There are many ways to get to know the world, and there are many countries that we can visit while we are in it. The languages that are spoken throughout the planet are not few, and it never hurts to know some basic words or phrases to be able to function relatively fluently if we are going to travel to a country whose culture and language are completely different from ours.
Traveling is an adventure in itself, but traveling to volunteer is a much more complete and satisfying experience, since you not only soak up the culture and way of life of the people whose country you travel to, but also , you strive to improve, as much as possible, someone’s life, and that is invaluable. In this type of situation, having basic notions of the way people speak and communicate in the country you are traveling to is especially useful, since it is something you are going to do every day during your stay in it.
Platforms like AdventureVolunteer.org give you the opportunity to travel to different countries to attend their volunteer programs, so I have prepared a list with fifteen basic phrases in Thai so that you can relate more comfortably if you decide to travel to Thailand to try, from there, change the world a little.
Essential phrases to travel to Thailand
Most of the languages that surround us have very similar roots to ours, hence it is easier for us to adapt to languages such as English or Italian. However, and as you know very well, most Eastern countries have a language very different from what we are used to, including the alphabet, which usually catches our attention. In this list you will find very simple phrases, but they are basic to be able to speak with people who cannot communicate in English or Spanish.
- Thank you
This is a basic word in all languages, because being grateful is a fundamental pillar in all cultures. The curious thing about Thai is that, depending on whether you are a woman or a man, you will say it in one way or another. If you are a man, thank you it is said / kop kung krap /, but if you are a woman, it is pronounced / kop kung ka /.
- Hello, good morning, good night
For educational reasons, these types of greetings are the most common, and it is the best way to begin integrating into the country. If you are a man, greet yourself by saying / sabadee krap /, and if you are a woman, / sabadee ka /.
- How are you?
This is a question that you will surely ask often while volunteering, especially if they are humanitarian work. Gender, as you have seen, is something that is taken into account when communicating. In this case, the question would be asked, in the case of a man, / sabadee mai krap /, and in the case of a woman, / sabadee mai ka /.
- What’s your name?
The first contact will be very important, and this will be very useful for you to begin to interact with the Thais in your circle. Again, in the case of a man, / kun chai arai krap /, and in the case of a woman, / kun chai arai ka /.
- I do not understand
On more than one occasion you will need to explain that you do not understand what they are asking you for, and this phrase can help them understand that they must be understood in another way. It is very easy to pronounce, and it is the same for men and women: / mai ko jai /.
- I am sorry
It’s the most polite way to apologize if you bump into someone or if you need to ask for directions. It is also useful, clearly, to apologize for something. If you are a man, it will be / kho thot krap /, and if you are a woman, / kho thot ka /.
- I’m allergic
A phrase that can save your life in case you suffer from a food allergy, since the Thai diet is far from the Western one. / Phom phae / is the phrase you will need to indicate that there is something you cannot eat.
- call a doctor
Whether you are sick or trying to help someone, it is always highly recommended to be able to give instructions of these characteristics. In this case, for a person to call a doctor or an ambulance, we would say / riak maw nawy /.
- Where is the bathroom?
This is an especially basic question because you are likely to need it in many contexts, so it is important to know about it. It is said / hong namm /.
- Yesterday Today Tomorrow
If you need to give time indications, either because it is part of your job or because you are trying to have a conversation with someone, these words can be very useful. Yesterday it is said / muea wann nii /, today it is pronounced / wan nii /, and tomorrow it would be / phrung nii /.
- What time is it?
Asking for the time is basic to be able to locate yourself in time in case you do not have your watch, especially if you need to catch a bus or a train. / kii mohng laew / is how to ask in Thai.
- Where is…? How to go to…?
These two questions are pronounced the same way, so it will be very easy for you to ask for directions and not get lost in the city. In this case, we would say / yuu thii nai /.
- No problem
The best way to respond when someone bumps into you or bothers you in some minor way. Again we stick to the gender, and if you are a man it will be said / mai pen rai krap /, and if you are a woman / mai pen rai ka /.
- My name is …
Of course, when volunteering you will need people to know your name, especially if you are going to interact with them often. The best way to introduce yourself is by saying / phom cheu / followed by your name.
It is very curious how they say goodbye in Thailand, since they have adopted a form that imitates English, pronouncing / bai bai /. On the other hand, if you want to say ‘see you later’, it would be / sawat di khrap /. They are the most common ways to say goodbye.
Why choose Thailand
Thailand is one of the most heavenly places in the world, and its culture is very rich. The truth is that it is impossible to regret visiting such a beautiful country, and being able to do it in order to help others is still an unforgettable experience. AdventureVolunteer.org offers you many available destinations so you can offer your help to those who need it most, and among them you will find a volunteer program in Thailand, where you can enjoy a way of life very different from yours, which will enrich you. many levels and that will allow you not only to make lifelong friendships, but also to get to know yourself.
These fifteen phrases are the most basic when it comes to relating in various contexts, and that is why they are the ones I have chosen so that you can guide yourself first through the country. As you spend some time there, you will realize that you will adapt more easily, and you will end up understanding the language almost perfectly, but always with a lot of practice. Do not feel embarrassed if you are not able to pronounce correctly at first, because nobody is born learned, and let them teach you without feeling frustrated. In the long run, you will not want to return home, because what Thailand offers you, no other country can offer you.