Taxi Cards: Simplifying The Chinese Experience

Portable travel guides help tourists navigate two of the world’s most confusing cities.

Traveling to a foreign country, eating delicious food and visiting exotic hot spots is an exciting, pleasurable experience. A crash course in Chinese, on the other hand, is not. The biggest travel nightmare is getting lost and having no way to communicate for directions — and this can easily become a reality if you are unfamiliar with your destination’s strange alphabet.


Luckily, Taxi Cards help us get where we need to go — without having to take Mandarin lessons. Travel Taxi Cards come in a booklet that includes approximately 70 double sided cards and a map of the city (sets are available for both Shanghai and Beijing). Taxi Cards were initially designed to assist English-speaking spectators at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, though they are still manufactured for today’s tourists, as well.

Traveling light is essential to comfortable sightseeing; for this reason, the cards are lightweight and can easily fit in the palm of your hand, or loop into a belt loop, key ring, or purse. Each card displays a popular attraction, venue or restaurant, accompanied by the respective location and detailed directions in Chinese. Just in case, they also include a phonetic pronunciation of the place name in English — just be sure to speak slowly if you opt for this strategy.


Still don’t feel like you’ll have enough space to carry the taxi cards around? Taxi Cards are also available as an iPhone app. Whether electronic or tangible, these cards prove themselves to be a necessity in cities where taxi drivers rarely speak English.

Beijing and Shanghai Taxi Cards are available for $9.95 and the iPhone app is available for $4.99. Please visit the Travel Taxi Cards Web site for more information.