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Basic Arabic Phrases For Travel

Even though it may be intimidating at first, making an effort to learn a handful of Arabic words and phrases can go a long way when travelling throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

Whether you’re exploring the deserts of Oman, the souks of Morocco, or the ancient ruined cities of Egypt, being able to speak even a tiny bit of Arabic can transform your travels.

I’ve travelled extensively throughout the Arabic-speaking world. Everywhere I’ve been, the locals were thrilled when I tried speaking a few words of their language.

Not only does it make your travels smoother, but it also opens the door to a huge wealth of experiences, and the hospitality that the region is famous for.

Basic Words in Arabic

Arabic is a rich language spoken by over 375 million people, mainly across North Africa and the Middle East. It has many different dialects, reflecting the vast cultural and geographical spread of the people who speak it.

Take the first steps on your Arabic language journey with these essential words.

Don’t forget: Arabic is written from right to left, the opposite of English!

  • مرحبًا – Marḥaban – Hello
  • وداعًا – Wada’an – Goodbye
  • شكرًا – Shukran – Thank you
  • على الرحب والسعة – ‘Ala al-rahb wal-sa’ah – You’re welcome
  • من فضلك – Min fadlik – Please
  • نعم – Na’am – Yes
  • لا – – No
  • صباح الخير – Sabāḥ al-khayr – Good morning
  • مساء الخير – Masā’ al-khayr – Good evening
  • تحية طيبة بعد الظهر – Taḥiyyah ṭayyibah ba‘d al-ẓuhr – Good afternoon
  • عفوًا – Afwan – Excuse me
  • طعام – Ṭa‘ām – Food
  • ماء – Mā’ – Water
  • حمام – Ḥammām – Bathroom

Common Arabic Phrases

The journey of learning Arabic is as beautiful as it is challenging but the rewards are huge.

These everyday phrases are your key to unlocking daily interactions in Arabic. They’ll help you feel more connected and confident as you navigate through conversations.

Note that the following phrases are in Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) and might vary a little depending on which country you’re in.

  • السلام عليكم – As-salamu alaykum – Peace be upon you (formal greeting)
  • كيف حالك؟ – Kayfa ḥālak? – How are you?
  • أنا بخير، شكرًا – Anā bikhayr, shukran – I’m good thanks
  • تشرفت بمعرفتك – Tasharraft bima‘rifatik – Nice to meet you
  • اسمي… – Ismī… – My name is…
  • أنا آسف – Anā āsif – I’m sorry
  • معذرة – Ma‘dhira – Excuse me
  • هل يمكنك مساعدتي؟ – Hal yumkinuk musā‘adatī? – Can you help me?
  • ما أجملها! – Mā ajmalahā! – How beautiful!
  • إلى اللقاء – Ilā al-liqā’ – See you
  • أراك لاحقًا – Arāka lāḥiqan – See you later
  • حظًا سعيدًا – Ḥaẓzan sa‘īdan – Good luck!

Basic Arabic Phrases for Travellers

Here are some more useful phrases to keep in your pocket while exploring the Arabic-speaking world.

  • لديّ حجز – Ladayya ḥajz – I have a reservation
  • أين الحمام من فضلك؟ – Ayn al-ḥammām min fadlik? – Where are the bathrooms, please?
  • كيف أصل إلى…؟ – Kayfa aṣil ilā…? – How do I get to ___?
  • كم ثمن هذا؟ – Kam thaman hathā? – How much is this?
  • هل تتحدث الإنجليزية؟ – Hal tataḥaddath al-‘Injlīziyyah? – Do you speak English?
  • أين أقرب فندق؟ – Ayn aqrab funduq? – Where is the nearest hotel?
  • أنا ضائع. هل يمكنك مساعدتي؟ – Anā ḍā’i‘. Hal yumkinuk musā‘adatī? – I’m lost. Can you help me?
  • هل هذه المنطقة آمنة؟ – Hal hadhih al-mintaqah āminah? – Is this area safe?
  • هل هذه المنطقة آمنة ليلاً؟ – Hal hadhih al-mintaqah āminah laylan? – Is this area safe at night?

Useful Arabic Phrases for Information

Gathering information is crucial, and these Arabic phrases make it easier. They’re perfect for inquiring and understanding more about your surroundings.

