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From my friends over at Learn Mandarin Now… they have given you some important basic Chinese to get you started on learning the #1 most spoken language in the world. Enjoy!

If you want to learn Mandarin for a trip to China, you may be wondering what are the most important phrases you should learn.  Here are ten of the most important Chinese phrases for travelers.  Use any of these phrases while you’re in China to get you started learning about the culture. For more Mandarin learning tips, feel free to visit our blog Learn Mandarin Now(insert link:


  •  ‘Too expensive':   Tai Gui Le  太贵了

This phrase is an absolute must for haggling in the market.  Don’t forget to add in a few dramatic gestures to emphasize your point.  If you haven’t quite learned your numbers, most shopkeepers keep a calculator handy and they will be happy to enter the price and show the display.

  •  ‘I don’t understand':    Ting Bu Dong  听不懂

This single phrase will help you out in a variety of situations.  If you’re in a situation that requires further communication, the other person will go in search of someone who understands English.

  •  ‘No hot pepper':  Bu Yao La Jiao  不要辣椒

There are a number of places in China, especially Hunan or Sichuan Province, where they really like their spicy foods.  In places like this, this phrase is vital

  •  ‘Excuse me’ (‘let me by’):   Qing Rang Yi Xia  请让一下

China is quite crowded and occasionally you may find yourself needing to get past people.  This is the polite way to ask them to move so you may pass.

  •  ‘Where’s the bathroom?':  Ce Suo Zai Na Li   厕所在哪里?

Is there anywhere in the world that this would not be a helpful phrase?

  •  ‘Please don’t smoke':  Qing Bu Yao Chou Yan 请不要抽烟

Many Chinese people smoke, and non-smoking signs are often ignored.  This phrase can come in handy if you’re in a no-smoking area and someone lights up, especially if you don’t smoke.

  •  ‘Thank you':  Xie Xie  谢谢

Being polite is important and Thank you is an important polite phrase.  There are several ways to say Thank you in Chinese, but this is the one used most often.

  •  ‘Hello':  Ni Hao   你好

This is certainly a useful phrase, but you might be surprised that it’s just as common to greet someone by asking whether they’ve eaten.

  •  ‘How much is it?':   Duo Shao Qian?  多少钱?

Obviously, you’re going to use this phrase before you complain it’s too expensive.

  •  ‘No, no, you needn’t':  Bu Yong, Bu Yong   不用,不用

Chinese people have a tendency to go overboard with hospitality, especially with foreigners and it’s up to you to not take advantage.  Even when you do accept a generous gesture from a Chinese person, it’s polite to demur, at least verbally.

Learning these phrases is a great way to start out with learning Chinese(insert link: and will help you get around the country while you expand your horizons.


The Great Fire Wall of China has struck again…... 7 years ago when I arrived in China .. I was able to access Facebook , twitter and you tube… and a brief six months that was blocked by the Chinese Firewall, due to information being leaked out that was not showing China in a favorable light..   I was actually okay with that for a while because I wasn’t an avid fan of the three websites.

Everything has been fine until the most recent blockage.   The All Mighty Google.   Yep, Google has been blocked in Mainland China.  My heart is broken…. I am a great fan of Google, I often refer to Dr. Google for all my medical questions, and any other research I might need.  Now that it is blocked it makes life a bit difficult for us expats that depend on it.


It seems that  this all happened on anniversary of Tiananmen Square that recently past and Google decided to show a memorial tribute to it on their search page.   I often see the different memorials or celebrations that are shown on this page and I did not think much of it.   However, China leaders did not like to be reminded of the incident.  As a matter of fact, it is not in the history books, nor is it taught in school at any level.  It is the incident that must never be mentioned.  In the powers that be’s eyes, it never happened.

Yep, it seems they can just cut out the parts of history that is not  “politically correct”.   I find this ridiculous myself…. how would people feel if we cut slavery or the Indian massacres out of our American history?  Needless to say, Google over stepped their bounds again in this country and evidently it was the last straw. They have been booted out of China for their audacity of showing a memorial of a horrible massacre that happened in the real history of China.

Now the only way to access Google, or Google mail is through a VPN or Proxy server.  However, they can not be downloaded directly in China unless you have a friend with a VPN or Proxy already that can help you.   There are free servers however they are not stable and when the government does a sweep of the illegal VPN they get knocked out first.  I personally use a paid VPN and I have chosen one that is used by the locals.  If anybody knows how to get over the firewall of China its going to be a native.

Strangely enough, you can access it on your cell phone, maybe they have not figured out how to block that yet.

So, Heads up if you’re coming to China…. Google has left the building… or country I should say.   You are stuck with Mr. Bing (bing) or Ms. Yahoo (yahoo)… unless you want to use the Chinese produced search engine

Also, although you have installed a proxy to sneak over the wall….. there are still chances that it just may not work.   FYI, has now been blocked even with a proxy…. but I think that was done on the American side.  Life in China … always filled with challenges you need to overcome.


until next time….

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