Basic Mandarin phrases for a comfortable trip to China

By Iryna BolshakovaOct 9, 2023 14:33 PMChina
Temple of Heaven, Beijing
Temple of Heaven, Beijing. Source: Image by Joe from Pixabay

If you are travelling to China, knowing the language can be a real lifesaver. Mandarin is one of the most widely spoken languages on the planet, so knowing a few basic Chinese words will greatly enhance your vacation and interaction with the locals.

Language basics

Basic Chinese words and phrases are so important when travelling to China that it's worth starting with them. You can get by with a set of basic phrases throughout your trip.

Chinese phrases




nǐ hǎo



zài jiàn



xiè xiè

Thank you


duì bù qǐ

Excuse me




bù shì





shén me míng zì

What is your name

Memorizing these common Mandarin phrases will help you communicate more easily with locals and understand their answers. But don't forget that you can use gestures, facial expressions, and smiles to convey your thoughts and needs if you can't put them into words.

Using common phrases

Common Chinese phrases
Common Chinese phrases. Source: Image by Miguel Á. Padriñán from Pixabay

One of the main reasons for travelling to China is to experience the local culture and customs. It is helpful to know common phrases in Chinese to socialize and get your bearings in a new place.

Chinese phrases





Please excuse me


bāng wǒ yí xià.

Please help me


wǒ xūyào

I need


gěi wǒ

Give me ...


wǒ yào zhè ge

I want this


yī wǎn mǐ fàn.

One portion of rice


wǒ yào qù...

I need to get to the...


zhèlǐ de shànghǎi huǒchē piào

Train ticket in Shanghai


wǒ yào yì zhāng

I need one ticket


duōshǎo qián?

How much does it cost?


kěyǐ piányī diǎn ma?

Can it be cheaper?


tài guì le!

It's too expensive!

Asking for help in a store or on the street, ordering food in a cafe or restaurant, and buying tickets: knowing basic Chinese phrases will help with all these tasks.

Local vendors and passers-by are quite friendly, but if you are not sure of your language skills, gestures and facial expressions will also help you in communication.

The gastronomic world of China is one of the most diverse, and trying local food is a truly extraordinary experience. Ordering food in Mandarin can seem complicated, but don't be afraid to make a mistake. Easy phrases in Chinese will help you.

Special phrases

In addition to general phrases that will help you in different situations, there are also other basic Mandarin Chinese phrases. These can be useful in specific circumstances.

China is very rich in attractions that are worth visiting. If you are not sure where to go, the following Mandarin words can help you get more information.

Chinese phrases




qǐngwèn nǐ zài nǎlǐ zhǎodàole....

Excuse me, where did you find...?


wǒ zài zhèlǐ kěyǐ zhǎodào...? ma?

I can find... here?


nàge dìfāng zěnme zǒu?

How to get to this place?

Learning Chinese phrases
Learning Chinese phrases. Source: Image by HeungSoon from Pixabay

If you get lost in an unfamiliar city, these important Chinese phrases will help you find the right address or store.

Chinese phrases




qǐngwèn zhè fùjìn yǒuméiyǒu...

Excuse me, is there any nearby...?


qǐng gàosù wǒ zěnme qù....

Tell me how to get to...?


nǐ néng dài wǒ qù nàr ma?

Can you take me there?


qǐng gàosù wǒ guānyú zhège dìfāng de xìnxī

Tell me information about this place


nǐ néng bāng wǒ pāi zhāng zhào ma?

Can you take a picture of me?


zhège dìfāng yǒu shénme qítā yǒuqù de dìfāng ma?

Are there any other places of interest here?

We hope you don't have any health problems during your trip, but in case you need to see a doctor in an emergency, here are some phrases in Mandarin.

Chinese phrases




wǒ bù shūfú

I don't feel good


qǐng bāng wǒ zhǎo gè yīshēng.

Help me find a doctor


zhèlǐ yǒu yàodiàn ma?

Is there a pharmacy here?

Memorize these important Mandarin phrases in Chinese and feel more confident and calm in case of an emergency.

Audio and video materials for practice

Now that you know the popular Chinese phrases, you need to practice them in your speech. How do you do it? There are plenty of resources you can use to practice.

Websites for learning Mandarin

To learn the language, you can use special sites that can help you prepare before travelling to China. Some of them are free, while others require you to pay. Nevertheless, many of these online courses provide audio and video lessons to help you learn new phrases in Mandarin.

Mobile and online apps

Many mobile and online apps offer audio and video lessons for learning Mandarin easy phrases. You can download them and listen whenever you have a spare moment. The most popular apps are:

  • Duolingo;
  • Rosetta Stone;
  • Babbel.

They offer audio and video content for practicing the language.


A great resource for those who want to learn foreign languages. There are many channels on the platform that offer a basic course with video lessons. You have the opportunity to see how words and phrases are pronounced in Mandarin, as well as refine the pronunciation of new words and phrases.


If you prefer to learn while on the go, there is the option of using audio lessons. Many podcasts like:

  • ChinesePod;
  • Learn Chinese with Mike;
  • Slow Chinese

offer audio lessons and interesting episodes for learning Mandarin words. You can listen to them whenever you want: in the car, on the bus, on your way to work or school.

It's important to understand that it takes a lot of practice to learn to speak Mandarin. Use all of the above resources to strengthen your knowledge. When visiting China and practicing your conversational skills on the spot, use Chinese language phrases in stores, markets, cafes, restaurants, or on the street.

Tips for learning Chinese

Special Chinese phrases
Special Chinese phrases. Source: Image by bukejiuyao from Pixabay

Language is a complex skill that requires patience, diligence and constant practice. There are a few tips to help you learn Chinese words and sentences effectively and make your trip to China more enjoyable.

