Welcome to Korea! You’ve flown across the world, stepped out of your comfort zone to visit another country, and now you’ve made it here! Your journey begins now and I have some tips that might help you along your trip.
Let me introduce you to the 4 absolute essential apps that you need in order to survive, live, and thrive in Korea:
A lot of people, including me, expect to use the familiar Google Maps or Apple Maps to get around but trust me when I say that those apps do not work well in Korea at all. In fact, foreign apps are blocked because the Korean government encourages people to use Korean apps.
The most essential app, an app that I have come to rely on, is Naver Maps. This app has become my bible in Korea because it works well in English and is very detailed with its directions.
One of the things that I love about the app is that you can favorite places that you want to go to and they will show up on the map. If you’re traveling to an area, you’re able to easily see what places you’ve pinned. It honestly just makes your life easier when you’re deciding on what to do or what to eat in a new area.
Another feature that I absolutely love is that Naver Maps will tell you how to transfer between the modes of public transportation fast. For example, it will tell you which platform to stand on and what color of subway you should take in the metro system. So if you have to transfer in between different lines of subways, you are able to save time by getting onto the correct train with the correct platform.
Now that I’ve convinced you why Naver Maps is so essential to surviving in Korea, here’s a step by step on how to use the app:
1. Download the app
2. Input your destination either with an address or the name of the place you are going to
3. Select your mode of transportation: bus, car ride, walking, or biking
4. Follow the directions in the map (tip: tap on the bottom left circle to see your current location so that you can make sure you’re going in the right direction!)
At the end of the day, if you get on the wrong subway or bus or go in the wrong direction, don’t stress! There are so many types of public transportation all around Korea that you’ll be able to get to your destination just fine. Also, if you are using Naver Maps, you can trust the app to safely take you where you need to be!
If you’re not familiar with the Korean language at all, PapaGo is the way to go. Not only is it a useful translation app, the app itself is also from Naver which means it specifically specializes in English to Korean and vice versa translation.
The feature that Papago has that has been my lifesaver is the scanning feature that it has. Whenever I go to a restaurant, see a poster, or just see words in Korean that I simply do not understand, I pop out my Papago app and simply just scan the words that I need to translate to English.
Another app that has not only helped me with my language barrier, but also with some payment issues is the Shuttle Delivery app. This is the only food delivery app that works for foreigners as it accepts PayPal. Korean food delivery apps only accept payments through Korean national banks so Shuttle Delivery is truly a tourist’s savior.
Besides providing a delivery option, the delivery app also provides a pickup option as well so it’s great if you want to order ahead of time and pick it up yourself. This is a great option for people who want to pick up something and eat it back in their accommodations without having to stand and wait in long lines.
Another useful way of using Shuttle Delivery is that the app is divided by cuisines so even if you are not using the app to order something, it’s useful just to see what options of food there are around Seoul.
If you’re planning on making local friends, on studying or even on working in Korea, Kakao Talk is an essential app to download as Koreans use this app as their main source of communication.
Kakao Talk is very easy to understand as it has the same features that messaging apps have: sending and receiving messages, creating group chats, sending photos and videos, and sharing your location.
Not only is the app used on a daily basis by the locals to communicate with each other, but a lot of businesses and stores use Kakao Talk as a channel for people to make appointments and reserve times such as nail salons, beauty salons, and hair salons.
Now that you have read and downloaded (I hope you downloaded them!) the 4 most essential apps needed in Korea on your phone, your future self will thank you
Thank you for reading our blog! Here's a little gift from Shuttle Delivery that you can apply to any purchase made through our platform. Check out our other blogs on Shuttle Delivery for more tips on how to navigate your stay in Korea!