iPhone apps for Asia

Travelling Asia by yourself can be a bit daunting as you’re thrown straight into the deep end with a completely different culture and a whole new language you don’t understand.

When I first arrived in Bangkok I decided to get a train to my hotel from the airport as it was a lot more cheaper than getting a taxi. A train was about £3 and a taxi was £10, so the logical decision was to train it. The only problem I found was that all signposts were written in Thai symbols so I had to make guesses as to where I was going, I made it though, with a little difficulty.

Since travelling south-east Asia for a month, there have been a few iPhone apps that have really helped me on my way. The first app that I found extremely helpful was ‘maps.me’. This app is an offline map which works exactly how googlemaps would, just without using up all your data. You can download the map of country you’re in and the GPS will tell you which way to go, this has really helped when I have got lost on various occasions.

Another app that has been a god send, has been ‘grab’. This app is effectively Asia’s version of Uber. You can order yourself a taxi, car or motorbike to pick you up from a location to take you to wherever you need to go for a fixed price. This is always so much more efficient than using taxis and tuk tuks on the street as you have to try and barter a price with no real guideline on how much it should be. A point to be aware of is that tuk tuk drivers rely on tourists so they charge extortionate prices. Tourists always use tuk tuks for the experience whereas all the locals use grab so there’s a clear difference in prices.

When travelling Asia, you visit a lot of countries as they are all so close together, doing this means you encounter a lot of different currencies. In Vietnam I was a millionaire and this was really strange to get my head around. Understanding currencies can become really confusing as by the time you’re used to one currency, you gain another. You never really know what’s a good price for something you want to buy and what’s expensive. This is where ‘xe currency’ comes into play. This app is really easy to use, all you have to do is type the amount of money in the currency you’re using and it’ll tell you in the currency you want. For example if I type the amount of something in Thai baht, the app will tell me the amount in British pounds. This app has really helped me understand the many 0’s added on the money and limited me spending money when I don’t understand the prices.

A final app that I will be using forever more is the ‘lonely planet city guides’ app. This is a free app and on it you can download guides for all the major cities, it tells you the best places to eat, the hottest things to see, what times you should go to tourist attractions to avoid queues and basic language phrases to help you get by. The information provided gives you so many great ideas of what you can do by yourself. Lonelyplanet also make books that include more information than the apps which are equally as good but I can imagine the apps are updated more frequently.

Hopefully these app recommendations can help fellow travellers out.

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