Basic Polite Thai

There are a few other words that you’ll use every day that would be beneficial to know. First is the standard greeting you’ll say to everyone 10 times a day, “Sa-wa-dee Kup”, think of SWAT (the Police Force) and DCups. “How are you?” is “Sa-Buy-De Kup?” (Sabai Dee Krup) which means, “Feeling good, yes?” So, to answer, just repeat the feeling good part without the “yes?” Say, “Sabai Dee” to say that you are good. Another easy response is, Sabai, Sabai.” Which most Thai people will get a laugh at because it’s something only laid back, island people say, and it basically means, “I’m feeling good, I’m feeling good” or “I’m chilling and relaxing.”

Basic Polite Thai Photo Gallery



The other phrase you’ll use quite often and is a good mindset to have while traveling in Thailand is, “Mai Been Rai” or you can say “Mai Been Lai,” as Thai people can’t tell the difference between L and R, for whatever reason. It means, “Never mind, no worries”. I use this a lot when they are out of something or I try to make a special request and they don’t understand. Eventually you’ll want to learn how to count from 1 to 999. In the mean time, the easiest way is to hold up fingers for anything 1-10 and when you buy stuff and don’t know what it costs, just hand them a 100 baht note and see if you get back any change. Before I learned the number system in Thai, I would just guess how much something would cost, and then hand them a note that was slightly larger . If you’re eating Thai food, it’ll almost always be less than 100 baht so just say, “Check Please”, then hand it to them and the note, and watch their facial expressions and actions for confirmation. If they start digging up change, then just stand there like you expected it in the first place. If they give you a look like, “What the fuck is this?

That’s not enough!” then hand them another 100 baht note. Doing this little trick, I’ve never been over-charged by much, but if you really want to get the best deals you have to learn the basic numbers in Thai. A handy little trick to always having small bills is, every time you withdraw money from the ATM, instead of withdrawing a solid number such as 10,000 baht take instead 9,900 baht. The machine will dispense smaller bills. Also, every time you go into a ‘7-Eleven’ break your 1,000 baht notes – they are Thailand’s money changer. Realize, it’s rude (and a pain in the ass) to try to break a 1,000 baht note in a local Thai shop, especially if your meal is under 100 baht. Also, realize a lot of Taxi drivers won’t have change to break your big notes either, so always carry plenty of 100 baht notes. To ask for the check properly in Thai, you would say, “Check Bin Kup”, and if you want to ask how much something costs you would say, “Thaew Roy Kup” but be prepared to get an answer in Thai if you do. You might be better off just asking, “How much?” until you learn the numbers. In the first edition of this my blog I included a chapter teaching you how to count from 1-1,000 but I decided to take it out and put it on my blog instead as, I believe, everyone was skipping that chapter anyway. You won’t need to know how to count until you’ve actually been in Thailand for a while so just look for it on my blog when you’re ready.

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