You’ve made it to Thailand and you’d like to know how to order a beer like a native in Thai? Let’s go over what native speakers actually use to order beer or food and make sure your sentences sound natural. Whether this is your first trip to Thailand or you’ve been around a while and are just starting to dive into Thai language, you should find this post useful.
Even if you’re not a beer drinker, the sentence patterns in this lesson are related to ordering and it’s easy enough to substitute other items once you’ve learned how to say them.
How to Order Beer in Thai
Want your beer in a glass or a can? You can switch out bottle for any other container.
- เอา เบียร์ สอง กระป๋อง (Ow bia sawng kra-ppong) = (I’ll) have 2 cans of beer
- เอา เบียร์ สาม แก้ว (Ow bia saam kaew) = (I’ll) have 3 glasses of beer.
Thai Tip: Drop the pronouns – Unlike English and many other languages, in Thai, you usually don’t need to use pronouns like “I” or “me” when everything is clear by context. If you are speaking to a server and asking for something, it’s automatically understood that you want it.
Thai Tip: Classifiers – In the example above, “bottle” serves as the classifier or counter word. So, just like you wouldn’t say “I’ll have 2 breads” in English, you wouldn’t say “I’ll have 2 beers” in Thai. In Thai you have to do this with ALL nouns, so you’ll need to say “I’ll have BEER 1 [CLASSIFIER].”
Thai Sentence Pattern Breakdown:
- เอา (ow) – to want; to take *used like “I’ll have a ___” when ordering something
- เบียร์ (bia) – beer
- หนึ่ง (nueng) – one
- ขวด (khuat) – bottle
Transliteration Disclaimer: It’s very difficult to transliterate/romanize Thai partly because a number of the vowel sounds do not exist in English. If you intend to get competent in Thai, you’ll absolutely need to learn the script. We guarantee that investing the 10-20 hours required to master the script will save you HUNDREDS of hours of frustration trying to remember how to say all the different sounds.</p?
Key Phrases for Ordering Beer in Thai
Below are some of the more useful phrases when ordering food and drink in Thai. All of these sentence patterns are extremely useful and can be applied when ordering in any type of restaurant/bar/cafe so if you were to take anything away from this post, practice some of these sentences.
How to Ask for the Menu in Thai:
- ขอเมนูหน่อย (khaw meh-nuu noi) – Can I have the menu please?
- มีเมนูไหม (mee meh-nuu mai?) – Do you have a menu?
How to Ask “what beers do you have?” in Thai:
- มีเบียร์อะไรบ้าง (mee bia ah-rai baang?) – What beers do you have?
- *Useful Thai Pattern: มี อะไร บ้าง (mee ah-rai baang?) You often add บ้าง (baang) to the end of a question when you are expecting multiple answers. In this case, you are asking for a list of beers so you definitely want to add บ้าง (baang).
How to Say “I’m ready to order.” in Thai
- พร้อมสั่ง (phrawm sang) (ครับ/ค่ะ) (khrap/kha) – I’m ready to order (+ optional polite gender particle)
- พร้อมสั่งแล้วค่ะ(phrawm sang laew kha) – I’m ready to order (female speaker + polite)
- พร้อมสั่งแล้วครับ (phrawm sang laew khrap) – I’m ready to order (male speaker + polite)
- พร้อมสั่งล่ะ (phrawm sang la) – I’m ready to order (gender neutral, more informal)
How to Order in Thai
When ordering beer (or any drink as well as food) in Thai, you use a very simple sentence pattern. You don’t usually need to use a pronoun when asking for something.
- เอา เบียร์ สิงห์ ขวดใหญ่ (ow bia sing khuat yai) – I’ll have a large bottle of Singha.
- เอา เบียร์ ช้าง สอง ขวด (ow bia chaang sawng khuat) – I’ll have 2 bottles of Chaang
Thai Beer Brands (and How to Pronounce them Correctly):
- สิงห์ (sing) – Singha – In Thai, it’s just pronounced like “SING” with a rising tone. You don’t say “ha.” The symbol above the ห (H) letter at the end of the word is a marker which lets you know NOT to pronounce that letter. สิงห์ = lion (BUT, this spelling usually refers to the Zodiac sign Leo) If you actually want to say “lion” in Thai, you need to say สิงโต (sing-ttohh).
