Carved Tibetan mantra Om Mani Padme Hum

MANTRA OM MANI PADME HUM ཨོཾ་མ་ཎི་པདྨེ་ཧཱུཾ་ 

While traveling in Tibet you will see this phrase carved and painted on the stones on the photo above very often. It is the most popular Tibetan mantra – OM MANI PADME HUM. It is a very important mantra and you will hear it from many Tibetans when visiting temples, monasteries, or walking around Jokhang Temple or Potala Palace. Whenever you want to join Tibetans in their prayers, you can always recite this mantra!

Most Tibetans speak only their native Tibetan language, some speak Chinese, and very few speak English. Even in large cities, most people don’t speak English. You can communicate in English at a hotel reception and large restaurants. There are some signs in Lhasa and on the major roads in English. However, for the most part of your traveling in Tibet, you will rely on your guide for translations and communication with other people you might meet along the way.

Below we listed some of the most commonly used phrases in Tibetan. If you learn just a few of them to greet your new Tibetan friends, thank them, and say good-bye, they will be thrilled to hear it from you! More Tibetan phrases will help you to find your way around cities, order food from small tea houses and ask for help when you need it. Save these phrases before traveling to Tibet and enjoy your trip!


Hello — Ta-shi-de-lek — བཀྲ་ཤིས་བདེ་ལེགས་

Thank you — Thuk-jay-chey — ཐུགས་རྗེ་ཆེ་

Sorry — Gong-da — དགོངས་དག་

Goodbye (when you are leaving)— Ka- lee-shuk — ག་ལེར་བཞུགས་

Goodbye (when you are staying) — Ka-lee-pay — ག་ལེར་འཕེབས་

Is it ok to take a photo? — Par-gyab-na-di-ghee-re-bay — པར་རྒྱབ་ན་འགྲིག་གི་རེ་པས་

My name is …. — Ngay-ming-la …. ray — ངའི་མིང་ལ་…..རེད་

What is your name? — Kay-rang-gi-ming-la-ka-re-zer-gi-yoe —  ཁྱེད་རང་གི་མིང་ལ་ག་རེ་ཟེར་གྱི་ཡོད་

How are you? — Kay-rang-de-po-yin-bay — ཁྱེད་རང་བདེ་པོ་ཡིན་པས

Fine, and you? — De-po-yin, kay-rang-yang-de-po-yin-bay — བདེ་པོ་ཡིན་ ཁྱེད་རང་ཡང་བདེ་པོ་ཡིན་པས་

Yes — Re — རེད།

No — Mare — མ་རེད་ 

OK — Yaya —  ཡ་ཡ་

See you later — Jesu jel yong —  རྗེས་སུ་འཇལ་ཡོང་

Goodnight — Sim jak nang go —  གཟིམ་འཇགས་གནང་གོ་


Souvenirs for sale in Barkhor supermarket, Lhasa

When shopping outside of supermarkets and large stores, remember to bargain with sellers. If you buy fruit, vegetable, or anything else by weight, the listed price is for half kg (500 grams) or roughly 1 pound. Sellers usually show the price on a calculator or a phone.

How much is it? — Gong-ka-tsay-ray — གོང་ག་ཚོད་རས་

It’s too expensive — Gong-chay-drak-sha — གོང་ཆེ་དྲག་ཞག་

Can you give me a lower price? — Gong chungzam nang dang? — གོང་ཆུང་ཙམ་གནང་དང་

How much is one pound(½kg)? — Gyama chik la gong gatshö re? — རྒྱ་མ་གཅིག་ལ་གོང་ག་ཚོད་རས་


Tibetan restaurant in Old Town, Lhasa

Please give me a glass of tea —  Ja chik nang ronang ཇ་གཅིག་གནང་རོགས་གནང

Is there any noodle soup? — Thukpa yaw-re-pe? — ཐུག་པ་ཡོད་རེད་པས་?

I don’t eat meat — Nga sha sza gi-me — ང་ཤ་ཟ་གི་མེད་

How much is it? — Khyöndom gong gatshö re? — ཁྱོན་བསྡོམས་གོང་ག་ཚོད་རས་?

This food is delicious! — Khala di shimpo du — ཁ་ལག་འདི་ཞིམ་པོ་འདུག་

Enough! Thank you! — Lamen Drik-song — ལ་མན་ …. འགྲིག་སོང


Please help me  — Nga  la  rokpa  nang  ronang  —  ང་ལ་རོག་པ་གནང་རོག་གནང་

Where is… the hotel?  — … Drön-khang་gapa    yaw-re? —  … མགྲོན་ཁང་ག་པར་ཡོད་རད་

Where is a toilet/ bathroom? — Sang choe gapa yaw re? གསང་སྤྱོད་ག་པར་ཡོད་རད་

How many hours is it to Lhasa? —  Lhasa  bardu  chu-tshö  gatshö  go-gi  re? — ལྷ་ས་བར་དུ་ཆུ་ཚོད་ག་ཚོད་མགོར་གྱི་རས་

Where is a hospital?— Menkhang  gapa  yaw-re? — སྨན་ཁང་ག་པར་ཡོད་རས་

Let’s go — Ta-dro — གོང་ཆེ་དྲག་ཞག་

Tibetan alphabet




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