17 Useful Mandarin Phrases for Traveling in China

By That's, January 13, 2018

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While you might be able to navigate your way through first-tier cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou with just English, some simple phrases in Mandarin might come in handy when you venture outside of the urban comfort zone. For those with limited Chinese skills, here are a few that you should have in your back pocket.

General Phrases

Excuse me, can you help me please?
不好意思,可以帮忙吗?
Bùhǎo yìsi, kěyǐ bāngmáng ma?

Do you speak English?
你会说英文吗?
Nǐ huì shuō yīngwén ma?

I don’t speak Chinese.
我不会说普通话。
Wǒ búhuì shuō pǔtōnghuà.

Could you write that down for me in Chinese characters?
请用中文写下来。
Qǐng yòng zhōngwén xiě xiàlái.

Where is the bathroom?
卫生间在哪儿?
Wèishēngjiān zài nǎ'er?

Can you take a photo for me?
你可以帮我拍照吗?
Nǐ kěyǐ bāng wǒ pāizhào mā?


Food Phrases

Spicy/salty/sweet/sour/bitter
辣/ 咸/ 甜/ 酸/ 苦
Là/xián/tián/suān/ku

I am a vegetarian.
我是吃素的。
Wǒ shì chī sù de.

No spicy.
不要辣。
Bùyào là.

I’m allergic to XXX.
我对 XXX 过敏的。
Wǒ duì XXX guòmǐn.


Shopping Phrases

How much is this?
多少钱?
Duōshǎo qián?

Please give it to me for cheaper.
请你给我便宜点。
Qǐng nǐ gěi wǒ piányí diǎn.


Transportation Phrases

Boat/bus/plane/train
船/公车/飞机/火车
Chuán/gōngchē/fēijī/huǒchē

Where can I get a taxi?
出租车在哪儿?
Chūzū chē zài nǎ’er?

Take me to XXX.
带我去 XXX.
Dài wǒ qù XXX.

I’d like to go to this place.
我要去这个地方。
Wǒ yào qù zhège dìfāng.

When is the next bus?
下一班车是什么时候?
xià yī bān chē shì shénme shíhòu?

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