75 Phrases to Know When Travelling in Southeast Asia

We all love travelling but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be frustrating from time to time, especially when you don’t speak the local language. To make things nice and easy for you, we’ve compiled 75 of the most useful phrases from popular Southeast Asian countries like Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia!

25 Useful Phrases in Thailand


In Thailand the most commonly used language is Thai, a Siamese language not dissimilar to the smaller languages of northern Vietnam and southern China. Other official languages include Isan, Kam Mueang and Pak Tai though for the purposes of the everyday backpacker, we’ll be provided phrases in Thai only. FYI: “Krup” is to be used when the speaker is male or refering to a male and if you are female you would substitute that word for “ka.”

General phrases and greetings in Thai


How are you?…Khun Sabai Der Mai Krup Dee

What’s your name?…Khun Chue A-rai Krup?

My name is…Nuu Chu (feminine) Pŏm Chêu (masculine)

I’m from (country)…Pom Ma Jaak Prathet (Country) Krup

Nice to meet you…Dee Jai Ti Dai Pob Khun Krup

Good Morning…A-roon Sawat Krup

Good Evening…Sa Wat Dee Torn Yen Krup

Goodbye…báai baai or La Gon Chock Dee Krup

I don’t understand…Kor-tod Krup Pom Mai Khao Jai Krup

Sorry…Tong Kor A-pai Dhouy Krup

Please speak more slowly…Pood Cha Cha Noi Krup

Do you speak English?…Khun Pood Pasa Ang Krit Dai Mai Krup?

I don’t speak Thai…Pom Pood Thai Mai Dai Krup

How much is this?…Ra Ka Thow Rai Krup?

Thank you…Khop Khun Krup

Help!…Chouy Dhouy

Call the police!…Pom Tong Karn Kawam Chouy Luare


Watch now: TourRadar travellers Sam and Laura explore the best of Southeast Asia on tour

In a restaurant

Do you have an English menu …Khun mee menu pasa aung krit rue plaw Krup

I am a vegetarian…Phom pen mong sa wi rat Krup

May I see the bill please?…Keap Tang Noi Krup?

Can you suggest a place for lunch?…Mee Raan Ar-harn Klang Wan Nae Nam Mai Krup?

Can you suggest a place for dinner?…  Mee Raan Ar-harn Yen Nae Nam Mai Krup?

I think there’s a mistake on this bill…Kor-tod Krup Kid Tang phid Rue Plow Krup

15 Useful Phrases in Vietnam

The native language of Vietnam is Vietnamese, and a lot of the vocabulary is borrowed from Chinese. The language is spoken heavily even by ethnic minorities in Vietnam and fun fact: it’s been officially recognized as a minority language in the Czech Republic of all places! 

General phrases and greetings

Hello!…Xin chào! / Chào bạn (these words are used for all types of greetings)

Goodbye…Xin chào! / Chào bạn

How are you?…Bạn có khỏe không?

What’s your name?…Bạn tên gì?

My name is…Tôi tên là…

I’m from…Tôi đến từ…

Nice to meet you…Rất vui được gặp bạn

Good Morning…chào buổi sáng

Good Evening…chào buổi tối

I don’t understand…Tôi không hiểu

Sorry…Xin lỗi

Please speak more slowly…Xin bạn hãy nói chậm lại

Do you speak English?…Bạn có nói được tiếng Anh không?

I don’t speak Vietnamese…Tôi không nói được tiếng Việt

How much is this?…Bao nhiêu?

Thank you…Cám ơn

Can you help me?…Xin bạn giúp tôi được không?

Call the police!…Xin gọi cảnh sát

Stop!…Dừng lại

In a restaurant

Do you have an english menu?…Bạn có thực đơn tiếng Anh không?

I am a vegetarian…Tôi ăn chay

May I have the bill please?…Xin tính tiền?

Can you suggest a place for lunch?…Bạn có thể đề nghị một chỗ để ăn trưa được không?

Can you suggest a place for dinner?…Bạn có thể đề nghị một chỗ để ăn tối được không?

I think there’s a mistake on this bill…Tôi nghĩ hóa đơn này tính sai.

15 Useful Phrases in Cambodia


If you’re planning on exploring Southeast Asia than Cambodia will certainly need to be on your list of must-visit countries. In Cambodia, they speak Khmer, which is the second most widely spoken Austroasiatic language after Vietnamese. Though there are several dialects of Khmer spoken throughout Cambodia, we’re sticking with the most commonly used one to help you get around easily! In this particular case, we’ve done our best to spell it phonetically but have included a video from native language speaker and YouTuber the HOU is AWESOME to fill in the gaps. 

Hello!…joohm ree-up soo-a

Goodbye…joohm ree-up lea [formal] / lee-hai [informal]

How are you?…sok-sa bai jee-a tay?

What’s your name?…laok ch’moo-ah a-vwai?

My name is…k’nyom ch’moo-ah…

I’m from…khynŭm mô pi

Nice to meet you…rikreay del ban chuob anak

Good Morning…ârŭn suŏ sdei

Good Evening …tĭvéa suŏ sdei

I don’t understand…khnhom min yl pi


Please speak more slowly…soam ni-yay yeut-yeut

Do you speak English?…ta neak nee-yay pee-a-sah ong-klay tay?

I don’t speak Khmer…khnhom min chehniyeay pheasaeakhmer

How much is this?…néh thley bôméan?

Thank you…arkun

Help me…joo-ay k’nyom!

Call the police!…chuŏy hau bolĭsâ môk!

Stop !..banhchhob

Do you have an english menu?…ae anak mean meunouy chea pheasaeaangklesa?

I am a vegetarian…khnhom chea anak nhoam buos

May I see the bill please?…som kit louy?

Can you suggest a place for lunch?…anak ach phdal yobl kanleng samreab ahar thngaitrang muoy?

Can you suggest a place for dinner?…anak ach phdal yobl kanleng samreab ahar pelolngeach muoy?

I think there’s a mistake on this bill…khnhom kitthea mean kamhosa muoy now leu vi k y btr nih

In a restaurant

Do you have an english menu?…Bạn có một thực đơn tiếng Anh?

I am a vegetarian…khnhom chea anak nhoam aha bous 

May I see the bill please?…Tôi có thể xem hóa đơn xin vui lòng?

Can you suggest a place for lunch?…bạn có thể đề nghị một nơi để ăn trưa?

Can you suggest a place for dinner?…kanleng na mean aha ch’janh sarabpel la-ngea

I think there’s a mistake on this bill…k’nyom kittha mouy nish kost.

Jackie is a travel-addicted Canadian who currently resides in Vienna, Austria. When she’s not writing travel guides or reading her new favourite book, she’s planning her next weekend getaway somewhere in Europe.

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