Instead of answering this question again and again, I’ve put together this of Taiwan apps I always use, plus more that are regularly recommended by other travelers.
I’ve categorizes these into the top-5 Taiwan apps, general travel apps, transportation, communication, food, shopping, and dating in Taiwan. A quick warning, though: some apps in Taiwan are pretty terrible, so I’ll include my honest thoughts below!
Use the Table of Contents below to jump to whatever you need!
Quick List: 11 Essential Apps Taiwan Apps
If I could download only 11 apps for my Taiwan trip, it would be these:
- FindTaxi – Taiwan Taxi Finder
- GoogleTranslate or Papago
- Taiwan Weather
- Go! Taipei Metro
- T Express
I’ll explain each of these apps in detail below. I’ll also introduce several other optional Taiwan apps that you may or may not want to download.
Fun fact: People in Taiwan don’t day “app” as a single syllable like in English. They say A-P-P (they say each letter individually, as if it were an acronym). Read other Taiwan facts here!
General Travel Apps
Use these apps to book your hotels, tours, drivers, discounted attraction and train tickets, travel passes, and other activities in Taiwan.
Klook is my most recommended app for general travel in Taiwan. It is the best place to find travel passes like EasyCard (read my EasyCard guide), Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass, SIM cards, discounted HSR tickets, private drivers, car rentals, day tours, hotels, and highly discounted tickets for various attractions in Taiwan.
Klook is a Hong Kong-based company and is the most popular platform for all these things among visitors to Taiwan. If you sign up with this link, you’ll get a free credit applied to your first booking. After you sign up, you can also invite your friends with your own link, then you’ll receive more credits for yourself!
KKDay is very similar to Klook, but it is a Taiwanese company. You can find a lot of the exact same tours on both platforms. Because KKday is Taiwanese, you can often find even more activities on there than on Klook. For example, only KKday has domestic flights in Taiwan.
However, I usually recommend Klook first because I find its interface more user-friendly and it has more detailed English instructions. KKday often has very poor translations, or some pages don’t even have English.
After you download the app, use the discount code APP5OFF to get 5% off your first order.
For both Klook and KKday, many of their tours have a minimum requirement for people. If this is not met, they might cancel your tour only a few days before. If you go with more popular ones (you can judge by the number of reviews), this is less likely to happen.
Other platforms like GetYourGuide and Viator also have similar activities in Taiwan, but I find they are often more expensive and have fewer choices. These two apps are much more popular in Europe and North America.
Booking.com is my favorite app for booking hotels in Taiwan. I’ve always preferred its interface, map function, clear policies, and so on.
Although many locals in Taiwan book hotels directly with the owner, I don’t recommend this for foreign travelers. Local hotels will often ask for a deposit by ATM transfer to hold the room, which you can’t easily or cheaply do if you don’t have a Taiwanese bank account. They will also want to communicate by LINE app (see communication apps below) but their English may be limited. Lastly, if you need to cancel, it could get complicated.
All of these things can be done more easily on Booking, and the cancelation policy is always clearly stated.
The Booking app is fine, but I personally prefer using the desktop version when I’m searching for and booking hotels because it’s just faster and easier.
See my guide to the best hotels in Taipei to find the best hotels by area in the city.
While I’m not as much of a fan of Agoda’s interface, some people prefer it. On the plus side, Agoda sometimes has more smaller hotels than Booking does, and its prices for Taiwan and other countries in Asia are sometimes slightly lower than the exact same hotels on Booking.
It doesn’t hurt to try both Booking and Agoda. But personally, I prefer to book all my hotels on the same platform so I can find them all in one place.
What about Airbnb? Well, Airbnb is technically not legal in Taiwan. Still, it’s commonly used and there are lots of properties listed on it. Go ahead and give it a try if you are looking for more of an apartment-style accommodation. But if anything goes wrong, you won’t have much legal sway, and I personally try to avoid using this app for various reasons.
Taiwan’s weather is famously unpredictable. No app ever seems to get it totally right. But if you want a Taiwan-specific weather app, the Central Weather Bureau’s Taiwan Weather app is the best you’ll find.
You can find weather info and forecasts by district (not just a sweeping guess for all of one city), sunrise and sunset times, wind, pressure, air quality maps, and clothing suggestions. For serious weather nerds, they’ve even got prognostic wave charts and more. For more weather information, see my guide to when to visit Taiwan.
