You may have already read or heard about all kinds of China travel tips on how to deal with the inevitable cultural shock during your first trip here. But have any one told you about the technology shock that you may also encounter? In recent years, China has taken a great leap in automation and mobile technology. Wechat, the most popular social app in China, has essentially changed people’s lifestyle towards ultimate convenience, so as the way of travel in China.
As a foreigner, you can also get Wechat on your phone for the most genuine and fun travel experience in China. Here are five most common ways you can use it:
1. Pay your bills with Wechat so you don’t have to bring cash
No one brings cash in China these days, because our wallets are in our phones. Wechat wallet allows you to top up or directly connect your bank account. You can then simply let a vendor scan your barcode to complete a transaction. While you may not be able to link your bank account as a foreigner, our local tip is you can ask your guide or local friend to top up your wallet while you pay them with equivalent amount of cash.
2. Buy tickets with Wechat so you don’t have to stay in line
Want to visit a national park or a museum? There’s no need to go to the ticket. Nearly all major attractions in China have replaced its ticket office with a barcode. By scanning these barcodes with your Wechat, you’ll be taken to the ticketing website where you can purchase your tickets in advance. Some popular attractions even let you schedule the time of your visit, so you don’t have to waste your time waiting in line.
3. Rent shared bikes with Wechat to explore cities on your own
Shared bikes are trendy in big cities in China for its convenience and environmental-friendliness. Each bike comes with a unique barcode. Turn on your bluetooth, and scan the barcode with Wechat to unlock it. When you finish your trip and lock the bike, a bill will be sent to you within Wechat where you can pay directly. Get a bike, and enjoy the ultimate freedom to explore cities on your own!
4. Lost in translation? Call a taxi on Wechat mini apps
Didi (滴滴) is the equivalent of Uber in China. It has a mini app integrated within Wechat where you can call a taxi. No more lost in translation trying to explain where you are going to the taxi driver. Ask a local to show you how to input your location and destination. And again pay within Wechat when you arrive.
5. Chat with your local guide or friend, because everyone uses Wechat
You no longer need a local phone number as long as you can connect on Wechat. Add your guide or your local friends on the app so you can reach them at any time. Business nowadays also uses Wechat for events, promotions and customer service. If you can get by with some Chinese, your trip in China will be a whole new experience.