March 3, 2004

Greetings and Thanking

greeting in Thai way
(photo source: AP Photo Archive)

  1. “Sawasdee” is the word to use for greetings and goodbye. Thai people, especially younger people, also “wai” others as a greeting or to say ‘thank you’ to show respect. They do this by putting their hands together in a prayer-like gesture and raising them to a position somewhere between the chest and forehead and then bowing. Sometimes when Thai people run into their friends on the streets, their friends will ask them “pai nhai” (Where are you going?) as a greeting.
  2. In order to make the sentences sound polite, Thai people usually use ending particles "Khrap" for males and "Kha" for females at the end of the sentences.
  3. Thai people greet people by saying "Sawasdee" (Hello). If they want to ask how that person is doing, they can say "Sabaay D Rue" (How are you?) and then the person can respond "Sabaay D" (I'm fine).

Conversation Practice

Thai words Meaning Practice
Sawasdee Khrap Khun (name) Hello Mr.Tony
Sawasdee Kha Khun (name) Hello Mr. Tony
Sabaay-D-Rue-Khrap How are you?
Sabaay-D-Rue-Kha How are you?
Sabaay-D-Khrap I'm fine.
Sabaay-D-Kha I'm fine
Laew-Khun-la-Khrap And you?
Laew-Khun-la-Kha And you?
Phom-Sabaay-D-Krap I'm fine.
Chan-Sabaay-D-Kha I'm fine.
Khorp-Khun Khrap Thank you.
Khop-Khun Kha Thank you.

The following picture demonstrates several ways of "Wai".

Thai way of greeting
(photo source:


  1. You meet your friend, Ms. Sirin in the hallway and you want to greet him. What will you say?
  2. You meet your old friend. After you say hello to him, you want to ask him about
    his health. What would you say?
  3. You are carrying a lot of books and someone opens the door for you. What would
    you say to him?
  4. When you meet someone and he asks if you are doing fine, what will you say to