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Thailand Karaoke Bars – Singing in Thai Language

One of the best ways to learn the Thai language is to learn how to sing in Thai. If you live in Sakon Nakhon (or any larger city in Thailand), there will be plenty of opportunities for you to practice your Thai singing skills beyond the shower or inside your car.

Singing karaoke is a favorite national pastime in Thailand, as it is in many Asian countries. You will find Thai karaoke machines sometimes set up in Sakon Nakhon restaurants on the weekend. Private Thai karaoke rooms are found in many shopping centers and malls. There also are karaoke bars, which vary as to their respectability and safety.

You can identify a Thailand karaoke bar usually by the Christmas lights around the exterior. These are favorite drinking establishments for Thai men who often sing songs with the waitresses who work there. Foreigners should take note that some karaoke bars in in Thailand can be dangerous in the late evening after the Thai men have been drinking heavily. If any table starts to get very boisterous, that is your cue to call it a night.

Beyond Thai karaoke bars, you often will be able to practice your Thai singing skills at a party. A Thai karaoke machine is often rented for parties and celebrations, and these events are where you can really sing in Thai with abandon and impress your Thai colleagues and friends.

If you are going to sing in the Thai language, it is much more fun to sing in Thai with a partner. So, in today’s Thai language lesson, we are going to teach you how to sing Thai with a duet from one of Thailand’s most beloved Thai pop stars, Bird Thongchai McIntyre — who at 62 looks some 20 years younger and is still going strong.

One of Bird’s biggest hits is a duet that he sung with Jintara Poonlarp titled Mah Tum Mai (มาทำไม). This song is quite a number of years old now, but it is a classic Thai song that you will find on any Thai karaoke machine and one that most every Thai person will know. So, it won’t be hard to find a man or woman at a party more than happy so sing in Thai with you Mah Tum Mai.

Usually we provide a literal and figurative translation when translating the Thai language into English for our e-Learn Thai lessons. But since the song Mah Tum Mai is pretty long, we are just going to offer our own loose figurative translation of the lyrics, which probably will look a bit different than other translations that you might have read that stick too close to the literal meaning of the Thai words and leave out the implied, unspoken words.

Mah Tum Mai (มาทำไม) – Thai to English Translation

Girl: เดินมานาน คิดถึงก็เลยต้องมาหา ดูเวลา มาหามาเจอสักที

Deun mah nahn. Khít-thĕung gâw leuy dtâwng mah hăh. Doo way-lah. Mah hăh mah jeu sàk-thee.

I’ve been walking around a long time thinking about you, so I thought I would drop by this time.

Guy: รอมานาน จดหมายไม่เคยจะมี รอเป็นปี ไม่แช็ทไม่บอกซักคำเลย

Raw mah nahn. Jòt-măi mâi kheuy jà mee. Raw bpen bpee. Mâi cháet mâi bàwk sák-kham leuy.

I’ve been waiting around a long time too. No letters. Nothing. I’ve waited for a year and haven’t heard a single word from you.

Girl: พอมาเจอ ไม่รู้ว่าเป็นอะไร งอนทำไม ไม่รู้ใครเป็นคนทำ

Phaw mah jeu. Mâi róo wâh bpen a-rai. Ngawn tham-mai? Mâi róo khrai bpen khon tham.

Well, I’m here to see you now, so what’s the problem? Why are you sulking like a baby. I don’t know anybody who acts like this.

Guy: รอจนเบลอ มานั่งรอเธอประจำ คนใจดำ ก็ยังไม่มาซักที

Raw jon bleu mah. Nâng raw theu bprà-jam. Khon jai dam gâw yang mâi mah sák thee.

It’s because I’ve been waiting around forever for you! You’re pretty cruel for never having come even once.

Girl: ใจเย็นๆ ถ้าโกรธจะไม่สบาย

Jai yen yen. Thâh gròt jà mâi sà-bai.

Calm down. Getting angry will make you sick.

Guy: มองทำไม ไม่บอกไม่รู้ไม่ชี้

Mawng tham-mai? Mâi bàwk mâi róo mâi chée.

