Chinese for Travel Part 1 – Essential Vocab for Travelling in China
So no matter what your Chinese level is, if you are working or studying in China, you will definitely end up doing some travelling in China too.
Regardless where you go – be it to the place where the Great Wall of China meets the sea or perhaps the beautiful province of Yunnan – you will need some basic travel vocabulary to help you over any hurdles you might encounter.
But don’t worry, we’ve prepared some essential Chinese for Travel vocabulary to help you along…
And please, don’t be scared! Firstly, travel is a great way to practice the language, meet new people, learn new vocabulary, and gain amazing experience!
And another thing, don’t let your level of Chinese (or lack of it) stop you from travelling in China. It is such a beautiful country and there are so many amazing things to see. Once you start discovering, you will fall in love with it even more.
Let’s get started with some basic travel vocabulary. In this blog we will talk about all the vocabulary connected with travelling by train and plane.
And in the next blog, we will touch upon other useful vocabulary and some emergency vocab (but don’t worry, you shouldn’t need that).
Chinese for Travel – Buying tickets
I would like to buy a ticket. 我要买一张票. (Wǒ yào mǎi yì zhāng piào)
I would like to book a one-way ticket. 我想订张单程票. (Wǒ xiǎng dìng zhāng dānchéng piào.)
I would like to book a return ticket. 我想订张往返票. (Wǒ xiǎng dìng wǎngfǎn piào)
How much is a ticket to… ? 一张到…的票多少钱? (Yī zhāng dào… de piào duōshǎo qián?)
Other important information you’ll need to know is your departure date (出发日期; chūfā rìqī) and return date (返回日期; fǎnhuí rìqī). Departure station (出发站; chūfā zhàn) and the arrival station (到达站; dàodá zhàn) are also very important.
Top Tip: make sure to buy your tickets in advance, especially before the major Chinese national holidays, because they tend to sell out fast!
Chinese for Travel – Train
When you are buying your ticket, make sure you know the words for hard sleeper (硬卧; yìng wò) and the soft sleeper (软卧; ruǎn wò) tickets.
We definitely strongly recommend sleeper beds for longer journeys.
There’s no big difference between a soft and hard sleeper bed where beds are concerned, except that the soft one is a bit more spacious, and of course more expensive. So if budget is an issue, you can buy your ticket for the hard sleeper bed.
Note: When you buy the sleeper ticket, you can get either the upper (上铺; shàng pù), middle (中铺; zhōng pù) or lower berth (下铺; xià pù).
There are also the soft seat (软座; ruănzuò), the hard seat (硬座; yìng zuò) and the standing ticket (无座; wú zuò) options.
Some other phrases you might find useful are:
- take the train 坐火车 (zuò huǒchē)
- fast train 高铁 (gāotiě)
Useful sentences for train travel
Where is the train station? 火车站在哪儿? (Huǒchēzhàn zàinǎr?)
When does the train leave? 火车几点出发? (Huǒchē jǐdiǎn chūfā?)
When does the train arrive? 火车几点到? (Huǒchē jǐdiǎn dào?)
The train is running late. 火车晚点了. (Huǒchē wǎndiǎn le.)
Where are the ticket machines? 售票机在哪里? (Shòupiàojī zài nǎlǐ?)
Chinese for Travel – Flight
Before your flight, you will need to buy your plane ticket (飞机票; fēijī piào), be it one-way (单程; dānchéng piào) or return (往返票; wǎngfǎn piào). Once you get to the airport (飞机场; fēijī chǎng) and check-in your luggage (托运行李; tuōyùn xínglǐ), the staff will give you the boarding pass (登机牌, dēngjīpái).
Some other words that you will find very useful are:
- Baggage/luggage 行李 (xínglǐ)
- Passport 护照 (hùzhào)
- Boarding gate 登机口 (dēngjīkǒu)
- Check in 登记 (Dēngjì)
- Transfer 专机 (zhuǎnjī)
- Window seat 靠窗户的坐位 (kào chuānghu de zuòwèi)
- Aisle seat 靠过道的坐位 (kào guòdào de zuòwèi)
- Hand luggage 手提行李 (shǒu tí xínglǐ)
- Shuttle bus 接驳车 (Jiē bó chē)
- Visa 签证 (Qiānzhèng)
- Flight attendant 空姐 (kōngjiě)
Useful Sentences for Plane Travel in Chinese:
I’d prefer a window seat. 最好是靠窗户的座位 (Zuì hǎo shì kào chuānghu de zuòwei.)
When does the flight depart? 航班几点起飞? (Hángbān jǐdiǎn qǐfēi?)
When does the flight arrive? 航班几点到? (Hángbān jǐdiǎn dào?)
When are we going to land? 我们什么时候降落? (Wǒmen shénme shíhòu jiàngluò?)
After all that vocabulary, we hope you’re feeling a bit more prepared for your China travels. Stay tuned for part 2 coming soon!
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