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Beginner's Guide to Survival Chinese in Beijing: Transport and Travel

Constantly finding yourself lost and confused in the hustle and bustle of Beijing? You’re not alone. We’re here to help you navigate your way by learning some phrases in Mandarin, with guidance from friendly locals, you’ll be a Beijinger in no time.

Street Directions

It can be intimidating but if you wish to ask a passerby for directions, the best way to stop them is to say “Sorry, can I ask,” then follow with your question.

English Mandarin Pinyin

Sorry, can I ask …


Duìbùqǐ, qǐngwèn...

Can you tell me how to get to ____?


Nǐ kěyǐ gàosù wǒ zěnme dào ____. 

With any luck, they will tell you which way you need to go. Now, listen carefully for these phrases to identify the directions.

English Mandarin Pinyin

Go straight 


Zhí zǒu

Turn left 


Zuǒ zhuǎn

Turn right 


Yòu zhuǎn 


The subway shouldn’t be a problem as announcements are made in Mandarin and English, but should you find that you missed an announcement, here’s what to ask. Likewise, if you were on a bus, simply replace the word subway (地铁) with bus (公交车, gōngjiāo chē). 

English Mandarin Pinyin

What subway station is this?


Zhè shì shénme dìtiě zhàn?

What stop is this?


Zhè shì shénme zhàn?

I need to get to ____. Which line should I take? 

我需要到这里____. 我应该座那条线?

Wǒ xūyào dào zhèlǐ____. Wǒ yīnggāi zuò nà tiáo xiàn?

Where is this subway going? 


Zhè liàng dìtiě shì qù nǎlǐ de?

Where can I buy tickets?


Wǒ kěyǐ zài nǎlǐ mǎi piào?

Where is the nearest subway stop? 


Zuìjìn dì dìtiě zhàn zài nǎlǐ?


Hailing a cab in Beijing is the easy part, but what do you say once you’ve gotten in the car? Like you, your driver is likely to be equally worried about the language barrier. Put both of you at ease with these following phrases.

English Mandarin Pinyin

Hello driver, I’m going to____.


Shīfù nín hǎo, wǒ yào qù____.

Sorry, I don’t know the way. 


Duìbùqǐ, Wǒ bùzhī dàolù.

This is the address. 


Zhè shì dìzhǐ.

Why don’t you use the GPS. 


Nǐ dǎoháng zǒu ba.

This is it, thank you.


Jiùshì zhè'er, xièxiè

Also check out phrased to help your Uber ride more enjoyable.

Train stations

Beijing Railway Station
13 Maojiawan Hutong, Dongcheng District
北京火车站 东城区 毛家湾胡同甲13号

Beijing South Station
12 Quyong Outer Street, Fengtai District
北京南站 丰台区 永外大街12号

Beijing West Station
118 Lotus Pond East Road, Fengtai District
北京西站 丰台区 莲花池东路118号

Beijing North Station
North Street, Xizhimen, Xicheng District
北京北站 西城区 西直门北大街

Beijing East Station
7 Baiziwan Road, Chaoyang District
北京东站 朝阳区百子湾路7号


Beijing Capital International Airport
Airport West Road, Shunyi District, Beijing
北京首都国际机场 北京市 顺义区 机场西路

Beijing Nanyuan Airport
Jingbei East Road, Nanyuan South Fourth Ring, Southern Fengtai District
北京南苑机场 北京市 南郊丰台区 南苑南四环警备东路