Learn How to Travel in Mandarin

travel in mandarin

No matter if you’re traveling alone or with others, learning some basic Mandarin phrases will make any trip much more rewarding and avoid future miscommunication. Also, these essential travel phrases will allow you to better connect with locals.

Note that these words are written using pinyin, an innovative system for romanizing Chinese that includes markings to indicate tone.


Traveling Mandarin needn’t be daunting – even just learning a few basic phrases before leaving will help make the trip smoother! Be sure to learn greetings, directions and other key vocabulary.

Fluency will come in handy when booking tickets or other services through travel agencies that understand common phrases like these. Practice them with friends before heading off on your trip or download an app such as FluentU that provides audio clips of how the words are actually spoken by native Mandarin speakers to better understand their tone; many such apps also record your pronunciation so you can listen back later to gauge how accurate you were with pronunciation.

Apart from travel phrases, it is always a good idea to acquire basic language knowledge such as numbers and colors in each country you plan to visit. Although these may not come into play during your journey, knowing them allows you at least to understand if someone speaks directly to you in that language.

Learning Mandarin’s tones is also essential; being a tonal language, its tones make an immense impactful statement about its meaning. For instance, “ma” can mean different things depending on its tone; saying it with a rising tone would imply something very different from saying it with a falling tone.

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Mandarin is the term given by non-Chinese to those in imperial China whose jobs involved speaking a lingua franca, distinct but related to that spoken by commoners of China. This name comes from Dutch mandorijn or mandarij, Portuguese mandarim, Malay menteri, Hindi mntri (minister, councillor), and Sanskrit mantrin; these individuals often went through rigorous exams before earning promotion and were seen as people of position and influence.

“Chinese dialects” is now widely used to refer to standard Mandarin, the Beijing dialect commonly spoken on mainland China, and some premodern varieties. Linguists sometimes refer to this category of language as Premodern Chinese.

The word can also be used more generally to refer to pronunciations of Chinese that have adopted foreign sounds by adopting compound words, for instance the Chinese term for computer is literally translated as “electric brain”, while telephone is “electric speech”. Mandarin group of languages are the largest branch of Chinese and contain multiple regional variations.


If you’re travelling to China, chances are you’ll need various forms of transport. Therefore, learning Chinese words that will assist with this journey is highly recommended; we will cover some common ones here in this lesson.

Mandarin Chinese dialect is one of the most widely spoken in mainland China, spoken by approximately 70% of all chinese speakers from Yunnan in the southwest to Xinjiang in the northwest and Heilongjiang in the northeast. Additionally, Mandarin is considered by linguists to be the standard language of mainland China.

Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia all use Mandarin as a common language, although in China itself it is referred to as Pu Tong Hua or Guo Yu or Hua Yu. In the West it is generally referred to as Standard Mandarin whereas China itself refers to this dialect by various names: Pu Tong Hua, Guo Yu or Hua Yu.

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Some basic Mandarin phrases relating to transportation are Zuo (zuo) and Cheng (cheng). When used together, these verbs can mean take the bus, train or taxi service. Da (da) may also be employed; here are some examples:

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