Mastering Korea Car Rental as a Foreigner – Driving Tips and Top Destinations for Foreigners

Hello, foreigners traveling to Korea! Do you need a foreigner car rental in Korea so you can freely explore the country’s beautiful landscapes and hidden attractions? It’s a great way to get to places that are hard to reach by public transportation, and you can enjoy your trip on your own schedule. In this guide, we’ll give you a rundown of tips for renting and driving a car in Korea from a foreigner’s perspective.

From driving licenses to dealing with accidents to recommended destinations, we’ll cover it all. So, are you ready? Let’s get your rental car and get started on your unique trip to Korea. This article is part of our Korea Travel Guide: 55 Tips for Getting to Know Korea for Foreigners series.

Korea Car Rental, What to Expect

How to drive in Korea? From getting an International Driver’s License

  • Why you need an International Driver’s Permit: To drive legally in Korea, you need an International Driver’s License, not just any license from any other country, it must be issued by your home country, and it must be an International Driving Permit. International Driving License will not be accepted.
  • To get an International Driver’s Permit, you need to have a driver’s license from your home country, a passport-sized photo, and a fee. Please note that the date of issuance of your International Driver’s License should not be earlier than the date of entry into Korea. Please come to Korea within one year after receiving your license.
  • Types of international driver’s licenses: There are two types of international driver’s licenses: the Geneva Convention of 1949 and the Vienna Convention of 1968, both of which are recognized in Korea, but the more recent ones are more commonly accepted.
Korea Car Rental

What to bring when renting a car in Korea

  • Documents required: ① International Driving Permit ② Passport ③ Credit card or cash (many places don’t accept debit cards) ④ Contact phone number in Korea ⑤ Directions or navigation. Each car rental agency may vary slightly, so check in advance.
  • Age restrictions and surcharges: You need to be at least 21 years old to rent a car, and you’ll have to pay extra if you’re under 25. The age limit is higher for luxury cars, so make sure to check this out!
  • Insurance: Car insurance is often included in the rental price, but may be extra for rental agencies near airports or major tourist attractions. Pay close attention to the coverage limits and purchase additional insurance if necessary.

Recommended Korea car rental companies for foreigners

  • As a foreigner, finding a service to rent a car in Korea can be a difficult choice. The following two services are well known for their foreigner-friendly services.
  • Enterprise Rent-A-Car : Enterprise Rent-A-Car is the world’s No. 1 car rental service in more than 100 countries around the world, and it’s also available in Korea.
  • WeBring : This is a service exclusively for foreigners, specializing in renting and selling cars to foreigners staying in Korea for short or long periods of time.

Traffic Laws and Parking Culture in Korea

  • Basic traffic rules: Korea drives on the right, you must use your turn signal when changing lanes, and zigzagging is not allowed. The speed limit is usually 50-60 km/h in the city and 100 km/h on the highway.
  • Parking culture and precautions: Parking is scarce in Korea, so it’s best to use public or paid parking lots in the city center. Avoid parking on the street as much as possible.
  • Enforcement and fines: Traffic enforcement in Korea is relatively strict, with fines for running red lights, speeding, and illegal parking. Be aware that there are many unmanned CCTV cameras that enforce traffic laws, especially for red lights and speeding. If you get a fine, the car rental company can pay it for you and bill you later!
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Korea car rental, recommended routes

Traveling from Seoul to Gyeonggi Province

  • Gapyeong Morning Silence Arboretum: This arboretum is located an hour from Seoul. The spring cherry blossoms, summer hydrangeas, and fall foliage are beautiful. Take a leisurely stroll through the 2 million square meters of nature.
  • Yangpyeong Semi-One: This garden resembles the landscape of Tuscany, Italy. There are many cute photo zones and European-style architecture. We also recommend taking a drive to Dumulmu-ri, which is a beautiful place.
  • Heiri Art Village in Namyangju: This artistic village near Seoul is full of galleries, workshops, and cafes, and is a fun place to explore. Nearby is Bukhansan National Park, where you can go trekking.

