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Best Travel Apps for Traveling to China

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by | May 3, 2024

Travel Apps

Travel apps are applications designed to assist users in various aspects of travel, including planning, booking, navigation, and discovering activities or services in destinations. 


These apps often provide features such as;

Flight and Accommodation Booking: Users can search and book flights, hotels, rental cars, and other accommodations directly through the app.

Trip Planning and Itinerary Management: Users can plan their trips, create itineraries, and organize their travel schedules, including setting reminders and syncing with calendars.

Navigation and Maps: These apps offer GPS-based navigation, maps, and directions to help users navigate through unfamiliar locations, find points of interest, and discover nearby attractions, restaurants, and amenities.

Travel Guides and Recommendations: Users can access travel guides, tips, reviews, and recommendations for destinations, activities, restaurants, and attractions worldwide.

Translation and Language Tools: Some travel apps offer translation features, phrasebooks, and language learning tools to help users communicate in foreign languages.

Currency Conversion and Budget Tracking: Travelers can convert currencies, track expenses, set budgets, and manage their finances while on the go.

Weather Forecasting: Users can check weather forecasts for their destination cities and plan accordingly.

Transportation Services: Apps may provide information on public transportation options, schedules, routes, and real-time updates for buses, trains, and other modes of transportation.

Travel Insurance and Emergency Assistance: Some travel apps offer access to travel insurance, emergency contact information, and assistance services for travelers in case of emergencies or unexpected events.

Social Features and Community: Users can share their travel experiences, tips, and photos with friends and fellow travelers, as well as connect with local communities or other travelers for advice and recommendations.


Best travel apps for travelling to china


  1. DiDi: DiDi is a leading ride-hailing app in China, offering a convenient and efficient way to navigate cities. Similar to Uber or Lyft, DiDi allows users to request rides easily, providing transportation options ranging from taxis to private cars.
  2. ExpressVPN or NordVPN: Due to China’s internet restrictions, accessing certain websites and services can be challenging. VPN apps like ExpressVPN or NordVPN help travelers overcome these barriers by providing secure and private access to the internet, allowing users to bypass censorship and access blocked content.
  3. WeChat: WeChat is an all-in-one super app widely used in China for messaging, social networking, mobile payments, and more. With its extensive range of features, WeChat is essential for staying connected, communicating with locals, and accessing various services seamlessly.
  4. Alipay: Alipay is a ubiquitous mobile payment platform in China, allowing users to make transactions for purchases, dining, transportation, and more using their smartphones. Accepted in countless establishments across the country, Alipay simplifies financial transactions for travelers.
  5. XE Currency: XE Currency is a handy app for travelers needing to convert currencies quickly and accurately. With real-time exchange rate data, it enables users to make informed financial decisions and understand the value of their money in different countries.
  6. MetroMan China: MetroMan China is a comprehensive app offering detailed information and navigation assistance for navigating the subway systems in major Chinese cities. With maps, schedules, and route planning features, it helps travelers efficiently use public transportation.
  7. Douyin: Douyin, known internationally as TikTok, is a popular short-video app in China. It provides insights into local culture, trends, and entertainment, allowing users to explore and engage with a wide range of content.
  8. CTrip: CTrip is a one-stop travel booking app catering to travelers in China. From flights and hotels to train tickets, tours, and activities, CTrip offers a wide range of services, making it convenient for users to plan and book their travel arrangements.
  9. Dianping: Dianping is a platform for discovering and reviewing restaurants, shops, and businesses across China. With user-generated reviews and ratings, it helps travelers find the best places to eat, shop, and explore in various cities.
  10. Google Translate: Google Translate is a versatile language translation app that can be used offline, making it useful for travelers in China. While access to Google services may be restricted, Google Translate allows users to translate text, conversations, and even images between different languages.
  11. Meituan: Meituan is a popular app in China offering services such as food delivery, restaurant reservations, movie tickets, and more. With its wide range of offerings, Meituan enhances the dining and entertainment experiences of travelers by providing convenient access to local services.
  12. China Train Booking: This app facilitates the booking of train tickets within China, a common mode of transportation for both domestic and international travelers. With features for searching, booking, and managing train journeys, it simplifies the process of traveling by rail.
  13. Taobao: Taobao is one of China’s largest online shopping platforms, offering a vast array of products at competitive prices. With its diverse range of goods and services, Taobao is a go-to destination for travelers looking to shop for souvenirs, gifts, and other items during their visit to China.
  14. NordVPN or ExpressVPN: As mentioned earlier, VPN apps like NordVPN or ExpressVPN are indispensable for travelers in China. By encrypting internet connections and providing access to servers outside the country, these VPNs enable users to bypass internet restrictions and access blocked content securely and anonymously.


