What would you say to your Thai friend when you see them in morning? What would you say to them as they tell you that they will go to bed? It is easy to overlook these small words that you say, but they can prove to be important in these situations. A little while back, we made a post about telling the time in Thai, which looks at the system they use in Thailand to tell time. Today, we will look at some new vocabulary related to different words and greetings you can use at different times of day.
To answer the question of what you should say to your friend first thing in the morning is ‘sawatdee don chao’ (สวัสดีตอนเช้า). Ideally, you would also add the politeness particles ‘ka’ (ค่ะ) or ‘khrap’ (ครับ) at the end of the phrase too.
There is also a formal way to say good morning – ‘aroon sawat’ (อรุณสวัสดิ์). This is hardly ever used in everyday speech, being instead reserved to things like TV or speaking in incredibly formal ceremonies. For the most part, you can just use ‘sawat dee don chao’ with the polite particle and you will be fine.
If you want to wish someone a good morning, just add ‘koh hai’ (ขอให้) at the beginning of the phrase. As you may have guessed, ‘koh hai’ means something like ‘wish/hope you have a…’. So after reading this, I would say ‘koh hai sawat dee don chao’, if you are reading this in the morning, of course.
Now what about the times between morning and night? What would be the most appropriate phrase to use then? Firstly, let’s not forget that we can use the basic way to say hello ‘sawatdee’ (สวัสดี) at any time of the day. You can use this greeting at any time of the day if needed, both as a hello and goodbye too.
There is no direct translation for saying good day in Thai. However, there is an equivalent phrase that is used that is understood in a similar way and that is ‘chohk dee’ (โชคดี). This literally means good luck, but it can be used as a parting phrase throughout the day.
If you are looking to be more specific with your afternoon greetings, then you can use ‘sawat dee tohn bai’ (สวัสดีตอนบ่าย) to say good afternoon. This is a more informal way of saying this phrase, but it is much more common to use, especially day to day.
To say good evening, you can use the phrase ‘sawat dee tohn yen’ (สวัสดีตอนเย็น). As you may have noticed, some of phrase reference the vocabulary used to tell time, specifically the words that denote the timeframes for morning, afternoon and evening.
The regular phrase you can use to wish someone a good night is ‘ratrisawat’ (ราตรีสวัสดิ์). This is the more basic phrase, even a bit formal. Like in English, there are a few different ways to say goodnight to someone in Thai.
If you want to say something else, you can use either ‘fundee’ (ฝันดี) or ‘funwaan’ ( ฝันหวาน), which mean something similar to good night and sweet dreams respectively. The ‘fun’ (ฝัน) part means to dream, so when you add ‘dee’ (ดี) which means good, or ‘waan’ (หวาน) which means sweet, you are wishing that their dreams will be pleasant.
Thailand has a very relaxed vibe – what you could describe as sabai sabai. Sometimes, this means you will lose track of the time. If that is the case, make sure you don’t end up using the wrong phrase, otherwise you will get some weird looks. Same is true if you are up late partying. Either way, you should now be able to wish someone a good day or night, which is always a pleasant thing.
For more similar phrases, you can use the Ling Thai app to practise and learn more important vocabulary. Soon enough, you will be able to wishing people good night in Thai in your sleep.