Whenever I go to a new country, I always look up some apps that might help me when I get there. I’ve come up with a list of 11 apps for South Korea.
There are some other apps for South Korea that may help you, but only if you know Korean. I didn’t list them because I didn’t use them. I think I used Coupang Eats once but I couldn’t navigate it myself.
Both Coupang apps, the Shuttle app, and the SRT app are all in Korean. The SRT (Super Rapid Train) website is in English though. Yay.
Here’s a website where you can buy some tickets for the fast train.
The KTX (Korea Train Express) website is also super useful.
If you take one useful piece of advice away from this page it is to book your tickets ahead of time!! I learned the hard way and had to wait a few extra hours for a bus because I didn’t know about these websites and didn’t know that I had to book ahead; which seems kind of obvious but I like to be spontaneous.
This comes into play if you have a Tmoney card. You just open the app, tap your card, and it tells you your balance. You are also able to see your recent transactions and the different types of transport.
Gmarket is a quick and affordable online shopping app as well as a website. I never used the app because the website was easier for me. One time when I ordered the wrong item, all I had to do was leave it outside of my apartment with the stickers and packaging still on and be done with it. A few days later, I received a refund in my account.
If you didn’t already know, Kakao is huge in South Korea. They have apps for all types of transportation. I used Kakao T a few times and Kakao Talk is how everyone communicates there so I used that quite a bit as well. For Kakao T, you can either pay with cash as it gives you an estimate or you can hook up your bank card. As for the other apps, I barely opened them. I think I used Kakao Maps once or twice, but I was more of a Naver fan.
KakaoMetro and KakaoBus are self-explanatory. Kakaonavi is for directions when driving and KakaoMap is just like Google Maps. Google Maps doesn’t work in Korea. I looked it up one time and I think it has something to do with privacy issues and servers.
I did find that KakaoMap is more English-friendly. It has most of the names of the stores, restaurants, etc. in English.
As I said, Naver was my go-to when commuting throughout South Korea. It was one of my favorite and most used apps for South Korea. I really liked how accurate Naver was. It was pretty simple to read and navigate.
The reason why I used Naver more was because my Korean was eh. And by eh I mean horrible.
You just have to punch in your destination and it picks up your current location and you have a few options to choose from. It always gave detailed information, even when wandering through the subway station. I found that with Naver, they give you directions every single step of the way, which is helpful being in a foreign country and barely knowing how to read/speak the language.
Both Kakao and Naver were very helpful throughout my time in Korea. Both of the apps give an expected price for whatever transportation method you take.
If you don’t speak Korean, this will be one of the best apps for South Korea. Papago is just like Google Translate. You can download some of the languages on both Google Translate and Papago in case you don’t have any service.
The Subway app shows you a map of the subway, with all of the lines and colors. It’s also in English so it’s a pretty good app to have. I always forgot I had it. But since I had Naver, I didn’t really use this app too often.
I think my top five most-used apps were: Naver, KakaoTalk, Papago, BucaCheck, and Kakao T.
As you can see, there are numerous apps for South Korea. Some of them will come in handy, while others will just sit on your phone until months later when you clean out your phone. Either way, it doesn’t hurt to download them before your trip to South Korea.