

3 – Intrend

Thai word: อินเทรนด์ (in-treen)

English meaning: There is no English meaning for this word, but it comes from the word “trend.”

Thai meaning: trendy

Example:  
ตอนนี้สีเขียวกำลังอินเทรนด์เลย
dtaawn-níi-sǐi-khǐiao-gam-lang-in-threen-looei
“Green” is very trendy now.

4 – Chill 

Thai word: ชิล (chin)

English meaning: cold

Thai meaning: chill out

Example:  
บรรยากาศดีมาก น่ามานั่งชิล
ban-yaa-gàat-dii-mâak nâa-maa-nâng-chin
The atmosphere is very good for chilling out.

5 – In 

Thai word: อิน (in)

English meaning: a preposition 

Thai meaning: being “into” something

Example:  
ตอนนี้แม่กำลังอินเรื่องการปลูกต้นไม้
dtaawn-níi-mâae-gam-lang-in-rûueang-gaan-bplùuk-dtôn-mái
Right now, mom is so into planting.

6 – Fitness 

Thai word: ฟิตเนส (fít-nèet)

English meaning: a term referring to being physically fit and healthy

Thai meaning: a fitness center or gym

Example:  
ฤดีไปออกกำลังกายที่ฟิตเนสทุกวัน
rúe-dii-bpai-àawk-gam-lang-gaai-thîi-fít-nèet-thúk-wan
Ruedee goes to the gym every day.

A Woman being Spotted on the Bench Press at the Gym

I go to the ‘gym,’ not the ‘fitness.’

7 – Over 

Thai word: โอเวอร์ (oo-vôoe)

English meaning: an adjective (Winter is almost over.) / a preposition (over the mountain) / an adverb (the puddle he jumped over) / a prefix (The light was overhead.)

Thai meaning: to exaggerate

Example:  
อย่าพูดจาโอเวอร์ไปหน่อยเลย
yàa-phûut-jaa-oo-vôoe-bpai-nàauy-looei
Don’t over exaggerate.

8 – Gay 

Thai word: เกย์ (gee)

English meaning: homosexual

Thai meaning: male homosexual

Explanation: While the English word can refer to both male and female homosexuals, the Thai word only refers to males.

Example:  
พัฒน์เป็นเกย์
phát-bpen-gee
Pat is gay.

9 – Wave

Thai word: เวฟ (wéep)

English meaning: sea wave / a hand gesture used for greeting

Thai meaning: to warm food or a drink in a microwave oven

Explanation: Thai people shorten the word “microwave” and use it as a verb.

Example:  
หลังจากนำออกจากตู้เย็น ให้เอาไปเวฟ 1 นาที
lǎng-jàak-nam-àawk-jàak-dtûu-yen hâi-aao-bpai-wéep-nùeng-naa-thi
Warm this in the microwave for 1 minute after taking it out from the fridge.

10 – Pretty 

Thai word: พริตตี้ (phrít-dtîi)

English meaning: beautiful or cute

Thai meaning: model

Example:  
พริตตี้ที่งานมอเตอร์โชว์สวยมาก
phrít-dtîi-thîi-ngaan-maaw-dtôoe-shoo-sǔuai-mâak
Models at the auto show are very beautiful.

2. English Loanwords Used in Thai 

คำทับศัพท์ (kham-tháp-sàp) means “English loanwords.” 

The difference between English loanwords in Thai and Tinglish is that loanwords retain their original English meaning. There are a lot of English words used in Thai, so we’ve prepared a list of the most common loanwords by category.

1 – Food

  • apple = แอบเปิ้ล (áep-bpôoen)
  • strawberry = สตอเบอร์รี่ (sà-dtraaw-booe-rîi)
  • blueberry = บลูเบอร์รี่ (bluu-booe-rîi)
  • berry = เบอร์รี่ (booe-rîi)
  • cherry = เชอร์รี่ (chooe-rîi)
  • kiwi = กีวี่ (gii-wîi)
  • soup = ซุป (súp)
  • hotdog = ฮ็อทดอก (hót-dòk)
  • burger = เบอร์เกอร์ (booe-gôoe)
  • french fries = เฟรนซ์ฟราย (frén-fraai)
  • macaroni = มักกะโรนี (mák-gà-roo-ni)
  • spaghetti = สปาเก็ตตี้ (sà-bpa-gét-dtîi)
  • pasta = พาสต้า (pháat-dtâa)
  • pie = พาย (phaai)
  • ham = แฮม (haaem)
  • carrot = แครอท (khee-ràawt)
  • broccoli = บล็อคโคลี่ (bláwk-khoo-lîi)
  • cheese = ชีส (chíit)
  • mustard = มัสตาร์ด (mát-dtàat)
  • mayonnaise = มายองเนส (maa-yaawng-néet)
  • barley = บาร์เลย์ (baa-lèe)
  • quinoa = คีนัว (khii-nuua)
  • almond = อัลมอนด์ (an-môn)
  • macadamia = แม็คคาเดเมีย (máek-khaa-dee-miia)
  • walnut = วอลนัท (waaw-nát)
  • jam = แยม (yaaem)
  • cake = เค้ก (khêek)
  • cookie = คุ้กกี้ (khúk-gîi)
  • chocolate = ช็อคโกแล็ต (chók-goo-láaet)
  • vanilla = วะนิลา (vá-ní-laa)
  • sauce = ซอส (sáawt)
  • toffee = ท็อฟฟี่ (thóp-fîi)
  • ice cream = ไอศครีม (ai-sà-khriim)
  • soda = โซดา (soo-daa)
  • rum = รัม (ram)
  • brandy = บรั่นดี (bràn-dii)
  • whiskey = วิสกี้ (vít-gîi)
  • beer = เบียร์ (biia)

An Image of Several Grains, Nuts, Fruits, and Veggies

There are many English loanwords related to food and drinks.

