South Korea Driving Guide
South Korea is a unique beautiful country. Explore all of it by driving when you get your International Driving Permit.
The Republic of Korea (ROK), famously known as South Korea, is an Asian country geographically located in the Korean Peninsula. It is also popularly called ‘Land of the Morning Calm’ because of its stunning natural wonders and spectacular peacefulness. South Korea is also often described as the ‘only country in the world.’ It successfully managed to become a donor country from being an aid recipient in just one generation.
For an unforgettable trip, a road trip is the best. Imagine crossing the excellent roads, expressways, and highways heading to a heavenly-paradise without any hassle. That is such a great idea, right? Now, securing an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) in South Korea is the first thing to do to make your dreamscape exploration come to life.
South Korea has a land border with North Korea. It is the ‘Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).’ It serves as the territorial scope of the two countries. It also highlights the maritime borders with China and Japan. The country covers a land area of 99, 678 kilometers squared. The country’s total population count based on their 2016 record, South Korea can house over 50.8 million citizens. Seoul is the nation’s largest city and capital.
Designing a remarkable travel experience, driving in South Korea is a must-try. You don’t have to catch a bus, which usually takes an hour before your desired bus arrives. You no longer need to manually navigate which line and exit you have to proceed with if you take the subway. Loading a transportation card at the convenience store is not required anymore. Touring in this country can not only save you a lot of time, but it can help you reduce your walking time.
The Current Border Status, Updates, and News in South Korea
Borders in South Korea have remained open even after the global pandemic started. But, the Korean Government strictly suspended visa issuance in most countries. Non-essential international travels are still not allowed in the country. All foreign nationals who wish to enter the state must undergo the COVID-19 test and 14-day quarantine. Exemptions may apply if they meet specific criteria.
However, once the pandemic comes to an end, South Korea will be back on welcoming tourists from across the globe. You may check out the International Driver’s Association website for more exclusive travel restrictions and advisory updates.
Entry Requirements in South Korea
The Republic of Korea strongly mandates all foreign visitors, regardless of nationality and duration of stay, to take a COVID-19 test and a 14-day quarantine. Whether a visitor shows a positive or negative result, quarantine is required. But, there are exemptions if a foreign national is eligible in the following criteria:
- Attending business-related matters in a Korean Agency
- Invited for important academic affairs by a Korean Organization
- Humanitarian Grounds
Quarantine Protocols in South Korea
The quarantine location may depend on the duration of stay. Foreign nationals are obliged to isolate themselves in an institutional quarantine facility or a government-operated one for short-term visitors. The traveler will shoulder the expense. For long-term visitors, home quarantine is possible. Transiting in the country is allowed. A connecting flight ticket must be presented and must leave South Korea within 24 hours.
General Knowledge About South Korea
With the drastic increase of the Hallyu wave across the globe, there’s no way you will not think of South Korea. This Asian state proudly features its mesmerizing treasures, impressive urban metropolis, engaging nightlife, and it can even give you a phenomenal chance to delve yourself into the country’s fascinating technological advancement. If you are culturally curious about its geography, official language, and other related topics, read more below.
Where Is South Korea Located?
Covering the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula, South Korea is a country situated in East Asia. It directly faces the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea or commonly known as North Korea. It is the “Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).” This famous border stretches for about 4 kilometers wide and runs for about 240 kilometers. It is established based on the agreements made in the 1953 armistice, which ended the Korean War.
What Are the Spoken Languages in South Korea?
In South Korea, there is only one official language, that is Korean. This language is also widely spoken in North Korea. However, there are plenty of dialects that you might encounter if you will get to visit the provinces in South Korea. Only a few Koreans can speak English. Chances of meeting South Koreans who are eloquent in English are possible in Seoul, and it’s capital.
How Is Tourism in South Korea?
South Korea bags an impressive record in the tourism industry in 2019, as it has been able to welcome almost 17.5 million travelers across the world. From its phenomenal gem destinations, astonishing landscapes, and the continually growing fame of Hallyu or known as the Korean Wave, it is no doubt why South Korea has been a hotspot for tourists. Shopping is one of the major games in this gorgeous nation.
Talking about flexibility and safe excursion in South Korea, driving a car is an answer. You have absolute control over what places you prefer to go. Plus, you can even access a site that is not quite reachable by public transport. Securing an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) in South Korea will make everything convenient and protect you from contacting large crowds.
Why Go Road Tripping in South Korea?
If you plan to leave the major cities in South Korea and venture to the nearby provinces, having a rental car is advantageous. Exclusive pass over the havens that are rarely reached by a public ride can be possible. It will also allow you to check out the hidden gems of South Korea, including the Hahoe Folk Village and the enthralling mountainous temples of Haeinsa. Driving by car is a safe way to guard yourself against the deadly virus.
Besides the celestial wonders you can witness, you will also save a lot of time and money. You do not have to worry about transferring public rides, allotting time to buy a ticket, or load a transportation card, and even navigating directions manually. You can use your save up time for other priority matters.
