Beyond Annyeonghaseyo: 15 Useful Korean Phrases for Travellers

Beyond Annyeonghaseyo: 15 Useful Korean Phrases for Travellers

Get ready to be mistaken for a Korean and impress the locals with these useful Korean phrases on your next trip to Kimchi Land!

Travelling to Korea soon but feeling daunted by the language barrier?

Fret not! Take this as an excuse to learn some useful Korean phrases before you go! While there is an increasing number of young Koreans who can speak English, the majority of the population are only familiar with their native language. Therefore, learning a few words of Korean will prove to go a long way!

On top of the practical benefits that come with knowing the basics of the local language, you’ll find that this is a great way to enhance your travel experience. Ready to impress the locals? Whip out your notebook and start taking notes. If you haven’t booked your flights, book your holiday 90 days in advance to enjoy fares from just S$688 ALL-IN. For a step-by-step booking guide and that extra push, find out why flying on Korean Air might be just the thing to complete your Korea experience!

Greetings

1. Annyeonghaseyo (안녕하세요)

Let’s start with the basics of saying ‘hello’ and ‘thank you’ in Korean. Koreans greet each other by saying, ‘Annyeonghaseyo (안녕하세요). You say this while slightly nodding your head if the person is around the same age as you. If the person you are talking to is much older, make sure you bow down lower to show your respect. If the person you are greeting is younger, a simple ‘Annyeong (안녕)’ will do!

Click here to listen to an audio recording of the phrase.

2. Kamsahamnida (감사합니다)

The Korean language can be quite complicated because of the grammar changes depending on the age of the person you are talking to. There are many ways of saying ‘thank you’ in Korean but the safest and most common term is ‘Kamsahamnida (감사합니다)’. Again, slightly nodding while saying this conveys your respect for the recipient.

Click here to listen to an audio recording of the phrase.

Friendly Korean Air crew ready to help you practise your Korean greetings | Image credit: Korean Air

Annyeonghaseyo and Kamsahamnida are probably the top two commonly used Korean words so make sure you master the basics before proceeding with the rest of the list.

Also, don’t be shy to practise! Utilise your newly-found Korean language skills the moment you land in Korea or even better – when you step on board your flight! If you’re flying to Korea on Korean Air, use these two phrases on the cabin crew when they greet and serve you. Grab your flights on discount with Korean Air’s Early Bird Promotion, where return flights start from just S$688 ALL-IN for bookings made 90 days or more in advance.

3. Jwesonghamnida (죄송합니다)

The last word in this section is not really a greeting term but an important word nonetheless: ‘Jwesonghamnida (죄송합니다)’, which means sorry.

Click here to listen to an audio recording of the phrase.

Finding your way

4. Yeongo halsu isseoyo? (영어 할수있어요?)

Have you ever been in a situation where you know that the place you’re heading to is nearby but you can’t seem to spot it? The easiest way to solve your problem is to ask a local! When you approach them, say ‘Yeongo halsu isseoyo? (영어 할수있어요?)’ to check if the person can speak English. If you’re in luck, he or she may say yes and you can easily ask for directions in English!

Click here to listen to an audio recording of the phrase.

5. Yeogi ga eodiyeyo? (여기가 어디예요?)

If the local shakes his or her head, you can ask ‘Yeogi ga eodiyeyo? (여기가 어디예요?)’ while showing a picture of your destination.

Click here to listen to an audio recording of the phrase.

6. XXX eoddeokke ga yo? (XXX 어떻게 가요?)

If you know the name of the place in Korean, you can also say ‘XXX eoddeokke ga yo? (XXX 어떻게 가요?)’. For example, if you’re looking for Gyeongbokgung palace, say ‘Gyeongbokgung eoddeokke ga yo?’.

Click here to listen to an audio recording of the phrase.

7. Hwajangsil eodiyeyo? (화장실 어디예요?)

Other important directional phrases that are useful to remember is how to find the toilet and the nearest subway station: ‘Hwajangsil eodiyeyo? (화장실 어디예요?)’ and ‘Jihachol Yok i eodiyeyo? (지하철 역이 어디예요?)’ respectively.

Click here to listen to an audio recording of the phrase.

8. Jihachol Yok i eodiyeyo? (지하철 역이 어디예요?)

Click here to listen to an audio recording of the phrase.

In a restaurant

We managed to order this delicious Tteokgalbi in Boseong with these simple phrases!

9. Jeogiyo (저기요)

Ordering food in a Korean restaurants is a breeze – if you learn the next few words. The first one is ‘Jeogiyo (저기요)’ or ‘excuse me’. Use this phrase to attract the attention of the servers in order to get the menu, order your food or to pay the bill.

