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Ask for directions in Chinese

Updated: May 18, 2020

With Google Maps and your other favorite apps not working, navigating in China is no mean feat. However, arming yourself with a few key words and phrases can help you with your adventures.

Let's start with learning a few bits of vocabulary and grammar so that you can build sentences and questions to help you get around.

1. Vocabulary

Question starters

- Excuse me: 请问 (qǐng wèn)

- Where: 哪里 ( nǎ lǐ)

- How: 怎么 (zěn me)

- What time: 几点 (jǐ diǎn)


- Bathroom: 洗手间 (xǐ shǒu jiān)

- Bus: 巴士 (bā shì)

- Subway: 地铁 (dì tiě)


- Come: 来 (lái)

- Go: 去 (qù)


- Right: 右 (yòu)

- Left: 左 (zuǒ)

Sequential words

- Next:下一个 (xià yī gè)

2. Grammar

Today we will be learning the grammar "在" (To be at).

"在"(zài) has several uses but one use of "在" is to indicate location. Note the structure of the sentence below.

我 (I) 在 (am at) 图书馆 (the library).

Subject + 在 + Place

You can also turn this into a question by following the same structure.

你 (You) 在 (are at) 哪里 (where)?

Subject + 在 + question word.

For a more complex grammar structure, you can also express that you are doing an action somewhere.

我(I) 在(am at) 上海(Shanghai) 上(attending) 大学(university).

Subject + 在 + Place + Activity

Watch the video below to common dialogues and practice with the vocabulary and grammar you have learned above!

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