  • DiDi
  • ExpressVPN
  • WeChat
  • Alipay
  • XE Currency
  • MetroMan China
  • Douyin
  • CTrip
  • Dianping
  • Google Translate
  • Meituan
  • China Train Booking
  • Taobao
  • NordVPN



Aside from the previously mentioned apps like a VPN, Alipay or WeChat Pay, and a translation app, there are a few other essentials you’ll want to have on hand for your trip to China. Here’s a rundown:

  • Travel Adapter: China typically uses Type A, Type C, and Type I electrical outlets, so make sure you have a compatible travel adapter to keep your devices charged.
  • Cash: While mobile payment is widespread in China, it’s still a good idea to carry some cash, especially for smaller vendors or in rural areas where electronic payments may not be accepted.
  • Travel Insurance: It’s always wise to have travel insurance that covers medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and other unforeseen circumstances.
  • Medications and Prescriptions: If you take any medications regularly, be sure to bring an ample supply with you, along with copies of your prescriptions, as some medications may not be readily available in China.
  • Comfortable Walking Shoes: You’ll likely be doing a fair amount of walking, so pack comfortable shoes suitable for exploring cities and visiting attractions.
  • Weather-Appropriate Clothing: Check the weather forecast for your destination(s) and pack accordingly. China experiences diverse climates, so layers are often a good choice.
  • Travel Guidebook or Map: While you can find a wealth of information online, having a physical guidebook or map can be handy, especially if you’ll be visiting remote areas with limited internet access.
  • Travel Documents: Don’t forget your passport, visa (if required), flight tickets, hotel reservations, and any other essential travel documents.
  • Portable Power Bank: Keep your devices charged on the go with a portable power bank, especially if you’ll be out and about for long periods without access to power outlets.
  • Reusable Water Bottle: Stay hydrated during your travels by carrying a reusable water bottle. Tap water in China may not be safe to drink, so consider purchasing bottled water or using a water purifier.
  • Local SIM Card or International Roaming: Stay connected with a local SIM card or ensure that your mobile carrier offers affordable international roaming rates for calls, texts, and data.
  • Basic First-Aid Kit: Pack essentials like band-aids, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, and any other medications or supplies you might need for minor injuries or ailments.


Rules and Regulations to Follow in China as a Traveler

Travelers to China should be aware of the following rules and regulations to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip. By familiarizing yourself with these rules and regulations, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable travel experience in China.

Visa Requirements: Most travelers to China require a visa. Make sure to check the visa requirements for your nationality and apply for the appropriate visa before your trip.

Passport Validity: Ensure that your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your planned date of departure from China.

Health and Vaccinations: Check if any vaccinations are required or recommended for travelers to China. It’s also a good idea to have travel insurance that covers medical expenses.

Respect Local Customs and Traditions: China has a rich cultural heritage, and it’s important to respect local customs and traditions. This includes dressing modestly, especially when visiting religious sites, and observing local customs regarding greetings and interactions with others.

Internet Restrictions: Keep in mind that China has strict internet censorship, and access to certain websites and social media platforms may be restricted. Consider using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to bypass these restrictions if necessary.

Language Barrier: While English is spoken in tourist areas and major cities, it’s helpful to learn some basic Mandarin phrases or carry a translation app to communicate with locals, especially in more remote areas.

Money Matters: Familiarize yourself with Chinese currency (Renminbi or RMB) and exchange rates. Credit cards are widely accepted in urban areas, but it’s also advisable to carry some cash, especially in rural areas or smaller establishments.

Safety and Security: China is generally safe for travelers, but exercise caution and common sense, especially in crowded areas and tourist spots where pickpocketing can occur. Keep your valuables secure and be aware of your surroundings.

Environmental Protection: Respect the environment and follow local regulations regarding waste disposal and conservation efforts, especially when visiting natural attractions such as national parks and scenic areas.

Drug Laws: China has strict laws regarding illegal drugs, and penalties for drug-related offenses can be severe, including lengthy prison sentences or even the death penalty.

Photography Restrictions: Exercise caution when taking photographs, especially near military installations, government buildings, or sensitive areas. Always ask for permission before taking photos of individuals, particularly in rural or ethnic minority areas.

Register with Authorities: If you’re staying in China for an extended period or traveling to remote areas, consider registering with your embassy or consulate for safety purposes.

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What apps should I download for travel in China?


