Basic Korean Phrases for Travelers and Beginners

by Nie Ae // April 29 // 0 Comments

환영합니다! [hwanyeonghamnida] (Welcome!)

This article aims to provide you travel terms and common phrases in Korean. Both for travelers or beginner language learners, this is your language guide and travel bible in its easiest form possible.

Korean Phrases for Travelers and Beginners

Basic Korean Phrases for Travelers

General travel terms and phrases

There are many ways a word can be said in Korean, there are formal, casual, informal and even honorific terms, but we will focus on the most applicable tone in order to express and understand the message aiming to be delivered.

Korean PhrasePronunciationTranslation
안녕하세요!Annyeong haseyo!Hello!
네!Ne!Yes!
아니요AniyoNo
부탁합니다

제발
Butakhamnida (asking favor)
Jebal (begging)
Please

Please
실례합니다SilyehamnidaExcuse me
감사합니다!Kamsahamnida!Thank you!
죄송합니다
미안해요
Chwesonghamnida
Miyanheyo
My apologies.
I’m sorry.
천만에요CheonmaneyoYou’re welcome
영어 할 줄 아세요?Yeong-eo hal joor aseyo?Do you speak English?
도와줄 수 있으세요?Dowajoolsoo iseoseyo?Can you help me?
이해가 잘 안되요.Ihega jar andweyo.I don’t understand.
맞는지 잘 모르겠네요.Man-nuenji jal moreugeneyo.I’m not sure if it's correct.
나는 휴가중 입니다.Naneun hyooga joong imnida.I'm here on a holiday.
나는 출장 중 입니다.Nanuen chooljang joong imnida.I’m here on a business trip.
문제 없어요!
괜찮아요!
상관 없어요!
Moonje opseoyo!
Gwenchanayo!
Sanggwan opseoyo!
No problem!
It’s alright!
It doesn’t matter!

*In expressing your apologies, you can choose between the given two phrases above. “My apologies” sounds formal and more sincere while “I’m sorry” is casual, not that it’s not sincere, just that it is casual. So if you want to express your sincerity, choose the former.

At the airport

One place everyone goes through while traveling abroad is the airport (공항)[gonghang]. Where you are coming from may not need these phrases, but on your way back home you might.

English speaking assistance may be available, yet there are those times when luck isn’t on one’s side that you will need to communicate using the local language. Here are some common conversational phrases most travelers might bump into.

Korean PhrasesPronunciationTranslation
여권 보여주시겠어요?Yeokwon boyeo jusigeseoyo?Can I see your passport?
통로 나 창문 좌석을 원하십니까?Tongno na changmoon jwaseokeul wonhashimnikka?Would you like a window seat or an aisle seat?
짐 다시 재주세요.Jim dasi jaejooseyo.Please weigh your luggage again.
기내 짐 있으세요?Ginae jim iseuseyo?Do you have any cabin luggage?
취급주의 스티커 부쳐주세요.Chwegeup jooyi seutikeo boochyeo jooseyo.Please mark this bag as fragile.
부가 요금이 있습니다.Booga yogeumi iseumnida.There is an excess baggage fee.
본인의 짐들을 잘 지켜주세요.Bonin-e jimdeureul jal jikyeo jooseyo.Please do not leave your things unattended.
___편이 탑승 중입니다.____pyeoni tapseung joon imnida.Flight ___ is now boarding.
___편이 지연 됬습니다.____ pyeoni jiyeon dweseumnida.Flight ___ has been delayed.
___편이 최소 됬습니다.____ pyeoni chweso dweseumnida.Flight ____ has been cancelled.
____승객은 안내데스크 로 오십시오.____seunggaegeun annedeseukeuro oshipsho.Would passenger ____ please come to the information desk?
___으로 ___편에 대한 최종 요청입니다.___ euro___pyeone dehan chwejong yocheong imnida.This is the final call for flight ___ to ____.
어디에서 오셨어요?Eodi-eseo osyeoseoyo?Where did you fly from?
방문 목적은 무엇입니까 사업이나 여가?Bangmoon mokjeokeun moo-eosimnikka?
Saeobina yeoga?
What is the purpose of your visit; business or leisure?
얼마나 있으실 겁니까?Eolmana iseushil keomnikka?How long are you planning to stay?