2 – Sports 

  • golf = กอล์ฟ (gáawp)
  • ball = บอล (baawn)
  • football = ฟุตบอล (fút-baawn)
  • basketball = บาสเก็ตบอล (báat-gêt-baawn)
  • tennis = เทนนิส (then-nít)
  • ski = สกี (sà-gii)
  • skateboard = สเก็ตบอร์ด (sà-gét-bàawt
  • bowling = โบว์ลิ่ง (boo-lîng)
  • captain = กัปตัน (gàp-dtan)
  • game = เกม (geem)
  • foul = ฟาวล์ (faao)

3 – Music 

  • piano = เปียโน (bpiia-noo)
  • guitar = กีตาร์ (gii-dtâa)
  • violin = ไวโอลิน (vai-oo-lin)
  • flute = ฟลุ๊ต (flút)
  • bass = เบส (bèet)
  • note = โน๊ต (nóot)
  • chord = คอร์ด (khàawt)
  • chorus = คอรัส (khaaw-rát)
  • microphone = ไมโครโฟน (mai-khroo-foon)
  • single = ซิงเกิล (sing-gôoen)
  • album = อัลบัม (an-la-bâm)
  • show = โชว์ (shoo)
  • concert = คอนเสิร์ต (khaawn-sòoet)

4 – Automobiles and Electronics

  • gear = เกียร์ (giia)
  • brake = เบรก (brèek)
  • bus = บัส (bàt)
  • tractor = แทรกเตอร์ (thráek-dtôoe)
  • taxi = แท็กซี่ (tháek-sîi)
  • technology = เทคโนโลยี (thék-noo-loo-yii)
  • computer = คอมพิวเตอร์ (khaawm-phíu-dtôoe)
  • notebook = โน๊ตบุ๊ค (nóot-búk)
  • keyboard = คีย์บอร์ด (khii-bàawt)
  • mouse = เมาส์ (máo)
  • plug = ปลั๊ก (bplák)
  • internet = อินเตอร์เน็ท (in-dtooe-nèt
  • website = เว็บไซต์ (wép-sái)
  • digital = ดิจิตอล (dí-gì-dtân)
  • update = อัพเดท (áp-dèet)

5 – Academics

  • graph = กราฟ (gráap)
  • quota = โควต้า (khoo-dtâa)
  • nuclear = นิวเคลียร์ (niu-kriia)
  • protein = โปรตีน (bproo-dtiin)
  • carbohydrate = คาร์โบไฮเดรต (khaa-boo-hai-drèet)
  • physic = ฟิสิกส์ (fí-sìk)
  • cell = เซลล์ (seen)
  • spore = สปอร์ (sà-bpoo)
  • course = คอร์ส (kháawt)
  • fossil = ฟอสซิล (fót-sîn)
  • thesis = ธีสิส (thii-sìt)
  • grade = เกรด (grèet)

6 – Clothes and Cosmetics 

  • bra = บรา (braa)
  • boxer shorts = บ็อกเซอร์ (bók-sôoe)
  • necktie = เน็คไท (nék-thai)
  • jeans = ยีนส์ (yiin)
  • dress = เดรส (dréet)
  • lipstick = ลิปสติก (líp-sà-dtìk)
  • eyeshadow = อายชาโดว์ (aai-shaa-dôo)
  • brush on = บรัชออน (bràt-aawn)
  • mascara = มาสคาร่า (máat-khaa-râa)
  • toner = โทนเนอร์ (thoon-nôoe)
  • moisturizer = มอยซ์เจอร์ไรเซอร์ (máauy-jooe-rái-sôoe)
  • lotion = โลชั่น (loo-chân)

7 – Places

  • office = ออฟฟิศ (áawp-fít)
  • clinic = คลีนิก (khlii-nìk)
  • resort = รีสอร์ท (rii-sàawt)
  • apartment = อพาร์ทเมนท์ (a-pháat-mén)
  • condominium = คอนโดมิเนียม (khon-doo-mí-nîiam)
  • club = คลับ (khlàp)
  • bar = บาร์ (baa)
  • farm = ฟาร์ม (faam)
  • lift = ลิฟท์ (líp)

8 – Animals 

  • giraffe = ยีราฟ (yii-ráap)
  • hippopotamus = ฮิปโปโปเตมัส (híp-bpoo-bpoo-dtee-mát)
  • koala = โคอาล่า (khoo-aa-lâa)
  • panda = แพนด้า (phaaen-dâa)
  • penguin = เพนกวิน (phen-gwîn)
  • dinosaur = ไดโนเสาร์ (dai-noo-sǎo)

A Mother Koala Bear with Its Baby

A lot of animal names in Thai are English loanwords.

9 – Health and Hospitals 

  • vitamin = วิตามิน (wi-dtaa-min)
  • vaccine = วัคซีน (wák-siin)
  • serum = เซรุ่ม (see-rûm)
  • virus = ไวรัส (wai-rát)
  • bacteria = แบคทีเรีย (bàaek-thii-riia)
  • X-ray = เอ็กซ์เรย์ (ék-sà-ree)
  • CT-scan = ซีทีแสกน (sii-thii-sà-gaaen)

10 – Verbs

  • copy = ก็อบปี้ (gáawp-bpîi)
  • click = คลิก (khlík)
  • cheer = เชียร์ (chiia)
  • charge = ชาร์จ (cháat)
  • check = เช็ค (chék)
  • shopping = ชอปปิ้ง (cháawp-bpîng)
  • print = ปรินท์ (bprín)

11 – Other English Loanwords in Thai 

  • plastic = พลาสติก (phláat-sà-dtìk)
  • gas = แก็ส (gáaet)
  • card = การ์ด (gáat)
  • cartoon = การ์ตูน (gaa-dtuun)
  • coupon = คูปอง (khuu-bpaawng)
  • guide = ไกด์ (gái)
  • tour = ทัวร์ (thuua)
  • queue = คิว (khiu)
  • spray = สเปร์ย (sà-phree)
  • spa = สปา (sà-bpaa)
  • TV = ทีวี (thii-wii)

3. How to Say These Names in Thai

In addition to คำทับศัพท์ (kham-tháp-sàp), or “loanwords,” there are many English words in the Thai language that derive directly from global brands or names. Like loanwords, these words have a different pronunciation in Thai. Read through this useful list we’ve compiled to get a better idea of how to pronounce global names in the Thai language! 

