The smartphone revolution has reshaped the world of travel. With nearly everything a traveler needs now available at their fingertips, navigating foreign destinations, especially a vast and diverse continent like Asia, has never been easier.
Whether you’re looking for directions in Tokyo’s bustling streets, translating a menu in Beijing, or booking a last-minute guesthouse in Bangkok, there’s an app for that.
This article introduces you to the must-have smartphone apps that will become your indispensable companions while exploring Asia.
1. Navigation & Transportation
a. Google Maps
A favorite worldwide, Google Maps offers detailed maps, routes, and local business information. In Asia, where streets can often be a labyrinth, this app is invaluable.
Available in mega-cities like Singapore, Hong Kong, and Tokyo, CityMapper provides intricate details on public transportation, including real-time departures and service disruptions.
Asia’s answer to Uber, Grab operates in numerous Southeast Asian countries, offering not just cars but also bikes and even delivery services.
For those traveling in Japan, Hyperdia is the ultimate tool to understand and use the country’s intricate train system, including the Shinkansen bullet trains.
2. Language & Communication
a. Google Translate
With the ability to translate numerous Asian languages and its camera feature that instantly translates written texts, Google Translate is a lifesaver in communication hurdles.
If you’re keen to learn basics of a local language before or during your trip, Duolingo offers bite-sized lessons in languages like Mandarin, Japanese, Korean, and more.
This specialized dictionary is a must-have for travelers in China, helping translate and understand the complexities of the Chinese language.
3. Accommodation & Booking
a. Agoda & Booking.com
Popular in Asia, these platforms offer a plethora of hotel, guesthouse, and hostel options with reviews and often provide last-minute deals.
For a more local experience, AirBnB offers homes, apartments, and unique accommodations throughout Asia.
Tailored for backpackers, this app offers listings of hostels across Asian countries, complete with user reviews and ratings.
4. Food & Dining
For vegetarians and vegans traveling in Asia, HappyCow helps locate restaurants and eateries that cater to plant-based diets.
Predominantly used in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and parts of Southeast Asia, OpenRice is the Yelp of Asia, guiding users to the best eateries around based on community reviews.
5. Culture & Exploration
a. Klook & GetYourGuide
These platforms provide a wide range of tours, activities, and experiences, from temple tours in Bali to cooking classes in Bangkok.
Beyond just reviews, TripAdvisor offers forums where travelers discuss their experiences and give advice, especially beneficial when exploring off-the-beaten-path locations.
6. Currency & Finances
a. XE Currency
This real-time currency converter ensures you always get the right exchange rates, which is particularly useful when dealing with varied Asian currencies.
b. Trail Wallet
For travelers keen on budgeting, Trail Wallet helps track expenses and provides daily breakdowns to ensure you remain within your allocated funds.
In the modern age of travel, smartphones and their apps have transformed into virtual companions, making trips smoother and more enjoyable.
While the aforementioned apps are some of the most favored for Asian adventures, the app ecosystem is continuously evolving.
Regularly updating your app arsenal ensures that you always have the latest tools for a memorable and hassle-free Asian escapade. Safe and smart travels!