Top 7 Must Have Apps For Living In China

Josh Wilson
Josh Wilson

Don’t be 60 years old and say… "I could have done that!" Do it now!

 / Jun 18, 2017

Traveling in China can prove to be a very challenging endeavor particularly for first time travelers to the country. From the difficult Chinese language that is only well understood by the Chinese natives to the infamous Great Internet Firewall’ which basically limits access to certain websites, there are so many challenges that people traveling to this country or living there are bound to face in their everyday lives. Due to these challenges, living and traveling in China is quite different from traveling or living in any other country across the globe.


But thanks to the progress of smartphones, traveling and living in China is no longer challenging anymore. There is a huge variety of China travel apps designed to make traveling and living in China pretty easy. Here is a list of 7 must-have apps for living and traveling in China.  We will help you get started with picking the apps you need so as to make your everyday life in China easier from day 1. Regardless of whether you are a seasoned expat or a first time visitor, these apps are definitely crucial for making your experiences in China more enjoyable.


1. VPN apps


While there can be no denying that traveling in China can be a great experience, it is nevertheless impossible to share your experiences with your family and friends through social media. In China, social media networks such as Twitter, Facebook , Snapchat and Instagram among others aren’t useable, thanks to the fact that they are blocked by the Chinese government.


Therefore, the VPN app comes in handy when traveling or living in this country. This app is specially designed to prevent third parties from limiting or monitoring your access to the web. VPN is one of the best apps for China. In addition, it can be easily downloaded onto nearly all types of smartphones. However, it is always good to download in onto your phone prior to traveling to China since you may experience problems when downloading it and setting it up within the country.  Learn more here about what a VPN is and why you need it in China


2. Waygo


Nothing can be more challenging than living in China when you lack basic understanding of the Chinese language. But with Waygo already installed in your smartphone, then life can be easier while living in China. This app is basically a visual translator designed to translate Chinese characters into English by simply hovering your smartphone over the Chinese characters you are clueless about.


While the Waygo app may not know all the Chinese characters, it however does an excellent job when it comes to translating nearly all the main characters in the Chinese language. The beauty of this app is that it can work offline and thus you don’t need internet connection to use it effectively. Again, it is user friendly and compatible with almost all types of smartphones.  You will want this app to help you order food. 


3. Metro Man - Subway Map


This app is not only one of the most popular China travel apps, but it can also be an invaluable lifesaver especially for first time travelers who don’t have a good understanding of the country’s urban landscape. All the country’s major cities have plenty of subway lines that are used as medium of transportation. That is why Metro Man is crafted to provide travelers with maps of the country’s major cities. The app further includes a search function designed to help users get to where they want to go.


Using the travel app is pretty easy. You just need to key in the location of the nearest subway station as well as the subway that is nearest to the place where you want to go. The app will then direct you on how you will get there. This app can also be used offline and it is quite easy to install on most smartphones.


4. Dianping


This is another essential app that you should have in your smartphone while travelling or living in China. Dianping is designed to provide travelers with a range of reviews, locations and descriptions of bars, restaurants as well as accommodation places around the country. The app also boasts a special feature designed to show users all the best rated restaurants in specific locations throughout the country. Therefore, having this app handy can save you the hassle of finding where to have your next meal or where to spend your night while in China. It is easily downloadable onto Android and iPhone for free. Moreover, it is easy to install and user-friendly as well.


5. WeChat


If you want to communicate with your friends or family while in China, WeChat can turn out to be your favorite app to do just that and some. With this app, you can send video and text messages and better still make free phone calls through the calling feature. It is quite easy to add contacts to the social app.  Again, the mass add function feature of this app enables several large groups of people to easily add each other to their individual contact lists to hold conversations.


The other exciting feature of WeChat is live location, which can enable you to send your live location to friends and family. This app can be particularly useful to a group of travelers passing through crowded places in any of the country’s cities because they can easily find each whenever they get lost. Initially, it was only compatible with Android and iPhone. But latest versions of WeChat are compatible with all types of smartphones.


Learn more about the WeChat app with this YouTube video:  

6. China Train


Traveling by train is by far the best way to explore China while living there. Again, it is much cheaper than flying from one destination to the other. With this app, you can easily book and plan your train travel around the country. The app offers a ticket booking service and a train schedules to travelers across the country. Considering that the largest part of the country’s population travel on trains, then this app is one of the best apps for China. China Train is designed with the need for travelers to have a successful train journey in mind. It can be installed on all smartphones easily and fast.


*Another Great resource for booking train travel in China - Seat 61*


7. Pleco Chinese Dictionary


While living and exploring China, you may find yourself in a rural city needing to ask where the bathroom is.  Having the Pleco Chinese Dictionary app is a must have while in China.  You are able to tap in English text and it will automatically translate it to Chinese.  The app will then translate it for you and even give you a recording of the phrase your typed in.  This app will be one of your favorite apps while living and exploring China.  Also a great app to really start learning the Chinese language on your own.


These Apps Can Really Enhance Your Experience in China!


Apps are increasingly changing how people live and travel, especially in China. Installing the right apps on your smartphone while traveling or living in China can help eliminate challenges associated with traveling and living in this country. That is why you should have these 7 apps mentioned here along with others in case you are thinking of traveling or living in China.

For more information about living and traveling in China, check out The Ultimate Guide for Moving to China

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Josh Wilson

Don’t be 60 years old and say… "I could have done that!" Do it now!