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How  to Say Hello in Thailand

How to Say Hello in Thailand

By Mike HoUpdated Nov. 2, 2022

‘Hello’ is the word that you would most likely say to local people when you are traveling in Thailand for the first time. Saying a Thai ‘hello’ to greet people is a good way to start a new conversation. Like some other languages, the Thai ‘hello’ has different ways of saying it based on who you are greeting and the situation you are in.

Here we are going to teach you the top easy and useful Thai phrases and ways to greet Thai people.

English Thai
Hello สวัสดี (sà-wàt-dii)
Hi หวัดดี (wat-dii)
How are you? สบายดีมั๊ย (sà-baai-dii mái)
Good morning สวัสดีตอนเช้า (sà-wàt-dii dtaawn cháo)
Good afternoon สวัสดีตอนบ่าย (sà-wàt-dii dtaawn bàai)
Good evening สวัสดีตอนเย็น (sà-wàt-dii dtaawn yen)
Thank you ขอบคุณครับ (kob khun krab)
You are welcome ไม่เป็นไรค่ะ (Mai bpen rai)
Nice to meet you ยินดีที่ได้รู้จักคุณ (Yin-dee-ti-dai-roo-jaak khun ka)
Goodbye Sà-wàt-dii (ka/krab)
I am sorry ฉันขอโทษค่ะ (Chăn khǎaw thôot ka)
Please เปิดให้หน่อย (bpet hâi noi)

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‘Hello ’ in Thai

The world ‘hello’ in Thai is สวัสดี (sà-wàt-dii). It means goodness, beauty, safety, and prosperity. Sà-wàt-dii is the most used word for greeting people in most situations, regardless of gender, age, and time of day. It is also the safest choice when you can’t use other Thai words fluently.

Market in Bangkok Market in Bangkok

Besides sà-wàt-dii, there are other words words and actions used to express ‘hello’ in Thai. Here are some of them:

Hello for Women

  • Sà-wàt-dii ka

If you are talking to women, adding a drawn-out “khaaah” after Sà-wàt-dii shows your politeness towards the females you are talking to.

‘Hello’ for Men

  • Sà-wàt-dii krab

If you are greeting men, then adding krab (pronounced kap with a sharp, high tone) after sà-wàt-dii shows your respect towards the males you are talking to.

‘Hi’ in Thai

  • Wat-dii

Different from ‘hello’, ‘hi’ is much more casual and quicker. In fact, there is not an exact word matching ‘hi’ in Thai. But the closest word to ‘hi’ in Thai is wat-dii (หวัดดี). The same as with sà-wàt-dii, you can also add polite words for women/men after wat-dii.

Thai Wai Thai Wai

The Thai Wai or Bow

The wai is the top non-verbal way to greet people in Thailand. You may often see people wai to each other to show them respect. It is often used in Thailand towards elder people enjoying high social status in Thailand. It is polite for young people to wai to their elders.

A wai is the gesture of placing your hands together in front of your chest with the fingers pointing up while bowing your head forward. You can do a wai in many situations, such as when saying goodbye, giving thanks, and making an apology.

In Thailand, you will see Thai people giving a wai to temples and pictures of their kings as well as when greeting each other. It is considered impolite to not return a wai when someone does one towards you.

Other Greetings in Thai

Besides “sà-wàt-dii”, you can also learn some other simple greetings in Thai to help you communicate more with local people in Thailand. Here are some of them:

‘How are you’ in Thai

There are two phrases that can express “How are you” or “Are you fine” in Thai. The short one is often used in less formal situations.

  • สบายดีรึเปล่า (sà-baai-dii rúe bplào)
  • สบายดีมั๊ย (sà-baai-dii mái)

In response to people who greet you with sabai dee mai, you can use the following phrases:

  • sabai dee (‘well/good’)
  • sabai sabai (‘really relaxed’)
  • mai sabai (‘not so good / sick’)

‘Good morning’ in Thai

  • Formal: อรุณสวัสดิ์ (à-run sà-wàt)
  • Less formal: สวัสดีตอนเช้า (sà-wàt-dii dtaawn cháo)

‘Good afternoon’ in Thai

  • Formal: ทิวาสวัสดิ์ (thí-waa sà-wàt)
  • Less formal: สวัสดีตอนบ่าย (sà-wàt-dii dtaawn bàai)

‘Good evening/night’ in Thai

  • Formal: สายัณห์สวัสดิ์ (sǎa-yan sà-wàt)
  • Less formal: สวัสดีตอนเย็น (sà-wàt-dii dtaawn yen)

