4 Essential Mobile Apps for Korea

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Last Updated on August 17, 2017 by Christine Kaaloa

4 essential iPhone apps for Korea
4 Essential mobile apps for Korea

I love my Apple products and these days, I find, I can’t live without my  iPod Touch (read my post here). Living in Korea, I’ll tell you why…  I want easy and convenient access to Korean information and I want it in English.

Essential Mobile Apps for Korea

#1.   Subway in Korea Lite (aka KorSubway)

What’s more frustrating than having to spend time searching for your station on a map when you’re in a rush?  With KorSubway, my eyes don’t get crazed out with b.s. visuals, while searching for my stops. KorSubway‘s butt-simple visuals makes finding metro connections fast, easy… a snap!

This handy map has been my #1 tool for getting around (though Jihachul may eventually replace it). It has the metros lines for major Korean cities and a finger swipe navigates you through them, allowing you to zoom in and out for an easy read.     Settings are in both, Korean and English. Cost: Free

#2.  Jihachul

Seoul’s metro system occasionally  elicits a scream from me when I’m routing my connections and transfers. Jihachul takes that frustration away and does it for you. Tap on your starting station and your destination;  it’ll spit out the quickest route to get you to your destination and even tell you what car number to stand at or jump onto for quick and easy transfer. Best of all, it works offline!

Originally mentioned by Traveling Man at Hi-Expat, it’s become my strongest “go to” when I visit Seoul, but it’ll also map Daegu, Busan, Daejeon and Gwangju.  Speedy and efficient routing is what it offers upfront, but then it goes deeper. Maps are nice (KTX trains and major stations are in bold distinction, it includes above-ground exit maps and you can bookmark your favorite stations).  This app is the best mapping for metro Korea I’ve seen yet!

It’s hard to imagine this gem of an app is still free. So grab it now! Cost: Free


#3.   Travel Korean Tourism

If you’re new to Korea or just wondering what touristy thing to do for the weekend, check this out.  The Korean Tourism Organization (website here) threw together a simple app to give you a sightseeing key to the city. This pocket guidebook has information on some of their popular sights and it’s packed with searches, such as film/drama locations, spas, resorts, world heritage sights…a lot.

However, although this guidebook is for tourists, the fact it categorizes  site listings by region (vs. by city), doesn’t make it as user-friendly as one would hope. Another thing to wish list, is that it would give us directions to the locations! Nevertheless, this tool is handy pocket guidebook to what you can see or do in Korea. Cost: Free


#4.   Korean Food

If you’re  a food lover and want to sample Korean foods, this is perfect for you. As a Korean Food dictionary with pictures, this handy application ROCKS! Bigtime.

If you’re new to Korean food, pay the dollar and download this. Loaded with pictures, descriptions and a mini phrasebook, this guide puts a face to the name and decodes the mystery.

In the mood for something sweet or salty? There’s a ‘category sorter’, which  recommends morsels your taste buds could be pining for! Cost: 99 cents


Have a  favorite Korea iPhone/iPod apps you can’t live without?



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  • Great list but want to see Naver or Duam too in this list. They are very useful apps.

  • Thanks a lot, Christine! It was so thoughtful of you to send me the link. =)

  • Thanks! I go to Seoul twice a year for business and while I love the subway system, there are those moments when I am in a rush and reach that point running to a connection where I must choose the correct direction of a line and my stop is not a reference point on the sign and there is no posted map (though I’ve seen some more maps popping up, which is cool). So the metro apps will be nice! Especially the offline ones.

    • @Kevin: OMG- those direction lines totally throw me off too. The Jihachul app is actually pretty wicked. Seoul’s subway system is enormous and it does a good job giving you specific information.The creator was pretty brilliant. I think you’ll love it. Enjoy!

  • Most cities have a bus app – I’m in Daejeon, and the app Daejeon Bus (대전버스) is invaluable. Also, the Korail app is great too – but I’m pretty sure you need a Korean card to purchase a train ticket on it.

    I’ve also downloaded the Daum app, mainly so that I can take advantage of the dictionary there. I have a separate dictionary app but it’s not as good, especially with words that can have multiple meanings. Daum shows you example sentences so you can make sure that you’re using the right word.

    • @Tom: Excellent tip about the bus apps! Wow, you must be good with your Korean to download the Daum, Korail and Bus apps! I downloaded the Daegu bus app but it’s all in Korean and I needed to be online which (for my iPod Touch) was not possible. Last I checkd, the Korail app had possibilities too… I was thinking of giving it a bit more time to ripen.

  • Dear Blogger,

    Is there any telco that provide a prepaid broadband (something like 3G access) that I can use with my iPhone to go online?


  • The translate app is vital for me, because my Korean still sucks. The translations aren’t perfect either, and sometimes result in just Konglish, but it’s still useful every once in a while.

  • I just came to Korea and i am looking for some iPhone Apps about Seoul and Korea 🙂 Thank you sooo much for your hints here !! Really appreciating !!

  • I’m looking forward to the day when I can get a phone that takes apps. There are so many great travel apps out there! Thanks for sharing these.

    • @Gray: Apps on a phone help productivity. You gotta love it and hate it. Doing travel the old fashioned way still works well and you’re not as reliant on technology. Cheers to you– if it’s not broke, dont fix it. 😉

      @Jonas: Thanks for reading. I’m glad it could be helpful.

  • Are you using a Korean iTunes Account? Because i can’t find neither KorSubway nor Travel Korean Tourism 🙁 Using an Austrian Account..

    Cheers Mika

    • @Mika: Apologies– that was totally my bad. I go the name on the app mixed up with the name on iTunes. It’s corrected now– KorSubway is really ‘Subway in Korea Lite” (the $2.99 paid version supposedly does something similar to what Jihachul does but Jihachul is free) & the other is “Travel in Korea Tourism “.

  • Seoul Bus is a vital one. I rarely use Subway Lite. Jihachul is so much better.

    • @Steve: Thanks Steve, I’ll need to check Seoul Bus out. So far some of the bus apps i’ve seen require me to be online (I have an iPod Touch) so I need offline feeds. After Jihachul, Subway lite would seem redundant; however, Jihachul is a bit too much of bad boy for me. The subway maps in Subway LIte are so elementary — no eye squinting– just some zooms & swipes and I’m there.

  • Great post! I love Jihachul! I also highly recommend it. It also works for the other cities (Daegu, Daejeon, Gwangju). And it comes in English now after the new updates.

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