11 Crucial Chinese Phrases You Must Know Before You Travel to China

Traveling to a new country can be difficult if the native language isn’t your own. Especially in China, where everyone speaks Chinese and do not have much interaction with English speakers. China is a great place to travel through with beautiful scenery and cultural history. Along with a variety of Chinese food dishes that you can enjoy. If you are traveling to China for the 1st time, you should look into learning a couple of phrases that you can take and use in your travels. These phrases will be useful in a variety of situations.

Here Are The Eleven Crucial Chinese Phrases:

Wèi shēng zhǐ (卫生纸) – Toilet paper

In rural China, there are not many toilet seats and you will be required to squat to use the restroom. It is a good idea to have toilet paper on hand because many restrooms may not have public toilet paper.

Cè suǒ zài nǎ ?(厕所在哪?) – Where is the restroom?

It is important to know how ask where the restroom because the signs may not be obvious or in your language.

Nǐ hěn niú (你很牛) – You are awesome.

This is a compliment that you can give to people when they do something great. It is good to know how to compliment people to build relationships in China.

Nǎ lǐ nǎ lǐ (哪里哪里) – No, no.

This is a way to be polite and humble that Chinese people will appreciate in your travels. Though it means “where, where” it is a good response to a compliment Chinese people give you.

Duō shǎo qián (多少钱) – How much money?

It is important to know how to ask for the price while traveling in China. People in China don’t give anything for free. Everything from bargaining or eating out requires money and you want to know how much you need to pay as a traveler.

Bú yào fàng wèi jīng (不要放味精) – Don’t want MSG

As a foreigner the food in China may not be healthy since MSG is used in many dishes in China. However, you can ask for no MSG in your meal if you do not want it in your meal.

Lǎo wài (老外) – Foreigner

As a foreigner, you may want to know how to say the word foreigner in Chinese so that you know people may be talking about you.

Bù yào jiā là jiāo (不要加辣椒) – Don’t want to add spice

Chinese spices may be more intense that you are used to back home, so you may want to ask for no spicy sauce till you try some.

Wǒ bù yào (我不要) – I don’t want

While traveling in China, “I don’t want” is a great way to get out of any salesmen trying to get you to buy their merchandise.

Tài guì le (太贵了) – Too expensive

Chinese people are known to bargain and you should join the fun. But since you will be a foreigner shopkeepers may believe that you have a lot of money and may over charge you on the price.

Jiào jǐng chá (叫警察) – Call the police

Since China can be dangerous, it is a useful phrase to get yourself some help from the police officers or help someone else with any problems.

With these phrases, the local Chinese people will be impressed by your knowledge and may even want to have a relationship with you. Relationships can be very useful especially traveling throughout China. Remember to practice these Chinese phrases and don’t worry if you don’t get right the first time, it takes practice. When traveling as a foreigner, Chinese people are very helpful when you trying to speak their language. Safe travels and enjoy your trip to China.

Quy Dai Lam-Quach

He is 郭大贵 who grew up in Seattle and graduated from Seattle University with a Bachelors of Art in Business, majoring in Marketing and Finance. He currently is in Shantou, Guangdong teaching Oral English. 大贵 is a Chinese American who is able to speak Teo Chew dialect. He has been studying Chinese Mandarin for the past year. He personally enjoys being out traveling to new places and experiencing new cultural activities.