Thai phrases for shopping

For Thai language learners, the market is the perfect place to familiarize oneself with the Thai language and connect with the locals.

This article introduces some essential Thai shopping phrases, which are provided along with voice recordings so that their pronunciation can be practiced.

Thai markets are one of the liveliest and most exciting places in Thailand. Not only can travelers experience the unique Thai culture, but they can also shop for local goods while trying delicious Thai foods.

To say they want to go out for shopping, Thai people will use the phrase: «Pai seu kong» (ไปซื้อของ). This phrase is used when the speaker is not sure about what to buy yet or does not want to be specific about the items they will buy.

Thai shopping vocabulary: different types of markets

In Thailand, when people say they want to go shopping, it does not necessarily mean that they want to go to a shopping mall. In fact, the Thai language has many different vocabulary terms for different types of markets.

How to say market in Thai?

Thai people call each place differently depending on product availability, price, and location. Learning about different types of markets in Thai will help you identify where you have to go shop for your basic needs.

A general Thai word for market is «Talat» (ตลาด). In the Thai language, this word is used to refer to a local market that sells all kinds of stuff: from fresh vegetables and fruit to everyday clothes.

Talat is the place for anyone who has a limited budget as prices there are affordable and negotiable.

Here an example Thai sentence using this vocabulary word:

(meua chao mae bpai seu kong tee talat)
“My mom went shopping at the market this morning.”

A Thai word for a flea market is «Talat Nat» (ตลาดนัด). What makes «Talat Nat» different from a normal Talat is its availability. A «Talat Nat» normally has a specific opening timing and date.

It also sells a wide variety of products such as trendy clothes, street food and many more. For this reason, it’s always packed with people.

วันเสาร์จะมีตลาดนัดมาเปิดแถวๆ นี้
(wan sao ja mee talat nat maa bpert taew taew nee)
“On Saturday, there will be a flea market nearby.”

Another type of market is «Tanon Kon Dern» (ถนนคนเดิน) which means a walking street market. A street where the market takes place will be closed down for vendors and shoppers to stroll along the road.

The products featured at «Tanon Kon Dern» include local goods, traditional food, handmade products, and souvenirs. Shoppers will also experience traditional performances by local youth and villagers while shopping.

(chan chop pai seu kong tee tanon kon dern mak)
“I really like going shopping at the street market. ”

Among this list, one of the star markets in Thailand is the «Talat Nam» (ตลาดน้ำ) or a floating market. Not only can the shoppers buy the food and drink directly from the boats, but they will also experience the traditional Thai way of trading and dining alongside the river bank.

ฉันไปเที่ยวตลาดน้ำกับเพื่อนมา สนุกมากเลย
(chan pai tieow talat nam gap peuan ma sa nuk mak loie)
“I went to the floating market with friends and it was really fun. ”

Another famous place where Thai people like to go for shopping is a shopping mall or «Hang» (ห้าง) which is short for «Hang sap sin ka» (ห้างสรรพสินค้า). Luxurious brands and fancy restaurants are available there.

Inside a shopping mall, there is a supermarket where shoppers can get fresh food and household products at an affordable (but unnegotiable) price.

(yen nne rao pai tieow hang gan mai)
“Do you want to go to a shopping mall this evening? ”

Thai phrases for shopping

Shopping in Thailand can be a unique experience although some travelers may find it challenging when it comes to communicating with the sellers and negotiating prices in Thai. One of the reasons is that most of the local vendors rarely speak English.

Therefore, it is always useful for travelers to memorize these Thai phrases for shopping in order to make their shopping experience in Thailand even better!

How to ask questions in Thai while shopping

If you are one of those people who know exactly what to buy when going grocery shopping, instead of roaming aimlessly, you can use these Thai phrases to help you get what you want faster.

(mee ka-nom pang kai mai ka/krap)
“Do you sell bread here? ”

You can replace ‘ka-nom pang’ or ‘bread’ with another item name. But if you do not know what that item is called in Thai, you can show a picture and say ‘An nee’ which means ‘this’ in Thai.

(mee an nee kai mai ka/krap)
“Do you sell this here? ”

Not every shop owner in Thailand, especially in a local market, puts up price tags. So the only way to know the price of something is to ask for such details by using one of the following Thai phrases, for example:

(kai yang ngai ka/krap)
“How much do you sell it for? ”

(an nee raa-kaa tao rai ka/krap)
“How much is this? ”

Once you find what you are looking for, apart from price, you can ask for more details such as size, color, or style by using these phrases.

(mee ka naat a-rai bang ka/krap)
“What size do you have? ”

(mee see eun mai ka/krap)
“Do you have another color? ”

(mee baep eun mai ka/krap)
“Do you have another style? ”

For wearable items, you can try them on by politely asking this question.