If you’re not sure what the best way to get money in Taiwan is, consider applying for a Wise travel card and using the Wise app.
Withdrawing cash from an ATM in Taiwan using your home country’s bank card is usually my most recommended way. With a Wise card, you can do the same thing, but with lower fees and a better exchange rate than with a normal bank card.
The first step is to download the app or use the desktop version and sign up for Wise. You’ll need to upload ID to prove your identity and connect your bank account. Then you can use the app to transfer cash from your bank account to Wise account for withdrawing abroad. They’ll mail you your Wise card (mine is neon green!) within a few weeks.
Here are my recommended apps for getting around and planning your journeys around Taiwan.
I can’t overstate just how much I use GoogleMaps in Taiwan. It is by far my most used app in Taiwan. Besides finding the way, I use it for bus/train times, route planning and travel time estimations for different times of the day, finding things to do or places to eat in the area I’m staying, and reading reviews of hotels, restaurants, and attractions.
Is GoogleMaps accurate in Taiwan? Overall, yes! And it is constantly getting better over time. However, for bus and train times, it only displays set schedules. So if a bus or train is early or late, it won’t be updated with that information.
Also, for route planning, it will usually give you the fastest but not always best or most logical way. For example, in Taipei, it might give you a complicated series of local buses to get somewhere, whereas most people would just hop in the MRT because that’s easier.
For serious planners like me, I also recommend making a custom map for cities you are visiting. For example, if you plan to see many different spots in Taipei, but you’re having trouble putting it all together into logical schedule, you can create a custom map and with color-coded pins for the different restaurants, attractions, hotels, and so on that you want to visit. This can help you to visualize and group things together for efficient itinerary planning.
YouBike 2.0 (YouBike微笑單車2.0 官方版) is the most current app for accessing the YouBike (UBike) bike sharing program in Taiwan (YouBike 1.0 is being phased out).
These are the iconic white and yellow (2.0) and orange and yellow (1.0) bikes, made by local manufacturer Giant, which you will see everywhere. They can be rented from docking stations throughout Taipei and in other major cities in Taiwan (New Taipei, Taoyuan, Hsinchu, Taichung, Chiayi, Tainan, Kaohsiung, and Pingtung).
For short term visitors, you can choose the single rental option and sign the bike out with a credit card. You can ride up to 120 hours in this way. There will be a TWD 3000 hold on your credit card until you return the bike. If you plan to use YouBikes a lot or you live in Taiwan, then it is better to register (Taiwan phone number required). Then you’ll be able to connect an EasyCard to your account for easier rental – just swiping to take out and return the bikes.
The app has a map for finding available YouBikes, rental instructions, equipment guide, and more. Find more details and screenshots of the steps to register in my YouBike guide.
FindTaxi – Taiwan Taxi Finder
Thankfully, there is now an English app for ordering taxis in Taiwan: FindTaxi – Taiwan Taxi Finder. The super common taxi app used by most locals, 5568 台灣大車隊, is in Mandarin only and requires you to register with a phone number (note: after signing up in Mandarin, it does have an option to switch it to English).
In busy city areas in Taiwan, it’s usually very easy to hail a taxi on the street. However, in smaller cities, towns, countryside, etc., the FindTaxi app is a blessing for those who can’t read or speak Mandarin. You can also pre-order a taxi for later or order one for your friends.
Keep in mind that only some taxis take EasyCard, so make sure you have cash on you just in case. Also, like any taxi app, just having the app doesn’t necessarily mean one will be able to come get you anywhere in Taiwan – there will need to be a taxi available nearby who is willing to come.
Note that you will need a local number to sign up for this app – which means you’ll need to have a SIM card in Taiwan.
Uber is the only major (non-taxi) ride-hailing app you’ll find in Taiwan. It’s not very popular in Taiwan for legal reasons and because most locals just yellow regular taxis.
However, for visitors, it’s very useful given that you can just enter your destination, pay though your account, and especially because many local taxi drivers can’t speak English.
Also, compared to regular taxis, Ubers tend to be newer and cleaner vehicles, while regular taxis can range from clean to grotty. The price of Ubers isn’t necessarily lower than regular taxis though, and a peak times, it could be higher.
Ubers can only be found in major city centers in Taiwan. In smaller towns, countryside, or mountain areas, forget about it. Your Uber account from home should work in Taiwan, so no local number needed.
