10 Tips on How to Make Friends in Thailand

A foreign guy learning how to make friends in Thailand.
Learning how to make friends in Thailand will make you feel at home and less lonely.

You’re in Thailand for the first time. You don’t speak the language, and most locals only speak a little English. You don’t know anyone, and you’re having a hard time making friends. It’s frustrating, especially if you’re not the most outgoing person.

So, how do you make friends in Thailand as a first-time visitor?

Thai people are some of the friendliest and nicest people in the world. You might find some of them to be aloof at first, but that’s because they’re often shy and hesitant to make the first move. But if you take the time to build a connection with them, you’ll find that they’re incredibly easy to get along with.

Their kindness, compassion, politeness, and other positive qualities generally stem from their religious and cultural beliefs. As most Thai people practice Buddhism, they believe that everyone is connected and that we should all treat each other with kindness and respect.

However, it’s helpful to be familiar with cultural norms before visiting Thailand and making friends with Thai people.

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Communication Etiquette When Making Thai Friends

Communication is key when making friends in any culture, but it’s especially important in Thailand. Thai people are often polite and formal, so it’s important to be aware of the cultural norms when communicating with them.


Here are some verbal cues you can take note of to make Thai friends:

  1. Speaking Softly

    Thai people tend to speak softly and slowly. This is a sign of respect and politeness. It’s also considered rude to shout or raise your voice, even if you’re angry or frustrated.

  2. Using Honorifics

It is important to use honorifics when addressing people in Thai culture. This shows respect for the person’s age, status, or position. The most common honorifics are “Khun” (used for everyone) and “Khrap” (used for men) and “Ka” (for women). They are typically used before someone’s name (e.g. Khun Pharita).

  1. Using Indirect Language

    Thai people often used indirect language, such as hints or euphemisms, to avoid being blunt or offensive. This is because they value politeness and harmony. For example instead of saying “No,” they might say “I’m not sure” or “I’ll have to think about it.”

  2. Not Interrupting

    It is considered rude to interrupt someone who is speaking in Thai culture. It often shows that you are not interested in what they have to say. If you need to interject, it is best to wait until the person has finished speaking.

 A Thai woman greeting a friend.
Be aware of certain cultural norms when making friends with Thais.


Here are some non-verbal verbal cues you can take note of to make Thai friends:

  1. Physical Contact

    Thai people often used physical contact to show affection or friendship. This can include hugging, holding hands, or even just touching someone on the arm. However, you have to be aware of personal space and avoid touching someone who you do not know well.

  2. Height and Bowing

    It is considered respectful to bow to someone who is older or of higher status. The lower the bow, the more respect you are showing. For example, a deep bow is used to greet the king or queen.

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  1. Smiling

    Smiling is a common way to show politeness and friendliness in Thai culture. It is also used to diffuse tension or avoid conflict. It also shows that you are approachable and friendly. If you are visiting Thailand, try to smile often.

  2. Head

    Tilting the head to the side is a sign of respect or understanding. For example, if you are listening to someone who is speaking, you might tilt your head to the side to show that you are paying attention.

  3. Foot

    Pointing with the feet is considered rude in Thai culture. This is because the feet are considered to be unclean. If you need to point at something, it is best to use your hand.

Tips on How to Make Friends in Thailand

Humans are social creatures. We are hardwired to connect with others. This is why for most of us, it can be tough when we travel to a new place and feel like an outsider. We want to make friends and feel like we belong.

Making friends with Thai people doesn’t just entail learning their language and culture. It’s also about forming genuine connections with them. In fact, making friends on your first trip to Thailand can make your next trip much easier.

A happy group of Thai friends.
It’s easy to enjoy what Thailand has to offer when you start making friends with Thais.

Before you travel to Thailand, here are some tips you do to make Thai friends:

  1. Smile and say hello.

    Smiling is a universal sign of friendship and goodwill. In Thailand, it is especially important to smile and say hello to people you meet. This shows that you are friendly and approachable. It will make people more likely to want to talk to you.

  2. Ask for help when traveling.

    If you’re lost or need directions, don’t be afraid to ask for help from Thai people. They are generally helpful and will be happy to point you in the right direction. This is a great way to start a conversation with someone and get to know them better.

  3. Buy from the same people.

    If you find a store or restaurant that you like, try to buy from the same people every time. This will help you build relationships with the locals and make friends. It also shows that you appreciate their business and that you’re not just there to take advantage of them.

  4. Ask for names.

    When you meet someone new in Thailand, it is polite to ask for their name. This shows that you are interested in them and that you want to get to know them better. It also helps you to remember them later on. However, Thai names can be difficult to remember, so it is best to ask them what they would like to be called instead of creating a nickname for them.

  5. Invite people to do things.

    Once you’ve made a few friends, don’t be afraid to invite them to do things with you. This could be anything from going out for dinner to going to a Thai cultural event. This shows that you enjoy spending time with them and that you want to get to know them better.

  6. Start some small talk with the locals.

    Start a small talk with the locals. Talk to some small restaurant owners or street vendors and show some interest in what they have to offer. For example, you could say, “This food looks delicious! I’ve never had Thai food before, what would you recommend?”

  7. Learn some basic Thai phrases.

    Even if you don’t know a lot of Thai, learning a few basic phrases will go a long way in making friends. Thai people are always impressed when foreigners make an effort to learn their language. It shows that you’re interested in their country and that you want to communicate with them.

  8. A beer garden festival in Bangkok, Thailand.
    By attending Thai events and exploring the cities, you get the chance to meet new people.
  9. Attend a Thai event.

    There are many Thai events that take place throughout the year. Attending one of these events is a great way to meet other people who are interested in Thai culture. It’s also one way to learn their culture firsthand. We recommend doing some research to find an event that’s happening during your trip to Thailand.

  10. Use social media.

    Connect with people who share the same interest as you through social media. One you figure out how to make Thai friends online, everything becomes so much easier for you. There are also many social media groups for foreigners in Thailand. You can plan a meet-up with them and attend Thai events together. You can also explore Thailand together and meet new Thai friends.

  11. Make an effort to remember people.

    When you meet someone new, make an effort to remember their name. This shows that you’re interested about meeting them. You can also try to remember where you met them and what you talked about. This will help you to build a stronger connection with them.

Making friends make you feel at home

For some people, traveling alone is the perfect way to experience a new culture and meet new people. But for most of us, it can be a bit lonely. That’s why it’s important to make an effort to build rapport with others, even if you’re not planning on staying in the country for long. You never know when you might find a reason to stay, or even meet a special someone.

If you are thinking about finding a special someone in Thailand, it is important to start as friends first. This is because it is much easier to build a connection and turn it into something romantic when you are already comfortable with each other. We know that having a strong foundation of friendship can help to make a romantic relationship more successful.

We understand that it can be difficult to connect with people from different cultures, especially if there is a language barrier. However, it is worth the effort to try to blend in and make your trip more enjoyable and interesting. Therefore, take advantage of the many ways how to make friends in Thailand and meet new people, or perhaps even a special someone, during your visit.