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Guide to Cantonese Customs and Etiquette


Some say manners and etiquette are outdated and no longer matter in this day and age—why bother to care about how others think or feel? Why don’t we just “be our true self” and “show our personality?”

However, decent manners and etiquette are never out of style. They’re the cornerstone of civilization. Without them, a society will become disorganized; its members will demonstrate disrespect for one another and ultimately lead to chaos, insults, falsehoods, and many more unpleasant consequences.

That’s why we’ve set out to help you learn Cantonese customs and etiquette in Hong Kong for your time here.

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Table of Contents

  1. Why Manners and Etiquette Matter to You
  2. Concepts Related to Manners in Hong Kong
  3. Dining Etiquette in Hong Kong
  4. Gift Giving Etiquette in Hong Kong
  5. Do’s and Don’ts – Transportation in Hong Kong
  6. Bonus: How to Greet in Hong Kong
  7. Conclusion: How CantoneseClass101 Can Help You Learn More Cantonese

1. Why Manners and Etiquette Matter to You


Manners Maketh Man.

Manners tell who you truly are and represent your inner self, while etiquette sets out a guideline on how you’re expected to behave in public. They touch on every aspect of our lives.

Things like saying 多謝 (do1 ze6) or “thank you” when someone offers help, greeting a colleague with 早晨 (zou2 san4) or “good morning,” and offering your seat to the elderly show that you care about and respect others.

Understanding the social etiquette in Hong Kong will come in handy when you’re making a new friend or interacting with the locals. By demonstrating your respect and avoiding behaviors that are deemed “offensive,” your relationships with them will be more sound and smooth.

2. Concepts Related to Manners in Hong Kong

1- 面 (min2)

(min2) is a unique concept in Chinese society. This concept of cultural etiquette in Hong Kong describes one’s status, dignity, and integrity. You can also refer to 面 (min2) as the feeling of being respected and honored by others.

This is a crucial concept in Hong Kong society. Further, a similar concept that will help you foster your relationships with the locals is 畀面 (bei2 min2), meaning:

  • The ability to hold back when criticizing someone to make that person feel respected.
  • Taking actions to demonstrate your admiration and regard for that person.

面 (min2) is closely tied to a number of unique concepts governing the culture of Hong Kong and Chinese communities:

  • 關係 (gwaan1 hai6) meaning “relationship.”
  • 中庸 (zung1 jung4) which is a prevailing mindset from Confucianism of not going for the extremes, both in terms of praise and criticism.
  • 人情 (jan4 cing4) which is a sense of human touch and affection/owing someone a favor. Feel free to click the above links if you want to know more.

2- Respect for Seniors

According to Hong Kong social etiquette, age usually determines seniority. In family settings, it’s expected that everyone will respect the elder ones in accordance with filial piety, a deeply rooted virtue in many Southeast Asian countries. HongKongers usually worship their ancestors at least twice a year, which stems from the belief that children are indebted to their parents forever.

3. Dining Etiquette in Hong Kong

Chinese Food

If you’re going to dine at a traditional Chinese restaurant in Hong Kong, tables will typically be large and round to accommodate a group of friends or family. Most dishes are shared instead of à la carte, and they’re placed in the center of the table where everyone gets to take a portion of the dishes.

General Food Manners & Restaurant Etiquette in Hong Kong

  • DON’T put your hand below or above someone else’s hand while taking the food from a serving plate.
    DO wait until the other person finishes grabbing his or her food before you start taking yours.
  • DON’T take food from the serving plates and put it into your mouth directly.
    DO put it into your bowl first before you eat.
  • If you like only a part of the dish, DON’T look for your favorite part on the serving plate.
    DO this only while it’s in your bowl.
  • DO leave bits of food on your plate to show that you were satisfied.
    DON’T leave your plate empty, because the host may think you didn’t have enough food.
  • DON’T spin your table counterclockwise; always spin it clockwise.



  • DON’T point at someone or something with your chopsticks.
  • DON’T use your own chopsticks to grab food from the serving plate.
    DO use “public chopsticks” (chopsticks that are placed at the center of the table for grabbing the food).
  • DO place your chopsticks on the rest provided if you’re not using them.
  • DON’T shake your chopsticks if they’re wet from soup.
  • DON’T place your chopsticks across each other.
  • DON’T put your chopsticks in your rice bowl in an upright position; this is only done at funerals.


  • DO open the lid of the teapot or place the lid upside-down if you would like to request more tea.
  • DO tap your fingers several times by your cup to thank a person for pouring tea for you.
  • DON’T take the first sip; wait for the senior host to do so first.

4. Gift Giving Etiquette in Hong Kong


If you’re invited to someone’s house in Hong Kong, you’re expected to bring a gift with you. Check out the guidelines below:

  • DON’T present four gifts, as “four” sounds similar to “death” in Cantonese. If you would like to bring multiple gifts with you, try three (similar to “life” in Cantonese), eight (similar to “prosperity” in Cantonese) or nine (similar to “eternity” in Cantonese).
  • DO make sure you hand your gift over with both hands.
  • DO insist on handing over the gift. Sometimes the host may refuse the gift a couple of times before accepting it. This is part of the traditional Hong Kong culture.
  • DON’T wrap your gift in white or black, as they’re considered unlucky colors.
    DO try lucky colors like red or gold instead.
  • DON’T unwrap the gift on the spot.
  • DON’T pick clocks or watches as gifts. “Giving a clock” in Cantonese sounds like attending a funeral.
  • DON’T pick shoes as gifts, as the Cantonese word for “shoes” sounds like “rough,” which suggests bad luck.

5. Do’s and Don’ts – Transportation in Hong Kong

Bad Phrases

General Manners on Public Transportation (Bus, MTR, etc.)

  • DO keep quiet and be considerate. Avoid obstructive behavior and public displays of affection.
  • DON’T eat, drink, or smoke on public transportation.
  • DO give up your seat to the elderly, pregnant women, the disabled, and families with babies.
  • DON’T litter.
  • DON’T take up more than one seat.


MTR: Hong Kong’s Railway System

  • DO have your Octopus card or ticket ready before you go through the gate in the MTR station. MTR is one of the busiest train systems in the world. Trains come in every minute during rush hour and take on around 4.6-million passengers every day. If you only search for your ticket or card at the gate, you’ll definitely feel the pressure from other impatient commuters.
  • DO stand on the right side of the escalator to allow other commuters to walk on the left.
  • DO let passengers get off before entering the MTR carriage.
  • DON’T lean up against the poles, as other passengers will need to hold onto the poles.
  • Even if you’re yet to arrive at your destination, DO let people out when you’re at a stop and DON’T stand at the doorway.
  • DO pull your legs in to avoid tripping other commuters.
  • DO move inside the train compartment.

6. Bonus: How to Greet in Hong Kong

Business Phrases

When it comes to social etiquette in Hong Kong, there aren’t many special gestures (such as bowing) for when you greet someone in Hong Kong. Simply saying Cantonese greeting words will do:

  • Cantonese character: 你好
  • Romanization: nei5 hou2
  • Meaning: “Hello” (formal)
  • Cantonese character: 哈囉
  • Romanization: haa1 lo3
  • Meaning: “Hello” (informal)

If you would like to express your enthusiasm in meeting someone, you can wave your hands while saying hello to him or her. Avoid hugging, bowing, or kissing on the cheek.

To know more about how to appropriately greet someone in Hong Kong, check out our article on How to Say Hello in Cantonese!

7. Conclusion: How CantoneseClass101 Can Help You Learn More Cantonese

Want to level up your Cantonese and learn more Cantonese phrases? No worries. With, you can have your daily dose of Cantonese whenever and wherever you want, through mobile apps, desktop software, and our website. We offer entertaining, engaging, and effective lessons on various aspects of the Cantonese language and culture.

Until now, we’ve delivered more than 750,000,000 lessons to thousands of happy students from all around the globe. You can learn Cantonese with over 1060 audio and video lessons delivered by our knowledgeable and energetic hosts, detailed PDF lesson notes, an abundance of vocabulary learning tools, spaced repetition flashcards, and a lively community to discuss the lessons with fellow learners. What are you waiting for? Download our lessons, enjoy our audio and video files, and start learning now!

And keep in mind that if you prefer a one-on-one learning approach and want to further accelerate your Cantonese learning, you can take advantage of our MyTeacher program!

Before you go, let us know in the comments if you learned anything new about etiquette in Hong Kong. Are etiquette rules here similar or very different than those in your country? We look forward to hearing from you!

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Talking About Tomorrow in Cantonese: Dates in Cantonese


Although English is widely spoken in Hong Kong, learning how to describe dates in Cantonese would be of great benefit to you. Mastering Cantonese dates will not only help you communicate better with the locals, it will also ensure that you won’t miss out on any important meetings or fun events in town.

In this article, we’ll go over how to say dates in Cantonese, how it differs from how to write dates in Cantonese, and even give you some background information on the Chinese calendar.