Getting around Phrases

아 다닐때 [dora daniltte] or getting around. A traveler should know how to get around without worrying what to say and just enjoy every moment.

Korean PhrasesPronunciationTranslation
____이/는 어디에 있어요?____*l/neun eodi-e iseoyo?Where is the ____?
____에가세요?____ *-e gaseyo?Does this go to ___?
_____에 가는것 어느쪽이예요?___ -e ganeungeut eoneu dzogiyeyo?Which way to ____?
얼마예요?Eolmayeyo?How much?
카드로 지불 가능해요?

카드로 계산해도 돼요?
Kadeuro jibool ganeungheyo?
Kadeuro gyesanhedo dweyo?
Can I pay by card?
____에 어떻게 갈 수 있을까요?____ -e eotteoke gal soo iseulkkayo?How can I get to ___?
저 …..에 데려다 줄 수 있으세요?Jeo, ____-e deryeoda jool soo iseuseyo?Can you take me to ___?
호텔HotelHotel
화장실HwajangshilToilet
지하철JihacheolSubway
식당shiktangRestaurant
기차역GichayeokTrain station
버스 정류장Beoseu jeongnyoojangBus station
택시 타는곳Taekshi taneun gotTaxi stand
공항GonghangAirport

*i/neun are kinds of suffix attached to some words like names, places, things and others. Suffix “i” is used when the word ends with a consonant while “ga” is used when the word ends with a vowel.

Such as, “where is the market? / 시장이 어디에 있어요?” [sijang-i eodi-e iseoyo?] and “where is the exit? / 출구는 어디에 있요?”[choolgooneun eodi-e iseoyo?]

Food and dining phrases in Korean

One of the interesting parts of exploring a foreign land is the chance to experience its foods and delicacies. One has to be able to express and understand the language especially if there are dietary restrictions for safety and most of all for the best satisfaction it can offer.

Korean PhrasesPronunciationTranslation
주문해도 되요?Joomoonhedo dweyo?Can I order?
주문 당이 얼마예요?Joomoon dang-i eolmayeyo?How much is per order?
베스트셀러는 뭐예요?Beseutselleoneun mwoyeyo?What is your best seller?
뭘 추천하세요?Mwol choocheonhaseyo?What do you recommend?
덜 맵게 만들 수 있을까요?Deol maepke mandeul soo iseulkkayo?Can you make it less spicy?
이것 하나도 주세요.Igeot hanado jooseyo.Can I have an additional order of this?
____ 빼 주시겠어요?____ pae joosigeseoyo?Can you pull out the ….?
해산물HaesanmoolSeafood
새우SaewooShrimp
GeCrab
____ 주시겠어요_____ joosigeseoyo?Can I have …..?
MoolWater
공기밥 하나KonggibapA bowl of rice
포크PokeuFork
나무 젓가락Namoo jeotkarakWooden chopsticks
탄산 음료Tansan eumryoSoda
주스JooseuJuice
맥주maekjooBeer
PangBread
맛있어요MashiseoyoDelicious
나쁘지 않아요Napeuji anayoNot bad
매우 매운 맛Maewoo maewoon matVery spicy flavor
약한 매운 맛Yakhan maewoon matMild spicy flavor
순한 맛Soonhan matNot spicy flavor
계산해 주세요Gyesanhae jooseyoThe bill, please.

*If you have enjoyed the meal, to say “잘 먹었습니다” [jal meogeoseumnida] or “음식이 맛있었습니다” [eomshigi mashiseoseomnida] are phrases to express your appreciation. But in case you find it difficult to remember these phrases, a simple thank you “감사합니다”[kamsahamnida] will absolutely suffice.

Shopping phrases in Korean

Traveling around might give one the chance to buy something for collections, souvenirs and / or presents for their loved ones left back home. Here are some common phrases you will find handy.

