directions in chinese

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!
 

Contents

Basic Phrases

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.

__ 在哪里?

 __ zài nǎ lǐ? — Where is __?

__ 离这里远/近吗?

__ 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 __?

坐 __ 

Zuò __ — To take __

Vocabulary Essentials

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:

指路/问路

zhǐ lù/wèn lù — to give/ask for directions

地图

dì tú — map

迷路

mí lù — to get lost

走路

zǒu lù — to go by foot

坐火车

zuò huǒ chē — to take the train

开车

kāi chē — to drive

坐飞机

zuò fēi jī — to take an airplane

jiē — street

在路上

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:

银行 

yín háng — the bank

医院

yī yuàn — the hospital

火车站

huǒ chē zhàn — train station

地铁站

dì tiě zhàn — subway station

超市

chāo shì — grocery store or supermarket

商场

shāng chǎng — shopping mall

博物馆

bó wù guǎn — museum

图书馆

tú shū guǎn — the library

餐厅

cān tīng — a casual restaurant

 — bar

公园

gōng yuán — park

机场

jī chǎng — airport

电影院

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:

前面/前边

qián miàn/qián biān — in front of

后面/后边

hòu miàn/hòu biān — behind

外面/外边

wài miàn/wài biān — outside

里面/里边

lǐ miàn/lǐ biān — inside

右边

yòu biān — to the right of

左边

zuǒ biān — to the left of

一直

yī zhí — straight

旁边

páng biān — next to

北方

běi fāng — north

南方

nán fāng — south

东方

dōng fāng — east

西方

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!
 

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