Suggestions for Apps for Bus Routes?

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    Avatar photoBrad Gies

    I recently moved so I don’t know the bus routes in this area (far south on subway line 1). Anyone know of a decent app (or any way) of figuring out the bus routes in Chengdu (assume I can’t read a single character of Chinese)..



    Avatar photoMerior

    When I arrive at a destination I record the bus numbers that stop there on my phone. Using cross reference I can soon establish how to get somewhere as long as I have been there before. It is not very sophisticated but it’s cut down on the taxis.

    Avatar photoCharlie

    Baidu Maps has this functionality, but will require that you read Chinese. Apple Maps has this functionality also, I believe, if you have an iPhone. That might work in English. In general though, none of this information is really available in English.

    Avatar photoBrad Gies

    Yeah, Baidu maps on my computer works fairly well, even though I don’t read Chinese, but seems a little useless (to me) on my phone. On my laptop, I can click a bus stop and get the list of buses that stop there, and then keep doing that until I find a route that works. It seems a little hit and miss, but sometimes I can get the lines showing the actual routes of the buses. Anyway, it works fairly well from home, as long as I write it down before I leave.

    Would really like to find something easier for my phone though. Much handier to get the info while walking around 🙂


    Avatar photoJasonwithabs

    Currently Baidu, Tencent and other map I and using don’t have English option, but actually it is pretty easy to use Tencent map on laptop to find how to arrive your destination. That s what i usually use

    1.Go to

    2.Right click on the map, you can see the option of ‘设置起点’ and  ‘设置终点’,起点 means where to start, 终点means destination.

    3. After both of those are set, the result will show up on the left, then you can click the 1,2,3,4,5 to choose the way you like and detail like take 85 bus to where then take number 1 subway to where will be shown, usually there is more than 1 way to get there. If you have hard time understand it then just copy those to then paste it on some translation software.

    Avatar photoCharlie

    I think one of the challenges you will have here is the station names – they are all in Chinese. At best you will have them converted to pinyin, but I think it’s worth the time to learn phrases like 起点, 终点 and the names of stations that you frequent.

    Avatar photoBrad Gies

    Yeah, figuring out the PinYin for the station names doesn’t help a lot when I don’t know the corresponding Chinese character. I’ve never taken buses much before, and when I lived in Shenzhen it was much easier, the subway is full developed, and there are English versions of the bus routes.

    In Chengdu, I was living near NuiWangMiao before and the subway was close, and I had all the stores and markets I needed within walking distance, so never really needed buses.

    But this new apartment the subway is still close, but it’s about 15 stops North to get to a transfer station :). A lot of the stores are east and west and the subway here is only north/south, so buses are needed 🙂 .

    I didn’t even know QQ had maps :), so I’ll try it.

    Avatar photoSweet

    Hey Brad I will ask some of my friends if they know the answer to your query and Merior made a really good point, see which bus numbers stop in your area. I remember when I first moved to China, had absolutely no idea about anything let alone public transport and this was before the birth of APP’s.

    With a bag full of 1 Yuan notes, I spent many weekends jumping on and off random buses and exploring various streets, I figured things out eventually and it was quite the adventure.

    Avatar photoBrad Gies

    Yeah, I’ve decided to take Merior’s advice. I usually go for a walk every evening, so what I’m going to do is just jump on the first bus that stops, go for a ride, then when I’ve gone far enough, jump off and walk back. When I first moved to NuiWangMaio area, I walked every street within 2-3 kilometers in the first month or two I was there, and that helped a lot. I knew where everything was.

    I really thought by now, Chengdu would have something better, but I’m living in China because I like exploring new areas, so it will work for me.

    Thanks for the help everyone, even though the answers were basically “Nope, don’t have that in Chengdu” 🙂

    Avatar photoDonglin Huang

    I would attempt to get a vpn so you can load English apps on your phone and try apps like google translate or pleco (

    Both have downloadable Chinese/English dictionaries. And if you use Pleco, purchase the OCR. It is great at single character Chinese translations. And it gives you pinyin and English.

    I have used is when I had to translate the menu’s in Chengdu. But my phone app was loaded in the UK.

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