When you first arrive in a new country, it’s easy to feel a little lost. When that country is as vastly different from the West as Korea, it’s even easier.
Everything is different, the language is difficult to understand and what on earth is that weird smell?!
Here’s 6 things that’ll make your life run a little (or a lot) smoother in Korea.
This is probably the app I’ve used most in Korea, and it took me a shamefully long time to download and sign up for it. Don’t make the same mistake as me.
KakaoTaxi is very much like Uber, except you pay for your journey in the taxi (with cash or card) and not through the app. You can order a taxi from almost anywhere and it’ll usually arrive within a few minutes. The app is all in English and it’s very easy to use.
Taxis in Korea are super cheap and widely available, so make the most of them while you can!
2) Google Translate
This might go without saying, but if you move to Korea and can’t speak Korean, you will struggle. UNLESS, of course, you have a handy translator app like this one.
Google Translate is a lifesaver because you can take a photo of some text (even handwriting) and translate it to English. You can also talk into your phone and it’ll change it into Korean. Isn’t technology great?
Don’t forget to download the Korean language file so you can use it offline too.
One thing Korea really excels at is food delivery. In the cities, practically everywhere you look there is a delivery man zipping about on his scooter, transporting fresh food here, there and everywhere. He’ll even drop off a hot meal at a park or a beach.
When you’re in Korea, this service needs to be exploited. And the best way to do that is by using Yogiyo.
There’s a huge variety of food, from many different chains and restaurants, all at your fingertips. The app can be quite hard to use (you do need to read hangul) but there are plenty of English YouTube tutorials to help you along. Here‘s one to get you started.
4) Easy One Remittance Account
This one isn’t going to make your life in Korea any more interesting, but it’ll definitely make it easier. This KEB Hana Bank account is designed for foreigners and it makes sending money home so much easier (you can do it at any ATM).
When you open this account, you link it to a bank account in your home country. This means that when you transfer money into the Easy One account, it gets sent directly into your home account. And the fees are relatively low too.
Gone are the days of taking hours at the bank to do an international transfer. Hallelujah!
Here is a useful guide to help you set up the account.
Gmarket is Korea’s answer to Amazon. Clothes, homeware, food, beauty products, and electronics. You name it, they’ve got it.
It’s the ideal place to buy all the essentials you need in your new home.
6) Condition (컨디션)
Something no one can deny is that Koreans love to drink. A lot. But they have some not-so-secret ways to help keep the hangovers at bay. Enter, Condition.
Available at every convenience store for about 4500₩ (£3/$4), this fruity little bottle seems to work miracles. I couldn’t begin to tell you what’s in it, but it tastes good and seems to work well.
Why not give it a try? You’ll be needing it after all that soju.