You’ve packed all your things and jumped in a car ready to get on the road on your way to the airport flying to Turkey!


But wait; you completely forgot the Turkish you learned (or perhaps you don't know any Turkish to begin with). Don't fret about it! I’ve prepared an article for you that will help you during your journey.


Let's start!


First of all, let’s begin with the basic words you're going to need.





  • Ne yapıyorsun? (What are you doing?)
  • Ne içiyorsun? (What are you drinking?)
  • Ne yiyorsun? (What are you eating?)
  • Ne istiyorsun? (What do you want?)





  • Bu kadın kim? (Who is this woman?)
  • Bu adam kim? (Who is this man?)
  • Yanındaki kim? (Who is next to you?)
  • Evdeki kim? (Who is the one at home?)





  • Market nerede? (Where is the market?)
  • Hastane nerede? (Where is the hospital?)
  • Eczane nerede? (Where is the pharmacy?)
  • Otel nerede? (Where is the hotel?)





  • Neden aramadın? (Why didn't you come?)
  • Neden aradın? (Why did you call?)
  • Niçin sen de gelmiyorsun? (Why don't you also come?)
  • Niçin geç geldin? (Why did you come late?)





  • Nasıl geçti? (How was it?)
  • Nasıl geleceğim? (How am I going to come?)
  • Nasıl gideceğiz? (How are we going to go?)
  • Oraya nasıl gidebilirim? (How can I get there?)



Ne zaman?


  • Ne zaman buluşacağız? (When are we going to meet?)
  • Ne zaman gidiyorsun? (When are you leaving?)
  • Ne zaman geliyorsun? (When are you coming?)
  • En son ne zaman sinemaya gittin? (When did you go to a movie last time?)





  • Hangisi daha pahalı? (Which one is more expensive?)
  • Hangisi ucuz? (Which one is cheaper?)
  • Hangisi lezzetli? (Which one is tastier?)
  • Hangisi senin kız arkadaşın? (Which one [who] is your girlfriend?)



Ne demek?


  • Bu ne demek? (What does this mean?)
  • Masa İngilizce'de ne demek? (What does masa mean in English?)
  • University Türkçe'de ne demek? (How do you say ‘university’ in Turkish?)
  • Eczane ne demek? (What does eczane mean?)



Ne kadar?


  • Bir bira ne kadar? (How much is one beer?)
  • Kebap ne kadar? (How much is this kebap?)
  • Bir şişe su ne kadar? (How much is a bottle of water?)
  • İstanbul'a bilet ne kadar? (How much is a ticket to Istanbul?)



Kaç/Kaç tane?


  • Kaç bira alalım? (How many beers shall we have?)
  • Kaç çay istiyorsunuz? (How many [much] tea do you want?)
  • Kaç tane çantan var? (How many bags do you have?)
  • Kaç tane telefonun var? (How many phones do you have?)


Finally, you have arrived at your destination and you need to find a hotel. You are holding the address or the name of the hotel on a slip of paper and you ask for help:


  • Merhaba. Bu otel nerede? (Hello. Where is this hotel?)
  • Pardon. Bu adrese nasıl gidebilirim? (Pardon me. How can I go to this address?)
  • Bakar mısınız? Buraya nasıl giderim? (Excuse me. How can I get here?)


Once you have arrived at your hotel, depending on whether you have a reservation or not you will say:


  • Merhaba. Bir/iki/üç kişilik rezervasyonum var. Yardımcı olabilir misiniz? (Hello. I have a reservation for (one/two/three) people. Can you help?)
  • Merhaba. Bir/iki/üç kişilik oda istiyorum. (Hello. I'd like to book a room for (one/two/three) people.)
  • Merhaba. Özel tek kişilik odanız var mı? (Hello. Do you have a private single room?)
  • Merhaba. Özel iki kişilik odanız var mı? (Hello. Do you have a private double room?)