If you’re looking for a private driver for a longer ride in Taiwan, whether it’s for a point-to-point trip between cities or a multi-day trip, there are some legal and insurance issues to be aware of. I elaborate on all of this and give my private driver recommendations for Taiwan here.
If you still can’t find what you’re looking for in my guide, then try the Tripool app. Use this app to find drivers between cities in Taiwan. You can hire them for point-to-point trips or, if you want to make stops, for an hourly rate. Any questions you might have about the service are answered here. Note that there is a small surcharge for high altitude areas like Alishan.
Go! Taipei Metro
For all your Taipei MRT needs, this app has it all. One click will bring you to a high-resolution map of all the MRT lines, which is probably what you will use most. Choose ‘adult fare’ then any station on the map to see the price to all other stations on the map. The same goes for travel times.
Under ‘station information’ you can see upcoming arrivals, info on all the exits (including which ones have elevators/escalators), and other station facilities like info counters, restrooms, breastfeeding rooms, and diaper changing stations. Last but not least, you can also get info on bus connections, planning the best route from point A to point B, and which stations do/don’t allow bicycles.
The Taichung and Kaohsiung MRTs are much less complicated, so you won’t need an app for them. Just save a current map of their lines to your phone and that should be enough.
Note that the Airport MRT to Taoyuan Airport is run by Taoyuan city, not Taipei. See more info in my guide to getting from Taipei to Taoyuan Airport.
臺鐵e訂通 (Taiwan Railways App)
The 臺鐵e訂通 app, released by the official TRA train company, is the only way to get e-tickets for TRA trains in Taiwan. Unfortunately, though, the app is absolutely TERRIBLE, and countless reviewers (in both English and Mandarin-speaking locals) have reported major problems using it. That’s why I wrote this whole guide explaining how to book mobile train tickets in Taiwan. My screenshots will guide you through the painful process.
Where should I start with this app…First, the Taiwan Transportation Bureau clearly made the app in Mandarin first, then only translated some of it to English (and very badly). So you may get important pop-ups in Mandarin that you can’t even read. However, even when I asked my wife (native-Mandarin speaker) to read the Chinese instructions for using this app, she was unable to understand much of it.
Second, people have reported that their payment didn’t seem to work. Then they don’t even know if their ticket is booked or not. Third, if you have any problem with the app or your phone and aren’t able to show your ticket at the station, you won’t be able to enter and will have to buy a new ticket on the spot. If you’re already on the train and the conductor checks and that happens, you could be fined.
Also, screenshots of the ticket are not OK – only showing the QR code inside the app is OK. Fourth, if you buy tickets for other people (like your family), each person has to show their ticket on their own phone – you can’t show multiple tickets with one phone. There’s a function in the app for transfering tickets to other people, but it is hard to use (good luck!). Fifth, if you’re traveling with kids who don’t have a phone, then too bad for them (note: kids under 6 ride free so they don’t need a ticket).
There are many other complaints about the app, and it only has a 2.3 rating on Google Play (and 1.9 on Apple apps). Please note, because I don’t recommend this app, please don’t email/message me/post in my FB group asking for help if you run into problems with this app, as many already have. I should point out, though, that a few solo travelers have reported to me after I published this post, saying that they were able to use the app to buy all their train tickets around Taiwan, with no major problems. So it is possible!
One more thing to note about this app but also the official TRA website: If you search for a ticket and enter your passport number but don’t complete the reservation (i.e. pay for it) three times, the system will “blacklist” you. Then you won’t be able to book any more train tickets with that passport number for 30 days. So only search the timetables section of the app, and don’t go as far as entering your passport info until you’re really ready to book!
If you only want to search TRA timetables/train times and not actually book them, then I recommend the Taiwan Railway Timetable App instead.
You can book HSR tickets on the official HSR website or on Klook. The only downside to these is that you still have to pick up physical tickets from a convenience store or the train station in Taiwan before your train ride. Also, buying on Klook is a longer process that involves buying a voucher, then redeeming that voucher to reserve your seats.
The only way to get digital/e-tickets for the HSR in Taiwan is by using the T Express (台灣高鐵 T Express行動購票服務) app. These tickets are simply scanned on your phone when you enter the station. You can buy tickets on the app up to 5 minutes before a train’s departure.
You can buy a maximum of 10 tickets (5 round-trip tickets) at once. The same early bird discounts that are available on the official site are also available on the app (35, 25, or 10% off, depending on how early you book, up to 28 days in advance).
