Thanks to the availability of great phone apps getting around cities in China it is steadily getting easier in the past this was one of the major challenges we’ve faced as visitors. Distances are larger than they look on hotel maps and the language barrier often doesn’t allow to just stop and ask anyone for directions. The good news is that even when some apps and websites are unavailable, if you have a working data plan there are very functional maps you can use, as we have successfully.
From that day we started using the helpful app to get around in China. It always worked well in different cities and even some more rural areas. It offers the possibility to calculate distances and directions walking, driving or using public transportation. The indications and the names of streets are given in English. This relieves a lot of the normal anxiety of being out walking alone in a country where not many people speak english. It is like becoming a local.
In our case the phone processes at 2G speed with the regular plan we have, this is the American Tmobile international data and text plan. It is a good idea to check with your local provider and to get some sort of data access while in China.
Even though Google maps could be more desirable (its not routinely accessible because Google is often blocked by the firewall) the maps app gave us real time directions, location status and even public transportation routes so that we were able to stay on course from any location we chose to explore.