As bizarre as it may sound, saying “I love you” is not easy in Thai! I was caught off guard when a Chinese friend asked me how to say I love you in Thai, and she was expecting an easy answer like “wo ai ni” in Chinese. Me being stunned made her doubt if I actually learnt the Thai language or not 😢😢
To be fair to myself, there are at least 7 different ways to say I in Thai, depending if you are a male or female, speaking to someone older or younger, in a polite or informal context etc🤯 Not to mention that there are also multiple ways to say You in Thai 🤯 Which one do you use then? And how does one say “I love you” in Thai language?
The Most Straightforward Translation of I Love You into Thai
I love you in Thai is “chan ruk khun” / ฉันรักคุณ. Which sounds weird to me, especially the usage of “khun” which is formal. I would use “chan ruk theur” / ฉันรักเธอ instead. That is, if a guy is saying I love you to a girl. Catch this phrase “chan ruk theur” in this short slip here! 🤩
Other variations of I Love You in Thai
If you are saying I love you to someone, I presume you should know their name and age. Unless you are a player 😏 or (learning to speak Thai and so going round randomly to say I love you to different people 🤣), I assume you will know the other party’s name and age. So you can say “chan ruk phii/nong/the person’s nickname” as well. That would sound way less awkward than “chan ruk khun” in my opinion 🤭
Alternatively, to still use “khun” but make it less awkward, I would say “chan ruk khun maak na” where “maak” means very, and “na” is added to soften the sentence and make it more intimate💯. In dramas, electrically charge moments include guys saying “roo mai wa chan ruk khun maak” / do you know that I love you so much 🥰. Or even extreme statements like “chan ruk khun maak thii sut nai lork” / I love you the most in this world 🤩. That’s Thai dramas for you 😂😎
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Other ways of expressing love in Thai without saying I love you
If you want to express love to someone in Thai without saying I love you, you can use these following expressions:
- Khit theung khun/theur/whatever variation of “you” that you choose to use. “Khit theung” คิดถึง means to miss 🥰
- Chan chorp khun (or again, whatever variation of “I” and “You” you use. “Chorp” ชอบ means to like😘
- Theeruk ที่รัก – This means darling/sweetheart ❤️. This is way more endearing than just saying “faen” แฟน which means girlfriend or boyfriend
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About the author – see the About page for more information
Joanne Tan is an aspiring polyglot and has so far mastered English, Chinese and Thai languages. She first started learning Thai in 2015 before staying in Bangkok for 5 months, and then continued studying Thai up to Advanced Levels at the National University of Singapore. In 2017, Joanne was awarded ‘Advanced Thai Proficiency’ by the Sirindhorn Thai Language Institute of Chulalongkorn University. Today, Joanne continues to teach her friends basic Thai speaking and helps her Thai friends actively promote Thai culture.