Learn Thai Language:
I believe it is important to learn how to speak a little of the Thai language before going there. There are many people in Thailand that speak English, but not everybody you encounter will speak English, or at least will say that they can’t. I have found you get much more respect from Thai people if you try to speak Thai to them, even if you only know a few phrases.
Thai is a tonal language, and it is very important to get the tone right when you speak the Thai language to avoid any misunderstanding. For example the English word LIVE has two different meanings depending on the way you say it, the tone you use when saying it. One way to say it is l-eye-ve, saying it this way means taking place at the present moment. The other way to say it is with more of emphasis on the IVE portion this means, a place of residence.
I have gotten myself into a little bit of trouble more then once due to an inadvertent mispronunciation of the proper tone. I am an American who only travels to Thailand for holiday for now. I do not know enough Thai to teach you to speak it here, but I can help you with a few phrases. It is a humble person who admits when they need help, and I need help from a Thai person to build this page, and do it justice.
The Thai language is respectful, and ka / krap is used at the end of a sentence to show respect when speaking. Ka is for women, and krup is for men. This is used every so often while speaking to show politeness. Even when speaking English adding a ka / krup goes a long way. If a Thai person helps you give them a sincere smile, and a thank you ka / krup.
If goes without saying that the first word to learn is Hello. This word in Thai language is... Sawadee. This is a Romanized interpretation of the word of course. The English language is based on Latin, the language they spoke in ancient Rome. The Thai language is not based on Latin.
Hello... Sawadee Ka / krup
How are you? Sabai dee mai?
I am fine. Sabai dee.
Are you hungry? Hue mai?
Thank you. Korp khun.
Sometimes when you are walking down the street in Bangkok a Taxi, or Tuk Tuk driver will say to you. “Bai nai?” (pronounced like the word bye)
This means where are you going? Literally it means, go where?
If you want to go to the Grand Palace, Thai people call it, Wat pra kaew. Don’t tell a taxi driver, “I want to go to the Grand Palace.” You might get lucky, but chances are he wont understand you. If you say, “Bai Wat Pra Kaew ka / krup.” You will get a yes nod telling you to get in. When you leave the Grand Palace, you may want to take a riverboat taxi back to the sky train, as most of the taxis near the Grand Palace are part of the taxi mafia, and have broken meters.