Chinese Travel Vocabulary: 20 Must-Have Words for Tourists

If you’re planning a trip to China, knowing basic Chinese travel vocabulary is essential to enhance your experience. Even if you don’t speak the language fluently, these 20 must-have words will help you communicate effectively with locals and navigate through China with ease. In this article, we will introduce you to these essential phrases, covering everything from greetings to ordering food.

Key Takeaways

  • Learning basic Chinese travel vocabulary can greatly enhance your tourist experience in China.
  • Mastering essential phrases like greetings and transportation vocabulary can help you communicate more effectively with locals and navigate through the country with ease.
  • Understanding food vocabulary and dining etiquette is crucial for immersing yourself in China’s gastronomic culture.
  • By incorporating these 20 must-have words into your vocabulary, you’ll be prepared for an unforgettable journey through China.

Greetings and Basic Phrases

Visiting China can be an exciting and intimidating experience, but with these common greetings and basic phrases, you’ll be able to navigate the country with ease.

Common Greetings

When meeting someone in China, it’s customary to greet them with a simple “nǐ hǎo” (你好), which means “hello.” Other common greetings include:

  • “zǎo shàng hǎo” (早上好) – “good morning”
  • “xià wǔ hǎo” (下午好) – “good afternoon”
  • “wǎn shàng hǎo” (晚上好) – “good evening”

Expressions of Gratitude

Showing gratitude is an important part of Chinese culture, so it’s essential to know how to say “thank you” in Chinese:

  • “xiè xiè” (谢谢) – “thank you”
  • “bú kè qì” (不客气) – “you’re welcome”

Other Essential Everyday Phrases

These phrases will come in handy when navigating China:

  • “tíng bù dǒng” (听不懂) – “I don’t understand”
  • “duō shǎo qián” (多少钱) – “how much does it cost?”
  • “qǐng wèn” (请问) – “excuse me”

With these basic Chinese phrases in your arsenal, you’ll be able to connect with locals and make the most out of your travels in China.

Transportation and Directions

Getting around in China can be challenging, especially if you don’t speak the language. However, with the right vocabulary and phrases, you can navigate taxis, buses, and trains with ease. Here are some Chinese transportation phrases and useful directions that will help you on your journey.

Taxi Vocabulary

When taking a taxi, it’s important to be able to communicate your destination and understand the fare. Here are some essential Chinese transportation phrases:

Chinese Phrases English Translation
请带我去… Please take me to…
这是哪儿? Where is this?
多少钱? How much is it?
谢谢, 再见 Thank you, goodbye

Public Transportation Vocabulary

Using public transportation in China can be efficient and cost-effective. Here are some essential Chinese transportation phrases for buses and trains:

Chinese Phrases English Translation
这车去哪儿? Where does this bus/train go?
下车站在哪儿? Where is the bus/train stop?
买票, 请 One ticket, please
这是我的站 This is my stop

Asking for Directions

When exploring a new city, it’s essential to know how to ask for directions in Chinese. Here are some useful phrases to help you find your way:

  • 对不起, 请问… – Excuse me, can you tell me…
  • 怎么走? – How do I get there?
  • 左/右转 – Turn left/right
  • 直走 – Go straight
  • 再见 – Goodbye

Mastering these Chinese transportation phrases and asking for directions in Chinese will make your trip to China much more enjoyable. Don’t be afraid to practice your Chinese with the locals, as they will appreciate your effort and be more willing to help you out.

Ordering Food and Dining Etiquette

China is famous for its delicious cuisine, but ordering food can be challenging if you don’t know the language. Here are some essential Chinese food vocabulary words and dining etiquette tips to help you enjoy your culinary journey in China:

Food Vocabulary

Before you order, it’s important to know the names of some popular dishes. Here are some Chinese food vocabulary words to get you started:

English Chinese Pronunciation
Dumplings 饺子 jiǎozi
Noodles 面条 miàntiáo
Hot pot 火锅 huǒguō

It’s also helpful to know how to describe how you want your food cooked. Here are two common cooking styles:

  • Chǎo (炒) – stir-fried
  • Kǎo (烤) – grilled

For example, if you want your vegetables stir-fried, you can say “qīng chǎo shūcài” (清炒蔬菜).

Dining Etiquette

In China, dining etiquette is an important part of the culture. Here are some tips to help you navigate the customs:

  • Wait for the host to tell you where to sit and when to start eating.
  • Use chopsticks to pick up food, but don’t use them to point, wave, or play with your food.
  • It’s polite to leave a little bit of food on your plate to show that you are full. Eating everything may imply that you are still hungry and want more food.

By learning essential Chinese food vocabulary and dining etiquette, you can fully immerse yourself in the culinary delights of China. Don’t be afraid to try new dishes, and remember to be respectful of the culture.


Learning the essential Chinese travel vocabulary listed above is a great way to enhance your experience while touring China. By mastering these phrases, you’ll be better equipped to communicate with locals, navigate the transportation systems, and order food confidently. Remember to practice and incorporate these words into your vocabulary before embarking on your journey through China.

We hope that these must-have words for tourists will help you feel more comfortable and confident during your travels. Don’t hesitate to try them out and see how they can improve your cultural immersion in this fascinating country. Happy travels!

Thank you for reading our guide on Chinese travel vocabulary. For more informative articles, stay tuned to our website. Chinese travel vocabulary conclusion.


What is the purpose of learning Chinese travel vocabulary?

Learning Chinese travel vocabulary is essential for tourists as it helps enhance their experience while traveling in China. By knowing these must-have words, you will be able to communicate more effectively with locals, navigate transportation systems, order food confidently, and immerse yourself in the rich culture of this fascinating country.

How can Chinese greetings and basic phrases help me as a tourist?

Chinese greetings and basic phrases are crucial in interacting with locals and navigating through China with ease. By mastering these phrases, you can greet people politely, express gratitude, and handle everyday situations more confidently.

Why is it important to learn Chinese transportation phrases and asking for directions?

Learning Chinese transportation phrases and asking for directions is vital for getting around in China. Whether you’re taking a taxi, using public transportation, or exploring the streets, knowing these phrases will enable you to communicate with drivers, ask for directions, and ensure a smooth journey.

What can I gain from learning Chinese food vocabulary and dining etiquette?

Learning Chinese food vocabulary and dining etiquette allows you to fully immerse yourself in the culinary delights of China. By understanding essential food vocabulary and dining customs, you can confidently order popular dishes, navigate menus, and appreciate the dining experience in this gastronomically rich country.

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