1 – Restaurant and Cafe Brands 

  • McDonald’s = แม็คโดนัล (máek-doo-nân)
  • KFC = เค เอฟ ซี (khee-éep-sii)
  • Burger King = เบอร์เกอร์ คิง (booe-gôoe-khing)
  • 7-Eleven = เซเว่น อีเลเว่น (see-wêen-ii-lee-wêen)
  • Family Mart = แฟมิลี่มาร์ท (faaem-mí-lîi-màat)
  • Starbucks = สตาร์บัค (sà-dtaa-bák)
  • Au Bon Pain = โอบองแปง (oo-baawng-bpaaeng)
  • Swensen = สเวนเซ่นส์ (sà-wên-sên)

2 – Entertainment-Related Names 

  • Marvel = มาร์เวล (maa-wêen)
  • Disney = ดิสนีย์ (dít-nîi)
  • Harry Potter = แฮร์รี่ พ็อตเตอร์ (haae-rîi-pháawt-dtôoe)
  • Lord of the Rings = ลอร์ด ออฟ เดอะ ริงส์ (làawt-áawp-dòe-ring)
  • Star Wars = สตาร์ วอร์ (sà-dtaa-waaw)
  • Iron Man = ไอรอนแมน (ai-râawn-maaen)
  • Captain America = กัปตันอเมริกา (gàp-dtan-à-mee-rí-gaa)
  • Hulk = ฮัค (hák)
  • Thor = ธอร์ (thaaw)
  • Black Widow = แบล็ควิโดว์ (bláaek-wí-dôo)
  • Hawkeye = ฮอร์คอาย (háawk-aai)
  • Spider-Man = สไปเดอร์แมน (sà-bpái-dôoe-maaen)
  • Antman = แอนท์แมน (áaen-maaen)
  • X-men = เอ็กซ์เมน (ék-meen)
  • Batman = แบทแมน (báaet-maaen)
  • Superman = ซุปเปอร์แมน (súp-phôoe-maaen)
  • Wonder Woman = วอนเดอร์วูแมน (wáawn-dôoe-wuu-mâaen)
  • Aquaman = อควาแมน (à-khwâa-maaen)
  • MIB = เอ็ม ไอ บี (em-ai-bii)
  • Transformers = ทรานซ์ฟอร์เมอร์ (thraan-faaw-môoe)
  • Toy Story = ทอยสตอรี่ (thaauy-sà-dtaaw-rîi)
  • Frozen = โฟรเซ่น (froo-sên)
  • Lion King = ไลออน คิงส์ (lai-âawn-king)
  • Mulan = มู่หลาน (mûu-lǎan)
  • Beauty and the Beast = บิวตี้ แอนด์ เดอะ บีสต์ (biu-dtîi-aaen-dòe-bìit)
  • Maleficent = มาลิฟิเซนต์ (ma-lí-fi-sén)

A Cartoon Drawing of Thor

Thor is ธอร์ in Thai.

3 – Singer and Band Names

  • Maroon 5 = มารูน ไฟฟ์ (maa-ruun-fái)
  • Linkin Park = ลินคิน พาร์ค (lin-khîn-pháak)
  • Black Eyed Peas = แบล็ค อาย พี (bláaek-aai-phii)
  • One Direction = วัน ไดเร็คชั่น (wan-dai-rék-chân)
  • The Pussycat Dolls = พุซซี่ แคทดอล (phút-sîi-kháet-daawn)
  • Fifth Harmony = ฟิฟ ฮาร์โมนี่ (fít-haa-moo-nîi)
  • Coldplay = โคล เพลย์ (khoo-phlee)
  • Beyonce = บียองเซ่ (bii-yaawng-sêe)
  • Taylor Swift = เทเลอร์ สวิฟต์ (thee-lôoe-sà-wíp)
  • Katy Perry = เคที่ เพร์รี (khee-thîi-phee-rîi)
  • Kanye = คานเย (khaan-yêe)
  • Snoop Dogg = สนูป ดอกซ์ (sà-núup-dáawk)
  • Jennifer Lopez = เจนนิเฟอร์ โลเปซ (jee-ní-fôoe-loo-phéet)
  • Mariah Carey = มาราย แครี่ (maa-raai-khee-rîi)
  • Charlie Puth = ชาร์ลี พุท (chaa-lii-phút)
  • Celine Dion = เซลีน ดีออน (see-riin-dii-aawn)
  • Nicki Minaj = นิคกี้ มินาจ (ník-gîi-míi-nàat)
  • Meghan Trainor = เมแกน เทรนเนอร์ (mee-gaaen-three-nôoe)
  • Justin Bieber = จัสติน บีเบอร์ (ját-thin-bii-bôoe)
  • Eminem = เอ็มมิเน็ม (em-mí-nem)
  • Selena Gomez = เซลาน่า โกเมซ (see-lee-nâa-goo-méet)
  • Bruno Mars = บรูโน่ มาร์ส (bluu-nôo-maa)

4 – Clothing Brands 

  • Victoria’s Secret = วิคตอเรีย ซีเคร็ท (wík-dtaaw-riia-sii-khrèt)
  • Playboy = เพลย์บอล (phlee-baauy)
  • H&M = เอช แอนด์ เอ็ม (éet-aaen-em)
  • Zara = ซาร่า (saa-râa)
  • Mango = แมงโก้ (maaeng-gôo)
  • Uniqlo = ยูนิโคล่ (uu-ní-khlôo)
  • Nike = ไนกี้ (nai-gîi)
  • Adidas = อาดิดาส (aa-di-dáat)
  • Puma = พูม่า (phuu-mâa)
  • Topshop = ท็อปช็อป (tháawp-chàawp)
  • Mark & Spencer = มาร์ค แอนด์ สเปนเซอร์ (máak-aaen-sà-phen-sôoe)
  • Flipflop = ฟิตฟลอป (fít-flàawp)
  • Birkenstock = เบอร์เก็นสต็อค (booe-gên-sà-dtáawk)

5 – Cosmetic Brands 

  • Mac = แม็ค (máek)
  • Benefit = เบเนฟิต (bee-nee-fìt)
  • Bobby Brown = บ็อบบี้ บราวน์ (bóp-bîi-braao)
  • Kiehl’s = คีลส์ (khiin)
  • L’oreal = ลอรีอัล (laaw-ríi-ân)
  • Maybelline = เมเบอร์ลีน (mee-booe-liin)
  • Clinique = คลีนิค (khlii-nìk)
  • Lamer = ลาแมร์ (laa-maae)

6 – Bag Brands 

  • Chanel = ชาแนล (chaa-naaen)
  • Coach = โค้ช (khóot)
  • Prada = ปราด้า (bpraa-dâa)
  • Kate Spade = เคท สเปซ (khéet-sà-bpéet)
  • Louis Vuitton = หลุยส์ วิคตอง (lǔi-vít-dtaawng)
  • Gucci = กุชชี่ (gút-chîi)

7 – Grocery Brands 

  • Unilever = ยูนิลีเวอร์ (uu-ní-lii-wôoe)
  • P&G = พี แอนด์ จี (phii-aaen-jii)
  • Nestle = เนสท์เล่ (néet-lêe)
  • Lion = ไลอ้อน (lai-âawn)

Conclusion

By now, you’ve learned many of the most popular English words in the Thai language. We bet you can remember most (if not all) of them, as they sound so similar to their English equivalents. Because Thai people use these words so often, memorizing them is an important step in your language learning journey. 

