It seems that we are on a bit of a positivity streak. We have previously looked at the different ways of saying good in Thai, and when it is best to use each one. It should be obvious how this can help other people feel better about themselves and the progress they make. Now, we will be looking at how to let others know that they are welcome in Thai. There are a couple of different ways to go about that. On one side, you can let people know that they are welcome, as a greeting of sorts. On the other hand, we go back into the territory of politeness. We will be looking at both today.
For most people, a simple hello in Thai will suffice as a way of showing that someone is welcome. However, that is a bit boring, so we will take a closer look at the different ways of saying welcome in Thai.
So the two main scenarios to be covered are greetings and politeness. For the most part, they are similar - they use the same word. However, there are numerous different phrases that achieve this meaning that understandably have different purposes. Different regional dialects also add to that number.
Keep in mind that this isn’t a complete list, especially considering the variety. I imagine that every other day, younger people are making up their own ways of saying you are welcome, not unlike in English. However, these are some of the more common phrases that you can use in Thailand.
There are also many non-verbal ways to show that someone is welcome. Wais, handshakes, and hugs can be used, depending on your relationship with the person. With that out of the way, let’s look at some examples.
To start off with, it is worth knowing the verb that means to greet or to welcome. That is ‘dton rap’ (ต้อนรับ). With this, you can start to put together some phrases for welcoming people in Thai.
What is something you often hear when you enter a nice restaurant? That’s right - you are usually greeted with a welcome. Now, how about when you enter Thailand? Some of your friends may welcome you there too:
yin dii dton rap su bpra tet tai
ยินดีต้อนรับ สู่ ประเทศไทย
Welcome to Thailand
As mentioned above, the phrase ‘dton rap su’ (ต้อนรับสู่) means to welcome to, so you can sort of see how the sentence is formed. You can change out the ‘bpra tet tai’ (ประเทศไทย) part with a different country name, or location in general.
Adjusting this phrase for different purposes is quite simple, so be sure to try it out as a different way to greet people.
Now, perhaps the closest word you will find as a translation to welcome in Thai is ‘yin dii’ (ยินดี). You may recognize the word ‘dii’ (ดี) from when we looked at the words for good in Thai because, well, it means good. The word ‘yin’ (ยิน) by itself, on the other hand, can mean to hear or pleased.
You can add the prefix ‘khwaam’ (ความ) - which turns an adjective into a noun - before the phrase to make ‘khwaam na yin dii’ (ความน่ายินดี), which means welcomeness or pleasantness. Knowing this meaning, you can start to see why the phrase also can be used in this situation:
If you have just done someone a favor or helped them in some way, they are likely to say thank you. In reply, you can use the phrase mentioned above.
You will often find this phrase translated as you’re welcome, but it is more akin to phrases like my pleasure or delighted. Either way, it is a polite choice. Add on the polite words (‘ka’ (ครับ) for females and ‘krap’ (ครับ) for males).
This phrase is actually shortened from a longer version. The full phrase is ‘yin dii tii dai roojak’ (ยินดีที่ได้รู้จัก). This more directly translates to it's a pleasure to meet you. Knowing this, it is easy to see why the shortened version is preferred in most situations.
Speaking of shortening phrases, there is another way to go about saying with pleasure. You can use ‘duai khwaam yin dii’ (ด้วยความยินดี), where the ‘duai’ (ด้วย) part means with or together. These longer versions will generally be seen as quite formal, so you should stick with the basic ‘yin dii’ for everyday situations.
As a more informal or laid back way of replying to a thank you from a friend, you can also use this phrase:
mai bpen rai
Meaning no problem, no worries, or don’t worry about it, this phrase is often said to be the national phrase of Thailand. Maybe it has something to do with the more laid-back sabai sabai culture of the country, but you will likely hear this a lot. Make sure you learn this Thai phrase.
Bear in mind though that it can be said sarcastically, having the more literal meaning of it’s not my problem. However, that shouldn’t really be an issue you come across.
Of course, welcome is a pretty common word to learn for Thai people, so many people will just use that when speaking with foreigners. They would say it something like ‘wehn kham’ (เวลคัม), which is a transcription for the word welcome in Thai.
This makes for a great opportunity to impress by replying in Thai. Saying a simple thank you in Thai as a reply to this should go a long way in making a good first impression.
There is no better feeling than feeling welcome somewhere. When you visit a shop, your favorite restaurant, or even your favorite country. Next time the situation presents itself, try using some of the phrases above, especially to let people know that whatever you did was your pleasure. There is no better way to spread smiles around than with a nice welcome.
You are all of course welcome to try the Ling Thai app for free. Give it a go and see if it fits your learning style. The many tests, games, and challenges may just be your ticket to improving your Thai ability.