Travelling in a foreign country can be intimidating, especially if you don’t understand the language.
One of the best ways to prepare for a trip is by using something you might already own – your smartphone! South Korea is one of the most plugged-in countries in the world, and there are some awesome South Korea apps to help you make the most of your travel experience there.
If you get a local SIM card, your phone lets you call fellow travelers or keep in touch with your lodging area if you get lost. But even without a network abroad, there are many ways to stay connected to WiFi.
With the right applications, your phone is the perfect traveling resource. From local Yelp alternatives to popular messaging apps, your smartphone can make you a smarter traveler.
Here are our picks for the most popular South Korean apps for traveling.
If you live in South Korea, you probably already have this Korean chat app. Everyone, no matter young or old, has downloaded this onto their phone. This South Korean messenger app allows you to communicate with friends anywhere so long as you have an Internet connection. Many travelers forego the hassle of getting a SIM card and just rely on this app because of the plethora of WiFi options in the major cities.
Bonus: KakaoTalk also has built-in calling and video calling. Have your friends and family from home download it so you can use it in lieu of Skype!
Naver’s English to Korean Dictionary
Please don’t use Google Translator. Please don’t. The Google Translator app is pretty good for some languages, but not for Korean! Instead, check out this Korean translator app.
Naver’s English to Korean Dictionary is the best Korean translator app available. The app was very popular amongst my classmates in my Korean class while studying abroad. Whenever our professor could not explain a word in Korean, we deferred to this app. Do yourself a favor; use this instead of Google Translator.
Subway or 지하철 (Ji Ha Cheol)
There are only so many ways to make a subway app different and yet there are a lot of options to choose from. Getting around South Korea can be tricky when you first arrive, and a Korean Subway app can be a savior!
The Subway or 지하철 (Ji Ha Cheol) app is certainly not the only option to choose from. It is, however, the most popular rendition of the Seoul subway map and for good reasons. Not only is it accurate, but also detailed—it tells you which car is closest to your transfer.
When I first visited Korea for a study abroad program, this was one of the first apps that I downloaded. I never felt the need to switch to another one. You might find another app that fits your needs better, but this is not a bad one to start out with.
NaverMap OR DaumMap
Google Maps is not very helpful in Korea, so check out these alternative map apps. Both Naver and Daum produce great GPS/map apps and each has their pros and cons. I personally prefer Daum because they also include bus stops. It’s up to personal preference, but you must be able to type in Korean to utilize these apps
Tired of eating out all the time? Is it monsoon season and you don’t want to get drenched from head to toe? Consider using Yogiyo, the most popular food delivery food service app in Korea. Directly translated into English, Yogiyo means “here” or “it’s here.” This is a nice play on Cheogiyo, meaning “there” or “it’s there.” Cheogiyo is a phrase to call a server over to your table when eating out. But instead of eating out, you are eating “here,” aka wherever you are!
To use the app one will need to have basic knowledge of Korean, but it’s better than dealing with the anxiety of ordering over the phone.
South Korea has an amazing array of travel experiences available. From the towering cities to the ski fields and mountains, plus historical and cultural experiences, there’s something for everyone. Just be sure to download these useful South Korean apps to help you on your way!