Travelling to South Korea, there are essential Korean phrases to learn to make your travel smooth. Here are some essential Korean phrases to help you in a number of different situations, such as when shopping or eating out. These basic Korean phrases are quick and easy to learn but will help you so much.
These essential Korean words and phrases for travellers have been split into 6 different sections to cover the different areas where you might need some Korean when travelling to Korea.
These 6 different sections are as follows:
Now, let’s get started with these first 10 basic Korean phrases.
1: Basic Korean Words & Phrases
Things you’ll need for every conversation
This can be said at any point in the day, and you can reply to this in the same manner. But if you know someone well, you can just say 안녕 (an-nyong). This is considered rude with strangers and older people though, so be careful.
|안녕히 계세요.||(An-nyong-hee gyeh-seh-yo)||Goodbye|
|괜찮아요?||(Gwen-chahn-ah-yo?)||Is this OK?|
|괜찮아요.||(Gwen-chahn-ah-yo)||It’s OK / No problem|
‘OK’, is very flexible and you can use it when you want to say you’re OK, refuse something or ask if it is okay to do something.
괜찮아요? Are you OK?
2: Greetings and Introduction
what to say when you meet someone
These essential Korean phrases for greeting people will really help you stand out.
I have earlier mentioned “Hello’ which is a basic greeting anytime of the day.
|반갑습니다.||(Ban-gap-soom-ni-da)||Nice to meet you.|
|이름이 뭐예요?||(Ee-room-ee mwo-ye-yo?)||What is your name?|
|제 이름은 _ 이에요.||(Jae ee-room-un _ ee-eh-yo)||My name is ____.|
|어떻게 지내세요?||(uh-dduh-keh ji-neh-seh-yo?)||Hope you are fine?|
This is a standard way of asking someone how they have been. It’s used to inquire about a person’s welfare. It is the Korean way of asking “How have you been”?
|잘 지내요?||(Jal jee-nae-yo?)||How are you?|
|잘 지내요.||(jal-ji-neh-yo)||I am fine|
This is a standard response to the question “how are you’?
|영어 할 수 있어요?||(Yong-oh hal su iss-oh-yo?)||Do you speak English?|
|한국말 잘 못해요.||(Han-goog-mal jal mot-hae-yo)||I can’t speak Korean well.|
|천천히 말 해주세요.||(Chon-chon-hee mal hae-ju-seh-yo)||Please speak slowly.|
|좋은 하루 보내세요.||(Jo-un ha-ru bo-nae-seh-yo)||Have a good day.|
|저는 ____ 에서 왔어요.||(Jo-nun ____ eh-so wass-oh-yo)||I’m from ____.|
3: Korean Words when Dining
How to ask for and order stuff
You can’t travel to South Korea and not try the delicious local foods! On every street, you’ll find indoor and outdoor food venues. Ordering food in a Korean restaurant can vary from being really easy to a real challenge. These phrases will help you when you’re up for some dining.
|메뉴 주세요.||(Men-yu ju-seh-yo)||Please give me a menu.|
|영어메뉴가 있나요?||(Yong-oh-men-yu-ga it-na-yo?)||Do you have an English menu?|
|이거 매워요?||(Ee-goh mae-wo-yo?)||Is this spicy?|
|얼마예요?||(Ol-ma-yeh-yo?)||How much is it?|
|싸 주세요.||(ssa ju-seh-yo)||Please wrap / It’s to-go|
|계산서 주세요.||(Gyeh-san-soh ju-seh-yo)||Please give me the bill.|
|잘 먹었습니다.||(Jal moh-goh-ssoom-ni-da)||That was delicious.|
How to use transportation
Travelling in Korea is a lot easier than you might think. Almost all of the signs at the airport, train stations, subways, and on buses, are in English. It is inevitable that you may get lose your way or go off track.
|기차역은 어디예요?||(Gee-cha-yog-eun oh-dee-yeh-yo?)||Where is the train station?|
|화장실이 어디예요?||(Hwa-jang-shil-ee oh-dee-yeh-yo?)||Where is the toilet?|
These are important for when you are asking for directions. You need to memorize them.
|____ 어디예요?||(___ oh-dee-yeh-yo?)||Where is the ____?|
|여기서 세워 주세요.||(Yoh-gee-soh seh-wo-ju-seh-yo)||Please stop here.|
This is useful for when you take a taxi.
5: Korean Phrases to Help You when shopping In Korea’s Markets
Buying and asking about goods
Shopping in Korea will be a lot easier with these essential Korean phrases, whether you are in a department store or trying to buy some Korean street food.
|얼마예요?||(Ol-ma-yeh-yo?)||How much is it?|
This is a Korean word you can use for ordering food, shopping, and so much more. Want to haggle for an item in the market? Just ask ol-ma-yeh-yo?
|깎아 주세요.||(Kka-kka ju-seh-yo.)||Please give me a discount.|
|카드 받으세요?||(Kah-deu bad-euh-seh-yo?)||Do you take credit cards?|
|____ 있어요?||(____ iss-so-yo?)||Do you have ____?|
|교환해 주세요.||(Gyo-hwan-hae ju-seh-yo.)||Please give me an exchange.|
6: Emergencies – Essential Korean Phrases When In Need
What to say when you need help
Hopefully you will never need to use these emergency Korean phrases, but they are here for you just in case.
There are separate numbers for the different emergency services in Korea. Dial 112 to contact the police and 119 for fire and medical emergencies.
This literally means “Give me help,”
|긴급상황이에요!||(Gin-geum-sang-hwang-ee-eh-yo!)||It’s an emergency!|
Whatever the nature of your problem, this phrase will get you rapid assistance.
|어디서 도움을 받을 수 있나요?||(Oh-di-soh doh-oom-eul bad-eul su -itnayo?)||Where can I get help?|
|경찰을 불러주세요.||(Gyong-chal-eul bul-lo-ju-seh-yo.)||Call the police.|
|구급차를 불러주세요.||(Gu-geum-cha-reul bul-loh ju-seh-yo.)||Please call an ambulance.|
|나는 의사가 필요해요.||(Na-neun wi-sa-ga pil-yo-hae-yo.)||I need a doctor.|
|여기가 아파요.||(Yoh-gi-ga ah-pah-yo.)||It hurts here.|
|몸이 아파요.||(mom-ee ah-pah-yo.)||I feel sick.|