Tripadvisor City Guides Rock!
I’m in Singapore right now and have a fair idea of the travel rules of etiquette here:
- Don’t chew gum
- Don’t spit the gum out on the side walk
- Don’t download materials that have copyright protection
- Do eat at one of the many hawker centres for some cheap and tasty food
Got it- this should be easy enough to follow. Now, I need to figure out what I should do here, where to eat, and directions to get there. Fortunately, Tripadvisor has an Offline City guide app for this city, which in this case is really the entire country since Singapore is a city-state. I can simply download the crowd-sourced reviews and recommendations for the entire country and have it on my smartphone and not have to worry about having a mobile connection to look up stuff while I’m out exploring the city. How convenient is that?
How to Use
I installed the city guide app onto my phone and downloaded the updates. Mind you, the updates are all the latest places, reviews, photos for a location and for Singapore, and it comes out to a hefty 27 mb for the application, and nearly 100 mb if you install all the updates! Plan ahead as I did to install and update the app at a fast and free wifi spot before you head out.
- Download it here: Google Play | Apple Appstore
- Next, download the updates to get the latest reviews and/or photos that may have been added.
- Relish in the fact that you’ve got the amassed reviews of hundreds of thousands of travellers at your disposal!
There’s no need to sign up to use the application, although if you want to store and save any of the places into your personal Trip journal or share with your friends, you do have to register an account with Tripadvisor. Common things such as the metro stations, Atms, Restaurants & Hotels, Attractions, and even suggested itineraries are mapped out for you in the app. If there’s too many items on the map, simply select only the categories you want to display so that you filter out the rest. It gives you the distance and points you to the direction of the thing you want to get to. Quite a useful and intuitive interface- kudos to the designer.
I happened to just get off the Farrer Park metro station and wanted to know what was within walking distance to the station. I selected Farrer Park from the list of Metro stations as well as ‘Attractions’ and ‘Food and Drinks’ as categories on the map. Up came a few temples as well as a bunch of restaurants. I snacked on some food at a restaurant rated #2666 out of #6948- are there really 6,900 restaurants in Singapore?? Singaporeans must really like to eat out.
The location map in the app was generally able to keep up with me as I moved around, though at one point it seemed to be off by a few blocks. I turned on my gps for a minute to have it re-synch. The maps for Singapore are so complete, I’d say it’s near impossible to get lost here. The app also has a section of suggested itineraries, including walking tours. The itineraries are mapped on a route that you can follow with suggested interest points along the way.
Tripadvisor’s downloadable city guides are really a near-perfectly thought out app. It allows me to be both spontaneous and lazy at the same time while I travel in a new city. I can use the app to do last minute searches for places to eat and find things to do. I can find what the highest rated cheap Chinese food that’s within walking distance to me.
And of course the best feature of the app is that it is usable COMPLETELY offline- you’ve got all of the crowd-sourced reviews and latest updates from travellers such as you that you can carry around with you as you go about the city. It allows me to quickly look up stuff while I’m out and about. I wish there was an offline city guide app for every city in the world- but then that would be too much to ask for. Right, Tripadvisor?