#1 Best Guide: Useful Cantonese Vocabulary For Travelers

If you want to learn Cantonese, you should definitely learn Cantonese vocabulary. You can start with the basics first, with well-known words such as “hello” and “dim sum” or 點心 (dim2 sam1) before trying your hand at intermediate or advanced vocabulary. So if you’re visiting Hong Kong, Macau, or any other Cantonese-speaking region in China soon, don’t forgo vocabulary learning! 

And if you’re not sure how to start learning Cantonese vocabulary, no worries, I’ve got your back! In this article, I’ve compiled some of the most common Cantonese words that are definitely essential for Cantonese vocabulary learning. Read on to find out what some of these common Cantonese words are! 

Cantonese Greetings

What better way to kick off your Cantonese vocabulary learning than with the most common Cantonese words? Or should I say, more specifically, the most well-known Cantonese greetings? Here are some greetings I’m sure you’ve heard of in spoken Cantonese. 

If the Chinese characters are still a little difficult for you to master, don’t worry too much about them for now! You can memorise these simple Cantonese greetings and learn how to say them first before learning how to read and write them. 

EnglishCantonese PhrasePronunciation
Hello你好 Nei5 hou2
Good Morning早晨 Zou2 san4
Good Evening晚安 Maan5 on1
Goodbye再見 Zoi3 gin3
Thank You多謝 Dor1 ze6
You’re Welcome唔使客氣M4 sai2 haak3 hei3
Excuse Me唔好意思M4 hou2 ji3 si1
Long time, no see好耐冇見Hou2 noi6 mou5 gin3
Nice to meet you好高興認識你Hou2 gou1 hing1 jing6 sik1 nei5
How are you?點呀? Dim2 aa3?
An image of two Cantonese men exchanging a handshake

Common Cantonese Phrases

Great, now that we’ve covered Cantonese greetings, we’re all ready to move on to common Cantonese phrase! Now, if you have friends who are native speakers in Cantonese, you’ve probably heard them mention a phrase or two in the list below. That’s because these Cantonese phrases are used pretty much in daily conversations in everyday lives! 

So, if you’re especially keen on sounding like a native speaker in Cantonese, you should definitely incorporate these common Cantonese phrases in your vocabulary. You can also make sure that your pronunciation is own point by listening to audio files or dialogues from the Ling app! 

EnglishCantonese PhrasePronunciation
Please唔該M4 goi1
Let’s eat食飯啦Sik6 faan6 laa1
Thank you for the meal唔該晚餐M4 goi1 maan5 caan1
Good job好好工M6 hou2 gung1
I’m sorry對唔住Deoi3 m4 zyu6
I don’t understand唔明白 M4 ming4 baak6
Go ahead唔使客氣M4 sai2 haak3 hei3
What’s wrong?點咁啊?Dim2 gam3 aa3?
Are you okay?你無事嗎?Nei5 mou4 si6 maa1?
Of course當然啦 Dong1 jin4 laa1
An image of a man checking in to a hotel

Cantonese Vocabulary At The Hotel

Well done! You’ve gotten pretty far in your journey so far, navigating the streets of whatever Cantonese-speaking region you’ve just landed in with your knowledge of popular Cantonese greetings and phrases. Some people have even complemented you, telling you “Your Cantonese is good!” or “你嘅廣東話好好!(nei5 ge3 gwong2 dung1 waa2 hou2 hou2)!”

Now, it’s time for you to check into your room at your hotel, but you’re not quite sure what to say to the staff at the counter! Well, fret not because I’m here to help. Here are some great Cantonese sentences that you can use when you encounter a situation like this. 

EnglishCantonese PhrasePronunciation
I have a reservation我有預訂Ngo5 jau5 jyu6 ding6
What time is check-in?入住時間幾時?Jap6 zyu6 si4 gaan1 gei2 si4?
What time is check-out?退房時間幾時?Toi4 fong2 si4 gaan1 gei2 si4?
The room is clean房間好乾淨 Fong2 gaan1 hou2 gon1 zing6
Is there an internet connection?有冇網絡?Jau5 mou5 mong5 lok6?
What time is breakfast?早餐幾時?Jou2 caan1 gei2 si4?
I’d like to change rooms我想換房Ngo5 soeng2 wun6 fong2
Is there a bathtub?有冇浴缸?Jau5 mou5 juk1 gong1?
Are there amenities?有冇設施?Jau5 mou5 cit3 si1?
I lost the key我弄丟鑰匙Ngo5 nong6 diu1 joek3 si4
An image of dim sum

