KakaoTalk is THE messaging app in South Korea. Out of the 11 apps listed in this article, this one is arguably the most essential if you plan on living in South Korea for any length of time.
KakaoTalk has all the features of any other messaging app you’ve probably used so far: send/receive messages, create group chats, share photos, videos, and your location. Whether for work or play, you’re bound to use KakaoTalk on a daily basis if living in Korea.
Google Translate can be helpful at times, but it has limitations. In Korea, Naver Dictionary can be a better alternative to Google Translate as it provides several translation options instead of just one that may not necessarily suit the context of your search.
Naver Dictionary also has an audio option, which is helpful for those who are trying to improve their pronunciation to make living in South Korea a bit easier.
South Korea’s subway system is top-notch and easy to navigate, but the Subway Korea app makes things even easier. Available in English and Korean, this app provides information for every major subway system in the country.
The Subway Korea app also helps you find the quickest route to your destination with minimal transfers: when the next train will arrive, the first and last trains for each day, and which car is most convenient if you have to transfer during your commute.
Google Maps doesn’t work as well as KakaoMap in South Korea, with another very reliable option being Naver Map (App Store/Google Play). KakaoMap automatically tracks your current location, calculate the best route to a destination, and guides you there.
This app also has modes for automobiles, bicycles, public transportation, and going by foot.
South Korea has an abundance of taxis, so it’s usually easy to hail one, but during busier times or late at night, things can be more complicated, so you can benefit from having KakaoTaxi (KakaoT).
KakaoT is Uber’s Korean counterpart, but this app will bring you a licensed taxi without the extra fees associated with using a call service. Like Uber, KakaoT tracks your current location and hail a cab nearby.
Fine dust in Korea is no joke, especially at certain times of the year. Air Visual Air Quality allows you to monitor the air quality wherever you are on the peninsula, so you can adjust your commute or outdoor plans.
This app also sends you alerts if the fine dust in your location reaches dangerous levels. Misae Misae (App Store/Google Play) is another quality option.
Available in Korean, English, and Chinese, the KorailTalk app is an easy and convenient way to purchase tickets for KTX, ITX, and Mugunghwa trains, just search for trains by date & time and pay using a credit card. Unlike the Korail website, you do not need to print out your ticket when using Korailtalk, just use your phone.
If you live in Seoul, you can use the city’s bike-sharing system as an alternative to public transportation or for leisure ride. Seoul Bike utilizes stations across the city so you can conveniently rent and return bikes for as little as 1,000 KRW per hour. This app is also available in English and has an option for non-Koreans.