100+ Podcasts for Learning Chinese | Beginner to Advanced Material

As a learner of Mandarin Chinese myself, I recall going through a particularly extensive rough patch with my listening skills progress.

After what felt like years of study, I often thought to myself

“Why do I still misunderstand everything I hear? Is there something wrong with my ears? Am I just too dumb to learn this language?”

Then I was told by an old, wise master that the answer was simple and straight in front of me.

Listen more.

It really is that simple.

Listening more and spending time with the language is literally the only fix to understanding more of what you hear.

Remember the following:

  • Listening in Mandarin Chinese is objectively harder than other languages. It’s a monosyllabic language, meaning every word is only one syllable, with many of the syllables being identicle and only differentiated by a tone. The only way to overcome this is by listening more.
  • As you move beyond the beginner stage, finding listening material suited to your level becomes more difficult. Sometimes you’ll find stuff too hard, sometimes it’ll be too easy. Listen to it anyway. Don’t waste time finding the ‘perfect resource’ (it doesn’t exist). Just listen more.
  • Chinese accents are varied. This is the same in any language, but in Chinese it’s made more difficult by the fact it’s a monosyllabic language. Guess how you overcome the problem of accents? You get the point…

Anyway, podcasts are the best thing since sliced bread and I have listened to many of them to level up in Mandarin. The following is an epic list of podcasts to help you do the same.

But before we get on with the list, note the following:

  • The first half of the list consists of podcasts that are structured courses and podcasts that are mostly aimed at beginner-intermediate learners.
  • The second half of the list is made up of podcasts that include native material for upper intermediate/advanced learners and native speakers.
  • I have categorised the podcasts but be aware there are definitely some crossovers in genres. Use the hyperlinks below if you’re looking for something specific.

STRUCTURED AUDIO COURSES AND PODCASTS: Subscription podcast services | Downloadable audio courses | My favourite Chinese teaching podcasts | Learning Mandarin Strategy Podcasts (in English) | Other teaching podcasts



Subscription podcast services


By far the most popular Mandarin teaching podcast subscription service. I have used Chinesepod extensively in the past and still use it today. Each 10-20 minute podcast includes some Chinese dialogue which is then broken down in English afterward. The database of podcasts is huge and the basic subscription includes loads of other great add-ons.

Subscription cost
– $14/month basic
– $29/month premium
– Cheaper if you purchase a long-term subscription


Set up in a very similar way to Chinesepod with a lot of very useful 10-20 minute podcasts arranged by topic and difficulty. Some topics aren’t as interesting as those on Chinesepod and the advanced content uses too much English, but there’s still loads of great learning content here.

Subscription cost: Loads of different course levels and subscriptions are available here.

Downloadable audio courses


OK, so technically not a podcast but Pimsleur is an effective audio learning program. Basically, you’ll listen to a half an hour audio lesson which builds up progressively whilst you repeat what you hear. The Chinese you use will be translated into English so you’ll understand everything you hear. Pimsleur can take you to from a complete beginner to a lower intermediate speaker, but there isn’t much content available to any learner beyond that level.

Level: Beginner – lower intermediate

Price: Lots of subscription models are available here. The full cost of all courses is really pricey.


No idea why LinguaBoost doesn’t get mentioned more often as it’s a MUCH cheaper alternative to Pimsleur, offering almost exactly the same thing. The audio lessons are a bit shorter at around 10-15 minutes, but it’s perfect for total beginners who want to get comfortable speaking as fast as possible.

Level: Beginner+

Price: $7.95 for each volume, or $13.50 for both.

Melnyks Situational Chinese Lessons

Hosted by a Russian guy (Serge Melynk) and two Chinese partners from Beijing and Taiwan respectively. Targeted at beginners, this course is progressive and focuses on speaking, with each lesson lasting from 5-30 minutes. The first 100 podcasts are free. If you upgrade and purchase the course you can get every podcast downloaded as well as PDF lesson transcripts.

