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Going to mainland China, need your advice


Hi All,

I will be heading to Beijing in 2 weeks to study Mandarin and visit family for 7 weeks. I know that Facebook and most Google services don’t work well (if at all) and I wanted to check with some of you fellow poddies who live in mainland China to see what you recommend for VPN, and map/navigation apps.

I already use WeChat so I will continue to use this to stay in touch with my family back in Canada but I would also like to continue to use Instagram, Youtube, ChinesePod and any other mobile apps that potential could be blocked in China.

Also, if you have any other recommendations for apps please let me know, I’m always interested in checking out something new. :slight_smile:


Express VPN worked great for me in China and May.


Check out VPN.AC and MAPS.ME. I’ve used both in mainland China and had no problems. Download China map from before u go and you can use offline to find your way from A to B using ur phone gps (ie., no wi-fi connection necessary).


You can bypass the firewall by buying a roaming sim card from HK at the airport or through a service like this:
More information at[details=Summary]This text will be hidden[/details]

My Chinese friends recommended Amaps for me. As for WeChat, I downloaded the english version, which does not seem to have some of the functions that the Chinese one does, namely the taxi calling function.

Good luck :slight_smile:


Thanks for the info but I won’t be travelling through HK so I won’t have the opportunity to grab a sim card from there.
I have done some research online and found that that the two main options are China Unicom and China Mobile. I’m thinking about going with China Unicom as they have the 3G bands that are supported with my Oneplus 3.

In preparation for my trip I have also been making good use of a few of the awesome ChinesePod lessons for buying a sim card, registering at the police station. The countdown is on and I can’t wait to go to China!


No way to bypass restrictions and browse the web freely without good VPN service, it is the problem of GFW of China, you can connect to VPN and use the web anonymously and securely


Was just in China a few weeks ago. A VPN is a necessity. Just like the first person above, I used Express VPN and was completely satisfied. Be sure to ask how you can set it up so that you don’t have it charging you indefinitely - you want it to stop when you are back. Customer service was great! Enjoy your trip.


if you like to pay a fortune for bullshit…
otherwise you can use VPN.AC.