Were you surprised by any of the words on our list? Let us know in the comments, and feel free to list any more loanwords you know about! 

And as always, don’t forget to explore ThaiPod101.com to find more interesting lessons. Not sure where to start? Here are a few we think you’ll like: 

Happy learning, and have fun practicing your Tinglish!

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A Brief Thai Culture Overview

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If you’ve ever been to Thailand, you may have found yourself quickly becoming enthralled with the Thai culture. The culture of Thailand features some very distinct qualities that set it apart from Western culture. From the warm, friendly, and open smiles of its people to the national religion of Buddhism, Thailand will inspire any visitor to learn more about the Thai culture, people, and language. 

Before we dive in, how about a quick fun fact? There is a special Thai greeting called ไหว้ (wâi) that you won’t find in other cultures. To perform wai, hold your hands together and bring them up to just under your chin. Once your hands are in position, give a slight nod. Wai is the Thai equivalent of saying hello, goodbye, or any other greeting. 

Of course, there is much more to Thai culture that you should know. On this page, we’ll give you all the information you need to avoid Thai culture shock and learn more about Thai culture and traditions.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Thai Table of Contents
  1. Values and Beliefs
  2. Philosophies and Religions
  3. Family and Work
  4. Art
  5. Food
  6. Traditional Holidays
  7. Conclusion

1. Values and Beliefs

A Thai Woman Performing a Traditional Dance

Let’s learn more about Thai culture and traditions.

To understand the behaviors and worldviews of Thai people, you need to be aware of the traditional Thai values and beliefs. There are two in particular that play a huge role in our daily lives. 

A- Social Hierarchy

Although Thailand has not been governed by an absolute monarchy for over a hundred years now, there is still a social hierarchy in the country. Thai people pay more respect to certain groups of people, such as the royal family and monks. Also, Thai people are taught to respect those who are older than themselves as well as their benefactors (parents, teachers, etc.). So don’t be surprised when you see the degree of respect shown in our interactions with elders and parents! 

B- Collectivism 

Thailand is often called “the land of smiles” because Thai people always seem to have a smile on their face. While it’s true that Thai people are friendly, visitors will be surprised to find out that a smile does not always equate to happiness. Different smiles can mean anything from pleasure to anger, and most of the time you won’t be aware of any negativity. This is because Thai culture values avoiding conflict and “saving face.” 

The reason behind this is that Thailand is a collectivist society. If you’re in Thailand long enough, you may start to notice that Thai people tend to go along with others when doing group activities. This is because Thai people want to be like others and remain as part of the group. As a result, they don’t dare to voice their opinions in front of others and prefer to compromise instead of really solving problems.    

2. Philosophies and Religions

In addition to smiles, Thailand is well-known for the Buddhist statues found all over the country. Buddhism is the national religion and over ninety percent of Thai people practice it. It’s common to see Buddhist monks in traditional robes walking just about everywhere you go. 

If you truly want to learn Thai, getting acquainted with the basics of Buddhism is not a bad idea. Of course, you don’t have to convert to Buddhism to master the language, but a good knowledge of the religion will go a long way toward understanding the country.

Someone Giving a Buddhist Monk Food Donations

Buddhism is the dominant religion in Thailand.

As you can guess, most Thai philosophies are influenced by Buddhism in one way or another. However, modern Thai culture is one of diversity. As Thai people are quite open-minded, they are also influenced by other religions and beliefs to some extent.  

Because there are many Thai-Chinese in Thai society, there are many practices influenced by Taoism and Confucianism. One example of this is the Vegetarian Festival, which is celebrated during October each year. This popular food festival is mainly celebrated by the Thai-Chinese, though the rest of the population also gets in on the action. Another Thai-Chinese custom is เชงเม้ง (cheeng-méng), when they pay respect to deceased ancestors. 

3. Family and Work

Family and work are integral aspects of society, no matter where you are in the world. In this section, we’ll discuss the essential features of Thai workplace culture and the Thai family. 

A- Family

The Thai culture is very family-oriented. In the past, it was common for Thai people to have large families.  Grandparents got to see their grandchildren, nieces, and nephews on a daily basis, as family members all lived in the same area.

Of course, things have changed over time. While you may see this type of big family in the countryside, it’s not very common in urban areas. Still, Thai families share a strong bond. Despite not living in the same area, family members often meet with each other or communicate via other means. This Thai value has played a large role in shaping the modern Thai society. The importance of family in Thai culture is also reflected in the various Thai words used for family members.

The concept of ความกตัญญู (khwaam-gà-than-yuu), or “gratitude,” is another thing that reflects Thailand’s family-oriented society. Because our parents raised us, it’s very important to take care of them when we grow up. Thus, Thai people won’t send their elderly parents to care centers unless they’re really sick. Doing so would mean that they don’t care for them.

Now let’s discuss a final point about family: marriage. In the past, men could have many wives but nowadays Thai people only practice monogamy. Despite this step forward, there are still some cultural elements that reflect gender inequality. For example, Thai women are pressured to get married earlier than men. While it’s fine for a man to be single in his thirties, this is not the case for women. On the other hand, a man has to pay a ‘bride price’ to a woman’s parents in order to marry her.

B- Work

Thai people are chill by nature and love to have fun. To some extent, this characteristic is reflected in the business world as well. If you ever decide to work in Thailand, you’ll find that Thai people aren’t very punctual in their work. Also, the work atmosphere tends to be less stressful than those in other countries.

Most Thai people work solely to make a living, not to do things they love or are passionate about. The Patronage system, which was a prominent feature in how Thailand was once governed, also plays a role in our work environment.