International Driver’s Permit in South Korea
Foreigners who wish to experience a delightful driving voyage in South Korea must obtain an International Driver’s Permit (IDP). It will make everything manageable and comfortable. Applying an IDP is made easier and convenient by the International Driver’s Association. Visit their site and learn more about the perks and benefits of possessing one.
Do take note of the following before applying for one.
- An IDP is only an official translation of your native driver’s license
- It does not replace your original driving card. Its sole purpose is to allow you to drive in a foreign state legally. Always carry your IDP and your foreign driver’s license at all times
- For novices and newbies, applying for a driving test and essay must be taken in South Korea
- IDA’s IDP is not considered valid in South Korea. However, you may still obtain one as backup
Is A Local Driver’s License Valid in South Korea?
Holders of a foreign driver’s license are not allowed in South Korea. So, getting an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) before your scheduled travel is highly mandatory. Ensure that the issuance country is a member of the 1949 Geneva or 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic.
Start your application process by checking the International Driver’s Association. It can guarantee you a hassle-free procedure. You don’t have to wait for weeks just to get one, as you can quickly get it within the day.
Is Driving With a Canadian License allowed in South Korea?
Canadian citizens with a valid Canadian driving license in South Korea cannot drive in the state. They need to have an International Driver’s License for South Korea. Foreigners should also bring their domestic driver’s card. Failure to have any of those will not be allowed to drive in the country as a tourist.
Can A U.S Citizen Go Driving in South Korea?
The citizens from the U.S who dream of driving in this fascinating country, South Korea, can be allowed. However, that’s only allowed if they can present a valid International Driver’s Permit and a valid driving license issued by the U.S government.
Does An IDP Replace a Native Driver’s License?
Unfortunately, the International Driving License or the International Driver’s Permit is not a replacement for your driving card issued by your country. If you only hold a foreign driver’s license, it is illegal driving, especially in South Korea. Bear in mind that an IDP is only an official translation of your original driving license. Securing one will ensure the legality of your tourist driving in South Korea.
Who Can Apply For an IDP?
To qualify for an IDP, an applicant must be a legal holder of a driver’s license from their home country. It is crucial to present a piece of evidence proving the capability of an applicant to drive. If an individual is not qualified, going to a driving school is a significant step to take.
If you wonder what the driving age in South Korea is, you must be 18 years of age to drive. For renting cars, you must be at least 21 years of age.
When Can I Apply For an IDP?
Acquiring an IDP does not require any specific time. As long as you obtain yours before you depart, you are right. You may even apply the day before your travel. Make sure you begin the application at the International Driver’s Association page. Read and comprehend the instructions before ticking the application and supplying the requirements needed.
Do I Need an IDP to Drive in South Korea?
If you are not a Korean Driver’s License holder, it is good to have an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) in South Korea. All foreign nationals are obliged to possess one. It is essential for all foreigners as they mostly don’t hold a license written in Hangul or Korean Alphabet.
Driving in South Korea as a foreigner can be possible. Just simply follow and get the required permit, you can legally hit the Korean road.
Who Needs an IDP?
Explorers who prefer to avail of a rental car generally need to get an IDP. Most rental car companies require their foreign clients to present the special permit together with their original driver’s license. Non-holders of the said documents cannot rent a vehicle.
When Will I Use IDP?
The International Driving Permit will be useful when you pass by random checkpoints in South Korea. Plus, it is a requirement when reserving a rental car. Do not forget to keep your IDP and real driving license when heading out by car. It is one effective way to avoid troubles on the road.
How Long is an IDP Valid?
Typically, an International Driver’s Permit is up to three years. Depending on the reason and purpose of the application, one can get a maximum validity of an IDP. But, for tourism purposes, a one-year package is advisable. For corporate business concerns, the two to three-year options are the best choice.
Renting a Car in South Korea
Discovering the captivating wonders of South Korea is perfectly great when you choose to be different. Going outside the norm can make you see the dazzling opportunities that you have never heard of before. Renting a car can change everything. You can turn the tables in an instant. If back, you are worried about the fares and terminal stops, having a vehicle can easily erase that matter. You can lend it to other exciting adventures you want to try.
Here’s a reminder when renting a vehicle in South Korea. You have to be at least 21 years of age and a valid holder of a driver’s license in your country. If you are qualified, you can now check the International Driver’s Association’s online site for more definite details relative to the application of an IDP.
Where to Rent A Car?
Technological advancement is indeed one of the best creations. It makes almost everything more manageable and accessible anywhere. Just like in booking a rental car, you no longer need to scan a thick book just to find one. With only a few taps on your phone, you can quickly find an affordable rental shop that will satisfy your preference. Here are the most common rental agencies in South Korea that you can search for online.
- LOTTE rent-a-car
- Keddy by Europcar
- Kt Kumbo Rent A Car
- Sk Rent
Here’s a useful tip when making reservations online. If you plan to have a highway bound trip in South Korea, be sure to book at least eight weeks ahead to get a cheaper deal. Keep in mind that you need to be vigilant from the scammers and fraudsters online. You do not want to waste your hard-earned money for nothing. Simply verify the website’s credibility by reading reviews.
