I must admit, I’m an apple guy. I didn’t used to be, but since moving to Taiwan, that’s what I use. I would love to help those of you with Android or other types of devices more, but I will have to reply on guest writers for that help.
This is a list of apps that you should download for life in Taichung specifically, along with the info on how to use them.
Life@Taichung – This is the City of Taichung’s official app. There is both an iPhone and Android version. The app has a realtime schedule for the HSR, TRA and city buses, all in English! In addition, there is a quite useful guide to the scenic, historic and shopping districts around the city. There are definitely some improvements needed to make this app more useful, but you should definitely learn how to use this app. Even for a someone who reads and speaks Chinese, there is a lot of good information here.
Google Maps – Unfortunately, Apple has really dropped the ball when it comes to Taiwan, so Google is definitely your go to map for living in Taiwan. It’s easy to use, accepts pinyin, gps and chinese input. It’s very easy to use. Directions are usually spot on and the only thing missing is bicycle navigation. For scooter navigation, one of our readers, Ebon Carmichael reminded me that you can adjust the settings to avoid highways, toll roads, etc. and it will guide you as if you were riding a scooter. Another option would be to consider purchasing Garmin Taiwan – listed below.
Waygo – This may become your best friend if you choose not to learn Chinese. This app is a realtime translator that specializes in menu reading. And it’s actually pretty good. I believe the payment model is 10 free translations a day or something like that, then you need to pay, but it’s a lifetime upgrade. Definitely worth it!
Pleco – Any student of Chinese knows this app. It’s the gold standard. There is a free version and then you can add on paid upgrades. There is nothing better, don’t waste your money experimenting with anything else. iPhone and Android versions are available.
台灣的天氣 – There are multiple weather apps to choose from. This just happens to be one of my current favorites. It has multiple options on the main screen including the ability to show satellite, radar, pollution index and much more. I really like it.
環境 – For those of you who are concerned about the air pollution in Taiwan, this is a great app. It is produced by the EPA and is updated in real time and uses your GPS to provide data based on your location. There are multiple screens that you access by swiping up from the main screen. Data that is included: Fine particulate, UV Index, even a water report (although I’m not clear what water it’s talking about, I need to ask one of my Taiwanese friends). And a forecast.
55688 – This is THE Taxi app. There is nothing else you want to use to call a Taxi. It is fantastic. It takes a little bit of work to get it set up. Have a Taiwanese friend or your front desk help you with the intial set up and you will be good to go. It works off of GPS, so you can call a Taxi right to where you are standing. I’ll have a post up soon about how to use this great app.
Environmental Protection Agency – The Trash Truck App. (More later)
Garmin Taiwan – If you are willing to pay, this is the map for scooter drivers, etc. It’s got a little bit of a learning curve, but it does great if you are unfamiliar with the city or country and need to get around on your scooter. Google maps can’t plan complex scooter routes around highways.
Parking App – Need to find a Parking Lot or check if there are free spaces available. This is your app.
Youbike – The app for the YouBike system. It also uses GPS and will show you realtime stats on the system, available bikes, etc.
Toilets in Taichung – Yes, this app is for real. Need to find a Toilet. This app will help you.
Electric vehicles – Have an Electric scooter or car and need a plug, well…
Red Cross Earthquake – once you set this all up you will receive warnings about earthquakes and also can notify your friends or family that you are safe. There are other notification apps including one in mandarin to provide a second or two of early warning. Studies show it can make all the difference.
So, what do you use? What’s on your home screen? Would you be willing to share? Let us know so we can try it out.