So… I bought a bike. It all started with my husband buying one a few months ago so naturally if he can have one, I wanted one too :P. There are some things that I learned from his experience that helped me plan and budget before buying my own bike. My husband did a lot of research on his bike before purchasing it, but inevitably there will always be things the internet can’t tell you. Hopefully this post will help you decide whether a bike would be the right mode of transport for you here in Korea.
1.Buying a bike
If you are interested in buying a motorcycle in Korea, you’ll have a few options. First you can go the Bike street in Chungmuro. By subway you can go to Chungmuro walk east out of Exit 1 or 8. You’ll walk past a few petshops and then reach the bike shops. To be honest the internet made it sound much more amazing than it actually was, however I bought my bike there :). In addition you could have a look on bikepasso.co.kr. They have all kinds of bikes for sale on there. You can phone the sellers and arrange a meeting to view the bikes you are interested in. When you’re ready to buy a bike give the man his money and make sure that you receive 3 documents namely the 1. Certificate of Ownership (ingam jeungyeongso), 2. Title Transfer Form (yangdo jeungyeongso) and 3. Release of Ownership Letter (sayong peji jeungyeongso)source
Before being able to register your bike on your name and get your licence plates you have to get insurance. It only covers the other person’s vehicle if you get in an accident with another car so don’t expect to claim insurance if your bike gets stolen. The insurance is mandatory and you can’t get your bike registered without it. For a first time vehicle user in Korea you will most likely pay 300,000 Korean won for the first year. The price goes down as you build experience in Korea. ( It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been driving in other countries) Also, you pay yearly and not monthly so make sure that you have the money for the insurance ready.
3.Bike registration fees
OK so now you’ve got your insurance paper. Now you can go to the vehicle registration department. Take your bike papers, your ARC card and proof of insurance with you. In addition you have to pay licensing fees that are supposed to be 5% of the bikes selling price but from experience I can tell you that this isn’t the case. My husband and I bought our bikes for more or less the same price. He has a 400cc Suzuki DRZ and I have a Honda CBR125r. He paid 300,000 Korean won ($300) for his registration and I only paid only 47,000 ($47). Evidently there is more at stake than just the price you paid for your bike but be prepared to pay at least 5%. There is also an additional 12,000 Won that you will pay to various agents within the registration department for example the number plate office.
In addition to this you have to pay taxes for your bike every 6 months. I’m not sure how true this is as I only had to pay taxes once so far but my husband seems to get an invoice every 3 months for taxes. I’m not sure if this is because of the size of his bike or what but it is curious….
4.Getting a motorcycle licence
The next step will be getting yourself to legally drive on Korean roads by getting a Korean drivers licence. Luckily this step isn’t too complicated but it will take some time to get everything you need. For a bike less than 125cc, you can just swap your drivers licence from your country of origin with a Korean drivers licence. To be able to swap your licence you’ll need your embassy to verify that your licence is legit. The embassy will just copy your licence, stamp and sign it. This is only a problem if you live far away from Seoul, and since the embassy is only open during the week you might have to take a day or a morning off from work. You then take your original licence, the certified copy and your ARC card to your local vehicle licencing department. At the licence department you’ll pay around 27,000-35,000 Won for everything. This includes an eye test and written theory test. If you’ve passed any kind of drivers licence theory test you should be OK on this as you only need to get a mark of 60 to pass.
If your bike is larger than 125cc, then you have to get a Korean motorcycle license. I explained how to do that here.
These are the basics for buying a bike in Korea…
5. All you have to do now is enjoy your new bike!!!