Cheung Chau, Hong Kong

Can’t wait to learn about Cantonese dates? Let give you a hand!

Table of Contents

  1. Traditional Chinese Calendar and Modern Calendar
  2. Cantonese Years
  3. Cantonese Months
  4. Cantonese Days
  5. Cantonese Date Format
  6. The Week in Cantonese
  7. Other Terms Related to Cantonese Dates
  8. Simple Sentences
  9. Conclusion: How CantoneseClass101 Can Help You Learn More Cantonese

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1. Traditional Chinese Calendar and Modern Calendar

The traditional Chinese calendar, which can be referred to as either 農曆 (nung4 lik6), 舊曆 (gau6 lik6), or 陰曆 (jam1 lik6) in Cantonese, is a lunisolar calendar which reckons years, months, and days according to astronomical phenomena.

Although modern day Hong Kong uses the Gregorian calendar which aligns with most countries in the world, the traditional Chinese calendar still governs some of the holidays (e.g. the Chinese New Year) and guides people in selecting days for weddings, funerals, moving, or starting a business.

2. Cantonese Years

年 (nin4) is “year” in Cantonese. To express a year in Cantonese, simply convert the number to Chinese characters and add them in front of the character 年 (nin4). For example, the year “2009” is 二零零九年 (ji6 ling4 ling4 gau2 nin4) in Cantonese.

Person Looking at a Calendar

More examples:

#      Chinese Characters      Romanization      Meaning
1      一八八零年      jat1 baat3 baat3 ling4 nin4      Year 1880
2      一九八四年      jat1 gau2 baat3 sei3 nin4      Year 1984
3      二零一九年      ji6 ling4 jat1 gau2 nin4      Year 2019
4      二零四七年      ji6 ling4 sei3 cat1 nin4      Year 2047
5      二零六六年      ji6 ling4 luk6 luk6 nin4      Year 2066

3. Cantonese Months


月 (jyut6) is “month” in Cantonese. To express a month in Cantonese, simply add the appropriate number in front of the character 月 (jyut6). For example, December is the twelfth month, so “December” in Cantonese is 十二月 (sap6 ji6 jyut6).

#      Chinese Characters      Romanization      Meaning
1      一月      jat1 jyut6      January
2      二月      ji6 jyut6      February
3      三月      saam1 jyut6      March
4      四月      sei3 jyut6      April
5      五月      ng5 jyut6      May
6      六月      luk6 jyut6      June
7      七月      cat1 jyut6      July
8      八月      baat3 jyut6      August
9      九月      gau2 jyut6      September
10      十月      sap6 jyut6      October
11      十一月      sap6 jat1 jyut6      November
12      十二月      sap6 ji6 jyut6      December

You can also visit our vocabulary list to familiarize yourself with Cantonese months!

4. Cantonese Days


日 (jat6) is “day” in Cantonese. To express a day in Cantonese, simply add the appropriate number in front of the character 日 (jat6). For example, the eleventh day of the month is “11,” so 11th in the context of a date is 十一日 (sap6 jat1 jat6).

Note that 日 (jat6) is the formal, written form to express a date. If you want to express a date in spoken form, replace 日 (jat6) with 號 (hou6). For example, 一日 (jat1 jat6) becomes 一號 (jat1 hou6). Also, when there’s 二十 (ji6 sap6), replace it with 廿 (jaa6) when speaking. Take the 21st of the month as an example: 二十一日 (ji6 sap6 jat1 jat6) becomes 廿一號 (jaa6 jat1 hou6).

A Calendar

#      Chinese Characters      Romanization      Meaning
1      一日      jat1 jat6      1st
2      二日      ji6 jat6      2nd
3      三日      saam1 jat6      3rd
4      四日      sei3 jat6      4th
5      五日      ng5 jat6      5th
6      六日      luk6 jat6      6th
7      七日      cat1 jat6      7th
8      八日      baat3 jat6      8th
9      九日      gau2 jat6      9th
10      十日      sap6 jat6      10th
11      十一日      sap6 jat1 jat6      11th
12      十二日      sap6 ji6 jat6      12th
13      十三日      sap6 saam1 jat6      13th
14      十四日      sap6 sei3 jat6      14th
15      十五日      sap6 ng5 jat6      15th
16      十六日      sap6 luk6 jat6      16th
17      十七日      sap6 cat1 jat6      17th
18      十八日      sap6 baat3 jat6      18th
19      十九日      sap6 gau2 jat6      19th
20      二十日      ji6 sap6 jat6      20th
21      二十一日      ji6 sap6 jat1 jat6      21st
22      二十二日      ji6 sap6 ji6 jat6      22nd
23      二十三日      ji6 sap6 saam1 jat6      23rd
24      二十四日      ji6 sap6 sei3 jat6      24th
25      二十五日      ji6 sap6 ng5 jat6      25th
26      二十六日      ji6 sap6 luk6 jat6      26th
27      二十七日      ji6 sap6 cat1 jat6      27th
28      二十八日      ji6 sap6 baat3 jat6      28th
29      二十九日      ji6 sap6 gau2 jat6      29th
30      三十日      saam1 sap6 jat6      30th
31      三十一日      saam1 sap6 jat1 jat6      31st

5. Cantonese Date Format


The date is written in the following format in Hong Kong: [year]年 [month]月 [day]日 (nin4 / jyut6 / jat6). Simply insert the appropriate numbers in front of 年 (nin4), 月 (jyut6), and 日 (jat6).

Again, if you would like to say the date out loud, change 日 (jat6) to 號 (hou6).

For example:

# Chinese Characters Romanization Meaning
1 一九七八年一月九日 jat1 gau2 cat1 baat3 nin4 jat1 jyut6 gau2 jat6 Jan 9, 1978
2 一九八四年十一月十五日 jat1 gau2 baat3 sei3 nin4 sap6 jat1 jyut6 sap6 ng5 jat6 Nov 15, 1984
3 二零一九年十二月二十八日 ji6 ling4 jat1 gau2 nin4 sap6 ji6 jyut6 ji6 sap6 baat3 jat6 Dec 28, 2019
4 二零三五年十月三十日 ji6 ling4 saam1 ng5 nin4 sap6 jyut6 saam1 sap6 jat6 Oct 30, 2035
5 三月六日 saam1 jyut6 luk6 jat6 Mar 6
6 八月二十七日 baat3 jyut6 ji6 sap6 cat1 jat6 Aug 27
7 十一月二十九日 sap6 jat1 jyut6 ji6 sap6 gau2 jat6 Nov 29
8 十二月三十一日 sap6 ji6 jyut6 saam1 sap6 jat1 jat6 Dec 31

6. The Week in Cantonese

Person Marking Something on a Calendar

#      Chinese Characters      Romanization      Meaning
1      禮拜      lai5 baai3      Week (casual)
2      星期      sing1 kei4      Week (both formal and casual)
3      星期一      sing1 kei4 jat1      Monday
4      星期二      sing1 kei4 ji6      Tuesday
5      星期三      sing1 kei4 saam1      Wednesday
6      星期四      sing1 kei4 sei3      Thursday
7      星期五      sing1 kei4 ng5      Friday
8      星期六      sing1 kei4 luk6      Saturday
9      星期日      sing1 kei4 jat6      Sunday

Make sure to check out our list on Cantonese weeks and days, too!

7. Other Terms Related to Cantonese Dates

#      Chinese Characters      Romanization      Meaning
1      今日      gam1 jat6      Today (casual)
2      今天      gam1 tin1m      Today (formal)
3      尋日      cam4 jat6      Yesterday (casual)
4      昨天      zok3 tin1      Yesterday (formal)
5      聽日      ting1 jat6      Tomorrow (casual)
6      明天      ming4 tin1      Tomorrow (formal)
7      前日      cin4 jat6      The day before yesterday
8      後日      hau6 jat6      The day after tomorrow
9      閏年日      jeon6 nin4 jat6      Leap year day
10      閒日      haan4 jat2      Weekday
11      週末      zau1 mut6      Weekend
12      日期      jat6 kei4      Date

8. Simple Sentences

Want to learn some simple sentences related to dates? We have examples in both written and spoken form—familiarize yourself with the examples below!

Pencil and Paper

1- 我昨天請假一天

Romanization: ngo5 zok3 tin1 ceng2 gaa3 jat1 tin1
Meaning: I took a day off yesterday.
Form: written form

2- 今天是九月十日星期六

Romanization: gam1 tin1 si6 gau2 jyut6 sap6 jat6 sing1 kei4 luk6
Meaning: Today is September 10th, Saturday.
Form: written form

3- 二月二十九日是閏年日

Romanization: ji6 jyut6 ji6 sap6 gau2 jat6 si6 jeon6 nin4 jat6
Meaning: Leap year day is February 29th.
Form: written form

4- 你幾時得閒?

