Essential Apps to Download Before Traveling to South Korea

Essential Apps to Download Before Traveling to South Korea

Traveling to South Korea can be an exciting adventure, filled with vibrant culture, delicious food, and stunning sights. To make your trip smoother and more enjoyable, consider downloading these essential apps before you go. From navigating the streets of Seoul to ordering food like a local, these apps will be your best companions on your journey.

1. KakaoTalk

  • Description: South Korea's most popular messaging app.
  • Why You Need It: Stay connected with friends and make new ones. Many locals use KakaoTalk for communication, and it also offers free calls and messaging.
  • Features: Chat, voice and video calls, group chats, and fun stickers.
  • Link: iOS, Android

2. KakaoMap or Naver Map

  • Description: A comprehensive map app that provides detailed navigation in South Korea.
  • Why You Need It: Google Maps can be unreliable in South Korea due to data restrictions. KakaoMap offers accurate directions, public transportation routes, and real-time traffic updates. (More on navigating in Korea)
  • Features: Detailed maps, navigation for driving, walking, and public transit, and offline maps.
  • Link: KakaoMap: iOS, Android; Naver Map: iOSAndroid

3. Papago

  • Description: A translation app developed by Naver, specifically designed for Korean and other languages.
  • Why You Need It: It’s great for translating Korean signs, menus, and conversations into English. It supports voice, text, and image translations.
  • Features: Real-time translation, voice recognition, and offline translation.
  • link: iOS, Android, Web

4. KakaoMetro

  • Description: An app for navigating South Korea’s extensive subway systems.
  • Why You Need It: It provides detailed subway maps, route planning, and real-time updates, making it easy to get around cities like Seoul and Busan.
  • Features: Subway maps, station information, and transfer guides.
  • Link: iOS, Android

5. Visit Korea

  • Description: The official travel app by the Korea Tourism Organization.
  • Why You Need It: It offers a wealth of information on attractions, restaurants, accommodations, and events throughout South Korea.
  • Features: Travel guides, maps, suggested itineraries, and offline content.
  • Link: iOS, Android 

6. KakaoTaxi

  • Description: A popular taxi-hailing app in South Korea.
  • Why You Need It: It makes it easy to book a taxi without needing to speak Korean. Uber is available, but cars may be limited so we recommend having both just in case. You can't attach an international card to pay in app, so carry cash to pay the driver. 
  • Features: Taxi booking, fare estimates, and payment options.
  • Link: iOS, Android

7. Yogiyo

  • Description: A food delivery app that offers a wide range of restaurant options.
  • Why You Need It: It’s perfect for ordering food to your accommodation when you want to try local cuisine without going out.
  • Features: Restaurant listings, menu translations, and delivery tracking.
  • Link: iOS, Android

9. AirVisual

  • Description: An air quality monitoring app.
  • Why You Need It: South Korea occasionally experiences poor air quality due to pollution. This app helps you stay informed and take necessary precautions.
  • Features: Real-time air quality index, weather forecasts, and health advice.
  • Link: iOS, Android

10. Currency Converter Plus

  • Description: A handy currency conversion app.
  • Why You Need It: Easily convert prices from Korean Won to your home currency, helping you manage your budget.
  • Features: Real-time exchange rates, offline mode, and calculator.
  • Link: iOS, Android

11. Mobile T-money

  • Description: A mobile version of the T-money card, used for public transportation.
  • Why You Need It: Check your balance for your T-money card directly from your phone and use it for subways, buses, taxis, and even convenience store purchases. You can't add international cards to the account, so top up with cash at a convenience store or a reload machine at a subway station.
  • Features: Balance check, top-up options, and transaction history.
  • Link: iOS, Android

12. Trazy

  • Description: A travel booking platform for tours and activities.
  • Why You Need It: Find and book unique tours, activities, and experiences across South Korea.
  • Features: Tour listings, user reviews, and instant booking.
  • Link: iOS, Android

Tips for Using Apps in South Korea:

  • Wi-Fi and Data: Ensure you have access to Wi-Fi or a local SIM card with data. South Korea has excellent internet connectivity, but it’s always good to be prepared.
  • Language Settings: Many apps have English versions or settings. Check the app settings to switch the language if necessary.
  • Local Etiquette: While using these apps, remember to respect local customs and be polite, especially in communication apps like KakaoTalk.

Downloading these apps before your trip to South Korea will help you navigate the country more easily and enhance your overall travel experience. Safe travels!

More Blog Posts on Korea: 

First Timer's Guide to Traveling in South Korea

3 Day Itinerary to Jeju Island 

Best Cherry Blossom Festivals in South Korea


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