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Does Thailand smell? Yes, it does! One of the great pleasures of living in Thailand is the wide variety of smells: some delicious, some putrid, some intoxicating, and some downright bizarre. In other words, the smells of Thailand reflect life in its beautiful diversity. We all have different likes and dislikes. Just as one person’s junk is another person’s treasure, one person’s stink is another person’s pleasure. This is a truth you will undoubtedly discover while visiting Bangkok, Sakon Nakhon, and other Thai provinces.

Few foreigners can delight in the odor that accompanies bplah-ráh (pickled fish) or durian fruit. But that is alright. They still are worth experiencing, simply for experience sake. One odor that all Thais find disagreeable however is body odor, which is why the average Thai will shower at least twice a day. You would be wise to do likewise, as well as use deodorant and a baby/body powder liberally.

In addition to being acutely aware of body odor, many Thais are quick to notice the smell of alcohol. If you work in Thailand and get a drunk on during the week, everybody is going to smell it the next morning. So, if you are worried about making a good impression, best to only go on benders on the weekend.

Today, we will teach you how to say stink in Thai, which is easy to remember because it sounds like the plural form of “man”. That is: mĕn (เหม็น). Here is what to say if you accidentally farted and it smells really bad.

ว้าว ขอโทษครับ  เหม็นจริงๆนะเนี้ย

Wáo, khăw-thôt khráp. Mĕn jing-jing ná nía!

Wow, sorry (polite). Stink true-true (soften) (emphasis/surprise).

Wow, I’m sorry. That really stinks!

Thai Language Tip: The Thai word for stink sounds very similar to the Thai word for a woman’s menstruation period (เมนส์), which is pronounced by some Thai women like mayn and other women like men. So, if your Sakon Nakhon girlfriend or wife says she has men, it doesn’t mean she has a lot of boyfriends but that she is on her period.

Find 30 more interesting and fun Thai language and culture lessons at: Free Thai Lessons.


David Alan