Even though i had a car accident in Jeju Island, i would still strongly recommend visitors to plan their own itinerary and self-drive if they have the opportunity to do so!
The island might not be big but it can still take hours to travel from one end to another and taking public transportation is just going to shorten the time you can spend on the attractions. Furthermore, the rates to rent a car were pretty reasonable; book in advance and you can even be given a hefty discount.
Step 1 - Preparation
First and foremost, however, is to secure an "international driving permit" back in your home country! For those with a Singapore license (which is recognised internationally), it is a requirement in Korea to get the permit! Get yours (S$25, valid for a year) from Automobile Association of Singapore!
Check out the details here.
Once you have gotten the permit, the next thing to do is to visit the car rental website to make your reservation!
Most Singaporeans seem to go with KT Kumho and reviews were generally positive (my friend actually recommended it)! Register as a member for member discount before you select the rental dates / time, choose the car brand / model and most importantly, tick the option for "zero excess" under "car damage waiver".
Without the "zero access", i believe i would be liable for a huge damage claim as a result of the accident! As driving in Korea is on the left side (while Singapore is on the right), the ₩26,000 (around S$32) is a small price to pay in event of any unforeseen circumstances.
Once you are done, print a copy of the reservation, keep it together with your Singapore driving license and international driving permit, and bring it to the airport! Note: your Singapore driving license must be taken along!
Step 2 - Arrival
Upon exiting the departure gate of Jeju International Airport, walk to gate 2 where there would be a row of car rental booths! Check in using your reservation printout and the lady would inform you to proceed to the rental car shuttle bus stop upon verifying your details.
It didn't take us long to find the bus stop which was about one to two hundred meters away. Please DO NOT board any shuttle bus that stops there! Make sure they belong to the car rental company you have registered for!
Darn shuttle bus has such a large television screen!! Don't be worried about your numerous luggages; like a normal tour coach, there was a compartment precisely for their placement.
Step 3 - Collection
After a short ride of fifteen minutes, we arrived at KT Kumho Jeju Auto House!
Enter through the main entrance and you may approach any of the counter staff to complete your registration! Unless you are proficient in Korean, do inform them at this point you need an English GPS.
For those who need clean washrooms, the ones in the auto house should meet your expectation. Put it this way, i was extremely pleased to find an electronic bidet with an option to dry my ass!!!
To name this as a cafeteria is a bit pushing the definition of what it really is; nevertheless, you can still get some hot / cold water to soothe your parched throat.
Next to the "cafeteria" was a counter where you can rent a WIFI router (known as an egg)! Although there were free WIFI in many places, i would suggest renting one for convenience.
Exit from the back entrance to collect your car! As some of you might have noted, cheapo me opted for the cheapest Hyundai Morning since there were only three of us! Have money to splurge? Go for the top range that cost ₩140,000 a day!
Whatever the case, i am really happy with my selection as it's my dream to drive a hatchback! Parking would definitely be a breeze, even for parallel!
Only complaint? The boot was so bloody tiny; it could not hold our luggage!!! To think we only brought along one piece yet we could not even squeeze it into the car boot!
Do check the car thoroughly to ensure that any existing damage is indicated in the sheet as above. Keep in mind the contact number of the check-in, check out office (751-8000) as you would need to input it in GPS to return the car.
Oh, one last thing, the fuel tank would be full when you take over the car; just ensure the tank is filled to the brim when you hand it back to the company. Check the GPS for nearby gas station!
For the summary of my inaugural South Korea trip
(Seoul and Jeju Island), click HERE.