Tips for Driving in Jeju in Winter
I have compiled some tips that I hope will help you in driving around Jeju Island. Driving was the best decision that we made because we found it very easy for us to go around to different places. Renting a car is easy to be planned in advanced too. If you're planning to travel in December, don't forget to check your flight cost in advance.
Coming from Australia where people drive on the right hand side, Hubby got a bit nervous when he first hit the road. He got used to it after three days of driving in Jeju and even used the wrong indicator when he drove in Perth when we returned...
TIPS for Driving in Jeju:
1. Before you travel, divide your itinerary into different areas (South, West, East and North).
The northern part of Jeju will be the closest to the airport but some people also opted for the scenic beach area down south. We found that Jeju has beautiful scenery wherever we went so don't be afraid to choose accommodations in the West and East areas of Jeju.
We divided our itinerary into four different areas based on the Jeju tourist guide. Because of this we didn't lose our precious time on the road. Above is the book that we used which contained useful phone numbers for our trip. This book can be retrieved from the tourist information booth when you arrive at the airport.
2. Book your rent car in advance.
Since Jeju is a visa free area, a lot of local and overseas tourists frequent the island. Booking your car in advance means that you will definitely secure it on the day of your arrival into Jeju. The small car for two people can fit 2 big luggage and 2 small luggages. If you have more than two in your party then it will be best to go for the medium sized car. We booked our car in advanced and Trazy also has a good deal on discounted attractions in Jeju (yay):
3. Go to the rent car booth next to Gate 2 of Jeju International Airport to get information about your free shuttle to the car rental HQ.
When you have arrived at the rent car booth (ours was with Lotte / Hertz), the staff will ask whether you have made a reservation or not. If you have then she will give you an information slip on how to catch the free shuttle bus from the airport to the rental area. The shuttle bus will have space to put your luggages in.
4. Inspect your car properly before you drive off.
This is just a cautious step that we did so we won't be blamed for any scratches that were already there in the first place.
5. Save the phone number of your rental car and their opening hours.
Our car suddenly came up with a sign that means that the tire pressure was very low. Hubby went to a petrol station (SK) and was turned away because they didn't have any pump. Fortunately hubby found S Oil and managed to pump all four tyres in the middle of rainy night. Using the pump machine will cost you about 500 KRW.
After all those efforts, the sign didn't go away and still stuck on the screen. It's a good thing we saved the number of the rental place because we decided to go back and they replaced our car with a better one.
6. IMPORTANT: Only turn left when you see the green arrow appear on the traffic light
Hubby didn't know this as well until a car stopped in front of him. He honked the car a couple of times but it didn't move. Our friend told us that turning left is a big deal in Korea because it can cause accident or traffic jam if the driver got stuck in the middle of the road.
7. On the contrary to tips #6, turn right anytime, as long as it's safe to do so (even if it's still the red light)
8. Do not use the furthest right lane if you don't have any intention of turning right. Expect to get honked if the guys behind you try to turn right :-)
9. When you encounter the roundabout, it will be counter clockwise (left side drive).
10. There will be a lot of speed cameras, so stick to the limit.
Our Korean friend said that we can apparently get away with doing an additional 10 kms/h over the legal limit! (do at your own risk)...
11. If you plan to park on the side of the road, turn on your hazard lights to let the driver behind you know about it.
I hope you will find some of these tips useful for your travel to Jeju. It goes without saying but don't forget to apply for your international driver licence and enjoy the scenery while you drive!