Welcome to a world of elegance and beauty in the Thai language and culture. If you’re traveling to Thailand or mingling with Thai friends, it’s essential to know proper etiquette and phrases to say goodbye in Thai. In this section, we’ll guide you through the essentials of the Thai language and culture, equipping you with the right vocabulary to bid farewell in Thai.

Whether you’re a language enthusiast or just curious about Thai culture, this article will provide valuable insights on the importance of goodbyes, basic phrases, cultural norms, and more. So let’s dive in and explore the world of Thai language and culture!

The Importance of Goodbyes in Thai Culture

When it comes to Thai culture, goodbyes hold great significance. In Thai society, greetings and goodbyes are not just mere formalities but rather a way of showing respect.

Thais place great importance on showing respect to one another, and goodbyes are no exception. Bidding farewell is a way of acknowledging the other person’s value and importance.

In Thai culture, it is customary to greet someone with a wai, which is a gesture made by placing your palms together and bowing your head. The same gesture is also used when saying goodbye.

The Customs of Goodbyes in Thai Culture

Along with the wai gesture, other customs are also observed when bidding farewell in Thailand. One custom is to use honorifics and titles, such as “khun” or “na” when addressing someone who is older or of higher status.

Another custom is to express gratitude and thank the other person for their time and company. This shows appreciation and respect towards the other person.

It is also important to note that in Thai culture, physical touch is not as common as it is in other cultures. Therefore, shaking hands or hugging when saying goodbye might not be appropriate unless the relationship is very close.

Overall, understanding the customs and etiquette associated with goodbyes in Thai culture is essential to showing respect and maintaining positive relationships with others.

Basic Goodbye Phrases in Thai

Learning how to say goodbye in Thai is essential for anyone visiting or living in Thailand. Whether you’re bidding farewell to friends or acquaintances, here are some common phrases to help you out:

1. ลาก่อน (lah-gon)

This is the most basic way to say goodbye in Thai. It’s similar to the English word “goodbye” and can be used in most situations.

2. บาย (bai)

A casual and informal way of saying goodbye, “bai” is commonly used between friends and young people.

3. อย่าลืมมาเยือนเรา (yàa lẽum maa yeuran rao)

This phrase means “don’t forget to come visit us” and is often used by hosts to bid farewell to guests.

4. ไว้พบกันใหม่ (wái póp gan mài)

Used when you plan to see the person again in the near future, “wai pop gan mai” means “see you again soon”.

5. ขอบคุณ (kòp khun)

Although “kop khun” means “thank you”, it is also commonly used as a way of saying goodbye in formal situations.

These are just a few examples of the many ways to say goodbye in Thai. By learning and using these phrases, you can show respect and appreciation for the Thai language and customs.

Goodbye Etiquette in Thailand

When it comes to saying farewell in Thailand, proper etiquette is essential. Understanding the cultural norms and respecting them is a must for showing politeness and honor to the Thai people. Here are some etiquettes you should follow to bid farewell in Thailand:

Wai or the Thai Greeting

Wai is a traditional Thai greeting and a customary way to say goodbye. It involves bringing together the palms of both hands close to your chest and bowing slightly. The higher your hands are, the more respect you show. Wai is a sign of respect, and it’s a way to show your appreciation and gratitude towards the person you’re saying goodbye to.

Use proper language and titles

Thai culture values politeness and respect. Therefore, it is essential to use polite language and proper titles when saying goodbye to elders, monks, or people with higher social status. Address people with “Khun” before their name as a sign of respect. Address them using their first name only if they give you permission. It is also customary to use formal titles such as Ajarn (teacher), Khunying (lady), or Than (older brother/sister) when applicable.

Avoid touching the head

In Thai culture, the head is considered the most sacred part of the body, and it’s best to avoid touching it when bidding farewell. However, it’s perfectly acceptable to touch a child’s head or pat a dog goodbye.

Avoid physical contact

Thai people are typically reserved, and excessive physical contact is not common, especially between genders. A simple bow or Wai is sufficient; there’s no need for a hug or a kiss on the cheek, as it is in some western cultures.

Be respectful in temples

Thailand is a predominantly Buddhist country, and temples hold significant cultural and religious value. When bidding farewell in a temple, it’s essential to follow dress codes and take your shoes off before entering. Avoid showing too much skin, and never point your feet towards the Buddha statue, monks, or other people in the temple.

By following these etiquettes, you show respect and appreciation towards the Thai culture and people. It’s a way of embracing the beauty of Thai customs and phrases, and it’s a vital part of your cultural understanding of Thailand.

Saying Goodbye to Locals

Interacting with locals in Thailand is a great way to immerse yourself in the culture. Whether you’re saying goodbye to a new friend or a kind stranger, it’s essential to do so with respect and politeness. Here are some polite phrases to use when bidding farewell to Thai locals:

1. ลาก่อน (laa gòn)

This is the basic and most common way to say goodbye in Thai to locals. Laa gòn can be used in both formal and informal situations, making it a versatile phrase to know.

2. แล้วพบกันใหม่ (láew póp gan mài)

If you’re planning on seeing the person again soon, this phrase is a great option. Láew póp gan mài means “see you later” or “see you soon” and shows your eagerness to maintain the relationship.

3. ขอบคุณ (kòp kun)

A simple and polite way to show gratitude when saying goodbye is to say kòp kun, which means “thank you.” This phrase is especially appropriate when departing from someone who has gone out of their way to help you.

4. สวัสดีครับ/ค่ะ (sà-wàt-dii kráb/kâ)

Although sà-wàt-dii is a greeting, it’s also commonly used as a farewell in Thai culture. Kráb is used by males, while kâ is used by females to show politeness.

Remember to Show Respect

When saying goodbye to Thai locals, it’s essential to show respect through your words and actions. Make sure to maintain eye contact, smile, and bow slightly as a sign of gratitude and humility.

By using these polite phrases and showing respect, you can ensure that your interactions with Thai locals are positive and meaningful.


In conclusion, saying goodbye in Thai is an essential aspect of Thai culture. By understanding the proper etiquette and phrases, you can demonstrate your respect for Thai customs and ensure respectful interactions with locals. Remember to greet people with a smile and use common phrases like “laa gòn” or “s̄wàs̄dii kráp/kâ” to bid farewell politely. Moreover, learning additional Thai phrases can help you connect with locals on a deeper level and make your stay more enjoyable. Farewell in Thai can be an opportunity to show gratitude and appreciation. So, embrace the beauty of Thai language and customs, and use proper goodbye phrases to leave a lasting impression.