Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Top 3 must download apps in Taiwan

Back in the States I didn't have texting, much less a smartphone, but here, I don't know how I would survive without one. These are the three apps I've found to be most useful here and use everyday.
  1. LINE: If you have a smartphone here, you have LINE. It's like WeChat in China and Kaokao Talk in Korea where it's THE messaging app that everyone uses to chat with and even make phone calls from (Phone calls are very expensive in Taiwan). You can even record your voice and it has a built in QR code reader. I really like the app because it's stable, doesn't lag (like *cough* What's App *cough*) and has really cute stickers that you can download for free or purchase.
    With Line characters near the Line pop-up store in Huashan 1914 Creative Park
  2. ubike: A little over a year ago Taipei city started a bike share program called "ubike". All you have to do is register your EasyCard at the kiosk at any ubike station or online and you can rent a bike for free for 30 mins. Every half hour after that is 10NT ($0.33 USD. Yes, it's that cheap!). If you download the app it will tell you how many bikes are available at each station and where the nearest ubike station is. It also has a nifty 30 minute timer so you can know when your free period is almost up.
    Ubike station at Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall
  3. A bus app like 台灣公車通 or 公車來了沒: Most inner city buses here don't run on a timetable and bus service ends earlier than the MRT, so this is a must have! The only crappy thing about all the bus apps is that they don't tell you specifically where the bus stand is and which direction. I usually just use google maps to find the exact location of the bus stand or look at the transportation map in the MRT. It will tell you the bus number, bus direction, and closest exit as shown below. 
    Transportation map taken at MRT Zhongshan. The bottom "Transfer Information" section lists the buses. Note that buses are listed twice because depending on the direction you're going, the bus stand will be different. Make sure to read the direction carefully!
Still trying to find a good food app like Yelp since Yelp hasn't entered the Taiwan market yet....any other suggestions greatly appreciated!!

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