Giving Directions in Chinese

Asking and Receiving Directions in Mandarin Chinese

Winding road in Tianmen Mountain National Park, Zhangjiajie, China

?rusm / Getty Images

Some of the most important vocabulary to prepare before going to a Mandarin-speaking country is phrases and words for asking directions. Especially when traveling through a Mandarin-speaking country, you will need to be able to ask for and understand directions.

Here is a quick crash-course in understanding directions in Chinese including a vocabulary list and sample practice dialogues. This Mandarin Chinese lesson comes complete with audio files to help you with your pronunciation.?Audio files are marked with ?


轉 (traditional form) / 轉 (simplified form) ? zhuǎn: turn
往 ?wáng:?toward

Right / Left / Straight

右??yòu: right
左 ?zuǒ: left
往右轉 / 往右轉??wáng yòu zhuàn: turn right
往左轉 / 往左?轉 ?wáng zuǒ zhuàn: turn left

一直 ?yī zhí: straight ahead
直 ?zhí: continuously
一直走 ?yī zhí zǒu: go straight ahead
直走 ?zhí zǒu: go straight ahead


到 ?dào: go to / reached
快到了 ?kuài dào le: almost arrived
停 ?tíng: stop
到了 ?dào le: have arrived
好 ?hǎo: okay
好的 ?hǎo de: okay


紅綠燈 / 紅綠燈 ?hóng lǜ dēng: traffic light
路口 ?lù kǒu: intersection
公園 / 公園 ?gōng yuán: public park
火車站 / 火車站??huǒ chē zhàn: train station
車站 / 車站 ?chē zhàn: bus station
旅館 ?lǚ guǎn: hotel

Example Dialogue 1

請問,你知道火車站在哪兒?(traditional form)
請問,你知道火車站在哪兒?(simplified form)
Qǐng wèn, nǐ zhī dào huǒ chē zhàn?zài nǎ'er?
Excuse me, do you know where the train station is?

Zhī dào. Yī zhí zǒu, dào le lù kǒu wǎng yòu zhuǎn. Zhí zǒu jīng guò gōng yuán, rán hòu wǎng zuǒ zhuǎn. Huǒ chē zhàn jiù zài nà.
I know. Go straight and turn right at the junction. Go straight through the park and turn left. The train station is right there.

Example Dialogue 2

Wǒ yǐ jīng zài lǚ guǎn. Nǐ zài nǎ lǐ a?
I'm already at the hotel. Where are you?

Wǒ zài hóng lǜ dēng tíng le hěn jiǔ, kuài yào dào le.
I have been waiting for the traffic light for a long time, almost there.