Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Steps and Tips to Renting A Car in Jeju, South Korea

Public transportation like train and subways tend to be my favourite means of getting around a city especially in spots like Tokyo and Sydney especially if I am solo travelling. But if I am travelling in a group or have specific rural destination in mind, then renting a car is the way to go. 
Source: Canva

Some destinations are just made for exploration on wheels. Such as Jeju Island. While equipped with a network of buses around the island, the best way to experience every inch at your own pace is by renting a car. Not only can do you have the freedom to do whatever you want at your own pace and interest, a car is more cost effective if you're travelling in pairs or groups. So where does one start with the renting process? 

Source: Linda Yuan from Unsplash

Picking a Car Rental Company
A good indicator of a tourist friendly car rental company is if its website is in English and designed for easy navigation. But if you're too lazy to comb through the internet for car rental companies in Jeju, then just go to RentalCars.com

Here they have listed plenty of car rental company on the island along with the types of the car to suit your needs and travel dates. Some reputable rental companies are such as: AJ Rent-A-Car, Lotte Rent A Car (KT Kumho), Sixty, Jeju Rent A Car. 

Booking a Car
I tend to pick car rentals with 24-7 customer service in English, inclusive of the GPS device and free cancellation in case plans change at the last minute. You save more when you book in advance so don't wait until you touch down at Jeju airport to start inquiring for a car. On that same note, cheap doesn't necessarily mean best. Dependent on your group size, amount of luggage and your driver's skill and comfort level on the roads, factor in the size of the car as well as it makes navigating and parking easier.
Source: Canva

Tip: While RentalCars is great for comparison, you might be able to get promotional rates by directly booking with the car rental company instead. Sometimes, if you sign up as a member, you might be able to get additional discounts and deals such as free child seats or toll passes. 

Choosing The Car Rental Insurance 
All the vehicles are required to cover basic general insurance, Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) for car coverage protection. There is no cutting cost with this and if you get into an accident, you would be grateful for it. You can also opt for the Super CDW at additional charges as it covers a wider spectrum of scenarios and damages. 

Source: Canva

Get Your International Drivers Permit (IDP)

To operate a vehicle in Jeju and South Korea at that, Malaysians must have an International Drivers Permit (IDP). Alongside your passport and credit card, you must have your IDP to pick up your car. IDP have a validity of a year so I would suggest apply for it two to one week before your trip. You can also use it across various countries as long as it's within that year.

How to Collect Your Car in Jeju
When picking your car collection time at the booking stage, take into consideration that the collection spot is not at the airport itself. All of the car rental companies are located within the same building not too far from the Jeju Airport. Free shuttle service should be inclusive of your booking.  

source: mytravelbuzzg

Upon arrival at Jeju airport, just head down to Gate 2 where the rental companies have a counter, manned by a staff who will then check your documents and booking information. They will be ones who will contact the main office to send the shuttle bus and prepare your car. From there, just follow their instructions. 

Checking Your Rented Car
At the rental office, you will be asked to produce your passport, IDP and credit card to make payment. Only credit cards are accepted so no debit card or cash. Remember to alert your bank if you're travelling. Once the agreement is signed, the next step is to inspect your car. A staff will follow you and make note of every blemish, tarnish or dent that you point out. This part is very important to avoid any surprise damage charges after you return the car. 
Source: Canva

Tip: Take photos of the car or video it as evidence that you received the car as it is. 

Setting Your GPS
You might be thinking, pfft, I don't need GPS. I can rely on Waze and Google Maps. Ah but wait, my naive friend. Google Maps doesn't work in Korea due to their policy to bar any foreign GPS. And what about Waze? Well, Waze is allowed but relies on data connection and buying a SIM card might be pricy. 

Your car should come with its GPS and you can ask for a quick demonstration and have it changed to your preferred language. Phone numbers are important for GPS navigation in Jeju instead of GPS coordinates so when researching where to go and do, prepare a separate list for the phone numbers. 

Source: Jeju Tourism Organisation

Source: Linda Yuan from Unsplash

Once everything settles, you’re ready to explore the beauty of Jeju!

Tip: Download Naver map or Kakao Map to search for places and restaurants.

Returning Your Car
After your escapade around the island, it's time to return your car and like the whole process of getting it, returning it is just as easy a process. You will find clear instructions for return at the building. Remember to refill the petrol to full tank or same as when you received it. There are plenty of petrol stations nearby so just refuel it before return.

source: mytravelbuzzg

A staff will inspect your car in case of any damages and if there is none, you can hand over the keys and board the shuttle bus that will take you to the airport. Depending on the hour and the time of your return flight, you should have a buffer time in case of delays.

Also it's important to know that Jeju and South Korea practice left-hand side driving like the U.S. The steering wheel is on the left side while cars are driven on the right. It may take a while to get used to switching over so take your time getting up your car upon collection and familiarising yourself with the controls. The passenger should also help the driver by reminding them. 

Source: Jeju Tourism Organisation 

On the bright side, the roads in Jeju are relatively easy to navigate and with time and practice, it does get easier. If you need help with your self-drive itineraries around Jeju, then check out Visit Jeju and Visit Korea for more information. 


James Franklin said...

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Martin said...

Installing a car GPS tracker is undeniably convenient, especially if you share your car with other members of your family. With it, you can easily learn where they are and help out in the event of an emergency.

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Cindy Chiang said...

How was it driving on the right side of the road compared to Malaysia?

Did it took long for you to adjust?