Level: Beginner – lower intermediate

– 1 year for $97
– 6 months for $77

My favourite Chinese teaching podcasts

Chinesepod | Beginner – advanced | Paid subscription
As already mentioned above, if you’ve got the money then go for it. It’s one of the best Mandarin learning materials I’ve come across.

Mandarin Bean | Beginner – advanced | Free podcasts, paid upgrades
Chinese audio monologues and dialogues are divided by HSK level. You can download these for free and copy and paste the transcripts. You can upgrade to get mock exam papers and downloadable PDFs for only 20 USD for the whole year. Excellent value with a lot of useful content.

iMandarinPod | Lower – upper intermediate | Free podcasts, upgrade for transcripts
All of these podcasts are in Mandarin only making them great for lower-intermediate learners and beyond. They have some really interesting stuff here and podcasts are divided into traditional culture, daily language, history stories, and today’s China.

Speak Chinese with DaPeng | Lower – upper intermediate | Free podcasts
Probably the most underrated podcast ever. This guy from Kunming speaks slowly with exaggerated tones and he has tons of videos split into 2 categories: 3-5 minute videos about a specific word or phrase, and 10-20 minute videos about a news story or introducing a particular city. No transcripts, but loads of interesting content.

I Love Learning Chinese | Beginner-intermediate | Free podcasts and transcripts
A podcast with seven different difficulty levels of around 25 lessons apiece. All the lessons are free, concise, and clear. Fantastic for fitting language-learning into a busy lifestyle, and offering lots of extra resources.

Chinese Mandarin Cafe | Total beginners | Free podcasts and lesson notes
Probably the best free podcast course for total beginners. Clear, structured course and really well presented by the host and teacher, Amy. Each podcast is usually around 10-minutes long and it breakdowns a short dialogue, but there’s loads of repetition which I like.

Popup Chinese | Beginner – intermediate | Free podcasts, upgrade for downloads/transcripts
These guys haven’t uploaded any new material for quite a while but they’ve still got loads of good stuff. Their format is similar to Chinesepod where you’ll hear a Chinese dialogue broken down in English. The dialogue becomes more difficult and there is less English used in the higher levels. $99 for the full course for a year is kind of steep, but the podcasts are great.

Talk Chineasy | Beginners | Free podcasts and vocab sheets
Short, sweet, daily audio lessons focussing on one piece of new vocab. You can get a vocab list with every podcast, and Talk Chineasy features some interesting guests, too.

Everyday Easy Chinese | Beginners | Free podcasts and transcripts
3-5 minute podcasts covering one new word and how to use it. This podcast is presented mostly in English, and all podcasts are downloadable from their website. There’s also a great YouTube channel with longer-form and more varied content. All completely free!

Learning Mandarin Strategy Podcasts (in English)

Hacking Chinese – This is the place for deep discussion about the best way to learn Mandarin as an
English speaker. It’s hosted by Olle Linge, the creator of the fantastic blog Hacking Chinese. It’s all about learning how to learn more effectively, guiding Mandarin students through easier and more helpful ways to get over learning plateaus.

Mandarin Blueprint Podcast – Explores the best ways to learn a new language, the fundamentals of
Mandarin, and answers questions about the Mandarin Blueprint Course method.

Learn Chinese Insights – Listen to advice from non-native speakers regarding their own experience as they offer
tips and tricks for how they learned Mandarin. There is also some discussion of how they are currently
applying their Mandarin language learning.

You Can Learn Chinese – Hosted by two compelling Mandarin language experts (one is John Pasden of Mandarin Companion) discuss the howtos of teaching yourself Chinese.

Chinese Talkeze – An exploration of non-native speakers’ journeys to becoming completely fluent in
Mandarin. It also touches on Chinese culture and additional online learning resources.