  • لدي سؤال – Ladayya su’āl – I have a question
  • ما اسم هذا بالعربية؟ – Mā ism hadhā bil-‘Arabīyah? – What is this called in Arabic?
  • هل يمكنك التحدث ببطء من فضلك؟ – Hal yumkinuk al-taḥadduth bibuṭ’ min fadlik? – Can you speak slower, please?
  • أنا لا أتحدث العربية جيدًا – Anā lā ataḥaddath al-‘Arabīyah jayyidan – I do not speak Arabic very well
  • لا أفهم – Lā afham – I do not understand
  • هل يمكنك تكرار ذلك من فضلك؟ – Hal yumkinuk takrār dhālik min fadlik? – Can you repeat that please?
  • أنا بحاجة إلى معلومات – Anā biḥājat ilā ma‘lūmāt – I need information
  • أين مكتب المعلومات؟ – Ayn maktab al-ma‘lūmāt? – Where is the information office?
  • ما معنى هذا؟ – Mā ma‘nā hadhā? – What does this mean?
  • كم الساعة الآن؟ – Kam al-sā‘ah al-’ān? – What time is it?
  • ما هو عنوان بريدك الإلكتروني؟ – Mā huwa ‘unwān barīdik al-iliktrūnī? – What’s your email address?
  • كيف تقول ____ بالعربية؟ – Kayfa taqūl ____ bil-‘Arabīyah? – How do you say ____ in Arabic?
  • ما هذا/تلك؟ – Mā hadhā/tilka? – What is this/that?
  • هل يمكنني استخدام هاتفك؟ – Hal yumkinnī istikhdam hātifak? – Can I use your phone?

Useful Phrases for Directions in Arabic

In your journey through the Arab world, knowing some basic yet invaluable direction-related phrases can be a major asset.

Navigate with ease using these direction-specific phrases. They’re your compass and will help you find your way.

  • أين…؟ – Ayn…? – Where is the…?
  • كيف أصل إلى…؟ – Kayfa aṣil ilā…? – How do I get to…?
  • هل يمكنك أن تريني على الخريطة؟ – Hal yumkinuk an turīnī ‘alā al-kharīṭah? – Can you show me on the map?
  • اذهب مباشرة – Idhhab mubāsharatan – Go straight ahead
  • استدر يمينًا/يسارًا – Istadir yamīnan/yasāran – Turn right/left
  • إنه قريب/بعيد – Innahu qarīb/ba‘īd – It’s near/far
  • إنه حول الزاوية – Innahu ḥawl al-zāwiyah – It’s around the corner
  • هذه الزاوية – Hādhih al-zāwiyah – This is the corner
  • أي طريق إلى…؟ – Ayy ṭarīq ilā…? – Which way is it to…?
  • هل يمكنني الذهاب هناك سيرًا على الأقدام أم أحتاج إلى تاكسي؟ – Hal yumkinnī al-dhahāb hunāk sayran ‘alā al-aqdām am aḥtāj ilā taksi? – Can I walk there or do I need a taxi?
View from the backseat of an SUV with two men dressed in traditional Omani dress sat in the front driving through the desert on a sandy track on the edge of the wahiba sands

Basic Arabic Phrases for Transportation

Navigating the transport options in Arabic-speaking countries can be an exciting yet challenging task for many travellers.

Ease your travel with these transportation phrases in Arabic. They’re vital for moving around, whether you’re taking a local bus in Marrakech, negotiating a taxi fare in Cairo, or hitching a ride in Oman.

  • أين يمكنني أن أجد تاكسي؟ – Ayn yumkinnī an ajid taksi? – Where can I get a taxi?
  • كم تكلفة الذهاب إلى…؟ – Kam taklifat al-dhahāb ilā…? – How much does it cost to go to…?
  • أريد الذهاب إلى… – Urīd al-dhahāb ilā… – I want to go to…
  • أين محطة الحافلات؟ – Ayn maḥaṭṭat al-ḥāfīlāt? – Where is the bus stop?
  • أين محطة الحافلات؟ – Ayn maḥaṭṭat al-ḥāfīlāt? – Where is the bus station?
  • متى يغادر القطار التالي؟ – Matā yughādir al-qiṭār al-tālī? – What time does the next train leave?
  • كم من الوقت يستغرق الوصول إلى…؟ – Kam min al-waqt yastaghriq al-wuṣūl ilā…? – How long does it take to get to…?
  • كيف أصل إلى المطار؟ – Kayfa aṣil ilā al-maṭār? – How do I get to the airport?
  • هل هذه الحافلة تذهب إلى…؟ – Hal hadhih al-ḥāfilah tadhhab ilā…? – Does this bus go to…?
  • أحتاج إلى تذكرة ذهاب وإياب – Aḥtāj ilā tadhkira dhahāb wa-iwāb – I need a round trip ticket
  • أين يمكنني شراء التذاكر؟ – Ayn yumkinnī shirā’ al-tadhākir? – Where do I buy tickets?

