I'm hitchhiking around the world again and have hit a snag in Thailand.

In Malaysia people generally understand a bit of English and generally "get" the idea of hitchhiking. A bit further north over the border in Thailand neither is true anymore.

Disclaimer: Please do not submit an answer telling me to choose some other mode of transportation or choose some more hitchhike-friendly country. I only want to travel via hitching, in Thailand. I know the risks, I've hitchhiked in much more dangerous countries. So please just answer on how to hitchhike in Thailand and not what to do instead.

OK so I can deal with the language barrier, I can make hitchhiking signs in Thai with my modicum of arty farty skills. All I need is a phrase or two in Thai that I can tell drivers so they won't keep taking me to bus stations. It doesn't even matter if it's "pidgin Thai". "No want bus" should work.

Answer either in Thai script of some kind of transcription or transliteration should be enough for starters (-: Or a link to hitchhiking phrases in Thai. Surprisingly hitchwiki, which has phrases in many languages doesn't have any for Thai.

  • 6
    I just looked up the word "hitchhiking" in our dictionary. We don't even have a proper translation. That might be why people don't get the idea of hitchhiking. :-)
    – toy
    Commented Aug 23, 2013 at 8:43
  • 1
    Hitchhiking in Thailand not risky, just culturally outlandish -- bit like asking to share food from a common dish in the USA. I wouldn't be surprised to see slight aversion either -- what is this rich foreigner (rich by the very fact they can afford coming all the way here) doing bumming a free ride?
    – dbkk
    Commented Mar 29, 2014 at 7:24

2 Answers 2


You can say. ผมไม่อยากไปที่ท่ารถ. ผมอยากไป ..(fill in your destination).. ช่วยพาไปหน่อยได้ไหมครับ. ผมเป็นนักเดินทาง. ขอบคุณครับ.

It means:

I don't want to go to the bus station. I want to go to ..., please can you take me there. I'm a traveller. Thank you.

Here's how you'd say it:

Pom mai yak pai tee ta rod. Pom yak pai tee ..(fill in your destination).. Shuai pa pai noi dai mai krub. Pom pen nak dern tarn. Kob khun krub.

and phonetically:

P̄hm mị̀ xyāk pị thī̀ th̀ā rt̄h. P̄hm xyāk pị ..(destination).. Ch̀wy phā pị h̄ǹxy dị̂ mạ́y khrạb. P̄hm pĕn nạk deinthāng. K̄hxbkhuṇ khrạb.

and IPA transcription in case if you prefer.
A brief IPA guide for beginners: denotes long vowel; Tones: = low; = falling; = high; = rising;

[pʰǒm mɑ̂i jàːk pɑi tʰîː tʰâː rót] . [pʰǒm jàːk pɑi] (destination)
[tɕʰûɛi pʰaː pɑi nɔ̀ːi dâːi mɑ̌i kʰáp . pʰǒm pen nák dɤn tʰaːŋ . kʰɔ̀ːp kʰún náʔ kʰáp]

Let me know if you need anything else. Then you can print the transcript out and show that to people.

  • Feel free @toy to rollback if you do not like my edit. Commented Aug 23, 2013 at 12:31
  • 3
    Google translate confirms this to be correct: "I do not want to move the car. I want to. (Fill in your destination). I have taken to help me. I am a traveler. Thank you." Just checking if you were not sending me to the loony house.
    – user141
    Commented Aug 23, 2013 at 12:46
  • 5
    @toy: This is brilliant thanks! There's just one thing that experience tells me will confuse people in countries unfamiliar with hitching. I should let them know that taking me any distance at all in the direction of my destination is good. Only occasionally if you're already close will somebody be going all the way to the same destination as you, and you don't want to make it sound like you're asking to be taken out of the driver's way. Commented Aug 23, 2013 at 13:56
  • 2
    By the way, to prevent that you might get into awkward situation when people ask you for money in return for a lift. You can use this phrase beforehand. ผมขอติดรถไปด้วยได้มั๊ยครับ ผมอยากไปที่ (fill in your destination) ผมเป็นนักเดินทาง ผมขอลงกลางทางตรงไหนก็ได้ครับ. It means can I go to (your destination) with you, I want to go there. I'm a traveller. You can drop me off mid-way anywhere. Pom kor tid rod pai duey dai mai krub, pom yak pai tee (destination). Pom pen nak dern tarn. Pom kor lon klang tarng kor dai krub. "Tid rod" in Thai literary means a free ride.
    – toy
    Commented Aug 23, 2013 at 22:13
  • Anyway do you blog about this anywhere on the Internet? I'm interested to read your ride. :-)
    – toy
    Commented Aug 23, 2013 at 22:13

I had this problem constantly while I was hitchhiking in Thailand. What I did was save several phrases in Google Translate for offline use.

First, I would approach someone (or someone would pull over) and show them the "I am trying to travel {north|south|east|west}. Can you help me?" message.

If they agreed, I'd show them the "I don't want to go to the bus station. I want to travel with local people."

Usually that would work, but if that would spark a lot of conversation in the car or they looked confused or whatever, I'd have a third message about my philosophy of travel and why I enjoy to hitchhike.

I also saved the Thai keyboard on my phone and if someone wanted to say something back to me, I'd switch Google translate from Thai -> English and converse that way.

Don't forget to smile!

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