4. Art

Several aspects of the Thai culture and heritage feature heavily in our artwork, with many of our most popular paintings and sculptures having roots in Buddhism. For example, you can find various paintings of Buddhist stories in the temples and Buddha statues are viewed as an artform as well as a religious symbol. 

Thailand is also home to several impressive architectural feats, most notably our temples. In the past, temples were not only places for practicing religion, but they also served as the royal family’s palace. Because the temples in Thailand reflect this aspect of history, their extreme beauty should come as no surprise.

A Temple in Bangkok, Thailand

Beautiful Thai architecture

Earthenware is another outstanding Thai artform. While temples are related to religion, this type of art is more ordinary in nature. A famous type of earthenware is called “celadon ware,” or เครื่องสังคโลก (khrûueng-sǎng-khá-lôok). It originated in Sukhothai province during the Sukhothai Era.

As for literature, Thailand is known for its poetry. There are various types of poems written in the Thai language, many of which focus on storytelling. These poetic ‘stories’ are diverse, covering a range of genres from religion and fantasy to love and food.

Thailand boasts a range of musical instruments and styles. In Thai culture, music is a huge part of daily life and is also incorporated into special events. For example, Thai people like to sing a song called เพลงรำวงเกี่ยวข้าว (phleeng-ram-wong-gìiao-khâao), or “Harvest Song,” during the harvest. This is also a great example of their fun-loving nature, as they love to sing and dance even during work.

5. Food

Nowadays, Thailand is well-known for two things: its beautiful travel destinations and its delicious cuisine. Indeed, Thai food and culture go hand in hand. There’s even a special Thai phrase that ties into this topic:

  • ในน้ำมีปลา ในนามีข้าว” (nai-nám-mii-bplaa nai-naa-mii-khâao)

Literally meaning, “There are fish in the water and rice in the rice field,” this saying has been used since the Sukhothai Era to describe Thailand’s natural richness. From the past until now, Thailand has never lacked food. If you visit Thailand, you’ll be able to find food 24/7.  

Thai cuisine is known for its use of herbs and deep flavors, as well as its beautiful and colorful presentations. As mentioned earlier, Thai people are quite open-minded. This means you’ll find many Thai food items that have been influenced by foreign cuisines. For example, Thai sweets that use egg as an ingredient are the result of Portuguese influence.

Orange Curry, a Popular Thai Dish

Thai food is tasty and full of herbs.

6. Traditional Holidays

When it comes to traditional Thai holidays, there are two that stand out from the rest: วันสงกรานต์ (wan-sǒng-graan) and วันลอยกระทง (wan-laauy-grà-thong). 

A- วันสงกรานต์ (wan-sǒng-graan)

วันสงกรานต์ (wan-sǒng-graan), or the Thai New Year, takes place from April 13 to April 15 each year. During this holiday, Thai people go back to their hometown to visit their parents or travel with family

Popular วันสงกรานต์ (wan-sǒng-graan) activities include visiting temples to make merit and building pagodas made of sand and flowers. Thai people also รดน้ำดำหัวผู้ใหญ่ (rót-nám-dam-hǔua-phûu-yài), which is an activity to show one’s gratitude, ask for forgiveness, and get a blessing from one’s parents or grandparents. 

These activities clearly reflect the family-oriented society of Thailand.

Thai Water Sprinkling for Songkran Festival

รดน้ำดำหัวผู้ใหญ่ [rót-nám-dam-hǔua-phûu-yài]

In addition to the activities above, Thai people also play with water during this period. This is because วันสงกรานต์ (wan-sǒng-graan) is not only the solar new year, but also the hottest time of the year. Family gatherings and water games make วันสงกรานต์ (wan-sǒng-graan) a colorful holiday that foreigners and natives alike look forward to.

B- วันลอยกระทง (wan-laauy-grà-thong)

The history of วันลอยกระทง (wan-laauy-grà-thong) dates back to the Sukhothai Era. On this day, Thai people engage in certain activities to ask forgiveness from พระแม่คงคา (phrá-mâae-khong-khaa), the goddess of rivers. Thai people make กระทง (grà-thong), or “lotus-shaped boats,” from banana tree leaves and flowers and float them down the river.  

Nowadays, วันลอยกระทง (wan-laauy-grà-thong) is one of the most popular holidays in Thailand. There are many activities you can do on this day: observe the beautiful scenery at night, see women dressed in traditional Thai clothing, experience the beauty of Thai dancing, and much more.

Lotus-shaped Boats with Candles Floating Down the River for Loy Krathong

Let’s ลอยกระทง [laauy-grà-thong].

7. Conclusion

Learning about Thai culture and society is a good way to complement your language studies. In doing so, you’ll gain a deep appreciation for the language, and may even be inspired to take your studies further. 

If you’re looking for a language course, our Thai podcast lessons and other learning materials may be just what you need. At ThaiPod101.com, we understand that busy individuals may find it hard to fit study time into their hectic schedules. That’s why we offer additional tools—such as themed vocabulary lists and a Thai-English dictionary—to help you learn Thai more quickly. In addition, you’ll find a number of articles related to Thai culture topics such as traditional clothing, history, and food. In short, we make learning Thai easy and fun!

Actually, the language itself is a great representation of Thai culture and values. In each of our lessons, we combine grammar and vocabulary points with practical cultural information. To get a taste of our teaching approach, create your free lifetime account today and check out our lessons for yourself. Our content will prepare you both linguistically and culturally for a range of daily situations, from talking about your pets or discussing your hobbies to planning a date

Before you go, let us know in the comments how Thai culture compares to that in your country. We look forward to hearing from you!

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The Best Thai Foods You Need To Try

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Thai food ranks among the most popular cuisines worldwide. Why? 

Well, authentic Thai food is very appealing in terms of taste, smell, and appearance. In fact, most dishes are colorful and presented with an artistic flair. And if you come to Thailand, you might be surprised to learn that you can find food, snacks, and drinks 24/7—and not just in convenience stores!

Because a country’s food is a major component of its culture, trying Thai food is a special experience for foreigners who visit Thailand.

