Navigating South Korea with Ease: Basic Korean Expressions for Travelers

Navigating South Korea with Ease: Basic Korean Expressions for Travelers

Traveling to South Korea is an exciting adventure, and while many Koreans speak English in major cities, knowing some basic Korean expressions can go a long way toward enhancing your experience and building connections with the locals. In this blog post, we'll introduce you to essential Korean phrases for greeting, expressing gratitude, apologizing, and asking for help in various situations.


Hello - 안녕하세요 (Annyeonghaseyo): A universal greeting used to start conversations with a warm tone.

Good morning - 좋은 아침입니다 (Joeun achimimnida): Use this in the morning to wish someone a good start to the day.

Good afternoon - 안녕하세요 (Annyeonghaseyo): Suitable for the afternoon and evening.

Good night - 안녕히 주무세요 (Annyeonghi jumuseyo): To wish someone a good night's rest.

Thank you and excuse you

Thank You - 감사합니다 (Gamsahamnida): Express gratitude in every situation, whether you receive a gift or a service.

I'm sorry - 죄송합니다 (Joesonghamnida): Use this to apologize for a mistake or inconvenience.

Excuse me / I'm sorry - 죄송합니다 (Joesonghamnida): This phrase can also be used to politely get someone's attention.

Ask for help

Where is...? - 어디에요? (Eodieyo?): Use this when asking for directions to a specific location, such as "Where is the subway station?"

How much is this? - 이거 얼마에요? (Igeo eolmaeyo?): Useful when shopping to inquire about prices.

Do you speak English? - 영어 할 수 있어요? (Yeongeo hal su isseoyo?): Useful when trying to communicate with someone who might understand English.

Ordering food

Menu, please - 메뉴 주세요 (Menyu juseyo): When you're ready to order in a restaurant.

Water, please - 물 주세요 (Mul juseyo): Asking for a glass of water is common and helpful, especially if you're eating spicy Korean food.

Bus or subway - 버스/지하철 (Beoseu / Jihacheol): When asking about public transportation.

A ticket to [destination] - [목적지] 표 하나 주세요 ([Mokjeokji] pyo hana juseyo): Requesting a ticket to your desired destination.


Help! - 도와주세요! (Dowajuseyo!): In case of emergency, use this to call for help.

Police Station - 경찰서 (Gyeongchalseo): If you need to report an incident, ask for directions to the nearest police station.

Remember, learning a few basic Korean phrases can make your trip to South Korea more enjoyable and help you connect with the locals. Koreans appreciate it when travelers make an effort to communicate in their language, even if it's just a few words. So don't hesitate to try these phrases during your visit to this beautiful and culturally rich country.