10 Essential Phrases for Taking Taxis in China

In China you will certainly find yourself needing to take a taxi at some point. Compared to many other countries, taxis in China are generally an affordable and convenient way to get where you want to go quickly. So what lingo do we need to master to get around town by taxi? Let’s take a look!

Talk about Your Family in Chinese
Shīfu, dào ….
1.  师傅,到……。
Sir, (I’m going to) …(place).

When a taxi stops to pick you up and you get in the car, the first thing you should tell the driver is your destination. “师傅(shīfu)” is used to refer to people with a special skill, usually middle-aged men. Who you can address as “师傅(shīfu)”? Here the term refers to the driver, and it is really a term used to show politeness and respect. In other situations, “师傅(shīfu)” can also be used to refer to maintenance workers, plumbers, craftsmen, and so on.
Màikè: Shīfu, dào běijīng fàndiàn.
麦克: 师傅,到   北京     饭店。
Mike: Sir, Beijing Hotel.

Sījī:     Hǎode.
Driver: OK.

Dào …  duō cháng shíjiān?
2. 到  ……  多    长       时间?
How long does it take to get to…?

Màikè: Shīfu, dào jīchǎng duō cháng shíjiān?
麦克: 师傅,到   机场      多    长       时间?
Mike: Sir, how long does it take to get to the airport?

Sījī:     Dàgài bàn gè xiǎoshí.
司机:大概   半    个  小时。
Driver: About half an hour.

Qǐng dǎkāi yíxià hòubèixiāng.
3.  请     打开  一下 后备厢。
Please open the trunk.

If you bring your luggage, you may need this sentence. “后备厢(hòubèixiāng)” is the trunk or boot of the taxi, “打开(dǎkāi)” means open, and “请(qǐng),” which is used to show curtesy, means please.
Shīfu, qǐng dǎkāi yíxià hòubèixiāng.
师傅,请    打开  一下 后备厢。
Sir, please open the trunk.

Kéyǐ shāoděng yíxià ma?
4. 可以  稍等         一下 吗?
Can you wait a moment?

“稍等(shāoděng)” means to wait a moment. If you can’t get in the taxi straight away or you need to wait for someone, this sentence will come in handy.
Lǐ Míng: Shīfu, kéyǐ shāoděng yíxià ma?
李 明:  师傅,可以 稍等        一下 吗?
Li Ming: Sir, can you wait a moment?

Sījī:     Kéyǐ.
Driver: OK.

Qiánmian shízìlùkǒu zuǒzhuǎn.
5. 前面          十字路口   左转。
Turn left at the crossing ahead.

Sometimes you may need to show drivers the way. In such a situation, this sentence will be helpful. “十字路口(shízìlùkǒu)” means crossing or intersection. “左转(zuǒzhuǎn)” is “turn left” and “右转(yòuzhuǎn)” is “turn right.”
Wáng Lín: Shīfu, qiánmian shízìlùkǒu zuǒzhuǎn.
王       林:师傅,前面       十字路口   左转。
Wang Lin: Sir, turn left at the crossing ahead.

Sījī:     Hǎo.
Driver: All right.

Wǒ gǎnshíjiān, qǐng kuàiyìdiǎn.
6.  我   赶时间,    请    快一点。
I am in a hurry. Go faster please.

If you are in a rush, you may need the driver to drive a little faster. Here “赶时间(gǎnshíjiān)” means you are in a hurry and “快(kuài)” is fast.
Lǐ Méng: Shīfu, wǒ gǎnshíjiān, qǐng kuàiyìdiǎn.
李 萌:   师傅,我  赶时间,    请    快一点。
Li Meng: Sir, I am in a hurry, please driver faster.

Sījī:     Hǎo.
Driver: OK.

Shīfu, qǐng zài qiánmian tíngyíxià.
7.  师傅,请   在  前面        停一下。
Sir, please stop up ahead.

When you reach your destination, you can tell the driver to stop in a specific place by using this sentence.
Sūfēi: Shīfu, qǐng zài qiánmian tíngyíxià.
苏菲:师傅,请   在   前面        停一下。
Sophie: Sir, please stop up ahead.

Sījī:       Qiánmian nàgè  lùkǒu ma?
司机:前面     那个   路口   吗?
Driver: At that crossing ahead?

Sūfēi: Shìde.
Sophie: Yes.

8.  多少钱?
How much is it?

This is the simplest way to ask about the final charge.
Jiékè: Shīfu, duōshǎoqián?
Jack: Sir, how much is it?

Sījī:     20kuài.
Driver: 20 yuan.

Qǐng gěi wǒ xiǎopiào.
9. 请      给  我  小票。
Please give me the receipt.

If you need the driver to give you a receipt, you can use this sentence while or after paying. Here “小票(xiǎopiào)” means “receipt.”

10.  谢谢。
Thank you.

And finally, please don’t forget to say “thank you” to the driver!
Shīfu,  qǐng gěi wǒ xiǎopiào, xièxie.
师傅, 请    给  我   小票,    谢谢。
Sir, please give me the receipt. Thank you.

HSK 3 quiz

1. You can call all of the following people “师傅(shīfu)” except _____.
A. Drivers
B. Plumbers
C. Policemen
2. If you want the driver to drive faster, you should say _____.
A. “师傅,请在前面停一下。(Shīfu, qǐng zàiqiánmian tíngyíxià.)”
B. “我赶时间,请快一点。(Wǒ gǎnshíjiān, qǐng kuài yìdiǎn.)”
C. “师傅,可以稍等一下吗?(Shīfu, kéyǐ shāoděng yíxià ma?)”

Chinese Popular Words (Fun Stuff) 
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3 thoughts on “10 Essential Phrases for Taking Taxis in China”

  1. What is the difference between 左转 and 左拐?I usually only hear people say 左拐 in Beijing.

    1. jennifer.zhu

      Hi Noel,
      The meanings of “左转” and “左拐” are the same. “左拐” is used more in spoken Chinese than “左转”.

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