One of the first things you’ll notice upon arriving in China is that QR codes are everywhere and everyone is almost exclusively using the same messaging service. This would be the one-two punch of WeChat and its associated e-wallet that can be used to pay for nearly everything (from buying fruit at a road-side stall to paying for a Michelin-starred meal).
But that’s just scratching the surface of why you should download WeChat for your WildChina adventure.
Connect with Friends and Family at Home
With no Facebook, Google, or WhatsApp, it’s reasonable to worry about how you might reach beyond the Great Firewall to stay in touch with friends and family during your China trip. Fear not! If you have WeChat, you can still contact everyone worldwide. With WeChat, you can send voice messages, share photos, and voice/video call.
Connect with Your WildChina Travel Designer
Your WildChina travel designer is not only there to help you plan your trip, they’re there to support you every step of the way. Downloading WeChat will allow you to contact them easily throughout your journey. In addition to simple messaging, you and your travel designer can drop pins on your current location, and even share locations in real time. They’ll be able to alter your itinerary to allow for serendipitous discovery and recommend restaurants for you to dine at – all in one app.
Photo by Kyle Obermann
While this isn’t fully widespread just yet, it is available on most iOS devices where you can use the scan function to translate Chinese into English. But even if you don’t have that, WeChat has a built-in function to translate between English and Chinese in the message interface. If someone sends you a message and it contains Chinese, you can hold it down, hit translate, and there you are. Easy as that.
Unfortunately, most foreign banks cards won’t link to WeChat Wallet. For visitors this function, although you might not be able to use it, offers fascinating insight into how cashless modern Chinese society has become. In Beijing, WeChat Wallet is so widespread that we’ve walked out of our house without our actual wallet multiple times and not noticed until we saw it on the desk upon our return.
As you can see, there are many reasons why you should download WeChat for your WildChina journey. Take the worry out of staying in touch with home, connect with your travel designer on the move, and learn how this app has genuinely become an integrated facet of everyday life.