South Korea is a land booming with technology. Everyone and everything is connected to the vast and complex network of telecommunication. From the engrossing world of IoT (Internet of Things) to holding the number 1 spot in internet connection, South Korea is undoubtedly one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world. That being said, navigating and surviving in this country can be easily done just from your smartphone.
Here is a list of apps you must have on your Android or iOS smartphone:
When you come to Korea, KakaoTalk (a.k.a. KaTalk) is the first app that you should download. With over 170 million registered users, and 93% of smartphones with this app installed, this will be your main mode of communication in Korea; not only with natives but with everyone you will meet during your stay here.
KakaoTalk is not limited to instant messaging, but voice and video calls as well.
From your group project members to the friend you made last week at the party, KakaoTalk will be the way you’ll keep in contact with everyone.
KakaoTaxi / KakaoBus
Kakao also offers their Taxi and Bus applications. When you need a taxi to get you back to the dorm after your long night out, or need to know when the next bus is arriving, these apps have got your back.
KakaoTaxi allows you to call a taxi to your location automatically, and all you have to do is pin your destination on the map through the application. By far the easiest way to use a taxi without the worries of language barriers.
KakaoBus is connected to every single bus and every single station in Korea, and gives you the current location of the bus and its ETA.
Subway Korea (지하철)
The subway is the most favored public transportation in Korea, but for visitors it may seem pretty hard to navigate through the system of 18 lines. But with this single app, getting around Seoul will be a breeze.
Also with the stations written in romanization (English alphabet), you don’t even have to know a word of Korean to get from point A to point B.
When your friend asks to meet at Hongik Univ. Station exit 9, fret not, we got you.
When you venture around Seoul, you’ll quickly learn that it is full of windy roads and narrow back alleys; and sometimes with the overload of business signs, it might be difficult to find that one super-hip-cafe you were searching for. And for that, you need a map, and the most comprehensive one offered is Naver Maps. Since Naver Maps is connected to the #1 Korean search portal – Naver – it even provides information such as business hours, phone numbers, and a glance at the menu.
Naver maps not only locates your destination but can also give directions (by foot, bus, subway, or car).
*Note that knowldege of the Korean language is needed to effectively use this app.
This is another application that I use daily. Even though a sizable portion of the Korean population can understand and speak English (to a certain degree), language barriers are prevalent in an exchange students’ everyday life. Whenever words that I don’t know pop up in class, my to go application is the Naver Dictionary. This application is very self explanatory and simple but offers so much help for us exchange students.
Naver Dictionary also offers services to learn Korean. Additionally supports Chinese & Japanese.
배달요기요 (Baemin Yogiyo)
Yogiyo is an app used to order food delivered right to your doorsteps. This app is super helpful for those who can read a little bit of Korea, but are not confident enough to call and order delivery. The app is relatively easy to use and with an online translator, you should have no problem filling out the required information. They will deliver directly to your doorsteps or if you live in the dorms, they’ll bring it right in front of the dormitory building.
I hope these apps will improve your stay in Korea, even just a little bit. At the least, you won’t get lost!
Images provided from the Apple App Store, Google Play Store, and KakaoTalk.