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 morning||Sabaidee ton sao|
|Good evening||Sabaidee nyam leng|
|How are you?||Jao sabaidee baw?|
|Fine, thank you||Dee, khawp jai|
|Good bye||La Gon|
|Thank you||Khawp jai|
|Thank you very much||Khop jai lai lai|
|You’re welcome||Baw pen nyang|
|Excuse me||Khaw toot|
|Have a nice day||Mi 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 you||Dii 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.
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 left||Leo sai|
|Turn right||Leo kua|
|I would like to rent a motorbike||Khapa chao tongkan thicha hai seoa lot chak|
|How much is a ticket to … ?||Kaw ta dai butt bie … ?|
|Take me to …||Phaa khoi bpai …|
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 expensive||Pheng lai lai|
|Can you lower the price?||Lud dai baw?|
|I can’t afford it||Khoi seu baw dai|
|I would like to buy this one||Khapa chao yakcha su thini|
|I don’t want it||Khoi bor yak ow|
|Ok, I’ll take it||Khoi 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…|
|Delicious||Sep lai lai|
|Can I get the check please?||Chek bin, galunaa|
|I’m hungry||Khoy hew khao|
|Not spicy||Baw pet|
|A little spicy||Pet noy nung|
|I am vegetarian||Khapa chao vegetarian pen|
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 understand||Khoy baw khao jai|
|Do you understand?||Jao khao jai baw?|
|Do you speak English?||Jao vao passa angkit dai baw?|
|I need a doctor||Khoy tong kan maw|
|Can you help me?||Suay khoy dai boh|
|I’m lost||Khoy lohng taang|
|How do you say … in Lao?||Phasaa lao … pe wa nyang?|
|It’s an emergency||Souk sern|
|I’m sick||Khoi 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.