Basic Korean Phrases for Asking Directions and More

Korea is renowned for its stunning scenery and world-class urban planning. But sometimes, it’s easy to get lost in the sights and sounds.

Here are some basic Korean phrases you can use the next time you need to navigate your surroundings and ask for help.

Korean Phrases for Traveling or Commuting

With Seoul’s—and South Korea’s—extensive public transport network, tourists can have a range of cheap transport options at their disposal.
In case you need help finding your way, here are some basic Korean phrases that might help.
  • How do I get to ____? – ___ neun eotteoke ganayo? ( ___ 는 어떻게 가나요?)
  • Is there ___ near here? – I geuncheoe ___ innayo? (이 근처에 ___있나요?)
  • How far is ___ from here? – ___ neun eolmana meongayo? (여기서 ___까지는 얼마나 먼가요?)
  • Where am I? – Yeogi uhdiyeyo? (여기 어디예요?)
  • Where is ___? –  ____ eodie isseyo? ( ____어디에 있어요?)
  • Does this go to ___? – Yigaw ___ kanen gaw majayo? (이거 [명동] 가는 거 맞아요?)
  • I am alighting here – Naerilgeyo (내릴게요)
  • When is the first/last train? – Chotcha/makcha awnjeh yehyo? (첫차/막차 언제예요?)

 

Don’t Forget: Common Courtesy 

It’s a no-brainer to remember proper decorum in a foreign country.
So when asking for help from Korean locals, be sure to say, “Excuse me” or “Sillyehamnida” (실례합니다) first. You can follow up with, “Can you help me please?” or “Dowa julsu isseuseyo?” (도와 줄수있으세요?)
And of course, remember to say “Thank you,” or “Gamsahapnida” (감사합니다).
It would also help to ask, “Do you speak English?” or “Yeongeo haseyo?” (영어하세요?), especially if you have a basic understanding of Korean words and phrases
If you want to say, “I speak a little Korean,” you can tell them, “Hangugeo-leul jogeumhanda.” (한국어를 조금한다).

 

Korean phrases to use when traveling or commuting.

Korean Phrases for Hotels

More often than not, English speakers and written instructions are readily available at your hotel in South Korea.

Still, it would help to know some basic Korean phrases, whether you’re staying at a big hotel, a guesthouse, or a humble accommodation like a minbak (민박) or yeogwan (여관)

To help you communicate more effectively, here are some phrases you may use for your next holiday:

  • Do you have a room available? – Bang issohyo? (방 있어요?)
  • How much is it per night? – Haruae ulmayeyo? (하루에 얼마예요?)
  • What time is check-in?/check-out? – Chekeuin/Chekeuaoot shigan eonjeyeyo? 체크인/체크아웃 시간 언제예요?
  • Can I look at the room? – Bang pwadootehyo? (방봐도돼요?)
  • Could you wake me at ___? – ___ shie kgewuh jooshilaeyo? (___ 시에 깨워주실래요?)
  • May I have an extra ____? – ___ Hana duh jooshilaeyo? (___ 하나 더 주실래요?)

Korean Phrases for Dining

Korean food is already pretty well-known around the world. 

Still, it’s best to know how to communicate with local staff if you want some more side dishes or need to avoid harmful ingredients.

These are some common and basic Korean phrases you can use:

  • Please give me a menu – Menyu juseyo (메뉴 주세요)
  • Is there an English menu? – Yongoh menyu ga innay (영어메뉴가 있나요)
  • I’ll have a ___ – ___ juseyo (주세요)
  • Please give me the bill – Gyesansoh juseyo (계산서 주세요)
  • I have an allergy – Alleoji isseoyo (알러지 있어요)
  • Not spicy, please – Mepgeh haji malajuseyo (이거 매워요?)
  • Please make it to go – Pojanghae juseyo (포장해주세요)
  • Where is the bathroom? – Hwajangsireun eodie isseyo? (화장실은 어디에 있어요?)
  • That was delicious – Jal mogoh soomnida (잘 먹었습니다)
  • Bon appetit! – Manee doseyo (많이 드세요)

 

Good to Know: Carry Cash!

While many payment options are available in South Korean establishments, some smaller restaurants and eateries can only accept payments in cash.

Make sure to have enough Korean won with you when dining out.

Korean Phrases for Shopping

South Korea, especially Seoul, can be a shopper’s paradise with its variety of options for shopping and entertainment.

Check out some basic Korean phrases to use when making your purchases at malls, boutiques,  traditional markets, and more:

  • How much is it? – Olmayeyo? (얼마예요?)
  • Do you accept cards? – Kadeu badeuseyo? (카드 받으세요?)
  • Do you have __? ___ isseoyo? (__ 있어요?)
  • I’d like to try it on – Jeoneun igeoseul ibeobogo shipeoyo (저는 이것을 입어보고 싶어요)
  • Is there a bigger/smaller size? – Deo keun/jageun saijeu isseoyo? (더 큰/작은 사이즈 있어요?)
  • Do you have this in [color]? – [Color] saeg isseoyo? (__색 있어요?)
  • Please give me a discount – Kkakka juseyo (깎아 주세요)

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