So are there any downsides? Like many other apps made in Taiwan, there is some bad English, vague wording, and you may find it a little hard to navigate the app at first.
It can be especially confusing for trying to transfer tickets that you bought for other passengers – each passenger has to show their ticket on their own phone. If your kid doesn’t have a phone, they won’t be able to get an eticket.
Also, some people report that the app won’t accept their international credit cards. I provide step-by-step instructions for using the app in my guide to reserving HSR tickets in Taiwan.
Overall, this app is better than the TRA one, but I still don’t love it. This app has also a very low rating of 2.6 on GooglePlay, so don’t be surprised if you encounter problems with it. But if you just want to make a simple and quick booking for yourself, it should be OK.
While I don’t personally use this app, several travelers have told me that the Bus+ app is more reliable than GoogleMaps for finding bus times in Taiwan. It is also highly rated (4.6), so that says a lot.
Use this app to find bus stops near you, see which buses are coming next, see all the stops they’ll make and at what time, or to look up any bus in Taiwan by number. Besides buses, the app also allows you to search for bike rentals across the country and look up train times, but if you click HSR, it will just send you over to Klook.
If you often take the same bus, you can even set it to show the upcoming bus times on your home screen without the need to unlock your phone.
There is a dedicated app for Alishan, Taiwan’s most popular tourist resort and forest recreation area. How to get to Alishan is often the most complicated or confusing part of visitors’ Taiwan trip.
Unfortunately, Alipedia won’t be able to answer most of your questions. For that, I recommend reading my guide to how to get to Alishan, my table of bus times to Alishan, and how to book Alishan bus tickets at FamilyMart. Like many made-in-Taiwan apps, Alipedia only has limited/poor English, tons of missing info, and is not user-friendly.
One useful things this app does offer, though, is Alishan sunrise times through the year and the departure time for the next day’s sunrise train (the train schedule changes throughout the year due to changing sunrise time). The next day’s train time is released daily at 4:30 PM.
To find this info, navigate to “tour info”, “transportation”, then change to “Duigaoyue Line” (usually this is called Zhushan Line, named after the Zhushan sunrise viewpoint, but currently that station is being renovated, so the train only goes to Duigaoyue, from where you can also see the sunrise or walk to Zhushan).
The app also covers train prices, shuttle bus times (no set times for these, just a range), weather, current flower blooming status, emergency hotline, and more. However, to plan your entire Alishan trip, you’ll find far more information in my Alishan guide.
Here are my recommended apps for instant messaging, calls, and translations in Taiwan.
LINE is East Asia’s answer to WhatsApp in the West or WeChat in China (don’t bother with the latter two apps if you’re coming to Taiwan!).
LINE was developed in South Korea and is universally used in Taiwan for instant messaging, group chats, and free calls/video calls between users. It is far more popular and common that Messenger or regular text messaging, which are almost never used in Taiwan.
The app’s sticker characters are stars in Taiwan – you can even see them painted in the sky by drones at the annual Penghu Fireworks Festival. There are many other cuter (and noisier) stickers available for purchase in the app.
For travelers, I recommend downloading LINE because many hotels in Taiwan will want to communicate with you through it. If you make any Taiwanese friends, that will be their preferred contact info to exchange, as well. But if you don’t plan to use it after your trip, ask for their Instagram details instead. You may also need it to communicate with drivers (if you hire any) and some hotels take reservations by LINE.
Because some hotels may only be able to communicate in Mandarin, there are a few add-ons that can assist with translation within this app. One way is to scan this QR code to add this translator as a “friend”. Then add that friend to any conversation and it will automatically translated the conversation between English and Chinese! Another similar option is to use the Ligo LINE translator.
If you didn’t get any data with your SIM card in Taiwan (or you got a WiFi device, or neither of these), then you won’t be able to make any phone calls in Taiwan. You’ll probably be fine, but just in case, you can download the Skype app.
Skype allows you to make phone calls within the country or to any other country in the world for free (if both sides using Skype) or extremely low rates. Besides when traveling, I even use this at home for making international calls. I just pre-pay around $10 at a time, and that lasts for a while.
Unless you are a native Mandarin speaker, you’ll probably need a translation app when traveling in Taiwan. In fact, the more your Chinese improves, the more you’ll find yourself using such apps.
