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Practice Your Thai
A little bit of a local language does go a long way. I’ve never had anything but encouragement when trying out my please and thank you’s in a variety of Asian languages – the shy smiles and an occasional chuckle are well worth the attempt. Contact with non-english speaking locals happens outside the comfort zone of your hotel – in markets or coffee houses, a taxi or restaurant. Learning how to order a coffee without sugar becomes vital for me by the second morning, and a simple greeting will greatly enhance bargaining skills in the local night market.
I try to add a few more words or phrases each trip, and while I won’t ever become fluent I do enjoy my linguistic interactions. One final confession – I keep a good translator app on my phone for those occasions when a little more help is needed!
Hello – Sawadee kaa/krup (the endings change depending on the gender of the speaker – I’ve put the female form first)
With sugar – sai nam taan
No sugar – mai sai nam taan
Thank you – Khop khun kaa/krup yes – kaa/krup
No – mai
No worries/nevermind – mai pen rai
I don’t understand – mai kao jai
Do you understand? – Jai mai?
Restroom – hong nam
Where is the rest room? Hong nam you tee nah kaa/krup?
Slow down – cha cha
Delicious – arroy
The bill please – Gep taang kaa/krup
Very expensive – paeng maak
Do you have a name card? – Nam baht mai?
What is this? – Nee arai?
How much? – Nee tao-rai kaa/krup
How are you? Sabai dee mai?
Fine thanks – Sabai dee kaa/krup
Please use the meter (for taxi) – bai meter mai?