Life 101: Shanghai (Mobile Apps)

Note: I was there from Feb 2014 – Jul 2014 (5 months), and Shanghai is a constantly developing and changing metropolitan city, so some things may not be relevant by the time you get there.

If you’ve been following me in the past few months, you would know by now that I was living in Shanghai for a while. So I thought I’d start a general series on “Shanghai” to enable my readers to better prepare themselves for future trips to Shanghai or China!

In this post, I will talk about the most useful mobile phone Apps that I found while living in Shanghai. Please do note that there are pros and cons to each App but I will only focus on the usefulness of each App.


Shanghai (February, 2014)


When you’re overseas, there is no doubt that you’ll have to communicate with friends and family, whether overseas or in Shanghai. I found WeChat the safest and most reliable way of communicating (provided that you have mobile internet of WiFi).

APP: WeChat. This is a hybrid of Instagram, Whatsapp, Facebook and a micro-blog! Except with better security settings!


This determines what we wear and our sun/rain gear in general, especially in Shanghai where taking the public transport is the most reliable form of transport (in terms of being on time) and the norm for ordinary people like us.

APP: In this regard, I trust Moji Weather (墨迹天气). This is a life saver when it comes to: pollution level (yes, you have to check that), direction of the wind (yes, it affects the temperature and the level of pollution depending on whether it is northerly or southerly winds) and the general weather forecast. 


Shanghai’s floating population is about 23-24 million people, which is already more than the population of Australia as a country, so you can imagine the number of people that needs to eat, and the sheer abundance of restaurants and eateries around. For example, in where I lived, there were two shopping areas and there were Haagen Dazs cafes on both sides of the main road.

APP: In this regard, I trust DianPing (大众点评). Just think of this as the magical app where it combines Urbanspoon, Yelp!, Groupon and some other apps all in one. You can make a booking, make a payment (and get a discount), get vouchers, read reviews etc. on a variety of things in addition to just finding where to get food.


There are plenty of brick and mortar shops around in Shanghai. However, the online shopping experience in Shanghai is amazing. I will leave that for another post.

APP: In this regard, I use Tmall/Taobao the most but I will cover some other sites later on on a separate post.


I will be honest with you, I was never brave enough to take the bus because it always looked very crowded and I was always carrying loads of stuff with me. I’ve mainly walked, taken the Shanghai Metro and Taxis. I might write a separate post on this topic as there are other relevant points that relate to travelling within Shanghai on the Metro and Taxis.

APP: SHanghai Metro; Taxi app 快的打车Taxi app 嘀嘀打车

Hope this helps! There will be more Shanghai related posts to come!


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