Asking for and Giving Directions

Traveling to China can be quite an amazing adventure, but if you want to be sure to see everything on your list, you need to know how to ask for directions in Chinese. Despite most young people in big cities of China can speak English, knowing how to ask for directions in Chinese can definitely bring more fun to your stay in China and save you lots of time wandering around.

Asking for and Giving Directions

Below, you will learn 10 very useful phrases and sentences to help you get around in China without getting lost!

Asking for and Giving Directions

No. Example Sound Explanation
1.

qǐnɡwèn, … ?

请问, …?

May I ask…?

Literally 请问 means “please ask” or “requesting to ask”. Used before asking a question.
2.

dǎrǎo yíxià.

打扰一下。

Excuse me.

A polite way to get the listener's attention. "to bother you a bit" or "I'm sorry to bother you..." You can simply use "你好" or "您好" instead.
3.

chāoshì zài nǎ'r?

超市在哪儿?

Where is the supermarket?

在 expresses where a person or an object is located. Sentence Pattern:
Noun + 在 + Place Word (哪儿 where).
4.

dào ɡùɡōnɡ zěnmezǒu?

到故宫怎么走?

How do I go to the Imperial Palace?

Sentence Pattern: 到 ... 怎么走? 到 means "to go/get to". 走 doesn't necessarily mean "to walk" here.
5.

fùjìn yǒu kāfēitīnɡ mɑ?

附近有咖啡厅吗?

Is there a café near here?

附近 nearby. To express “There is/are … on/at/in …” in Chinese, use the verb 有 (yǒu). Sentence Pattern: Place + 有 + Something
6.

wǒ yào qù zhèlǐ.

我要去这里。

I want to go here.

You can use this sentence if you are asking with a map. Otherwise, you can replace “这里” with any place you want to go to.
7.

lí zhèlǐ yǒu duōyuǎn?

离这里有多远?

How far is it from here?

Sentence Pattern: 离 ... 有多远?
8.

yánzhe zhè tiáo lù zǒu.

沿着这条路走。

Go along this road.

沿着 go along
9.

zài dì'èr ɡè lùkǒu, wǎng yòu ɡuǎi.

在第二个路口, 往右拐。

Turn right at the second crossing.

When somebody is giving you directions, watch out for the word after "往" or "向", both of which mean "towards". Sentence Pattern:
往 ... 拐 (to turn ...)
10.

kāfēitīnɡ zài mǎlù duìmiàn.

咖啡厅在马路对面。

The café is on the opposite of the road.

在 ... 对面 on the opposite of ...

Once you have mastered the key phrases and sentences, you’ll be all set to travel in China. But before you go, take more time to listen to the recordings in a DIALOGUE about asking for and giving directions!

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