By | 16th January 2018

Do you need a car in Seoul?

Do you need a car in Seoul > Should you rent a car in Seoul South Korea > Seoul ( ICN )

In terms of both population and economic importance, high-tech Seoul is one of the largest cities in Asia, and it also has an incredibly well developed an extremely efficient underground system which stretches well out into all of the distant suburbs. In some popular tourist cities, underground systems are really only useful for commuters, whereas in Seoul, the underground is also useful for heading both around and out of the city, and into several different scenic areas and national parks which can be reached at the end of the line.

Do you need a car in Seoul? Introduction

Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

Why should you rent a car in Seoul?

In terms of factors like the cost of the hire itself, fuel costs, road tolls and parking charges, is it worth hiring a car in Seoul?

Seoul Car hire summary

Overall drive rating



Cheapest rate for one week




How much should I expect to pay in the peak season?





Free parking score

Total 1286 - of which 466 have free parking. [full notes - parking]




There are very few reasons for a tourist to want or need to rent a car in Seoul. We don’t recommend it!

  • As with any destination, a hire car might give you flexibility outside the city, but local buses are still widely available, even to more remote places.
  • Incheon Airport is situated comfortably outside the city of Seoul, so it’s easy enough to join the motorway network and head south from here in a rental car.
  • Seoul, and in particular, Incheon Airport, is the natural place to start a South Korean road trip – although there are easier ways of getting around!
  • For shorter journeys jou still need to make by road, it may be better to take taxis if you don’t want to use public transport.

Why not? Visiting Seoul without a car

Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

Seoul public transport quick facts

Train score



Water travel score


Overall public transport score


Walking and Cycling Overview

Active travel score

(walking + cycling)


  • Seoul is also a city that has undergone extensive mechanisation and expansion, buoyed on by conglomerate headquarters, and a South Korean government policy that relies heavily on Washington for support. This has meant that Seoul has effectively become a city of many centres, and it’s also worth looking at the technopolis of Incheon alongside the better known Seoul city centre. Incheon is also the location the Seoul’s main international airport, and fast rail services are provided throughout the region.
  • Parking in South Korea can generally be expensive and hard to find.
  • Seoul is also a city that has decided to do some amazing rejuvenation work by removing a motorways and creating a linear park in Cheonggyecheon, a place that is even more impressive at night.
  • There are various different places to visit in association with the demilitarised zone, and this can all be easily done by bus, as the 38th parallel sits just to the north of Seoul.
  • If your plan is to head south from Seoul, then this can easily be done by taking the KTX high-speed rail service, which uses the same design of TGV trains as are used by the French SNCF. There are a number of places further south on the Korean peninsula where a hire car might be useful, but there really isn’t any particular reason to pick one up in Seoul itself.
  • It’s also worth adding a brief note on driving standards in South Korea – out of all the countries that publish road safety statistics in terms of the danger on a per mile travelled basis, South Korea has one of the worst records. However, this is all relative – there are only around 30 countries that publish road safety data in full detail, and driving standards in South Korea are still substantially better than they are in almost all of Asia, other than Japan. Road signs on major roads should also be in (Roman script) English as well as Korean.

Do you need a car in Seoul?  Verdict – you really don’t need a car in Seoul. It’s likely to be far more trouble than its worth.


Car rental in - Seoul Need v worth & should!

Do you need a car in Seoul?

Based on comparison with transit, walking and cycling.

Is it worth hiring a car in Seoul?

Based on value for money

Should you rent a car in Seoul?

Weighing up the above, if you are asking about hiring a car, is it a good idea?

Who is travelling?

Is it worth renting a car in Seoul if I am a solo / budget traveller?

What about for 2 people travelling together?

For families?


Where are you staying?

Do you need a car in Seoul if we are staying in a central area?

What if we are staying on the edge of the city/resort?

Or in a rural area?


What is your attitude towards driving?

Should I hire a car in Seoul if I prefer not to drive?

If I am easy either way?

If I prefer to drive?



Final score:


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Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

Would you hire a car in Seoul?

Have you driven in Seoul? Do you agree with our advice on whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Seoul?
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