Though it's a smaller city by Korean standards, Jinju provides an exciting place to explore for visitors to South Korea. The Namgang, or Nam River, cuts this city in half, so it's easy for tourists to establish orientation within the city. Jinju offers the perfect start for exploring South Korea by car.
Renting a Car in Jinju
Travelers must hold a valid International Driving Permit (IDP) or have a valid driver's license issued in South Korea to rent a car. Visitors must keep in mind that they'll need to plan ahead and get the IDP in the country that issued their driver's license; they can't get the permit in Jinju. Some rental companies will ask for the driver's license issued by country of residence along with the IDP, so travelers should check specific requirements of the company they choose ahead of time.
Since tourists will likely first arrive by plane, it's easy to rent a car at Sacheon Airport, which serves nearby Jinju. Kumho Rent-A-Car and AJ Rent-A-Car both operate out of the airport. Popular rental companies such as Avis, Hertz, and Sixt also have locations throughout Jinju. Tourists who arrive by plane first in Seoul or Busan may also opt to take a train or bus to Jinju and then rent a car in the city.
Driving in Jinju
Driving in big cities in South Korea can get tricky, so visitors coming from or later visiting cities such as Busan and Seoul should keep that in mind. Because cities are often congested, it's good to leave extra time for traffic jams. Parking is expensive in these cities, too.
Cars are driven on the right side of the road in South Korea. There are CTVs on the roads there, so if a visitor commits a traffic infraction, the rental company will get charged. The agency will then charge the driver's credit card.
What To Do in Jinju
Jinju Fortress is a must-see stop on any visit to the city. It's also the base for most of Jinju's sights. The fortress, famous for its history in battles against Japan in the Imjin War, is on the west side of the city's north bank. Visitors can park in front of the fortress. See the nearby sights, then stay for breathtaking night scenery.
Jinju National Museum, at the fortress' west end, is a small but very worthwhile component of the National Museum. This part specializes in the Imjin War. Tourists can check out the collection of artifacts and explore using English-language earphones, while a 3-D animated video shows the invasions for an introduction to the history.
For tourists planning a trip in October, Jinju offers some unique festivals. The Jinju Namgang Lantern festival, commemorating the 70,000 who died defending Jinju in the Imjin War, boasts a beautiful display of lanterns floating on the river. Early October is also the time of the Gaecheon Arts Festival.
Jinju also offers a variety of foods to try. Visit the Eel Restaurant Strip for a cluster of restaurants specializing in that local delicacy, or stop at Cheonwhang Sikdang to sample some bibimbap.
Renting a car through Skyscanner before a trip makes seeing (and tasting) everything Jinju has to offer a breeze.