Click here to listen to an audio recording of the phrase.

10. Jummun halggeyo 주문할께요

After getting the attention of the servers, you can say ‘Jummun halggeyo (주문할께요)’ to convey that you want to order. The server will come to you, ready to take your order.

Click here to listen to an audio recording of the phrase.

11. Igeo hana juseyo (이거 하나 주세요)

Go ahead and point to the menu while saying ‘Igeo hana juseyo (이거 하나 주세요)’ to order your desired choice of food. If you want two of it, you can say ‘Igeo du ge juseyo (이거 두 게 주세요)’ instead where “du ge” means two items.

Click here to listen to an audio recording of the phrase.

12. Gyesan halggeyo (계산할게요)

When you are ready to pay your bills, simply say ‘Gyesan halggeyo (계산할게요)’. You will either be pointed to the cashier, or the bill will be brought to you.

Click here to listen to an audio recording of the phrase.

Easy, right?

Shopping

Dongdaemun, one of Seoul’s popular shopping districts

13. Igeo eolmaeyo? 이거 얼마예요?

Korea is famous for its amazing shopping districts such as Myeongdong, Dongdaemun and Ewha Womans University. Whether you’re buying the latest Korean cosmetics or cute Korean clothes, you may face a situation where you can’t find the price tag. Simply ask the shopkeeper for the price by saying ‘Igeo eolmaeyo? (이거 얼마예요?)

Click here to listen to an audio recording of the phrase.

14. Ggagga juseyo (깎아주세요)

If the shopkeeper can tell that you’re a foreigner, he or she will most likely pick up a calculator to show you the price. In most stores, especially in traditional markets or areas like Dongdaemun and Hongdae, you can ask for some discount if the item is expensive. Simply say ‘Ggagga juseyo (깎아주세요)’. Keep in mind that if you purchase more than one item, chances are, the shopkeeper will be more than willing to give you some discount!

Click here to listen to an audio recording of the phrase.

Others

”Jeogiyo, sajin jjigeojuseyo!” (저기요, 사진 찍어주세요!)

15. Jeogiyo, sajin jjigeojuseyo (저기요, 사진 찍어주세요)

One last important phrase that will be useful in Korea is ‘Jeogiyo, sajin jjigeojuseyo (저기요, 사진 찍어주세요)’. Use this to seek someone’s help with taking a photo for you. Don’t be shy to ask – Koreans are really friendly and will be more than willing to assist you.

Click here to listen to an audio recording of the phrase.

Summary

Here’s a summary of our short lesson.

1. Annyeonghaseyo (안녕하세요) or Annyeong Annyeong (안녕) Hello!
2. Kamsahamnida (감사합니다) Thank you
3. Jwesonghamnida (죄송합니다) Sorry
4. Yeongo halsu isseoyo? (영어 할수있어요?) Can you speak English?
5. Yeogi ga eodiyeyo? (여기가 어디예요?) Where is this place (show the picture of your destination)?
6. XXX eoddeokke ga yo? (XXX 어떻게 가요?) How do I get to XXX?
7. Hwajangsil eodiyeyo? (화장실 어디예요?) Where is the toilet?
8. Jihachol Yok i eodiyeyo? (지하철 역이 어디예요?) Where is the subway station?
9. Jeogiyo (저기요) Excuse me
10. Jummun halggeyo (주문할께요) I would like to order
11. Igeo hana juseyo (이거 하나 주세요) One of this (point to something on the menu), please
12. Gyesan halggeyo (계산할게요) I would like to pay
13. Igeo eolmaeyo? (이거 얼마예요?) How much is this?
14. Ggagga juseyo (깎아주세요) Discount please
15. Jeogiyo, sajin jjigeojuseyo (저기요, 사진 찍어주세요) Can you please take a photo for me?

Congratulations, you are now ready to book your tickets to the land of Kimchi!

If you’d like to begin an immersive Korean experience from the moment you take off from the tarmac, consider flying with Korean Air, the flag carrier of South Korea. Be sure to book your flights 90 days in advance to enjoy the Early Bird Promotion, with return flights from just S$688!

Image credit: Korean Air

Go ahead and impress locals with your newfound mastery of the Korean language! Who knows, with these useful Korean phrases at hand, you might actually be mistaken for a Korean!


Brought to you by Korean Air.

About Author

Jennifer Noviana
Jennifer Noviana

As a travelling and photography-lover, Jennifer is someone who constantly thinks about her next travel destination. Jennifer have stayed in 4 different countries: Indonesia, Singapore, United States and South Korea. Although she is Indonesian by nationality, Jennifer loves everything Korean. Read about her adventures in Korea at Jen's Wanderstories.

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