Here’s a blog I wrote about getting a driver’s license in Korea.

Once you get a license, then you can get any engine size up to 150cc (I think). Above that and you have to get a motorcycle license – unless you already have one from home, then I think you can transfer that over for a motorcycle license here (I don’t have one, so I just traded my regular U.S. license over for a regular Korean license – therefore, I’m only covered up to a 150cc scooter).

As far as insurance, you can shop around if you have a Korean friend to help you, or else when you go to your local office to get your bike registered, they can set you up with a company. When I went in, they set me up for three months, and then I had my co-teacher call at the end of the three months to have them cover me for another year. It was very easy. I think it cost a couple hundred to cover the whole year.

Speaking of registration, legally you must get it registered. When you get it registered, you’ll need to bring the cycle’s papers and your driver’s license (and maybe your passport/ARC). Then they’ll get you set up with insurance and give you a license plate and registration papers. Even if you only have a 50cc bike, you have to register it – it’s a new law, so some people still think you don’t. If you have a bike without papers, there is a way to GET papers for it (since there are so many bikes out there without papers, the government is trying to get them all registered now. I don’t know that process, but my co-teacher said it requires having a Korean sign on as your “guarantor,” basically meaning if you break the law they will help hold you responsible for damages. You’d have to look into that.)

It is a different driving situation here. The deal here is that, no matter who is at fault in an accident, both sides pay straight down the middle (or so I’ve been told) – therefore, EVERYONE is driving on guard. So if you are constantly vigilant, you’ll be fine. You find yourself driving in a way you would never drive at home, but that’s good because you have to adapt. And of course, if you hit a pedestrian, you’re screwed, but insurance should help cover that if that were to ever happen. Just drive cautiously and I think you’ll soon adapt.

It is possibly the best decision for me to go through all the work to get a scooter. Seriously. I use it every day, I’ve visited places I would have never taken the trouble to travel to, I’m not stuck on buses or subways, I have been able to travel outside the city and see nearby cities and locations, etc. I use it to get to school (I HATE the morning commute, plus my school is halfway up the mountain and my bus doesn’t even get me up the steepest part). Anyway, I’d 100% endorse getting one if you’re going to be living here and want to have more freedom and want to explore.

One last piece of advice. LOCK THAT SHIT UP. I’ve had mine stolen twice, both times because I thought I could run in somewhere quickly without locking the bike. Stupid high school thugs who think they can do whatever they want. Both times we found it or it was brought back a week or two later, but it’s super obnoxious. Just lock it, every time.

Hope that helps!

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