In this article, we’ll present you with tons of practical Thai cuisine information. This includes…

  • …the top five Thai foods to try in restaurants
  • …several unique Thai foods only found in-country
  • …a few foods you may question are actually Thai
  • …practical food-related vocabulary

As a bonus, ThaiPod101.com will also give you some easy Thai food recipes you can make at home.

If you want more information on Thai cuisine, you can check out the following lessons on ThaiPod101.com:


Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Let's Cook in Thai Table of Contents
  1. 5 Must-Try Thai Dishes
  2. Unique Thai Foods
  3. Are These Food and Snack Items Thai?
  4. Vocabulary for Food and the Restaurant
  5. Bonus: Simple Thai Recipes
  6. Conclusion

1. 5 Must-Try Thai Dishes

When visiting a Thai restaurant—whether in-country or abroad—it can be hard to know what Thai food to order. To help you out, we’ve handpicked five of the best Thai dishes you should definitely try! 

ส้มตำไทย (sôm-dtam-thai) – Papaya Salad

Ingredients:  

  • มะละกอ (má-lá-gaaw) = papaya
  • ถั่วฝักยาว (thùua-fàk-yaao) = cowpea
  • มะเขือเทศ (má-khǔuea-thêet) = tomato
  • ถั่วลิสง (thùua-lí-sǒng) = peanut
  • กุ้งแห้ง (gûng-hâaeng) = dried shrimp
  • พริก (phrík) = chili
  • กระเทียม (grà-thiiam) = garlic
  • น้ำตาลปี๊บ (nám-dtaan-bpiíp) = palm sugar
  • มะนาว (má-naao) = lime
  • น้ำปลา (nám-bplaa) = fish sauce

ส้มตำ (sôm-dtam) is an iconic Thai food, making it perfect for you to try as a language learner. 

ส้มตำไทย (sôm-dtam-thai) is just one type of ส้มตำ (sôm-dtam), and we recommend you try this one first if you’ve never had this before. There are other types that contain small raw crab and pickled fish sauce, but that may be a bit much for your first time. 

Basically, ส้มตำ (sôm-dtam) is raw vegetables mixed together with peanuts and dried shrimp. The vegetables offer a fresh taste and the dish has sweet, sour, and salty flavors. 

I Love Sôm-dtam-thai

ผัดไทย (phàt-thai) – Thai-Style Fried Noodles

Ingredients:  

  • เส้นจันทน์ (sên-jan) = a type of noodle
  • เต้าหู้เหลือง (dtâo-hûu-lùueang) = yellow tofu
  • กุยช่าย (gui-châai) = Chinese chive
  • ถั่วงอก (thùua-ngâawk) = bean sprout
  • หอมแดง (hǎawm-daaeng) = shallot
  • กุ้งแห้ง (gûng-hâaeng) = dried shrimp
  • ไช้โป๊ว (chái-bpóo) = salted turnip
  • ถั่วลิสงบด (thùua-lí-sǒng-bòt) = crushed peanut
  • ไข่ (khài) = egg
  • น้ำมัน (nám-man) = cooking oil
  • พริกป่น (phrík-bpòn) = chili powder
  • กระเทียม (grà-thiiam) = garlic
  • น้ำตาลปี๊บ (nám-dtaan-bpiíp) = palm sugar
  • น้ำมะขามเปียก (nám-má-khǎam-bpìiak) = tamarind juice
  • น้ำปลา (nám-bplaa) = fish sauce

If you were to speak of a noodle dish in Japan, it would be Ramen. But Thailand’s famous noodle dish is ผัดไทย (phàt-thai).

Here’s some Thai food history for you: During World War II, the Thai leader Plaek Phibunsongkhram wanted to create a sense of nationalism in the country. He did this by encouraging people to create a unique Thai dish, which turned out to be ผัดไทย (phàt-thai).  

This has become one of the most popular Thai cuisine dishes among native Thai people and foreigners alike. It  tastes sweet and sour, and the noodle itself is pretty chewy. 

Phàt-thai Is Delicious

แกงเขียวหวาน (gaaeng-khǐiao-wǎan) – Green Curry

Ingredients:  

  • พริกแกงเขียวหวาน (phrík-gaaeng-khǐiao-wǎan) = green curry paste
  • ไก่ (gài) = chicken
  • มะเขือเปราะ (má-khǔuea-bpràw) = green brinjal
  • มะเขือพวง (má-khǔuea-phuuang) = turkey berry
  • พริกชี้ฟ้า (phrík-chíi-fáa) = cayenne pepper
  • ใบมะกรูด (bai-má-grùut) = leaf of kaffir lime
  • ใบโหระพา (bai-hǒo-rá-phaa) = basil
  • กะทิ (gà-thí) = coconut milk
  • น้ำตาลปี๊บ (nám-dtaan-bpiíp) = palm sugar
  • น้ำปลา (nám-bplaa) = fish sauce

There are various types of curry in Thailand, and แกงเขียวหวาน (gaaeng-khǐiao-wǎan) is one of the most popular.  

It’s a main dish often served with rice or rice noodles. In some recipes, chicken is substituted with other protein sources such as fish or beef. Despite having the word หวาน (wǎan), or “sweet,” in its name, แกงเขียวหวาน (gaaeng-khǐiao-wǎan) does not taste sweet. It’s also not as spicy as other curries, which is why we recommend it to foreigners.

Let’s Try Gaaeng-khǐiao-wǎan

ต้มข่าไก่ (dtôm-khàa-gài) – Chicken in Coconut Milk Soup

Ingredients: 

  • พริกแกงเขียวหวาน (phrík-gaaeng-khǐiao-wǎan) = green curry paste
  • ไก่ (gài) = chicken
  • เห็ดฟาง (hèd-faang) = straw mushroom
  • พริกชี้ฟ้า (phrík-chíi-fáa) = cayenne pepper
  • ข่า (khàa) = galangal
  • ตะไคร้ (dtà-khrái) = lemon grass
  • ใบมะกรูด (bai-má-grùut) = leaf of kaffir lime
  • น้ำซุปไก่ (nám-súp-gài) = chicken broth
  • กะทิ (gà-thí) = coconut milk
  • มะนาว (má-naao) = lime
  • น้ำปลา (nám-bplaa) = fish sauce

Another great choice for foreigners is ต้มข่าไก่ (dtôm-khàa-gài). It’s similar to ต้มยำ (dtôm-yam) but has a smoother taste and is less spicy, making it perfect for those who can’t handle spicy foods. It also tastes lighter and healthier than curry. During the vegetarian season, you can find a vegan version of this dish as well.

