Traveling to a foreign country—even one as beautiful and interesting as South Korea—can be daunting. But luckily, there are a few choice smartphone apps that will make your travels much easier. Don’t just stick with the Google suite and go the extra mile by downloading the apps the locals use. Here are KKday’s top picks for the 5 most useful Korea travel apps. Best of all? They’re free and work on both Apple and Android.
As Korea’s messaging app of choice, KakaoTalk is an absolute must-have for anyone travelling here. The app allows you to communicate with other KakaoTalk users through text and call, send photos and videos, as well as enjoy cute stickers—all free of charge, as long as you’ve got a WiFi connection. KakaoTalk is also useful when communicating with your travel group, tour guides, and other locals you’ll encounter on your trip.
While Google Maps is a traveler’s ol’ reliable, Naver is much more accurate when navigating South Korea. This interactive map application also allows you to download the maps beforehand for offline use—useful if you’re saving data, or travelling outside of Seoul. Even better is its feature that lets you save and download locations in Korean, allowing you to show the address to a friendly local in case you get lost.
With 18 Subway lines, it’s fast and easy to get around Seoul. But as convenient as the train system is, navigating it can be confusing and intimidating for first-timers in the country. Subway Korea is a handy map app that not only gives you the subway routes, but also lets you see to-the-minute train schedules, calculate the quickest routes to your destination, and even tell you which train car to get on for the quickest transfers. Best of all, it works offline, making navigating in transit a breeze.
Korea’s public transportation system is world-class, but there will definitely times where you can’t use the trains or buses (i.e. the wee hours of the morning). That’s where KakaoTaxi comes in. This ride-hailing app is cheap, fast, and convenient, dispatching a cab within minutes of you setting your location and destination.
Naver Dictionary and Translate
Google Translate is the common go-to translate app, but it’s not without flaws. The biggest one is how it’ll only give you one possible translation, which is sorely limiting. Opt instead for Naver , which churns out a number of translated possibilities that lets you choose the right phrase for based on your context or situation. The app also has audio accompanying the results, making it much easier to communicate and is a great resource for anyone trying to learn Korea.
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