Your quick travel guide to South Korea

Car Rental in South Korea: One of the Most Advanced Countries in Asia

South Korea has everything to offer its visitors: stunning landscapes, a capital that never sleeps, ancient architecture and living traditions, and some of the world’s best pop culture. Make the most of your visit by booking a rental car and enabling yourself to travel between all of these wonderful extremes!

Spring is the most beautiful time to visit South Korea, from April to June, though autumn is also very comfortable.

Korean is the official and primary language of South Korea. Many South Koreans of the younger generations have some training in English, but may be shy to speak it. Road signs are typically written in both Korean and English.

South Korea is located in the Korea Time Zone, UTC+9.

The currency is the South Korean won. Credit cards are widely accepted and ATMs are available throughout the country. Particularly if you’re planning on heading into rural areas, be sure to carry some cash with you.

There are some great road trips in South Korea; one of the best parallels the coast, starting in Incheon near Seoul in northwest South Korea and ending in Sokcho, directly across the peninsula in northeast South Korea. Travelling the entirety of the peninsula’s coastline accounts for just over 1,100 km and promises some spectacular sights along the way. Don’t miss, for example, the gorgeous hikes and overlooks near Tongyeong.

Automobile hire is available in 25 South Korean cities. Some of the cheapest and most convenient cities from which to rent a car are Incheon and Seoul in the north – particularly their airports – Daejeon in the east, and on the island Jeju to the south of the mainland.

Visa Regulations

Visitors from many of the world’s countries can tour South Korea visa-free for 30 to 180 days, depending on their nationality. However, every visitor is obliged to be biometrically scanned (face and fingerprints) upon entry. Autonomous Jeju Island has slightly more relaxed entry requirements.

Driving in South Korea

Particularly in congested residential and urban areas, drive defensively and be alert for quickly changing road conditions. With the small cost of constant alertness, you can see South Korea at its most spectacular and its most intimate via rental car.

Right-Hand Driving

  • Traffic drives on the right-hand side of the road throughout South Korea.

Speed Limits

  • In most cities and on rural highways: 60 to 80 km/h
  • Expressways: 100 to 120 km/h
  • Traffic in big cities such as Seoul and Busan is typically quite congested and often comes to a standstill during morning and evening rush hours. Be alert for drivers becoming increasingly reckless in traffic jams.

Other Regulations

  1. Parking is handled in diverse ways in cities as large as Seoul, with options to validate parking tickets in shopping centers, private street parking areas for which you pay an attendant, and even free parking outside of the Central Business District. Ask your hotel for advice on the best methods for parking.
  2. An international driver’s permit is required in addition to your domestic driver’s license to rent and drive in South Korea.
  3. Toll roads are frequent throughout South Korea and you pay tolls with an “On Board Unit” and inserted Hi-Pass card. Ask your rental company about their regulation and installation of these units.
  4. The minimum driving age in South Korea is 16, but you must be at least 21 to rent a car, and you’re likely to face young-driver surcharges until the age of 25.
  5. Travelling into North Korea is impossible.

Other Tips

  • Ask your rental company to outfit your car with a GPS or satnav to help you navigate busy inner-city roads and winding rural highways. Note that while Google Maps does not work in South Korea, Waze does.
  • Tipping is considered rude in South Korea.

Cheap Car Rental in South Korea

Automobile hire in South Korea starts at around $34 a day, though prices upward of $58 are also typical. Here are some of the best deals in South Korea:

  • Kia Ray or similar (mini class) – $34/day
  • Kia Morning or similar (economy class) – $36/day
  • Hyundai Ioniq or similar (compact class) – $38/day
  • Hyundai Sonata or similar (standard class) – $44/day
  • Hyundai Tucson or similar (intermediate class) – $57/day

Note that prices vary depending on the availability of each specific car and the season in which you rent. For the most accurate offers, use the search bar above.

Tips for Renting a Car Inexpensively in South Korea

The best car rental deals are available if you book your car around a month before you depart. You can save around $7 a day by waiting to book, if you’re willing to.

EconomyBookings typically has the cheapest car options in South Korea, and they beat their own prices when you book at airports rather than at downtown locations. Both Gimpo International Airport and Incheon International Airport near Seoul are good places to book and pick up rentals.

You can also save upwards of $5 a day if you extend your rental period to over a week.