Category Archives: VPN’s

11 Travel Apps for China

Here are my favourite 11 Travel Apps for China that I know you’ll both love and appreciate! These popular Apps will help you travel, socialise and get by in China, turning you from a newbie to expert through the power of technology in the blink of an eye! Download these apps and trust me you’ll be able to socialize, speak, translate, get around, eat out and have fun like a seasoned expat in no time at all. 

City Weekend

City Weekend is one of China’s most trusted city entertainment guide. Their app gives instant access to all the venues in their database, each of which has complete address, contact details and maps. You can read reviews and post your own. It’s available for Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Suzhou. One the way is an update that will add LBS function, deals and blogs to the app.
• Free, iOS and Android

City Weekend

Pandabus

Without knowing any Chinese, buses in China can be near-impossible to take advantage of. Unlike subway systems, nothing is in English, and the names of stops aren’t indicated on an electronic display. This app for finding nearby public buses is invaluable, then. Pandabus, which comes in both English and Chinese, uses your phone’s GPS to locate and show all the buses in the area, where they are going, and how often they run.

Real-time bus tracking is not available, unfortunately, but you can at least get a better idea of how long you’ll have to wait. It works in more than 300 cities nationwide and is available for free.
• Free, iOS and Android

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Uber

Uber has been a revelation for many of China’s big cities. Uber offers an alternative to the licensed taxis and are far more reliable safe and trustworthy than the normal unlicensed drivers. In Beijing and Shanghai many Uber drivers can be generally friendlier than normal taxi drivers, speak a little English and will be more patient with you (in order to get the 5-star rating following your ride).

There are a few down sides to using this service. Firstly, you must be online which means you must pick up wifi or use your 3G. Payment gets taken off your international card as per usual, it’s very simple and cheaper than using normal taxis. The second and biggest problem with the service is that Uber China has recently been taken over by Did Dache. This has thrown the service into no-mans land and they have removed the English version making it unusable for most foreigners. The main reason I’ve kept it in is the hope that this service will be restored soon or Did Dache will finally provide an English version of its app.
• Free, iOS and Android

Uber in China

Pleco

Pleco is an English-Chinese translation app compiled from over a dozen of the world’s best English-Chinese dictionaries. A standout features of this app is the character recognition capability. You can take photos of Chinese characters and it will identify them in the image and translate them for you. Pleco also has a flashcard feature, and audio pronunciation. You’re not going to be able to debate Confucianism with anyone, but at least it will help you get by and make sure you don’t go and call anyone’s mother a horse.
Free, iOS and Android

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Learn Chinese Mandarin Phrase Book

This app is very easy to use and it is perfect for travelers in China and for those who are interested in learning Chinese Mandarin. The LITE version (free) contains over 300 essential phrases; include greetings, general conversation, directions and places etc. To make your practice more easier, this app provides Chinese Mandarin pronunciation, pinyin, Chinese characters and English translation. No internet connection is required.
• Free iPhone and Android

phrase-book

Wechat

Wechat is one of the most powerful and downloaded apps in the world. It makes travel and socializing in China easy and everybody uses it! Think whatsapp but on steriods. You can use it for paying bills, making calls, sending texts, voice messaging, meeting people, translating conversations, group chats, sending locations, mapping and much more. Dubbed as China’s ‘life operating platform’, it has 650 million monthly active users and employs creative ways to meet radom people. Check out their friend radar, people nearby, drift bottle and shake function. 
Free, iOS and Android

Wechat

Google Translate

This translator can be a useful tool to support your own, more serious language learning, but realistically, it’s most useful on a practical level quickly translating day-to-day words you come across on your travels. For example, you can hold your camera up to text – such as a sign, or a menu – and Google will translate it for you instantly. It’s an essential app for any traveller.
Free, iOS and Android

Best Travel Apps

Baidu Translate

Baidu Translate offers an alternative to google translate that won’t require you to purchase a VPN. Descriptions for the iPhone and Android versions are in Chinese (search for “Baidu Translate” in the stores), as are its intro/instruction screens, but the app’s user interface is mostly in English. Key features include voice translation for English, Mandarin and Cantonese, which are very accurate. The app is free and offers an image recognition feature, which lets you take a picture of something and circle it. The app then identifies the object and tells you what it is in Chinese and English. The image translator’s accuracy is hit-and-miss while the optical-character recognition features which the app also contains is much better.
• Free, IOS and Android

baidu translate

ExpressVPN

Express VPN is my VPN of choice. With 8+ years under my belt living, working, and doing business in China this is the only VPN which has consistently been able to provide me with the performance I demand. Admittedly its not the cheapest VPN on the market but its also not the most expensive. Their software is easy to use, user-friendly, and is great for beginners who have never used one before. What really sets it apart from other VPN’s on the market is its speed and their customer support. If you ever run into problems, you get prompt, professional support and assistance straight away. Here is a link to an article I wrote reviewing some of the best VPN’s for China.
• Free, Download ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN

