How to Ask for Directions in Chinese: Everything You Need to Find Your Way
If you’re going to travel to China, odds are that you will feel a little lost at some point. This is why it’s so important to know a few key terms that will help you ask for assistance in Chinese!
In this blog post, you’ll learn new words for places to go, basic phrases you need to master and how to ask for, give and talk about directions in Chinese.
Let’s get a move on!
First, let’s take a look at a few phrases that’ll be critical in helping you form sentences related to placement, locations and directions in Chinese.
__ zài nǎ lǐ? — Where is __?
__ lí zhé lì yuǎn?/jìn ma? — Is __ far from/close to here?
从 __ 到 __ 要多长时间?
Cóng __ dào __ yào duō cháng shí jiān? — How long does it take to get from __ to __?
去 __ 怎么走?
Qù __ zěn me zǒu? — How do I get to __?
Zuò __ — To take __
Now that you know how to form basic sentences when it comes to asking for directions, let’s look at specific vocabulary terms that may come up:
zhǐ lù/wèn lù — to give/ask for directions
dì tú — map
mí lù — to get lost
zǒu lù — to go by foot
zuò huǒ chē — to take the train
kāi chē — to drive
zuò fēi jī — to take an airplane
jiē — street
zài lù shàng — on the way
Places to Go
Here are some of the most common locations that you might need to tell someone you’re going to:
yín háng — the bank
yī yuàn — the hospital
huǒ chē zhàn — train station
dì tiě zhàn — subway station
chāo shì — grocery store or supermarket
shāng chǎng — shopping mall
bó wù guǎn — museum
tú shū guǎn — the library
cān tīng — a casual restaurant
bā — bar
gōng yuán — park
jī chǎng — airport
diàn yǐng yuàn — movie theater
Location or Placement of Things
When someone is giving you directions or you need to ask where things are in relation to other places, here are some location-based vocabulary that you may need:
qián miàn/qián biān — in front of
hòu miàn/hòu biān — behind
wài miàn/wài biān — outside
lǐ miàn/lǐ biān — inside
yòu biān — to the right of
zuǒ biān — to the left of
yī zhí — straight
páng biān — next to
běi fāng — north
nán fāng — south
dōng fāng — east
xī fāng — west
So, what’s next now that you know how to talk about, ask for and give directions in Chinese?
It’s time to hit the streets!
Get out there and start asking your way around. You may look like a lost foreigner, but you’re on your way to sounding like a lost local!