Its all about convenience!
In this day and age, EVERYTHING can be located, operated, or ordered from the palm of your hand. As the unofficial (in our opinion) leaders in convenience, you know that Korea will lead the way in this Tech-march forward!
We want to share some of our top picks of uniquely Korean (foreigner friendly)apps that we have found during our visits to Korea to help you maximise your Korean experience and look like a native to your Korean friends. By the end of this article, you will be ready to navigate, travel, eat and communicate like a local… well, almost!
“Visit Korea” for Visiting Korea.
The simple truth is, we are foreigners visiting Korea. There is no shame in downloading an app that was developed specifically for us by the Korea Tourism Organization. This app is full of helpful tools, suggestions and tips just for us! You can install it before your trip and bookmark places you want to go, even events and discounts available during your trip and save them for viewing offline.
This app can be very useful but remember, it is suggesting tourist kinds of things. For this reason, you don’t want to make it your only source of planning. To get the full Korean experience, you will need more.
Naver get Lost or Misunderstand!
Google may run almost everything around the world, however, its not perfect and it doesn’t have a contract in South Korea to be able to update its maps. Being the proud nation that it is, Korea wanted its own version of Google and that is Naver. Two “must-have” apps by Naver are Naver Translate (Papago) and Naver Map.
Papago is one of the easiest (and least likely to embarrass you) translation apps. With a few prime categories, audio, visual and typed. There is a mini function that will leave the translator on at all times. This comes in handy when you are talking to a Korean friend and they send a text that you don’t really understand. Just copy the text and “POOF” you have the translation! It can translate in many languages so, you are sure to find one that you are fluent in to make sure nothing is lost in translation.
Speaking of lost. If you want to get the most up to date locations and directions, Naver Maps is the way to go. Although there isn’t an English function, you can type in what you are looking for in English and it will usually know what you mean.
Eat Great With Mango Plate!
One of the biggest problems with any new place is, “Where is a good place to eat?” If you are staying at a major Hotel chain, they have a list of sponsored restaurants so you can’t completely trust that they are the best in the area. Also, what is the average price range? Mango Plate has solved this problem with its unique app. Not only can you see all the restaurants near you but, you can see pictures from customers of the food, read reviews, see the price range, how to get there or even call a taxi to take you to it. Almost anything you want to know is right there on your device.
The only major downside we found with this app is you have to be in the neighborhood you are searching or have a familiarity with the area you want to search or it will be difficult to find the right area filter.
Win the Transportation Game with Metroid HD
Although the Metro (Korean Transit Authority) has its own app. It can be frustrating and confusing for first time visitors. It takes some experimenting and practice to get very efficient with it. Therefore we would like to strongly encourage you to check out Metroid HD. It is very simple to use! Tell it where you are and where you want to be and when you want to be there. Hit search and it will do the rest. What station, line, time and transfers will be mapped out for you in a simple to understand timeline.
The down side of this app is that it doesn’t have many of the features that you will find on the main metro app. Such as it doesn’t automatically adapt if you miss a connection, and it can’t add a bus connection to get you closer to your desired destination. With Metroid HD, simplicity is the point.
Learn How to Kakao!
We all have our favorite chat app but, Kakao takes it to a whole new level! Nearly everyone in Korea uses it. Kids, adults, even businesses! In Korea, people guard their true Kakao ID even more than their personal phone number. If someone gives you their ID then you know that you have made a real connection. However, Kakao is so much more than a chat app! These days you can do almost anything from Kakao, text, call, video call, share, location, pictures and files are all pretty standard for a chat app. This is where Kakao steps it up a notch!
Kakao has navigation, you can order a taxi, send gifts and gift cards, there are stores across Korea called Kakao Friends, a Facebook like app called Kakao Story, photo editor and filter called Kakao Cheese and now even an online bank! We could seriously write an entire article on just Kakao. If you plan to travel to Korea or have Korean friends, this is the first app you will need to download. One of the few problems with Kakao Talk is that you can’t send an emoticon set as a gift if you are using an iPhone but other than that, its pretty awesome!
What is Your App?
Let us know what Korean apps you have tried and what ones are your favorite. We love to hear from you! While you are online, jump over to our main page and see what we have coming up. Let us know if you have any requests or ideas for new subscription box themes, recipes you would like to learn (or share) and if you would like to see a future article on Kakao in detail or just say hello!
Featured image: ©iphone, 08.07.2018,Benjaminrobyn Jespersen, unsplash.com