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Basic Korean Phrases You Need To Learn before Traveling to South Korea

By Two Monkeys Travel - Contributor July 25th, 2020 Posted in Asia Travel Blog, Travel Blog No comments

For KPop or KDrama lovers, South Korea is a dream destination. A lot of people learn South Korea’s Language – Hangeul to be able to read, speak, or sing basic Korean language or popular Kpop Songs. However, learning Basic Korean Phrases can be very helpful in your travel.

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Though many Koreans have been learning English, through ESL schools in their country or abroad (e.g. the Philippines). The older generation, those in remote areas or those that haven’t gone through it may not respond to you or understand your question.

This article will help you in South Korea travel, I have listed common phrases and questions we tend to use while traveling. As a person not a native of English, I tend to appreciate people who try to speak our language, so learn a few phrases, if not all, and see a smile from a South Korean.

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Here are basic Korean phrases for your South Korea trip including Greetings, Introduction, Basic Responses, Accommodation, Transportation, Food, Emergency and practical terms that will be helpful in your travel in South Korea.

Korean 101

Korean uses Hangul which is easy to memorize. It’s written with lines and circles; you read it by checking where the positions are and it’s combinations. However, the language as a whole is pretty difficult.

한글 – Hangeul or Hangul

The word order in Korean is Subject-Object-Verb (e.g. I food eat) unlike English which is Subject-Verb-Object (e.g. I eat food.)

If you don’t know the whole sentence, you may combine Korean words with English and the person you are talking to might get what you are trying to say.

Koreans are also a “bowing” country, so greeting when greeting them – you can do a head bow or 15-degree bow.


Here are the basic greetings, you can do this with a head bow or a 15-degree bow.

Annyeonghaseyo (Annyeong) – Hi. Hello. (casual)

Jo-eun achimimnida – Good Morning

Jo-eun jeonyeogimnida – Good Evening

Jo-eun bamimnida – Good Night

Annyeong (informal) – Good Bye

Eotteoke jinaeshimnikka – How are you?

Jal jinamnida, kamshamnida – I am fine, thank you


Shill(ydd)e hamnida – Excuse Me. (to get someone’s attention)

Nanuen … – I am …

or Je ireumeun … imnida  – My name is …

Naneun … chulsin-ida – I am from …

Naneun … e sanda – I live in …

Naneun (country) salam-ibnida – I am (nationality).

(Example: Naneun Pilipin salam-ibnida – I am Filipino)

Basic Responses

Ye/Ne – Yes

Anio – No

Amado – Maybe

Jeongmal – Really?

Butakambida – Please

Kamsahamnida – Thank You

Cheonmanimnida – You are Welcome


Dangsin-eun yeong eoleulhasibnikka – Do You Speak English?

Hangug-eo – Korean

Ihaega an dwaeyo – I understand

Ihaega an gamnida – I don’t understand

Naneun hangug-eoleul ihae haji moshanda – I don’t understand Korean.

Naneun hangug-eoleul jogeumhabnida – I speak a little Korean.

Dasi hanbeon malhae juspsio – Please say it again

Cheoncheonhi malhae jusipsio – Slowly, please

Yeogie yeong-eoreul hasineun bun gyesimnikka – Is there someone who speaks English?

…-eun hangungmallo eotteoke malham nikka – How to say … in Korean?

Directions and Places

Eodiimnikka – Where?

Example: Hwajangsiri eodi-e isseumnikka – Where is the toilet?

gichayeok – Train Station

gonghang  – Airport

beoseu jeongnyujang – Bus station

hotel –  Hotel

byeong-won – Hospital

pyeon-uijeom – Convenience Store

Syoping senteo – Mall or Shopping Centre

… ro ga jusipsio – Take me to …, please

…-kkaji eolmana meol-eoyo – How far is it to …

…-kkaji eolmana geollibnikka – How long does it take to …

…-e garyeomyeon eotteoke haeya hamnikka – How do I get to ..?

…gichayeog-euloganeun gil – Which way is the train station?

oreunjjok – Right

oenjjok – Hidari

gojjang gasipsio – Straight ahead

…ro ganeunpyoga eolmaimnikka – One ticket to …, please


Bang isseumnikka  – Do you have any rooms available?

1-paku wa ikura desu ka – How much is one night?

…bam mukgesseumnida – I will stay for … night/s.


… saram teibeul butakamnida – A table for … person(s), please.

Menyureul bwao doegesseumnikka – Can I see the menu, please?

i sigdang-ui jeonmunjeom-eun mueos-ibnikka – What is the specialty of the Restaurant?

Naneun hangug eumsig-eul meoggo sip-eo – I want to eat Korean food

Naneun …-eul meogji anhneunda – I don’t eat ….

masiji – drink

Gogi (doaejigogi, sogogi, dalgogi) – Meat (pork, chicken, beef)

Saengseon – Fish

Haemul – seafood

Maekju – Beer

mul jom ju sigess-eoyo – May I have water, please.

Geonbae! – Cheers!

Gyesanseo butakamnida –The check, please?


Eolmanayo? – How much?

Igeoseun eolmayeyo – How much is this?

Igeoseuro je saijeuwa manneun geot isseumnikka – Do you have this in my size

Sin-yong kadeu badseubnikka – Do you accept credit card?

Hwan-yul-eun eolmaibnikka – What is the exchange rate?

Jeoneun … ipilyohamnda – I need …

uihag – medicine

eumsig – food

eumlyosu – drinks

ginyeompum – souvenirs


Josimhaseyo! – Help.

Dangshin-ui doumi pilyohamnida – I need your help

gyeongchal-eul bulleo – Call the Police

Gireul ireosseumnida – I’m lost.

Gabang-eul ireosseumnida – I lost my bag.

Apeumnida – I am sick.

Uisaga piryohamnida – I need a doctor.

… daesagwan e iyagihago sipseumnida – I want to talk to (country) Embassy.


Here is the basic general number system used in Korea, there is also another one used; it is for counting

il – One

i – Two

sam – Three

sa– Four

o  – Five

yuk – Six

chil – Seven

pal – Eight

gu – Nine

ship – Ten

sib-il – Eleven

i-sib-i – Twenty Two

baek – One Hundred

cheon – One Thousand

man – Ten Thousand

Other terms that Maybe of Use

je sajin-eul jjig-eojuseyo – please take my picture

sajin jjig-eodo doelkkayo – can I take pictures?

naega iblyeog hal su issseubnida – can I enter?

ibgyneun eodie – where is the entrance?

Yeppeuda – Beautiful

Basic Korean Phrases You Need To Learn before Traveling to South Korea

Bookmark this article and use these Basic Korean Phrases for your travel in South Korea. Who knows, you might meet your idol and get to say hello in person! Plus, learning the basic phrases of the Korean language will be a great way to experience conversing with locals. Happy travels!

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Written by Two Monkeys Travel - Contributor

Two Monkeys Travel Group – Community Travel Blog is a travel blog and website. We quickly grew into a valuable source of inspiring travel stories, advice, itineraries and travel guides, with the aim of demonstrating how to live a sustainable life of travel, whilst living your own definition of success. If you'd like to contribute and write a guest post, contact us at [email protected]