Other Teaching Podcasts

Learning Chinese Through Stories | Lower intermediate + | Podcasts and material available for $5 a month
Fully immersive short stories with nine different difficulty levels, this podcast is two narrators presenting a story and then explaining the story in detail.

Learn Mandarin Daily | Beginner – intermediate | Free podcasts and transcripts | Common phrases from daily life offered in quick, manageable 3-minute episodes.

Chinese Learn Online | Beginner – intermediate | Paid subscription for podcasts and other materials | Seven levels of 60 audio lessons apiece, this podcast is straightforward but thorough. However, for $20 a month, there are definitely better options out there for the price.

Takeaway Chinese | High beginner + | Free podcasts | A great and fun starting place for idioms, tips, and basic Mandarin dialogue. Might be a bit difficult for complete beginners and there isn’t much structure to the ‘lessons’, but you will learn some really useful phrases about relevant topics. Each podcast is around 30 minutes long.

Dimsum Mandarin | Beginner | Paid audio course and other materials | 30 free podcasts with more as part of the course on their website for purchase. Overall it’s billed as a practical beginners podcast, but it is a challenging beginner level focusing both on everyday situations as well as business interactions.

Coffee Break Chinese | Total beginner | Free podcast, upgrade for transcripts and other stuff | So far this podcast only has one season of 40 episodes of 20-30 minute podcasts. It’s hosted by a Mandarin student and a native Mandarin speaker who go over very basic beginner’s Chinese. A relaxed and approachable way to begin Mandarin language learning.

Domino Chinese | Beginner – intermediate | Subscription-based course | Not specifically podcast-based learning, although there is plenty of audio material within this well-structured course. Domino Chinese has a crack at introducing you to characters as well. Subscriptions are reasonably priced as well.

Inspire Mandarin | Beginner + | Free podcast and transcripts | A really good choice for those at a high beginner/low intermediate level. The presenter speaks very clearly and slowly, mostly in Mandarin Chinese. The topics are usually centered around light-hearted current news stories. Only 30 episodes are available but it’s good stuff.

Learn Taiwanese Mandarin | Intermediate | Free podcast | This podcast is geared towards intermediate learners and is entirely in Mandarin. It features Taiwanese people talking about completing daily tasks, therefore keeping the language relatively simple. Great for getting used to the Taiwanese accent, too. Only 42 episodes are available and there hasn’t been any new content for a while.

Talk Taiwanese Mandarin With Abby | Lower – higher intermediate | Free podcasts, subscribe for transcripts
All podcasts are available on YouTube and focus on a variety of Taiwanese cultural topics and interesting interviews.

Chinese Colloquialised | Intermediate-advanced | Free podcast and transcripts
95 podcasts covering some really interesting cultural news stories.

The Mandarin Monkey Podcast | Beginner-intermediate | Free podcasts, upgrade for other stuff
A funny, charming, bilingual couple letting you in on their hour-long Chinglish conversations. The podcasts are long (around an hour) and they don’t have a rigid structure, but quite a few people enjoy the different format.

Speak Chinese Naturally | Lower-upper intermediate | Subscription required for podcasts and materials
This podcast moves you through the intermediate levels via a deep and interesting exploration of the Chinese language and culture. Each podcast will usually focus on a particular grammar point, too. Subscriptions begin at only 4 dollars a month.

Tea Time Chinese | Lower-upper intermediate | Free podcasts
30 podcasts between 10-20 minutes that focus on language, culture, and contemporary events from around the world.

Breadtoast Chinese | Upper intermediate-advanced | Free podcasts
Immersive discussions in Mandarin about some really interesting and funny topics between 20-45 minutes.

Juzi The Mandarin Podcast | Intermediate-advanced | Free podcasts
Interviews and tutorials are given by two bilingual hosts. The content for this podcast is focused on a business context.

CSL Pod | Beginner- upper intermediate | Audio course with extras
A well-organized audio course with extras allowing you to search by the five different difficulty levels offered. The material isn’t exactly riveting and probably isn’t worth the 20 dollars a month subscription.

