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Common Lao Phrases You Need To Know – Laos Language Guide

If you’re travelling to Laos then you might want to learn some common Lao phrases to use during your trip. Whilst many people, especially in hotels and restaurants, will know English, it’s always a good idea to learn some common phrases. 

The people of Laos will be super excited to see that you made the effort to learn some common Lao phrases! This post will give over 80 useful words and phrases on a range of topics to help you during your trip to Laos.

Contents: Common Lao Phrases

The official language of Laos is Lao. This language is similar to Thai in the same way that Portuguese is similar to Spanish. If you know some Thai, you may notice many similarities.

Please note: Lao is not written using the Latin alphabet and actually has its own script that looks something like this: ສະບາຍດີ. To make it easier, I’ve written the pronunciation of words using English. 

Greetings In Lao

Let’s start with basic greetings in Lao. Although most people will understand basic English greetings such as ‘hello’ in Laos, the locals really do appreciate it when you make an effort and they’ll be excited to hear you trying to speak their language! Give these common Lao phrases a go:

Good morningSabaidee ton sao
Good eveningSabaidee nyam leng
How are you?Jao sabaidee baw?
Fine, thank youDee, khawp jai
Good byeLa Gon
Thank youKhawp jai
Thank you very muchKhop jai lai lai
You’re welcomeBaw pen nyang
Excuse meKhaw toot
Have a nice dayMi van thidi

Introducing Yourself In Lao

It’s great to be able to introduce yourself to new people. Giving your name and where you’re from can really help you connect with the local people. 

What’s your name?Jao sue nyung?
My name is …Khawy sue …
Where are you from?Jao maa tae sai?
I’m from …Khawy maa tae …
Pleased to meet youDii jai thii hu kap jao

Numbers In Lao

Knowing the numbers in Lao can come in really handy especially when shopping but also in many other situations. You will often come across people who can’t speak English so it’s good to be able to communicate how many things you want/how much something costs etc. Try to at least learn 1 – 10.

200Song loi
300Sam loi

Getting Around Phrases In Lao

Again, most people who often work with tourists will know English but you will often come across people who don’t so it’s a good idea to learn these common Lao phrases to help you get around Laos.

Where is the bathroom?Hong nam yu sai?
I would like to go to …Diak…
Turn leftLeo sai
Turn rightLeo kua
I would like to rent a motorbikeKhapa chao tongkan thicha hai seoa lot chak
How much is a ticket to … ?Kaw ta dai butt bie … ?
Take me to …Phaa khoi bpai …
Train stationSatannii
HospitalHong mo

Shopping Words & Phrases In Lao

Chances are that you will be doing some shopping in Laos whether you’re buying groceries, souvenirs or out haggling at a market. These common Lao phrases will help you when you’re out shopping.

How much does this cost?Laka tao dai?
It’s very expensivePheng lai lai
Can you lower the price?Lud dai baw?
I can’t afford itKhoi seu baw dai
I would like to buy this oneKhapa chao yakcha su thini
I don’t want itKhoi bor yak ow
Ok, I’ll take itKhoi si ow
I need …Khoi dtong gaan …

In A Restaurant – Lao Phrases & Words

It’s good to know some phrases that will help you when out in a restaurant. This will ensure you can order food and get the type of food you want. Lao food is often very spicy so if this isn’t for you, you can let them know.

I would like …Khoi yak…
DeliciousSep lai lai
Can I get the check please?Chek bin, galunaa
I’m hungryKhoy hew khao
Not spicyBaw pet
A little spicyPet noy nung
I am vegetarianKhapa chao vegetarian pen
TeaAm sa

Useful Questions & Phrases In Lao

Finally, I’ll finish with some other useful questions and phrases in Lao that will come in handy during your trip. You never know when you may find yourself in an emergency situation so it could be worth learning a few of these just in case.

I don’t understandKhoy baw khao jai
Do you understand?Jao khao jai baw?
Do you speak English?Jao vao passa angkit dai baw?
Cheers!Tham keo!
I need a doctorKhoy tong kan maw
Can you help me?Suay khoy dai boh
I’m lostKhoy lohng taang
How do you say … in Lao?Phasaa lao … pe wa nyang?
It’s an emergencySouk sern
I’m sickKhoi bor sabai

Thanks for reading this post on common Lao phrases that you need to know. These should come in handy on any trip to Laos and will help you have a truly enjoyable trip.

Visiting Laos? Check out my ultimate Laos bucket list which includes over 50 awesome ideas of things to do in Laos.

Happy Travels!