(kor long dai mai ka/krap)
“May I try them on? ”

Thai markets are often huge, some have up to 15,000 stalls. Getting lost is quite common for travelers who are not familiar with the market's layout. Here is a Thai phrase which can be used to ask for directions:

(ran dok mai yoo trong nai ka/krap)
“Where is a flower shop? ”

In Thai, the word «Ran» (ร้าน) means shop or store. When this word is placed in front of another noun like ‘flower’, it would mean a flower shop. So, if you replace the word ‘flower’ with other item names, it would mean a shop which sells those items specifically.


How to bargain in Thai

Thai people rarely haggle in a local market since the price of most stuff is inexpensive and they don’t haggle for food either.

Mainly, they will bargain for clothing items and in some situations where the product price is set unreasonably high. Shoppers have to bargain in order to get the most reasonable price.

Bargaining is encouraged in a local market, but not in a place such as a shopping mall or luxurious store. When you feel like you can get a better deal or have a limited budget, you can negotiate by using these Thai phrases.

(lot raa-kaa noi daai mai ka/krap)
“Can you give me some discount, please? ”

(lot hai noi sì)
“Can you lower the price a bit? ”

Although you can’t bargain at the shopping mall, it is appropriate to ask if the shop has a special discount or promotion going on or not. The brand name stores usually have a big sale during the holiday season. If you are not sure, you can ask by using these phrases below.

(mee suan lot mai ka)
“Do you have any special discounts? ”

(ton-nee mee proh a-rai bang ka)
“Do you have any promotions going on right now? ”

In case you can’t cut a deal with the seller or have a second thought about purchasing the products, you can make an excuse to walk away by saying this.

(dìieow kor dern doo gon na)
“I’ll walk and check around. ”

How to return items and get refund in Thai

In Thailand, returning items and getting the refund are allowed under the shop warranty conditions. Most shops in the market will accept the product replacement instead of refunding a full amount. Therefore, travelers are advised to check the product condition before purchasing anything.

In the case where you got the wrong product and would like a refund, here is how to request it in Thai:

(chan tong gan keun kong)
“I want to return the products. ”

(kor gern keun dai mai ka/krap)
“Can I get a refund, please? ”

If you bought a wrong item whether it is the color or size, or there is some problem with the one you get by chance, here is how to request for a replacement.

ซื้อเสื้อมาผิดสี ขอเปลี่ยนเป็นสีอื่นได้ไหมคะ/ครับ
(seu seua ma pit see kor plian pen see eun dai mai ka/krap)
“I bought the wrong color. Can I replace it with a new color, please? ”

(kor bplian ka-naat rong tao mai dai mai ka/krap)
“Can I exchange the shoe for another size, please? ”

Helpful tips for shopping in Thailand

Shopping in the Thai market is a thrilling experience for a lot of reasons. However, if you are not well-prepared, it’s easy to get lost in the crowd. Here are some tips and advice to help you prepare yourself before going to the market.

Browse around the market

The first tip is to always browse around the market first. Sometimes the best deal you can get is not in the first store you enter. There will always be another shop that sells the same thing for a lower price. Take Chatuchak Market, for example - It's the largest market in Bangkok and has more than 15,000 stalls. You should walk around to check things out first before making a final decision.

Watch out for counterfeit items

Fake brand names are anywhere in the Thai markets whether you like it or not. These items are sold at a suspiciously low price and the vendors will persuade you to buy them. My advice is that if you are looking for a genuine product, a shopping mall is where you should go. However, some shoppers who are on a low budget, but want to get something fancy, are tempted by fake products.

Buy in bundle and negotiate

Most Thai shop owners won’t give you a discount if you buy just one item. However, when you are buying in a bundle, it makes negotiation easier. Some shops even have a bundle price. For example, you can buy 3 items for 100 baht for an item that originally costs 35 baht for a piece.

Thai bargaining etiquette: Thai people consider it rude to bargain for the thing that you don’t end up buying. So, make sure that you indeed want those items before you start haggling.

Bring your own bag and uv protection clothing

In order to decrease the usage of plastic bags, many major grocery stores in Thailand like Lotus, Big C, the Mall, or Central have canceled free plastic bags and charge you if you want to get one. So, don’t forget to bring your own bags to save both your money as well as the environment.

As the weather in Thailand is hot all year round, you are advised to put on UV protection clothing such as a cap or sunglasses when shopping in the Thai market. Also, sunscreen is very important to avoid sunburn. If you want to avoid the sun entirely, the morning and night markets are your options.

Learn basic Thai phrases

Last but not least, it’s always helpful to pick up some easy Thai words, phrases, and numbers to start a conversation and communicate with the vendors. Thai people are nice by nature, so they will definitely try their best to understand your needs. If you don’t know where to begin, you can start by checking out this article to familiarize yourself with Thai culture.