Metro

Metro provides you with comprehensive metro maps of Beijing, Shanghai that can be used offline. You can put in your beginning and end station and the app will plan the quickest route for you. It also tells you how much it costs and how long your journey should take including transfer times. This is a very useful function when estimating travel times across cities. Maps of stations are included along with information about facilities close to each station including food and shopping.
• Free, iOS and Android

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Dianping

Dianping is China’s most popular restaurant review apps. Dianping unveils an incredibly detailed list of restaurants and corresponding reviews in cities across China. Users can find restaurants by name, cuisine, price, location and user review. This app is great because it shows highly rate restaurants around your current location.
• Free, iOS and Android

Dianping

The criteria I used for including an app on this list primarily focused on the apps usability and value for traveling. The most difficult apps to use to get the most out of are Dianping and Pandabus however, with a little practice non-Chinese speakers will be able to use them.

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Improved ExpressVPN

I’m continually being asked which VPN I use to blog use, access youtube, facebook, all the other commonly used social media sites. I always tell them ExpressVPN. Having trailed all the brand leaders Express is still the most consistent. And now they have improved ExpressVPN further. Here is how.

ExpressVPN’s New Device Policy Means More Connections and Less Restrictions

ExpressVPNExpressVPN is excited to announce a new subscription policy, which allows for up to three simultaneous connections.

Users can take advantage of the new policy by securing any three Internet-enabled devices concurrently, without needing any additional subscription plan.

ExpressVPN’s change of terms is a bespoke response to the Internet-thirsty demands of today’s society. The days of a single shared PC at home are long gone, and many of us access the web on a host of different devices.

That’s why ExpressVPN has made it even easier for you to remain private and secure across every platform you use. The new policy will help ensure the Internet privacy and security users have come to know and love.

ExpressVPN Offers the Connections, You Choose the Devices

ExpressVPN offers easy-to-use apps for Windows, Mac, Android, Routers, andiOS devices.

If you want to browse securely and simultaneously on your iPad, Android, and Mac — No problem. How about Windows PC, iPhone, and AppleTV? — No problem. Three PCs at once? — No problem!

You get the picture: Surf securely anywhere, anytime, on anything.

Privacy advocates can rest easy knowing ExpressVPN is continually looking for ways to improve an already best-in-class service.

For users who wish to use ExpressVPN on more than three devices simultaneously, additional subscriptions will be required.

Still not sure? Compare the BEST VPN’s on the market.

Steam Rugby or Football.

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How to Stream the 2015 Rugby World Cup for FREE with a VPN

Wondering where and how to watch the world cup while in China?

Maybe you’re out in the sticks and there’s no way for you to scrum your way into a crowded bar for some overpriced Guinness to watch your favourite teams beat and bash the living shit out of each other. Maybe you’re in a secluded kung fu school and the closest city just doesn’t cater to showing western sporting events. Despite this, its still possible for the savvy www.StudyMartialArts.Org student to watch your favourite sporting events. You can do access this or footballing events via illegal streaming sites or our preferred method, with the use of a VPN.

Watch all your favorite sports all the time with a VPN!

Here is a link to our list of reviewed VPN providers. Below you’ll find out how we do it using our most reliable VPN provider to date.

Stream the Rugby World Cup directly on your laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

Here’s how:

  1. Sign up for an ExpressVPN account.
  2. Install ExpressVPN on any device you want to watch the Rugby World Cup on.
  3. Connect to a VPN server location in the UK to bypass content regional content blocks.
  4. Stream the games on ITV! (Note: You will need to register with ITV Player in order to access ITV)

connect to one of our servers in the uk to watch rugby

Get ExpressVPN

Why Do You Need a VPN?

You need a VPN to access georestricted content.

cannot watch itv without a vpn

With a VPN, you can use different IP addresses to access content in different countries!

watch all the live world rugby cup matches with a vpn

Get ExpressVPN

Rugby World Cup Fixtures

Last updated 24th September 2015, based on information from ITV:
(all times are in British Time)

Thursday, 24th September 2015
20:00 New Zealand v Namibia on ITV

Friday, 25th September 2015
16:45 Argentina v Georgia on ITV4

Saturday, 26th September 2015
14:30 Italy v Canada on ITV
16:45 South Africa v Samoa on ITV
20:00 England v Wales on ITV

Sunday, 27th September 2015
12:00 Australia v Uruguay on ITV
14:30 Scotland v USA on ITV
16:45 Ireland v Romania on ITV

Tuesday 29th September 2015
16:45 Tonga v Namibia on ITV4

Thurs 1st October 2015 ITV4
16:45 Wales v Fiji on ITV
20:00 France v Canada on ITV4

Friday 2nd October 2015
20:00 New Zealand v Georgia on ITV

Saturday 3rd October 2015
14:30 Samoa v Japan on ITV
16:45 South Africa v Scotland on ITV
20:00 England v Australia on ITV

