Learning the Basics of the Thai Language

As you may already know, Thailand is one of the most popular travel locations among tourists in the world. So learning Thai is always a great choice, especially for those of you who are planning to either travel to Thailand or live there. As one of the more diverse countries in the world, the people of Thailand are usually very welcoming to foreigners.

As English is typically taught in schools, a large part of the Thai population can speak English at a conversational level, if not fluent. However, the above actually varies depending on their school and how affluent of a background they come from. If they're based in one of the major cities such as Bangkok or Nonthaburi, there's a higher chance that they've received some form of English education whereas people who live farther away from major cities tend to be somewhat lacking in that regard.

Thailand has a population of around 63 million with roughly 17 million being English speakers. So while English is in fact a major language in Thailand, there will be plenty of occasions where knowing English just isn't quite enough. Again, you'll find that you're able to get by in major cities and other tourist hotspots, but not so much once you get out of the city.

thai temple travel in thailand

Of course, while the biggest reason to learn Thai is no doubt to be able to communicate with the people of Thailand in their official language, you'll find that there is so much more than that. Without exception, the one thing you should always respect when you visit a foreign country is its culture. By learning the language, you are able to get a better understanding of Thai culture. This way, you can not only communicate with the people of Thailand, you will even be able to connect with them on a personal level.

Glossika will surely give you the necessary tools to communicate effectively, and even become fluent in the language. When going about your everyday tasks and taking care of travel necessities such as flights, transportation, accommodation, running errands, eating out, and more, Glossika will show you the ropes and help you learn everything you need to know about speaking and getting around when traveling in Thailand.

Introduction to the Thai Language

Thai is the official language of Thailand and also the native language to a large part of the Thai population. Categorized as a Tai language as part of the Tai–Kadai language family, Thai is closely related and incredibly similar to the Lao language. Also, much of Thai vocabulary is borrowed directly from Pali, Sanskrit and Old Khmer.

learning thai language basics and phrases for travel

This makes sense as the Thai alphabet was derived from the Old Khmer writing system, which also descended from the Brahmi script. Later this month, we'll be releasing our Thai Alphabet Game, giving you an effective solution to ease your way into the Thai writing system. Compared to traditional learning methods, our Thai Alphabet Game will give you the ability to read fluently in a fraction of the time. We're talking in as little as an hour. Just take a look at what people have to say about our Russian Alphabet Game!

In total, there are 44 consonants in the Thai alphabet, though only 35 of which are actually commonly used. There are nine vowel sounds in Thai but each of the vowel sounds can have either a long or short duration, which makes a total of 18 vowels.

Similar to Chinese and Vietnamese, Thai is a tonal language consisting of five tones in total. This can make things a little complicated but not to worry! In the chart below, you'll find a very basic illustration for the different tones, the markings for each tone, and how sounds differ for each tone. We'll cover the rest of tones, consonants, and vowels, and much more with Glossika!


Sample Thai Travel Phrases

Learning survival phrases that will come in handy during your travels in Thailand is extremely important if you want to be able to do everything you need to do. However, sometimes it can be hard to get started. Below, you'll find a compilation of sample Thai travel phrases that will get you off on the right foot. This covers a little bit of everything including booking your flight, booking accommodation, ordering a meal, and asking for directions.

English Thai IPA
I'd like to buy a round trip ticket to London. ขอ ซื้อ ตั๋วไป-กลับ ลอนดอน ค่ะ kʰɔ̌ː sɯ́ː tǔːapaj-klàp lɔːndɔːn kʰâʔ
I'd like to fly to London on Wednesday. ฉัน อยาก จะบิน ไป ลอนดอน วันพุธ tɕʰǎn jàːk tɕàʔbin paj lɔːndɔːn wanpʰút
How much? เท่า ไหร่ คะ tʰâw ràj kʰáʔ
How long are you staying? คุณ จะ อยู่ นาน ขนาดไหน คะ kʰun tɕàʔ jùː naːn kʰànàːtnǎj kʰáʔ
We're staying for just three days. พวกเรา จะ อยู่ แค่ สาม วัน ครับ pʰûːakraw tɕàʔ jùː kʰɛ̂ː sǎːm wan kʰráp
Where do we get our luggage? เรา ไป เอา กระเป๋า สัมภาระ ได้ ที่ไหน คะ raw paj aw kràʔpǎw sǎmpʰaːráʔ dâj tʰîːnǎj kʰáʔ
Do you have any rooms available? คุณ มี ห้อง ว่าง ไหม คะ kʰun miː hɔ̂ːŋ wâːŋ mǎj kʰáʔ
How much is the room per night? ห้อง คืน ละ เท่าไหร่ คะ hɔ̂ːŋ kʰɯːn láʔ tʰâwràj kʰáʔ
We'd like to order room service. เรา ขอ สั่งอาหาร ค่ะ raw kʰɔ̌ː sàŋaːhǎːn kʰâʔ
Excuse me! Where's the movie theater? ขอโทษ นะคะ โรงภาพยนตร์ อยู่ ทางไหน คะ kʰɔ̌ːtʰôːt náʔkʰáʔ roːŋpʰâːppʰájon jùː tʰaːŋnǎj kʰáʔ
I know where that is. ฉัน รู้ ว่า มัน อยู่ ที่ไหน tɕʰǎn rúː wâː man jùː tʰîːnǎj
I'm not sure where that is. ฉัน ไม่ มั่นใจ ว่า มัน อยู่ ที่ไหน tɕʰǎn mâj mântɕaj wâː man jùː tʰîːnǎj
I think I should be able to find it. ฉัน คิด ว่า ฉัน น่าจะ หา เจอ นะ tɕʰǎn kʰít wâː tɕʰǎn nâːtɕàʔ hǎː tɕɤː náʔ
What bus number should I take? ต้อง นั่ง รถเมล์ สาย อะไร คะ tɔ̂ːŋ nâŋ rótmeː sǎːj àʔraj kʰáʔ
Which line should I take? ต้อง ขึ้น รถไฟใต้ดิน สาย ไหน คะ tɔ̂ːŋ kʰɯ̂n rótfajtâjdin sǎːj nǎj kʰáʔ
Is there a bus stop near here? มี ป้าย รถเมล์ อยู่ ใกล้ๆ นี้ ไหม คะ miː pâːj rótmeː jùː klâjklâj níː mǎj kʰáʔ
Take me to this address, please. ช่วย ไป ส่ง ตาม ที่อยู่ นี้ นะคะ tɕʰûaj paj sòŋ taːm tʰîːjùː níː náʔkʰáʔ
Could I have a look at the menu again? ขอ ดู เมนู อีกที ได้ ไหม คะ kʰɔ̌ː duː meːnuː ìːktʰiː dâj mǎj kʰáʔ
We'd like a roast beef sandwich and a chicken salad. ขอ แซนวิช เนื้อ ย่าง และ สลัด ไก่ ค่ะ kʰɔ̌ː sɛːnwít nɯ́ːa jâːŋ lɛ́ʔ sàlàt kàj kʰâʔ

Start Learning Thai for Travel

Once you start learning with Glossika, you'll have the means to consistently improve upon your Thai language skills until you're able to speak and listen at a fluent level so you'll be able to get around and communicate while in Thailand. So don't delay — start learning Thai with Glossika and get ready for your journey to Thailand!

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