Jeju island, also known as “the Island of the Gods,” is a beautiful and unique destination located off the coast of South Korea.
Visiting Jeju island was the highlight of my trip to South Korea. I loved its towering volcanic mountains and pristine beaches.
One of the best ways to fully experience all that Jeju has to offer is by renting a car.
In this article, I’ll show you the benefits of renting a car on Jeju Island and provide some helpful tips for making the most of your Jeju car hire experience.
Whether you’re a first-time visitor to Jeju or a seasoned traveler, this information will help you plan a memorable and enjoyable trip to this amazing island.
Why you should rent a car in Jeju
Renting a car on Jeju Island is a great idea for a few reasons:
- You can easily explore the island at your own pace and visit all the places you want to see, without being limited by public transportation schedules.
- You have the freedom to venture off the beaten path and discover some of the island’s hidden gems that are difficult to access without using a tour group.
- You can save you money overall. You won’t have to use expensive taxis or tour groups, and you can stay in better-value accommodation outside the main tourist areas.
When I fist visited Jeju, I didn’t rent a car. As a lot of the attractions aren’t accessible via public transport, I had to use group tours, and due to their scheduling, I didn’t have time to see everything.
The next time I visited, I made sure to rent a car, and had a much better experience. I actually saved money overall, because I used Discover Cars . This tool compares the cheapest car hire deals from multiple companies, and I got an amazing deal.
Is it easy to rent a car in South Korea as a tourist?
Yes, it is generally easy for tourists to rent a car in South Korea, though there are some requirements.
Mainly, you need a valid driver’s license from your home country, as well as an
International Driving Permit (IDP).
To rent a car, you also need to be at-least 21 years old, with over one year of driving experience. The name on your passport needs to match the name on your license and permit.
Additionally, most car hire companies in South Korea only accept credit card for payment – not debit card. The name on your credit card also needs to match the name on your passport.
To sum up, to rent a car in South Korea you need:
- An International Driver’s Permit (IDP)
- A driving license from your home country
- At-least one year of driving experience
- Your passport
- A credit card to pay
How much does it cost to rent a car in Jeju?
The cost of renting a car in Jeju depends on the type of car, the rental period, and the rental company.
On average, a basic economy car costs around 50,000 to 60,000 KRW (approximately 45 to 55 USD) per day, while a larger or luxury car costs around 80,000 to 100,000 KRW (approximately 70 to 90 USD) per day.
Prices are higher the peak tourist months of July, August and October. If you plan to visit during this time, book earlier to get the best deal.
If you want to save money, make sure to compare the prices from all the different car-hire companies. A good price comparison tool to use is Discover Cars.
Tips for renting a car in Jeju island
My main piece of advice is to book a car rental at-least four weeks in advance, especially if you’re visiting during the peak tourist months of July, August and October. Otherwise, you may not get the best car for your budget or needs.
Always use a price comparison site to get the best deal – I recommend Discover Cars. Have a confirmed booking before setting off, and your car-hire process will be much easier – you’ll just have to find the booth for your company when you arrive at the airport and they’ll help you from there.
It’s a good idea to purchase the extra insurance your rental company offers. Base insurance doesn’t cover damage to the car, so spend the extra $10-20 to save yourself the financial hit if you have any problems.
Which type of car is best to use in Jeju?
When renting a car in Jeju, the best type of car to use will depend on your specific needs and preferences.
If you’re planning to visit popular attractions, such as the Jeju Olle trails or the Seongsan Ilchulbong peak, a small car with good fuel efficiency is probably the best option. These cars are easy to maneuver on the island’s winding roads and can save you money on fuel costs.
If you plan to visit the island during the winter months, January to mid-March, the roads may be slippery. A car with good traction and safety features, such as all-wheel drive, may be a better option.
A step-by-step guide to renting a car in Jeju
Follow these steps, so your car rental process goes smoothly:
- Get your International Driving Permit (IDP) from your home country. These are usually quite easy to get – it may just be a 10-minute process at the local post office.
- Book your car ahead of time, especially if you are visiting during the peak tourist months of July, August, and October. Book at least one month ahead if you plan to visit during these times. Use a price comparison site to get the best deal – Discover Cars.
- Remember to pack your IDP, as well as your home driving license. A printout of your booking confirmation will also make the process smoother.
- Upon arrival at Jeju airport, find the booth for your car rental company. Have the necessary documents ready, including your passport.
- The staff at the booth will check your documents and direct you to a free shuttle bus. This will take you on a five-minute journey to the car depot.
- On arrival, go to the car rental office. The staff will recheck your documents and ask for confirmation. You’ll then have to sign the rental agreement form. Next you pay with a credit card.
- You’ll then be guided to your rental car. The staff will complete a final inspection of the car. As always, when renting a vehicle, check the car thoroughly yourself, perhaps even taking some photos.
- Lastly, they’ll install a GPS navigation unit. Remember to ask them to change it to your preferred language.
Useful tips for driving in Jeju
Here are some useful tips for driving in Jeju:
- Be aware of the island’s unique road conditions – such as narrow roads, steep slopes, and winding curves. The roads may be slippery during the winter.
- Use phone numbers with your GPS system – If you’re struggling to understand the Korean letters, phone numbers can be used to find destinations.
- Use a local navigation app on your phone – Google maps is not very good in South Korea, so use a local alternative such as Naver or Kakao. You can use these to find the phone numbers to use with your provided GPS system.
- Don’t go too fast – Speed limits on Jeju island are quite low – 70-80 km/h for most roads. There are many speed cameras, so keep under the limit. Your GPS unit will alert you to most nearby speed cameras – so slow down if it starts beeping.
South Korea driving rules you should know
Here are some rules you should keep in mind:
- All drivers and passengers are required to wear seatbelts at all times.
- You’re not allowed to use your cellphone while driving.
- Your headlights need to be on at all times, even during the day.
- Right turns on red are not allowed, unless there’s a sign indicating otherwise.
- The legal blood alcohol limit for drivers is 0.05%, which may be lower than you’re used to if you’re from the USA or UK.
- Traffic laws in South Korea are strictly enforced. Keep out of trouble!
Generally, the rules for driving in South Korea are very similar to most other countries.
Is it a good idea to rent an electric car in Jeju?
If you’re trying to be more environmentally conscious – using an electric car in Jeju might be a good idea.
Jeju is known for its commitment to sustainability and renewable energy, and has a strong infrastructure for electric vehicles. You’ll find charging stations all across the island.
Electric cars are generally quieter and smoother to drive, which can make your driving experience more enjoyable on Jeju’s winding roads.
The rental fee for an electric car may be higher than a conventional car – but you’ll save money on fuel. Petrol is very expensive on the island.
Overall, using an electric car in Jeju is a convenient option for exploring the island. If you haven’t driven an electric car before, this is a good place to try one out.