For those that have no problem reading Mandarin, there're only 2 Apps you definitely need to download on your SmartPhone before you get there:
1) WeChat (known as Weixin in China)
OK, I know most probably you already using WeChat. Not me. I'm the type of person who only want to manage minimum numbers of social media apps accounts. I usually stick to only the first one that being introduced to me unless something drastic happened (Friendster shut down causing me to switch to Facebook; Almost everyone in my family is using Whats App so I have to download one too)
Anyway, WeChat is the most popular messaging service in China. The moment I stepped into XiAn Xian Yang International airport, I regretted that I didn't install one before my trip. The free wifi can only be activated via WeChat.
Most of the tourism spots have signs of "get in touch via WeChat". You can just scan the QR code via WeChat and they will provide you all the detail explanations and information about the artifacts etc. No guides needed! Longmen Grottoes even have "3D photo experience" via WeChat!
Even in cases where you, for example, meet a lovely taxi driver and want to keep his contact in case you need him to drive you around the next day, WeChat is the best way to do this.
OK, you got the idea. So if you are like me, never use WeChat before, make sure you download one before your next China trip.
In term of internet, China is definitely like a country in different universe. My last visit to China was almost 5 years ago and I forgot how inconvenient it was until my recent visit.
If you have been living your life around Google, Facebook, Instagram etc, there's one thing that you need for sure: VPN (they call it 爬墙浏览器 in China).
For a person as frugal as me, I only use free Apps. I learnt from the local that they use HatVPN. (For Androids: HatVPN; For iphone: HatVPN)
This app gives you 6 hours of free unlimited access daily. (The 6 hours start counting the moment you check in even if you are not using it) So if you plan your VPN time properly, you can still upload your photos, check things on google, talk to your friends back home etc.
Thanks to this Apps, my mum and aunts can enjoy their XiAn trip even more (the first day when I haven't figured out how to 爬墙, they felt "out of touch"!
5 days XiAn & LuoYang itinerary 古韵漾动·十月西安