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Must Have Korean Apps

September 3, 2015

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Hi everyone!

While this week’s TL;DR isn’t as anecdotal and bizarre as last’s week’s video on drugs and prostitution, but it’s useful for people that are planning on coming to Korea, so we wanted to share this list with you so you can get your phones loaded and ready. We mentioned a bunch in our video, including KakaoTalk, HelloTalk (which Martina keeps making me talk out loud in Polish embarrassingly), Daum Maps, Jihachul, Seoul Bus, Yogiyo, and U+ Membership, here are a few more:

Other Apps We Didn’t Mention in the Video

Yogiyo isn’t the only food app we use, though it’s the one we use the most because we mostly order food from home. However, when we’re in the studio, we use 배달의민족 Baedal Uiminjog. Different apps are better for different areas. There’s supposedly a great food delivery app for the Itaewon area as well, if you’re living in the Itaewon area. Just beware that food delivery apps are regional :D

Otherwise, we’re gonna list a couple more apps that we don’t use ourselves, so we can’t vouch for it they’re actually good or not, but our friends seem to like them.

Rose is a big fan of Milk Samsung Music Streaming, in which you can stream all types of music for free but it’s only for Android. We don’t have Android so boohoo to that. But we’re looking for a good streaming service for Korean music, because though we use iTunes Music and can listen to Kpop albums, iTunes radio stations are banned here. Of course they are. Korea loves banning non-Korean things.

Speaking of banned in Korea, Uber is a big one that can’t be used here. It was here for a while, and it was a godsend, because getting a taxi at night is really challenging, and for a long time they were ultra dishonest, so being able to call an Uber saved many foreigners from getting hustled. But then Uber got banned, and the CEO is wanted in Korea, I think. Since then, Kakao Taxi copied them in a slight way. I heard you can use the app to call the normal Korean taxi which is useful when you’re in a neighbourhood that has no taxis passing through, but you still have to pay for them the normal way which seems dumb to me. The reason we love Uber is because we can use it pre-paid since it’s hooked up to your credit card but maybe you can hook up Kakao Taxi to your account in Korea as well and we just haven’t met anyone who did that yet. This last Friday we were with friends who used KakaoTaxi to call a taxi, but they didn’t pay via the app, so at least we know the hailing of the taxi function works!

If you’re planning on being here a bit longer than most people, then you might want to pick up 직방 which is an app for apartment hunting. It shows you the map of available places for rent in your neighbourhood and saves you the trouble of scrubbing through nightmare real estate sites. I WISH I KNEW ABOUT THIS APP LAST YEAR. Seriously. Apartment hunting was a real pain in the ass for us. We’d go to a real estate agent, tell them our budget and what we want, and they’d show us stuff way below or way above our budget, and nothing like anything we asked for. Oh, you’re looking for a two bedroom apartment? How about this restaurant? GOT DAMN! This app would have definitely been appreciated back then.

Lastly, Kucha is a coupon app that gathers deals from all over the Korean internet and puts them together into one service. It covers lots of stuff from clothing to food to flights, but you have to sign up for the app using your real Korean ID, which might not be useful to people here as tourists. But if you do have an ID, then you should love it!

So that’s it for our list. Are there any apps we’ve missed out on? Let us know! We’re gonna get back to traveling around Finland now. We just got here a few hours ago and we’re totally jet lagged. I hope this blog post made sense. It did, right?

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Must Have Korean Apps

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  1. Hey Simon and Martina –
    I’m very curious about Western media and entertainment in South Korea and was wondering if you could elaborate more on it. I started watching the drama “My Love From the Stars” and was very surprised to see “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane” as a symbol/motiff/extended metaphor throughout the series and that made me wonder what other Western books have been translated in Korean and have also become popular. I’m pretty sure “Harry Potter” is there as well but what about “A Song of Fire and Ice” or “Catcher in the Rye” (or any other popular books/series you can think of)? I was also wondering if they show movies from the Americas or Europe in theaters either, or if they air television shows such as “The Big Bang Theory” or “Friends” or “The Game of Thrones” or even dramas from around the world.

    Thanks.

    3 years ago
  2. This was super helpful! I plan on studying abroad in South Korea really soon so that subway app will be a godsend.
    I have a question, as I’m a big reading fan, what are some popular books in South Korea? Do Koreans have the same standards for literature as North Americans (i.e., anything goes)? Or are they more strict in what can be published? Are English books often translated into Korean? What are some famous Korean books that everyone in Korea probably reads at one point or another – both in academic circles and fiction/pop culture circles? <3

    3 years ago
  3. My jaw dropped when you talked about the food delivery app……if we had that over here I would abuse it so much haha. Can’t even get food delivered the old fashioned way since we live so dang far away from everythin’.

    3 years ago
  4. cool

    3 years ago
  5. I left this comment in YT comment section but there is so many of them so i decided to paste it also here :)
    “Me and my GF are quite fond of korean movies (one of my favourite movies of all time being “New World”) and last time we’ve been watching “a man from nowhere”, movie about retired secret agent who’s trying to save a child from kidnappers. There were some scenes that made us wonder about child services, orphans situation and social security in Korea all-around. Thanks for an answer and keep up the good work.
    Also Simon good luck with learning Polish, i’m Pole by myself and would be proud to help but i’m not a teacher and i’m afraid that Polish grammar would be too complicated for me to teach someone :D.”

