April 13, 2020
Planning a trip to China and looking for useful Chinese travel phrases? This article provides 10 useful phrases for your upcoming journey to the Middle Kingdom.
If you are new to the Chinese language, we recommend that you first review this interactive pinyin chart and reference it when learning the below Chinese phrases.
1. 好久不见 | hǎo jǐu bú jiàn | Long-time no see
A classic example of good Chinglish here. This literally translates to “long time no see.” You can use it when you reunite with your long lost Chinese friends.
2. 欢迎光临 | huān yíng guāng lín | Welcome (to a place)
You will hear this phrase a lot! This is the common greeting used by restaurants and shops when a customer enters or leaves the establishment.
3. 我是 … 人 | wǒ shì … rén | I am [insert nationality]
This comes in handy when you first introduce yourself. A nice way to do this is to simply say your name and where you are from:
你好！我叫 Ben，我是美国人 (Nǐhǎo! Wǒ jiào Ben, wǒ shì měiguórén)
Hi! I’m Ben, I’m American.
Here is a list of all the countries in Chinese. Just remember to add 人 (rén) at the end of the country to make it a demonym!
4. 你会说英语吗？| nǐ huì shuō yīng yǔ ma? | Can you speak English?
Although it is always great to try your very best to use Chinese everywhere you go, we all occasionally need a little bit of help. If you are reading this, chances are you are a native English speaker or at the very least have an intermediate level.
You can use this phrase to first ask if someone can speak English. It is a nicer and more polite way to switch to English instead of talking to someone in English right off the bat!
5. …中文怎么说？| …zhōng wén zěn me shuō? | How do you say … in Chinese?
If your Chinese friends speak some English, you can also ask for translations of words and phrases whilst still keeping the conversation in Chinese. For example:
“Delicious” 中文怎么说？| How do you say “delicious” in Chinese?
怎么说 “I am very happy”? | How do you say “I am happy”?
6. 祝你早日康復 | zhù ní zǎo rì kāng fù | Get well soon
Maybe your friend had a little too much street food the night before and is now not feeling well. You can use this phrase to wish them to get well soon!
7. 这个多少钱? | zhège duō shǎo qián? | How much is this?
Despite its rapid economic development, the cost of living is still very low in China (especially when compared to Western countries). This means a lot of shopping opportunities, so this will be a very useful Chinese phrase to learn!
8. 可以便宜一点吗？| kě yǐ pián yí yī diǎn ma? | Can you lower the price?
So you know the price — it is now time to test your bargaining skills! One of the great things about Chinese culture is that haggling is normal and almost always part of the shopping experience. If you are exploring the nearby market stalls, you can always ask if the price can be lowered.
9. 可以加你的微信吗? | kě yǐ jiā nǐ de wéi xìn ma? | Can I add your WeChat?
If you have Chinese friends or have ever spent any time in China, you will have noticed the importance of WeChat. It is one of China’s major digital communication tools and a great way to keep in touch with your Chinese friends.
10. 一路平安 | yī lù píng ān | Bon voyage
Whether you are staying in China for just a few days or even decades, eventually you will part ways with the Middle Kingdom to visit friends and family abroad or just to travel around the continent. You will hear these phrases from Chinese friends and coworkers who want to wish you a safe and pleasant trip.
And there you have it! You will be surprised how far these Chinese travel phrases will take you during your journey in China. Don’t worry if you find them difficult at first—persistence is key! With enough patience and practice, you will improve in no time.