Must-have smart phone apps for Korea

After spending 8 weeks living in Korea without really knowing Korean, I still survive πŸ˜‰. Actually, you can get along quite well with English, but sometimes, I just wished I have learned more and harder Korean. However, now a day your smart phone can help you out in difficult situations, if you have the right apps.

Following you’ll find my app recommendation for all Korean newcomers or first time travelers. This recommendation is based on my own experience and I’m writing this post only for you, who are new in Korea or planning to visit Korea soon. I’m not get paid for it…

All apps are available for iOS and Android System.

1. Naver Map – as GPS app – online only

I’ve mentioned this app in my earlier post about the Seoul subway system. Until today, I still use this app almost everyday to find the best way to my destinations. Here are again pros and cons in my opinion:

Pros:

  • This app is free, has the whole Korean map and can guide you to your destination, no matter whether you travel with car, or public transportation, bicycle or walk.
  • Most of the destination can be searched in English. However, you can also enter the address or set the pin on map.
  • The routing is really reliable.
  • Traffic information, street view, CCTVs, etc. could be enabled.
  • Not only one route, but also other posibilities are also calculated to reach the destination. You can choose the one you like best to follow.
  • In case you take the subway, this app also shows you which exit you should take to reach the destination fastest.

Cons:

  • No offline mode.
  • There are still many locations that are not available in English.
Naver Dict and Naver Map

2. Naver Dictionary – as Translator – online only

If you don’t speak any Korean at all and come to a place, where none can speak English, this app can help.

You can copy & paste, dictate, take picture of the text that needs to be translated with the Naver Dict app, it can be translated from Korean to English, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, etc. and vice versa. It can also read out the translated text to help you to communicate with others.

Cannot speak Korean? No problem πŸ˜‰!

3. XE Currency – as Currency converter – offline useable

While traveling, I always want to know how much I spend and use the XE Currency app as reference. It’s really easy to use, always has the current rate online and can be used offline, with the last saved values.

Checking your spending with XE

4. Kakao T – Taxi order – online only

Sometimes you wait and wait and wait and no free taxi comes. In this case in Korea, you can just order one using the Kakao T app.
After the registration with your mobilenumber, all you need to do is to set the pick up, as well as destination location. Then press “Taxi order”. (Hopefully) One taxi driver around your area will take the order. In the app you’ll see the Taxi’s license number, current location, time to travel to the pick up location, etc.

Order a Taxi easily with Kakao T
Kakao Taxi

Once the cap is there, you just need to enter and go. You should pay later with cash or card. As foreigner, paying with app is not possible.

5. Drops – 15 min. Korean per day – offline useable

Well, with the 4 apps mentioned above, you can get along quite well without having any Korean knowledge. However, it is also a way to show your respect to the local people, if you learn and can speak a little bit Korean. Drops will help you to learn the Korean alphabet, as well as vocabulary very quickly and easily.

Learn Korean with Drops

It’s just like playing a small game and learning a new language during that.

Have you tried any of those apps? How are your experiences?

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