Preparing for your first trip to Taiwan is super exciting, but with all the fantastic things to do there, it’s sometimes difficult to know where to start.
Luckily there are plenty of apps to help you make the most of your trip, from helping you translate Chinese to booking tours. Here are five free apps you should download before you go.
While the West prefers WhatsApp, and Mainland China and Hong Kong opt for WeChat, Line is Taiwan’s messaging app of choice. Line is also the most-used messaging app in Japan and Thailand, and is very popular in many other Asian countries too.
If you’re making friends in Taiwan or planning on doing business there, Line is a must-have for staying in touch with people there.
As ‘The Bicycle Kingdom’ in both manufacturing and use of bicycles, Taiwan’s infrastructure for cyclists keeps getting better and better. Cycling is a cheap, environmentally-friendly and popular mode of transport for locals, and is increasingly becoming so for visitors too. And bike rental organisations like YouBike make it easy for anyone to hop on a bike to get around.
YouBike is available in many Taiwanese cities like Taipei, Taichung and Kaohsiung. Once you download the app, you can see where nearby available bikes are and where you can park them at your destination. Depending on your character reading skill level, the YouBike app can be a bit of a challenge to use as it’s currently only available in Traditional Chinese. This is where the next app comes in handy.
Pleco is every Mandarin learner’s best friend. As well as functioning like a dictionary, letting you use pinyin or draw characters on the screen to translate, it can also translate both simplified and traditional Chinese characters.
The basic app is free, but you can also pay for different add-ons that allow you to create flashcards, see character stroke order, gain text-to-speech access and more. The basic app is handy enough, but the extras make it a powerful compact learning tool.
- Easy Wallet
Getting the 悠遊卡 ‘yōuyóukǎ’ or ‘EasyCard’ travel card we mentioned in our Taiwan travel tips article? The Easy Wallet app makes it easy to see your balance and top up your card from wherever you are. Remember, not only can the EasyCard be used with transportation like on the MRT, buses and YouBike, but it can also be used as a payment method in some shops.
Like YouBike’s app, Easy Wallet is only available in Traditional Chinese at the moment. But it’s easy to navigate intuitively if you’re just using it as a balance-checking and top-up app, and don’t forget Pleco (and Google Translate) can help too.
There are so many fun things to do in Taiwan, you might not know where to look first. KKday lists everything from top tourist attractions to niche workshops, and lets you see and book tickets and transportation through the app. There are often special deals with the app that aren’t available on the desktop website, so it’s well worth downloading.
Ready to start your Mandarin-learning adventure in Taiwan? See how you can customise your homestay programme with Lingoinn here.