Asking for Directions | Everyday Chinese | Learn Chinese | HSK 1 – HSK 3


Asking for directions is a simple yet crucial skill when visiting China or residing in a Chinese-speaking area. Knowing how to ask for and comprehend directions in Chinese will be helpful whether you’re attempting to locate a neighborhood restaurant, find your way through a confusing metro system, or reach a significant location in Chinese history. Reading this article, you can learn the keywords and sentence patterns for asking for directions in Chinese. Any learner with an HSK 1 to HSK 3 level can readily understand these words and questions.

Essential Vocabulary

Basic Terms

  • 方向 (fāng xiàng) – direction
  • 左 (zuǒ) – left
  • 右 (yòu) – right
  • 前面 (qián miàn) – front
  • 后面 (hòu miàn) – back
  • 旁边 (páng biān) – beside
  • 近 (jìn) – near
  • 远 (yuǎn) – far
  • 北 (běi) – North
  • 南 (nán) – South
  • 东 (dōng) – East
  • 西 (xī) – West


  • 餐厅 (cān tīng) – restaurant
  • 地铁站 (dì tiě zhàn) – subway station
  • 酒店 (jiǔ diàn) – hotel
  • 公园 (gōng yuán) – park

Intermediate Terms (HSK 2 – 3)

  • 拐弯 (guǎi wān) – turn
  • 直走 (zhí zǒu) – go straight
  • 路口 (lù kǒu) – intersection
  • 红绿灯 (hóng lǜ dēng) – traffic light

Simple Phrases for Asking for Directions

How to ask ‘Where is … ?’

  • …在哪里? (… zài nǎ lǐ?)
  • Example: 餐厅在哪里? (cān tīng zài nǎ lǐ?) – Where is the restaurant?

How to ask for basic directions

  • 向左走 (xiàng zuǒ zǒu) – turn left
  • 向右走 (xiàng yòu zǒu) – turn right
  • 向前走 (xiàng qián zǒu) – go forward
  • Example: 从这里向左走 (cóng zhè lǐ xiàng zuǒ zǒu) – Turn left from here.

Intermediate Phrases (HSK 2 – 3)

Asking for more detailed directions

  • 从这里怎么去…? (cóng zhè lǐ zěn me qù …?) – How do I get to … from here?
  • Example: 从这里怎么去地铁站? (cóng zhè lǐ zěn me qù dì tiě zhàn?) – How do I get to the subway station from here?

Instructions with landmarks

  • 在红绿灯处向左拐。 (Zài hóng lǜ dēng chù xiàng zuǒ guǎi.) – Turn left at the traffic light.
  • 在银行旁边向右拐。 (Zài yín háng páng biān xiàng yòu guǎi.) – Turn right beside the bank.

Practical Tips

  1. Use Your Hands: Don’t hesitate to use hand gestures to aid in understanding, especially if you struggle with pronunciation.
  2. Have a Map: Showing a map while asking for directions can be helpful for both you and the person assisting you.
  3. Be Polite: Always remember to say 谢谢 (xiè xiè) or thank you after someone has helped you.


When studying Chinese for the first time, asking for directions may initially seem intimidating. However, armed with these fundamental and intermediate words, you must easily move through any Chinese-speaking region. Happy traveling!

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