Sunday 4th October 2015
14:30 Argentina v Tonga on ITV
16:45 Ireland vs Italy on ITV

Tuesday 6th October 2015
16:45 Canada v Romania on ITV4
20:00 Fiji v Uruguay on ITV4

Wednesday 7th October 2015
16:45 South Africa v USA on ITV
20:00 Namibia v Georgia on ITV4

Friday 9th October 2015
20:00 New Zealand v Tonga on ITV4

Saturday 10th October 2015
14:30 Samoa v Scotland on ITV
16:45 Australia v Wales on ITV
20:00 England v Uruguay on ITV

Sunday 11th October 2015
12:00 Argentina v Namibia on ITV
14:30 Italy v Romania on ITV
16:45 France v Ireland on ITV
20:00 USA v Japan on ITV4

View our current article on the best VPN’s for China.

Who Will Come Out On Top?

Will New Zealand defend their 2011 win?

COME ON IRELAND!!!

Leave a comment and let us know your top picks and predictions!

The Best VPN’s for China

The Internet & VPNs

Why can’t I access some websites in China?

Google services (e.g. Gmail, Google Maps), Wikipedia, Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and other social media website are either blocked while many other sites are accessible but they may be censored or their performance compromised in Mainland China by the governments famous “Great Firewall of China”. Normal Internet habits are often more difficult in China, so you may find it more difficult to keep in touch with friends and family in the usual way. Don’t worry though, all’s not lost, a VPN can help you jump over the great fire wall of China.chinawordpressSo what is a VPN anyway? And how can I access these sites? Well, a VPN is a Virtual Private Network.

Many travelers and students purchase these VPN’s in order to circumvent the Great Firewall by making your location and Internet content invisible, thereby allowing you to access blocked websites. Hide_My_Ass_405042Below is a selection of some of the best VPNs for China in terms of price and reliability.

  1. Hide My Ass

Hide my ass is a UK based service, it has a 30 day money back guarantee, lots of server choice, no bandwith restrictions, lots of freebies, and has a great VPN client and website. In terms of the set up this VPN is very easy to instal on your computer and its one of the World’s leading VPN’s.

  1. Astrill

Astrill is fairly reliable and one of the most popular VPN service commonly used in China. It has unlimited download bandwidth and is among one of the cheaper services available hence its popularity. However, their help and support could definitely be better and recently its performance has been patchy.

  1. ExpressVPN

Express VPN is very fast safe and has a money back guarantee. Its dedicated customer service support is excellent and it has unlimited downloads. The only downside is that it’s a bit more expensive than the others, but more on that later.

  1. Hide.me

I’ve included Hide.me as an option here as it offers a free basic service with limited functions. As it’s basic option is free there are a limited amount of servers available and downloads are restricted to 2GB. However, if you’re just looking to check your emails or Facebook every now and again it might just save you some money and would be a much safer option than other free services like Vtunnel or Freegate.

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  1. StrongVPN

A large US based VPN provider, StrongVPN is both high-profile, and popular. However, despite this reviewers have been unimpressed with its overall attitude to privacy, and performance. If the service was a budget offering it wouldn’t be so bad, but StrongVPN is also one of the most expensive providers. Despite this in terms of its performance in China, it does pretty well but when compared to other premium services it doesn’t always feel premium.

  1. IPvanish

IPVanish is a relatively new VPN provider that was created by specialists with more than a decade of experience in network management, IP and content delivery services. The company was founded with the goal of providing excellent customer service and extremely affordable prices. The company has a large staff to help clients as they configure their products, and is widely considered one of the VPNs with the fastest Internet speeds in the US. IPvanish was vote by top10best websites to be the best VPN 2014. This new kid on the block has got potential and serious kick for the price.

So why not just use a free services to access blocked sites?

There are a number of free portals or proxy sites to access blocked websites in China however, they often come with restricted downloads or functions. For example, a proxy such as Vtunnel, can let you access the mobile version of Facebook, but it rarely downloads it all.

Freegate is also an option however, free service have also been known to open your computer up to viruses and hacking. If you must go for a free service, go with the safe option Hide.me above.

So what VPN service do I recommend based on reliability service and price? 

At present for StudyMartialArts.Org purposes we use ExpressVPN. ExpressVPN has consistently been the fastest VPN provider with excellent support for all our devices. To date it has also been best-in-class for security features. Therefore ExpressVPN is our top choice. With a speed-optimized server network spanning 78 countries, ExpressVPN is one of the most trusted in the market. Setting up and using this VPN is super easy. Their apps for Windows, Mac, Android and iOS connect you with a single click to any server location you choose. ExpressVPN is ultra-secure and anonymizes your online identity behind powerful encryption and multiple VPN protocols and has 24/7 tech support. Because of this they aren’t the cheapest provider. ExpressVPN includes a 30 day money back guarantee on all purchases.

Here’s my top 3 in no particular order:

Hide My Ass

IPvanish

ExpressVPN

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