Travel in Mandarin – Useful Travel Phrases for China

travel in mandarin

Learning some essential travel phrases before traveling to China is an absolute must! These will enable you to navigate the city and communicate effectively with locals.

Remember, Mandarin is a tonal language. Therefore, when speaking it aloud it’s crucial that your tone matches that of the spoken words! An app or eBook may help with practicing pronunciation.

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First steps toward learning any language include understanding how to request directions. Mandarin is a tonal language, making it essential to get your tones correct when seeking directions or other forms of information.

To do this, the free online tool Mandarin Blueprint promises to teach you basic Chinese in two months, read graded books and stories in six months and conduct full conversations in less than a year.

CCTV-9’s Travel in China with Dashan offers another valuable resource, providing non-Chinese speakers with an intensive Chinese lesson for 15 minutes.


When traveling to a country that speaks Mandarin, it can be invaluable to know at least some basic phrases of their language. Not only will this assist with getting around, but it will also show respect.

Mandarin is a tonal language, so it’s crucial that the tone is correct when speaking it. Saying one of its words with an incorrect tone could result in it sounding completely different! Pinyin provides you with the Latin alphabet with markings indicating whether to pronounce each syllable as first or second tone pronunciation.

Another key travel Chinese phrase is Xie Xie (), used when someone does something nice for you, like letting you cut ahead in line or offering up their seat on a train.


Mandarin is a tonal language, making the tones key for understanding. Saying the wrong tone changes everything about what the word means; Pinyin provides an easy way of romanizing Chinese that shows each syllable’s proper tonality – this makes learning Mandarin much simpler when traveling abroad, too!

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Booking a flight requires saying Lu jian he yi ci (Lu Shi Wan He Yi Ci). When travelling with friends, however, it’s often better to greet each other by saying just “zao” in the morning instead of “ni hao.”


If you need to book a flight, say something similar to “Women hui anpai yi ge dao you, Ni you wenti keyi wen ta” or for men: Wo men hui anpai yi ge dao you, Ni you wenti keyi wen ta (for short) when making inquiries regarding details of your travel itinerary. While this phrase is slightly longer and may require further explanation.

Keep in mind that Chinese is a tonal language, so to be understood you need to get your tone just right. Therefore it is a good idea to practice before travelling in case you forget how to pronounce words correctly when needed.


No matter your level, having some basic travel phrases handy will allow you to show appreciation and respect to those whom you meet along your travels.

“Thank you” is an effective phrase to use when someone allows you to go ahead of them in line, or offers up their seat on an overcrowded train. Additionally, it can also be used as a means of thanking hotel concierges for their assistance.

As you learn Chinese, remember that it is a tonal language and tones play an integral role. Doing this will make pronunciation much simpler!


Travel in Mandarin is a 15-minute segment on CCTV-9 that’s hosted by Dashan, where she provides Chinese lessons to non-Chinese learners who aren’t native speakers of Chinese. This program caters towards beginner learners and is an effective way to learn the language as well as practice your pronunciation – something Mandarin requires with its tonal nature being key if miscommunication ensues! Pinyin comes in handy here too as it uses Latin alphabet with tones marks so you don’t mispronounce words!

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If a friend overindulged in street food the night before and is feeling poorly, say “keyi pian” to wish them better and avoid sounding rude when asking if someone is okay. This will allow you to wish them better without appearing rude when asking how they are feeling.

Chinese is a tonal language, so mastering its tones is crucial in order to understanding it. A great way to practice is listening to this series’ podcasts and writing out each syllable in pinyin so you can see its tone mark over each syllable.

Download an app that lets you record yourself pronouncing travel phrases so that you can review them before your journey begins.


As when traveling in Mandarin, having basic travel phrases memorized is always beneficial. Not only will this help with communication but it can also provide an extra level of protection should your tones get mixed up or you forget something important – especially as Mandarin is a tonal language where changing one syllable could mean different words in Chinese; pinyin provides useful help here as it indicates where tone markers exist on each word’s syllable (such as ma being either first or third tone depending on pronunciation); having these written out will allow you to keep everything straight!


When booking travel in Mandarin, there are certain characteristics you must specify when booking your reservation – such as whether you will travel by plane or train, how many people will be in your party, and whether this ticket (piao) will be single or return. These should all come before purchasing one (piao).

“Thank you” is an invaluable travel phrase to have on hand when someone does you a favor like allowing you to go ahead of them in line or giving up their seat on a packed bus. Expressing your appreciation with these simple words shows it!

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