5 useful phrases for traveling in China

China is a beautiful country. I believe many of you taking Mandarin Chinese learning classes want to visit China. You could spend years traveling in its borders and you still wouldn’t unlock 10% of its wonders. But sometimes traveling can be hard without knowing any Chinese. So here are some helpful phrases to get you started!

The great wall with sunset glow

When in China you have the perfect chance to practice using your Chinese. But sometimes it can get hard to explain what you want and you may want to get help from someone who can speak English:

Nǐ huì shuō yīng yǔ ma ?


Can you speak English?

But to ask this question you need to know the answer although it will be obvious! If the person you are not asking can’t speak English they will respond with:

bú huì


old train at vintage station in winter time

To get anywhere you need to buy tickets, this is a useful structure on how to ask for tickets, you can substitute it into any form of transportation.

wǒ xiǎng mǎi yì zhāng huǒ chē piào


I want to buy one train ticket.

This structure can also be used when you want things that you want to buy, you can say “我想买…” (wǒ xiǎng mǎi…) and then the thing you want, for example in a shop you can’t find coffee you may ask ‘wǒ xiǎng mǎi yì bēi kā fēi’ I want to buy a cup of coffee.

wǒ xiǎng mǎi yì bēi kā fēi


Can I have a cup of Coffee, please?Restroom Sign

Travelling often leads to getting lost quite frequently, so you need to ask how to get somewhere, but most importantly where the bathroom is!

Wèi shēng jiān zài nǎ lǐ ?


Where is the bathroom?

This structure can be used to ask where anything is from items to places just substitute toilet for any other word.

 Travelling often means lots of people, sometimes you may want to get past them, for that you can use.

Jiè guò yí xià


Excuse me. Can I pass by, please?

Everyone loves it when you say good things about their hometown, an easy way to say somewhere is beautiful in Chinese is like this:

Watch tower of the Forbidden City

Běi jīng hěn piào liàng


Beijing is very beautiful.

You just substitute the place, ‘漂亮’ (piào liàng) can also be used to say a woman is beautiful, not just for places.

Have you ever been in China? Where and what did you think, would these phrases have been useful? For those that haven’t been to China what areas of China would you like to visit and why?