Must Have Apps While In South Korea

As I stated in my previous post “Things to buy for your trip to Korea,” I have a set of apps here in Korea that I use ALL the time. These apps have saved my life more than once. Most of these apps are best used while in or near the Seoul area. If you are moving/traveling to an area that is outside of Seoul let me know and I can give you some apps for that area.

KakaoTalk

~Usability~
This is a free communications app. This is what every Korean uses to text. It is wifi friendly, which is nice because wifi is everywhere in Korea, so texting all your friends and family wont use your data (if you set the wifi up properly). They have recently added video calling. I have yet to try it but it sounds awesome! You can also have the app added to your computer and text that way.

~Features~
The emojis on this app are amazing! You can also add more with free opportunities or buy them. My sister and I use this app all the time. When we don’t use it for a period of time (in the states iMessage is easier) we miss the emojis. This app can also be used around the world. It wont use your minutes or texting. Also it does not use international calling. ¬†They have a newer feature called “KakaoTV”. This has several short Korean shows. The only downfall is that it is in Korean and I have yet to figure out if there are subtitles.

~Overall~
This app will help you keep in contact with your family and friends around the world or in your backyard. A few of my friends have struggled getting use to the app. I believe that once you get use to it, it is an amazing app to use.

Photo courtesy of Kakao
Photo courtesy of Kakao

SeoulBus

~Usability~
This app is a helpful app if you are riding the buses near and in Seoul. The Busses are not as English friendly as the subway. The app recently had an English update which will help you a great deal navigate the confusing bus system. The app is pretty easy to use. Every bus stop has a number. You enter the number into the app and it will give you a lineup of all the busses coming to that stop.

~Features~
One thing I love about this app is that it gives you a time frame for when the buses will be coming. Sometimes, you ride a bus that only comes every hour, during the winter waiting for an hour outside can be too cold. With the app you are able to go to a coffee shop near by and wait in the warmth knowing the time your bus would be coming. Also the app allows you to save favorites both for stops and buses. This allows you to track the route of the bus easier.

~Overall~
There was a time when this app was not working with my old phone (the phone was REALLY old). I went a month without it and felt completely lost. The app has also helped me to figure out where certain buses go. Considering the subway doesn’t go everywhere and can take a lot of time, the bus app provides a way for me to be mobile in a foreign country.

Photo courtesy of SeoulBus
Photo courtesy of SeoulBus

Asian Air Quality

~Usability~
This app provides you with the air quality of your area. This may not seem needed to you….until you go through Winter and Spring in Korea. With winds coming from the Mongolian desert and China the air quality in Korea sometimes becomes terrible. Last year the air quality was so bad that I became ill with a fever and extreme body aches. Also my skin broke out in a slight rash. So the air quality is important. Knowing when the air quality is bad allows you to cover yourself up before you go outside and wear a medical mask.

~Feature~
This app is pretty basic but I love that it gives you a color scale (it follows the Korean based color scale). I also really love that it tracks my location. No matter where I travel, in Korea, it can tell me its air quality. Korea has mountains and valleys. The valleys hold in the bad air longer than the mountain areas. My neighborhood is a valley and gets bad air quality and then holds it in. So when Seoul may have a good quality of air, my area is still struggling with it. This app doesn’t just measure, what we call, “yellow dust” (desert and factory air) but all kinds of chemicals and elements that can be found in the air.

~Overall~
The app provides a chance to be healthier in Korea. That is really important to me. It is hard to explain the importance of air quality if you never lived in a place that struggled with it. It really does influence your entire body. Not being able to breath properly or suffer from an illness brought on by bad air quality can be reduced thanks to this app.

Photo courtesy of asian air quality
Photo courtesy of AsianAirQuaity

These three apps are apps that I have had for the past two years. I cant imagine not having them on my phone for this upcoming year. I use them almost daily. I hope you have found this information helpful. I know that this post is more for people traveling or living in Korea but it also can give you ideas to search for in your own area.

What are your favorite apps? Let me know!

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