Korean PhrasesPronunciationTranslation
영업중이세요?Yeong-eop joong iseyo?Are you open?
(목도리) 작고 있어.(moktori) dzakko isseoyo.I’m looking for a (scarf).
돌려보고 만 있을게요,
감사합니다!
Dolyeobogo man iseulgeyo, kamsahamnida!I’m just looking around, thanks!
입어봐도 될까요?Ibeobwado dwelkkayo?Could I try this on?
이것은 …. 있어요?Igeoseun …. iseoyo?Do you have this in…?
큰 사이즈Keun sayzA bigger size
작은 사이즈Jaggeun sayzA smaller size
프리 사이즈Peuri sayzFree size
다른 색Dareun saekDifferent color
환불 해도 되요?Hwanbool hedo dweyo?Could I return this, please?
카드로 결제 가능해요?Kadeuro gyeolche kaneungheyo?Can I pay by card?
줄 서계세요?Jool seo gyeseyo?Are you in the queue
비싸다bisadaIt’s pricey / expensive
싸다, 괜찮네 Sada, kwenchaneIt’s cheap, not bad.
저 할인 받을수 있어요?Jeo harin badeulsoo iseoyo?Do I get a discount?

Signs a traveler might see while shopping in Korea

점심 시간Jeomsim siganLunch break
품절poomjeolSold out
할인 중Harin joongOn sale
할인 기간Harin giganSale period
외출 중입니다Wechool joong imnida(owner/seller) is out.

Korean Phrases for Assistance or Emergencies

In any case, whether for personal or for someone else’s benefit, knowing what to say or who to look for help is a sign of wisdom.

저의 수하물을 어디에서 청구할 수 있습니까?Jeoyi soohamooreul eodi-eseo cheonggoo hal soo iseumnikka?Where can I claim my baggage?
____-이/는 어디에 있어요?______(i/neun) eodi-e iseoyo?Where is the ______?
대사관DaesagwanEmbassy
고객 서비스 데스크Gogaek seobiseu deseukeuCustomer service desk
경찰관GyeongchalgwanPolice station
병원ByeongwonHospital
약국YakgookPharmacy
은행EunhaengBank
비상구bisanggooEmergency exit
방송국bangsonggookBroadcast station
통역사 볼러 주시겠어요?Tongyeoksa boleo joosigeseoyo?Can I speak to an interpreter?
의사 필요해요.Euysa pilyohaeyo.I need a doctor.
구급차 불러 주세요!Googeupcha boleo jooseyo!Please call an ambulance.
적어 주시겠어요?Jeogeo joosigeseoyo?Can you write that down for me?
길을 잃은 것 같아요.Gireul ireunggeot katayo.I think I’m lost.
저 지금 어디에 있는지 지도에서 보여 주시겠어요?Jeo jigeum eodi-e ineunji jido-eseo boyo joosigeseoyo?Can you show me on the map where I am now?
어지러워요.Eojireowoyo.I feel dizzy.
나는 (땅콩)에 알레르기가있어요.Naneun (tangkong)-e alereugiga iseoyo.I am allergic to (peanut).
이 번호로 전화해 주세요.i beonhoro jeonhwahe jooseyo.Please call this number for me.
전 (미국) 사람 입니다.Jeon (migook) saram imnida.I am an (American) citizen.
(미국 대사관)에 전화해 주세요.(migook daesagwan)-e jepnhwahe jooseyo.Please call the (US) embassy.

Different countries and their Korean terms

USA미국Migook
England영국Yeonggook
France프랑스Peurangseu
Germany독일Dogil
Canada캐나다Kaenada
Australia호주Hojoo
China중국Joonggook
Japan일본ilbon
Taiwan대만Daeman
South Africa남 아프리카Nam Apeurika

*Please note that not only England but other British countries are also called as “영국” [Yeonggook] in Korean. 

Basic Korean Phrases For Beginners

Korean Greetings

Here are some greetings used when meeting the person for the first time.

Korean PhrasesPronunciationTranslation
안녕 / 안녕 하세요!Annyeong /annyeonghaseyoHi / hello
좋은 아침입니다!Johon achimimnida!Good morning!
안녕 하세요!Annyeonghaseyo!Good afternoon!
안녕 하세요!Annyeonghaseyo!Good evening!
잘 지내세요?Jal jinaeseyo?How are you doing?
반갑습니다!bann-gapseumnida!Nice to meet you!
이야기 많이 들었어요!Iyagi mani deureoseoyo!I’ve heard a lot about you!
드디어 만났네요!Deudiyeo mananneyo!We’ve finally met!
실례해도되겠습니까?Silyehaedo dwegeseumnikka?Can I bother you for a bit?
잠시만요, 뭐 좀 물어봐도 될까요?Jamsimanyo, mwo jom mooreobwoado dwelkkayo?Excuse me, can I ask you something?

