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KakaoMap vs Naver Map: Which Map App Reigns Supreme in Korea?

Updated: Dec 5, 2023

naver vs kakao

Image Source: Enkor Stay

Have you ever found your current map app lacking? Check out the key differences between KakaoMap and Naver Map, and see which one could be your perfect navigation companion.

Navigating South Korea requires a reliable map app. While there are several contenders, two local apps have come out on top: KakaoMap and Naver Map. So, which one should you choose?

A Closer Look at the Contenders

google maps naver maps kakao maps logo

Image Source: Businesskorea

Before we check out our main contenders, it's important to note that Google Maps, while internationally popular, falls short in South Korea due to government-imposed data restrictions causing pathing issues. So, let's focus on the two giants of Korea's digital mapping scene: KakaoMap and Naver Map.

KakaoMap: The Details

kakao maps

Image Source: Korea JoongAng Daily

+ Advantages:

  • Robust English interface

  • Real-time bus stop updates

  • Seamless integration with other Kakao apps, including Kakao Taxi

  • Location-sharing feature with KakaoTalk friends, adjustable to 15, 30, or 60 minutes for privacy control

- Limitations:

  • Map information is not as exhaustive as that of Naver Map

  • More restricted features without a Kakao account

KakaoMap, the offspring of Daum map, has won the hearts of users with its straightforward and user-friendly interface. Live bus updates tell you which buses are coming to your stop and their estimated arrival times. This feature, coupled with its precise directions and connectivity with Kakao Taxi, makes it a reliable companion for both commuters and travellers.

Naver Map: The Details

naver maps

Image Source: KoreaByMe

+ Advantages:

  • Offers exhaustive details like location reviews, menus, and prices for events

  • Provides an aerial view, similar to Google's satellite photography

  • Real-time updates and user-generated content that is quickly integrated

  • Connected to "Naver Smart Order" for ordering from nearby stores

  • The “Smart Around” feature suggests recommended places nearby

- Limitations:

  • The English interface is not as developed as KakaoMap's

  • Overabundance of information can be overwhelming and drain battery life

Naver Map is a powerhouse of information. It provides location reviews, menus, prices for events, and even the size of apartments in some areas. However, this vast amount of information can be overwhelming for some users, leading to battery drain and a cluttered user experience.

Active Users: Which App Has the Majority?

As of recent data, Naver Map leads with over 11.5 million users, a 26% growth that has widened its gap with KakaoMap, which has over 5.5 million users. The larger user base of Naver Map could be due to its real-time, user-generated content, and its link to Naver, Korea's most popular web portal. However, KakaoMap's integration with the widely-used KakaoTalk also attracts many users.

The Verdict: KakaoMap

While the choice between KakaoMap and Naver Map largely depends on your personal preferences and needs, the trend seems to lean towards KakaoMap due to its user-friendly interface and precise transportation updates. Naver Map, however, remains a strong contender for those craving a deeper dive into location-specific details.

In essence, both apps have their strengths and limitations. Therefore, you might consider having both on your phone for different purposes or scenarios, giving you the best of both worlds.

Remember, your journey through the dynamic streets of South Korea is bound to be an adventure. Choose the tool that best suits your needs and embrace the exploration!

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