Traveling or living in a foreign country can be challenging, especially if you don’t speak the language. This list of apps will help your trip to South Korea go as smoothly, and safely, as possible.
1. KakaoTalk Messenger
Forget Facebook Messenger. When traveling Korea, KakaoTalk is the way to go. It is the most popular messaging app in Korea, so having it is the best way to keep in contact with friends while in the country.
Like other messaging apps, KakaoTalk can send messages, photos, and videos, and create group chats. It can be accessed by phone or from a computer, and it’s free to use.
2. Naver Dictionary
When traveling in a foreign country, good communication is absolutely essential to ensure a fun and safe trip. Naver Dictionary is a must-have for those who haven’t mastered the Korean language yet.
It is like Google Translate, but better. Naver Dictionary gives multiple translation options so that you can choose the right word for the right context. This helps to avoid some misunderstandings that might occur from miscommunication. Naver Dictionary comes with audio too, so you can practice your pronunciation as you learn new words and phrases.
3. Subway Korea
At first glance, Korea’s subway maps may be overwhelming but, never fear, Korea’s subway system is one well-oiled machine! It is a very effective and easy way to get around once you learn how to use it.
Many travellers do not have subways where they live or are just used to commuting a different way. Subway Korea app makes it easy for first-time subway travellers to navigate Korea. It provides information for all the major subway systems in Korea (in both English and Korean) and will help you get to your destination in the shortest time possible.
Missed your train? No worries! Subway Korea will tell you when the next train is arriving and when the last ones of the day will be leaving.
Mastered the subway? Great! Now, what about buses?
Often times, traveling by bus may get you closer to your destination, or get you there faster, depending on where you’re heading. KakaoBus keeps track of buses in more than fifty Korean cities. It allows you to check bus schedules ahead of time and set alarms so that you know exactly when to get to the bus stop. You wouldn’t want to miss your ride!
App users may be used to using Google Maps, but KakaoMap is the best digital map to use in South Korea. Like other map apps, Kakao Map tracks your current location through GPS, calculates the best route, and provides step-by-step instructions along the way. It has options for car, bike, public transportation, and walking so that you can estimate your travel time based on how you are getting to your destination.
In K-Dramas, cabs seem to appear out of thin air whenever someone needs a lift. While plenty of taxis do roam the South Korean streets, hailing one can be a little more challenging depending on when and where you need one. Getting a taxi during the day might be easier than getting one late at night, or in a crowded area.
In situations like this, many app users would turn to Uber. KakaoTaxi is Uber’s Korean counterpart. Like Uber, KakaoTaxi tracks your current location and will hail a taxi close to you. Through KakaoTaxi you can send your taxi’s license plate number, departure time, and expected arrival time to your friends and family to let them know where you are and when you’ll be arriving. Added bonus? Your lift will always be a licensed taxi!
7. Shuttle Delivery
Want to order food but don’t speak Korean? Shuttle Delivery is the answer! The app allows you to order food without having to pick up the phone and is available in English. Shuttle Delivery provides delivery services from a variety of Seoul’s best restaurants, so you can enjoy the best food wherever you are!
8. AirVisual Air Quality
Air quality isn’t necessarily the first thing travelers think about while prepping for a trip. In Korea, fine dust can be a definite health hazard and it gets worse depending on the time of year, so it’s important to monitor the air quality. AirVisual Air Quality sends alert notifications if the fine dust is at dangerous levels. This will help you to decide if you need to change your plans for the day.
Where should you go? What should you see? This travel app, created by the Korea Tourism Organization, will tell you all about which attractions, restaurants, festivals, and shopping centers to add to your sight-seeing list.
VisitKorea includes a map feature to help you get to these tourist spots. It also provides up-to-date exchange rates, operating hours of public businesses, and emergency contact numbers. You can even use some of the app’s features while offline, such as news and coupons.
10. WordPower Learn Korean
If you want to work on your Korean skills while in Korea, then try WordPower Learn Korean. It’s designed for people who don’t have a lot of time on their hands, so it’s perfect to use while you’re traveling.
The app includes 100 of the most frequently used words and phrases in the Korean language and doubles as a mini travel guide packed with cultural insights and practical Korean phrases. The app also comes with Korean with audio recordings and a voice recorder so you can practice your pronunciation. Once you’ve mastered the first 100 words and phrases, you can upgrade to the full edition of Korean WordPower Vocabulary to get 2000 more words and phrases.