Written by the Karina Prananto
Korea’s technology has advanced so much, to the delight of all of us. With a variety of choices and options, we are spoiled with endless possibilities. As we always have our smartphone by our sides, they have become almost like a lifeline for us. From merely shopping, to games, to banking, all are just a few clicks away. Still, we need to be wise in selecting the right apps to use. We at Gwangju News have compiled and categorized the apps that we think you might find most useful.
Messenging: No further details needed, without a doubt, Kakao Talk takes first place among messaging applications in Korea. Almost everyone with a smartphone will have this program installed, and it has an English version, too. This application is very useful to communicate with your Korean friends and colleagues. With this app you can also send gift icons as well as shop and make friends with your favorite brand stores through Kakao Plus Friends.
Transportation: Although apps for Gwangju transportation are very limited, you can still use the nationwide transportation applications. Those that are recommended are Kakao Subway (select Gwangju as your base city, and you can check the train schedule and the ride duration, with English capabilities) and Kakao Taxi, whose drivers can be hailed from any taxi company, and they have to be registered through Kakao. Their information (which includes a photo, a car number, and a departure time) notifies the passenger, and you can send the taxi information to your friends or family for additional security. It is a good app for international residents to use as we can set the destination in advance, preventing miscommunication. Meanwhile, Gwangju Bus (광주버스) is probably the most used app by both Koreans and international residents for local bus schedules. You can set up your departure and arrival stations, and save your favorite bus stops. For express buses, we recommend using Gosok Bus Mobile (고속버스 모바일). You can reserve bus tickets to and from Gwangju using this app, and you can even check the departure and arrival schedule of buses coming from other cities as well (very useful when your friends ask you to pick them up at the bus terminal!). If you are driving, we recommend using One Navi (원내비), a collaboration app between KT and LG, and we find it to be very responsive (very useful if you suddenly go the wrong way!). For location and maps, nothing beats Daum Map and Naver Map!
Weather: Worrying whether or not you should do your laundry today or want to find out the dust volume that is expected outside? Although the weather application pre-installed in your phone is good enough, Wongi-nalssi (원기날씨, Wongi Weather) or KWeather are recommended apps as they provide better details on an hourly and weekly basis, by cities and even by neighborhoods (dongs).
Shopping: Now, where should we even begin? With so many shopping apps available, we are absolutely spoiled. Danawa (다나와) compiles information from various online shopping sites, enabling you to compare prices and find the cheapest prices on the same item. After you have purchased an item and would like to track the shipping, you can use the Smart-taekbae (스마트택배, “smart” courier service) application, which can track all shipping requests from various kinds of parcel companies.
Dining: Feeling hungry, yet too lazy to go out or cook? Use the food delivery apps to avoid the hassle of calling a restaurant! Yogiyo (요기요), currently in fashion even with the international community, is probably the most used food delivery app. Set your house address, and the application will search for all nearby food types that match your preference. You can pay by using a credit card or in cash when the food arrives. Another food application is Baedal-tong (배달통, delivery box), which has the same features; however, personally, we find Yogiyo to be easier to use.
Language and Education: Wondering what that Korean word means in English? We find Naver Dictionary (네이버 사전) to be the most extensive program, with more than 30 languages available and with a translation feature collaborating with Papago.
We recommend that you try several applications with similar features to compare their performance. Please note that only a few of these apps have English versions, so basic Korean or at least the ability to read Hangeul helps a lot to fully use the Korean version. Just do not forget to update your apps occasionally, and have fun!