I recommend either GoogleTranslate or Naver Papago (see next entry). They mostly have the same functions, so it’s just a matter or trying them both and seeing which one you prefer. For either one, make sure to set the language to Traditional Mandarin characters (中文繁體字). Simplified is not used in Taiwan. Most locals can read it a little, but not well. You won’t find anything for the Taiwanese language, but Mandarin will do in the majority of cases.
GoogleTranslate is of course the better known of these two apps. One amazing feature is that you can use your phone’s microphone to have a two-way conversation between an English speaker and a Mandarin speaker. Another is that you can turn on the camera and scan any Mandarin words (menu, signs, etc.) and see them instantly translated to English on your phone’s screen, without even needing to take a picture.
You can also download the Chinese file so these features will work offline.
Naver’s Papago app can do all the same things as GoogleMaps, including offline translation. But since this app specializes at Asian languages, the translations are often better or more accurate than GoogleTranslate (we’ve all experienced awkward or terrible GoogleTranslate outputs…)
This app also includes a website translation feature, a phrasebook and practice cards for language learners, and a children’s section. Generally speaking, anyone who already has some knowledge of Mandarin will probably be more impressed with Papago than GoogleTranslate, but most people out there are more familiar with GoogleTranslate.
Pleco is an English-Mandarin dictionary app. As someone who has been learning Mandarin for years, I use this app all the time for looking up words. Besides individual words, it also works for phrases or whole sentences, and it can read them out loud.
The dictionary shows traditional first and simplified in parentheses for every character (I wish there was a choice to just show traditional only, though). It also has options for pinyin/zhuyin and Cantonese. There are also paid add-ons if you’re getting more serious about learning Chinese.
If you aren’t actively learning Mandarin, though, you’ll probably just stick with one of the translation apps above.
Use these two apps for your food ordering or pick-up needs in Taiwan. A branded scooter will be on its way with your food! Both are extremely popular and versatile, so which one you choose will be a matter of personal preference. Already popular before COVID, these app’s usage and popularity have only skyrocketed since.
One challenge is that there is a limited English in the food descriptions in both of these apps. Just use one of the translation apps I recommended above! Will your foreign credit card work, though? In my experience, sometimes yes, sometimes no.
Should you tip food deliverers in Taiwan? Find out in my Taiwan tipping guide.
You can buy just about anything on UberEats in Taiwan: bubble tea, groceries, fast food, street food, 7-Eleven products, and of course regular restaurant meals (see my guide to the best restaurants in Taipei!)
Like UberEats elsewhere, once you sign up you’ll often receive discount codes by email. And of course it is owned by Uber, but UberEats is far more popular than the regular Uber (ride service) in Taiwan.
Singapore-based FoodPanda is the main rival to UberEats in Taiwan. They are the ones with bright pink scooters.
FoodPanda started in Singapore and is extremely popular in Taiwan and other countries in Asia. There isn’t a major difference between the two apps. FoodPanda seems to have more options, especially smaller restaurants and street food, and tends to offer more in-app discounts.
Shopping apps are not my forte. But based on my research, the following are currently the most popular shopping apps in Taiwan. English on most of them is limited or non-existent. Foreign credit cards often don’t work, but it’s still worth trying.
- Shopee: Currently the most popular for clothing and pretty much anything else. Users from other parts of Asia will already be familiar with this Singapore-based company.
- Momo Shop: The second most popular.
- Ruten: Most popular online auction site.
- PChome: For home products and much more.
- Books.com.tw: For books and more.
- Yahoo! Taiwan Shopping: Yes, people in Taiwan and Japan are still using Yahoo!
Related: see my guide to the best souvenirs from Taiwan!
Looking to meet a special someone in Taiwan? Here are the best English language dating apps in Taiwan, but you’ll find plenty of locals on them, too!
Since I’ve been married for over a decade, I’ve never personally used any of these (I swear!) So I’ve asked my friends in Taiwan what’s hottest right now.
- Bumble: Seems to be the most popular among travelers and expats in Taiwan, not just for dating but also finding friends and networking
- Hinge: Also popular among travelers, but few locals on it
- Tinder: For getting right to the point, popular among locals and travelers
- ParPar – 激情約會 | 浪漫交友: Most popular app for hookups among locals (Mandarin-only)
- Coffee Meets Bagel: For serious dating
- OKCupid: Becoming more outdated but still used a little in Taiwan
- Grindr and Jack’d: for LGBTQ+ dating
There you go, folks. Those are my top recommended apps for traveling or living in Taiwan. If I missed any that you consider essential, please let me know in the comments below!