Whether you’re in Seoul, Busan, Jeju, or another part of South Korea, taking a taxi is sometimes the most convenient transportation option.
While you might think that it can be difficult to get a taxi in South Korea if you don’t read or speak Korean, it is actually very easy and requires no communication and no Korean bank account if you use the following method.
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The easiest way to book a taxi in South Korea from any starting location to any destination is by using the app Kakao T, which is a Korean taxi app. With the app, you can order a taxi from any location to any location, either by typing in the locations manually or using the map.
You can find more detailed steps below.
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The easiest way to book a taxi as a foreigner in South Korea
Public transportation works well in South Korea, but sometimes, it’s just more convenient to take a taxi, and it’s much more affordable to do compared to many western countries.
If you try to get a random taxi from the street, you’ll likely end up with some difficulties trying to communicate with the driver, just like I had, as many people in South Korea do not speak much English.
When I was visiting South Korea for the first time, I needed to use a taxi and had a very hard time explaining to the chauffeur where I wanted to go after successfully finding a taxi that was just sitting on the side of the road. He first understood when I ended up just giving a station name that was near my destination.
There is, however, a method that you can use to easily get a taxi from anywhere to any destination without having to speak or read any Korean, which is the only method I’ve used for taxis after I was shown it.
To easily get a taxi in South Korea, use the Korean taxi app Kakao T. This app lets you order a taxi directly to your current location, which can be anywhere, including a random location on the street, and also allows you to put any destination.
Here are the specific steps on how to order a taxi in South Korea with the Kakao T app:
- Open the app and log in to your Kakao Talk account.
- Click ‘Taxi’ to request a regular taxi.
- Set your starting location in the ‘Start Point’ field by either dragging the map or typing in the location.
- Set the destination in the ‘Destination/Where are you going?’ field by dragging the map or typing in the location.
- Select the type of taxi you wish to request. General Request is the regular and cheapest option. You can see the estimated cost right before requesting.
- Select payment method by dragging the box under ‘Payment’. Choose the ‘Pay to the driver’ option if you don’t have a Korean bank account set up for your Kakao Talk account.
- Click ‘Apply’ at the bottom, then click ‘Request’ again.
- The app will now search for a taxi nearby to be assigned to you.
- After a short while, usually a few seconds, you will see the driver of your taxi at the top.
- Wait for the driver to come to your location. You can follow their location in the app.
- Once the taxi is near you, check the digits shown under your driver’s information in the app to match with the license plate of the taxi.
- After getting in the taxi, they usually say your name or “Kakao T?” or want you to show them the app on your phone so they know they’ve picked up the right person.
- The driver will now drive you to the set destination.
- Upon getting to your destination, you pay the driver the taxi fare if you chose the ‘Pay to the driver’ option. You can pay either with card, t-Money card, or with cash.
- After paying, the journey is complete, and you are at your destination.
It usually costs around ₩16,000 (~$12) for a trip that is around 20 minutes and ₩50,000 (~$38) for an approximately 45 minutes ride. Learn more in our guide on taxi fares in South Korea.
Using the Kakao T app usually requires no other communication than the basic verification that you are the one who ordered the taxi after entering it.
I’ve only experienced a few times where they called me after ordering a taxi, and as I don’t speak Korean, I just said in English that I was at the location, and they came to my starting location like normally.
I suppose they wanted to ask exactly where I was or if I could go to the other side of the road. But as they quickly realized that I didn’t understand them, they just came to my location, and everything went as normal.
That is the easiest way to order a taxi in South Korea!
Have any input or suggestions for this guide? Let us know in the comment section below.