Wanderlust and travelling: who hasn’t thought about just upping and leaving their day jobs in favour of exploring the world?
Well, the decision to do that lies with you, but once you eventually make that choice (and have faith in your carefree, less responsible side), don’t forget a few buddies that you’ve got to bring with you on your trip.
No, I’m not talking about people, so calm down you hardcore solo-travellers. Here are 10 transport apps that’ll make your trip around Asia a lot easier:
Japan has various train companies such as Japan Railway (JR) and Seibu Railway. With so many lines from different companies in operation, it can get very confusing when deciding what to take.
Fortunately, Japan Travel – Route, Map, JR is an easy-to-use train journey planner that can guide you through each of your trips. Simply input your boarding and alighting stations and it’ll show you a few routes to choose from.
From there, you can take your pick based on price, duration and exact time at which the train will arrive at its destination. Pretty sweet for planning itineraries eh?
If you’ve bought a JR rail pass for frequent travel on your holiday, you even can get the app to prioritise routes on which the pass is valid for.
Some places in Hong Kong are more conveniently accessed by bus than by train, especially if you’re staying at an Airbnb in a less well-known area.
Hong Kong BusInfo Ng allows you to check your planned route, as all the stops for both the forward and backward routes of each bus service are listed clearly in the app.
If you press and hold on a stop long enough, it will even allow you to located the stop on a map, find other routes that also stop there, and most importantly, give you an estimate of when the next bus will arrive – an invaluable scheduling tool not many overseas apps offer.
The train lines in Hong Kong are not difficult to figure out, but an app to make the best choices will reduce your precious commuting time, which can be spent on sightseeing instead.
MTR Mobile can help you out by generating the route, informing you of the correct platform and directions and even keep you in the loop of the first and last trains; late-night owls, this is perfect for you.
Train stations in Hong Kong can be much bigger than those in Singapore. To avoid getting lost, you can refer to the Exit Info section, which will list the tourist attractions that are close to each exit of every station.
This may not sound like a big deal at first, but when some stations can easily have 10 exits, you’ll be quite thankful for the tip.
When you start up KakaoMetro – Subway Navigation, it looks like a normal train guide app for Korea. It has a map filled with coloured lines and little bubbles where you can tap stations to start planning your trip.
What’s cool about it are the little customisation features such as toggling between Express Trains and General Trains.
Under the menu, there’s even a Lost and Found section that will bring you to a list of stations where stray items have been found. Should you lose something, you can tap on the place you think your belongings went missing and it will lead you to a webpage where you can check if it’s been turned in.
Oh, and one more cool thing: you can actually select a different walking speed to help the app better estimate how much time you’d need for transferring between train lines. It surely is considerate of the user’s needs in this app!
A straightforward, smooth-operating app with a clean interface, Explore Bangkok BTS & MRT Map provides you with the best route after you select your desired stations on the train map, along with estimated travel time and fare.
With GPS, it can tell you the station closest to you, and find any selected station on the Google Maps app to aid you in navigation – a pretty good complement feature.
Along with the operation times for train lines, it also gives you a Tips section at each station, for you to input little notes about the place. Simply type in notes like “amazing craft store outside Exit 1” and you’ll find all the hidden gems in every alley.
While some apps may only concentrate on one area of a large country, Metro China Subway covers a lot of areas in China and you can select the appropriate one from the settings when needed.
Selecting a station will bring you to a map and even view the list of stations along the same line. The most important feature though, as with these transport apps, is the estimated fare and trip duration.
Not every app takes it further like Metro China Subway by allowing you to prioritise if you’d prefer the best route or one with fewer transfers.
And unlike other apps that may only come in their native language and English, this one supports 11 languages, including Italian, Korean and German. Big thumbs up for the effort put in; recommending Metro China Subway to overseas friends will not be a problem at all.
HiVietnam aims to be more than your standard transport app by recommending tourist sites for you using categories like “beach tourism” and “mountain tourism”. With their tips, you can arrange your trip to Vietnam easily.
Selecting an attraction you like brings you to an info page where you can add it to your favourites and locate it on the map. It even informs you of the weather and temperature of the place; I found that to be a nice touch because who wants to drag an umbrella around unnecessarily?
When you’re ready to think about transportation, simply go to the last tab and start your selection.
The downside to this app is that it doesn’t plot routes for you; instead, it gives you a list of stations and basic information about where the trains and buses go – no list of stops or estimated time taken.
Nevertheless, HiVietnam does have unique features which would be a pity to pass up on your trip so do download it and try it out.
BusMap is a pretty handy app for buses in Vietnam. It’s available in English and gives you waiting time estimates and the stop-by-stop route that each bus will take.
The downside of this app is that you must already be familiar with the bus stop names to get your directions, which may be challenging for tourists who are unfamiliar with Vietnamese names so do make a note of all the stops you need before going there.
We still suggest that you give this app a try, as aside from that one little difficulty, it really is easy to use. The interface is intuitive enough that it can be figured out in minutes, and using GPS, it can track stops which are close to you.
BusMap is considered quite a find as good apps for visitors who don’t speak Vietnamese are harder to come across. Plus, it covers more than one region, not just tourist spots.
Indian Railway Train Status is another app that doesn’t plan your journey for you. It does, however, have essential functions like Live Train Status and Time Table, both of which are needed for itinerary planning and keeping up-to-date on train arrivals and delays in India.
You may bookmark trains and stations that you will need to check later during your trip; having no need to look up the trains again when you’re there will be a lot less hassle.
It may seem a bit underwhelming at first, but when travelling in a foreign country, a good app that gives real-time information is invaluable.
If I had to sum up this app, it would be a no-frills train map that does route-planning for Kuala Lumpur.
It does exactly that: pick your stations and departure time and the app will churn out a few routes for you with estimated times. I expected train fares to be listed at least, since this is by NAVITIME JAPAN CO., LTD., who also made the wonderful Japan Travel – Route, Map, JR app listed above.
At any rate, Transit Kuala Lumpur NAVITIME loads fast and has a user-friendly interface. It also has a handy History feature where you can review your past trips and favourite them for easy retrieval later on. It gets the basic job done efficiently so if that’s what you’re looking for in an app, this could be for you.
Do you have any travel apps to recommend that aren’t on the list? Share with us in the comments!
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