Listening to the Chinese language as you’re trying to learn is just as important as writing, reading, and speaking in that language. Ways of doing this include TV shows, music, and movies. Listening to Chinese podcasts is another great way to familiarize yourself with another language, which is why we’ve given you the best podcasts for learning Chinese!
These podcasts range from free to upwards of $200. Putting your budget and language learning plans into mind; choose one or several podcasts that work best for you. If you want to think about more than just podcasts, check out our comprehensive guide to all of the best tools for learning Chinese online.
ChinesePod – Recommended Podcast (& Discount Code)
The ChinesePod podcast, first started in 2005, is one of the longest running language podcasts available. They have literally thousands of archived podcasts that are excellent ways of learning new words and phrases from native Chinese speakers.
The ChinesePod podcast is well known for their lessons which include:
- Native Chinese & Native English speakers together
- Well-written and well-produced dialogues that are relevant and fun
- Vocabulary sheets, lesson downloads, & more (subscription required)
ChinesePod is great for beginners, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed using all of the intermediate and advanced lessons.
ChinesePod follows the “freemium” model, which means that you can download the free beginner ChinesePod podcasts on iTunes but if you want access to the full lessons or intermediate/advanced levels, you’ll need to subscribe to the ChinesePod service.
BONUS DISCOUNT CODE! As a user myself, I can tell you that the subscription is definitely worth the money. I love downloading the podcasts on my phone and listening to them during my commute. As an added bonus, ChinesePod is offering all TravelChinaCheaper readers a coupon that will give you $50 off an annual premium membership. Type in “TCCHINA” when signing up for ChinesePod to get the discount.
Melnyks (Beginner to Advanced)
Melnyks is another excellent podcasts out there for learning Chinese. They have over 275 Mandarin lessons, which are easy to follow and are progressive, which means that they each build on each other.
The podcasts are better suited for intermediate and advanced Chinese learners and are organized by topic. However, you must download transcripts to read grammar and translation notes separately.
The only downside to using Melnyks is that it is a set course of 275-ish lessons, as opposed to a constantly growing library of podcasts (such as ChinesePod above). You can download a free set of 25 podcasts on iTunes to try it out, but if you want access to the entire library of lessons, it will cost you a little less than $100 per year.
Slow Chinese (Intermediate & Advanced)
The Slow Chinese podcasts discuss daily life in China. They offer short, 10-minute lessons, where students talk (using a slower tempo) about a variety of topics related to life in China.
What this gives you is an opportunity to learn about Chinese culture at the same time as polishing your language skills. Best of all…it’s FREE!
Take note: Slow Chinese is NOT a lesson-based podcast. There is no English translation and although the transcript is available in the podcast notes, you can’t download it. It’s for this reason that I only recommend this podcast for upper-intermediate and advanced Chinese listeners.
The Pastimes of Youth
The Pastimes of Youth podcasts are good for beginners and intermediate learners. The topics mainly involve daily life issues themes, which is good because it doesn’t feel like you’re learning. They’re mainly conversations between friends, and target a younger, less formal audience.
As in Slow Chinese, this Pastimes of Youth podcast is not a lesson-based podcast meant to teach Chinese. Rather, it is a fun, comical podcast in the Chinese language that is useful for learning.
In order to find this podcast, you’ll either have to search using the characters 青春愛消遣 or you can just visit the iTunes page on using the button below.
FluentU – Shows, Music Videos and Audio Lessons
FluentU isn’t a typical Chinese podcast, but it comes with TV shows, music videos, commercials, and talks, all in Chinese, and all great for learning listening to Chinese. These are great for beginner speakers to native speakers.
FluentU offers interactive captions and turns videos into lessons. One of the greatest parts is that it’s completely personalized, in that it keeps track of your own personal vocabulary growth.
You can easily download the FluentU app on the app store (you won’t find any podcasts directly in the podcast app), but it’s usually best to just check out their website directly. Plans start at $10 per month and are worth checking out.
There you have it – my recommendations for the best podcasts for learning Chinese. Listening to podcasts ranging anywhere from inspiring talks, casual conversations, and rehearsed speeches will help enhance your Chinese language vocabulary immensely. With continuous practice, your Chinese listening skills will make rapid improvement in no time!
I also suggest you look through my suggestions for the best tools to learn to read Chinese. This is an important skill that most people put to the side!
Do you have any more suggestions for Chinese podcasts we can add to this list? Comment below!