Mai Pen Rai

Mai Pen Rai

Mai pen rai – pronounced “my pin rye” and sometimes “mai pen lai” because of how ‘R’ and ‘L’ are often swapped — is a famous Thai expression.

You will hear mai pen rai frequently while traveling in Thailand, often when something goes wrong or someone is lamenting/apologizing.

Mai pen rai sums up life in Thailand, and the attitude there in general. This famous attitude is what allowed the Thais to keep their cool and get back on their feet after the devastating losses of the Boxer Day Tsunami.

There are lots of different opinions on the direct translation, but mai pen rai literally means “no worries” or “it’s nothing” (don’t worry about it). The expression can also be used as “your welcome” after someone says “thanks.”

You will enjoy your trip more if you adopt this local go-with-the-flow attitude as well. The next time the agent loses your ticket, your bus breaks down, or you step in a pile of water buffalo poo, don’t freak out as you would at home, just smile and say “mai pen rai.” Locals love hearing Western travelers use the expression!

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