  1. Pay attention to phonetics. Mandarin phrases are known for their complex phonetics. Therefore, it is important to start learning the language with correct pronunciation. Try to listen to Chinese speech on different sources such as movies, TV shows, radio and podcasts.
  2. Learn the scripts. The Mandarin language uses a unique set of characters that can be difficult to learn but very useful for understanding Chinese culture and customs. Start learning the characters with the most common Mandarin language phrases you see on the street and in stores.
  3. Learn Chinese regularly and persistently. Don't hesitate to practice your knowledge and communicate with native speakers.
  4. Don't hesitate to use language learning aids such as courses, textbooks, and online resources. Start with common Chinese words and phrases.
  5. Watch movies and TV series and listen to music and radio without translation to learn more about Chinese culture and language.
  6. Remember to repeat the Chinese words you have learned and practice your knowledge in different situations.
  7. Be determined to succeed and don't be afraid to make mistakes. Mistakes are an inevitable part of the language learning process, and they will help you become even better and more competent.

Overall, learning Chinese can be an enjoyable and fun process if you follow the advice and persevere towards your goal. Be persistent and you will succeed in learning Chinese!

Top Articles
What to do if I miss my flight: a guide for passengers, what to do if you miss your flight and when you can get compensation

What to do if I miss my flight: a guide for passengers, what to do if you miss your flight and when you can get compensation

Jul 12, 2024 12:45 PM
Top 10 UK airlines: which British carriers were the best in terms of reliability, price, comfort, reputation and other criteria

Top 10 UK airlines: which British carriers were the best in terms of reliability, price, comfort, reputation and other criteria

Jul 12, 2024 08:15 AM

Top 9 cheap hotels in Las Vegas: from the iconic "pyramid" with amazing shows and casinos to tranquil lakeside oases with pools and spas

Jul 11, 2024 19:05 PM

Top 10 most comfortable air carriers in the USA: which airline to choose

Jul 11, 2024 13:10 PM
More News
Eiffel Tower in Paris at sunset

Juneyao Air Launches Budget Flights to Paris for the 2024 Olympics

Jul 12, 2024 16:30 PM
Delta Airlines aircraft on the tarmac being guided by ground crew

Emergency Landing: Delta Flight DL153 Diverted to London Gatwick

Jul 12, 2024 14:35 PM

easyJet Pilots Keep Passengers Updated with Euro 2024 Scores Mid-Flight

Jul 12, 2024 12:30 PM

Qatar Airways Adjusts Flight Schedules to and from Toulouse

Jul 12, 2024 10:30 AM
a large jetliner sitting on top of an airport runway

Transatlantic Flights Where You Arrive Before You Depart

Jul 12, 2024 09:30 AM
Alaska Airlines plane in flight against a blue sky

Alaska Airlines Launches Promotion with Up to 50% Discounts on International Flights

Jul 12, 2024 08:30 AM
white turkish airlines plane

Airlines Halt Flights to Mali Due to Jet Fuel Shortage

Jul 12, 2024 07:30 AM
Ryanair plane at airport

Ryanair Reaches 30 Million Passenger Milestone at Birmingham Airport

Jul 12, 2024 06:30 AM
people inside airport building

Former TSA Agent Indicted for Tulsa Airport Bomb Hoaxes

Jul 12, 2024 05:30 AM

Arajet to Add 20 International Routes from Punta Cana

Jul 12, 2024 04:30 AM

American Airlines Boeing 737 Blows Tires During Takeoff in Florida

Jul 12, 2024 03:30 AM
Traveler in a busy urban street with motorbikes

European Strikes: How They May Affect Your Paris Olympic Trip Plans

Jul 12, 2024 02:30 AM
Alaska Airlines Embraer ERJ-175

Alaska Airlines Unveils 50% Off Partner Award Flights to Sunny Destinations

Jul 12, 2024 01:30 AM
View from the plane window during the flight

Exploring Multi-City Trips and Saving Money

Jul 12, 2024 00:30 AM
A train crossing a bridge against a blue sky

Upcoming Rail Closure on Merseyrail’s Southport Line: Key Information for Travelers

Jul 12, 2024 00:05 AM

Florence: A Pedestrian Paradise

Jul 11, 2024 23:30 PM

Durham Fringe Festival 2024: A Must-Visit for Travelers

Jul 11, 2024 22:30 PM
The view of a tiny village on the Milos Island

Milos: Greece's Hidden Gem

Jul 11, 2024 21:30 PM
Olympic rings with mountains in the background

Paris Airport Workers Threaten Strike Ahead of 2024 Olympics

Jul 11, 2024 20:30 PM
Thunderstorm: Lightning in the sky

Lightning Strikes on Planes: How Worried Should Passengers Be?

Jul 11, 2024 19:30 PM
Illuminated "CANNABIS SHOP" sign with a cannabis leaf image

Thailand's Cannabis Regulation Reversal Sparks Protests

Jul 11, 2024 18:30 PM
Drone view on Barcelona cityscape

Barcelona Protesters Target Tourists with Water Pistols

Jul 11, 2024 17:30 PM

Iberia Expands Digital Services and Enhances In-Flight Experience

Jul 11, 2024 16:30 PM

Brawl Breaks Out Among Carnival Cruise Ship Passengers at Buffet

Jul 11, 2024 15:30 PM
Etihad Airways aircraft in flight

Etihad Airways Expands North American Services with New Daily Flights

Jul 11, 2024 14:30 PM
Open suitcase with clothes, a camera, a laptop, sunglasses, and travel essentials on a wooden floor

EU Passenger Rights: What Travelers Need to Know

Jul 11, 2024 13:30 PM