หมูสะเต๊ะ (mǔu-sà-dté) – Grilled Pork Stick with Turmeric

Ingredients:  

  • พริกแกงเขียวหวาน (phrík-gaaeng-khǐiao-wǎan) = green curry paste
  • หมู (mǔu) = pork
  • กระเทียม (grà-thiiam) = garlic
  • ผงขมิ้น (phǒng-khà-mîn) = turmeric powder
  • ผงยี่หร่า (phǒng-yîi-hràa) = cumin powder
  • ผงกะหรี่ (phǒng-gà-hrìi) = curry powder
  • เมล็ดผักชี (mà-lét-phàk-chii) = coriander seeds
  • น้ำตาลทราย (nám-dtaan-sai) = sugar
  • กะทิ (gà-thí) = coconut milk
  • นมสด (nom-sòt) = milk

One of the most popular Thai street foods you should try is หมูสะเต๊ะ (mǔu-sà-dté). 

This is a chewy, salty appetizer served with a savory, nutty dipping sauce. The most common protein for this snack is pork, but you can sometimes find chicken or lamb as well. Thai people eat หมูสะเต๊ะ (mǔu-sà-dté) with toast.

2. Unique Thai Foods

In this section, we’ll present you with some unique Thai foods and desserts. You may find some of the food combinations weird, but they taste really good!

ข้าวแช่

The weather in Thailand is hot all year. Some people even joke that Thailand has three seasons: hot, hotter, and hottest. To cope with the weather in summer, Thai people created ข้าวแช่ (khâao-châae).  

This dish consists of cooked rice soaked in flower-scented water. It’s eaten with various side dishes, such as shredded pork, salted turnip fried with egg, or stuffed bell peppers. It tastes very fresh and has a nice fragrance. You can find this cuisine item in Thai restaurants during the summer. 

น้ำจิ้มซีฟู้ด

น้ำจิ้มซีฟู้ด (nám-jîm-sii-fúut) is a special dipping sauce. There are various recipes for this dipping sauce, but it’s typically made with chili, garlic, coriander root, fish sauce, lime juice, and salt. Originally, Thai people dipped seafood in it. But today, it’s currently served with various foods, such as hot pot, crab fried rice, and steamed fish ball. 

ข้าวเหนียวมะม่วง

ข้าวเหนียวมะม่วง (khâao-nǐiao-má-mûuang) is a famous Thai dessert. Thai people eat this sweet and salty rice with ripe mango (and sometimes durian) topped with coconut milk. You can find this Thai dessert in summer, which is mango season.  

Some foreigners may find it weird to eat rice with fruit, but the flavor of sticky rice goes well with ripe mango and coconut milk. However, we have to warn you that this isn’t a very healthy Thai food, so you shouldn’t eat it too often.

3. Are These Food and Snack Items Thai?

Thai people are very open-minded when it comes to food. If you visit Thailand, you’ll see that there are various dishes, snacks, and desserts influenced by foreign food. Some of them have been adapted to suit Thai tastes and preferences. 

If you were to find these Thai food names on a menu, you might wonder if they’re really Thai! Let’s take a closer look.

ขนมโตเกียว

ขนมโตเกียว (khà-nǒm-dtoo-giiao) is a popular Thai snack. It’s a pancake roll with various savory and sweet fillings, such as ham, sausage, egg, taro paste, and custard. 

The name of this snack breaks down into two words: 

  • ขนม (khà-nǒm) – snack
  • โตเกียว (dtoo-giiao) – the name of a city in Japan

Because of its name, many people mistakenly think that this snack was influenced by Japanese cuisine.

The origin of ขนมโตเกียว (khà-nǒm-dtoo-giiao) is unclear. Some say it was influenced by a Japanese dessert called Dorayaki, while most people believe this snack was first sold in the first Japanese department store in Thailand: Daimaru. However, it was created by Thai people and named ขนมโตเกียว (khà-nǒm-dtoo-giiao) to make it sound Japanese.

Is This a Thai Snack?

ลอดช่องสิงคโปร์

ลอดช่องสิงคโปร์ (lâawt-châawng-sǐng-khà-bphoo) is a Thai snack made with tapioca flour and sweet coconut milk. 

This is another food item with a rather confusing name. Its two parts break down as:

  • ลอดช่อง (lâawt-châawng) – the name of a similar Thai dessert
  • สิงคโปร์ (sǐng-khà-bphoo) – Singapore

ลอดช่องสิงคโปร์ (lâawt-châawng-sǐng-khà-bphoo) is not a dessert imported from Singapore. It was created by a restaurant called สิงคโปร์โภชนา (sǐng-khà-bphoo-phoo-chá-na), which is located in เยาวราช (yao-wá-râat), the famous Chinatown in Bangkok.

ข้าวผัดอเมริกัน

Are you seeing a trend here? Let’s break down the name of this confusing Thai dish:

  • ข้าวผัด (khâao-phàat) – fried rice
  • อเมริกัน (a-mee-rí-gan) – American

Despite having ‘American’ in its name, ข้าวผัดอเมริกัน (khâao-phàat-a-mee-rí-gan) was created by Thai people.  ข้าวผัดอเมริกัน (khâao-phàat-a-mee-rí-gan) is rice fried with ketchup, ham, sausage, fried egg, and salad. The dish is said to have been influenced by the American-style breakfast: toast, fried egg, ham, and sausage eaten with ketchup.  

กล้วยแขก

กล้วยแขก (glûuai-khàaek) is fried banana, and this snack dates back to the Ayutthaya Period.

The name of this dish breaks down to:

  • กล้วย (glûuai) – banana
  • แขก (khàaek) – Indian

Apart from referring to Indian people, แขก (khàaek) was traditionally used to mean “strange” or “foreign” as well. Fried banana is quite different from the other snacks of that time, so it was called กล้วยแขก to imply that it was a ‘strange’ dessert made from banana.

ขนมจีน

The name of our last confusing food item breaks down as:

  • ขนม (khà-nǒm) – snack
  • จีน (jiin) – China

Despite its name, ขนมจีน (khà-nǒm-jiin) is not a snack and it was not imported from or influenced by China. It’s actually “rice noodle,” a food influenced from Mon food called kha-naawm-jin.

