5 must-have apps for studying and traveling in Southeast Asia!

Surveys prove people usually spend around 3 hours per day using apps on their smartphones. The small squared symbols on your apple- or Android screen can almost perform any tasks you wish. Hey, why not turn your phone to a remote control and change the channel on your TV? It´s possible. You just need to search for the best reviewed app, download it and voilá.

An iphone on a white table with applications shown on the screen
People spend around 3 hours a day using apps on their smartphones. Photo by David Svihovec / CC BY

The app industry is a multibillion dollar business. According to Digitaltrends.com, there were 175 billion app downloads in 2017. A shocking number that leads to one conclusion: there are countless number of apps out there to download. How can you sort out the most useful ones?

As we are specialists, obviously we have a handle on the 5 must-have apps you would need for studying and traveling in Southeast Asia:


A silver colored car driving on the street
Grab is way cheaper than standard taxis. Photo by Ollie Walls / CC BY

Grab is the handiest way to get around and it´s really cheap! The price is almost half the price of a standard taxi fare. Feeling lazy and don´t want to get out of your bed? Grab offers food delivery service as well. Choose a restaurant in the app, order what you want to eat and Grab will deliver your food to your door. Grab is available in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar and Cambodia.

XE Currency

A person with a white shirt is holding Euro bills
Get the currency right in order to keep your finances in track. Photo by Christian Dubovan / CC BY

Other countries’ currencies can be a bit of a hassle to get a grip of. It´s always a struggle when you´re at the airport and are about to withdraw money. How much is 1 000 000 Indonesian rupiah? XE currency solves it for you! It allows you to keep track of live rates of every currency and you do not have be connected to a hotspot for it to work. It´s a handy app that helps you to talk down prices from sellers who try to rip you off.

Split wise

People sit on different tables and talk to each other
Use split wise whenever you eat out with your friends. Photo by Wade Austin Ellis / CC BY

You’re in for a real treat when living in the Southeast Asian region. The whole region’s cuisine is to die for! As a westerner, you will afford to eat out almost every day because it´s so cheap. But isn´t it a bit frustrating to always be the one who pays too much when splitting the bill with your friends? Use split wise! It’s the best way to share bills and make sure that everyone gets paid back.

Hostel world

A person is sitting on the edge of the bed with a book titled Bangkok
Use Hostel world to find the best and cheapest accommodations. Photo by RawpixelCC BY

It takes a bit of time to settle into a new country as an expat. The best way to avoid culture shock in the very beginning is to live in a hostel for the first few days before you end up in a shared villa or apartment. There you will meet people who will most likely take you out for parties, show around best places to eat and just make sure you will have a pleasant time. To book a good accommodation can be tricky!  Use hostel world. The app has gathered millions of reviews from other travelers and the interactive map makes it easy to work out whether the hostel you like is anywhere near.

Google maps

A smartphone showing a map on the screen
Navigate where to go with Google maps. Photo by Henry Perks CC BY

Google maps is an essential app for students and travelers abroad. There are plenty of competitors, but Google has the biggest map service and it has gathered the most amount of data. No matter where you go in Southeast Asia, google maps will give you all the relevant information that you are looking for. The app can provide you information about how busy the traffic is, transit schedules, changes in city layouts, and so on.

Find out more about studying in Asia or New Zealand

Asia Exchange is a Finnish company providing study abroad opportunities in Asia Pacific for students from all around the world. Want to get travel tips and new blog posts straight to your inbox? Subscribe to our monthly newsletter! If you have any questions about studying abroad, feel free to contact us! We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

This article was written by our Digital Marketing Coordinator Fabian!


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