Will I need to drive my own vehicle to conduct my everyday life (work/school/shopping) at my destination?
It is not absolutely necessary to own a vehicle and drive in Ulsan, although many expats do drive. Taxis and buses are plentiful and relatively cheap.
How can I legally drive a vehicle in this city?
There are two ways to legally drive a vehicle in Ulsan: 1. International driver's license 2. Korean driver's license.
International Driver's License
This needs to be applied for in your home country or country of residence and is typically valid for 1 year. The advantage is that you can drive immediately upon arrival to Korea. The disadvantage is that this type of license is usually valid for only 1 year, so if you are planning to stay in Korea for longer, you will need to renew your international driver's license. Otherwise, you can apply for a Korean Driver's License prior to the expiration of your international license.
Korean Driver's License
If you are planning to stay in Korea more than 1 year, it is recommended that you apply for a Korean driver's license, which is valid for nine years. The following documents are required in order to exchange your current valid driver's license for a Korean driver's license:
1. Original driver's license is to be submitted in exchange for a Korean license.
2. Confirmation (in English or Korean) by issuing country's embassy in Korea that certifies the foreign license.
4. Alien Registration Card (ARC)
5. Three (3) color photographs
Please note that upon receiving a Korean driver's license, your original foreign license must be handed over to the DLA.
In order to retrieve your license, you must show an airline ticket back to home country or country from which the driver's license was issued.
What side of the road do people drive on?
Right side of the road, steering wheel is on the left side of the vehicle.
Describe typical public transportation an expat might use to get around the city.
Ulsan's main public transports are buses and taxis. Rates for buses are relatively cheap, so traveling around in these is an economical form of transport. You can buy stored-value passes, called T-Money Card, for multiple trips or single-value card each time you travel. The T-Money fare card system can be used for both bus and taxi. T-Money can be purchased at vendor kiosks selling bus tickets near most city bus stops or at most convenient stores.
Buses will only stop at designated bus stops and will not wait for indecisive travelers. Adult fare is KRW 1,000 for cash or KRW 900 for T-Money Card. This is a very popular mode of public transportation for Koreans.
Taxis are also widely available. They were once relatively inexpensive but the fares have increased considerably since 2009. There are different types of taxis with varying rates.
- Regular Taxis are generally silver or white in color. Fares start at KRW 2,400, with 100 won added with each additional 144 meters of 41 seconds. An extra charge of 20 per cent is added between midnight and 4 am.
- Deluxe Taxis are called "Mobeom" taxis in Korean and are black in color. Fares start at KRW 4,500
for the first 3km and increase 200 won for each additional 164m or 39 seconds if the speed drops below 15 km per hour. There is no late-night surcharge.
Could an expat also use public transportation to get out of the city—to surrounding towns, recreation areas or suburbs? If so, list options.
In November 2010, Korea's high-speed train network, the KTX, was extended to Ulsan. This provides a high-speed link to Seoul, with a running time of just over 2 hours. The new KTX station (Ulsan Station) is in nearby Eonyang, with a series of express buses (5001-5004) as well as some city buses serving the new station. The original city station has been renamed Taehwa River Station. The two bus terminals, both located in Ulsan's downtown, provide buses to all major Korean cities.
The city transport department plans to build a light-rail line and the public transportation system is as good as any other major Korean city. The bus system shows a particular ETA at most bus stops. Ulsan Airport, constructed in 1970 and expanded in 1997, has more than 20 flights per day to and from Seoul's Gimpo International Airport and four flights per week to and from Jeju International Airport.
In regards to transportation, are there any safety issues I should be aware of?
Traffic accidents are probably the number one safety risk in Korea. The roads are well paved, traffic lights are functional, and most drivers comply with basic traffic laws. However, Korea has a significantly higher traffic fatality rate than the majority of OECD countries. Causes of accidents include excessive speed, frequent lane changes without signaling, running red lights, aggressive bus drivers and weaving motorcyclists. You should be aware that motorcyclists sometimes drive on the sidewalks, and drivers of all types of vehicles do not always yield to pedestrians in marked crosswalks. It is safer to use pedestrian underpasses and overpasses where available.
Where do I buy tickets/tokens/etc. for the major public transportation?
You can buy a ticket for the trains at each station. To ride the bus, you just pay as you get on the bus.
A more convenient way is to purchase a pre-paid transportation card, called T-Money Card. The fare is automatically deducted from the card every time you ride the bus or subway. These can be purchased at most convenience stores.
Crown Relocations has made every effort to present accurate information. However, regulations, rates and other variables are subject to change and Crown Relocations cannot accept responsibility for the errors that might result. Should you have any questions or need additional information, please contact your local Crown representative.