Romanization: nei5 gei2 si4 dak1 haan4
Meaning: When will you be free?
Form: spoken form

5- 五月三十一日是世界無煙日

Romanization: ng5 jyut6 saam1 sap6 jat1 jat6 si6 sai3 gaai3 mou4 jin1 jat6
Meaning: May 31st is World No Smoking Day.
Form: written form

6- 邊日方便你?

Romanization: bin1 jat6 fong1 bin6 nei5?
Meaning: Which day is good for you?
Form: spoken form

7- 唔好意思,我星期五唔得閒

Romanization: m4 hou2 ji3 si1, ngo5 sing1 kei4 ng5 m4 dak1 haan4
Meaning: I’m sorry, but I’m not available on Friday.
Form: spoken form

8- 學校於八月暫停開放

Romanization: hok6 haau6 jyu1 baat3 jyut6 zaam6 ting4 hoi1 fong3
Meaning: The school is closed in August.
Form: written form

9- 我哋可唔可以約下星期開會?

Romanization: ngo5 dei6 ho2 m4 ho2 ji3 joek3 haa6 sing1 kei4 hoi1 wui2
Meaning: Can we set up a meeting next week?
Form: spoken form

10- 我們在六月結婚

Romanization: ngo5 mun4 zoi6 luk6 jyut6 git3 fan1
Meaning: We are getting married in June.
Form: written form

11- 星期五方唔方便?

Romanization: sing1 kei4 ng5 fong1 m4 fong1 bin6
Meaning: Does Friday work for you?
Form: spoken form

12- 三月在北半球及南半球分別代表春季及秋季的來臨

Romanization: saam1 jyut6 zoi6 bak1 bun3 kau4 kap6 naam4 bun3 kau4 fan1 bit6 doi6 biu2 ceon1 gwai3 kap6 cau1 gwai3 dik1 loi4 lam4
Meaning: March marks the start of spring in the northern hemisphere and fall in the southern hemisphere.
Form: written form

13- 明天見

Romanization: ming4 tin1 gin3
Meaning: See you tomorrow!
Form: written form

14- 十二月三十一日是除夕

Romanization: sap6 ji6 jyut6 saam1 sap6 jat1 jat6 si6 ceoi4 zik6
Meaning: December 31st is New Year’s Eve.
Form: written form

15- 星期一、星期二、星期三、星期四及星期五都是平日

Romanization: sing1 kei4 jat1, sing1 kei4 ji6, sing1 kei4 saam1, sing1 kei4 sei3 kap6 sing1 kei4 ng5 dou1 si6 ping4 jat2
Meaning: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday are weekdays.
Form: written form

16- 今日係星期日

Romanization: gam1 jat6 hai6 sing1 kei4 jat6
Meaning: Today is Sunday.
Form: spoken form

17- 你今個禮拜得唔得閒?

Romanization: nei5 gam1 go3 lai5 baai1 dak1 m4 dak1 haan4?
Meaning: Are you free this week?
Form: spoken form

18- 今日全部堂都取消

Romanization: gam1 jat6 cyun4 bou6 tong4 dou1 ceoi2 siu1
Meaning: All classes for today got cancelled.
Form: spoken form

9. Conclusion: How CantoneseClass101 Can Help You Learn More Cantonese

Want to level up your Cantonese and learn more Cantonese phrases? No worries. With, you can have your daily dose of Cantonese whenever and wherever you want, through mobile apps, desktop software, and our website. We offer entertaining, engaging, and effective lessons on various aspects of the Cantonese language and culture.

Until now, we’ve delivered more than 750,000,000 lessons to thousands of happy students from all around the globe. You can learn Cantonese with over 1060 audio and video lessons delivered by our knowledgeable and energetic hosts, detailed PDF lesson notes, an abundance of vocabulary learning tools, spaced repetition flashcards, and a lively community to discuss the lessons with fellow learners. What are you waiting for? Download our lessons, enjoy our audio and video files, and start learning now!

And keep in mind that if you prefer a one-on-one learning approach and want to further accelerate your Cantonese learning, you can take advantage of our MyTeacher program!

Before you go, let us know in the comments how you feel about dates in Cantonese now. We hope you feel more comfortable about how to write dates in Cantonese—to practice, be sure to include today’s date in Cantonese in your comment! We look forward to hearing from you.

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Must-Know Cantonese Travel Phrases


Even though English is widely spoken in Hong Kong, learning Cantonese travel phrases can still be of great benefit to you. Not only will it help you navigate through the world’s greatest city better, but it can also serve as a conversation starter with the locals and help you understand the culture better. That’s why we’ve put together this guide about Cantonese travel phrases for those who speak English.

Can’t wait to put some Cantonese travel phrases in your pocket? Read below and let give you a hand with our Hong Kong travel words list! Here, you’ll find Cantonese travel phrases and words translated to English to help you navigate the country.

Table of Contents

  1. Basic Expressions
  2. Transportation
  3. Shopping
  4. Restaurants
  5. Asking for and Giving Directions
  6. Emergencies
  7. Flattery Phrases
  8. Useful Phrases to go through Language Problems
  9. Conclusion: How Can Help You Learn More Cantonese


1. Basic Expressions

Preparing to Travel

These are the travel phrases in Cantonese that you should know to have basic conversations with people while in Hong Kong.

1. 唔該

Romanization: m4 goi1.
Meaning: Thank you. (When someone offers help to you.)

2. 多謝

Romanization: do1 ze6
Meaning: Thank you. (When someone presents a gift.)

Additional Notes:
You should always say 多謝 (do1 ze6) when you receive a gift, regardless of the person’s age or seniority. Being polite will help you fit in and be appreciated by your peers. Thus, this is one of the most important travel phrases in Cantonese for you to learn.

3. 對唔住

Romanization: deoi3 m4 zyu6.
Meaning: Sorry.

Additional Notes:
This phrase literally means “sorry” and can be used in both formal and informal settings. Note that we only use this phrase when we want to express our apology and remorse. If you want to say that you’re sorry in the sense of expressing your regret or sadness over a news story or an incident, 唔好意思 (m4 ho2 ji3 si3) is more suitable.

4. 唔好意思

Romanization: m4 ho2 ji3 si3
Meaning: Excuse me. / Sorry.

Additional Notes:
There are, broadly, three scenarios where you can use 唔好意思 (m4 ho2 ji3 si3):

  • To grab someone’s attention (e.g. “excuse me”).
  • To express your regret or sadness over bad news or an incident.
  • To apologize for minor incidents.

Comparatively, 對唔住 (deoi3 m4 zyu6) is more formal and is mainly reserved for serious offenses. When you’re speaking informally with friends, the most common apology is 唔好意思 (m4 hou2 ji3 si3).

5. 好

Romanization: hou2.
Meaning: Good. / Fine. / Yes.

6. 再見

Romanization: zoi3 gin3.
Meaning: Bye.

Learn how to greet others in Cantonese with our article on Greetings!

2. Transportation

Airplane Phrases

Knowing these Cantonese language travel phrases will prove beneficial once you find yourself in need of transportation. Let’s take a look.

1. 呢班車去邊度㗎?

Romanization: ni1 baan1 ce1 heoi3 bin1 dou6 gaa3
Meaning: Where does this bus go?

2. 我可以點去__呀?

Romanization: ngo5 ho2 ji5 dim2 heoi3 __ aa3
Meaning: How do I get to __?

Additional Notes:
You fill in the blank with the place you want to get to, like 車站 (ce1 zaam6) meaning “bus stop,” 機場 (gei1 coeng4) meaning “the airport,” or 酒店 (zau2 dim3) meaning “hotel.” Learning this sentence will definitely help you navigate through and explore the city—if you don’t know how to get to an attraction or a restaurant that you’d like to try out, use this!

3. 一張去__嘅飛, 唔該

Romanization: jat1 zoeng1 heoi3 __ ge3 fei1, m4 goi1.
Meaning: A ticket to __ please, thanks.

Additional Notes:
You can fill in the blank with the place or town you want to go to, such as 元朗 (jyun4 long5), 銅鑼灣 (tung4 lo4 waan1), and 西貢 (sai1 gung3). You may want to check in advance to discover what each town in Hong Kong has to offer.

4. 班火車會幾點到呀?

Romanization: baan1 fo2 ce1 wui5 gei2 dim2 dou3 aa3
Meaning: When will the train arrive?

Additional Notes:
The railway systems in Hong Kong are some of the most efficient, where trains come in every other minute during peak hour. But still, time is limited for travelers, and it wouldn’t hurt to learn this phrase and put it in your pocket.

5. __領事館喺邊呀?

Romanization: __ling5 si6 gun2 hai2 bin1 aa3
Meaning: Where is __ Consulate?

