When speaking in Thai, you should remember to end a phrase or sentence with the suffixes -ka or -krup. These are used as a sign of respect and politeness. If you're a woman, you'd finish a phrase or sentence with -ka, such as sa-wat-dee ka. If you're a man, you'd say sa-wat-dee krup. However, in a casual setting, you can drop the "r" and just say sa-wat-dee kup. Some basic greetings you should know are:
Sa wat dee (sa-wat-dee) | Hello
This is the most basic and widely used Thai greeting you can use. It means hello and can be used instead of good morning and good afternoon. Remember to include the polite participle -ka or -krup when you say this.
Kawp koon (kop-koon) | Thank you
Thais are polite and respectful people, and being polite yourself will improve your experience no matter what Phuket attraction you visit. You can also incorporate the "wai" or bow when using this phrase.
Chai / Mai Chai (chai / my-chai) | Yes / No
These basic phrases can greatly help you especially when you're dining our or shopping in Phuket.
Kor tot (kor-tot) | Excuse me
This phrase is useful especially when you need to get someone's attention in a crowded place.
Lah gorn (la-gon) | Goodbye
This is a simple way to say goodbye. Alternatively, you can also just "bye" since most people understand it in Phuket.
Mai pen rai (mai-pen-raai) | No problem
Use this to impress the locals. Mai pen rai is very much a Thai phrase that Thais use as a pick-me-up when facing difficulties. You can use it when you miss your bus or if the waiter's messed up your order.
Nam (nam) | Water
When you've been shopping or visiting Phuket attractions in the Thai heat and humidity, use this word to stay hydrated.
Hiu mai? (hee-yoo mai) | Are you hungry?
You can use this if you have a Thai friend. If you're hungry, you can just say "hiu". Remember to say it in one smooth syllable.
Gin pet dai (gin-pet daai) | I can eat spicy
Most Thai people assume that foreigners can't eat spicy food. When saying this phrase, remember that the "g" is a hard sound like in "go". If you don't want your food to be spicy, just say "gin pet mai dai"
Aroi (a-roy) | Delicious
Why not let your host or chef know that you enjoyed your meal. A little appreciation always goes a long way.
Hawng naam yuu thee nai? (hong-nam-yoo-tee-nai) | Where is the bathroom?
If you want to know the directions to other places, just replace the word "hawng naam / bathroom" with the place you want to go to such as; rohng-raem (hotel), soo-nahm-been (airport), or tuh-lat (market).
Leu sai / Leu kwaa (lee-yu-saai / lee-yu-kwa) | Turn left / Turn right
Just like saying hiu (hungry), remember to pronounce leu as one smooth syllable.
Yut / Bai (yoot / baai) | Stop / Go
These words will help you when you want to get around with a taxi and tuk-tuk, especially when you want to go shopping in Phuket or get to your hotel.
Mee WiFi mai? (mee-wifi-maai) | Do you have WiFi ?
If you visit a cafe or restaurant, you can use to ask about the WiFi, and the staff will direct you to the WiFi password.
A nee tao rai? (uhn-nee-tao-raai) | How much is this?
Sometimes, prices offered to foreigners may be higher than usual. Use this phrase to increase your chances of getting a better price when you shop.
Phaeng (feng) | Expensive
Speak your mind when something is too expensive for you. You might get a much better price if you speak some Thai when you bargain.
Ao a nee / Ao a nun (ao-uhn-nee / ao-uhn-nun) | I want this / I want that
Chawp / Mai chawp (chop / maai-chop) | I like it / I don't like it
We hope these Thai phrases can help you during your trip in Phuket. Most vendors, especially in the more touristy areas of Phuket can speak English and should be able to answer your questions and help you with directions. At Club Med Phuket, we not only have fun activities and complete amenities, but also an English-speaking team. So don't forget to check us out, and we hope to see you soon!