How to Say THANK YOU in Thai | Learn Thai from a White Guy

How to Say Thank You in Thai

“Thank you” in Thai is khàawp khun ( ขอบคุณ), but that’s not always the best phrase to use.  Read on for all the formal and informal versions of “thanks” in Thai.

*All Thai script in this post has audio which you can play by TAP/Clicking on the Thai words and there are flashcards for some of the most important words at the bottom of the post.  There’s also a video where myself and a Thai friend explain how to say the most important 3 ways to say thank you in Thai

How to Be Polite in Thai:

If you want to be extra polite, you can add kha ค่ะ (for females) and khrap ครับ (for males) at the end of the phrase.  These are gender based polite particles and you’ll hear and use them a lot in Thai language.

*Note about Spelling:  There are a number of different systems to transliterate the Thai language and none of them are very effective.  You may see other spellings for “thank you” in Thai such as; kob kun krap/ka. If you plan to learn Thai, I highly recommend learning the script as soon as possible.

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How to say ‘thank you’ in Thai depends on few things such as your age and relationship to the person you are thanking.  This post covers all the important phrases you need to know how to say as well as a few common ones you might hear when in Thailand.

How to Say Thank You Among Friends (and people younger than you):

These are the three main “thank you”s to use with your friends.

  1. ขอบคุณ [khawp khun] – It’s the same as above, but we can drop the polite particle.
  2. ขอบใจ [khawp jai] – thanks **

** ขอบใจ [khawp jai] – is a bit informal and shouldn’t be used with people older than you or with higher “status” (eg; your boss, your girlfriend’s parents).

This word can come across as a bit abrupt so it’s pretty common to throw a นะ (na) at the end. The นะ (na) is often used as a softener to make things sound nicer.

ขอบใจนะ [khawp jai] – Thanks.

ขอบใจน้า [khawp jai naa] – When typing this word, the short vowel นะ  may be written with the long vowel น้า and it’s often pronounced this way for emphasis and/or niceness.

ขอบใจจ้า – [khawp jai jaa] – As above, when typed this may be written with the longer vowel and is often pronounced this way.

  • แต้งกิ้ว – [tang kiw] – This is just a transliteration of “thank you” and is used ALL THE TIME so don’t feel bad or weird about using it.

**There’s a mini-joke/pun associated with it the word above.  If you pronounce the word as แทงคิ้ว [tang khiw] (or someone else says it) and then poke yourself in the eyebrow. Do it to a friend (or almost anyone really) and I promise you’ll get a laugh. You’re basically saying “stab (my) eyebrow.”

Close friends using the intimate (and rude if not intimate) particles กู (goo) / มึง (mueng) can be used with any of the above. So you will definitely hear things like:

*Sometimes แต้ง (falling tone) may be spelled/pronounced แต๊ง (high tone)

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The Three Best Ways to Say Thank You in Thai

Learn Thai Flashcards – Practice Different Ways to Say Thank You with these Flash Cards

  • ขอบคุณ
    thank you
  • ขอบใจ
    thanks (inf)
  • มาก
    very; a lot
  • ไหว้
    to wai
  • แต้งกิ้ว
    thank you (eng)
  • มึง
    you (inf;rude)
  • กู
    I (inf;rude)
  • All Done!

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How to Say Thank You in Thai to Acquaintances and Older People:

The particle word used at the end of a phrase is very important both in terms of applying the appropriate level of politeness as well as “coloring” the feeling behind the sentence.  The first level of politeness, is just adding the polite gender particle ครับ / ค่ะ [khap / kha] for male/female respectively.

  • ขอบคุณ ครับ/ ค่ะ – [khawp khun (khap /kha)] – Thank you. You can use this with older relatives or people at the office that you don’t feel you are close enough to drop the polite particle.

If someone is much older than you (grandparents age for example) or if someone goes out of their way to help you or do something for you, or is being celebrated for some reason (eg; retirement/wedding/etc) then you probably want to ไหว้ [wai] them along with the more formal language.

  • ไหว้ [wai] – the wai is when you put your hands together in prayer-like position and it may or may not include a slight bow. The position of the hands in relation to the face/head as well as the deepness of the bow convey differing levels of respect. Thai kids have to wai their teachers everyday. Most Thai people will wai a monk on sight. Young people wai their elders. Employees wai their bosses. Learning when to do this is a very valuable skill in Thailand and it will endear you to just about everybody except for angry farang.

Example Situation: You get a flat tire on your motorbike and someone with a pickup truck stops to help you load up your bike onto their truck and drive you to a shop. Even if that person is the same age or a bit younger than you, this is the type of situation where a wai along with “ ขอบคุณมาก ครับ / ค่ะ [khawp khun maak (khap / kha)] – Thank you so much” is appropriate.

Additional Notes:

  • มาก [maak] – very (falling tone) *Can be added at the end of any phrase to mean “very much” but place it before polite particle.
  • ขอบคุณมากครับ [khawp khun maak khrap] Thank you very much (polite)!
  • ครับ [khrap] – male polite particle (high tone, can drop the ร/r sound)
  • ค่ะ [kha] – female polite particle (falling tone)

Learn More Useful Thai Phrases

Check out these posts and more to learn lots of useful Thai phrases and sentence patterns.