If you are staying in a hostel:


  • Merhaba. Karışık odanızda bir/iki/üç kişilik yer var mı? (Hello. Do you have (one/two/three) empty bed(s) in a mixed dorm?)
  • Merhaba. Bayan odanızda bir/iki/üç kişilik yer var mı? (Hello. Do you have (one/two/three) empty bed(s) in a female dorm?)
  • Merhaba. Erkek odanızda bir/iki/üç kişilik yeriniz var mı? (Hello. Do you have (one/two/three) empty bed(s) in a male dorm?)


You may also need some of the following phrases:


  • Oda kaçıncı katta? (Which floor is the room on?)
  • Oda numarası nedir? (What is the room number?)
  • Tuvalet ortak mı? (Is the toilet shared?)
  • Tuvalet özel mi? (Is the toilet private?)
  • Check in saat kaçta? (What time is check-in?)
  • Check out saat kaçta? (What time is check-out?)
  • WiFi şifresi nedir? (What's the password for WiFi?)
  • Temiz havlu alabilir miyim? (Can I get a clean towel?)
  • Temiz terlik alabilir miyim? (Can I get clean slippers?)
  • Kasanız var mı? (Do you have a safe?)
  • Sıcak su çalışmıyor. (The hot water is not running)
  • Sular çalışmıyor. (The water is not running)


Now you are on the street, and you are starving! You see a restaurant and you go inside:


  • Kolay gelsin. Menü alabilir miyim? (May your work be easy. Can I get the menu?)
  • Merhaba. Menü lütfen. (Hello. Menu please.)
  • Bir su lütfen. (A water please.)
  • Bir su alabilir miyim? (Can I have water?)
  • Bir bira lütfen. (One beer please.)
  • Bir bira alabilir miyim? (Can I have a beer?)


Now you are stuffed so it's time to ask for the bill.


  • Pardon! Hesap lütfen! (Pardon me! Check please!)
  • Bakar mısınız? Hesabı alabilir miyim? (Excuse me? Can I get the bill?)


When you finished paying, simply say Teşekkürler (thank you), it is enough when you are about to leave.


Now let’s talk about transportation.


  • Taksi (taxi)
    • Merhaba. Sultanahmet lütfen. (Hello. Sultanahmet please.)
  • Otobüs (bus)
    • To use buses you need a card, especially in Istanbul. You don't have to talk to the driver to tell them where you want to go.
  • Minibüs (minibus)
    • For minibuses, on the other hand, you have to talk to the driver and tell him where you want to go. As you are paying the fare to the driver, tell him where you are going: 
      • Bir Kadıköy lütfen! (One person for Kadıköy please.)
      • İnecek var! (Someone wants to get off!)
      • Müsait bir yerde! (At a convenient place please!)
      • Müsait bir yerde inebilir miyim? (Can I get off at a convenient place?)
      • Müsait bir yerde inecek var! (Someone wants to get off at a convenient place!)
      • İnebilir miyim? (Can I get off?)


  • Tramvay (tram)
    • Trams are like buses; you just have to use your card.
  • Subway (metro)
    • In the subway you need to use your card, just like when you are on the tram or the bus.
  • Metrobüs (metrobus)
    • If you are in Istanbul, the metrobus might be a bit stressful. But don't worry; you don't have to talk to anybody. The only bad side of the metrobus is the crowd.
    • You have to use your card here too.
    • If you realise you are going the wrong direction you can get off and take the one going the opposite direction.
  • Tickets
    • Tek yön. (One way.)
    • Gidiş-dönüş. (Return.)


Lastly, as you are walking around the street, and you may want somebody to take your photo:


  • Pardon. Bir fotoğraf çekebilir misiniz? (Pardon me. Can you take a photo?)


I hope this information will be useful for you. You will run across a lot of people that may not speak English in Turkey, but I’m sure they will always find a way to communicate and be friends with you. Turkish people are famous for their hospitality and they are waiting for you to prove them right!


Let your journey begin! İyi tatiller (have a nice holiday!)


Hero image by Joshua Earle (CC0 1.0)