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Useful Chinese Phrases for Travelers

5 minutes to learn some useful Chinese phrases for travelers. No kidding. Even though learning Chinese is not a must-do thing before traveling to China, get ready for some basic mandarin phrases will make your trip easier and funnier. Write some sentences down and keep in your pocket, you might need them during your China tour.


Common Chinese Phrases

Here are some common Chinese phrases you might use, read the Pinyin on top of the Chinese words. Pay attention to the tones, because words may have different meanings from the four tones.

Thank you.



Want to be a really polite tourist in China? You will use this one very frequently. And here is what you’re going to respond when someone says “xièxie” to you.

You’re welcome.

Bú kè qì.


I’m sorry.

Duì bù qǐ.


Actually, most Chinese people don’t usually use this sentence if they want to say sorry to someone. “bùhǎo yìsi” is more common, you can also use it if you want to say “excuse me”. Also learn how to response:

It doesn’t matter.

Méi guān xi.


Do you speak English?

Nǐ huì shuō yīngwén ma?


You can use this sentence to ask someone if they could speak English, more and more Chinese people can speak English in the recent years. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Here are more sentences you can learn.

I don’t speak Chinese.

Wǒ bú huì shuō zhōng wén.


I don’t understand.

Wǒ tīng bùdǒng.


Where is the bathroom?

Qǐngwèn cèsuǒ zài nǎ ér?


There are several Chinese words for bathroom, “cèsuǒ” is the simplest way. You can just remember this word if you can’t pronounce the whole sentence, people will understand at once and show you the direction.


Basic Chinese Phrases for Greeting

You will hear “nǐ hǎo” a lot once you arrive at China, and you can just say the same words you hear. This must be the first Chinese word you learn, and it will be the most important one. Let’s know some other sentences for greetings as well.

Say "nǐ hǎo" to the Panda


Nǐ hǎo.


How are you?

Nǐ hǎo ma?


I’m good.

Wǒ hěn hǎo.


To be honest, Chinese people don’t use these two sentences in their daily conversation. You can try this one below.

Have you eaten?

Nǐchīfàn le ma?


Don’t be too surprised. It’s a Chinese way to ask “How are you doing” for a small talk. Chinese people usually use this sentence to start a conversation with others, it doesn’t matter whether you reply yes or no.


Basic Chinese Phrases for Food

Here are some basic mandarin phrases for tourists ordering food in the restaurants or at any snack bars. The second sentence is really important.

Beijing Roast Duck
Beijing Roast Duck

I would like this one.

Wǒ yào zhège.


It’s hard to order food in the restaurants, because words on the menu are usually Chinese characters, and some with pictures. You can just point the one you want to order.

No spicy.

Bú yào là.


Do remember this Chinese sentence if you can’t eat spicy food, especially when you visit cities in Sichuan and Yunnan.

I’m allergic to ***.

Wǒ duì *** guòmǐn.


You’d better search for the exact Chinese words for what you’re allergic to in advance, and let them know when you order. Traveling with a local guide could be really helpful.

It’s delicious.



The waiter may ask you “hǎochī ma” to check if you like the food, and they will be really happy if you find the food are good. For the last step:

Check, please.




Basic Chinese Phrases for Shopping

You definitely want to buy some local products or souvenirs during your trip in China, these Chinese phrases may be useful.

Muslim Street
Muslim Street in Xi'an

How much is it?

Duōshǎo qián?


Don’t forget to bargain after you ask the price, but not for big shopping malls. You can get a better price after bargaining, if you’re still not ok with the price, tell them you don’t want it and walk to the next store. Don’t worry, you will find the same item in other stores.

Too expensive.

Tài guì le.


Please make it cheaper for me.

Piányí diǎn.


No, I don’t want.

Bú yào.



Basic Chinese Phrases for Transportation

Download translation app before you travel to China, and also the map, but Google won’t be available to use without VPN. Write those sentences down, just in case.

I’m going to the airport.

Wǒ yào qù jī chǎng.


Tell the driver if you are going to take a taxi. Here are Chinese words for other stations, which you might need.

huǒchē zhàn/ dìtiě zhàn/ qì hē zhàn

(Train station/metro station/bus station)




Chinese: 再见!

You still need one more word before going to China. But the truth is Chinese people use “Byebye” more frequently than “Zàijiàn”. It’s not for foreign friends they meet, basically for all the people, more casual. All right, grab some mandarin phrases and use it when you’re traveling in China. Byebye!


Don’t worry about the language, join Top China Travel!

Want to learn more useful Chinese phrases for travelers? Please feel free to contact us for more basic Chinese sentences. Actually, it’s better to travel with a local guide if you don’t know mandarin Chinese at all. See our sample tours for inspiration.

Our customers in Beijing Summer Palace


Not interested in those tours? It’s easy to get a tailor-made tour only for you, just tell us places you would like to visit and all your requirements, our travel consultant will help you with all the things.