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Thai Language Tips - Common Phrases - Travel & Transportation

Updated on February 25, 2012
Tuk Tuk
Tuk Tuk


You will find traveling in Thailand a lot easier if you take the time to learn some simple Thai words and phrases related to vehicles and traveling. When you get away from major tourist centers such as Bangkok, Phuket, Koh Samui and Chiang Mai, you will find that most of the locals do not speak any English. If you need to ask for help or ask directions .. you will need to learn some Thai.

Long Tail Boat = Rua Hang Yao
Long Tail Boat = Rua Hang Yao

Thai Language is really not that easy to learn to speak fluently. The pronunciation is challenging for most Western tourists. Learning enough Thai to have simple conversations is really not that difficult. Most Thai people will appreciate you making an effort to communicate with them, and they will forgive you for making small mistakes and will try to help you along. Many of the words in Thai language will include sounds that you are not familiar with, like words that begin with "ng", or rolling "r". This should not intimidate you, if you practice repeating what you hear, you should be OK. I will help you get started with a few common phrases on the topic of shopping and negotiating.


Where are you going? - Bai Nai?

I am going home - Krup Baan

Drive a car - Kaprot

Ride a bicycle - Kee Jakayan

Ride a motorbike - Kee Moto -Sike

Ride the Train - Nung Rot Fai

How much does it cost? - Tao Rai?

Where is it? - Tee Nai?

Stop the Car - Jot Rot

Go straight - Trung Bai

Turn Left - Leaw Sai

Turn Right - Leaw Kwaa

Drive Safely - Kaprot Dee Dee Naa

The parking lot - Tee Jot Rot

Go to the airport - Bai Sanaam Bin

I can not drive - Kaprot Mai Pen

Can you drive? - Kaprot Pen Mai?

Do you have a drivers license? - Mee Bai Krup Kee Mai?

Do you have a map? - Mee Pan Tee Mai?

How many hours? - Gee Cha Moong?

What Time is it? - Gee Moong?

I don't have any bags - Mai Mee Kra Pao

I have a big bag - Mee Kra Pao Yai

My bag is heavy - Kra Pao Naak Mak

A long tail boat - Rua Hang Yao

When you ask a question or make a statement in Thai language, you should always end with "krup" if you are male,and "kaa" if you are female.I have left out pronouns in the above phrases I have given you. The reason for leaving them out is because it will make it easier for you, also these statements are more commonly used in short form without the use of pronouns. It is not the same as English, where if you started talking and you left out pronouns and conjunctions, it would make you sound silly. Thai people commonly communicate with each other using these short phrases, for example when they say " where are you going" ? They say " Bai Nai" ? They never say "Khun Bai Nai" they just leave out the pronoun.


Numbers                          Vehicles                                 Directions
1 = Nung                         Car = Rot Yon                       Straight = Trung
2 = Song                         Motorbike = Moto Sike          Right = Kwaa
3 = Sam                          Big Rig = Rot Seep Law         Left = Sai
4 = See                           Airplane = Krung Bin            North = Nuea
5 = Haa                          Train = Rot Fai                        South = Tai
6 = Hok                           Bus = Rot Bus                        Underground = Tai Din
7 = Jet                           Taxi = Taxi
8 = Pet                           Boat = Rua
9 = Kao                          Bicycle = Jakayan
10 = Seep
20 = Yee Seep
50 = Haa Seep
100 = Nung Roi
1000 = Nung Paan
10 000 = Nung Moon



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    • Paul Kuehn profile image

      Paul Richard Kuehn 6 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand

      I started to learn Thai 8 years ago and I am still struggling with it. Yes, the Thai pronunciation is hard because it has the 5 tones and if your tones are wrong people won't understand you well. your list of basic vocabulary for survival is good. Learning to read and write is also very challenging. If you really want to know how to pronounce a word well, you must know how it is phonetically written in Thai in addition to having a good ear.

    • TravelinAsia profile image

      TravelinAsia 6 years ago from Thailand/Southeast Asia

      E Jay,

      It is often difficult to spell Thai words with English characters, and in some cases it might not give you an idea of how to say the word correctly. You will need to listen to others when they talk, and hopefully you will recognize the words and get the correct pronunciation. Once you get the hang of it .. it is quite easy.

    • E Jay profile image

      E Jay 6 years ago from Colorado Springs, Colorado

      Poot Pasat nit noy Thai, and this is helpful to know how to spell the words...I try to do it in phonetic English so others who don't speak Thai can read and pronounce.

    • optimist adil profile image

      optimist adil 7 years ago from k2 mountain

      i would like to travel n thai land i will must meet u u r so nice as wel ur hub

    • TravelinAsia profile image

      TravelinAsia 7 years ago from Thailand/Southeast Asia

      Thanks Timonweller! Kapoon Krup!

    • profile image

      timonweller 7 years ago

      Nice hub, I been to Thailand a few times and love the language.