This is a very brief list of phrases which you might hear in Thailand. Experts may dispute the spelling I have attributed to various expressions, they may even argue with the exact meaning. This is simply a rough guide to some of the most popular phrases, it is not intended as a scholarly work. Virtually all of the phrases appear in Thai Lottery... and Other Stories from Pattaya, Thailand by Matt Carrell. Read more about the book here: About Thai Lottery.
Thai is a tonal language - so it's important to get the right word, it's even more important to say it in the right vocal tone. Who on earth would invent a language in which the word for beautiful is the same as the word for bad luck? Well the Thais did just that.
This list is presented for interest only, if you use any of the expressions you have read here, you do so at your own risk.
Bhakwan - Sweet mouth, bullshit
Cha Cha - Slowly
Chai - Yes
Check bin? - Can I pay please?
Check bin - Final bill
Chuckachee - Ticklish/that tickles
Farang ruu mak – Westerner who knows too much
Gep thang kap - Can I pay please?
Ha sip ha sip – 50 - 50
Heo mai - Are you hungry?
Hom – Nice smell
Jai dee - Good heart
Jai yen - Cool heart
Jing jing - True
Kee-nee-ow – Cheap Charlie (miser)
Kit tung (jung) - Miss you (from the heart)
Kop korn kap - Thank you (man speaking)
Kop korn kaa - Thank you (woman speaking)
Mai - No
Mai ao phet - Not too spicy
Mai kao jai – I don’t understand
Mak mak - Very much, a lot
Mao - Drunk
Mao mai? - Are you drunk?
Mai pen rai - No problem
Men – Bad smell
Mia noy – Minor wife (kept woman)
Mun – Wow!
Mun-kee-ow – Expression of extreme pleasure
Nitnoy - A little bit
Peeshua – Butterfly
Phi - Ghosts
Rak na - I love you
Sabai sabai - Relax
Sabai dee mai - How are you?
Sanook - Fun
Satang - One hundredth of one baht
Sawasdee kap - Hello/goodbye (man speaking)
Sawasdee kaa - Hello/goodbye (woman speaking)
Sia jai - Sorry
Siao - Horny
Sin sot – Dowry
Sin sood tang leak – End of the walkway (Literal – end of your choices)
Son chan - Teach me
Suay – Beautiful (spoken with rising tone)
Suay - Bad luck (spoken with flat tone)
Tao rai kap? - How much?”
Teelak - Darling, my love
Ting-tong - Crazy
Yim - Smile
Wai – is a Thai gesture which usually accompanies “hello” or “thank you”. Hands are placed together as though the person is praying and the tips of the fingers touch somewhere on the face between the chin and the area between the eyebrows. The higher the position of the fingers the more respect that is being shown. As the hands come together the person will bow or nod their head.