The sharper edge to traveling in Asia

How to avoid car rental snafus on Korea’s Jeju Island

Written By: herbrunbridge - Oct• 09•12

Jeju’s coast is one of the reasons renting a car on the island

Here at WoWasis, the worst car rental snafu we ever had was in Manila. We booked a car from a well-known rental car company, and when we got to Manila, there was no desk and no representative. It turns out that there hadn’t been one for months.

On Korea’s Jeju Island, we nearly had a similar problem. It got resolved, and this post is a must read for westerners that intend to rent a car to see this remarkable island. Two tips are essential, upon arrival at the Jeju-ci airport:

Tip #1: Do NOT go to the building marked “Rental Cars” directly across from the terminal. Yes, all signs point to that building. Inside you’ll find 10 or so rental companies. None of the representatives speak much English. Instead, they rely on a telephone – based translation service. Not efficient. We chose one, got a quote for 149,000 won for 4 days, pulled our our passport, international driver’s license, and a credit card. “Nope,” said the rep, “you also need an immigration certificate,” which could only be obtained from Korean immigration. No office at the airport, but they gave us a phone number. Thanks. This made it virtually impossible for any westerner to rent a car. Just plain stupid. So we cancelled the 149,000 transaction, and went back to the information counter at the airport to complain. At the information counter, we found out about tip #2, which saved the day.

Tip #2: Only rent from the Avis or Hertz counters INSIDE the terminal, adjacent to Gate 2. What a difference! The Hertz rep told us we didn’t need the stupid “immigration certificate.” The car was 132, 000 won and came with a free English-speaking GPS. That’s 18,000 won less (about $18, USD), a free AVOL GPS (the best we’ve ever used, read our review), and no hassles. Hertz is actually repped by a company called KT Rental, who took us to our car, showed us how the GPS device would help us to return the car, and got us on our way.

Overall, we can’t blame the first company for not speaking English. This is Korea. But we can blame them for not knowing the law. And also for not thinking logically. And they lost $150 USD because of that. If such certificates were needed, no westerner would ever rent a car. If we were 20 years old, we might have actually taken the bait and gone all over hell looking for an immigration office, and then sat there while the immigration officer called the rental agency to interpret the regulation correctly. It would have taken at least a day. Thank goodness we’re not twenty.

At any rate, Jeju’s a lovely island. We damn well hope you read this post before you rent a car at the Jeju-si airport, though.

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  1. We didn’t book trough the internet. Instead, we arrived at the airport, went to the rental car desks, and selected our car. We think the prices are all similar, just insist that you ger the English GPS, if you speak English.

  2. sangunni says:

    I am planning to trip to Jeju island. Can I do book rental car through internet? Any experience
    thank you

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