Situated on the Han River, Seoul is the capital and largest metropolis of South Korea, and is the starting point for our tour. In Seoul, bicycle paths are available on both sides of the river and we leave the city on excellent new cycle paths as the Han river leads us into a tranquil rural countryside, surrounded by forest clad mountains. Seventy percent of South Korea is covered in natural forest, mountains, lake & rivers and as the cycle paths follow the rivers the terrain is mostly easy. Restaurants and cafes are located on these paths and you will meet many local cyclists who have embraced Korea’s new cycling culture. Each day we will take in different sights, visit cultural icons, stay in a great variety of accommodation and taste a delicious variety of Korean cuisine. On our return to Seoul which is surrounded by mountains, if time allows we will have the option to hike through Mount In Wang, the ritual grounds of Kind Taejo and Muhakdaesa. Our final night is a celebration of Korean modern culture as we hit the bright lights of vibrant Itaewon before ending with a night-stroll with the locals on the river trails.
Our Korean Cycling trip is graded as introductory to moderate - the trip does involve some long cycle days through the countryside. We therefore recommend 1 – 2 hours of good cardiovascular exercise 2 -3 times per week for a few months prior to undertaking the trip. Cycling should also form part of your training.
Remember the fitter you are the more this will enhance your experience.
We meet at our local hotel at 13:00 (1:00pm) for a briefing before we begin a City tour which includes the Gyeongbokgung Palace dating back to 1395. We also visit Insa-dong Street which is one of the most memorable attractions in Seoul and is the focal point of Korean traditional culture and crafts. After dinner at a local restaurant, where we sample "Bulgogi" - a typical Korean beef dish prepared on a hot plate in the middle of the table or as a stew - we return to the hotel for overnight.
After a bike fitting, this morning we ride along the Han River Bike Path visiting local attractions along the way. These include The Dasan Heritage Site and the National Assembly Building, with 24 granite pillars and a splendid blue dome. The pillars and dome symbolize the various opinions of the public emerging as one. For lunch we try "Chogyeguksu", a popular korean meal made of chicken, medicinal herbs and vegetable noodles. Afterwards we continue towards our hotel in Namyangju. We check in then enjoy some free time until dinner. Tonight we enjoy "Hanjeongsik", another traditional Korean meal.
Cycling Distance: approximately 65km
This morning we ride along the Han River bike path some more, enjoying the scenery and some smooth cycling. For lunch our local cuisine today is "Makguksu", a delicious Korean broth, after we have cycled to and visited Jara Island.
Cycling Distance: approximately 30km.
This afternoon there are two options:
Option 1: Continue cycling along the Han River bike path visiting the Animation Museum along the way.
Cycling distance: approximately 39km.
Option 2: Time at leisure to relax on Jara Island, before catching the suburban train to Chuncheon.
We all check into the Chuncheon Hotel late in the afternoon before meeting up for dinner in the popular Dakgalbi Street, where many restaurants specialise in a dish of the same name: "Dakgalbi" - a South Korean dish featuring delicious chicken cubes with vegetables and topped with a spicy Gochujang sauce.
After a light breakfast we catch a Suburban Train to Daeseongli where we start today’s ride along the South Han River, eventually making our way to Yeoju. This is one of the most beautiful cycle paths in the country. We pass the Dumulmeori where the Bukhhang River and Namhangang River meet, and see three old Zelkova trees that appear as one. This area remains popular for filming Korean TV dramas, movies and for wedding photos. We end our ride in Yeoju which is surrounded by beautiful mountains and is the cultural capital, where old beliefs are still honoured and praised. We dine on "Daeji bulgogi" this evening, another popular Korean meat dish, usually based on pork.
Cycling Distance: approximately 73km
We have an early breakfast and visit the Silleuksa temple. Built during the Silla dynasty and located deep in the forest of Mt Bongmisan, the temple is an excellent place to learn about Korean Buddhism and temple culture. After a delicious Korean lunch of Oritang (duck stew) we continue riding through Tangeumdae Park, an important landmark in the city of Chungju that is popular for festivals and events. We then transfer to our hotel for overnight.
Cycling Distance: approximately 66km
After breakfast we drive to the Sangju bicycle museum. View the large collection of bicycles of all shapes and sizes from all over the world and visit the nearby Donam Confucian School which was founded in 1606. From here, riding continues along the Nakdong River bike path and for lunch today we will try Bibimbap (mixed rice). In the afternoon we cycle and visit a traditional Korea Market before checking into our accommodation tonight in a traditional Korean Hanok house, in the UNESCO World Heritage Andong Hahoe Folk Village. The village thrived during the Josean Dynasty (1392 - 1910) and displays traditional architecture as well as remnants of the clan housing hierarchy of that era.
Cycling Distance: approximately 70km
Today we take a break from cycling (for those who wish there is an optional local cycle available). We explore the Adong Hahoe Cultural Village including the Andong Folk Museum and the spectacular Mask Museum. There is plenty of time to then wander at leisure to absorb the history and learn about some of the traditions and changing traditions that developed over the extended period of the Josean Dynasty. For dinner tonight we try Andongjjimdak, the name literally means "steamed chicken of Andong".
After breakfast we transfer to Andong Hot Springs to enjoy a relaxing soak in the pools. In keeping with Korean custom, men and women bath separately. From here we transfer to the Andong Bus Terminal where there is opportunity to sample more Korean food at one of the many cafes. We board the modern, comfortable express bus for the 3.5 - 4 hr journey to Seoul, then experiencing the very efficient Seoul subway to reach our city hotel. Tonight our delicious farewell dinner is at a famous Korean Buffet Restaurant, after which we can take an optional night walk under the lights along Han River before returning to our accommodation.
The trip concludes after breakfast this morning. Airport transfers can be arranged if required (additional cost applies).
The bicycles used on this program are multi speed, aluminium frame, mountain bikes, equipped with hand brakes.
These bicycles are used on all of the trips and therefore are used by many different people throughout a season. It is possible that your bicycle might need certain slight adjustments before you commence riding. However, additional adjustments or repairs may have to be made along the way and at least one additional bicycle is supplied for each group in case a replacement becomes necessary. Sets of basic tools are aboard the follow-up truck and your trip leader will assist with any difficulties. If you already have a saddle that you are comfortable cycling long distances on, you should bring this with you. A gel seat cover is also highly recommended and well worth the additional cost (available in cycling shops).
For safety reasons, we also insist that cycle helmets be included as a compulsory item on your equipment list.
Per Person, Twin Share
"This was our 12th cycling trip and we would rate it up with the best”
Maureen & Neil SAustralia