Best Language to Learn to Travel Asia

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Hey there, newbie nomads! So, picture this: you’re all pumped for your first Asian adventure, but then it hits you – the language barrier. Fear not, because we’ve got your back with some awesome, beginner-friendly language tips. Get ready for a wild ride through Asia, complete with some newbie stories that’ll make you grin!

English – Your Life Jacket

First things first, English is your ultimate life jacket. No matter where you land in Asia, a good ol’ “hello” and “thank you” can work wonders. Just ask Sam, who stumbled through Tokyo’s subway with a “hi” and ended up making friends for life.

Thai – Easy Breezy Greetings

So, you’ve landed in Thailand, and you’re all ‘Sawasdee’! Trust us, even a ‘sawasdee’ (hello) and ‘kob khun’ (thank you) will earn you smiles aplenty. Just ask Sarah, who accidentally ordered a spicy dish, but the locals cheered her on.

Malay – Making Multilingual Mates

Malay is your ticket to Malaysia and parts of Indonesia. You’re already a Malay maestro if you know English. Meet Tom, who haggled his way through a market with some basic Malay phrases and scored big.

Filipino – A Pinoy Adventure

The Philippines is paradise for English speakers. Tagalog has plenty of English words. Emma didn’t speak a lick of Tagalog, but her “magandang araw” (good day) got her free coconuts at a beach bar.

Bahasa Indonesia – Island Hopping 101

Indonesia’s islands beckon, and Bahasa Indonesia is your trusty guide. You don’t need to be fluent, just a few polite words and you’re set. Meet Max, who ordered the spiciest sambal and lived to tell the tale.

Vietnamese – Charm ’em with a ‘Xin Chao’

Vietnam’s vibrant, and so is its language. Learning ‘xin chao’ (hello) and ‘cam on’ (thank you) is a game-changer. Lily accidentally insulted a tailor but ended up with a beautifully tailored ao dai.

Korean – K-Drama Magic

If you’re K-Drama-crazy in South Korea, try some Korean. Even if it’s just “annyeong” (hello), the locals will be over the moon. Jack got lost but found his way back with “mianhamnida” (sorry).

Mandarin – Tackling the Great Wall of Language

Mandarin might seem intimidating, but a ‘ni hao’ (hello) and ‘xiexie’ (thank you) will take you far in China. Lucy got lost in Beijing but found her way back with a mix of Mandarin and charades.

Popular Asian Language List

Language in Iran

LanguageRegionPeople
Farsi Persiancentral and northern IranIranian
Azeri AzerbaijaniWest Azerbaijan, East Azerbaijan, and Qashqai FarsQashqai
TurkmenGolestanTurkmen
KurdishKermanshah, Kurdistan, and West AzerbaijanKurds
TalyshGilan and ArdabilTalysh
GilanjiGilanGilaks
Lurish Lorestan and IlamLurs
LuriArdabilAzerbaijanis
HebrewTehran and IsfahanIranian Jewish
BaluchiSistan and BaluchestanBaloch
TatGilan and ArdabilTats
Gilaki and MazandaraniGilan and MazandaranGilaks and Mazandaranis
Assyrian Neo-AramaicUrmiaAssyrian
MandaicKhuzestanMandaean
ArabicKhuzestanArabic
ArmenianTehran, Isfahan, and TabrizIranian Armenian

Language in China

LanguageRegion
Standard Chinese MandarinChina
Yue Chinese CantoneseGuangdong, Guangxi, Hong Kong and Macao
Wu Chinese ShanghaineseShanghai, eastern coastal China
Min Nan Chinese HokkienFujian and Taiwan
Kejia HakkaFujian, Guangdong, Jiangxi, and Taiwan
Sichuan Mandarin SichuaneseSichuan and Chongqing
TibetanTibet, Qinghai, Sichuan, and Yunnan
Uyghur UighurXinjiang Uighur
MongolianInner Mongolia
KoreanJilin and Liaoning
TangutNingxia Hui
Hmong MiaoGuizhou, Hunan, and Yunnan
TujiaHunan, Hubei, and Chongqing
ZhuangGuangxi Zhuang
Lolo YiYunnan, Sichuan, and Guizhou
Hmong Daw MiaoGuizhou, Yunnan, and Sichuan
HaniYunnan

