Chapter 0: Thai Crash Course

Learn to speak Thai
  • Chapter 0: Thai crash course – a light introduction to Thai
  • Chapter 1: Learn the basics of sentence structure, using adjectives, personal pronouns and verbs.
  • Chapter 2: Thai greetings, introducing yourself and applying common verbs and phrases.
  • Chapter 3: Asking and answering questions (Who, What, When, Where, Why).
  • Chapter 4: Counting and bargaining.
  • Chapter 5: Useful phrases to use while on holiday in Thailand.
  • Chapter 6: Telling time and making appointments.
  • Chapter 7: Ordering food at a restaurant and Thai dining etiquette.
  • Chapter 8: Asking a girl out and getting to know her.

With an estimated 30 million foreign tourist visiting every year, Amazing Thailand enjoys a healthy influx of visitors with varied cultures and background. With the changing social landscape and penetration of internet and exposure to social media and online dating apps, Thailand has witnessed a huge surge in Thai women and men using dating apps to find suitors. It is estimated that 1 in six internet users in Thailand has used a dating app or site at some point.

A majority of Thai girls under the age of 25 who has used a dating app said dating apps such as thisDating are a good way to meet people. Online dating among Thai women over the age of 45 have also witnessed a jump over the last few years.

At the same time, a similar trend has been noted with increasing Western men seeking Thai women for long-term relationships or marriage. As technology continues to shrink the world, cross interracial relationships and marriages are becoming increasingly common.

Public attitude towards Thai women and men marrying Western nationals have become positive in the last few years. With thousands of men and women from Thailand joining every day, thisDating is quickly becoming the best dating app to date and meet cute Thai girls and men.

However, given the significant cultural differences between Asian and Western countries, with Thailand in particular, you may need to overcome the language barrier on your way to forging a successful relationship with your Thai girlfriend (or boyfriend). In addition to that, there are some Thai traditions that you need to understand.

Although many Thais can speak some English, understanding them or getting yourself understood, may not be straightforward. This is because, those with a limited exposure to English, will often translate Thai phrases word for word into English, resulting in simplistic sentences or sentences that simply may not make sense (eg: My friend you) to a native English speaker.

With this guide, we hope to give you a sense of the cultural and language differences you may encounter and tips to help you ease you in your adventure seeking your Thai girlfriend or boyfriend be it for a casual relationship or marriage.

The land of smiles

Although officially the The Kingdom of Thailand, Thailand has traditionally also been known as Mueang Thai meaning Thai country. Thailand was also formerly called Siam and people of Thailand were referred to as Siamese. In popular culture though, Thailand is also known as The land of smiles indicative of its friendly locals sporting a permanent smile πŸ™‚


The population of Thailand is estimated to be 67 million, comprising of 48% men and 52% women. The majority of the Thai population is in the age group of 15-65 accounting for 73% of its population.


The official religion of Thailand is Buddhism, which is practiced by about 95% of the population. Muslims constitute the second largest religious group in Thailand, approximately 4.2% of the population


Thailand’s time zone is +7:00 UTC. Thailand does not have Daylight Savings Time (DST). Do keep this in mind and be aware of your and your partners schedule when chatting up with your partner. Of course, you can always Google to get the current time in Thailand

Thai language and grammar

Thai (also called Siamese) is the national and official language of Thailand and is the primary language used for communication and education.

Even though it’s not absolutely necessary to get by, you will definitely have an easier and more enjoyable dating experience if you know a little Thai. Of-course most Thai’s won’t expect you to speak any of their language but will be pleasantly and favorably surprised if you can string a few sentences together. It will also give you a sense of appreciation knowing that when Thai’s are talking to you in English, they are doing so in a foreign language.

Knowing just a little bit Thai can go a long way in easily making new friends and it will also put your partner at ease while communicating with you.

The basics of Thai language

Unlike English, Thai is a tonal language. This means that the same word can have completely different meaning depending on how it is pronounced. For example, the word mai could mean not, wood, new, silk or burn depending on what tone is used to pronounce it. Don’t be alarmed though, as a beginner in Thai, you don’t necessarily need to master this as most native speakers will be able to tell what you mean by the context, even though the tone is wrong.

It’s indeed very common for beginners to make a faux pass or inadvertently offend someone by using the wrong tone. Luckily most Thai’s realize how difficult it can be to speak in a foreign language and will be very forgiving. For the purpose of this article, we will be ignoring the tones for the most part to keep things simple.

Politeness & use of particles

In spoken Thai, grammatical particles are often added to end of sentences to indicate politeness, respect, a request, encouragement or even acknowledgement. The most common particles you’ll encounter in day to day communication are krap and kra. Male speakers end sentences with krap (also pronounced khaap) and female speakers end sentences with kra (also pronounced kha) to make it more polite and show respect to the listener. For instance,

English Thai – Male speaker Thai – Female speaker
Hello Sa-waat-dee-krap Sa-waat-dee-kra
What is your name? Khun-chue-a-rai-krap? Khun-chue-a-rai-kra?

Krap and kra are also often used by themselves as stand-alone words as a form of acknowledgment for example when receiving orders from the boss, or a waiter from a customer.

