Visiting Taiwan is a wonderful experience. The scenery is amazing, the food is delicious, and the people are incredibly friendly. However, most tourists encounter one obstacle on their trip to Taiwan – the language. So to help you along, here are some useful phrases to have you speaking like a local.
Mandarin takes a lot of practice to perfect, with the various tones of the language causing students the most difficulty. However, when tourists attempt to speak these useful phrases, locals are often impressed with their efforts and may even offer an impromptu language lesson on the side of the street.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Ni hao – Hello
(pronounced nee how)
The most basic of phrases that every tourist should learn no matter where they travel. This is the shortened version of Ni Hao Ma? that means ‘How are you?’ It’s a great ice-breaker and can be used to greet anyone in any situation.
Xie xie – Thanks
(pronounced shh-yeah shh-yeah)
It always pays to be polite, and everyone from wait staff to the doorman at the hotel will appreciate the effort. You can also try Xie Xie Ni (shh-yeah shh-yeah nee) which means ‘thank you.’
Chi bao le ma? – Have you eaten?
(pronounced chi bow le ma? – chi as in chip, bow rhymes with how)
This is a common greeting in Taiwan, and the person greeting you usually doesn’t expect an answer regarding the fullness of your belly. They just want to know how you are. It’s a very Taiwanese thing to say, and you’ll sound just like a local when using it.
Ting bu dong – I don’t understand
(pronounced ting boo dong)
This is a great help when the local shopkeeper or the waiter in a restaurant asks you a question, and you have no idea what they are saying. This is especially useful if you have greeted someone with chi bao le ma? only to find that the person you are speaking to thinks you have excellent Mandarin.
Duo shao qian? – How much? ($)
(pronounced d-wo shaow chi-yen)
The first two words in this phrase mean how much, while the third means money. This is, of course, useful when you go to night markets and anywhere that you might have to pay money, which – if we’re honest – is pretty much anywhere.
Zhe ge – This one
Once again, this is useful in night markets and restaurants when you want to point out something that you want.
Bu hao yisi – Pardon me
(pronounced boo how ee si – si as in sit)
This doesn’t really translate as excuse me or anything even remotely like it, but locals use it all the time when they bump into someone or if they are trying to squeeze past on the MRT.
Mei you wen ti – No problem
(pronounced may yo wen tee)
If someone bumps into you or the store owner doesn’t have what you’re looking for, this phrase is a polite way of letting them know that it doesn’t bother you at all.
Tones mean everything in Mandarin, but don’t worry about it too much as a tourist. Locals will appreciate your attempts and will undoubtedly understand what you are trying to say and help you out if you need it.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.