Why are you looking at me? I’m done talking to you.

Girl: ใจเย็นๆ จะได้ Smile สักที

Jai yen yen. Jà dâi Smile sàk thee.

Calm down and give me a little smile baby.

Guy: รอคนดี ทั้งปี ทั้งเดือน ทั้งวัน

Raw khon dee tháng bpee tháng deuan tháng wan.

I’ve been waiting for a good girl my whole life and all I’ve got is you.



Guy: มาทำไม ไม่รักก็ไม่ต้องมา

Mah tham-mai. Mâi rák gâw mâi dtâwng mah.

Why are you here? If you don’t love me, you don’t gotta come around.

Girl: เป็นอะไร ไม่รักก็คงไม่มา

Bpen a-rai? Mâi rák gâw khong mâi mah.

What’s wrong with you? If I didn’t love you I probably wouldn’t come around.

Guy: มาทำไม ไม่รักก็ไม่ต้องมา

Why are you here? If you don’t love me, you don’t gotta come around.

Girl: เป็นอะไร ไม่รักก็คงไม่มา

Bpen a-rai? Mâi rák gâw khong mâi mah.

What’s wrong with you? If I didn’t love you I probably wouldn’t come around.


Girl: ลองมาคุย มาพูดให้ฟังสักคำ คนใจดำ ให้ง้อกันนานเท่าไหร่

Lawng mah khui mah phôot hâi fang sàk kham. Khon jai dam hâi ngáw gan nahn thâo-rài?

I’ve been trying to talk to you but you don’t listen to one word I say. How much longer are you going to keep acting like a jerk before we can make up?

Guy: ล้อเล่นๆ ก็ไม่ได้เป็นอะไร งอนกันไป ให้เธอเข้าใจเสียที

Láw-lên lên gâw mâi dâi bpen a-rai. Ngawn gan bpai hâi theu khâo-jai sĭa thee.

Hey, I’m just kidding around. There’s nothing wrong. I was just acting like that so you knew how sad I felt.

Girl: มีแตงโม มาฝากตั้งมากตั้งมาย

Mee dtaeng-mo mah fàhk dtâng mâhk dtâng mai.

I have brought a lot of watermelons for you.

Guy: แตงอะไร ไม่อยากไม่รู้ไม่ชี้

Dtaeng a-rai mâi yàhk mâi róo mâi chée.

I don’t care about any melons!

Girl: กินแตงโม จะได้ Smile สักที

Gin dtaeng-mo jà dâi Smile sàk thee.

Eat a watermelon and you’ll smile a little.

Guy: แตงคนดี ไม่เอา ไม่เอา ไม่เอา

Dtaeng khon dee. Mâi ao mâi ao mâi ao.

I don’t want any, Dtaeng!


Ee nawng bpai yòo năi? Yòo thêe dai thĕung yang mâi mah.

Where have you gone? You’ve gone somewhere but haven’t come back.

Girl: น้องก็อยู่นี่ ไม่รักพี่ก็คงไม่มา

Náwng gâw yòo nêe. Mâi rák phêe gâw khong mâi mah.

I’m over here. I don’t love you, so I’m probably not coming to see you.

Guy: น้องให้พี่รอ พี่ก็รอน้องยังไม่มา

Náwng hâi phêe raw. Phêe gâw raw náwng yang mâi mah.

Okay, so make me wait. I’m waiting but you still haven’t come.

Girl: น้องก็อยู่นี่ มาหาพี่ เพราะใจสั่งมา

Náwng gâw yòo nêe. Mah hăh phêe phráw jai sàng mah.

I’m here now. I came to see you because my heart told me to.


Learn Thai Culture Tip: In this post we mentioned traditional Thai karaoke bars. Should you venture into one of these establishments, note that should you chose to have a girl sit down with you to sing a song in Thai that you will expected to buy her a drink. This will ordinarily mean purchasing her a coke at a price of around 40 to 80 baht. Or there may be a flat fee for them to sit at your table for an hour. If a Thai karaoke bar girl asks to sit down with you always ask how much, so you aren’t shocked by a big bill at the end of the night.


David Alan