Additional Notes:
You can fill in the blank with the name of the country:

  • Italy: 意大利 (ji3 daai6 lei6)
  • Brazil: 巴西 (baa1 saai1)
  • Japan: 日本 (jat6 bun2)
  • UK: 英國 (jing1 gwok3)
  • Denmark: 丹麥 (daan1 mak6)
  • France: 法國 (faat3 gwok3)
  • The Netherlands: 荷蘭 (ho4 laan1)
  • US: 美國 (mei5 gwok3)

Many countries have set up a consulate in Hong Kong. You may find more information if you need help from the consulate of your country.

3. Shopping

Basic Questions

A trip to Hong Kong wouldn’t be complete without a little shopping! Study these Hong Kong travel words’ translation to pave the way for a more enjoyable shopping experience.

1. 幾多錢呀?

Romanization: gei2 do1 cin2 aa3
Meaning: How much is this?

2. 太貴喇

Romanization: taai3 gwai3 laa3.
Meaning: It’s too expensive.

Additional Notes:
This phrase will help you a lot when you negotiate for cheaper prices in the Ladies Market.

3. 我俾唔起

Romanization: ngo5 bei2 m4 hei2.
Meaning: I can’t afford it.

4. 我可唔可以退貨?

Romanization: ngo5 ho2 m4 ho2 ji3 teoi3 fo3?
Meaning: Can I get a refund?

5. 我可以去邊度唱錢呀?

Romanization: ngo5 ho2 ji5 heoi3 bin1 dou6 coeng3 cin2 aa3?
Meaning: Where can I exchange foreign currency?

6. 可唔可以俾個袋我呀?

Romanization: ho2 m4 ho2 ji5 bei2 go3 doi2 ngo5 aa3?
Meaning: Can I have a bag?

Additional Notes:
Hong Kong has implemented the Environmental Levy Scheme on Plastic Shopping Bags. Now a plastic shopping bag costs HKD0.5.

7. 你找錯錢

Romanization: nei5 zaau2 co3 cin2.
Meaning: You gave me the wrong change.

8. 我可唔可以用信用卡找數?

Romanization: ngo5 ho2 m4 ho2 ji3 jung6 seon3 jung6 kaat1 zaau2 sou3?
Meaning: Can I pay with a credit card?

9. 可唔可以換細一個碼?

Romanization: ho2 m4 ho2 ji3 wun6 sai3 jat1 go3 maa5?
Meaning: Can you exchange it for a smaller size?

Check out this link to learn Cantonese numbers!

4. Restaurants

Eating out and enjoying local cuisine—maybe the best part of traveling to a new country. Take some time to study these Cantonese travel phrases in English, and practice them in Cantonese. This will make your dining experience superb!

Empty Restaurant Table

1. 唔該俾張餐牌我睇

Romanization: m4 goi1 bei2 zoeng1 caan1 paai4 ngo5 tai2 .
Meaning: Please bring me the menu.

2. 呢度有乜嘢食出名呀?

Romanization: ni1 dou6 jau5 mat1 je5 sik6 ceot1 ming2 aa3?
Meaning: What’s your house specialty?

3. 我食素

Romanization: ngo5 sik6 sou3.
Meaning: I’m a vegetarian.

4. 我想要___

Romanization: ngo5 soeng2 jiu3 ___.
Meaning: I want ___.

Additional Notes:
You can fill in the blank with the food that you’d like to get, like 牛 (ngau4) meaning “beef,” 蔬菜 (so1 coi3) meaning “vegetables,” and 多士 (do1 si2) meaning “toast.”

5. 唔該埋單

Romanization: m4 goi1 maai4 daan1.
Meaning: Check, please.

5. Asking for and Giving Directions

Survival Phrases

When studying travel phrases to learn Cantonese, you absolutely can’t forget about directions. Here are the most basic travel phrases in Hong Kong local language to help you get around without getting lost!

1. 可唔可以喺張地圖度指俾我睇呀?

Romanization: ho2 m4 ho2 ji5 hai2 zoeng1 dei6 tou4 dou6 zi2 bei2 ngo5 tai2 aa3?
Meaning: Can you show me on the map?

When you ask for directions, you may get a short answer: 向南行 (hoeng3 naam4 hang4), which means “Walk in the direction of south.” But of course, “south” is just one example, and the direction can be replaced by most of the words below.

2. 北

Romanization: bak1
Meaning: North

3. 南

Romanization: naam4
Meaning: South

4. 東

Romanization: dung1
Meaning: East

5. 西

Romanization: sai1
Meaning: West

6. 左

Romanization: zo2
Meaning: Left

7. 右

Romanization: jau6
Meaning: Right

8. 直行

Romanization: zik6 hang4.
Meaning: Go straight.

6. Emergencies

In an emergency, knowing these travel phrases in Hong Kong local language may just save the day!

Police Station Sign

1. 救命!

Romanization: gau3 ming6!
Meaning: Help!

Additional Notes:
You can call either 112 or 999 when you encounter an emergency. These are the most common emergency telephone numbers that can be dialed, free of charge, from most mobile telephones, even if they’re locked.

2. 小心!

Romanization: siu2 sam1!
Meaning: Watch out!

3. 唔好搞我!

Romanization: m4 hou2 gaau2 ngo5!
Meaning: Leave me alone!

4. 唔該幫我叫醫生.

Romanization: m4 goi1 bong1 ngo5 giu3 ji1 saang1.
Meaning: Please call a doctor for me.

5. 我唔舒服.

Romanization: ngo5 m4 syu1 fuk6.
Meaning: I’m not feeling well.

6. 我唔見咗個銀包.

Romanization: ngo5 m4 gin3 zo2 go3 ngan4 baau1.
Meaning: I lost my wallet.

7. Flattery Phrases

When you learn Cantonese travel phrases, it’s always good to have some flattery phrases up your sleeve. Everyone loves a compliment!

Group with a Woman Giving a Thumbs Up

1. 你好叻!

Romanization: nei5 hou2 lek1!
Meaning: You are so smart!

2. 你好靚!

Romanization: nei5 hou2 leng3!
Meaning: You are so beautiful!

3. 件外套好襯你.

Romanization: gin6 ngoi6 tou3 hou2 can3 nei5.
Meaning: The jacket looks good on you.

4. 你好有品味.

Romanization: nei5 hou2 jau5 ban2 mei6.
Meaning: You have good taste.

5. 你好搞笑.

Romanization: nei5 hou2 gaau2 siu3.
Meaning: You have a great sense of humor.

8. Useful Phrases to go through Language Problems

World Map

1. 我唔識講廣東話.

Romanization: ngo5 m4 sik1 gong2 gwong2 dung1 waa2.
Meaning: I can’t speak Cantonese.

2. 你識唔識講英文呀?

Romanization: nei5 sik1 m4 sik1 gong2 jing1 man2 aa3?
Meaning: Do you speak English?

3. 我唔識講普通話.

Romanization: ngo5 m4 sik1 gong2 pou2 tung1 waa2.
Meaning: I can’t speak Mandarin.

4. 我唔明.

Romanization: ngo5 m4 ming4.
Meaning: I don’t understand.

5. 呢度有冇人識講英文呀?

Romanization: ni1 dou6 jau5 mou5 jan4 sik1 gong2 jing1 man2 aa3?
Meaning: Anyone here speak English?

9. Conclusion: How Can Help You Learn More Cantonese

We went over a lot of useful Cantonese travel phrases, didn’t we? We hope you can see why travel phrases in Cantonese language learning are so vital, and how they can help you have a much better visit to Hong Kong.

Want to level up your Cantonese? No worries. With, you can have your daily dose of Cantonese whenever and wherever you want, through mobile apps, desktop software, and our website. We offer entertaining, engaging, and effective lessons on various aspects of the Cantonese language and culture.

Until now, we’ve delivered more than 750,000,000 lessons to thousands of happy students from all around the globe. You can learn Cantonese with over 1060 audio and video lessons delivered by our knowledgeable and energetic hosts, detailed PDF lesson notes, an abundance of vocabulary learning tools, spaced repetition flashcards, and a lively community to discuss the lessons with fellow learners. What are you waiting for? Download our lessons, enjoy our audio and video files, and start learning now!

And keep in mind that if you prefer a one-on-one learning approach and want to further accelerate your Cantonese learning, you can take advantage of our MyTeacher program when you upgrade to Premium Plus!


How to Say Happy New Year in Cantonese & New Year Wishes

Learn all the Cantonese New Year wishes online, in your own time, on any device! Join CantoneseClass101 for a special Cantonese New Year celebration!

How to Say Happy New Year in Cantonese

Can you relate to the year passing something like this: “January, February, March – December!”? Many people do! Quantum physics teaches us that time is relative, and few experiences illustrate this principle as perfectly as when we reach the end of a year. To most of us, it feels like the old one has passed in the blink of an eye, while the new year lies ahead like a very long journey! However, New Year is also a time to celebrate beginnings, and to say goodbye to what has passed. This is true in every culture, no matter when New Year is celebrated.

So, how do you say Happy New Year in Cantonese? Let a native teach you! At CantoneseClass101, you will learn how to correctly greet your friends over New Year, and wish them well with these Cantonese New Year wishes!

