ACUK brings you the best apps to use when travelling around China! 

If you don’t speak fluent Mandarin you can still visit China! Knowing the language would be easier but we have done a quick search to find the best apps you can use to help you with your travels. 

Social Media:

wechat app WeChat is a Chinese social media, instant messaging, commerce and payment service first released in 2011. It has grown from strength to strength now being one of the largest standalone messaging apps with over 963 million active users. WeChat is very similar to WhatsApp in the sense you can call and text your contacts for free as long as you are connected to the internet. WeChat has that and more. You are now able to pay via the app in restaurants and shops. Also WeChat ‘moments’ allows users to share pictures, music and their opinions, similar to Facebook. 

weibo app Weibo is often referred to as the Chinese equivalent of Twitter or Facebook. This is a great app to connect with the new Chinese friends that you will meet. Twitter and Facebook are banned in China so you will find that locals use WeChat and Weibo. Weibo has a 140 character limit to each post which can be liked or shared by your followers. 


pandabus appThe PandaBus App works in both Chinese and English which is useful if you don’t know Mandarin. This App uses your phones GPS to find your location and shows all the buses in the area and your routes which is useful if you are travelling on a budget or if you would rather get around town like a local! 

uber appWe have all heard of Uber, haven’t we? Well, they are in China too! To get an Uber is just as easy as it would be in the UK!

exploremetro appExploreMetro app also works in both Chinese and English. This app gives you the option to download maps from different cities such as Shanghai, Hong Kong, Beijing and more, which is great if you are travelling to more than one place! This map is up-to-date with all the metro lines. You can use the map offline, plan your route and it also includes street maps. CNN Travel reviewed the app and said “These maps are very easy on the eye and simple to navigate. They work offline and also include free updates of stations that have yet to be completed, operating hours and schedules.“


pleco appPleco is an English and Chinese dictionary app which can be used on IOS and Android. This app is great for those who are learning or don’t understand Mandarin. Some of the key features include:

  • You can look up unknown Chinese words ‘live’ using your device’s camera. 
  • Look up words by drawing them on your screen.

waygo appWaygo and Pleco are very similar apps but we wanted to include both as they are equally as good as each other. Waygo easily translates images of printed text offline. We would suggest this app is best used in restaurants and shops so you are able to read the menu. You can use your camera as a visual translator without the need to connect to wifi or your data. 

There are so many apps that can be used now to help make your time travelling a bit easier! You now have no excuse to not travel around China! 

Do you use an app when in China that you think is useful? Do you have any advice in regards to travelling to China? Comment below!