Survival Guide: Top 8 apps to download for visiting Thailand in 2022

It’s plain that travelling has become significantly more complicated because the pandemic. Yet for all of the surprising pink tape you would possibly encounter when crossing borders, travelling remains to be fairly straightforward: select a destination, e-book your flights and motels, and ensure you put together all the necessary paperwork. (And if you’re coming to Thailand, that likely means a LOT of paperwork.)
But with such superb expertise at our disposal, it’s straightforward to take all the trendy conveniences they offer without any consideration or underutilize them, particularly when travelling overseas. Using the phone in your pocket, you possibly can simply e-book a flight and verify in online, compare hotels and book a room, order food and taxis, find native companies and navigate to them, plan the routes in your day trip and communicate in overseas languages. So whether or not you’re just visiting or about to move the Land of Smiles, here are the Top eight apps you have to obtain for Thailand in 2022.
Transportation: Grab Grab is the equivalent of Uber, but with a twist. It’s not only for car rides, but additionally for meals and grocery deliveries. The colourful metered taxis often cause a stir amongst travels, and drivers will at all times blame the meter for being either glitchy or damaged. That’s why we highly recommend Grab, as it’s beloved by locals and foreigners alike. You can choose from quite lots of vehicle costs, including a regular city car, a premium automobile or an SUV. In a rush? You can even guide a motorbike if you choose to be quick and furious (just keep in mind to hold on tightly and put on your personal helmet). You will pay by money or credit card. The Grab app will calculate the gap, anticipated arrival time and estimated service cost for you, leaving you with nothing to do but wait in your cab to arrive.
Navigation: Google Maps Google’s ubiquitous app choices often get ignored. But anybody will admit that getting round Thailand isn’t as straightforward as we want it to be, especially Bangkok. Traffic is unpredictable and metropolis planning is an entire mess. With Google Maps, navigation is made easier, because it eliminates much of the guesswork, presenting the quickest route by default.
That’s additionally a half of the issue — all of the guessing and selecting it does for you. If you’re driving, the app will only current the top two or three route choices, primarily based on time (ex: detour with toll rolls) or distance (ex: detour via a neighborhood with slender winding streets), when the obvious route (ex: go straight, turn left) just isn’t an choice. Or if you’re on foot, it’d give you a ridiculous detour of several kilometres to keep away from a short one-way street, when you possibly can just safely stroll down the road a few hundred kilometres to your vacation spot.
Also, don’t count on the app to operate precisely the way it does again residence or to talk completely logical English. For your info, the people who really replace the Thai map are in reality Thai folks working at Google’s workplace in Beijing. So their mastery of the English language, or the lack due to this fact, will definitely manifest itself in some kind or another whereas you’re navigating Thailand’s tricky highways and byways (ex: “turn left onto the ramp” might mean “take the exit on your left”). This becomes particularly infuriating when driving, as one mistaken turn on the freeway may easily become a 30-minute detour with double tolls. And why can’t the AI voice pronounce Thai place names correctly? Trying to match the app’s botched mispronunciations with the inaccurate phonetic spellings on Thai road signs whereas you’re driving at 80km an hour can be a complicated headache (ex: “Srinagarindra Road”).
Finally, the GPS signal usually gets dropped when passing beneath the man giant concrete structures that make up the tangle of elevated ramps, highways and BTS traces throughout Bangkok (a problem in maintaining with each Apple and Android devices). It means you always have to be trying forward, anticipating the subsequent flip or two, in case your cellphone drops its GPS signal while navigating. A worst case scenario is the map will truly mechanically reroute you whereas you’re driving because of GPS obstruction. It can be a nightmare, especially as a result of it usually occurs at some key intersection or fork in the street. But don’t panic. Take a deep breath and keep the course until the app figures out what occurred and will get back on observe.
So although Google Maps could be useful for beginning your trip in the best path, you have to adjust to its limitations and learn to work round them in everyday use. Wherever you’re headed, always use your eyes, ears and whatever you’ve got between them while navigating in the Land of Smiles. Physical maps and street indicators with admittedly poor English still exist right here. Use No sweat .
Translation: Google Translate While Google’s translation isn’t good (why is the default pronoun for “I” at all times “Chan”!?), it gets the job done. Most Thai folks you’ll meet will have a minimal of a fundamental degree of English proficiency, particularly if they fall within the 20s-30s age range. But don’t expect anyone at the market to accommodate your monolingualism. So it’s safe to have a nifty translation app put in for everyday communication, that can help you purchase that bag of mangos at a fair price or negotiate together with your landlord. Food stalls or avenue food booths often won’t have an English menu, either, so the app will really come in handy, particularly if you need to attempt one thing new. Just click on the digital camera icon and also you live-translate any written text you see.
However, just like the Maps app, the Translate app has its limitations. Besides Mold mentioned above, it’s unimaginable to have a reside dialog, as the microphone listens to just one voice at a time. Here it’s additionally frustrating as a end result of it doesn’t hear long enough for folks to begin talking. Or you may blurt out an pressing message only to search out the app didn’t decide it up in any respect. Then you’ll need to do the onerous work of painstakingly typing your message completely in the textual content field to get a proper translation. This is made all of the tougher when you finish up in a tense scenario and wish to communicate immediately. Maybe your palms are shaky or you’re sweating profusely from strolling within the heat. Or possibly your battery is merely too low or the solar is too bright and your display is just too dim. Technology has a humorous method of failing when you need it most.
