In April, we did a self-drive in Jeju Island in South Korea. We spent 3D2N on Jeju Island and rented a Kia Ray for our road trip. It was the cherry blossom season *PRETTY* and the car really helped us explore the beautiful island.
23 Sep 18
Self-drive in Jeju Island
Self-drive in Jeju Island is quite easy if you prepare beforehand. Here are a few things that might help make your road trip easier if you are looking to self-drive in Jeju Island.
First of all, unlike Singapore, South Koreans drive on the right side of the road.
This means that:
- The steering wheel is on the left of the car
- Drive on the right side of the road
- Turn onto the right side of the road
- The fast lane is on the left side of the road
It took some time for us to get used to driving on the right side (pun intended) of the road. For some part of our self-drive in Jeju Island, I could be heard chanting “turn right, keep right”. However, after a day of driving, we got used to it.
International Driving Permit (IDP)
If right-hand driving is not a problem, don’t forget to apply for an international driving permit for your self-drive in Jeju Island. It is mandatory to get one as English is not the main language in South Korea.
The non-renewable IDP costs SGD20 and is valid for one year from date of issue. Apply either online or via walk-in at Automobile Association of Singapore.
- Online application: Takes 7 working days and has a courier fee of SGD5.50.
- Walk-in application: Collected on-the-spot within 1 hour with a picture taken on-site at no charge.
We applied our IDP via walk-in at AA @ GB Point and it only took 15 mins for the whole process.
Car Rental & GPS
We rented a Kia Ray for our self-drive in Jeju Island from Lotte-Rent A Car. Our booking was made on Rentalcars.com, which included GPS and insurance with no excess. The rental for 48 hours cost about SGD120.
For us, we also downloaded KaKao map (in English) which was super useful as we could key in the destinations beforehand and bookmark them for later use. The GPS provided is in Korean and you need to key in the 7 digit phone number of your destination to set the GPS. So don’t forget to grab a map from the car rental for all the numbers or simply google them.
HAN-dy tip: Unfortunately, on Jeju Island, Google map cannot be used for driving.
We drove down south to Seogwipo and spent most of our time there. Since it wasn’t the city center, traffic was brisk. However, when driving in the city center, the traffic was quite heavy during the peak hours so don’t forget to factor that in when planning your return journey.
Other things to take note are the number of humps and speed camera on the roads. I think we crossed 100 humps and speed cameras during our self-drive in Jeju Island. The humps were a mixture of 2D (painted on the ground kind) and 3D (bump you off your seat kind) humps. Hence, remember to slow down when approaching a hump. The GPS will also be constantly beeping to signal an upcoming speed camera. The speed limit is generally 50 to 60 km/hr on two-lane roads, and 80 km/hr on four-lane roads. Drive within the speed limit, drive safe.
The road signs are mainly in both Korean and English. For the tourist attractions, the signs are also in languages like Mandarin and Japanese. Hence, there is no big issue as long as you follow the GPS and take note of the signs when approaching your destination.
Petrol Prices and Parking
The price of petrol is about KRW1600 to 1700 per liter, which is cheaper than that in Singapore. We spent about SGD50 for our entire trip. Most of the places we visited had free parking and so did the hotel we were staying at.
Since we went during springtime, the drive was easy and very scenic with cherry blossoms along the roads. Our decision to self-drive in Jeju Island brought a lot of convenience to our road trip. Although the right-hand drive took us a while to get used to, we definitely recommend self-driving, especially when traveling in a group.
Have you self-driven in Jeju Island under different weather conditions? Drop us a comment on how was your trip. We would love to hear about your experience. Cheers!
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