All Expats in South Korea Need the 1330 App

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You may have heard about 1330, the Free Korean Tourism phone number that offers support in a variety of languages: Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese, Russian, Vietnamese, Thai, and Malay. But did you know that you can freely use this service to support your ex-pat life in South Korea? That’s right, you have access to a free support system that can help answer questions.

What kinds of questions can 1330 answer?

This is an information services so they can help with all kinds of things such as, but no limited to:

  • Where can I buy tickets for ______?
  • Does _____ need reservations?
  • Do I need to take the train or the bus to go from (Pyeongtaek) to (Daegu)?
  • What time does the business close or open?
  • What is the closest Legal Translator or Korean Notary near me?
  • Where is the local tax office?
  • What is the cost of parking near (fill in the blank) and what is the address for the parking?
  • What is the famous Korean food for my region and what is a good place to try it?
  • How can I make a reservation for this place? (They can not make a reservation but they can get you the website or a cell-phone number to send your reservation request.)
  • Where is the nearest bank and what time are they open?
  • What is the closest place that rents (kayaks) to me and what are the costs?
  • What time does the bus leave in the morning from (Songtan Terminal) to (Nambu Station)?

Keep in mind, the list of questions they can answer is nearly endless. Sometimes they can’t do things, but at least you tried!

Can 1330 make reservations for me?

No, they can not. However, they can call the business to find out how a person who only speaks English can possibly make a reservation. In the past, they have contacted the business and found a smartphone number that English language reservation requests could be sent to and let us know what information needed to be included in the reservation request.

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Call 1330 if you need help with translation in a shop.

If you desperately need help understanding a shopkeeper or person on the street, you can call or message 1330 and they will help with translation. Just let them know the situation. This can be a lifesaver sometimes, like when you need to get a taxi somewhere and can’t communicate with the driver.

The 1330 app also provides SOS emergency service support

Keep the 1330 app on your phone for emergencies. Calling 119 when you can’t speak Korean is extremely stressful. Keep the app on your phone so that you have support in calling the police, fire, or ambulance in an emergency.

The 1330 app provides disaster alerts in English

You can turn off the Hangul emergency alerts on your phone and still receive the alerts through the 1330 app, except in English. I have found the 1330 disaster alerts to be the best translated so far. It’s a huge added benefit to having the 1330 app on my phone. We are using it to track when we can register for our vaccines.

The 1330 app allows you to connect to 1330 operators using either chat or voice

Requesting help via chat is often easier than requesting help via phone because you can share Naver links back and forth with ease. Sometimes the operator might not have the information you have access to. Working with the operator as a team will often get you the best result when you are looking for information outside of Seoul.

When should I use 1330?

Each time you are tempted to ask a Facebook group, “Who has the bus routes to Busan? When is the next train to Cheonan? Where can I buy light bulbs? How much will a taxi cost to Mokpo?” Just message 1330 and get the info right away. You are not a prisoner of ex-pat groups and 1330 will likely provide more accurate and concrete information on many topics.

Do I have to have the smart app to access 1330?

No, you don’t. You can simply call 1330 to ask your questions or chat with 1330 via the Visit Korea website. However, these options don’t archive your chats or give you direct access to the 1330 SOS support.

Where can I get the 1330 smartphone app?

Search “1330” in the Apple App Store or Google Play. It is that simple. The app is free.