What Are the Documents Needed?
When you are availing of something, there’s an equivalent requirement to get it. Like in rental cars, you are requested to bring documentary requirements. It is to show that you are competent and capable enough to handle a four-wheel vehicle. Before starting your booking, make sure you obtain the following general requirements of car rental stores. Expect to prepare additional papers depending on the shop you will choose.
- International Driver’s Permit (IDP)
- Original Domestic Driver’s License
- Valid Passport
- Credit or Debit Card
Jot down also the contact details of your rental provider. It will be in use when an emergency on the road happens. It will also save you from getting anxious about what to do. Take note as well of which driving side you have to be in South Korea.
What Are the Age Requirements?
The age requirement for driving in South Korea is 18 years old. If you reach that age, then you are qualified to get a driving license. But before you head over to acquire one, enroll first in a driving school and do the mandatory test to drive in South Korea. When renting a car, you should be at least 21 years old. Additional fees depend on the driver’s age.
What Are the Coverage of Fees and How the Rental Fee Is Based?
Rental prices commonly vary on the demand of customers. Typically, car rental companies depend on the vehicle’s brand, parts, and cost of maintenance. Those are the factors on how much they will mark-up their price on the market. For the fee coverage, most of the deals generally include driving kits and equipment, gas mileage allowance, pick-up service, and some have third liability insurance already.
Is Insurance Applicable When You’re Renting Cars?
Only a few rental agencies offer packages with insurance. The majority of car rental companies separately provide it to their customers. Getting insurance from them can cost you a lot. You might end up paying fees that are not necessary. To avoid you from that, consult first to your credit card agency if they can add up insurance for car rentals abroad. If you are an owner of a private vehicle in your country, call your car office if they can extend covering a foreign rental vehicle.
The Road Rules in South Korea
Just before you hit off the road in South Korea, understanding the traffic laws and regulations implemented in the country is the main requirement. Ensuring the complete safety of the passengers is one of the duties and responsibilities of a driver. Do take note that road rules may vary in other areas and states. If you encounter something you have never heard of, do some little research to learn its meaning and significance.
Disobedience in South Korea is not allowed. Appropriate sanctions will apply to those who will violate the traffic law. Do not forget the accountabilities of being a driver, especially if you are a foreigner driving in the Korean territory.
Who Is Disallowed to Drive?
Any individuals who are not a legal holder of a valid driver’s license are strictly not allowed to hold a steering wheel. Foreign visitors are obliged to secure an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) in South Korea. Tourists who will not abide by this rule will get denied driving a rental car in the country.
Allowing someone to drive who does not have the capability of operating in a foreign country, then an unexpected circumstance happened. Who will handle the situation? Like, who will take the blame? That will be a headache, right? So, the purpose of undergoing legal procedures is to assure that whatever happens, everything is insured.
What Are the General Standards of Driving?
The basics will always be a great foundation whenever you start something new. Like driving as a tourist in South Korea, you must get briefed about their basic rules. Applying what you have learned is a great way to show how knowledgeable you are when driving. It is significantly vital that you know the general standard rules before, while, and after moving.
Before you head out, always check your bag if you carry your International Driver’s Permit and your original driver’s license. Those two are your keys for a safe and sound road trip journey.
Fully awake and in control of your senses are the most conditions you need to have. Your full attention should always be on the road and nothing else. Sip a hot drink to help you up. It will also charge you energy as you drive. Do not hop on the driver’s seat if you are not sober up.
Another thing to consider is the condition of your vehicle. You have to check everything. From the wheels, gas, water, driving kits, and equipment, all of them must be in a good state. If you are traveling with toddlers, a car seat is required.
Refrain from doing unnecessary things that can make your attention diverted to another. Your eyes must be on the highways, on the side mirrors, and the rearview ones. Do not use your smartphone when driving. It is one of the main reasons for accidents. For emergency cases, use a hand-free system. Ask your rental car provider to give you a vehicle that has a hand-free system installed.
If you arrive at your destination, kindly search for the parking area. Do not recklessly park anywhere. Be sure that the vacant lot is secured and protected with CCTVs. When you are ready to hop off, do not leave your valuable things unattended. Always take your bags and wallets. It is way better than losing it in the end.
Is Drunk Driving Allowed in South Korea?
Generally, the alcohol limit in South Korea is around 0.5%. Due to the increase of drunk driving or commonly known as driving under the influence of alcohol, the South Korean government imposes stricter laws against drunk driving. A revision happened in 2018, wherein there are three significant penalties that one may face. Those are civil, administrative, and criminal punishments.
The usual 0.5% limit is now around 0.2% based on the new traffic law against drunk driving in South Korea. It only means that a single sip of soju can already put you in trouble. Life imprisonment is the maximum drunk driving penalty that one can get for violating this rule in South Korea.
What Is the Speed Limit?
Part of being a responsible driver is to observe the speed limit per road area properly. Taking a road trip adventure is not all about how you can drive as a foreigner and what papers need to be qualified, especially when traveling in South Korea. It also involves accountability by following the implemented traffic laws in the country.
To keep you guided and informed, below are the speed limits that everyone should maintain per road section:
- Cities - 60 km/h to 80 km/h
- Open roads - 80 km/h
- Expressways - 100 km/h to 120 km/h
Always wear your seatbelt
All occupants of the vehicle are mandated to wear their seatbelt. South Korea fully observes the mandatory seatbelt rule. When driving with kids, a car seat is a must. Penalties are waiting for violators.
What Are the Driving Directions in South Korea?
Wandering around the alluring beauty of South Korea by driving a car is an exciting adventure to try. You are free to spoil yourself over the countless majestic sites, fascinating views, and stunning havens along your way. You can also halt at any stops to buy some snacks and refill your gas. You are in full control of your time. Reward yourself with fantastic treats.
There are lots of ways to get into the gorgeous city of South Korea. Whether you are from Daejeon, Busan, or Daegu, you can easily reach Seoul. Just make sure to lend time as some may even take you hours of driving depending on the traffic situation. Do not also forget to bring your IDP as there are random checkpoints on the highways. Now, getting driving directions in South Korea, downloading a navigation app is a must.
What Are the Driving Directions from Busan to Seoul, South Korea?
Travelers who are heading to Seoul from Busan may require a lot of driving time. Though the traffic congestion is on average, drivers may consume about five hours of drive. But the entire effort will be worth it upon entering the fabulous city of South Korea.
Take note that there are expressways that you need to pass by. Among those are the Sasang IC and W. Pusan TG. Do also keep in mind that there is a toll in Seoul TG where you have to pay around 18,000 KRW. The driving distance from Busan to Seoul, South Korea, is approximately 300 kilometers.
What Are the Driving Directions from Daejeon to Seoul?
For explorers who want a kind of short-distance travel heading to Seoul, they should be coming from Daejeon. Travel time from there going to the lively city usually takes two hours of drive. Hitting the Gyeongbu Expressways can get you the fastest. There may be several tunnels, passageways, and underpass roads that you have to go through, but the experience is unforgettable.
Do keep in mind that there are checkpoints ahead. So, be sure you have an IDP and your foreign driving license. It will be asked from you by the traffic enforcers.
What Are the Traffic Road Signs?
The traffic road signs in South Korea are excellently great. You will notice that the characters are in Korean and English. So, you won’t be having difficulties understanding them. All the road signages in the country are under the Korean Road Traffic Authority. There is a high possibility that you may encounter unfamiliar signs.
There are also certain areas in which you won’t be seeing cops patrolling the highway. But, do not be complacent as there are speed guns and cameras in expressways. They called it “Police Monitoring Zones.” Once they catch you overspeeding, you will receive a notice in your email.
What Is the Right of Way in South Korea?
Drivers of a four-wheel vehicle usually drive on the right side of the road in South Korea. The right of way applies in certain conditions. If an authorized emergency vehicle arrives like an ambulance or a fire truck, all vehicles must yield to the right area to give way. The traffic should halt until the emergency car passes by. Do not stop in an intersection area.
Bus lanes are also established in the country to manage the traffic. The blue line is only for buses scheduled to travel during rush hours. There is also a median center bus lane in Seoul that is in the red mark. This lane is only for buses traveling 24 hours a day. Do not dare to use this lane for no valid reason. U-turn and intersections have designated sections.
What Is the Legal Driving Age in South Korea?
If you ask how to get a driving license in South Korea, you need to be18 years of age. It is the legal age for driving based on the rules and regulations in South Korea. Upon reaching the required age, you may now enroll at a driving school in the country.
Is There a Law About Overtaking?
The South Korean government strongly disallows overtaking on the road. There is an exclusive portion in the Road Traffic Act Law indicating the prohibitions on overtaking. Any motor vehicle is not allowed to go ahead if another car is on the left-hand side. Drivers are also not permitted to run ahead of the vehicle in front that plans to pass.
When passing on tunnels, intersections, bridges, and bends of the road, overtaking is not allowed. This basic road rule is one of the basics and knowing how to get a driving license in South Korea is mandatory.
What Side of the Road Will You Drive-In South Korea?
In South Korea, the driving side is on the right. Overtaking is not allowed except the emergency vehicles. Obedience to the laws on the road is a must. Do not tolerate rude drivers. Learn to be polite and responsible at all times. You do not want to get your driving license in South Korea for foreigners to get revoked.
As your next coastal road trip haven, choosing South Korea requires first a valid driver’s license and an IDP in South Korea. Getting an International Driver’s Permit is convenient through the International Driver’s Association. After two hours, you already have yours.
Driving Etiquette in South Korea
Expressing proper behavior on any engagements is essential. It is a courtesy and a polite manner of showing respect to other people. It is vital to be an ethical individual, for it is also professionalism. In South Korea, exercising good character, especially when driving, is mandatory. The right attitude and values matter the most. Every driver must act precisely and accurately in whatever situation they might face.
Living with each good trait in life can hone you to be a great person. Displaying humility and outstanding humanity only proves how amazing you are as a person. It is one of the elements on how to be a mature traveler outside your home country.
What If A Car Breaks Down?
While enjoying the magnificent paradises, you suddenly felt something was wrong with your vehicle. When you draft your travel plans, especially when you want to avail of a rental car, be sure to include emergency scenarios. It is better to come prepared than regret at the end. Try to prioritize essential reminders on the road while designing your itinerary.
Carefully read and remember these tips below. These are only general information about what to do if you have trouble with your South Korean vehicle.
- Ensure safety first by slowly heading over at the side.
Unexpected problems along the way are familiar. What matters is that you know how to handle such an emergency. Search for a safe area first when you feel something is not right with your car. Your passengers’ safety is your topmost priority. Switch on your hazard lights in case you can’t see a safe zone. It will let the upcoming drivers be alerted about your situation.
- Get your reflective jacket and take the warning triangles.
As soon as you pull over at the safe section, the next thing to do is find the problem with your car. Have your reflective jacket be worn first, and take out the warning triangles to set it up. Before confirming your booking with a rental agency, make sure you verify to your provider that it has emergency kits and equipment included. It will be useful in this kind of case.
- Passengers are not allowed to hop off from the vehicle.
Getting stranded at any area of the highways, only two adults are allowed to get off. It is the driver and one adult. When traveling with kids, make sure they are comfortably seated in their car seat. Lock their doors when needed. The same goes for older people. They should remain inside at all times.
- Tap your rental car company for road assistance.
Once you check the main problem in your vehicle and you seem to have difficulties in fixing them, grab your phone and call your car rental provider right away. It is the essence of collecting all possible emergency numbers ahead. You know who to call when you face such troubles like this.
- Reach out for local’s help for a quick response.
Consider yourself fortunate when you get stuck in a city. Most of the patrol officers are onboard on the highways. You can easily ask for help from them. However, if you are in an unfamiliar area, it is highly recommended to ask locals for help. Remember to speak formally and politely. You can do some research about the basic phrases in Korean. Korean citizens will be surprised to hear a foreigner speaking their language.
What If the Police Stop You?
Crossing at the police stops are usually high when you reach the city proper. Encountering one, you are obliged to follow the protocols established. It is essential to keep yourself calm. There are random times when a police officer will call you out. Simply pull over right away to avoid obstructing traffic.
Bear in mind that what you say to the police will matter. Avoid making sudden movements as the police might misunderstand it. Talk to them with honesty and greet them politely. Allow them to explain why they hailed you. Bring out the documents if they request it. Prepare your passport, IDP, and your native’s driver’s license.
What If You Ask For Directions?
As a foreign visitor in any country, trying to learn your destination’s basic phrases is a great idea. It shows how interested you are in their nation. In South Korea, they only have one official native language, which is Korean. Koreans are not that good at English. Only a few of them can fluently speak. So, learning some phrases can quickly help you converse with them.
Discovering other cultures and languages can significantly develop your adaptability skills in every place. You can perfectly blend with locals. Below are the common Korean phrases that you can use whenever you need help or know how to get driving directions in South Korea.
- Excuse me!
- Do you speak English?
- Yeongeoreul hal jul asibnikka?
- What is your name?
- Ireumi mwoyeyo?
- Please write it down.
- Jeogeo juseyo
- I don’t understand
- Ihae mothaeyo
- I’m sorry, I’m not from around here.
- Mianhajiman jeoneun I geuncheo sarami aniyeyo
- Is it far from here?
- Yeogiseo meoreoyo?
- I can speak a little Korean
- Hangungmareul jogeum hal su isseoyo
- I can’t speak Korean.
- Hangungmareul motaeyo
- Thank You
- Kamsahamnida / Gomapseubnida
What If There Are Checkpoints?
Korean authorities set up checkpoints on highways to oversee foreign citizens’ entries from different states and countries. It is also to enhance the safety protocols in the country. To know about what things you should prepare beforehand, check out the primary documents below.
- Valid and Original Passport (with visa if necessary)
- International Driver’s Permit (IDP)
- Original Foreign Driver’s License
- Copy of confirmed ticket and itinerary
- Copy of registration documents (rental cars)
All nationals who do not hold a Korean driving license are mandated to apply for an International Driver’s Permit (IDP). Go to the International Driver’s Association web page for more precise information.
Driving Situation and Conditions in South Korea
Cruising the tantalizing pathways of South Korea is indeed a wise intention. The roads are excellent, and the traffic lights are operational. There are even CCTV cameras to observe the drivers on the highways. The majority of local drivers follow the traffic laws enforced. But, some go beyond the speed limit and suddenly shift lanes without even giving signals. So, be wary of that. Nonetheless, driving a car in South Korea is an exceptional concept.
There are designated lanes appropriate for every vehicle. Never pass at bus lanes, which are in blue mark without a valid reason to do so. Always remember the driving directions and which driving side you should be in South Korea.
How Frequent Are Vehicle Accidents in South Korea?
According to the statistical data of traffic accidents in South Korea, there has been a rapid rise in road crashes. It has been a significant problem in the country. Back in the year 2000, the Korean government recorded almost 290,000 fatalities. However, in 2019, a massive decrease in the record have been tallied. There are only around 6.5 out of 100,00 driving deaths in South Korea.
The continuous improvement of transportation infrastructure has been a great solution in improving road safety in South Korea. With this, you are safe and sound to drive in this country.
What Are the Common Vehicles Used in South Korea?
South Korea is famously known for having an excellent transportation system in the world. The country continues to improve, develop, and enhance their complex subway railways, expressways, and highways that connect many cities and outskirt villages. But, tourists and even Korean nationals still prefer to rent a car. Its convenience and assurance of safety are what make them engage to avail one.
Tackling the most common vehicle type that everyone is using in South Korea is a Mini car. It is a perfect match for small groups of travelers.
Are They Using KpH or MpH?
The police regularly observe strict execution of speed limits in South Korea. Violators of this law will automatically receive a penalty and fine. This state is using “KpH” as their speed unit. You will mostly follow it on the speed signages along the highway.
What Are the Road Situations in South Korea?
Your worries and anxieties about getting stuck in heavy traffic will not be present as you choose to drive in South Korea. Congestion only happens during special holidays. Traffic signs are well marked, and the lanes are in bright paint on the road. Just be sure you don’t pass along the bus lanes without a reason to do so.
Are South Koreans Safe Drivers?
Hitting the road in South Korea is a fun and thrilling adventure to do. South Koreans are quite known for abiding by traffic rules and regulations. So, foreign drivers can comfortably drive in this country. Be sure to be respectful of the traffic signs. It is to ensure the safety of everyone.
There may be driving deaths recorded in South Korea, but rest assured that protection and security are guaranteed.
Things to Do in South Korea
As you engage entirely in the awe-inspiring charm of South Korea, there’s no way you will not think of searching for employment opportunities and even methods on how to be a resident in the country. Anyone who plans to give service in this nation during their stay is required to secure a visa. They should also show proof that a Korean agency hires them before they can apply.
There are eight types of work permit visas that you can apply online. Be sure to identify what kind you must obtain. In determining the kind of working access, you should know what type of skilled worker you are. For those who want to start their business-related matters here, there is also an exclusive type of visa that can match them.
Can I Drive as a Tourist in South Korea?
Foreigners who dream of driving a car in the South Korean wonderland can freely do so—provided that they can show documents that they are qualified to drive. Being a legal holder of a driver’s license from your country is the first thing. Verify also if your home state is part of the Geneva Convention or Vienna Convention. Once done, getting an International Driver’s Permit is the next step.
To secure an IDP, head over to the International Driver’s Association online website. Read and understand the instructions on the application. Follow the procedures stated on the site. You can quickly obtain one within the day.
Can I Apply as a Driver in South Korea?
Looking for work opportunities in South Korea as a foreign citizen is not that difficult, unlike any other country. The country has known for having an excellent record for intelligence and great work ethics. It is no doubt why the nation is among the highest average annual work hours. Effort and hard work in South Korea receive increased compensation. You can even receive bonuses depending on your company.
If you want to go on driving in the metropolitan city of South Korea, which is Seoul, then kindly look for a legitimate employment website that offers work in the capital. Ensure that you are at the legal age of driving and hold a local driving license to exchange into Korean type. A driving test is a must if you are a newbie in South Korea.
How to Exchange your Foreign Driver’s License for a Korean Driving License?
Holding a foreign driver’s license alone is not enough to legally drive by car in South Korea. But, you can exchange your native driver’s card for a Korean driver’s license. Regardless of nationality, non-Korean residents must hold a driver’s license written in the Korean alphabet. For tourists driving, they can simply apply for an IDP or an official translation of their original driver’s license. But for the long term of stay, this process is mandatory.
To keep you well-informed and guided about the general guidelines and procedures, read further below. Remember that the processes and documents stated are only the basics. Additional papers will depend on the Korean Embassy or Consulate in your local country of residence.
- Original Foreign Driving License
- Original and Valid Passport
- Original National ID Card (or Resident Registration ID Card for overseas)
- Colored Passport (three copies, taken within six months)
- Embassy Certificate of License
- Certificate of the Facts (Entry & Exit)
- Processing fee of 12,500 KRW
What Are the Procedures for Exchanging Local Licenses to a Korean Driving License?
You already know what the general documentary requirements that you should possess are. So, the next thing is to figure out what are the processes for application. This section can also apply to the newbies in driving. Keep in mind that these are only the standard processes that usually take to exchange driving licenses.
- Carefully review the required papers like the Embassy Certificate.
- Take the Aptitude Test or Health Check and the Written Examination. If you get a hold of your driver’s license issued by the countries under the Geneva and Vienna Convention, the written exam is unnecessary. But residents from Oregon and Idaho are required to take the said exam.
- Read and comprehend the essay section about driving in South Korea.
- Wait for the advisory on the Issuance of a Korean Driver’s License.
Can You Work As a Travel Guide in South Korea?
If you are already staying in South Korea for an extended period, you can easily score a country’s job role. You can quickly contact employers offering job opportunities. But for those who reside outside the country, it is best to search online and make sure that a Korean organization or company hires you.
Another to consider is that you have to be a university degree holder. You also need to align your job along with your degree. Mastering the Korean Language is not mandatory but highly advisable. It can serve as an advantage to employers as they are sure enough to blend well with their staff and work environment. Below are the useful guides on how to apply for a working visa and permit in South Korea.
Requirements needed for application:
- Fully accomplished Application Form (with two passport size photos attached)
- Original Passport (valid at least six months)
- Resume or Curriculum Vitae
- Academic Credentials, Degree Certificates, or Diploma
- Employment Contract
- Proposed Job Description
- Letter of Invitation from the Employer
- Copy of the Agency’s Registration Certificate
- Incorporation Certificate of the Company
- Tax Payment and Financial Statement for the Previous Year of the Company
- Updated Record of Foreign Employees of the Company
- Application Fee
Is It Possible to Apply for Residency in South Korea As a Driver?
Workers who plan to reside in South Korea while working can be possible. Appropriate visas should acquire to make the stay legal. To make it happen, consult the Korean Embassy or Consulate under the applicant’s home country of residence jurisdiction. They are generally required to secure an Alien Registration Card upon arrival in South Korea.
Additional papers will vary on the Korean Embassy or Consulate office based on your home state. Below are the typical documents being requested by the office upon application. Do note that these documents are subject to change. Always visit and check the consulate website for more intricate details.
- Application Form
- Original Passport (valid at least 12 months or longer)
- Passport size photographs
- Proof of Civil Registry Documents
- Birth Certificate
- Marriage Certificate (for a married woman)
- Invitation Letter from a Korean Company
- Language Proficiency Certificate (Reading, Writing, and Speaking, if applicable)
- Korean Tax and Business Certificates
The Top Road Trip Destinations in South Korea
The sublime rise of Hallyu fame globally is the sole reason for the inevitable growth of the tourism industry in South Korea. It opens doors of endless opportunities for history, culture, and epic wonders to be touch by millions of people across the universe. Unleash the splendid gems of the country by availing of a rental car. You will have an unforgettable journey as you choose to explore the fabulous beauty of the Land of the Morning Calm nation.
South Korea embraces astonishing havens, legendary historic sites, and incredible treasures. Witnessing them in person will make you realize how prosperous the country is. This home of Hallyu is famously known for preserving their national paradises well. Creating an extraordinary voyage in this place, possessing an International Driver’s Permit (IDP), is necessary. You must be familiar with driving directions in the capital city, which is Seoul, South Korea.
Korean Folk Village
Reminiscing the old times, it is best when you visit the Korean Folk Village. This historical museum is in Yongin. This excellent site opened in 1974. It houses over 300 replica houses that came from various regions and social statuses of the Joseon Dynasty. For a cultural enthusiast who is fond of discovering the iconic trademarks, visiting this place will present an authentic piece of Korean culture.
The best way to head over to this village is during the day. Booking should be ahead of time. There is a recommended sightseeing tour time for all travelers, which is 2 - 3 hours. Going on a group is the best as you can have fun backtracking Koreans’ lives in the past.
While traversing the previous lives of the locals, immerse your toddlers in mesmerizing fun. There is a Play Village near the Korean Folk Village. There are lots of amusement attractions that your kids will enjoy. From bumper cars, joyous rides, and rows of entertainment hubs, there’s no way travelers won’t find it enticing.
A driving distance of 41 kilometers to Yongin from the capital city, Seoul, South Korea:
- Start by turning left in Sowol-ro.
- Pass through the overpass at Namsan Tour Overpass, then make a u-turn going to Hannam Bridge Sungnyemun.
- Keep left to the overpass at Hannam Jct. Heading to Gyeongbu Exp, Hannam Bridge.
- Make use of the right lane at Hannam IC to Busan, Apgujeong Station.
- Head inside the expressway going to Busan, Daejeon, Yangjae IC.
- Exit at the Expressway on the right at Suwon Singal IC.
- From Singal IC, switch to ride side toward Osan, Dongtan.
- Turn left at Minsokchon-ro, then head to the right side.
As you take this route, look forward to a toll road. Prepare to pay 1,800 KRW. Be sure that you are not drunk while driving, as there are penalties to face in South Korea.
Hwaseong Fortress is in the southern city of Seoul, which is Suwon. It is a majestic treasure of the country as it is highly honored by UNESCO as a World Heritage site. Because of its outstanding importance in culture and fascinating architectural recognition, it is no wonder why it is also one of the top-rated attractions in South Korea.
The fortress dates back to the Joseon Dynasty. Concealed with breathtaking walls and astounding Paldal Mountain, Hwaseong Fortress is a kind of gem that should be on the bucket list. The best time to visit this stunning treasure is from November to February and March to October. Make sure to free your morning schedule when heading in this place. There’s an admission fee for adults and kids. You may rent out a Hanbok, traditional Korean wear, to get free admission.
Outdoor Activities to Do
Hiking over the massive walls to witness the stellar views covering the area is the perfect thing to enjoy the site fully. Explorers can also see the epic statue of King Jeongjo, who was the ruler at the period of its construction.
An hour drive will take from Yongin to Suwon via Maseonggosaek-ro:
- Hit the left side at Osan, Giheungdong Resident Community Center before shifting to the right.
- Turn another right at Daedeoksa Entrance Jct. to Borahagal-ro.
- Make a left at Hagal Jct. to Yeongtong, Kyunghee University.
- Stay on the left while passing the overpass heading to Osan, Suwon Station.
- Keep on the left for another overpass at Terminal Overpass to Incheon - Baran, Suwon Station.
- Turn left at Beolmal Jct. to Baran.
- Pass through the underpass at Omokcheon and Cheoncheon Underground Roadway.
- Shift to ride side at Incheon Jct. to Namyang-Sicheong-Sieuihui, Hwaseong Seobu Police Station, Seohaean Expressway (Bibong IC).
- Enter the overpass at Bibong Express to Gongpyeong-Jeongukhang-Jebudo, Namyang, Hwaseong City Hall.
- Make a right to Hwaseong Seobu Police Station, Hyeonjae-Giagisulyeonguso, Hwaseong City Hall.
- Keep left upon passing the underpass at Namyang Underground Roadway to Hwaseong City Hall.
- Turn two lefts in Hwaseong-si.
While driving in South Korea, navigating directions properly through Korean GPS is a must. There are guide directions on how to use the said system.
Ansan Multicultural Food Street
Superb cuisine is also a trademark in South Korea. Visit the Ansan Multicultural Food Street in Ansan. Taste the Thai, Vietnamese, and Russian cuisines. For food hunters who are in deep search of a fascinating mix of cultures, this haven has the best ambiance for that.
There’s no particular season on the ideal time to go here. But most are suggesting to head over when the weather is average. Dining on this site is also great with family and friends. Tasting every international food is a great highlight.
For an intimate dining experience, check out the Kantipur Restaurant. It mainly serves mouth-watering Indian and Nepali meals. There’s a lot of options to choose from on their menu. It’s a great luxury treat to have.
The driving distance from Hwaseong to Ansan in South Korea is around 17 kilometers via Namyangchojiro:
- From Gyeonggi-do Hwaseong-si, make a right turn and head to Namyang-ro.
- Keep left while traversing the underpass at Namyang Underground Roadway to Suwon, Bibong IC.
- Pass through the underpass at Oreumjihachado to Incheon, Ansan.
- Make a right towards Suwon, Gunpo.
- Another right turn at Danwon Hospital Entrance Jct. to Suwon.
- Turn left at Sari Jct. to Sicheong-Beobwon.
Before you leave your spot, make sure you have an International Driving License or IDP in South Korea. For foreigners, it is an essential item.
Take a quick escape from the lively alleys and towns of Seoul by heading to Yeongjong Island. It is a wondrous paradise with an enthralling collection of temples, natural beaches, and hot springs. If refreshment is what the explorers need, going to this place is the best pick to have.
Touring this fantastic paradise is best during June. The temperature is perfect in the region. Wearing comfortable clothes can be possible. Head also over down the Eurwangni Beach to see the phenomenal mudflats around.
The Yonggunsa Temple is one of the essential treasures that gained fame for its tantalizing 1,300-year-old zelkova tree. It is a captivating blend of the serene vibe and tranquil atmosphere that conceals the whole site.
If driving from Seoul, South Korea to Jung-gu Yeongjong-dong, take the Incheon International Airport railroad:
- Start by turning right at Sowol-ro, then another right turn to Noksapyeong-daero.
- Make a left at Jaejeong Gwallidan to Noksapyeong-daero.
- Pass through the underpass at Itaewon Underground Roadway to Seoul Arts Center, Yongsangnu Office.
- Another overpass toward Seoul Arts Center, Banpo Bridge.
- Shift to City-expressway entrance heading to Banpo-daegyonamdan to Gimpo International Airport.
- Enter at the Expressway entrance on the right at 88 JC to Incheon International Airport, Cheongna.
- Follow the Incheon Airport Toll Gate before exiting the right at Geumsan IC to MIDAN City (Yedanpo). Yeongjong Sky City.
- Turn on the left side at Geumsan IC to Jungsandong, Yeongjong Sky City.
- Right turn at Unnam Jct. to Jongguje 2Cheong.
- Another right turn when reaching Unnamseo-ro 75beon-Gil.
- End with the last right turn at Unnamseo-ro 76beon-Gil.
If you want to fulfill a long-time dream voyage in thiwhichuntry, be sure to know the driving age in South Korea. All foreign citizens are obligated to acquire an International Driver’s Permit (IDP). Those who fail to comply are subject o to penalties.
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