See more: How to drive from Dubai to Oman


Basic Arabic Phrases About Accommodation

Ensure you have a comfortable stay with these accommodation phrases. They’ll help you communicate your needs and preferences clearly.

In addition, understanding how to ask about amenities or report issues will ensure your stay is comfortable and hassle-free.

  • هل لديكم غرف متاحة؟ – Hal ladaykum ghuraf mutahah? – Do you have any rooms available?
  • كم تكلفة الإقامة في الليلة الواحدة؟ – Kam taklifat al-iqāmah fī al-laylah al-wāhidah? – How much does it cost per night?
  • هل الإفطار مشمول في السعر؟ – Hal al-ifṭār mashmūl fī al-si’r? – Is breakfast included in the price?
  • أحتاج إلى غرفة مزدوجة – Aḥtāj ilā ghurfah muzdawjah – I need a double room
  • هل يوجد غرفة بسريرين؟ – Hal yujad ghurfah bisarīrayn? – Is there a room with two beds?
  • هل يوجد واي فاي مجاني؟ – Hal yujad Wi-Fi majānī? – Is there free Wi-Fi?
  • هل يوجد تكييف في الغرفة؟ – Hal yujad takiyīf fī al-ghurfah? – Is there air conditioning?
  • أين المصعد؟ – Ayn al-muṣ’ad? – Where is the elevator?
  • أين الصالة الرياضية؟ – Ayn al-ṣālah al-riyāḍīyah? – Where is the gym?
  • أرغب في حجز غرفة – Arghab fī ḥajz ghurfah – I would like to book a room
  • هل توجد خدمة الغرف؟ – Hal tawjud khidmat al-ghuraf? – Is there room service?
  • الغرفة قذرة – Al-ghurfah qadhirah – The room is dirty
  • أشعر بالأمان في هذا الفندق – Ash’ur bil-amān fī hadhā al-funduq – I feel safe in this hotel
  • هل لديكم محول قابس؟ – Hal ladaykum muḥawwil qābis? – Do you have a plug adaptor?
  • أريد غرفة بإطلالة جميلة – Urīd ghurfah bi’iṭlālah jamīlah – I want a room with a nice view
  • هل يوجد خزنة في الغرفة؟ – Hal yujad khizānah fī al-ghurfah? – Is there a safe in the room?
  • هل يمكنكم إيقاظي الساعة (سبعة) صباحًا؟ – Hal yumkinukum i’iqāẓī al-sā‘ah (sab’ah) ṣabāḥan? – Can you wake me up at (Seven) a.m.?
  • أحتاج إلى سرير للطفل – Aḥtāj ilā sarīr liṭ-ṭifl – I need a crib for the baby
  • ما هو وقت تسجيل الخروج؟ – Mā huwa waqt tasjīl al-khurūj? – What’s the check-out time?

Helpful Arabic Phrases for Shopping

Shopping in Arabic countries is often a hugely immersive cultural experience, offering unique insights into the locals’ daily lives and traditions.

Going shopping is also an excellent chance to build basic vocabulary and practice common phrases. Try some of these.

  • أبحث عن… – Abḥath ‘an… – I am looking for…
  • كم ثمنه؟ – Kam thamanuh? – How much does it cost?
  • هل يوجد خصم؟ – Hal yujad khaṣm? – Is there any discount?
  • كم نسبة الخصم؟ – Kam nisbat al-khaṣm? – How much is the discount?
  • هذا غالٍ جدًا – Hadhā ghālin jiddan – That’s too expensive
  • هل يمكن تخفيض السعر؟ – Hal yumkin takhfīḍ al-si’r? – Can you lower the price?
  • هل يمكنني الدفع ببطاقة الائتمان؟ – Hal yumkinnī al-daf’ bibiṭāqat al-’itmān? – Can I pay with a credit card?
  • نقدًا فقط – Naqdān faqaṭ – Cash only
  • هل يوجد هذا بحجم أكبر؟ – Hal yujad hadhā biḥajm akbar? – Do you have this in a larger size?
  • هل يوجد هذا بلون آخر؟ – Hal yujad hadhā bilawn akhar? – Do you have this in another colour?
  • أريد إعادة هذا – Urīd i‘ādat hadhā – I want to return this
  • أين غرف القياس؟ – Ayn ghuraf al-qiyās? – Where are the fitting rooms?
  • عفوًا، أين السوبر ماركت؟ – Afwan, ayn as-sūbar mārkit? – Excuse me, where’s the supermarket?
  • أين متجر الملابس؟ – Ayn matjar al-malābis? – Where’s the clothing store?
  • أحتاج إلى حقيبة – Aḥtāj ilā ḥaqībah – I need a bag
  • أين يمكنني العثور على المنتجات المحلية؟ – Ayn yumkinnī al-‘uthūr ‘alā al-muntajāt al-maḥallīyah? – Where can I find local products?