‘Thank you’ in Thai

  • To females: ขอบคุณค่ะ (kob khun ka)
  • To males: ขอบคุณครับ (kob khun krab)

‘You are welcome’ in Thai

  • To females: ไม่เป็นไรค่ะ (Mai bpen rai ka)
  • To males: ไม่เป็นไรครับ (Mai bpen rai krab)

‘Nice to meet you’ in Thai

  • To females: ยินดีที่ได้รู้จักคุณ (Yin-dee-ti-dai-roo-jaak khun ka)
  • To males: ยินดีที่ได้รู้จักคุครับ (Yin-dee-ti-dai-roo-jaak khun krap)

‘Goodbye’ in Thai

The word ‘goodbye’ in Thai is the same as ‘hello’. So, if you just want to say goodbye, just say: Sà-wàt-dii (ka/krab)

‘See you again’ in Thai

  • แล้วพบกันใหม่นะ (Laew-phob-gan mai na)

‘I am sorry’ in Thai

  • To females: ฉันขอโทษค่ะ (Chăn khǎaw thôot ka)
  • To males: ผมขอโทษครับ (Phŏm khǎaw thôot krab)

‘Please’ in Thai

The Thai language is strongly based on context. The word ‘please’ can be expressed in many Thai words, but there isn’t an exact native word for ‘please’ in Thai. Here are some ways to use please in Thai:

  • ‘Please give me (something)’:
  • ขอ [something] หน่อย (kho [something] noi)
  • ‘Please open (it) for me’:
  • เปิดให้หน่อย (bpet hâi noi)
  • ‘Can you please help me?’:
  • ช่วยหน่อยได้มั้ย + ครับ/ ค่ะ (chûai noi dâi mái + ka/krab)

‘Hello’ in Thai in Different Situations

As with English, ‘hello’ in Thai is accompanied by different phrases depending on the situation. Here are some of the most common ones:

Elephant Statue in Thailand Elephant Statue in Thailand

First Time Greetings

  • ‘Hello, my name is ... Nice to meet you.’:
  • สวัสดี ค่ะ/ครับ ผมชื่อทศพล ยินดีที่ได้รู้จัก ค่ะ/ครับ (Sà-wàii-dii ka/krab, phǒm chûue … Yin-dii thîi dâi rúu-jàk ka/krab.)
  • ‘Hello, my name is ... Nice to meet you too.’:
  • สวัสดีครับ ผมชื่อตฤณ ยินดีที่ได้รู้จักเช่นกันครับ (Sà-wàii-dii ka/krab phǒm chûue … yin-dii thîi dâi rúu-jàk chêen gan ka/krab)

Greeting People You Know, but Have Not Seen for a While

  • ‘Hello, ... Long time no see. How are you?’:
  • สวัสดี ค่ะ/ครับ คุณตฤณ ไม่เจอกันนาน สบายดีมั๊ย ค่ะ/ครับ (Sà-wàii-dii ka/krab khun … mâi. Jooe gan naan. Sà-baai dii mái ka/krab.)
  • ‘Hello, ... Long time no see. I’m fine, what about you?’:
  • สวัสดี ค่ะ/ครับ คุณทศพล ไม่เจอกันนานเลย ผมสบายดี แล้วคุณทศพลเป็นยังไงบ้าง ค่ะ/ครับ (Sà-wàii-dii ka/krab khun … mâi. Jooe gan naan looei phǒm. Sà-baai dii ka/krab.)

Greeting a Group of People

  • ‘Hello everyone.’:
  • สวัสดี ทุกคน (Sà-wàt-dii thúk khon.)
  • ‘Hello, my dear friends.’:
  • สวัสดี เพื่อน ๆ ของฉัน (Sà-wàt-dii phûuean phûuean khǎawng chǎn.)

Greetings by Restaurant Staff

  • ‘Hello, welcome to our restaurant. What do you want to order?’:
  • สวัสดี ค่ะ/ครับ ยินดีต้อนรับ ค่ะ/ครับ จะรับอะไรดี ค่ะ/ครับ (Sà-wàt-dii ka/krab, yin-dii dtâawn-ráp ka/krab. Jà ráp à-rai dii ka/krab.)
  • ‘Which dish do you recommend?’:
  • ร้านนี้มีเมนูแนะนำอะไร ค่ะ/ครับ (Ráan níi mii mee-nuu náe-nam à-rai ka/krab.)

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