Thai people eat ขนมจีน (khà-nǒm-jiin) with various savory foods, such as curry, ส้มตำ (sôm-dtam), noodles, and spicy salad.  

4. Vocabulary for Food and the Restaurant

Now you know all about the most popular Thai food dishes. That means you’re ready to learn some practical Thai vocabulary for talking about (and ordering) food. Let’s go!

A- Food-Related Vocabulary

We’ll start with some useful words about Thai food for beginners. 

Taste

  • อร่อย (a-ràauy) = delicious
  • จืด (jùuet) = plain
  • เค็ม (khem) = salty
  • หวาน (wǎan) = sweet
  • เปรี้ยว (bprîiao) = sour
  • ขม (khǒm) = bitter
  • น่ากิน (nâa-gin) = looks tasty
  • กลิ่นหอม (glìn-hǎawm) = smells good

To make any of these words negative, just put ไม่ (mâi) in front.

Ingredients

B- How to Order Food

Do you plan on visiting Thailand to sample some of these amazing dishes? Then you should know how to order at a Thai food restaurant!

Can I see the menu?

Thai sentence: ขอดูเมนูหน่อย
Thai pronunciation: khǎaw-duu-mee-nuu-nàauy

I want to order the food.

Thai sentence: สั่งอาหารหน่อย
Thai pronunciation:sàng-aa-hǎan-nàauy

I Want to Order the Food

I want to order the drink.

Thai sentence: สั่งเครื่องดื่มหน่อย
Thai pronunciation: sàng-khrûueang-dùuem-nàauy

I want ___.

Thai sentence: เอา + food name
Thai pronunciation: ao-___

Additional information:
If the menu has a picture by the item you want, you can say เอาอันนี้, which means “I want this one,” while pointing to the picture.

Is ___ spicy?

Thai sentence:  ___เผ็ดไหม
Thai pronunciation:  ___-phèt-mǎi

Please make it not spicy.

Thai sentence: เอาไม่เผ็ดเลย
Thai pronunciation: ao-mâi-phèt-looei

Please make it a little spicy.

Thai sentence: เอาเผ็ดนิดหน่อย
Thai pronunciation: ao-phèt-nít-nàauy

5. Bonus: Simple Thai Recipes 

For those who are interested in cooking Thai food, we’ve prepared a couple of easy Thai cuisine recipes you can make at home. The ingredients are quite simple and you won’t need any special equipment.

A- Thai-Style Omelet

Egg dishes are fairly simple to make, so we’ll start with a recipe for ไข่เจียว (khài-jiiao), or “omelet.” ไข่เจียว (khài-jiiao) is fried egg beaten into a round flat shape. The ingredients are simple and you can make it unique by adding your favorite ingredients.

Ingredients

  • ไข่ (khài) = egg 
  • น้ำปลา (nám-bplaa) = fish sauce 
  • น้ำมัน (nám-man) = cooking oil

There are only three ingredients you need to make this Thai-style omelet, though you can also add other ingredients. For extra protein, you can add minced pork or crab, for example. Sometimes, Thai people also add vegetables such as onion, tomato, chilis, or spring onion to make it sweet and colorful.

How to Make

1. Beat 2 eggs and mix them with 1 tablespoon of fish sauce. If you want to add protein or vegetables, do so in this step.

2. Heat the oil in a pan until there is light smoke coming up. This is the secret to making the ไข่เจียว (khài-jiiao) a bit crispy and not too oily.

3. Pour the egg mixture into the pan.

4. Fry the egg until the bottom is set and has become golden brown. Once this happens, flip it.

5. Fry the other side of the ไข่เจียว (khài-jiiao) until it becomes golden brown. Then, it’s ready to be served with rice.

B- Hainanese Chicken Rice

This recipe is a little bit more advanced. There are more ingredients and steps, but people will be impressed if you can make it. To help you out, our recipe below is for Hainanese Chicken Rice cooked with the rice cooker.  

Ingredients

  • ข้าว (khâao) = rice
  • สะโพกไก่ (sà-phôok-gài) = chicken thigh
  • น้ำมัน (nám-man) = cooking oil 
  • กระเทียม (grà-thiiam) = garlic
  • ขิง (khǐng) = ginger
  • เกลือ (gluuea) = salt
  • น้ำตาล (nám-thaan) = sugar
  • น้ำซุปไก่ (nám-súp-gài) = chicken broth

How to Make 

1. Heat oil in the pan. Once hot, stir-fry 2 tablespoons of chopped garlic and 5 slices of ginger until they are aromatic.

2. After that, add 2 cups of rice and stir-fry until the rice becomes a little yellow.

3. Then, put everything from the pan into the rice cooker and add 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1 tablespoon of salt, and 2.5 cups of chicken broth. Stir everything together.

4. Put the chicken into the rice cooker on top of the rice mixture, then push the “cook” button.

5. Wait until the rice cooker is done and then slice the chicken and put it on top of the rice, served with the dipping sauce.

Ingredients for Dipping Sauce

  • เต้าเจี้ยว (dtâo-jîiao) = salt soybean
  • ขิง (khǐng) = ginger
  • พริก (phrík) = chili
  • น้ำตาล (nám-dtaan) = sugar
  • น้ำส้มสายชู (nám-sôm-sǎai-chuu) = vinegar
  • ซิอิ้วหวาน (sì-íu-wǎan) = sweet dark soy sauce
  • น้ำมะนาว (nám-má-naao) = lime juice

How to Make Dipping Sauce

1. Chop 4 tablespoons of ginger and 2 tablespoons of chili.

2. Mix 6 tablespoons of salt soybean, chopped ginger, chopped chili, 1 tablespoon of sugar, 2 tablespoons of vinegar, 1 tablespoon of sweet dark soy sauce, and 1 tablespoon of lime juice. And it’s done!

Let’s Cook Thai Food

6. Conclusion

Are you hungry and already searching for your nearest Thai food restaurant? Please let us know what your favorite Thai food is, and which ones are totally new to you! 

We hope you learned a lot in this lesson and that we’ve inspired you to keep learning Thai. If you enjoyed this lesson, keep in mind that ThaiPod101.com has many more resources available to you. For example, you can check out our lesson on the Thai floating market or sneak a peek at our free vocabulary lists

Until next time, happy learning!

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