Five of the best travel apps

Got an iPhone, iPad or iPad touch? Then get the best apps for your visit to Beijing

Beijing Genius Map

This app is a blessing for the directionally challenged. It functions like Google Maps with a searchable high-detail street-level map and GPS locator but, most importantly, it works offline. Perfect for those without unlimited 3G.

6.50RMB on iPhone, iPod touch and iPad

Explore Beijing Subway map

The best of numerous metro guides for the iPhone. Includes a street map, route planner, first and last train times, and a clear diagram showing all stations and lines, including the newly opened Line 15.

13RMB on iPhone, iPod touch and iPad

China Drive

If you’ve jettisoned your bike, had enough of braving the subway and decided to get your Chinese driving licence, this is a real gem of an app. It helps you prepare for the 1,300-plus questions you could be asked in the written test, including such brain-teasers as ‘What should a driver do when he needs to spit?’

Free on iPhone, iPod touch and iPad

Beijing Subway Guide

The only really decent English-language Beijing metro guide on the Android platform. As well as a map, this app tells you the shortest route between stations, including estimated transfer time. If your character reading is tip top, download the free Mandarin version.

8.50RMB on Android

Beijing Air

Thinking about stretching your legs and walking to work but worried about your lungs? This app shows the Chinese capital’s real-time air quality index, as monitored by the US

embassy in Beijing. Especially useful for those days when the pollution situation is ‘crazy-bad’.

8.50RMB on Android