Thai basics and rules of conduct

Properties Away Koh Samui Thai basics and code of conduct

Thailand is a Buddhist country and above all a country with many polite rules. The Thais usually have a smile on their faces and are very helpful and open to tourists. A few simple words in Thai and can open doors. To avoid common mistakes and to make it easier to get started in Thailand, we have summarized a few basic words in Thai as well as rules of conduct.

Thai basics


Thai starter language conversation:

  • Hello = Sawatdee
  • Goodbye = La gorn
  • Thank you = Khop khun
  • No, thank you = Mai (Khrap/Ka), khop khun (Khrap/Ka)
  • How are you = Sabaidee mai
  • I’m fine and you? = Sabaidee laew khun la
  • I (male) = Phom
  • I (female) = Chan
  • What’s your name? = Khun chue arai
  • My name is … = Phom/Chan chue …
  • Excuse me / sorry = Kor thot
  • Do you speak English? = Khun phut pasa angrit dai mai
  • I don’t understand = Mai kao jai
  • How much is it? = Raka taw rai
  • Yes = Chai
  • No = Mai
  • No problem / don’t worry = Mai pen rai
  • Can I have the bill? = Check bin
  • Spicy = Pet
  • Not spicy = Mai pet
  • Delicious = Aroy dee
  • Still water = Nam plao
  • Big = Yai
  • Small = Lek/noi
  • Hot = Ron
  • Cold = Yen
  • Fish = Pla
  • Shrimp = Goong
  • Squid = Pla muek
  • Pork = Moo
  • Chicken = Gai
  • Beef = Nuea
  • Steamed rice = Khao suay
  • Restaurant = Raan ahan
  • Toilet = Hong nam
  • Hospital = Rong phayaban
  • Doctor = Moaa
  • Police = Dam ruat
  • Hotel = Rong raem
  • Airport = Sanam bin
  • Temple = Wat
  • Train = Rod fai
  • Bus = Rod bus

Note: In Thai you always attach a Khrap (men) or Ka (women) to the end of the sentence. This is to finish politely and you should always pay attention to it. Don’t drop a brick and read our thai basics carefully.

Thai Numbers:

1 One = Neung

2 Two = Song

3 Three = Sam

4 Four = See

5 Five = Hah

6 Six = Hok

7 Seven = Jet

8 Eight = Bet

9 Nine = Gow

10 Ten = Sip

11 Eleven = Sip-et

12 Twelve = Sip-song

20 Twenty = Yee-sip

21 Twenty = Yee-sip-et

22 Twenty = Yee-sip-song

30 Thirty = Sam-sip

40 Forty = See-sip

50 Fifty = Hah-sip

60 Sixty = Hok-sip

70 Seventy = Jet-sip

80 Eighty = Bet-sip

90 Ninety = Gow-sip

100 Hundred = Neung royg

1000 Thousand = Neung pan

10000 Ten Thousand = Neung muen

Rules of Conduct for Thailand

When traveling to Thailand, there are some rules of conduct that you should follow. It is not only about courtesy, but also not to blunder and adapt to the conditions in the country a little. In this paragraph we want to help you to follow a few basic rules of dos and don’ts in Thailand.

  • Always be friendly with a smile.

    Do not show anger in public or argue loudly.

  • Don’t be too serious, have fun.

    Thais like the ease in life.

  • Take off your shoes when you enter a Thai household.

    This also applies to temples and partly for smaller supermarkets. You will know it, when you see some shoes in front of the entrance door.

  • Do not touch statues of Buddha.

    And never stand or sit on them.

  • Women should never touch a Buddhist monk;

    otherwise they will have to undergo a cleansing ritual. For example, even money is given beforehand to a man or placed on the ground. A direct transfer does not take place.

  • When entering a temple.

    Always cover your shoulders and knees. Often you can find signs how to dress in temples at the entrance.

  • Also on the beach you should pay attention to your clothing.

    Of course a bikini is alright, but naked or topless is not welcome in Thailand.

  • Make sure you get dressed in restaurants too.

    Many tourists go to restaurants without T-shirts. It is not said, but it is very rude, because at home you would certainly not do this.

  • Although it is getting looser by coming generations,

    the sharing of kisses, holding hands, etc. is not well-received in public and you should hold back with it.

  • Always bargain with prices,

    except when eating, there is never a bargain.

  • Never point with the soles of your feet to statues of Buddha or other people.

    The same applies for your fingers.

  • Do not touch Thais on the head,

    that’s also a rule with children. This could be taken as an insult, since the head is considered the highest in mankind, where the soul is located.

  • Royal hymn Thailand

    When the royal hymn is played at 8 o’clock in the morning and at 6 o’clock in the evening, follow the Thais and stand still. Once it’s over, life goes on as usual.

  • Never step on money when it falls down or rolls away.

    On the coins and bills is an image of the king and it is considered as an insult if you step on him.

  • Also, do not talk bad about the king or criticize the royal house,

    especially not in public. There are even prison sentences on insulting the king.

Of course you usually would not need to mention all these things, but unfortunately many tourists keep making those mistakes. You should adapt yourself a bit to the country you’re going on vacation to. But don’t worry; mistakes will of course be forgiven as you are a tourist. This should only be a little help to avoid those.



Last but not least we want to introduce you to a few important Thai or Buddhist holidays. These may take place during your vacation and this overview will help you to adjust to them. For interested temple travelers check out our article: Koh Samui Temples (Wat) and Pagodas

06. April – Chakri Day

On this day the accession to the throne of the first Chakri king is remembered. Rama I was the king of Thailand back then and the founder of the Chakri dynasty, which still is in place nowadays.

13. to 15. April – Songkran


This is the Thai New Year, often referred to as “water festival”. People are celebrating this day on the streets with water pistols and buckets, nobody can escape the water, hence nobody stays dry. However, the traditional way of celebrating is a different one. Here, for example, the elders or monks getting their hands washed as a cleansing ritual. Also cleaning the house or temples is one thing to do to start the New Year fresh.

May/June – Makha Bucha


Holiday for the birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha. It is celebrated at full moon in late May / early June. Sometimes the day is also called “Buddha’s Birthday” by the locals. One of the most important Buddhist holidays.

July/August – Asanha Bucha

This holiday is also celebrated on the full moon in late July / early August. It is a national Buddhist as well as one of the most important holidays in Thailand. It reminds of the first sermon of Buddha.

12. August – Mother’s Day

The Mother’s Day in Thailand is celebrated on the birthday of Queen Sirikit. In honor of this day, many festivals are held throughout the country, commemorating the charitable accomplishments of the Queen for the Thai people.

November – Loy Krathong


This traditional Thai festival is held on the first full moon in November. Here small Krathongs (boats) are launched and filled with coins and candles to carry off the worries of the past year. It’s a really interesting holiday which is celebrated everywhere in the country.

05. December – Father’s Day


The Father’s Day in Thailand takes place on the birthday of the late King Rama IX. In many parts of the country, big festivals and concerts are held in honor of the king. Also many Thais come together in the evening to admire the spectacular fireworks in honor of the nation’s father, King Bhumibol, in Bangkok.

Note: On some Buddhist holidays it is not allowed to sell alcohol in supermarkets. Nevertheless in some hotels you still could enjoy a beer. But it would be better to refrain from drinking that day, just to respect the Buddhist holiday.

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