Fun Learning Chinese | Beginner-intermediate | Free podcasts with paid upgrades for resources
Follow the discussions of an adult student and her Chinese tutor to learn right along with them through these 5-minute podcasts.

Chillchat | Beginner-Intermediate | Free podcasts
Mandarin vocabulary and culture lessons are discussed (mostly in English) by two bilingual speakers in half-hour sessions.

MandarinPod | Advanced | Free podcasts
A conversational podcast for intermediate to advanced students featuring conversations about a lot of interesting social issues in modern China. Frequently includes interesting Chinese guests, too.

Maayot | Beginner – advanced | Free podcasts with upgrades
Short (approximately 1-5 minute) stories are offered in beginner, intermediate, and advanced
levels. This podcast has a single narrator speaking at a clear, slow pace.

Haike Mandarin | Intermediate | Free podcasts and transcripts
A Taiwanese duo-led discussion designed to help you deepen your intermediate-level conversation skills and explore multiple ways to express the same thoughts. Interesting conversation and topics covered in this podcast.

Melon Chinese | Beginners | Free podcasts and transcripts
Very short 1-2 minute audio clips to fit into any busy schedule, with full, free translations and transcripts offered.

Learn Chinese With Kaela | Intermediate+ | Free podcasts
entertaining host who enjoys talking about travel and culture. This podcast is entirely in Chinese and more discussion-based rather than lesson-based.

Chinese Explained | Lower intermediate+ | Free podcasts with other material on the website
Learning about China and Chinese cultural expressions and traditions through conversations. Mostly done in Chinese but it’s broken down into English quite a lot making it good for those at lower intermediate.

Talk To Me In Chinese | Intermediate+ | Free podcasts, upgrade for further study materials
Two ladies discuss various topics in Mandarin, mainly looking at comparisons of Eastern and Western ideas and ideals.

Oh Chinese | Upper intermediate+ | Free podcasts
Advanced and very creative content in this podcast that ranges through contemporary subjects, hobbies, questions, in fun and honest discussions.

Culture Potato | Advanced | Free podcasts
A series of roundtable discussions on Chinese culture and language.

Mandarin Slang Guide | Beginner+ | Free podcasts
Exactly as advertised. It’s not gross or disgusting (unfortunately for some) but more about slang words or phrases that are really current.

Yep! Chinese | Beginner – intermediate | Free podcasts
Practical and efficient, with a focus on fashion as well as the Mandarin language.


The following podcasts are for those at an upper-intermediate level and above.

Literature and Arts Culture

365 Reading – A podcast for literature lovers. 10 to 30-minute episodes each
focusing on one article or written work by a famous (most often Chinese) author.

Chinese Poetry Podcast – Both modern and ancient Chinese poetry are celebrated and presented here.

Reading Analects of Confucius – Recommended only for those with advanced Mandarin. This podcast focuses on high culture, philosophy, and traditional values in contained 20-30 minute episodes exploring the ideals of

Guo Degang: A 21 Year Crosstalk Collection – “Crosstalk” is a traditional Chinese performance
artform. Guo is regarded as one of the most successful and preeminent crosstalk comedians in all of
China and this is a collection of some of his finest performances. 20 to 90 minutes each.

JustPod (不合时宜) – A podcast co-created by three (former) media professionals living in different time zones. Discussions cover a very broad range of cultural topics from all over the world.

Technology and business

Chasing Tech, Teasing Arts – A podcast covering technology, arts, and business, all with a youthful and inspiring
perspective. All podcasts are primarily interview-based with 30 mins to an hour for each episode.

Bear Talk – One of the most popular podcasts on this list and one I’m currently subscribed to. It’s all about productivity, technology, and language learning through the helpful perspective of a Chinese man named Bear. He also discusses how he learns English. 10-30 minute episodes.

