About South Korea (KR)
Located in the southern half of the Korean Peninsula—which it shares with its isolated neighbor of North Korea—South Korea is a dynamic and friendly modern country with a rich history. It offers visitors outstanding food and a diverse natural landscape, ranging from tall mountain ranges to beautiful coastlines.
Opting to rent a car in South Korea will give you the flexibility to discover the country at your own pace. You will easily be able to go from the dynamic capital city of Seoul to charming villages and serene national parks. In Seoul, don’t miss the impressive palaces of Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung.
Overall, the roads and infrastructure conditions are very good in South Korea. It’s important, however, to stay vigilant on the road, especially in major cities and on the highway. Local drivers have a reputation for impatience, and they don’t always follow the rules of the road.
Note that you will not be able to rent a car in South Korea without a current International Driving Permit (IDP) or Korean driver’s license. You should also have your local driver’s license (the issuing country of the IDP and your local driver’s license need to match). If you are headed to a mountainous area (such as the Taebaek Mountains) to ski, keep an eye on the weather conditions and be mindful of inclement winter weather. Also remember that in South Korea you drive on the right-hand side of the road.
Choosing your car
South Korea car rental providers include well-known names such as Hertz, Avis and Sixt. Looking for a cheap car rental for your South Korea trip? A great choice, especially for solo travelers or couples, is a budget compact from a brand such as Kia or Hyundai. A mid-size SUV offers more space and trunk room, which might come in handy for a group of several travelers. A larger party can book a 7—12 person people mover or mini van. Business travelers can opt for a comfortable luxury sedan, such as a Lexus.
Tips and advice
You are strongly advised to get comprehensive supplemental insurance for your car rental in South Korea. Accidents happen, especially in and around cities, and repairs could be costly. Collision damage excess waiver insurance is also a good idea which can be obtained on some travel insurances, with the car rental company, and, depending on your residency here on this site, at usually, far lower rates.
For an authentic local experience, try booking a stay in a wooden hanok, a traditional-style guesthouse. For an unforgettable experience, you can visit Jeonju Hanok Village, which has over 800 hanoks.
Note that you will need both a passport and a credit card to rent a car in South Korea, in addition to your IDP and local driver’s license (or South Korean driver’s license).
Seatbelts are required for all occupants of your South Korea car hire, including those sitting in the back seats.
Don’t risk drinking and driving. You may be stopped on the road for a random breathalyzer test, and the blood alcohol limit was lowered in June 2019 to 0.03% from 0.05%.
The Korean Road Traffic Act has a full list of road rules and regulations, which also apply to foreigners driving a car rental in South Korea.