I remember my first time travelling free & easy in Korea was, in fact, only my second time there, and I was actually staying there without my family for six weeks. It can be a little intimidating to travel around on your own if you are not familiar with Korea. The situation is, of course, made worse if you can hardly speak or understand a word of Korean.
Thankfully, my friends (& the helpful folks on the Internet!) recommended a few mobile apps to help me out. I’ll share some that I’ve found useful if you are a tourist or foreigner travelling around Korea, and update along the way on any new apps that are good. I’ve added links to the apps for Apple users, but you should be able to find them on Android as well (well, Korea is the home of Samsung, after all).
This is SO. USEFUL!
If you live in a country or city that doesn’t have a very complicated metro network, Seoul’s one will surely throw you off. With more lines and stations than I had ever seen in my life, I honestly did not know how I was going to survive travelling around Seoul if I didn’t get any help.
My friend had recommended this app to me, and I swear it’s a lifesaver. You can easily check the fastest or easiest route to get from one station to another, and it will show you how long the ride will take, when the trains arrive etc.
See what I mean when I say it’s convenient? It even tells you which side of the door to exit from! 😻 I cannot go out without checking this app to see how long my journey takes, and I always rely on this to navigate my way around the metro. Trust me, you’ll definitely love this app.
Another useful app that can help you to navigate Seoul’s metro. I didn’t use this as often, but it works in a similar manner.
I found out the hard way that Google Maps does not work well in Korea. According to an answer on Quora:
According to Korean Spatial Information Management act, Korean domestic geographical information can not be exported to the other country. Google did not promise to obey this regulation. So, Korea Government refusing to provide detail domestic geographic information to Google.
So if you are planning to use Google or Apple Maps in Korea, be prepared to get lost.
Of course there are solutions for it, and my favourite one is Naver Map. I’m actually not sure why it has received such negative reviews, because I think it works fine. The reviews are quite old though, so maybe things improved after their recent updates.
Let’s say I want to find a place: all I need to do is input the locations accordingly and it will plot out the route for you. Don’t worry if you can’t read maps, because there are directions for you to follow. It’s kind of like Google Maps, but tailored for Korea – definitely something you need if you can’t find some of the less touristy places.
This app will be for all the times you try to find a famous restaurant, or don’t know what to eat in a place you are not familiar with.
Let’s say you want to find the Innisfree Green Cafe – just type it in the search bar and you can find directions in whichever map app you prefer. You can also read reviews from other users, many of which are actually in English because they are contributed by tourists. This is really useful if you are particular about finding the best food in Korea to try, and didn’t manage to read up more about this before your trip.
I have planned many last-minute itineraries and searched for travelling directions on the KTO website, and thennn I found this app, which literally does the same thing!
Of course, besides downloading your planned destinations and finding detailed travel information, it is also a great app that you can use to find interesting activities and places to go to.
Have any interesting apps that will make travelling in Korea easier? Share them in the comments!