Navigation Apps in Korea
I know there are other options, but I use Kakao Maps. I’m going to give you a walkthrough on how to use Kakao Maps and some of the less obvious features. You can download the English version on Iphone and Android. It’s honestly not very English friendly, so be wary of that claim. Some places will still need to be typed in Korean to pull up a result. But, they have recently had a big update which makes things a little more smooth! This is Navigation Apps in Korea!
Type in your destination. I’ll use 비비비당 (Bibibidang) in Busan as an example. I needed to type it in Korean to get it to come up. It’s a fantastic cafe in Busan with the most stunning views and you should totally check it out!
It will give you the navigation by car, as well as an estimate of a taxi drive which is generally accurate within a 1,000won and very helpful. (You can then use Kakao Taxi to call yourself a taxi, it’s Korea’s Uber). It will give you navigation by public transport. Train options are generally prioritized for long-distance but not local. In cities I prefer subways if they have them, so I just hit the “subway” button to narrow it down.
Let’s look at the train option first: It’s wanting me to leave from a far away station, already I’m not interested in this route but let’s continue. It gives me the estimate for a train ticket. Then I transfer to the subway. I have to walk so I navigate that portion specifically. Hit the little compass button the bottom right to give you a little moving dot to help. I’ve met so many people who didn’t know about this feature.
Here it gives information on when the arrivals of the subway you want are. It is important to match up the main stop with which side you are on (I’ve gone down the wrong side of the subway many-a-time). In this case it’s 수영행. Look for signs that have this and you should be good to go.
Then, tap the little arrow to drop down the stop list. This way you can keep track of which stop you are at and know when to get off. Most subways somehow still receive cell service so you can keep track of everything 🙂
Now let’s look at the bus option. We’re going to skip to the local bus transport and say the starting destination is Busan Station. This is where things get cool and useful. Simply hit the bell in the upper right hand corner and it will automatically highlight which stop you are at, and alert you for when you need to hit the Stop button on the bus. When it vibrates, wait about five seconds and then hit the button. You don’t even need to worry about searching for other things in the app as a floating bell reminder will be there.
Using Favorites to Plan
I love to input everything I want to see ahead of time. It’s why Busan is covered in so many yellow check marks. I simply type in the location I want, tap it, and then hit the little flag marker on the right hand corner. You can then add a folder, I tend to organize mine by whichever city I’m in, pick a color and symbol, and hooray, it’s now pinned on the map. I can then see that, wow, that’s far away from everything else I want to be doing. I can then decide if it’s worth it to me to go an see it, or see groupings of things I might want to do on each day. When I want to navigate to something, I simply zoom out until I find what I want, tap it, and head there!
This is sort of obvious but I only started using it recently. Often I’m traveling Korea alone, and this means I don’t eat out much because it’s unusual to eat out alone here. Or, when I’m traveling with another person we may not have planned where to eat. Just tap discover and it will pull up restaurants nearby. You can then scroll through for pictures that interest you. I don’t put too much stock by the reviews though, Koreans are apparently very critical as I’ve never even seen a place above a 4.2 if it has a lot of reviews. As long as it’s in the 3s, it’s generally very good.
I hope “Navigation Apps in Korea” has been useful! Check out my other posts!