Jeju is regarded as the most beautiful and romantic island of South Korea. It was our second visit and still it continued to charm us. A driving holiday in Jeju island is the best option for us (given the big group that we travelled with) and to soak in the environment.
We recommend that you read the posts on Driving holiday in South Korea and the Best GPS to use for driving in South Korea first if you have not driven in South Korea. These posts shares the essential information for any would-be drivers driving in South Korea for the first time.
Collection of rented car
Jeju airport do not have parking spaces for rented cars. As such, upon arrival, you will need to find the free shuttle bus for the car rental company that you are renting from. All the buses are parked outside the main entrance/exit of the airport. It is a short 5 mins drive away from airport to car rental depot.
Driving condition in Jeju
In the map below, the side with “Jeju” marked on it is where most hotels, shopping, casino and airport are located. It is the North of Jeju. The side with “Seogwipo” is the other hub and is the South of Jeju.
Generally, traffic is light on the island except the main tourist hub at the North around 5-7pm where traffic jam is inevitable. Signage and road condition are excellent. Driving here is easy and most enjoyable when you are enveloped by nature. Nevertheless, the overwhelming number of traffic camera used on mainland South Korea continued into this small island.
Driving on the Southern road of Jeju
If you travel from West to East of Jeju along the Southern side, traffic is exceptionally light. That said, there aren’t many petrol kiosk along this stretch. Speed limits are capped between 50 km/h to 80 km/h. Don’t even think of speeding. The speed camera warning on our GPS came off every half an hour throughout the entire journey!
Driving on the Northern road of Jeju
From West to East of Jeju along the Northern side, I will split this stretch into two. The road from East of Jeju to main tourist hub, expect more traffic. We loved this stretch the most because we were almost always surrounded by plantations; and the best part, no speed camera!!
From West of Jeju to main tourist hub, the road is somewhat similar to a highway/freeway. You still get nice view but wouldn’t be surrounded by nature. This road has the heaviest traffic even at 10pm. Speed camera warning on our GPS came off every 45 mins to 1 hour. So, still frustrating but compared to the Southern stretch, this is a blessing.
Driving vertically across Jeju
The centre part of Jeju is mountainous. Driving vertically across Jeju from North to South means driving through winding roads. Well, there aren’t any speed camera…nice. Winding through tree-clad roads with windows down is the perfect drive for us. We only did that twice throughout our 5 days holiday there. Reason being the travelling time can be doubled compared to driving along the Northern or Southern roads for the same destination.
Parking spaces at all attractions are not an issue. They have abundance of parking spaces and are mostly free. Parking at supermarkets are also free.
If you intend to visit Seogwipo, the streets are quite narrow for our 9-seater Kia Caravan (should be fine for a normal sedan), and street parking is limited. There are shopping complexes that you can park though.
As for the main tourist hub at the North, opposite Dongmum Market, there are some free street parking. Nearby the main shopping street, there are a couple of free street parking too. But spaces are very limited.
Visiting Udo Island
Seongsan Harbour on the east of Jeju island is the gateway to Udo Island. Visitors can park their car in the multi-storey parking garage (payable) next to the ticketing building.
Alternatively, visitors can also pay for their rented car to be transported into Udo Island. We did just that! Check out what to expect on bringing your car over to Udo Island via ferry and the driving condition on Udo Island.