So, if you’re planning a trip to China, there are a few apps you absolutely need to have on your phone. First up is a VPN app. You know, that thing that lets you bypass internet restrictions? In China, there are certain sites and apps that are blocked, like Facebook or Google. But with a VPN, you can sneak past those blocks and access all your favorite foreign apps and websites without a hitch.


Next on the list is either Alipay or WeChat Pay. These apps are like your digital wallet in China. Seriously, you can pay for pretty much anything with them, whether it’s your morning coffee, a souvenir at a local market, or even a fancy dinner. Just whip out your phone, scan the QR code, punch in the amount, and boom, transaction done!


And of course, don’t forget to grab a translation app like Google Translate or Pleco. Trust me, even if you’re armed with a few basic Chinese phrases, having one of these apps can be a lifesaver. Whether you’re trying to order food, ask for directions, or just strike up a conversation with a friendly local, having a translation app handy can make everything a whole lot easier.


So yeah, those are the three must-have apps for your trip to China. They’ll make your life a whole lot easier, trust me!


How do I use Alipay and WeChat Pay to pay for things in China?

Using Alipay or WeChat Pay to make payments in China is super easy, let me break it down for you:

  1. Scan the Vendor’s QR Code: When you’re ready to make a payment, just open up your Alipay or WeChat Pay app and scan the QR code provided by the vendor. You’ll usually find this code displayed at the checkout counter or on the vendor’s smartphone.
  2. Enter the Amount (Optional): If the QR code doesn’t already specify the amount, you might need to enter it manually on your phone. This is usually the case for transactions like splitting bills or paying custom amounts.
  3. Input Your Password (If Required): For added security, you might be prompted to enter your password or use biometric authentication (like fingerprint or facial recognition) to confirm the payment. This ensures that only you can authorize transactions from your account.


Or, there’s another way:


  1. Display Your App’s QR Code: If the vendor prefers, you can also initiate the payment by displaying your own QR code from the Alipay or WeChat Pay app. They’ll then use their scanner to capture your code, and the payment will be processed instantly.


And that’s it! Whether you’re scanning their code or they’re scanning yours, making payments with Alipay or WeChat Pay is quick, secure, and hassle-free. It’s no wonder they’re so popular in China!


Which taxi app works in China?

When it comes to getting around in China, DiDi is the go-to taxi app for both locals and travelers alike. It’s widely used and trusted for its convenience and reliability. 


The best part? Even though the app is available in English, making it easy for international travelers to use, you might find that most taxi drivers only speak Chinese. But hey, don’t worry too much about the language barrier – DiDi’s straightforward interface and GPS navigation make it a breeze to use, no matter what language you speak. So next time you need a ride in China, just fire up the DiDi app and you’ll be on your way in no time!

What is the most commonly used app in China?


Without a doubt, the most commonly used app in China is WeChat. It’s not just an app – it’s a social media powerhouse, a messaging platform, a payment system, and so much more, all rolled into one. 

When you’re in China, chances are you’ll find yourself relying heavily on WeChat, especially for its payment function. It’s super convenient – just link your bank card to your WeChat account, and you can pay for pretty much anything with a simple scan of a QR code. But WeChat is about more than just payments. You can use it to chat with friends, share moments, play games, read news, and even hail a taxi. It’s basically the Swiss Army knife of apps, and once you start using it, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.


Do I need to download a social media app for China?


If you’re just taking a short trip to China, you might not necessarily need to download a separate social media app. Let’s face it, you’re probably not going to have a ton of time to make new Chinese friends during your visit. However, there’s one app that you absolutely should have on your phone, and that’s WeChat. Why? Well, for starters, it’s not just a social media app – it’s more like a lifeline. 

If you find yourself lost in a maze of bustling streets or struggling to communicate with locals, having WeChat can be a real game-changer. You can use it to stay in touch with your tour guide, ask for directions, or even get recommendations for the best local eats. So while you might not need a social media app for making friends, having WeChat on hand can definitely make your trip a whole lot easier and more enjoyable.


In conclusion, navigating China’s vast and diverse landscape can be made infinitely smoother with the right travel apps at your fingertips. From overcoming internet restrictions with a VPN to seamlessly making payments with Alipay or WeChat Pay, and bridging language barriers with translation apps like Google Translate, these tools are indispensable for any traveler exploring the wonders of China. 


Whether you’re hailing a taxi, booking accommodations, or discovering local attractions, the best travel apps not only enhance convenience but also unlock a world of possibilities, ensuring that your journey through China is as enriching as it is unforgettable. So, before you embark on your next adventure, be sure to arm yourself with these essential travel companions and embark on a voyage of discovery like never before.