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Table of Contents

  1. How to Celebrate New Year in China
  2. Must-Know Cantonese Words & Phrases for the New Year!
  3. Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions in Cantonese
  4. Inspirational New Year Quotes
  5. Inspirational Language Learning Quotes
  6. How To Say Happy New Year in 31 Languages
  7. How CantoneseClass101 Can Help You Learn Cantonese

But let’s start with some vocabulary for Cantonese New Year celebrations, very handy for conversations.

1. How to Celebrate New Year in China

How to Celebrate New Year

Let’s talk about New Year’s Eve, or 除夕 in Cantonese.

Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question?

What is the most popular way to send New Year’s messages after the New Year’s Eve countdown in modern-day Hong Kong?

If you don’t already know, you’ll find out a bit later, so keep reading!

Every 31st of December, countdown celebrations are held throughout Hong Kong. Many countdown events are held in shopping centers, but the government’s Leisure and Cultural Services Department also organizes the countdown carnival, which is 嘉年華 in Cantonese. Usually, families spend the New Years’ events and celebrations together in Hong Kong. A lot of people also host private parties at restaurants and clubhouses on New Year’s Eve.

Among the many countdown celebrations held in Hong Kong, the most popular is fireworks on Victoria Harbour. Fireworks are called 煙花 in Cantonese. This event attracts a lot of people to the shores.

In Hong Kong, there are three major outdoor New Year countdown events. “Countdown” in Cantonese is 倒數. The first is the Apple Countdown, which is held at Times Square in Causeway Bay. The concept of this countdown was inspired by the New Year countdown held in Times Square in New York. The second takes place on Canton Road in Tsim Sha Tsui, where famous celebrities perform and count down the coming of the New Year along with the public. The third is at Lan Kwai Fong in Central. During New Year’s, every bar, restaurant and nightclub in these areas is packed, and the streets are filled with people. The roads around those areas are blocked for the day and become “pedestrian zones”, or 行人專用區 in Cantonese.

Crowded events such as these often lead to outbreaks of disorderly behavior, so fights and accidents during the countdown events are reported almost every year. The most serious accident reported was the Lan Kwai Fong tragedy of 1993. In this accident, 21 people died and 63 people were injured due to a stampede that resulted from overcrowded streets. It is recorded as the worst stampede in Hong Kong’s history. Ever since then, the Hong Kong Police Force, or 香港警務處, have implemented crowd control in all crowded areas to prevent joyous events from turning into tragic disasters.

On New Year’s Eve, most public transportation, or 公共交通工具, offer overnight services, called 通宵服務 in Cantonese. These services allow participants in New Year’s events to return home safely after the celebrations.

Now it’s time to answer our quiz question-

What is the most popular way to send New Year’s messages after the New Year’s Eve countdown in modern-day Hong Kong?

In Hong Kong, most people call or send instant messages to their friends and relatives. Because there is such a heavy demand on phone network services at this time, it‘s no surprise when calls or text messages don’t go through.

Happy New Year!
san1 nin4 faai3 lok6!

2. Must-Know Cantonese Words & Phrases for the New Year!

Cantonese Words & Phrases for the New Year

1- Year


This is pretty self-explanatory. Most countries follow a Gregorian calendar, which has approximately 365 days in a year, while in some cultures, other year designations are also honored. Therefore, New Year’s day in China could fall on a different day than in your country. When do you celebrate New Year?

2- Midnight

ng5 je6

The point in time when a day ends and a new one starts. Many New Year celebrants prefer to stay awake till midnight, and greet the new annum as it breaks with fanfare and fireworks!

3- New Year’s Day

jyun4 daan3

In most countries, the new year is celebrated for one whole day. On the Gregorian calendar, this falls on January 1st. On this day, different cultures engage in festive activities, like parties, parades, big meals with families and many more.

You can do it!

4- Party

paai3 deoi3

A party is most people’s favorite way to end the old year, and charge festively into the new one! We celebrate all we accomplished in the old year, and joyfully anticipate what lies ahead.

5- Dancing

tiu3 mou5

Usually, when the clock strikes midnight and the New Year officially begins, people break out in dance! It is a jolly way to express a celebratory mood with good expectations for the year ahead. Also, perhaps, that the old year with its problems has finally passed! Dance parties are also a popular way to spend New Year’s Eve in many places.

6- Champagne

hoeng1 ban1

Originating in France, champagne is a bubbly, alcoholic drink that is often used to toast something or someone during celebrations.

7- Fireworks

jin1 faa1

These are explosives that cause spectacular effects when ignited. They are popular for announcing the start of the new year with loud noises and colorful displays! In some countries, fireworks are set off to scare away evil spirits. In others, the use of fireworks is forbidden in urban areas due to their harmful effect on pets. Most animals’ hearing is much more sensitive than humans’, so this noisy display can be very frightful and traumatising to them.

8- Countdown

dou3 sou2

This countdown refers to New Year celebrants counting the seconds, usually backward, till midnight, when New Year starts – a great group activity that doesn’t scare animals, and involves a lot of joyful shouting when the clock strikes midnight!

9- New Year’s Holiday

san1 nin4 gaa3 kei4

In many countries, New Year’s Day is a public holiday – to recuperate from the party the previous night, perhaps! Families also like to meet on this day to enjoy a meal and spend time together.

10- Confetti

ng5 coi2 seoi3 zi2

In most Western countries, confetti is traditionally associated with weddings, but often it is used as a party decoration. Some prefer to throw it in the air at the strike of midnight on New Year’s Eve.

11- New Year’s Eve

san1 nin4 cin4 zik6

This is the evening before New Year breaks at midnight! Often, friends and family meet for a party or meal the evening before, sometimes engaging in year-end rituals. How are you planning to give your New Year greetings in 2018?

12- Toast

ging3 zau2

A toast is a type of group-salutation that involves raising your glass to drink with others in honor of something or someone. A toast to the new year is definitely in order!

13- Resolution

san1 nin4 daai6 gai3

Those goals or intentions you hope to, but seldom keep in the new year! Many people consider the start of a new year to be the opportune time for making changes or plans. Resolutions are those intentions to change, or the plans. It’s best to keep your resolutions realistic so as not to disappoint yourself!

14- Parade

ceon4 yau4

New Year celebrations are a huge deal in some countries! Parades are held in the streets, often to celebratory music, with colorful costumes and lots of dancing. Parades are like marches, only less formal and way more fun. At CantoneseClass101, you can engage in forums with natives who can tell you what Cantonese New Year celebrations are like!

3. Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions List

So, you learned the Cantonese word for ‘resolution’. Fabulous! Resolutions are those goals and intentions that we hope to manifest in the year that lies ahead. The beginning of a new year serves as a good marker in time to formalise these. Some like to do it in writing, others only hold these resolutions in their hearts. Here are our Top 10 New Year’s resolutions at CantoneseClass101 – what are yours?

Learn these phrases and impress your Cantonese friends with your vocabulary.

New Year's Resolutions

1- Read more

duk6 do1 di1 syu1.

Reading is a fantastic skill that everyone can benefit from. You’re a business person? Apparently, successful business men and women read up to 60 books a year. This probably excludes fiction, so better scan your library or Amazon for the top business reads if you plan to follow in the footsteps of the successful! Otherwise, why not make it your resolution to read more Cantonese in the new year? You will be surprised by how much this will improve your Cantonese language skills!

2- Spend more time with family

pui4 uk1 kei2 jan4 do1 di1.

Former US President George Bush’s wife, Barbara Bush, was quoted as having said this: “At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict, or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child, a parent.” This is very true! Relationships are often what gives life meaning, so this is a worthy resolution for any year.

3- Lose weight

gaam2 fei4.

Hands up, how many of you made this new year’s resolution last year too…?! This is a notoriously difficult goal to keep, as it takes a lot of self discipline not to eat unhealthily. Good luck with this one, and avoid unhealthy fad diets!

4- Save money

cou5 cin2.

Another common and difficult resolution! However, no one has ever been sorry when they saved towards reaching a goal. Make it your resolution to save money to upgrade your subscription to CantoneseClass101’s Premium PLUS option in the new year – it will be money well spent!

5- Quit smoking

gaai3 jin1.

This is a resolution that you should definitely keep, or your body could punish you severely later! Smoking is a harmful habit with many hazardous effects on your health. Do everything in your power to make this resolution come true in the new year, as your health is your most precious asset.

6- Learn something new

hok6 san1 je5.

Science has proven that learning new skills can help keep brain diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s at bay! It can even slow down the progression of the disease. So, keep your brain healthy by learning to speak a new language, studying towards a qualification, learning how to sew, or how to play chess – no matter how old you are, the possibilities are infinite!

7- Drink less

jam2 siu2 di1 zau2.

This is another health resolution that is good to heed any time of the year. Excessive drinking is associated with many diseases, and its effect can be very detrimental to good relationships too. Alcohol is a poison and harmful for the body in large quantities!