Helpful Phrases for Dining Out in Arabic-Speaking Countries

No culinary tour in an Arabic-speaking country would be complete without mastering some essential phrases to enhance your dining experience.

Whether you’re sniffing out tasty street food or sitting down to eat in a high-end restaurant, communication is key to having the best experience. These dining phrases will help you enjoy the local cuisine and food culture.

  • هل يمكنني الحصول على طاولة لشخصين؟ – Hal yumkinnī al-ḥuṣūl ‘alā ṭāwilah li-shakhsayn? – Can I get a table for two?
  • من فضلك، هل يمكنك أن تريني القائمة؟ – Min fadlik, hal yumkinuk an turīnī al-qā’imah? – Can you please show me the menu?
  • ما هو طبق اليوم؟ – Mā huwa ṭabaq al-yawm? – What is the dish of the day?
  • أرغب في… – Arghab fī… – I would like…
  • هل يمكنك اقتراح شيء لي؟ – Hal yumkinuk iqtirāḥ shay’ lī? – Could you suggest something for me?
  • ماذا توصي بأن آكل؟ – Mādhā tūṣī bi-an akul? – What do you recommend to eat?
  • أنا مصاب بحساسية من… – Anā muṣāb bi-ḥasāsīyah min… – I’m allergic to…
  • هل هذا الطبق يحتوي على…؟ – Hal hadhā al-ṭabaq yaḥtawī ‘alā…? – Does this dish contain…?
  • هل لديكم خيارات للنباتيين أو النباتيين الصارمين؟ – Hal ladaykum khyārāt lil-nabātīyīn aw al-nabātīyīn al-ṣārimīn? – Do you have vegetarian/vegan options?
  • أنا لا آكل اللحم/السمك/منتجات الألبان – Anā lā akul al-laḥm/al-samak/muntajāt al-albān – I don’t eat meat/fish/dairy
  • هل هذا مناسب للنباتيين؟ – Hal hadhā munāsib lil-nabātīyīn? – Is this suitable for vegetarians?
  • ما هذا؟ – Mā hadhā? – What is this?
  • أعجبني هذا – A‘jabanī hadhā – I like it
  • هل يمكنني الحصول على الفاتورة من فضلك؟ – Hal yumkinnī al-ḥuṣūl ‘alā al-fātūrah min fadlik? – Can I have the bill, please?
  • كان لذيذًا! شكرًا لك – Kān ladhīdhan! Shukran lak – It was delicious! Thank you

Remember, these phrases are just a starting point and can be further modified based on your personal dietary preferences and needs.


Arabic Question Words

Most, if not all, meaningful conversations involve asking or responding to questions. Questions are the heart of understanding, and these Arabic question words are essential for delving deeper and satisfying your curiosity.

  • ماذا؟ – Mādhā? – What?
  • أين؟ – Ayn? – Where?
  • متى؟ – Matā? – When?
  • من؟ – Man? – Who?
  • لماذا؟ – Limādhā? – Why?
  • كيف؟ – Kayf? – How?
  • أي؟ – Ay? – Which?
  • كم؟ – Kam? – How much?
  • كم عدد؟ – Kam ‘adad? – How many?
  • لمن؟ – Liman? – Whose?
  • هل هو/هي…؟ – Hal huwa/hiya…? – Is it…?
  • هل يمكن…؟ – Hal yumkin…? – Can…
  • هل سيكون…؟ – Hal sayakūn…? – Will…
  • ما هذا؟ – Mā hadhā? – What is this?
  • من هذا؟ – Man hadhā? – Who is that?
  • كيف هو/هي؟ – Kayf huwa/hiya? – How is it?
  • لماذا هو/هي…؟ – Limādhā huwa/hiya…? – Why is it?
  • لماذا هذا؟ – Limādhā hadhā? – Why this?
  • ماذا يوجد في…؟ – Mādhā yūjad fī…? – What is in…?
  • أين…؟ – Ayn…? – Where is…?
  • هل يوجد…؟ – Hal yūjad…? – Is there a…?

Numbers in Arabic

Understanding the Arabic numbering system is useful in a wide range of scenarios, especially when it comes to transactions, discussing times, and navigating transportation.

Arabic uses its own set of numerals which are different from the Latin (or “Roman”) numbers used in English and many other languages.

