Useful Korean Phrases and Words for Travelers

If you’re planning to visit South Korea, I highly recommend learning some basic Korean to make the most of your trip.

English is not widely spoken in South Korea, although you have better luck in Seoul. So, without knowing some basic words, especially in suburban areas, you may run into some problems.

What Korean phrases and words should you learn before traveling? Check the following vocabulary list!

Korean phrases and words travel.

Useful Korean Greetings and Phrases

Let’s start with the basic Korean greetings and phrases. In this section, you can learn how to say “hello,” “yes,” “no,” “thank you,” and more.

안녕하세요 (an-nyeong-ha-se-yo)Hello
반갑습니다 (ban-gap-sum-ni-da)Nice to meet you
저는 ___ 입니다 (jo-neun ___ im-ni-da )My name is
안녕히 가세요 (an-nyeong-hi-ka-se-yo)Bye
잘자요 (jal-ja-yo)Good night
네 (ne)yes
아니요 (a-ni-yo)no
감사합니다 (kam-sa-ham-ni-da)thank you
미안합니다 (mi-an-ham-ni-da)sorry
천만에요 (cheonman-eyo)You’re welcome
실례합니다 (shil-leh-hap-nee-da)excuse me
잠시만요 (jam-shi-man-yo)excuse me/ Wait a moment
주세요 (ju-se-yo)please
사랑해요 (sa-lang-hae-yo)I love you

In case you need help

How to ask for help in Korean? Here are some phrases and words that you can use in case of emergency.

For emergencies, you can call the police by dialing 112 or the fire department at 119. To connect with the nearest hospital, call 1339.

길을 잃었어요 (gil-eul ilh-uht-suh-yo)I’m lost
도와주세요! (doh-oah-ju-seh-yo!)Help!
긴급 상황이에요 (gin-geup-sahng-hwang-ee-eh-yo)It’s an emergency
경찰 (kyung-chal)Police
경찰을 부르세요 (kyung-chal-eul bu-reu-seh-yo)Call the police
병원 (byung-uon)Hospital
의사가 필요해요 (uie-sah-gah pil-yo-he-yo)I need a doctor
잘 모르겠네요 (jal mo-reu-geht-neh-yo)I don’t understand
한국말 잘 못해요 (hahn-guhk-mal jal moht-heh-yo)I can’t speak Korean well
영어 할 수 있어요? (yung-uh hal su-eet-suh-yo?)Can you speak English?

How to ask for directions in Korea

Here are some useful Korean phrases to navigate around.

__ 어디인지 아세요? (__uh-di-eehn-ji ah-seh-yo?)Do you know where__?
화장실이 어디예요? (hwa-jang-shil-ee uh-di-eh-yo?)Where is the restroom?
왼쪽 (oen-jjok) / 오른쪽 (oh-reun-jjok) / 직진 (jik-jjin)left / right / straight
__(으)로 가주세요 (ih-roh gah-ju-seh-yo)Please go to…

Important locations in Korean

Here are some must-known words in Korean for location and places.

공항 (gonghang)Airport
기차역(gichayeok)Train station
버스정류장(beoseujeongryujang)Bus station
지하철역(jihacheoryeok)Subway station
경찰서(gyeongchalseo)Police station
식 당 (sikdang)Restaurant
빵집 (ppangjib)Bakery
커피숍 (keopisyop)Coffee shop
슈퍼마켓 (syupeomakes)Supermarket
시장 (sijang)Market
가게 (ga-gye)Store/shop
세탁소 (saetakso)Laundry
극장 (geukjang)Movie theater
미술관 (misul gwan)Art Gallery/ Art Museum
박 물관 (bakmulgwan))Museum
우체국 (ychaegook)Post Office
은행 (eun-haeng)Bank
서점 (seojeom)Book store
사진관 (sajingwan)Photo Studio
병원 (beongwon)Hospital
약국 (yakgook)Pharmacy

Korean dining vocabulary

South Korea is a food lovers’ paradise. You can find many delicious street food vendors on every corner. To learn more, check my article on Korean food.

Below are some basic phrases to help you order food in restaurants.

메뉴 주세요 (meh-nyu ju-seh-yo)Menu, please?
추천해주실 만한거 있어요? (chucheonhaejusil manhangeo iss-eoyo?)Do you have anything you can recommend?
저 알러지 있어요 (juh ahl-luh-ji eet-suh-yo)I have allergies
맵지 않게 해주세요 (maebji anhge haejuseyo)Please don’t make it spicy
물 좀 주세요 (muljom juseyo)Please give me some water
__주세요 (__ ju-seh-yo)Give me __
계산서 주세요 (keh-san-suh ju-seh-yo)Check, please
싸 주세요 (ssa ju-seh-yo)Please wrap / It’s to-go
배고파 (bae-go-pa)I’m hungry
잘 먹겠습니다 (jal meok-ges-seum-ni-da)I’ll eat well (say before eating)
이거 맛있어요 (Igeo mas-iss-eoyo)It’s tasty
잘 먹었습니다 (Jal meo-geoss-seum-ni-da)Thanks for the meal


If you’re looking to buy something or bring souvenirs back from South Korea, here are15 Korean shopping phrases to score you the best deals. 

__ 있어요? (iss-seo-yo?)Do you have …?
얼마예요 (ol-ma-ye-yo)How much is it?
이거 주세요 (igeo juseyo)Please give me this
깎아주세요 (kka-kka-ju-se-yo)Please give me a discount
카드 돼요? (kadeu dwaeyo?)Can I pay with a credit card?
입어봐도 되나요? (ib-eobwado doenayo?)Can I wear it?
더 큰/작은 사이즈 있어요? (
deo keun/jageun saijeu isseoyo?)
Is there a bigger/smaller size?
__색 있어요? (__saeg iss-eo-yo?)Do you have this in [color]?
봉투에 넣어 주세요 (bongtue neoeo juseyo)Put it in a bag
영수증 주세요 (yeong-su-jeung chu-seh-yo)Please give me a receipt.
세금 포함돼요? (segeum pohamdwaeyo?)Is tax included?
교환 가능해요? (gyohwan ganeunghaeyo?)Can it be exchanged?
환불 가능해요? (hwanbul ganeunghaeyo?)Can I have a refund?
좀 더 생각해볼게요 (jom deo saeng-gaghaebolgeyo)I will think about it

Tips for learning Korean

If you’re still new to the Korean language, you may feel overwhelmed at first. I recommend using Quizlet for flashcards. You can learn and test your vocabulary with Quizlet so it’ll be handy for your travel. 

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