Counting in Thai (it’s easier than you think!)

Before heading off on your solo trip to Thailand, you MUST learn how to count (it’s SO MUCH easier than you think)! This will ease many communication challenges that arise while shopping and going about your day to day life as a solo traveler (and even ordering food!)

Before we get started … a few notes about Thai language!

  1. Kha (kahw) and Khrab (krawb) not only define the speakers’ gender (kha for female and khrab for male), but they also add respect to sentences. The longer they’re drawn out, the more respectful your sentence is. Be sure to use them accordingly to social status! The higher a person’s status, the longer kha and khrab should be drawn out.
  2. Tones create ALL the difference in Thai language. You’ll find that many words are spelt the exact same, but are pronounced in a wide variety of tones. Even the slightest change can create a COMPLETELY different meaning. Don’t let this scare you! Just be mindful – this is a common cause of miscommunication.
  3. Don’t let the letter ‘H’ fool you! An ‘H’ adds airiness to words, unlike its usage in English. For instance, Koh Phi Phi and Phuket (two of Thailand’s most popular destinations) are commonly mispronounced as Koh Fee Fee and Foo-ket. They’re actually pronounced Koh-Pee-Pee and Poo-ket.
  4. However, there is an exception to the letter ‘H’! When paired with a ‘C’, it makes a “sh” sound. So if mentioning Chiang May, you’ll notice Thai’s pronounce it, “Shang Mai”.
  5. Roll your “R’s”! Just as you would in Spanish or Japanese, be sure to roll your “R’s” in the Thai language.

Let’s count! (start by memorizing 1 through 10)

  • Neung (nung) – 1
  • Song – 2
  • Saam – 3
  • See – 4
  • Haa 5
  • Hok – 6
  • Jet – 7
  • Bpaet (bed) – 8  
  • Gao – 9
  • Sip -10

Counting past 10

  • Sip et – 11 
  • Sip song – 12
  • Sip saam – 13
  • Yee sip – 20
  • Yee sip-et – 21
  • Yee sip-song – 22

Notice a pattern? Continue for the remaining numbers until 99

  • Saam sip – 30
  • See sip – 40
  • Haa sip – 50
  • Hok sip – 60
  • Jet sip -70
  • Bpaet sip – 80
  • Gao sip – 90

These are especially helpful when it comes to Baht! 

  • Roy -100
  • Song roy200
  • Pan – 1000

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