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First time in Korea? | Phone Apps Guide

Updated: Mar 28, 2022

What if you had 24h to spend in South Korea? To make the most out of that experience you'll need clear directions & smooth transportation! If it were Vietnam, you'd find it most convenient to use Google, Messenger & Grab [the Uber of Vietnam]. However, if you're headed to Korea, you'll need to filter through those Apps a bit more!

What are the handiest Apps for first-timers in Korea? Let's find out!

The best part is, most of the following Applications offer an English language feature!

The content of this article is not for advertising purposes.

1. KaKaoTalk

A Korean favorite! This App is immensely popular. Almost all mobile users in

Korea have it as a default messenger. In addition, KakaoTalk serves as identity verification since it is connected with the user's mobile number. It combines features ranging from booking a taxi, generating a personal QR code, reading the news, and receiving important notices from various sources [credit card payment, delivery companies, hospitals.. etc.]

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the application has been

one of the main partners of the Korean government for registration upon visiting

public spaces.

2. KaKaoMap

KakaoMap a.k.a the local Korean alternative to Google Maps and is the number one map application in Korea. Whether you're finding hotels, restaurants, stations, museums, galleries, or just about any other place; It proves to be quite the help one needs in a foreign country. You can use it to confirm the departure or arrival times of both subway and busses as well as the duration and cost of the commute. However, the main disadvantage of KakaoMap is that it does not show maps outside of Korea.

Also, most of the information is available in Korean.

3. KaKao T

Source Kakao Mobility, Kakao Taxi most commonly known as 'Kakao T' is an App under KaKao Mobility corp and works along with KaKaoMap. It provides services such as taxi-hailing, designated driver bookings, parking space searching, and real-time traffic information. The Kakao application serves as a KaKao T account as well. Last but not least, it is considered to be the safest Taxi means by locals.

Side note: No, KaKao is NOT the only company in Korea if you're wondering, haha. Nonetheless, it IS the fourth-biggest company listed in South Korea with businesses in different areas!

3. NAVER Map

If KakaoMap is not your cup of tea, NAVER Maps is another local favorite mobile Map service for navigating smoothly around Korea. While both Maps provide detailed information about commuting in general [bus stops, subway stations, travel fares, and walking distances] many foreigners prefer NAVER Maps due to the convenient interface provided in English. Besides the regular search, one would make a Map service; NAVER Map provides restaurant & cafe menus with prices and even GUESTHOUSE fees!


NAVER provides similar services to those of Google, but it IS a Korean service and that is why it has been established as the leading online platform in the country. Most Koreans rely on NAVER for various reasons as it serves as a search engine, news, blogging platform, review pannel, translation tool, or reservation system.

Along with KakaoTalk, NAVER accounts are also officially used as a means of personal verification.

These are not the only helpful Apps if you're ever in the lands of Korea, however, for a very basic start; the ones mentioned above will save you A LOT of traveling trouble.

Stay updated for the upcoming part of this series for more foreigner-friendly Apps!


Published by:


South Korea


Author: Rukesh Machamasi

Editor: Yousra Feriel Drioua

Proofreading: Margarita Kichukova


© World Reporters - 2021.22

All Rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored or transmitted, in any form or by any means without the permission of The Create Your Korea team.

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