8- Exercise regularly

ding6 si4 wan6 dung6.

This resolution goes hand-in-hand with ‘Lose weight’! An inactive body is an unhealthy and often overweight one, so give this resolution priority in the new year.

9- Eat healthy

sik6 dak1 gin6 hong1 di1.

If you stick with this resolution, you will lose weight and feel better in general. It is a very worthy goal to have!

10- Study Cantonese with CantoneseClass101

jung6 hok6 gwong2 dung1 waa2

Of course! You can only benefit from learning Cantonese, especially with us! Learning how to speak Cantonese can keep your brain healthy, it can widen your circle of friends, and improve your chances to land a dream job anywhere in the world. CantoneseClass101 makes it easy and enjoyable for you to stick to this resolution.

4. Inspirational New Year Quotes

Inspirational Quotes

Everyone knows that it is sometimes very hard to stick to resolutions, and not only over New Year. The reasons for this vary from person to person, but all of us need inspiration every now and then! A good way to remain motivated is to keep inspirational quotes near as reminders that it’s up to us to reach our goals.

Click here for quotes that will also work well in a card for a special Cantonese new year greeting!

Make decorative notes of these in Cantonese, and keep them close! Perhaps you could stick them above your bathroom mirror, or on your study’s wall. This way you not only get to read Cantonese incidentally, but also remain inspired to reach your goals! Imagine feeling like giving up on a goal, but reading this quote when you go to the bathroom: “It does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop.” What a positive affirmation!

5. Inspirational Language Learning Quotes

Language Learning Quotes

Still undecided whether you should enroll with CantoneseClass101 to learn a new language? There’s no time like the present to decide! Let the following Language Learning Quotes inspire you with their wisdom.

Click here to read the most inspirational Language Learning Quotes!

As legendary President Nelson Mandela once said: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.” So, learning how to say Happy New Year in Cantonese could well be a way into someone special’s heart for you! Let this year be the one where you to learn how to say Happy New Year, and much more, in Cantonese – it could open many and unexpected doors for you.

6. How To Say Happy New Year in 31 Languages

Here’s a lovely bonus for you! Why stop with Cantonese – learn how to say Happy New Year in 31 other languages too! Watch this video and learn how to pronounce these New Year’s wishes like a native in under two minutes.

7. Why Enrolling with CantoneseClass101 Would Be the Perfect New Year’s Gift to Yourself!

If you are unsure how to celebrate the New Year, why not give yourself a huge gift, and enroll to learn Cantonese! With more than 12 years of experience behind us, we know that CantoneseClass101 would be the perfect fit for you. There are so many reasons for this!

Learning Paths

  • Custom-tailored Learning Paths: Start learning Cantonese at the level that you are. We have numerous Learning Pathways, and we tailor them just for you based on your goals and interests! What a boon!
  • Marked Progress and Fresh Learning Material Every Week: We make new lessons available every week, with an option to track your progress. Topics are culturally appropriate and useful, such as “Learning how to deliver negative answers politely to a business partner.” Our aim is to equip you with Cantonese that makes sense!
  • Multiple Learning Tools: Learn in fun, easy ways with resources such 1,000+ video and audio lessons, flashcards, detailed PDF downloads, and mobile apps suitable for multiple devices!
  • Fast Track Learning Option: If you’re serious about fast-tracking your learning, Premium Plus would be the perfect way to go! Enjoy perks such as personalised lessons with ongoing guidance from your own, native-speaking teacher, and one-on-one learning on your mobile app! You will not be alone in your learning. Weekly assignments with non-stop feedback, answers and corrections will ensure speedy progress.
  • Fun and Easy: Keeping the lessons fun and easy-to-learn is our aim, so you will stay motivated by your progress!

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There’s no reason not to go big in 2018 by learning Cantonese with CantoneseClass101. Just imagine how the world can open up for you!

How to Say ‘Merry Christmas’ in Cantonese

How to Say Merry Christmas in Cantonese

Do you know any ways to wish someone a ‘Merry Christmas’ in Cantonese? CantoneseClass101 brings you easy-to-learn translations and the correct pronunciation of Cantonese Christmas phrases!

Christmas is the annual commemorative festival of Christ’s birth in the Western Christian Church. It takes place on December 25th and is usually celebrated with much food and fanfare! However, not all cultures celebrate Christmas. In some countries, Christmas is not even a public holiday! However, many countries have adapted Christmas and its religious meaning to tally with their own beliefs, or simply in acknowledgment of the festival’s importance to other cultures. If you want to impress native Cantonese speakers with culturally-appropriate Christmas phrases and vocabulary, CantoneseClass101 will teach you the most important ways to wish someone a ‘Merry Christmas’ in Cantonese!

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Table of Contents

  1. How to Celebrate Christmas in Hong Kong
  2. Holiday Greetings and Wishes
  3. Must-Know Christmas Day Vocabulary
  4. Twelve Days of Christmas
  5. Top 10 Christmas Characters
  6. How CantoneseClass101 Can Help You

1. How to Celebrate Christmas in Hong Kong

Christmas Words in Cantonese

Let’s see how Hong Kong people celebrate Christmas!

Now, before we go into more detail, I’ve got a question for you-

Can you guess how much a Christmas dinner usually costs at a hotel in Hong Kong?

If you don’t already know, you’ll find out a bit later, so keep reading!

Hong Kong has a nice Christmas atmosphere, with everyone busy getting ready for all kinds of parties. At these parties, as is typical of Christmas celebrations in most cultures, gifts are exchanged. Exchanging gifts is 交換禮物 in Cantonese. Everyone has to go shopping for gifts beforehand to have something to exchange. All the shops in town have bargain sales, or 減價, to encourage people to buy more than they need to increase profits.

Do you know which places in Hong Kong are most popular and beautifully decorated during the Christmas season? The most popular places are Harbour City, 1881 Heritage, and the Peninsula Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui; Times Square in Causeway Bay; the Statue Square in Central; and Hong Kong Disneyland on Lantau Island.

Many buildings and skyscrapers next to Victoria Harbour put up Christmas light displays, or 燈飾 in Cantonese. If you want to see the light displays, ride the Star Ferry or 天星小輪 in Cantonese, and see the marvelous night-time scenery on both sides of the harbor.

The biggest difference between Christmas in Hong Kong and in Western countries is the Christmas dinner. Rather than enjoying it at home, most people in Hong Kong eat at restaurants and hotels, or have food catered in. Catering is 到會 in Cantonese. All the restaurants and hotels promote set menus or buffet services with Christmas themes. These meals are called 聖誕大餐. It’s very difficult to get a seat if you don’t make a reservation weeks in advance.

It never snows in Hong Kong, so some shopping malls provide fake snow, fake snowmen, and icy displays to fabricate a Christmas environment to attract customers. Because of the hot weather, there are no outdoor ice-skating rinks in Hong Kong, but you can find several indoor ice rinks. In Cantonese, ice rinks are called 溜冰場. Those who want to enjoy Christmas on ice can visit these spots.

Now it’s time to answer our quiz question-

Do you know how much a Christmas dinner usually costs at a hotel in Hong Kong?
The average cost for Christmas dinner at a hotel in Hong Kong is 650 Hong Kong dollars per person, which is roughly 85 US Dollars.

2. Holiday Greetings and Wishes for the Holiday Season

Holiday Greetings and Wishes

1- Merry Christmas!

sing3 daan3 faai3 lok6!

Do you know how to say ‘Merry Christmas’ in Cantonese? Learn here how to pronounce it perfectly! ‘Merry’ means to be joyful, to celebrate and generally be in good spirits. So, with this phrase you are wishing someone a joyful, celebratory remembrance of Christ’s birth!

2- Happy Kwanzaa!

fun1 zaat3 zit3 faai3 lok6!

Surprise your African-American, or West African native friends with this phrase over the Christmas holidays! Kwanzaa is a seven-day, non-religious celebration, starting on Dec 26th each year. It has its roots in African American modern history, and many people celebrate both Kwanzaa and Christmas!

3- Have a happy New Year!

san1 nin4 faai3 lok6!

In countries where Christmas is not officially celebrated, but a Gregorian calendar is observed, this would be a friendly festive-season wish over New Year.

4- Happy Hanukkah!

gwong1 ming4 zit3 faai3 lok6!

Hanukkah is the beautiful Hebrew festival over November or December each year. It is also called the ‘Festival of Lights’ and is celebrated to commemorate the Jewish freedom of religion.

5- Have a great winter vacation!

hei1 mong6 nei5 jau5 jat1 go3 hou2 hou2 ge3 hon4 gaa3!

This is a good phrase to keep handy if someone doesn’t observe any religious festival over the Christmas holidays! However, this will only be applicable in the Northern hemisphere, where it is winter over Christmas.

6- See you next year!

haa6 nin2 gin3!

Going away on holiday over Christmas season, or saying goodbye to someone about to leave on vacation? This would be a good way to say goodbye to your friends and family.