    3 years ago
  6. Just wanted to share an app for Korean learners which has been a lot of fun for me!
    It is called MofunKorea and enables you to record your voice over clips of popular Korean movies, music videos or television programs.
    It is a Chinese app, but I still managed to work out how to use it quite quickly because most buttons have matching icons (and there are currently no in-app purchases so you won’t accidentally buy anything). Google ‘Mofunkorea app’ and a link to download should come up. Enjoy :D

    3 years ago
  7. I loved using the 지하철 app when I was living in Seoul. It’s freaking glorious that they tell you the cart and door number so you can transfer to another line more quickly.
    And the thing I really like about this app is the interactive subway map. Instead of choosing the stations via a dropdown list you just click on the map where you depart from and arrive at. So you’re actually able to see the route on the map. Thus you can get a better mental image on where you are in the city (does that make sense to you? xD).
    Oh man I wish there would be such a good app for the public transportations in Berlin, Germany.

    I used my German phone number for Kakao and it works fine. Other people can add you via an ID (that is given to you, but you can also change it) so it is still super convenient even if you don’t have a Korean number … like me :D

    3 years ago
  8. I was in Japan last December and I downloaded Line, I thought that most people in Korea had line too… I also downloaded Kakaotalk (I mean, I love kdramas and I always see the sponsor thingi about kakao) I don’t use it tho because I live in México… I want to go to Korea SOOOO BAD!

    3 years ago
  9. Are the apps in English?

    3 years ago
  10. SIMON. OLLEH IS KT. SK IS THE OTHER CARRIER. ALKSDJFLKJSDLFKSDLKFJASLKDJF

    Other than that great video! I think everything’s spot-on.

    Note, though: it might be because Uber was preinstalled on my phone, but Uber does work in Seoul (Apgujeong). I have used the \20,000 coupon given to me for Uber Black (code 90KDUBER) and continue to use it occasionally. Uber X is the service that the government banned, and (if I’m not mistaken) was replaced by Uber Taxi (basically Kakaotaxi, you call a taxi and you pay them directly). Just saying.

    3 years ago
  11. Q

    I just came back from my trip to Seoul 2 days ago, and the Jihachul app was da bomb. I have to thank you both for the TL;DR that you did on tips on traveling to Seoul. I actually only used Google maps for walking directions because the Daum and Naver maps are both in Korean and couldn’t understand it. I was still able to find my way to the YAH cafe and EYK studio though! I don’t know of any other apps to use when traveling around Seoul/South Korea, but I would suggest to pick up the Korea Grand Sale brochure which is pink and exclusive for tourists. You can get it in the subway stations and can provide you discounts when you’re shopping. Most shops that participate in the sale have signs on their doors and windows and you can use the brochure to inquire the salespeople about their discount.

    Have fun on your trip to Finland! I hope I can see you next year when I return to Seoul! :D

    3 years ago
  12. iTunes Radio and Apple Music are not “banned” in Korea – they just don’t have the necessary agreements with recording studios and the regulators in charge of copyright. Latest news (as at end of August) is that Apple is in talks with studios and hopefully we’ll be able to access Apple Music and iTunes Radio soon.

    3 years ago
    • You’re right. My wording is wrong, and they’re not outright banned, but, on a related question: why does Apple have such a huge holdup in Korea whenever they release anything?

      3 years ago
      • I’d venture to guess it has something to do with that whole Asia-Pacific trade agreement – bureaucratic barriers, piracy issues, etc. Possibly Apple trying to insure the protection of their intellectual property in a world where torrenting is rife.

        3 years ago
  13. I like using Syrup instead of LG u+ membership. It also keeps all cards in one place

    3 years ago
  14. I use Kakao and Hello Talk, and I used Jihachul when I was living in Korea.

    Jihachul is a godsend. I never would have gotten anywhere in Korea without it. Hell, I found out through the app that they’d built a subway line to a city I used to have to take the bus or a taxi to get to! It’s probably going to the most useful app to have (as well as the bus app).

    Kakao is nice, but it’s exclusive and you can only talk to people who also have Kakao. Most of my friends in Korea had Line, since you don’t need a phone number for Line, but you do for Kakao. We didn’t have phone numbers in Korea (as most tourists wouldn’t), so Kakao was inconvenient. So unless you’re staying for a while and getting a Korean number, Line might be a better option, since a lot of people over there use Line as well (though not as much as Kakao).

    I only recently started using Hello Talk (about a month ago), and it’s a fabulous app. I’ve been able to brush up on my Korean. The only thing I would suggest (especially for girls) is to set it so only other girls can contact you (or vice versa for boys). I had a really weird guy try to add me the first few days, and it was not a pleasant experience at all. I highly suspect they added me because I was very obviously a white girl. My experience may be 1 in a million, but it never hurts to be safe. If you don’t mind getting all sorts of people adding you, by all means, leave it as is. It’s your personal preference.

    3 years ago
  15. Thanks for the post, its timing couldn’t be more perfect! – I was wondering what I could use instead of google maps there and the public transportation app will be very useful when I finally get to South Korea (34 days left, woohoo!!!) and try to cram as much as I can of Seoul, Busan and Jeju in only 14 days :D
    P.S.: I will definitely pay a visit to the “You are here cafe” and the Yellow booth, so let me know if you would like anything from Romania – I cand drop it there (if that is ok, if not I can use the Korean post office). Thanks for your blog posts, I read them all and hope you never stop vlogging.

    3 years ago
  16. I use Kakao Talk and it’s been very useful to keep in touch with all of my Korean contacts. Thank you very much for posting this video, it was very useful ^^ As a Finnish citizen I hope you enjoy your stay in Finland! How long will you be staying here and why are you here in the first place? It would be really cool to meet you :)

    3 years ago
  17. I using “Hello talk” cause i want to learn Korean, but i can’t find somebody who can teach me, cause they usually chat little bit and gone… well but it is good app even to chat and if you are lazy to type you can just record you voice ;D

    3 years ago