Language in Oman

  1. Arabic
  2. English
  3. Baluchi
  4. Sindhi
  5. Swahili
  6. Urdu
  7. Farsi Persian
  8. Hindi and Malayalam:
  9. Tagalog

Language in Kyrgyzstan

  • Kyrgyz
  • Russian
  • Uzbek
  • Tajik
  • Kazakh
  • Dungan
  • Uighur
  • Karakalpak

Language in Maldives

  • Dhivehi Maldivian
  • English

Language in Syria

  • Standard Arabic
  • Armenian:
  • Turkish
  • Aramaic Syriac
  • Circassian
  • French and English

Language in Tajikistan

  • Tajik Tajiki
  • Uzbek
  • Russian
  • Pamiri
  • Wakhi
  • Shughni
  • Rushani
  • Yagnobi
  • Kyrgyz
  • Shughni

Language in Nepal

  • Nepali Bhasa
  • Maithili
  • Bhojpuri
  • Newari
  • Tamang
  • Rai
  • Khambu
  • Limbu
  • Gurung
  • Sherpa
  • Magar
  • Lepcha
  • Tharu

Language in Afghanistan

  • Pashto
  • Dari
  • Uzbek
  • Turkmen
  • Balochi.
  • Pamiri
  • Wakhi
  • Shughni
  • Hazaragi
  • Nuristani
  • Kati
  • Ashkun
  • Brahui
  • Pashayi
  • Nuristan
  • Domari and Romani

Language in Lebanon

  • Lebanese Arabic
  • French
  • English
  • Armenian
  • Kurdish
  • Syriac/Aramaic
  • Greek
  • Turkish
  • Azeri
  • Assyrian Neo-Aramaic

Language in Timor-Leste

  • Tetum
  • Portuguese
  • Bahasa Indonesia
  • Mambae
  • Fataluku
  • Makasae
  • Bunak
  • Galoli
  • Kemak
  • Naueti
  • Waima’a

Language in Israel

  • Hebrew
  • Arabic
  • Russian
  • Amharic
  • Yiddish
  • Ladino Judeo-Spanish
  • English
  • French
  • Spanish
  • German

Language in Hong Kong SAR

  • Cantonese Yue Chinese
  • English
  • Mandarin Putonghua
  • Hakka
  • Shanghainese
  • Hokkien
  • Filipino/Tagalog
  • Indonesian/Bahasa Indonesia
  • Nepali
  • Urdu and Punjabi
  • Arabic

Language in Vietnam

  • Vietnamese
  • Mandarin
  • Khmer
  • Cham
  • Hmong
  • Tày
  • Nùng
  • Jarai
  • Bahnar
  • French

Language in Kazakhstan

  • Kazakh
  • Russian
  • Uzbek
  • Uighur
  • Tatar
  • German
  • Korean
  • Kyrgyz
  • Turkmen

Language in India

  • Hindi
  • Bengali
  • Telugu
  • Marathi
  • Tamil
  • Urdu
  • Gujarati
  • Malayalam
  • Kannada
  • Oriya
  • Punjabi
  • Assamese
  • Kashmiri
  • Sindhi
  • Nepali
  • Manipuri

Language in Singapore

  • English
  • Mandarin Chinese
  • Malay
  • Tamil
  • Hokkien
  • Cantonese
  • Teochew
  • Hindi
  • Bengali
  • Punjabi
  • Malayalam
  • Gujarati
  • Singlish
  • Tagalog
  • Burmese
  • Thai

Language in Taiwan

  • Mandarin Chinese
  • Taiwanese Hokkien
  • Hakka
  • Formosan Aboriginal
  • Cantonese
  • Shanghainese
  • English
  • Japanese
  • Korean

Language in Kuwait

  • Arabic
  • Kuwaiti Arabic
  • English:
  • Hindi
  • Tagalog
  • Urdu

Language in Laos

  • Lao
  • Hmong
  • Khmu
  • Akha
  • Chinese
  • French

Language in Qatar

  • Arabic
  • English
  • Urdu
  • Tagalog
  • Malayalam
  • Bengali
  • Hindi
  • Tamil
  • Nepali
  • French

Language in Cambodia

  • Khmer
  • Cham
  • Chinese
  • Vietnamese
  • English
  • French
  • Bunong
  • Kuy
  • Jarai
  • Kavet

Language in Saudi Arabia

  • Arabic
  • Hejazi Arabic
  • Najdi Arabic
  • English
  • Urdu
  • Tagalog Filipino
  • Bengali
  • Malayalam