7- Warm wishes!

溫馨嘅祝福! 溫馨嘅祝福!
wan1 hing1 ge3 zuk1 fuk1!

An informal, friendly phrase to write in Cantonese Christmas cards, especially for secular friends who prefer to observe Christmas celebrations without the religious symbolism. It conveys the warmth of friendship and friendly wishes associated with this time of year.

8- Happy holidays!

gaa3 kei4 jyu6 faai3!

If you forget how to say ‘Merry Christmas!’ in Cantonese, this is a safe, generic phrase to use instead.

9- Enjoy the holidays!

hoeng2 sau6 nei5 ge3 gaa3 kei4!

After saying ‘Merry Christmas’ in Cantonese, this would be a good phrase with which to wish Christmas holiday-goers well! It is also good to use for secular friends who don’t celebrate Christmas but take a holiday at this time of the year.

10- Best wishes for the New Year!

zuk1 nei5 hai2 san1 ge3 jat1 nin4 maan6 si6 jyu4 ji3!

This is another way of wishing someone well in the New Year if they observe a Gregorian calendar. New Year’s day would then fall on January 1st.

3. Must-Know Christmas Day Vocabulary

Christmas is associated with many traditions and religious symbols in multiple countries across the world. It originated centuries ago in the West with the birth of Christianity, and the celebrations are often embedded with rich cultural significance. So, by now you know how to say Merry Christmas in Cantonese! Next, learn pertinent vocabulary and phrases pertaining to Christmas, as well as how to pronounce them correctly. At CantoneseClass101, we make sure you sound like a native speaker!

1- Christmas

sing3 daan3 zit3

This is the Cantonese word for ‘Christmas’. Most happy Christmas wishes in Cantonese will include this word!

2- Snow


In most Northern-hemisphere countries, Christmas is synonymous with snow, and for Christmas, the snowman is often dressed as Santa Claus.

3- Snowflake

syut3 faa1

Snowflakes collectively make up snow. A single snowflake is small, white, light like a feather and icy cold! When put under a microscope, the snowflake reveals itself to have the most beautiful, symmetrical patterns. These patterns have become popular Christmas decorations, especially in Western countries.

4- Snowman

雪人 (n)
syut3 jan4

As you guessed – a snowman is only possible to build if it is snowing! What a fun way to spend Christmas day outside.

5- Turkey

fo2 gai1

Roast turkey is the traditional main dish on thousands of lunch tables on Christmas day, mainly in Western countries. What is your favorite Christmas dish?

6- Wreath

faa1 hyun1

Another traditional Western decoration for Christmas, the wreath is an arrangement of flowers, leaves, or stems fastened in a ring. Many families like to hang a Christmas wreath outside on their houses’ front doors.

7- Reindeer

hung4 bei6 seon4 luk2 lou5 dou6 fu1

Reindeer are the animals commonly fabled to pull Santa Claus’ sled across the sky! Western Christmas folklore tells of Father Christmas or Santa Claus doing the rounds with his sled, carrying Christmas presents for children, and dropping them into houses through the chimney. But who is Santa Claus?

8- Santa Claus

sing3 daan3 lou5 jan4

Santa Claus is a legendary and jolly figure originating in the Western Christian culture. He is known by many names, but is traditionally depicted as a rotund man wearing a red costume with a pointy hat, and sporting a long, snow-white beard!

9- Elf

siu2 zing1 ling4

An elf is a supernatural creature of folklore with pointy ears, a dainty, humanoid body and a capricious nature. Elves are said to help Santa Claus distribute presents to children over Christmas!

10- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

hung4 bei6 seon4 luk2 lou5 dou6 fu1

‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ is a Christmas song based on an American children’s story book with the same name. Rudolph is one of Santa’s reindeer. The song became more famous than the book, and can still be heard playing in many shopping malls over Christmas time across the globe!

11- North Pole

bak1 gik6

The cold North Pole is where Santa Claus is reputed to live with his reindeer!

12- Sled

syut3 hiu1

A sled is a non-motorised land vehicle used to travel over snow in countries where it snows a lot, and is usually pulled by animals such as horses, dogs or reindeer. This one obviously refers to Santa’s sled! Another word for sled is sleigh or sledge.

13- Present

lai5 mat6

Gift or present giving is synonymous with Christmas Eve and the greatest source of joy for children over this festive time! This tradition signifies that Christ’s birth was a gift to mankind, but not all people who hand out presents over Christmas observe the religious meaning.

14- Bell


On Christmas Day, or Christmas Eve, many religious celebrants enjoy going to church for a special sermon and Christmas rituals. The start of the sermon is often announced with bells or a bell, if the church has one. For this reason, the sound of ringing bells is often associated with Christmas Day.

15- Chimney

jin1 tung1

The chimney is the entrance Santa Claus uses to deliver children’s presents on Christmas Day, according to folklore! Wonder how the chubby man and his elves stay clean…?!

16- Fireplace

fo2 lou4

In most countries where it snows, Christmas is synonymous with a fire or burning embers in houses’ fireplaces. Families huddle around its warmth while opening Christmas presents. Also, this is where Santa Claus is reputed to pop out after his journey down the chimney!

17- Christmas Day

sing3 daan3 jat6

This is the official day of commemorative celebration of Christ’s birth, and falls each year on December 25.

18- Decoration

zong1 sik1

Decorations are the colourful trinkets and posters that make their appearance in shops and homes during the Christmas holiday season in many countries! They give the places a celebratory atmosphere in anticipation of the big Christmas celebration. Typical Christmas decorations include colorful photographs and posters, strings of lights, figurines of Santa Claus and the nativity scene, poinsettia flowers, snowflakes and many more.

19- Stocking

sing3 daan3 mat6

According to legend, Santa Claus places children’s presents in a red stocking hanging over the fireplace. This has also become a popular decoration, signifying Christmas.

20- Holly

dung1 cing1

Holly is a shrub native to the UK, and parts of Europe, Africa and Asia. It is characterised by glossy, spiny-toothed leaves, small, whitish flowers, and red berries. Ironically, its significance for Christmas relates to Christ’s crucifixion and suffering rather than his birth. However, the leaves’ distinctive shape and image have become popular Christmas decorations.

21- Gingerbread house

goeng1 beng2 uk1

According to legend, the gingerbread house synonymous with Christmas is related to Christ’s birth place, Bethlehem. Bethlehem literally means ‘House of Bread’. Over centuries, it has become a popular treat over Christmas time in many non-religious households as well.

22- Candy cane

si6 dik1 tong2

According to folklore, Christmas candy canes made their appearance first in Germany in the 16th century. A choir master gave children the candy canes to suck on in church in order to keep them quiet during the Christmas sermon! Apparently, the candy is shaped like a cane in remembrance of the shepherds who were the first to visit the baby Jesus. Today, like gingerbread houses, they are still a popular sweet over the festive season!

23- Mistletoe

huk6 gei3 sang1

Mistletoe is a parasitic plant that grows on certain trees. In the Middle Ages, it was believed that the mistletoe has magical powers, and could protect a household from evil if hung above a door during December. The belief didn’t last but the habit did, and the mistletoe is another popular Christmas decoration!

4. Twelve Days of Christmas

Twelve Days of Christmas

Wow, you’re doing extremely well! You know how to wish someone a Merry Christmas in Cantonese, and you learned pertinent vocabulary too! The Twelve Days of Christmas is not very well known in modern times, so, you’re on your way to becoming an expert in Christmas traditions and rituals. Well done!

The Twelve Days of Christmas, also known as Twelvetide, is a traditional festive period of 12 days dedicated to celebrate the nativity of Christ. Christmas Day is, for many who observe Twelvetide, the first day of this period.

‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ is also a popular Christmas song about a series of gifts given on each day of Twelvetide. According to experts, these gifts were created as a coded reference to important symbols in the Christian church. Here is a list of those gifts mentioned in the song! Do you recognise them?

5. Top 10 Christmas Characters in American Culture

Top 10 Christmas Characters

This is fantastic, you know how to explain almost everything about Christmas in Cantonese! However, do you know the most popular Christmas characters in American culture? Your knowledge will not be complete without this list.

6. CantoneseClass101 Is One Of The Best Online Language Schools Available!

Visit CantoneseClass101!

We don’t just say this – we can prove it! Geared to your personal needs and goals, we have several learning paths from which to choose. From Cantonese for Absolute Beginners to Advanced Cantonese, lessons are designed to meet you where you are, and increase your language abilities in fun, easy and interactive lessons! Mastering a new language has never been this easy or enjoyable.

We have over a decade of experience and research behind us, and it shows! With thousands of audio and video lessons, detailed PDF lessons and notes, as well as friendly, knowledgeable hosts, CantoneseClass101 is simply unbeatable when it comes to learning correct Cantonese. Plenty of tools and resources are available when you study with us. New lessons are added every week so material remains fresh and relevant. You also have the option to upgrade and enjoy even more personalised guidance and services. This is a sure way to fast-track your learning!

