first thing, add the chinese keyboard to your phone as you’ll never know when you’ll need it and chances are that you will need it.
if you speak chinese, then biadu map is the most convenient app to use but if not, then your iphone maps will work just as well too.
it’s used for business, social and well, everything. it’s very good for buying trains and airplanes as prices will be cheaper than skyscanner and you can use we chat pay to take care of that transaction. there’s also an option to translate written chinese text which will save you in a restaurant, even if sometimes the translation is absolutely ridiculous
2. meitian – food delivery app
for all the times you crave sichuan style eggplant and all other things. the app only works in chinese but the interface is relativaly straight forward making it easy to guess and/or translate with wechat.
3. didi – taxi
didi is like uber but way better; the prices are very affordable and it takes seconds to locate a driver. the most difficult bit of didi is trying to find the english version of didi, this means downloading the correct version of the app and then clicking the icon on your menu, pressing the cogwell and then 多语言.
4. the booking app
air bnbs aren’t really worth it in china. there is a strict movement of people policy which means you must register at the police station whenever you travel. locating a police station is a hassle and then trying to explain this to the officers is an even bigger hassle, especially when they’re not used to dealing with non-chinese people. luckily, if you’re staying in hostel/hotel, it becomes their duty to register you which shifts the burden off yourself.
so wechat can be used for alot of things but somethings work only by alipay and sometimes using the alipay app will also give you a few yuan discount.
it’s like amazon but better. everyone uses it china and all small to medium size shops are able to advertise their goods – from the nonsensical english tshirts to the unsually shaped smoking paraphernalia.
7. the bank of china app
as long as you remember what to click on to display your balance, the app allows you to sign in with your fingerprint and check your savings. useful for when deciding whether or not you can buy the next round of drinks. the back of china is wonderful, my favourite feature is the fact it blocks payments when funds are not available. this is an absolute relief for those that accidentally book a £85 private tour of the prada museum because they think they can order their ticket in chinese rather than english.
lets you check flights and trains but the price will be higher than wechat. not all flights are trains are shown on wechat so best to alternate between trip and ctrip. ctrip is cheaper but only available in chinese so you can check trip for reference and then book via ctrip. learning some basic characters for place names will go a long way.