Visiting a Doctor in China – with examples | Everyday Dialogue | Learn Chinese | HSK 2 – HSK 4

China’s cultural tapestry is intricate, and its history of traditional medicine is extensive. To ensure effective communication when seeking medical care in modern China, it is essential to have a working knowledge of Mandarin. Here is a guide with straightforward Chinese phrases for navigating a doctor’s visit, whether you are an expat living in China or simply visiting.

1. Making an Appointment

“我想预约看医生。” (Wǒ xiǎng yùyuē kàn yīshēng.) – I would like to make an appointment to see a doctor.

If you need to specify a time: “我想预约明天下午三点。” (Wǒ xiǎng yùyuē míngtiān xiàwǔ sān diǎn.) – I would like to make an appointment for tomorrow afternoon at three.

2. Describing Your Symptoms

“我发烧了。” (Wǒ fāshāo le.) – I have a fever.

“我头疼。” (Wǒ tóuténg.) – I have a headache.

“我喉咙痛。” (Wǒ hóulóng tòng.) – My throat hurts.

3. Asking for Medicine

“你有药吗?” (Nǐ yǒu yào ma?) – Do you have medicine?

“我可以买什么药?” (Wǒ kěyǐ mǎi shénme yào?) – What medicine can I buy?

4. Asking for Explanation

“这个药怎么吃?” (Zhège yào zěnme chī?) – How should I take this medicine?

“我需要做检查吗?” (Wǒ xūyào zuò jiǎnchá ma?) – Do I need to undergo a test?

5. Payment & Insurance

“我可以用保险支付吗?” (Wǒ kěyǐ yòng bǎoxiǎn zhīfù ma?) – Can I use insurance to pay?

“一共多少钱?” (Yīgòng duōshǎo qián?) – How much is the total?

6. Expressing Gratitude

“谢谢你的帮助。” (Xièxiè nǐ de bāngzhù.) – Thank you for your help.

Cultural Tips

  1. Bring your passport: Most hospitals and clinics in China will ask for your passport when registering.
  2. Public vs. Private: China has both public and private hospitals. Public ones are generally crowded but cheaper. Private ones cater more to foreigners and have English-speaking staff.
  3. Payment First: Unlike some Western countries, you may be asked to pay before you receive treatment.


A trip to the doctor in a foreign nation can be intimidating. However, you are equipped with key phrases and a basic understanding of how medical visits operate in China. In that case, you will be better able to obtain the necessary care. Remember that the purpose of communication is to ensure that you are understood. Do not hesitate to request that the doctor or nurse repeat information or elucidate instructions. Travel safely and remain healthy!

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FAQs: Visiting a Doctor in China

Q1: Are there English-speaking doctors in China? 

A: Yes, especially in larger cities and international or private clinics. However, it’s always a good idea to learn some basic Mandarin phrases or have a translation app handy in case English-speaking staff isn’t available.

Q2: Is Chinese traditional medicine and acupuncture available at all hospitals? 

A: While unavailable in all hospitals, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is popular and widely practiced in China. Many hospitals have a dedicated TCM department, and there are also specialized TCM clinics.

Q3: Can I use my foreign insurance in Chinese hospitals? 

A: This largely depends on your insurance policy. Some international insurance plans partner with hospitals in China, while others don’t. It’s best to check with your insurance provider in advance and also inquire at the hospital’s billing department.

Q4: What if I need emergency medical attention? 

A: In the case of emergencies, head directly to the nearest hospital’s emergency department. The word for “emergency” in Chinese is “急诊” (jízhěn).

Q5: How do I get prescription medication? 

A: Once a doctor prescribes, you can get medications from the hospital pharmacy. Some medicines available over the counter in other countries might require a prescription in China, so it’s essential to check with a pharmacist or doctor.

Q6: Are the medical facilities in China up to international standards? 

A: Large cities like Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou have hospitals that meet international standards and incredibly private and international clinics.

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