With these top Korean phrases that a traveller to Korea should know, your trip will surely go smoother!
Korean phrases you should know before travelling to South Korea
Travelling is one of the brightest experiences of our life. It is essential when it comes to changing your outlook for the better. Thus, the more countries you visit, the more foreign cultures you immerse into – the more developed your views will become.
The so-called Korean Wave – the grow of global popularity of South Korean culture – is a direct proof of increased recognition of the uniqueness and richness of Asian art and society. No wonder so many travellers are eager to come to the South Korea nowadays to see with their own eyes the richness of its culture and architecture.
My best friend, after attending BTS (popular South Korean boys band) concert, strongly decided to learn Korean language in order to pursue her dream of visiting South Korea.
It’s important to remember that Korean is an isolated language and doesn’t belong to any known language group.
Moreover, both North and South Korea has its own official writing system called hangul with specific hieroglyphs. That is why it’s always good to take Korean lessons if you can.
Nevertheless, to learn these top phrases that a traveller to Korea should know will be a great start of your journey.
Top Korean Phrases for Greeting and Pleasantries
A good education is valued throughout the world. As in any oriental country, Korean people bow a lot, whether they greet or say goodbye, ask for a favour, thank for something or express their respect.
In Korean culture, politeness and age hierarchy play a huge role. It is also crucial to keep direct eye-to-eye contact, as it is another way to show your respect for the interlocutor.
- Hello – 안녕하세요– (ahn-nyung-ha-se-yo)
- Nice to meet you. – 반갑습니다– (bahn-gap-seup-ni-da)
- How are you? – 어떻게 지내세요?– (uh-dduh-keh ji-neh-seh-yo?)
- I am fine. – 잘 지내요– (jal-ji-neh-yo)
- My name is… – 제 이름은… – (jeh ee-reum-un)
- (informal) – 안녕– (ahn-nyung)
- (you are leaving) – 안녕히 계세요– (ahn-nyung-hee geh-seh-yo)
- (other person is leaving) – 안녕히 가세요– (ahn-nyung-hee gah-seh-yo)
- Thank you. (formal) – 감사합니다– (gam-sa-ham-ni-da)
- Thank you. (less formal) – 고맙습니다– (go-mahp-seup-ni-da)
- You’re welcome. (formal) – 천만에요– (chun-mahn-eh-yo)
- It’s nothing. (= you’re welcome) – 아닙니다– (ah-nib-nee-da)
- Excuse me. (polite) – 실례합니다– (shil-leh-hap-nee-da)
- Wait a moment. (= excuse me) – 잠시만요– (jam-shi-mahn-yo)
Top Korean Phrases for Navigating and Asking for Directions
Even if your Korean language level is pretty high, it’s necessary to remember that most of the native speakers talk quite fast – you may miss or didn’t get any word pronounced!
Fortunately, the prevailing majority of Korean natives can speak English. But no worries, there are some helpful ‘navigating’ phrases a traveller to Korea should know.
- I’m lost. – 길을 잃었어요– (gil-eul ilh-uht-suh-yo)
- Do you know where … is? – … 어디인지 아세요? – (…uh-di-eehn-ji ah-seh-yo?)
- Please take me to … – … (으)로 가주세요– (ih-roh gah-ju-seh-yo)
- I don’t speak Korean well. – 한국말 잘 못해요– (hahn-guhk-mal jal moht-heh-yo)
- Do you speak English? – 영어 할 수 있어요?– (yung-uh hal su-eet-suh-yo?)
- Please speak slowly. – 천천히 말씀해 주세요– (chun-chun-hee mal-sseum-heh ju-seh-yo)
- Left / right / straight. – 왼쪽– (oen-jjok) / 오른쪽 – (oh-reun-jjok) / 직진 – (jik-jjin)
Top Korean Phrases for Dining Out
South Korea is a gastronomical paradise, which cuisine is mostly based on rice, vegetables, noodles and meats. There is an impressive number of soups and snacks, while soy sauce and sesame oil considered the main dressings.
Yet, Korean cuisine may appear to be too exotic for European and American consumers. Planning a trip to Korea, you need to be fully aware of your food preferences and allergens as well.
Next helpful Korean phrases will come in handy if you want to safely enjoy the variety of Korean dishes.
- Please give me … – … 주세요– (… ju-seh-yo)
- Menu, please. – 메뉴 주세요– (meh-nyu ju-seh-yo)
- Bill, please. – 계산서 주세요 –(keh-san-suh ju-seh-yo)
- Please wrap. / It’s to-go. – 싸 주세요– (ssa ju-seh-yo)
- I have an allergy. – 저 알러지 있어요– (juh ahl-luh-ji eet-suh-yo)
Top Korean Phrases for Shopping
Korean fashion sets its own trends, now being recognized by every fashionmonger in the world. Korean fashion style is practical, comfy and vivid, with its clothes executed in bright and pleasant pale colors and with lovely prints.
These days, Korean style is in great demand, just like famous Korean cosmetics. The latter is widely known for their top-quality and effectiveness, not to mention their attractive appeal.
If you are determined to raid Korean stores and get yourself some high-end Asian products, these Korean phrases for shopping will be of immeasurable help to you.
- Do you have …? – _____있어요? – (eess-uh-yo?)
- How much is it? – 얼마에요?– (uhl-mah-eh-yo?)
- Do you take credit cards? – 카드 받으세요?– (kah-deu bat-euh-seh-yo?)
- Please give me a refund. – 환불해 주세요– (hwan-bul-heh ju-seh-yo)
- Please give me an exchange. – 교환해 주세요– (gyo-hwan-heh ju-seh-yo)
South Korea is a whole different world due to its culture, fashion, and cuisine. With a little knowledge of its native language, your travelling experience in Korea will go a longer way!
In case you want the best hotel deals in Seoul, I got it covered. 😉
Read other posts about Korea:
- What to Do, See and Eat in Busan, South Korea in 3 Days
- Where to Stay in Busan, South Korea
- 7 Incredible Photography Locations In Busan, South Korea
- What to eat in Sapporo? These Glorious Food!
- Winter Items You Can’t Live Without