Drink With Mario – A basic podcast of interviews with high-level executives and professional business people.


The Sketch is Here – A great comedy show. Very popular, fun, and colloquial. Intermediate Mandarin level is recommended to enjoy this one. Each podcast is 45 minutes long.

What A Joy – Primarily about joke-telling and popular culture. Hugely interesting podcast; the title is completely accurate.

Hip-hop Record – Stand-up comedians chat about the Chinese entertainment industry and so much
more. Very funny and trendy. Best for advanced Mandarin speakers.


Chinese Sports Podcast – Co-hosted by a man and a woman, this podcast shares sports news reported
in 15-45 minute segments. No new content since 2019.

HoopWatcher – A podcast all about basketball and the NBA. The Chinese are obsessed with basketball.

Pop Culture

The Pastimes of Youth – This Taiwanese talk show was started by two college students. It’s a very
popular, crazy podcast, useful for intermediate-level Mandarin language learners.

Watching Dreams Station – This fun and informative podcast features a lot of interesting interviews. It
includes lots of social media coverage and has a sort of Chinese ‘hipster’ youth vibe to it. It’s quite slow-paced, so upper-intermediate learners might get something out of it. 20 to 40 minute-long episodes.

BB Park – Daily talk show about current pop culture. It’s guided by two hosts, one young and the other
a more senior staple in the field of Chinese entertainment, so they bring in diverse perspectives.

Slow Chinese – A completely immersive podcast, but at a slower speed more manageable for those
whose listening skills are not yet too advanced. The content has some short stories and articles; it
essentially takes a look at daily life in China from the point of view of college students

Movies & Television

The Bad Guy Movie Review – A podcast that provides detailed reviews and discussions on Chinese and foreign movies. It contains a fun ‘back and forth’ format between the male and female cohosts. 1 to 2 hours per episode. No new content since 2018.

Black Water Park – Two friends casually discussing movies and tv shows. Highly engaging but be
aware that it contains lots of advanced slang. Over an hour per episode.

A Big Load of Paranormal Events – This is based on a popular Chinese tv reality show exploring all
things paranormal.


Staying Healthy With The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine – All about Chinese
medicine based on ancient medical practices and beliefs derived from interesting and ancient Chinese
texts. 15 to 30 minutes per podcast.

SistersTalkTalkShow – About all things female and the mental, emotional topics that women want to
talk about.

Small Talk – Focuses on personal development and “adulting.”

Global Issues & Local Current Affairs

Environment China – Produced by the Beijing Energy Network, this is a bilingual podcast focusing on
environmentalism and discussing our climate with experts.

Behind the Headlines with Wentao – A well-known news show discussing current affairs. Presents a
nice range of styles and accents with all its different guests. This is also a tv show, but the podcast is
really good, too.

BBC Chinese – Not the best learning material as many of the news stories on the YouTube channel still have English audio with Chinese subtitles. Still, it’s better than nothing.

Universal Residents – A casual, contemporary podcast hosted by two friends: one living in China and
the other living in Spain.

Stories Across the Globe – Covers Chinese society as well as international stories. This is a podcast
produced by the state-owned radio utilizing around 20 minutes per episode.

King Fafa – Intermediate-level Mandarin podcast. Talk-show format with two hosts meeting and
discussing stories of everyday Chinese citizens. Lasts 1 to 2 hours per episode.

Stories FM – Advanced language skills recommended. 20 to 30-minute stories told by everyday
citizens in their own voices. An incredible and varied collection.

SBS Mandarin – Stories about life in Australia and life for Mandarin-speaking Australians.

Loud Murmurs – an advanced exploration of US popular culture.


Foodie Laowu – All about global cuisine, and traveling to enjoy food. 15 to 35 minutes for each entertaining episode. No new content since 2019.

Tipsy Proof (杯弓舌瘾) – A podcast discussing alcohol.

吃货老吴 – A very funny, unpretentious take on food. No new uploads since 2019.


