Chinese Directions

Asking for Directions in Chinese and Variety of Ways to Ask in Mandarin

~ Asking for Directions in Chinese is a Great Way to Practice Speaking ~



How to Ask for Directions in Chinese?

Asking for Directions in Chinese on the street or while travelling is one of the best ways to learn and speak Mandarin. Even if you have an excellent sense of direction, you can always pretend not knowing the way and ask people on the street.

The other advantage is even if you speak incorrectly or the other party does not understand what you are trying to ask, you will not feel embarrassed because they do not know you. Try asking for directions in Chinese the next time and see if someone understand your question and whether you get their instructions.

I will not let that happen to you because asking for directions in Chinese is easy. You only ask a sentence to get a reply. The most challenging part is always receiving the answer as the reply can be lengthy if the direction is complicated. So, the best way to practice your listening is to select a location that you know well in advance.


Therefore, if you only understand half of what the other party says, you can make out of the sentence more easily since you already know the way by heart. This method was what I used when learning other foreign languages – French and Dutch.

Many people do not grasp my pronunciation at first because I do not utter them clearly as I should. When they finally understood what I asked, I could not comprehend their explanation due to a limitation of vocabulary.

Because of my foreign language learning journey, more variety of phrases are needed for learning to anticipate what the other person is going to ask you.



20 Chinese Direction Words

There is another post written separately on Giving Directions in Chinese providing a thorough list of more than 60 related Chinese phrases. The reason for splitting up the subject is to provide abundant illustrations so that you have a better grasp on the topic in detail.

Where在哪儿,在哪Zài nǎ’er, Zài nǎlǐ
How to go / walk 怎么去,怎么走Zěnme qù, Zěnme zǒu
Location 地方,地点Dìfāng, Dìdiǎn
Distance away from here离这里Lí zhèlǐ
Nearby附近Fùjìn
Nearest最近Zuìjìn
Near, Very near近,很近Jìn, Hěn jìn
Far, Very far远,很远Yuǎn, Hěn yuǎn
Towards, To向,朝,往Xiàng, Cháo, Wǎng
Direction方向Fāngxiàng



Supermarket超级市场Chāojí shìchǎng
ATM Machine 提款机Tí kuǎn jī
Bank 银行Yínháng
Hospital 医院Yīyuàn
Clinic 诊所Zhěnsuǒ
Police Station
警察局Jǐngchá jú
Train Station火车站Huǒchē zhàn
Subway Metro Station 地铁站 Dìtiě zhàn
Bus 公车,巴士Gōngchē, Bāshì
Take a taxi 搭德士,搭的士,坐计程,乘坐出租车 Dā dé shì, Dā dí shì, Zuò jì chéng, Chéngzuò chūzū chē


Asking for Directions in Chinese

Here are some examples of asking for directions in Chinese. Of course, there is more than one way to ask for directions in Mandarin. Hence, I am giving you as many examples as possible so you can practice and understand the questions better when someone asks for directions.

As a polite form of asking someone you do not know, it is always courteous to start the sentence with:-

Excuse me, … 不好意思,。。。Bù hǎoyìsi, …

  • May I ask … 请问 。。。 Qǐngwèn …
  • Please tell me … 请你告诉我。。。 Qǐng nǐ gàosù wǒ …

It is not necessary to address the person as Mr 先生 Xiānshēng or Miss 小姐 Xiǎojiě though it is always nice to do so.

Excuse me, Sir, may I know where the city centre is?

不好意思。先生,请问市中心在哪里?
Bù hǎo yì si. Xiān shēng, qǐng wèn shì zhōng xīn zài nǎ lǐ?


May I know how to go to the supermarket?

请问超级市场怎么去?
Qǐng wèn chāo jí shì chǎng zěn me qù?


Do you know where the ATM Machine is?

请问你知道提款机在哪儿吗?
Qǐng wèn nǐ zhī dào tí kuǎn jī zài nǎ’er ma?


Is there any bank nearby?

请问这里附近有银行吗?
Qǐng wèn zhè lǐ fù jìn yǒu yín háng ma?


How can I walk to the train station?

请问我要怎么走去火车站?
Qǐng wèn wǒ yào zěn me zǒu qù huǒ chē zhàn?


Is the nearest subway metro station very far away from here?

请问最近的地铁站离这里很远吗?
Qǐng wèn zuì jìn dì tiě zhàn lí zhè lǐ hěn yuǎn ma?


Please tell me how to go to this place? (Pointing to a location on the map or paper)

请你告诉我,这个地方怎么去?
Qǐng nǐ gào sù wǒ, zhè ge dì fāng zěn me qù?


Can you please tell me which direction should I walk to the hospital?

请你告诉我,医院往哪个方向走?
Qǐng nǐ gào sù wǒ, yī yuàn wǎng nǎ ge fāng xiàng zǒu?


Please tell me is this the direction to the Police Station?

请告诉我,警察局是不是朝这个方向走?
Qǐng gào sù wǒ, jǐng chá jú shì bù shì cháo zhè ge fāng xiàng zǒu?


Please tell me where I should take a cab?

请告诉我,我要在哪里搭德士?
Qǐng gào sù wǒ, wǒ yào zài nǎ lǐ dā dé shì?


Asking for Directions in Chinese is not difficult, right? That is the end of the lesson. Go on and read the next article on Giving Directions which is more difficult than asking for directions in Chinese.

You may also like to read the first part of Mandarin Directions I – How to Say “North, South, East, West” in Chinese? The lesson also contains useful Chinese phrases relating to geographical directions.

 

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