So in case your Thai isn’t up to speed and your technology hasn’t been up to date for a while, make certain you at all times have a couple of phone numbers of some good Thai pals whom you possibly can call that can assist you communicate in emergency conditions. They can become actual lifesavers when expertise fails.
Communication: LINE If you’re going to be in Thailand for the lengthy haul, Line (stylised in all caps) is an important app to have. Both WhatsApp and Messenger are used right here, however neither one is the main communication app. Most Thais will ask you for your Line solely and count on you to have it. Like most different messaging apps, Line is free and easy to use. The app originated in Japan, earlier than making its way to Thailand. It has a ton of cute sticker for you people out there who prefer to communicate with emojis. Forget in regards to the “metaverse” — Line customers have been immersed in a world of proprietary bear and rabbit emojis for years. But Line offers extra than simply free texting, voice and video calls and annoyingly cutesy emoticons. Line Manga allows customers to read their favourite manga. Line Live has TV series and films you’ll have the ability to stream. Line Pay permits users to pay for services. Line Game has a great assortment of entertaining and light-weight hearted video games for users of all ages. Line Dictionary is there that will assist you be taught Thai, or for locals to brush up on their English.
Exchange Rates: XE Currency XE Currency will turn out to be useful every time you have to examine for currency rates. It’s nice for tracking reside mid-market conversion charges so you can examine it to the costs offered at foreign money change cubicles or locals banks. The utility is essentially recognized as some of the precise currency trackers. It covers all currencies, so you won’t have any problems when you’re checking or converting Thai baht. Instead of visiting a bank, simply to verify the prices and trade charges on the app. XE Currency actually turns out to be useful when it’s time to check numbers and be sure to don’t get scammed.
Shopping: Lazada & Shopee Sadly, Amazon isn’t obtainable here, however it’ll make a lot of us happy. Yes, we can nonetheless order issues but it comes at a value of excessive transport fees and different problems. Both Lazada and Shopee are right here to solve that downside, and so they do an excellent job. For practically every thing you wish to buy, both apps have it covered. As for payment methods, there are a number of choices you can choose from for Shopee and Lazada. Cash on supply is an efficient option if you’re worried about using a global credit card, but you want to be in person to receive and pay for the package. You can also pay at an ATM machine.
Food: Food Panda There are a few apps you can obtain when it comes to meals, and they are often surprisingly inconvenient until you get used to them. While Grab is useful for meals orders, it’s primarily in Thai, so we recommend utilizing Food Panda. The app has numerous restaurants to choose from, together with many that present supply in forty minutes or less, as properly as step-by-step order tracking – but this isn’t at all times correct. For as much as they spend on all those annoying YouTube ads, it’s nice to see they’ve put a little bit extra thought into their English-language presentation than the competitors. You’ll appreciate it when it comes time to order padthai or a matcha latte.
Honorable Mentions! For these apps that aren’t daily requirements, but may possible make your life extra handy — when functioning properly in specific use scenarios…
Immigration eServices: There is a complete record of failed apps launched by the federal government to make life extra convenient for foreigners by eliminating paperwork and lowering the necessity for lengthy journeys to the native police division or immigration office. For instance, the eTM6 app, launched in May 2019, has only 5K installs on Google Play and 0 evaluations on the time of writing; it was last up to date in November of that yr. But the Immigration eServices app has seen a bit more success, so it’s worth downloading just in case it actually works whenever you get here. Theoretically, you want to be capable of use the app to register your house of residence in Thailand and file your 90-day report. The app will then issue an digital doc called a TM30. It may also hold monitor of your earlier reporting times on the app. Launched alongside the eTM6 app in May 2019, the Immigration eServices app now has more than 50K downloads on Google Play and was final updated in March 2020, on the time of writing. It has a deplorable 1.5 star ranking. Alternatively, also can try using the immigration website. Successful applicants will receive the doc as a PDF sent to their e mail tackle.
7-Eleven: Of course, there are numerous other helpful apps that may make life in Thailand more convenient. If you don’t need to walk to your native 7-Eleven, you probably can easily order from their app. Like Grab for meals, it’s currently solely on Thai, so you’ll should snap screenshots of every page and translate them within the Google Translate app before submitting your oder. You can also pay on supply, which is a very nice option if you solely have cash. But is that this app really needed, provided that you’ll find a 7-Eleven on nearly each road corner? Well, sure. This app is quite useful for many who find themselves in quarantine, either at a lodge for journey or at a hospital for Covid-19. Dying to order an inexpensive iced Americano? Look no further!
TrueMoney: Once you’ve settled down here and open a Thai bank account, then then an entire new world of convenient financial institution and cost apps will speak in confidence to you. One of these is TrueMoney. It’s an e-wallet you’ll have the ability to link to your Thai bank account and high up for cashless payments, kind of like PayPal. Although it’s only out there at sure vendors, for instance 7-Eleven, it’s turning into for in style. The downsides are they require a lot of private info, including a picture of your face with your passport (and presumably your work allow, in case you have one) and whereas topping up your digital pockets it free, transferring out to a financial institution will cost a payment. But when you have a Thai bank account, we strongly counsel downloading the bank’s app. Then you ought to use the PromptPay cashless payment system, which allows you to scan a QR code to pay. If it doesn’t work, you can all the time manually kind within the vendor’s bank info and transfer the cash that way directly out of your financial institution app. Often, a vendor will show both TrueMoney and PromptPay QR codes side-by-side, providing you with more cashless payment options..