Below is a list of simple Arabic numbers along with some larger ones:

  • ٠ – 0 – (صفر – ṣifr)
  • ١ – 1 – (واحد – wāḥid)
  • ٢ – 2 – (اثنان – ithnān)
  • ٣ – 3 – (ثلاثة – thlāthah)
  • ٤ – 4 – (أربعة – arba’ah)
  • ٥ – 5 – (خمسة – khamsah)
  • ٦ – 6 – (ستة – sittah)
  • ٧ – 7 – (سبعة – sab’ah)
  • ٨ – 8 – (ثمانية – thamānyah)
  • ٩ – 9 – (تسعة – tis’ah)
  • ١٠ – 10 – (عشرة – asharah)
  • ١١ – 11 – (أحد عشر – aḥad ‘ashar)
  • ١٢ – 12 – (اثنا عشر – ithnā ‘ashar)
  • ١٣ – 13 – (ثلاثة عشر – thlāthah ‘ashar)
  • ١٤ – 14 – (أربعة عشر – arba’ah ‘ashar)
  • ١٥ – 15 – (خمسة عشر – khamsah ‘ashar)
  • ١٦ – 16 – (ستة عشر – sittah ‘ashar)
  • ١٧ – 17 – (سبعة عشر – sab’ah ‘ashar)
  • ١٨ – 18 – (ثمانية عشر – thamānyah ‘ashar)
  • ١٩ – 19 – (تسعة عشر – tis’ah ‘ashar)
  • ٢٠ – 20 – (عشرون – ishrūn)
  • ٣٠ – 30 – (ثلاثون – thlāthūn)
  • ٤٠ – 40 – (أربعون – arba’ūn)
  • ٥٠ – 50 – (خمسون – khamsūn)
  • ٦٠ – 60 – (ستون – sittūn)
  • ٧٠ – 70 – (سبعون – sab’ūn)
  • ٨٠ – 80 – (ثمانون – thamānūn)
  • ٩٠ – 90 – (تسعون – tis’ūn)
  • ١٠٠ – 100 – (مائة – mi’ah)
  • ١٠٠٠ – 1,000 – (ألف – alf)
  • ١٠٬٠٠٠ – 10,000 – (عشرة آلاف – asharah ālāf)
  • ١٠٠٬٠٠٠ – 100,000 – (مائة ألف – mi’ah alf)
  • ١٬٠٠٠٬٠٠٠ – 1,000,000 – (مليون – milyūn)

To create numbers in between these, combine the tens and units. For example:

  • “Twenty-one” is ٢١ – (واحد وعشرون – wāḥid wa ishrūn)
  • “Thirty-two” is ٣٢ – (اثنان وثلاثون – ithnān wa thlāthūn)

For numbers in the hundreds, thousands, and beyond, you combine the larger number with the smaller. For instance:

  • “One hundred and twenty-three” is ١٢٣ – (مائة وثلاثة وعشرون – mi’ah wa thlāthah wa ishrūn)
  • “Two thousand and nineteen” is ٢٠١٩ – (ألفان وتسعة عشر – alfān wa tis’ah ‘ashar)

Hindu-Arabic Numerals

Fun fact: the numbers that we use (1, 2, 3, etc.) are often described as “Arabic numerals” (or “Hindu-Arabic numerals“). Despite being different from the numerals traditionally used in the Arab world, there are similarities between the two systems.

They both originated from an ancient numbering system developed in India that was transmitted to the Western world by Arab mathematicians.

See Also

Check out some of my other posts on learning languages for travel:

Final Thoughts

Learning a few basic words and phrases from the language of the country you’re visiting is always a great way to show respect and make a connection with locals.

Now you have lots of useful Arabic phrases you can use on your next trip. Armed with these Arabic phrases and words, you’re ready to explore the rich tapestry of the Arab world.

Language is more than just communication – it’s a path to cultural immersion and meaningful experiences. I hope this post helps you to discover the warmth of Arab hospitality.

Finally, if you want to take your Arabic learning to the next level, talkinarabic.com is a great website to check out.

IMPORTANT: Never travel without travel insurance!

Here are three companies that I’ve used, and thoroughly recommend:

  • HeyMondo – the best value travel insurance provider on the market. They cover virtually every country in the world, they have an easy-to-use app, and their policies are straightforward and upfront, with minimal (often no) deductibles and excesses.
  • SafetyWing – if you’re a digital nomad like me, it’s essential that you have suitable insurance. It’s super flexible and affordable, you can sign up for as little or as long as you want, and can activate and deactivate it whenever you need to.
  • World Nomads – for adventurous travellers, covers 200+ activities that many other insurers won’t, such as skydiving, heli-skiing, rock climbing, rafting, scuba diving, cliff jumping, and kiteboarding (not available for residents of every country – check here).

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