A trip to the mountains and sea in Gangwon-do

  • Sokcho and Yangyang: Take in the azure waters of the East Sea at Cheongchoho and Yeonggeumjeong in Sokcho. Nearby Yangyang’s Surfy Beach is a surfing mecca. Don’t miss Naksansa Temple and Hajodae.
  • Jeongdongjin and Samcheok: Jeongdongjin is a beach famous for its sunrises; the hourglass sculpture in front of the train station and cafes with ocean views are romantic; and Hwanseongul in Samcheok is a beautiful seafood cave.
  • Pyeongchang and Gangneung: Pyeongchang’s Odaesan National Park offers lush forest drives. Alpensia and Yongpyong resorts are a skiing paradise, while Gangneung Gyeongpodae offers a harmonious view of the lake, sea, and pine forests.
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Everything you need to know about renting a car in Jeju Island

  • Jeju car rental travel tip: There’s no better way to explore Jeju Island than with a rental car. It’s an efficient way to get around Jungmun Tourist Complex, Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak, Seogwipo, and more. However, be aware that Jeju Island has many steep roads and often gets foggy, so drive carefully.
  • Eastern Coastal Road: This coastal road runs from Seopjikoji to Seongsan Ilchulbong and Sewhwa Beach. It’s a great way to drive by the blue sea. You can rent a car at Seongsan Port on the way to Udo.
  • Destinations in the West: The emerald waters of Hyeopjae Beach are soothing to look at, and you can hike Sewolbong Peak and watch the sunset. Saebyeol-oreum in Andeok-myeon is a horse-shaped volcanic body.

Korea Car Rental: What You Need to Know

Use navigation and get real-time traffic

  • Navigation app recommendations: Korea’s leading navigation apps, Kakao Navi and T-Map, both support English and have voice guidance, which is very useful when driving. Download them from the App Store/Play Store.
  • Get real-time traffic information: You can check real-time traffic conditions on apps like Kakao Maps and Naver Maps, and it will be reflected in your navigation system. Avoid congested sections of highway.
  • Use the Korea Expressway Corporation website/app: Korea Expressway Corporation provides real-time highway traffic conditions in English, Chinese, and Japanese. You can also calculate highway tolls and find rest areas.

Incident response and load-servicing

  • What to do in case of an accident: In the event of an accident, the most important thing is to ensure a safe environment. Pulling your vehicle over to a safe shoulder, turning on your hazard lights, and calling the police (112) and, if necessary, an ambulance (119) are standard procedures. In addition to this, as a WeBring customer, you have immediate access to our dedicated team, which provides 24-hour multilingual support. Unlike regular car rental services, this allows for a quick response without language barriers, making incident handling more efficient. We also offer the option for a WeBring employee to come to the scene of the incident to assist the customer, eliminating the common inconvenience of contacting the car rental agency and waiting for assistance.
  • Roadside assistance: Traditional car rental companies offer roadside assistance in the event of a vehicle breakdown, such as a flat tire or dead battery, but they may only be available during business hours or have limited night and weekend service. WeBring, on the other hand, guarantees 24/7 customer support through the phone number specified in the contract. Being accessible to customers anytime, anywhere is a huge relief in the event of an emergency. This helps customers get their issues resolved immediately when they face an accident or vehicle breakdown.
  • Collision Damage Waiver: If a foreign customer is injured while renting a car, the process of applying for a collision damage waiver from their auto insurance company can be complicated. Webring can help customers navigate this process with ease, preparing all the necessary documentation and coordinating with the insurance company. This service is especially helpful for customers who are not fluent in Korea, and greatly reduces the burden of an accident.
  • The biggest advantage of a foreigner-only car rental service in Korea is that it makes it easier to deal with such accidents. Sure, insurance will cover the cost, but there’s a good chance that there will be communication problems and other uncomfortable situations along the way. WeBring has a well-equipped customer center for foreigners, so it’s easy to get help. If you’re a foreigner thinking about renting a car in Korea, give them a try.

Driving a rental car in Korea is easy, right? Just make sure you have your driver’s license and all the necessary documents in advance and follow the traffic laws. With navigation and real-time traffic apps, you’ll be able to get around without getting stuck. From the outskirts of Seoul to Gangwon Province and Jeju Island, you can go anywhere with a rental car. You’ll be amazed by the beautiful landscapes of Korea right outside your window, and you’ll be sure to make some special memories with your family, partner, and friends. Drive safely and have a great trip!

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