Language in Malaysia

  • Malay
  • Chinese
  • Mandarin
  • Cantonese
  • Hokkien
  • Hakka
  • Tamil
  • English
  • Iban
  • Kadazandusun
  • Punjabi
  • Thai
  • Bengali
  • Javanese

Language in Brunei

  • Malay
  • English
  • Chinese
  • Mandarin
  • Hakka
  • Hokkien
  • Indonesian
  • Iban
  • Kadazan Dusun
  • Tutong
  • Belait
  • Dusun
  • Bisaya

Language in Bahrain

  • Standard Arabic
  • Bahrani Arabic
  • English
  • Urdu
  • Malayalam
  • Tagalog
  • Farsi Persian
  • Bengali
  • Hindi
  • Tamil

Language in Yemen

  • Standard Arabic
  • Yemeni Arabic
  • Socotran Soqotri
  • Mahri
  • Tihama Arabic
  • Jibbali
  • Mehri
  • Hobyot
  • Bathari
  • English

Language in Russia

  • Russian
  • Tatar
  • Bashkir
  • Chuvash
  • Chechen
  • Ingush
  • Tuvan
  • Yakut Sakha
  • Komi
  • Udmurt
  • Circassian Adyghe
  • Nenets

Language in Bangladesh

  • Bengali Bangla
  • Chittagonian
  • Sylheti
  • Rohingya
  • Bihari
  • Oraon Kurukh
  • Santali
  • Manipuri Meitei
  • Marma
  • Rajbanshi

Language in Turkey

  • Turkish
  • Kurdish
  • Kurmanji
  • Sorani
  • Zazaki
  • Arabic
  • Laz
  • Circassian Adyghe
  • Georgian
  • Armenian
  • Greek
  • Aramaic Syriac
  • Albanian
  • Ladino Judeo-Spanish
  • Bosnian
  • Serbian
  • Croatian

Language in Uzbekistan

  • Uzbek
  • Russian
  • Tajik
  • Karakalpak
  • Kazakh
  • Korean
  • Karakalpak
  • Tatar
  • Uighur
  • Kyrgyz
  • Arabic

Language in Indonesia

  • Indonesian
  • Javanese
  • Sundanese
  • Balinese
  • Sasak
  • Minangkabau
  • Betawi
  • Buginese
  • Dayak
  • Papuan
  • Acehnese
  • Moluccan

Language in North Korea

  • Korean

Language in Sri Lanka

  • Sinhala
  • Tamil
  • English

Language in South Korea

  • Korean

Language in Myanmar Burma

  • Burmese Myanmar
  • Shan
  • Karen
  • Kachin
  • Chin
  • Rohingya
  • Mon

Language in United Arab Emirates

  • Arabic
  • English
  • Hindi
  • Urdu
  • Tagalog
  • Malayalam
  • Tamil
  • Farsi/Persian

Language in Macao SAR

  • Chinese Cantonese
  • Portuguese
  • English
  • Mandarin Standard Chinese
  • Tagalog
  • Vietnamese
  • French
  • Spanish

Language in Thailand

  • Thai Siamese
  • Lao Isan
  • Lanna
  • Kam Muang
  • Pak Tai
  • Chinese
  • Teochew
  • Hokkien
  • Hainanese
  • Karen
  • Sgaw
  • wo Karen
  • Akha
  • Hmong Miao
  • Malay Yawi

Language in Philippines

  • Filipino
  • Tagalog
  • English
  • Cebuano
  • Bisaya
  • Ilocano
  • Waray
  • Bicolano
  • Kapampangan
  • Pangasinan
  • Tausug
  • Ivatan
  • Igorot
  • Subanen

Language in Pakistan

  • Urdu
  • Punjabi
  • Sindhi
  • Pashto
  • Balochi
  • Saraiki
  • Kashmiri
  • Shina
  • Wakhi
  • Brahui
  • Hindko

Language in Japan

  • Japanese
  • Ryukyuan
  • Okinawan
  • Miyako
  • Yaeyama
  • Ainu
  • Hachijō
  • Yonaguni Language

So, there you have it – the newbie nomad’s guide to cracking Asia’s language code. You don’t need to be fluent; just a pinch of enthusiasm and a sprinkle of courage, and you’re all set for a sensational Asian adventure. Off you go, brave explorer!

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