If you’re heading to South Korea, I’ve made it easy for you by creating a list of the most popular apps in Korea.
Whenever I go to a new country, I always look up some mobile apps that might help me when I get there.
I usually try to download them before leaving so they’re all set up and it’s just one less thing to worry about.
Read 42 Apps to Download Before You Leave. These apps will help you in many countries, not just one specific one.
All of these apps mentioned are available on the iPhone and on Android. You can just open up the App Store or Google Play app and start your downloads.
There are some other apps for Korea that may help you. Some are in Korean and some are just social media apps such as TikTok/Instagram, etc, which are not only popular apps in Korea but around the globe.
There are some apps that are only in the Korean language. You can go on the internet and try to translate the page with Google Chrome. The SRT (Super Rapid Train) website is in English.
Make sure if you go on any of the websites to book your ticket you book the tickets ahead of time.
If you want to check the air quality in your area, AirVisual is an exceptional app to have. In South Korea, air pollution is something that will never go away. This app gives you information on AQI, fine dust, and even gives you a weather update.
To use this app, you just have to open the app, choose the continent and then select the country and area. It can be used in many different countries so I always keep this app installed on my phone.
Bucacheck is a Korean app that lets you check your balance on your transit card. You can get a T-money card at any convenience store, such as CU or 7/11.
Once you are running low, you will be able to top it up at any convenience store as well. 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.
Coupang is a delivery service that’s just as good as Amazon in the US.
Coupang is a well-known website in South Korea. Their website can be translated to English if you open it on Google Chrome.
The eCommerce website offers fast delivery for its products. You can buy anything from pet supplies to home supplies and car accessories.
Coupang is also one of the most popular food delivery apps in South Korea. Their speedy delivery makes them a reputable company.
One of the best, if not THE best, shopping apps that you will use in South Korea is called Gmarket.
Once you are introduced to Gmarket, your life will change. It is probably one of the best and most popular apps in Korea for its timely and rapid services.
Gmarket is a quick and affordable online shopping app as well as a website.
Gmarket is also like Amazon back in the US. It is simple to use and easy to sign up for. The website has anything you’ll ever need.
To make a return through the online market, you just have to leave it outside of your accommodation with the packaging still on it and someone will come by and scoop it up. You will get refunded as soon shortly after.
I’ve complied Kakao into one spot because there are just so many Kakao apps.
Kakao is well-known all throughout the country.
Just type in Kakao in the app store and all of them will pop up. They have apps for all types of transportation and communication.
If you are going to live in South Korea for any period of time, Kakao Talk is an app that you will need to have.
Kakao Talk is a huge Korean messenger app in South Korea. Many different companies and businesses use Kakao Talk so these are definitely some of the popular apps in Korea that you’ll want to have.
Kakao T is the taxi service that is offered by Kakao. You can either pay with cash, your T-money card or hook up your bank card.
It might be difficult if you don’t know Korean because sometimes the taxi drivers will call you if they are unable to see your location.
KakaoMetro and KakaoBus are self-explanatory. KakaoNavi is for directions when driving and KakaoMap is just like Google Maps. However, Google Maps is purposeless in Korea because it is banned by the government.
I did find that KakaoMap is more English-friendly. It has most of the names of the stores, restaurants, etc. in English.
The Korail throughout South Korea is impeccable. There are numerous options to choose how you can get from one town to the next. It is actually a bit overwhelming.
You will love the KTX (Korea Train Express). You can use this app to buy tickets for the KTX, Mugunghwa, and even the ITX.
The KTX (Korea Train Express) is Korea’s high-speed train system. The KTX has stops all throughout the country and you can get to your destination within a few hours! The website is also super useful, whether it is on your mobile or on a computer, it is pretty simple to use.
Mugunghwa is the slowest of all the trains but they run through villages that other trains may not go through.
The ITX is a standard rail system that goes pretty fast.
Naver Maps is very useful when commuting throughout South Korea. It is popular amongst South Koreans so it must be good to use there. I really liked how accurate Naver was. It is pretty simple to read and navigate.
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 gives you 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 being unfamiliar with the language.
Kakao Maps and Naver Maps are essentially the same apps, just owned by different companies. You can decide which app you like better between the two popular Korean apps.
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.
You will notice that with Naver Maps, the stores/restaurants/etc. do not translate in English whereas Kakao Maps usually have a translation.
One of the popular apps in Korea for foreigners or people who don’t speak Korean is Papago. Papago is just like Google Translate.
With both apps, you can take pictures and do screen translation which is super useful if you need to translate any signs or menus.
You can download some of the languages on both Google Translate and Papago in case you don’t have any service.
The Shuttle app will help English speakers order food. If you living in a small town, it may not be available. If you are in Seoul or Busan, you will have plenty of restaurants to choose from.
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. But if you have Naver or Kakao, those are other apps that you can use.
The South Korean transit system is simple and quite necessary to use. If you want to hop on the KTX and head to Seoul, the subway app will show you the quickest way and it will tell you when the next train is.
As you can see, there are many popular apps in 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.