Thai grammar

Thai grammar has the same basic structure as several other languages. There is the Subject, the Verb and the Object. However, there are also several differences between English and Thai grammar. The most important, and the one you are likely to notice almost immediately is the order of nouns and adjectives. In English, the adjective appears almost always ahead of a noun whereas, in Thai, the noun appears ahead of the adjective. For example,

English Thai
Red car Car red
Big city City big
One fat boy Boy fat one

Personal pronouns

In English, the pronoun I is used by either genders when referring to oneself. In Thai though, the pronouns for referring to oneself are different for male and female speakers. Also in Thai, the subject pronouns and object pronouns are the same meaning, there’s no difference between ‘I’ and ‘me’

English Thai
I / me Phom used only by male speakers
I / me Chan mainly used by women
You Khun

Repetition of words

In the Thai language, words are often repeated to add emphasis or intensify its meaning. The two most common instances of these that you are likely to encounter are maak maak and same same.


Thinglish (sometimes also called Thaiglish) is the use of an imperfect form of English in Thai pop culture. As a foreigner, you are almost certainly likely to come across this or even use it yourself. Common uses involve mixing Thai and English in the same sentence often using unusual word choices or innovative vocabulary items. Common characteristics of Thinglish involve

  • Addition of Thai final particles at the end of sentences (eg: I miss you na)
  • Omission of the consonant at the end of words (eg: Mickey Mouse often pronounced Mickey Mao or help pronounced hell or or news pronounced new)
  • Switching the R sound with L (eg: Would you like flies with that? πŸ™‚ )

A few examples:

English Thinglish
There is no …, I do not have a … No have
Similar to Same same
Your friend My friend you
I like it very much I very like it or I like it maak maak
Where did you go?, Where do you plan to go? Where you go?
Taste’s just like chicken Taste same same chicken
Don’t you like spicy food? You no like food spicy?
I’ve already called the Taxi I call taxi already
Please? Please na ka?
Are you hungry? Hungry mai?
This is mine This I
This is yours This you
I’m watching TV I look tv
I’m using the internet/my phone I play internet/phone
Thai’s will often use 555 to express laughter in chat messages or social media posts. This is because the number 5 is pronounced ha in Thai and so three of them would be pronounced ha ha ha. Think of it as the Thai equivalent of lol.

Farang eat farang

The Thai word Farang (often pronounced as Falang) is primarily used to describe Caucasians. Although completely a neutral word, some people may get offended at being called farang. In reality, it really depends on the context in which it is used. People who respect you will generally not use it. For example, if you hear a work colleague, refer to you as farang they probably mean it as an insult while a taxi driver or market vendor doing the same probably don’t mean to offend you at all.

Interestingly, Guava, the fruit is also pronounced Farang in Thai, so you can expect to hear farang eating farang ‘jokes’ if you are caught eating any πŸ™‚ .

Other Asians are generally known by their country of origin (eg: Khon jeen – “Chinese people”, khon yee-pun – “Japanese people”), while people from the Indian Subcontinent are often known as kairk (which translates as “guest”).

Now that you have a basic understanding of the Thai language, let’s look as a few basic phrases and greetings you can use while communicating with your Thai girlfriend.

Common phrases and greetings

The first thing you’d probably want to you when you meet someone is to greet them. Use this handy list of Thai greetings to kick off your conversations. Do remember to end your sentences with Krap or Kra as appropriate.

English greeting Thai equivalent
Hello, Goodbye, Good morning, Good evening Sa wat dee1
How are you? (Khun) Sa baai dee mai?
I’m fine! Thank you! Sa baai dee! Khob khun!
Pleased to meet you Yin dee thee dai ruu jak
See you later Laaeo phohp gan mai
What is your name? Khun cheu arai?
My name is … Phom/Chan cheu …
Don’t worry / No problem / You’re welcome Mai pen rai
Thank you Khob khun
Sorry (apology) Kor tod
Pardon ? Arai na?
Sorry / Excuse me Kor toht
You are so beautiful Wannee khun suay maak
I miss you so much Phom/Chan kid tueng khun mak mak
I love you Phom/Chan rak khun
  1. Sa wat dee is the generic all purpose greeting in Thailand. The English distinctions of “Goodbye”, “Good morning” and “Good evening” do exist but are rarely used.

Thai nicknames

Almost every Thai person will have a nickname by which they are known to their friends and family. The use of nicknames is so widespread that it’s not uncommon for friends to know each other for years and yet not know each other’s real name or surname. The nicknames may be a contraction of their real name, but quiet often Thai parents take inspiration from a wide variety of other sources as well. Names based on someone’s appearance at birth are also fairly common. Non-Thai’s may find some of the choices of nicknames quiet eccentric or even bizarre (Cake, Beer, Meow, etc) but that’s just the way it is.

A few tidbits you may find amusing

Quiet often, you’ll find names of Thai people ending with -porn. The word porn in Thai mean blessing, and hence the practice of using it in Thai names. On the other hand, it might be quiet amusing to some people when a Western man introduces himself as Dick.

Well, that about sums up this installment of our guide for men from Western countries who may not be very familiar with the Thai language or culture and are seeking love and romance with Thai women. When it comes to cross-cultural relationships, having a little understanding of your partner’s cultural background can go a long way in forging a strong and long-standing relationship.

We hope that the topics discussed in this article help you get a glimpse of the Thai culture and the Thai language and that it helps you use some phrases or greetings as an ice breaker when it comes to making new friends. Just open up your mind, learn and practice a little Thai, and you’re on your way to find the ideal Thai girlfriend or wife on thisDating.

Note that the topics discussed here are only the proverbial tip of the iceberg and there is an immense amount to learn and appreciate what this incredibly fascinating country and its people has to offer.

1 thought on “Chapter 0: Thai Crash Course”

  1. I really want to visit Thailand, I am very interested in their culture, language and country. How long do you think it would take for someone like me (an English speaking person) to learn Thai to be able to navigate without a guide around a local Thai city? Also, how about their writing system? Do I need to learn about their writing system?

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