As you know, most Thai people are kind and friendly, but Thai people ask different kinds of questions when they meet foreigners. It may be shocking at first, because some are very personal questions, and the culture takes some getting used to. When Thai people ask you these questions, they don’t mean to offend you. They just want to make conversation in a Thai way. Let’s see what they are.
1. How old are you? คุณอายุเท่าไร. Khun aayú thâw rài?
Some Thai people ask you this question because if they know you are older, they will call you ‘Phîi’(พี่).
It means older brother or older sister.
But if they know you are younger, they will call you ‘Nóong’(น้อง), which means younger brother or younger sister.
This is how Thai people show respect.
How to reply to this question: you can say
Phǒm/chǎn aayú ……(pii) = I am…. years old. ผม/ฉันอายุ……ปี
2. What is your job? คุณทำงานอะไร Khun tham ngaan àrai?
The first time you meet Thai people, they may ask you this question,
just because they want to know if you have anything in common,
that can lead to the next conversation and build a relationship together.
How to reply this question: you can say Phǒm/chǎn pen…… I’m……
Chǎn pen khruu. I’m a teacher. ฉันเป็นครู
Phǒm pen jâw khǒong thúrakìt = I’m a business owner. ผมเป็นเจ้าของธุรกิจ
3. How much do you make? คุณได้เงินเดือนเท่าไร Khun dâi ngeen duan thâw rài?
You might be surprised if Thai people ask you this question!
Well, they’re just curious and this question will be asked among relatives or people in the rural area.
The nice way to answer them, you can just say
พอใช้ phoo chái which means It’s enough.
4. Are you married? คุณแต่งงานหรือยัง Khun tàang-ngaan rǔu yang?
When you are an adult, people expect you to get married, because this is Thai culture,
and this is a common question that people ask each other, especially elders will ask younger people.
Apart from that, if the person who asks you is a different gender, he or she might like you. 😊
How to reply this question:
If you want to say: Yes, I’m married, you can say Tàang-ngaan láaw. แต่งงานแล้ว
If you want to say: No. you can say Yang mâi dâi táang-ngaan. ยังไม่ได้แต่งงาน
5. Do you have children? คุณมีลูกหรือยัง Khun mii lûuk rǔu yang?
This question will come right after you answer ‘yes I am married’
because Thai people expect that all married couples will have children
How to reply this question:
If you want to say: Yes, I have, you can say Mii láaw มีแล้ว
If you want to say: Not yet or no, I haven’t you can say Yang mâi mii or mâi mii
6. Have you eaten yet? คุณกินข้าวรึยัง Khun kin khâaw rǔu yang?
Some of you might hear Thai people ask these questions very often, right?
It’s because Thai people like to show how they care about you or each other.
This is the most common Thai greeting just like “how are you” or even “hello”
กินข้าว kin khâaw= to eat rice
แล้วหรือยัง láaw rǔu yang = already or not
If you want to reply “Yes, I have” you can just say กินแล้วค่ะ Kin láaw khà
If you want to reply “No, I haven’t eaten yet” you can just say ยังไม่ได้กินค่ะ Yang mâi dâi kin khà
7. Where have you been? ไปไหนมา Pai nǎi maa?
You might think that Thai people are nosy, because they often ask seemingly personal questions.
However, in Thai it’ a common greeting just like “how are you?”
they will ask because they are curious and also, they just want to make conversation with you.
The nice way to answer, you just say
ไป…….มา pai…..maa which means I’ve been……
For example, Chǎn pai kin khâaw maa. ฉันไปกินข้าวมา
ไปทำธุระมา pai tham thúrá maa which means I just ran some errands.
thúrá ธุระ is used when you don’t want to discuss where you have been or what you have done.
It means business. Thai people know not to ask further questions.
Have you ever been asked these questions? Did you think it was weird?
How did you answer? If you would like, please share your experience in the comments below.