Essential Korean Phrases for Travelers

By Polyglot Petra 2/8/24

Ever found yourself in a foreign land, awestruck by its beauty but feeling just a bit lost in translation?  As your language maniac who’s ventured through Korea 14 times, I can tell you that knowing a few Korean phrases will greatly enhance your experience!

Basic Greetings

Hello, Excuse me, Sorry, Thank you; the most important ones!

인녕하세요! (An-nyeong-ha-se-yo): Hello! 죄송합니다 (Chwe-song-ham-ni-da): I’m sorry. 죄송한데요… (Chwe-song-han-de-yo): Excuse me… (Ne): Yes (Very important!) 아니오 (A-ni-o): No.  괜찮아요 (Gwaen-cha-na-yo): It’s okay. It’s alright. Also used to mean “No, thank you.” 감사합니다 (Gam-sa-ham-ni-da): Thank you.

General Use Phrases

Asking for a bathroom, asking for help, generic, but important!

도와주세요 (Do-wa-ju-se-yo): Please help me. 이 근처에 화장실이 있어요? (I-geun-cheo-e | hwa-jang-shil-i-is-seo-yo?): Are there restrooms nearby? 화장실이 어디 있어요? (Hwa-jang-shil-i | eo-di-is-seo-yo?): Where is the restroom? 이 근처에 ATM이 있어요? (I-geun-cheo-e | ATM-i-is-seo-yo?): Is there an ATM around here?

Food and drinks

Let's admit it, this is the most important for most travelers!

영업 아직 하세요? (Yeong-eob | a-jik-ha-se-yo?): Are you still open? 몇시에 끝나요? (Myeot-shi-e | Geun-na-yo?): What time do you close? 몇시에 열어요? (Myeot-shi-e | yeo-reo-yo?): What time do you open? 이거 주세요 (I-geo-ju-se-yo): This one, please 저는 — 못 먹어요 (Cheo-neun [insert food] mot-meo-geo-yo): I can’t eat —

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