Thai is a tonal language and the native language of Thailand.


Note that all of this should be a reference! As Thai is tonal, you should be listening to Thai to fully grok it. Check the references below for good Youtube videos to help you.


The wai is a gesture of respect, wherein you place your hands together at your chest, as if in prayer, and bow your head towards your thumb. It is often used in greetings and saying thank you.

However, greeting people isn’t the only reason to Wai. Other reasons include

  • To apologize
  • To say Thank you
  • To say goodbye
  • In prayer
  • Listening to monks
  • Receive blessings
  • Show and earn respect

From Thai With Grace


The words kráp/khráp and kâ/khâ are multi-use words in Thai, where kráp is used by men and for women. Kráp can also sound like krup or kup.

They can be used as ways to soften a phrase or question for politeness (think situations like speaking with store owners, waiters, reception at a hotel, elders, etc.), placed at the end of the statement.

Informal: "Sawat-dee" (Hello/Goodbye)

Formal: "Sawat-dee kráp" (Hello/Goodbye)

They can also be used as a word of acknowledgement or agreement, using it almost as an English "uh huh", "okay", or "yes".


Remember that the politness particles above can be used here.

English Thai Script Notes
Yes Châi ใช่ or khrap/kha, depending
No Mâi ไม่
Sorry Khǎaw-thôot ขอโทษ
Thank you Khàawp-khun ขอบคุณ There are many ways to say thank you in Thai, including khrap/kha, depending


English Thai Script Notes
Hello/Goodbye Sawat-dee/Sawaddee สวัสดี Accompanied often by a wai
How are you? Sá-baai-dee mǎi สบายดีไหม
I'm fine Sá-baai-dee สบายดี






Last modified: 202206101419