Navigate Shanghai

May 3, 2010

My cousin went to Shanghai and brought her iPhone…and here’s her roundup of the best apps for navigating the city. She checked out how some commonly-used apps work there, tried to communicate with a language app and discovered a must-have app for travelers and expats!

Mandarin Chinese Pro

Cousin Susie, who tried playing audio files from this app to communicate, says: “As much as I love the Odyssey Translator design and interface, and it is a good learning device for learning phrases, it does not actually work too well as far as playing it to people instead of talking to them. Nor do they understand my pronunciation of the language too well when I try to say more than a couple of words. Chinese has 4 tonal variations which take a while to master, and without them, it is hard for them to understand. When I tried the app at people they either look at me like I’m crazy, or, as in a restaurant the other night, get someone who speaks a little English.”



Susie says: “Don’t bother – Yelp did not work at all in Shanghai.”


TripAdvisor Hotels Flights Restaurants

Susie says: “This app does work. It includes restaurants recommended by users on the website as well as the reviews and has been pretty right on so far. (And the iPhone built in GPS with Google maps has been a lifesaver for getting lost while walking around!)”



Susie says: “Also works well, but a lot of the entries are in Mandarin…so a little hard to understand.”


FlightTrack – Live Flight Status Tracker by Mobiata

Susie says: “Works in Shanghai to track flight status, so that’s good.”



Susie says: “I’m happy to have limited Facebook access through the Facebook app, since we can’t get to Facebook with a browser here. I wish the Facebook app had more functionality though.”


Shanghai Taxi Guide and Offline Maps

Susie says: “This app was recommended by a co-worker who’s been living here for 6 months and is really useful. It has many lists of businesses and venues which you can select, and it gives you addresses, links to the iphone map system, and gives you large written driving instructions in Mandarin for the Taxi drivers, who do not speak English. Before downloading this app, I was having the concierge write notes for me in Mandarin. It looks like this app lets users add venues to the list for everyone to use. It has a list of over 1700 restaurants.”


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