Renting a car to drive in Jeju Island, South Korea
Updated: Nov 9, 2022
Jeju is an offshore South Korean island that is a must-visit on an extended holiday to South Korea. To get there, you can either take an overnight ferry or a short 1.5 hour flight from Seoul.
Before your trip
Driving in Jeju requires some prior planning as you will need to get an International Driving Permit (IDP). South Korean car rental companies are quite strict on this so do make sure that you have the required documentations!
For Singaporeans, you can either apply it online or head down to the AAS offices to get your IDPs. Applying online is fuss-free as you can do it anytime, anywhere, but do note that it will take about 3-5 days to process and then to mail your IDP. If you are doing it last minute, do head straight down to get your IDPs at the AAS office immediately. It costs $20 to get the 1-year IDPs.
Do also note that in Korea, you drive on the left side of the car! If you have no prior experience in driving in left-hand drive, do take this into consideration when you planning your driving trip!
Renting a Car
The cheapest car rental company in Jeju Island is Lotte Rent-a-Car (formerly known as Kumho Car Rental). Do register as a member to enjoy the cheaper rates! Also, if you are not particular about your choice of cars, you can also opt for the 'mystery deal' option on their website as that would drive down the price further. Should you wish to compare against various car companies, consider using DiscoverCarHire.com or Klook's Jeju Car Rental.
There are two locations to rent lotte rent-a-car vehicles. One is located near the Jeju airport and the other is closer to Seogwipo. Also, do note that if you choose to pick up and return the car at different locations, there will be additional charges.
We also do encourage you to get the additional cover #justincase. Renting the car will also include the GPS and do remind them that you'll need an English version.
Do book the cars in advance to ensure you have your car of choice. Booking online doesn't require any payment and you can still choose to cancel or change your details later on.
In Jeju, you can try a hybrid or electric car! Jeju is embarking on a journey to reduce emissions from cars and will be trying to change its fleet of cars to full electric in the next few years. If you are selecting an electric car, do also bookmark the electric car stations as you will need to charge them!
We got the Hyundai Hybrid (as shown above) and drove around Jeju for two full days. We didn't refuel our tanks and the tank metre only dipped by one bar! When we returned the car, Lotte Rent-a-Car charged us for the fuel which was only 3,000 won.
An additional great thing about this car company is that they will charge you based on the timing you collect and return the car. We returned an hour early, and they actually refunded that amount back to us! :)
How to get to lotte rent-a-car rental company?
From the airport: Head to the car rental shuttle buses counter at the airport and take a free shuttle bus to their downtown office.
From the city centre: Take a taxi to the car rental company (804-2 Yongdami-dong, Cheju, Jeju-do, South Korea)
How to get around with a car on Jeju Island?
To get around, you will need to have a GPS. Most car rental companies would include this when you rent their cars, but you can just double check with them when you get the cars.
If you're wondering how to use a GPS if you are not familiar with using one, there are various functions that you can use to get the directions to your destination.
1. Phone Number
Use google maps to key in your destination and you will get the phone number of the restaurant or place. This function is better used if there is a specific restaurant or place that you would like to get to. Once you key that in, the GPS will automatically navigate to your destination.
2. Name of Destination
You can use this function for most of the tourist attractions. Enter the names of these attractions, e.g. Jeongbang falls, and it will navigate you to the destination. Just take note that for some of the places, e.g. Maze Land, there seems to be multiple ones in Jeju so do double check to avoid heading to the wrong venue.
3. Search tool
Another handy tool on the GPS was this search tool. You can basically find places to eat, or find cafes using this function. We utilised this tool and found an excellent food street! Type in food, and you can select the distance that you want to search and a list of restaurants will be generated!
Pro Tip: If GPS fails, you can always count on your trusty mobile phone maps. In Korea, download Naver or Kakao maps and make sure you have sufficient mobile data (grab a eSIM card).
What is the speed limit on Jeju Island? Are there other driving regulations?
The speed limit on Jeju Island differs depending whether you are on a highway or close to the city centre. Generally, on the highway, the speed limit is about 70 - 80 km/h. Do not worry about the speed limit as there are many signs on the road.
The GPS is also handy as it would remind you before you approach a speed camera and even a red light camera. Do note that there are many traffic lights (even on the highway). Just remember to slow down slightly when you approach a traffic light to ensure you do not accidentally run across the red light.
Also, we experienced some 'traffic lights' that have orange blinking lights. These are NOT traffic lights and you can actually go ahead when these lights are blinking. These are basically lights to warn you to slow down as there is a junction.
In Jeju, there are a few roundabouts! In a roundabout, turn in an anti-clockwise direction.
How to plan for a self-drive itinerary to Jeju?
The two main cities in Jeju are situated at the north and south of the active volcano Mount Hallasan:
Jeju City (North)
You should group your attractions according to the north, south, east, west of Jeju before planning the itinerary. To cover the sights, 3D2N should be sufficient. If you would like to climb up Mount Hallasan, do add an extra day!
So, there you go! We hope that this guide's helpful when you are planning your driving trip.
This post is part of our South Korea Travel Series, read also our other blog posts on: