Car Hire in Seoul
This information is correct as of June 2015
As one of the most beautiful cities in East Asia, Seoul does not disappoint in terms of aesthetic appeal. This UNESCO City of Design offers a variety of sights, from its majestic palaces to the parks and landmarks such as the Dongdaenum Design Plaza & Park and the new City Hall. Food and tea also serve up delectable attractions, with the night markets and clubs offering a whirl of entertainment. Making your way around every destination in the city in a car hire can be most convenient, especially if you have a detailed itinerary.
Where to hire a car in Seoul
Although it is easier to hire cars in the major airports of South Korea, there are options you can consider in the city itself. There are four branches of Sixt here in Gangdong-gu, Dongdaemun-gu, Yongsan-Gu, and Ilsandong-Gu. Other companies to transact with are KT Kumho Rent-a-Car and AJ Rent-a-Car, the local operators handling the majority of car rentals in the country.
Before renting, you must have a driver's licence and an International Driving Permit (IDP), as well as a passport and a credit card where they will charge the fees. Your name must be the same when the passport and the licences are checked. A copy of your passport may also be necessary to complete your application. You have to be at least 21 years old to drive, before you can arrange for your car hire needs. The type of vehicle you will be permitted to drive will depend on the classification stamped on your IDP. Driving experience is also taken into account as you need to have a least one year of experience when taking a small or medium-sized car. An SUV/RV is only provided for 26-year olds who have been driving at least three years. Insurance is also essential.
What to expect when hiring a car from Seoul
Defensive driving skills are important when you are going around Seoul. The buses, motorbikes, bicycles, and the other motorists themselves seem to be in competition with each other on the road. You also have to avoid the rush hours between 8 am to 10 am and 6 pm to 8 pm. Commuting by night with a car is also better, as the trains stop running at midnight with the taxi fares going up about 20 to 50 percent.
You will have to be careful not to go too fast especially on expressways, as well as there are closed-circuit video surveillance that can record any violations of the speed limit and parking regulations. The speed limits on motorways are 100 kph, while it is 80 or 90 kph on national roads and regional roads. For motorways tolls, you can pay them using cash, major credit cards, or a Hi-Pass card. To use this latter option, you must have an On Board Unit (OBU) installed in front of the vehicle, with the Hi-Pass card insert into the OBU. The card can then be topped up in advance or used in conjunction with credit cards issued specifically for the toll system.
Taking care when passing by cycling paths is also important, as well as looking for appropriate parking spaces on designated towers, on-street parking, and underground car parks.
Getting to your destination
There are a number of places you can visit from Seoul. Some of them are:
A city northwest of Seoul in the Gyeonggi province, Goyang once functioned as a centre for leisure and entertainment for the royalty many centuries ago. Now, you can enjoy looking at various sights ranging from the old to the new, such as the Haengjusanseong Fortress, Seooreung Monument, and the Goyang Eoullimnuri Arts Centre. To get to Goyang, follow the express buses from Exit 3 of Seoul Station and also from Yonsei Uni bus stop. Go past Madu Subway station on the way and pass by Western Dom shopping area and La Festa area until you get to Ilsan Station, which is situated in the old part of the town in Goyang. The trip can take anywhere between an hour or so, depending on the traffic.
Foodies will delight in the fresh grilled seafood and jajjangmyeon, a dish of black bean noodles from the Chinatown. You will also find here snack vendors, souvenir shops, art galleries, and Wolmido, an amusement park.
When going here, go from the city centre to Wonhyo Bridge and then venture to Yeongdeungpodong-ga all the way to Gocheok-dong, Yeokgok-dong, and then Ilsin Dong. From here, you can turn to the roads going to Mansu-Don and Ganseok-Dong, which is near the city centre of Incheon. The journey can take an hour or so, depending on the traffic on the way.
The provincial capital and the largest city in Gyeonggi-do; this city has a number of historic sites, such as Hwaseong Fortress, which was built in the time of King Jeongjo, the 22nd monarch of the Joseon Dynasty. In here, you will find several ancient gates, as well as the Yeonmudae and the Suwon Hwaseong Museum.
Going from Seoul to Suwon is possible if you venture from Gangnam or Sadang station in Seoul and then and go out of the city via Woohyo Bridge. You can then take the motorway nearby SK Energy to go all the way to Geumcheon-Gu before turning to Siheung 3 (Sam)-Dong. Continue on this road to Anyang and Goceon-Dong and Songjuk-dong until you reach Ingye-dong, which is nearby the city centre.