Asking for Directions in China

When you’re in China, you will surely need to get around to different places. You might want to see the different beautiful sights, or you may want to try different delicious Chinese cuisine at different restaurants. But how will you get to these places? When you need to know where certain places or, or in case you get lost, how do you ask for directions?

To figure out where you are and how to get somewhere, you will need to ask someone who knows the way. So, it’s important to know how to ask for this information in Chinese.


First, confirm your own locationso that you are sure that you know where you are.

Chinese Pinyin English
方向 fāngxiàng direction
街口 jiē kǒu street corner
地图 dìtú map
jiē street
大道 dàdào avenue


Look at your 地图. You can see that you are in 中山路. You can say 我在中山路(wǒ zài Zhōngshān lù), which means that “I’m on Zhongshan Road.” But you want to get to the museum, and you don’t know where it is.


When you try to ask someone nearby for directions, you may face a conversation like this:

A: 您好,请问博物馆在哪里?(Nínhǎo,qǐng wèn bówùguǎn zài nǎlǐ?) Excuse me, where is the museum?

B: 在前边。(Zài qiánbian.) In the front.

A: 怎么走?(Zěnme zǒu ?) How to get there?

B: 从人民路往西走,在中国银行的前边。(Cóng Rénmín lù wǎng xī zǒu, zài Zhōngguó Yínháng de qiánbian.) Go west from Renmin Road, in front of the bank of China.

A: 谢谢你。(Xièxie nǐ.) Thank you.

B: 不客气。(Búkèqi.) You are welcome.

You will also need to learn some words of location so that you can identify where places are:

For examples:Above are examples of various words of location, which make up a subclass of nouns. As you can see, you have the option of using just qian, qian + mian or qian + bian. Qian can actually be used for anything in front of you. They can serve as sentence elements such as subjects, objects, and attributives. When used as attributives, they are normally linked with the headword “的(de)”.

东边的房间 (dōngbian de fángjiān) the room on the east side

前边的商店 (qiánbian de shāngdiàn) in front of the shop

中国银行的前边 (Zhōngguó yínháng de qiánmian) in front of The Bank of China.


Let’s study the structure:

N1 + 在 + N2 + 的 + ~ 边/面

For examples:

博物馆在银行的前面。(Bówùguǎn zài yínháng de qiánmian.)

The museum is in front of the bank.

邮局在公园的西边。(Yóu jú zài gōngyuán de xībian.)

The post office is to the west of the park.

Once you learn these words and how to use them in conversation, you will be able to travel in China much more easily and confidently. Most of the people you will meet are very polite and the majority of them will be happy – sometimes even enthusiastic – to help. Don’t be afraid to ask your way around! Come on over, and let’s meet up in China!