The Korean word “annyeonghaseyo” can be used in different situations, while English greetings include specific time like morning, afternoon and evening, Korean greetings use annyeonghaseyo as a  general greeting word. Since we are aware of what time it is, it seems to be unnecessary to indicate the time while greeting someone. 

좋은 아침 is actually derived from the English word “good morning”, originally when somebody young wakes up and greet an elder in the morning. The greetings are “안녕히 주무셨어요? [annyeonghi jumusyeoseoyo] which means “did you sleep well”. When somebody older greets someone younger, whether it is morning or after a nap time, the greetings are “잘 잤어?” [ jal jaseo]. 

Although ” '' can also be used as “”, it cannot be used to say goodbye. on the other hand is possible to be used as “” but not annyeonghaseyo.

Aside from that, all greetings in the morning or anytime in the day, can be expressed by saying “annyeonghaseyo”.

Annyeonghaseyohi / hello. 
Annyeong hi, hello and goodbye

Saying your farewell greetings in Korean

Korean PhrasesPronunciationTranslation
안녕!
안녕히 계세요
안녕히 가세요
잘 가


잘 있어
Annyeong! (informal)
Annyeonghi gyeseyo!(frml)
Annyeonghi gyeseyo!(frml)
Jal ga! (casual)


Jal isseo (casual)
Bye! / goodbye!
Said when leaving.
Said to somebody leaving.
Said to a friend or somebody leaving younger than the speaker.
Said by someone leaving to somebody younger.
또 뵈요!
또 보자!
Tto bweyo! (informal)
Tto boja! (casual)
See you around!
있다가 봐요!Itdaga bwayo!See you later!
또 만나서면 좋겠네요!Tto mannaseomyeon johkeneyo!I hope to see you again!
잘 있으세요!Jariseoseyo!Stay safe!
건강하세요!Geon-ganghaseyo!Be in good health!
나 이제 가야 됐어요Na ije gayadweseoyo.It’s time for me to go!
항상 행복하세요!Hangsang haengbokhaseyo!Always be happy!
보고싶을거야!Bogoshipeulkeoya!I’ll miss you!
만나서 반가웠어요!Mannaseo ban-gawoseoyoIt’s nice knowing you!

*Please note that the above words of hello are different from the word used when answering a phone. Because the Korean word “Hello” in a phone conversation is “여보세요?” [yeoboseyo?]

Simple communicative phrases for beginners

Introducing oneself

제 이름은 ____ 입니다.Je ireumeun ____imnida.My name is _______.
전 _____에서 왔어요.Jeon ____-eseo waseoyo.I am from ______.
여기가 제 처음이야.Yeogiga je cheo-eumiya.It’s my first time here.
전 학생입니다.Jeon haksaeng imnida.I am a student.
전 사업자 입니다.Jeon sa-eobja imnida.I am a businessman.
나는 관광객입니다.Naneun gwan-gwang-gaek
imnida.
I am a tourist.
잘 지내자!Jal jinaeja!I hope we get along well.
귀찮게해서 미안해요.Kwechanke heseo miyanheyo.I am sorry to bother you.
도아주셨어 감사합니다!Dowajoosyeoseo kamsahamnida.Thank you for assisting me.
나랑 친구 할래?Narang ching-goo hale?Can you be my friend?
잘 부탁해요!Jal bootakheyo!Please bear with me.

Conclusion

I hope I have covered the most important details especially for travelers. If there is anything important that I have left out, please, do remind me. And for beginners, you can practice your pronunciation through these phrases and broaden your Korean vocabularies.

Please don’t forget to share with everyone, especially those you know who will travel and visit South Korea soon. Also share on Facebook, twitter, Instagram or email to your family and friends. Share! Share! Share!  Thank you so much!

Nie Ae is a Filipina by blood but is now bearing a Korean citizenship and residing in South Korea. She is a Christian missionary, writer, translator, and more than 10 years ESL teacher to Korean nationals.

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