Food And Dining

Yay, you’ve successfully checked into your hotel! After dropping off your luggage in your room, you’re all ready to prowl the streets in search of the best Cantonese food! You walk around for a bit before finally deciding on a place to eat. As you take a seat, the waiter hands you a menu. It looks something like this:

  • 粥 (zuk1) – Congee
  • 燒賣 (siu1 maai6) – Siu Mai (Steamed dumplings)
  • 魚蛋 (jyu4 daan2) – Fish balls
  • 魚皮卷 (jyu4 pei4 gyun2) – Fish skin rolls
  • 燒鵝 (siu1 ngo4) – Roast goose
  • 粉麵 (fan2 min6) – Rice noodles
  • 雞蛋仔 (gai1 daan2 zai2) – Egg waffles
  • 豬腸粉 (zyu1 coeng4 fan2) – Cheung Fun (Rice noodle rolls)
  • 砵仔糕 (bo1 zai2 gou1) – Turnip cake
  • 蛋撻 (daan6 taat1) – Egg tart

Everything looks so good that you can hardly decide what to go with! In fact, you’re really tempted to order a portion of everything the restaurant offers. But before you do that, you should know some useful sentences for ordering in Cantonese! That’s exactly what this list is for. 

EnglishCantonese PhrasePronunciation
Please show me the menu麻煩出個餐牌Ma fan chut go caan paai
What is this?呢個係咩? Ni go hai me?
It’s delicious, isn’t it?好味唔好?Ho mei m4 hou?
Is it spicy?辣唔辣? La m4 la?
Is it sweet?甜唔甜? Tin m4 tin?
One more please再嚟一個 Zoi lai jat go
Can I have some water?可以飲杯水唔好? Ho yi yam bui seoi m4 hou?
Check please埋單 Maai daan
Is this a drink?呢個係唔係飲嘢?Ni go hai m hai yam a?
Thanks for the meal食嘢飽Sik aau bau
An image of Hong Kong streets and bright neon lights

Travel And Sightseeing

After filling your tummy with delicious Cantonese food, you’re all ready to explore more of whatever Cantonese region you’re in has to offer! But as you walk around, you find yourself needing some navigation guidance from the locals. 

That’s why it’s important for you to know some essential Cantonese phrases that’d be useful in this situation so that you can make your way over to whatever destination you’re hoping to visit without getting lost!

EnglishCantonese PhrasePronunciation
Do you have a map?你有冇地圖?Nei5 jau5 mou5 dei6 tou4?
Where’s this place?呢度係邊度?Ni1 dou6 hai6 bin1 dou6?
Where’s the train station?火車站喺邊度?Fo2 ce1 zaam6 hai2 bin1 dou6?
Where does this bus go?呢班巴士去邊度?Ni1 baan1 baa1 si2 heoi3 bin1 dou6?
What time does it depart?幾點出發?Gei2 dim2 ceot1 faat3?
Where can I buy tickets?我喺邊度買飛?Ngo5 hai2 bin1 dou6 maai5 fei1?
Are there any tourist attractions here?呢度有冇觀光景點? Ni1 dou6 jau5 mou5 gun1 gwong1 ging2 dim2?
Can I take pictures here?我可以喺度影相唔? Ngo5 ho2 ji5 hai2 dou6 jing2 soeng2 m4?
This is a map呢個係地圖 Ni1 go3 hai6 dei6 tou4
Where’s the restroom?廁所喺邊度?Ci3 so2 hai2 bin1 dou6?

Ready To Learn Cantonese? 

There you have it, some essential Cantonese vocabulary and phrases to get you started with your Cantonese learning journey! Remember, Cantonese is a language with six tones, so it’s not the easiest for beginners, but with lots of practice and determination, I’m sure you can do it!

And if you’re looking for ways other than your traditional books and learning resources to learn Cantonese, you should totally try out the Ling app! Instead of long chunks of text, you can learn Cantonese via fun games that’ll definitely help you remember vocabulary and grammar points more easily! So, download the Ling App today and 加油 (ga1 jau2)!

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