I know they aren’t technically podcasts, but radio stations are excellent listening content especially when it comes to music. The following section will mainly consist of radio stations.

Radio Garden – An app I use regularly. It lets you scan the globe for different radio stations. I regularly flick between Mainland Chinese and Taiwanese radio stations to enjoy different accents and dialects. Simply zoom in on a specific location and go through the list of stations available.

Guangdong Music FM Radio – Music streaming for native speakers.

UFM100.3 Live – Specifically Mandarin pop-music radio station from Singapore.

Drop Sister – Has a lot of music videos, but also shares DIY and other fun, trendy episodes.

Kids & Parenting

The following podcasts are aimed at children and parents so they range from beginner to advanced material.

V-Mom Classroom | Endearing expert Vicky Weng shares her parenting methods and Chinese
parenting phrases in a way that is sweet and encouraging to other parents. A very positive podcast.

Uncle Wei Duo’s Story Bus | High beginner – lower intermediate +
Adorable, entertaining Chinese children’s stories produced with polished sound effects and music.

Popcorn Stories | Intermediat+ | Children’s Mandarin stories presented with a soothing and slow-paced performance style.

ABC Storytime in Mandarin | Lower intermediate +
This is for young and early Mandarin learners. Each storytime is spent looking at well-known English children’s books but in Mandarin.

Kid’s Asleep | Upper-intermediate +
Hosted by a charming Taiwanese mom and dad team discussing parenting and beyond. 45 to 75-
minute episodes.

Baby Bus | Lower intermediate +
An animated beginner’s resource for kids from 2-5 years old. This is the link to the YouTube channel and admittedly it’s much better with video, but the stories can still be listened to.

Playful Chinese – This podcast introduces you and your child to the Mandarin language in silly and
useful 10-minute episodes. Mostly done in English to explain basic stories, words, and phrases.

Learning English

Let Jenny Tell You | Lower intermediate +
A podcast about learning English and discussing happenings in the United States. Jenny speaks in Mandarin and her co-host speaks in English, so it’s fun if you’re an intermediate Chinese student. 10 to 20 minutes long per episode.

Talking About The United States – A fascinating exploration of America entirely from the perspective
of a Chinese man. Each episode is approximately 40-60 minutes in length.

Fly With Lily – How to learn English and travel the world. Taught through the life experiences of Lili and
the lessons she’s learned along the way.

YouTube Channels

OK, this might be cheating somewhat, but youTube now has so much amazing audio learning content on it, I have to recommend my favourites. Some of these channels are excellent, and I would recommend them above many of the podcasts mentioned in the ‘other teaching podcasts’ section.

Mandarin Corner | Complete beginner + upper intermediate
Probably the best Mandarin learning channel on YouTube. SO much awesome content for learners of all levels. There are vocab and grammar-focused videos as well as interviews for those at a higher level.

Yoyo Chinese | Complete beginner + intermediate
Yoyo Chinese has loads of learning content available, and I can confirm that their paid courses are pretty good, too. A particular highlight is the very clear grammar explanations featured throughout.

ChineseClass101 | Complete beginner +
The ChineseClass101 YouTube channel offers an absolutely stupendous amount of content, so much so it makes paying for their audio course kind of pointless.

Chinesepod | Complete beginner +
The third time I’m mentioning Chinesepod because of how much I like it. You can access a lot of learning materials and sample lessons on their channel. A great resource for trying before buying.

HSK Test Preparation and Practice | Complete beginner +
Very helpful for those preparing for the HSK (Hànyǔ Shuǐpíng Kǎoshì) AKA. The Mandarin proficiency test for foreigners. Not too much content for higher levels like HSK 5 and 6.

SMART Mandarin – Katrina Lee | Complete beginner +
Straightforward Mandarin language teaching emphasizing confidence and joy, and offering various lengths and levels of lessons.

Further Reading

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