So, this Christmas, why don’t you give yourself a present and enroll in CantoneseClass101? Or give an enrollment as a present to a loved one. It will be a gift with benefits for a whole lifetime, not just over Christmas!

How To Say ‘Thank you’ in Cantonese

How to Say Thank You in Cantonese

In most cultures, it is custom to express gratitude in some way or another. The dictionary defines gratitude as follows: it is “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness”. Giving a sincere, thankful response to someone’s actions or words is often the ‘glue’ that keeps relationships together. This is true in most societies! Doing so in a foreign country also shows your respect and appreciation for the culture. Words have great power – use these ones sincerely and often!

Table of Contents

  1. 12 Ways to say ‘Thank you’ in Cantonese
  2. Video Lesson: Learn to Say ‘Thank You’ in 3 Minutes
  3. Infographic & Audio Lesson: Survival Phrases – Thank You
  4. Video Lesson: ‘Thank You’ in 31 Languages
  5. How CantoneseClass101 Can Help You

So, how do you say ‘Thank you’ in Cantonese? You can learn easily! Below, CantoneseClass101 brings you perfect translations and pronunciation as you learn the most common ways Cantonese speakers say ‘Thanks’ in various situations.

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1. 12 Ways to say ‘Thank you’ in Cantonese

1- Thank you.

do1 ze6

The magical words that can bring a smile to any face. For one day, truly mean it whenever you say these words, and see how this lifts your spirit too!

2- That’s very kind of you.

nei5 zan1 hai6 hou2 jan4.

This phrase is appropriate when someone clearly goes out of their way to give good service, or to offer you a kindness.

3- Thanks for your kind words!

do1 ze6 nei5 ge3 gu2 lai6!

Someone paid you a compliment and made you feel good? That is kind of him/her, so express your gratitude!

4- Thank you for coming today.

do1 ze6 nei5 gam1 jat6 soeng2 min2.

This welcoming phrase should be part of your arsenal if you’re conducting more formal meetings with Cantonese speakers. If you’re hosting a party, this is also a good phrase when you greet your Cantonese guests!

5- Thank you for your consideration.

do1 ze6 nei5 haau2 leoi6.

This is a more formal, almost solemn way to thank someone for their thoughtfulness and sensitivity towards you. It is also suitable to use when a native speaker has to consider something you submit, like a job application, a project or a proposal. You are thanking them, in essence, for time and effort they are about to, or have spent on your submission.

6- Thanks a lot!

hou2 do1 ze6 nei5!

This means the same as ‘Thank you’, but with energy and enthusiasm added! It means almost the same as ‘thank you so much’ in Cantonese. Use this in an informal setting with your Cantonese friends or teachers.

7- Teachers like you are not easy to find.

hou2 ci3 nei5 gam3 hou2 ge3 sin1 saang1 hou2 naan4 wan2.

Some phrases are compliments, which express gratitude by inference. This is one of them. If you’re particularly impressed with your CantoneseClass101 teacher, this is an excellent phrase to memorize!

8- Thank you for spending time with us.

do1 ze6 nei5 faa1 si4 gaan3 bei2 ngo5 dei6.

Any host at a gathering with Cantonese speakers, such as a meeting or a party, should have this under his/her belt! Use it when you’re saying goodbye or busy closing a meeting. It could also be another lovely way to thank your Cantonese language teacher for her time.

9- Thank you for being patient and helping me improve.

do1 ze6 nei5 gam3 jau5 noi6 sing3 bong1 ngo5 goi2 zeon3.

This phrase is another sure way to melt any formal or informal Cantonese teacher’s heart! Teaching is not easy, and often a lot of patience is required from the teacher. Thank him/her for it! It’s also a good phrase to use if you work in China, and want to thank your trainer or employer. You will go a long way towards making yourself a popular employee – gratitude is the most attractive trait in any person!

10- You’re the best teacher ever!

nei5 hai6 jau5 si2 ji5 lei4 zeoi3 hou2 ge3 sin1 saang1!

This is also an enthusiastic way to thank your teacher by means of a compliment. It could just make their day!

11- Thank you for the gift.

do1 ze6 nei5 fan6 lai5 mat6.

This is a good phrase to remember when you’re the lucky recipient of a gift. Show your respect and gratitude with these words.

12- I have learned so much thanks to you.

do1 ze6 nei5 gaau3 zo2 ngo5 gam2 do1 je5.

What a wonderful compliment to give a good teacher! It means they have succeeded in their goal, and you’re thankful for it.

2. Video Lesson: Learn to Say ‘Thank You’ in 3 Minutes

In the Cantonese language, 唔該 (m4 goi1) has a few meanings. We most commonly use this to mean “Thanks” in a casual way. We can also use it to mean “please,” and it can even be used to get someone’s attention. 唔該 literally translates as “no” (唔) and “should” (該). You put these together and it means something along the lines of “shouldn’t.” 唔該 is made up of two sounds, one for each character. The first sound is m4, pronounced with your mouth closed almost like humming, low and flat. The second sound is goi1 with a flat high tone, almost like singing. We can also use 唔該 when we want to gain someone’s attention in a polite way, especially in a restaurant setting when needing to get a waiter’s attention.

唔該晒 (m4 goi1 saai3) is a more emphatic way of saying “Thank you.”

Cultural Insights
Quick Tip 1

Native Hong Kongers commonly use handshakes when greeting Westerners. The Hong Kong Chinese handshake is rather light, so don’t try to squeeze with all your might. During the greeting, many Hong Kong Chinese lower their eyes as a sign of respect, but you do not have to reciprocate.

On the run to China? Wait! You can’t go without some basic language phrases under your belt! Especially if you’re heading to meet your prospective employer! Either in person or online, knowing how to say ‘Thank you’ in the Cantonese language will only improve their impression of you! CantoneseClass101 saves you time with this short lesson that nevertheless packs a punch. Learn to say ‘Thank you’ in Cantonese in no time!

3. Audio Lesson: Survival Phrases – Thank You

5 Ways to Say Thank You in Cantonese

Perhaps you think it’s unimportant that you don’t know what ‘Thank you’ is in Cantonese, or that it’s too difficult a language to learn. Yet, as a traveler or visitor, you will be surprised at how far you can go using a little bit of Cantonese in China!

Click Here to Listen to the Free Audio Lesson!

At CantoneseClass101, we offer you a few ways of saying ‘Thank you’ in Cantonese that you have no excuse not knowing, as they’re so simple and easy to learn. The lesson is geared to aid your ‘survival’ in formal and informal situations in China, so don’t wait! You will never have to google ‘How do you say thanks in Cantonese’ again…!

4. ‘Thank You’ in 31 Languages

For the global traveler in a hurry, here are 31 ways to say ‘Thank you’! These are the first words you need to learn in any foreign language – it is sure to smooth your way with native speakers by showing your gratitude for services rendered, and your respect for their culture! Learn and know how to correctly say ‘Thank you’ in 31 different languages in this short video.

5. Why would CantoneseClass101 be the perfect choice to learn Cantonese?

However, you need not stop at ‘Thank you’ in Cantonese – why not learn to speak the language?! You have absolutely nothing to lose. Research has shown that learning a new language increases intelligence and combats brain-aging. Also, the ability to communicate with native speakers in their own language is an instant way to make friends and win respect! Or imagine you know how to write ‘Thank you’ to that special Cantonese friend after a date…he/she will be so impressed!

Thank You

CantoneseClass101 Has Special Lessons, Tools and Resources to Teach You How to Say Thank You and Other Key Phrases

With more than a decade of experience behind us, we have taught thousands of satisfied users to speak foreign languages. How do we do this? First, we take the pain out of learning! At CantoneseClass101, students are assisted as they master vocabulary, pronunciation, and conversation through state-of-the-art and fun online learning methods. A library replete with learning resources allows for you to learn at your own pace and in your own space! Resources include thousands of video and audio recordings, downloadable PDF lessons and plenty of learning apps for your mobile devices. Each month, we add benefits with FREE bonuses and gifts to improve your experience.

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We accommodate all levels and types of learners, from Absolute Beginner to Advanced, and CantoneseClass101 is free for anyone to sign up. However, you can choose to fast track your fluency with lesson customization and increased interactive learning and practicing. Upgrade to Premium, or Premium PLUS to enhance your experience and greatly expedite your learning. With this type of assistance, and pleasurable effort on your part, you will speak Cantonese in a very short period of time!

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Best of all is that you’re never alone! We believe that practice is the holy grail of learning any new language, and we gear our courses to ensure lots of it. Enroll with us, and you gain immediate access to our lively forum where we meet and greet, and discuss your burning questions. Our certified teachers are friendly and helpful, and you are very likely to practice your first ‘Thanks!’ in Cantonese on him/her, AND mean it! Hurry up, and sign up now – you will thank us for it.