- ช้าง – (Chaang) – Chang does not rhyme with “bang.” It does rhyme with the “fah” in do-re-mi. ช้าง = elephant
- ลีโอ – (Lee-ohh) – It’s pretty hard to say Leo wrong, but if you can’t read the Thai script than you are are almost certainly not getting it perfect. It’s 2 syllables, LEE-OHH.
In Thailand, You Put Ice in Your Beer
Putting ice in beer is very common in Thailand (and all of SE Asia). It may seem strange at first, but you’ll get used to it. It’s actually very nice to have your beer stay cold the entire time. It will, of course, get watered down if you drink very slowly though. Western style pubs (usually owned by foreigners) do not do this, but most Thai establishments will assume or at least ask if you want ice.
น้ำแข็ง (nam khaeng) – ice (water+hard)
- เอาน้ำแข็งไหม (ow nam-khaeng mai) – Do you want ice?
- ใส่น้ำแข็ง (sai nam-khaeng) to put ice in (something)
- ไม่ใส่น้ำแข็ง (mai sai nam-khaeng) don’t put ice in (something)
How to Say “Cheers” in Thai
There are a couple phrases that you might hear when drinking with Thai people.
This phrase is very common and functions just like “cheers” in English. It also is just literally referring to the action of bumping glasses together. This is the most common phrase so if you’re going to learn just one, this is it.
*Sometimes, people may raise their glass to each other and just say ชน (chon).
How to Say “Bottoms Up” or “Drink Up”
This phrase tends to be used when people are trying to get you drunk. หมดแก้ว (mot kaew) means to finish your glass. In some situations, there may be some social pressure to actually drink your entire glass, but you can definitely get away with just taking a big sip.
Thai Phrases that Thai People NEVER Use when Drinking
I have to mention these because there are other Thai learning web sites out there telling you that these are used in place of “cheers.” This isn’t natural at all and Thai people don’t use these phrases like that.
- โชคดี (chohk dee) good luck
“Good luck” in Thai is used pretty much the same way it is in English. The main difference is sometimes it’s used as “take care” in certain situations. It’s fine to use this when drinking if you are actually wishing someone “good luck,” but you wouldn’t use this in place of “cheers.”
- The most common example I’ve experienced is that if I’m in a taxi or a สองแถว (sawng-taew) and get into a conversation with the driver, when I’m getting out, either they or I are likely to say “โชคดี” (chok dee) as a parting phrase.
- You can also use this phrase if you know you aren’t going to see someone for a while. For example, if a close friend or family member was moving away or maybe going to another country for a long period of time, you could say โชคดีนะ (chok dee na). It still technically means “good luck,” but the feeling in this usage is more like “take care of yourself” or “I wish you the best.”
Here’s a word you’ll eventually come across.
- ไชโย (chai-yo) bravo; (a victory cheer)
This word comes from the Sanskrit word for victory, “jaya.” The more literary form of the word (ชโย cha-yoh) is at the end of the Thai national anthem. It’s basically like a battle cry so you might hear it in sporting events and nationalistic rallys, but not when clinking glasses with your drinking buddy.
Asking for and Paying the Bill in Thai
Here are the most common way to ask for the check in Thai.
เช็คบิล (chek-bin) – “check please”
If this is all you are saying, it’s a good idea to add on the appropriate polite gender particle.
- เช็คบิล ค่ะ (chek-bin kha) – check please (female, polite)
- เช็คบิล ครับ (chek-bin khrap) – check please (male, polite)
This next phrase is more colloquial and it’s used every day so it’s definitely worth learning.
เก็บตังค์ (kep-ttang) – check please (collect money)
คิดเงิน (khit-ngoen) – check please (calculate money)
Now that you know how to order beer in Thai, you may also want to check out our post on How to Order Coffee in Thai. While the sentence structure is the same, there are plenty of other basic Thai words that might be fun and useful to learn if you are just getting started.
Thai Vocabulary Flashcards
Review some of the key words and phrases from this lesson in the flashcards below. Refreshing the page will reset the deck. Clicking on the X will move the current card to the end of the deck. Clicking on the checkmark will remove the card from the current session.
to take; to want
to be ready
Want to master basic Thai language? Check out our online Thai program which teaches you all the core skills you’ll need to begin reading and speaking Thai.