By Whit Altizer
I just returned from a bike trip from Incheon to Busan yesterday. It was fabulous. It was easy to navigate, beautiful and a fantastic week spent in Korea with a couple of friends. Over the next week, I am going to blog about the daily logistics of my trip in hopes that you can learn a little and start planning your own adventure. I also recommend checking out BikeToursDirect for guided bike tours in Korea.
Day 2: East Seoul –> Angseong (107 km/66 miles)
We woke up early in our tent on the edge of a soccer field while the groundskeeper worked around us. It was a beautifully, cool, gray day and we were ready to cycle. The night before had been a bit of a bummer after getting denied at full campground. We set up camp late, without water and no store in sight. We eventually found everything we needed (after cycling a bit into town) and fell into a restless sleep. The dawn of a new day felt glorious and all we had to do today was cycle.
Bike Path: We started right in between Seoul and Hanam where you start to leave the crazy streets of the city behind. The river gets wide, the path gets quiet and the coffee shops and rest stops get more infrequent (though there are still some cool cafes along the way). You go through several tunnels and stay relatively flat as you do along the Ara and in Seoul. There are some road sections on this section, but they are relatively quiet.
Highlights: Going through Hanam and Yangpyeong really are beautiful semi-urban sections along the Nakdong. You go along old railroad path, past lots of cool cafes and can even stop in at the art museum in Yangpyeong. The art tunnels along the way also lift the spirits. The lights and music and work put into these tunnels give you the feeling that Korea is really interested in keeping these trails maintained.
Sleeping: For 60,000 won we stayed in the UN Motel in Angseong, but there are other (probably cheaper) options in town. I’ve stopped for duck soup in Angseong before and had a nice meal and experience. It’s a small spa town with plenty of restaurants. We went searching for food around 8 and found most places to be closing. On this night, too, there was an absence of the Korean hospitality I’ve grown accustomed to. However, the staff at the UN made up for that the next morning when they sent us off with a complimentary coffee and a candy bar.
-If you are planning to stay on the outskirts of Seoul make sure you are stocked up on water or any camping supply you need. There is about 20km of desolate trail just outside the city before you get to Hanam. Best to stop at a shop while it’s convenient.
-After Angseong the next big city is Chungju. That was our goal that day, but 107 km was all we could manage on our second day of cycling. Chungju is a short 25km from Angseong, but was just a little too far for us that night. If you are staying in hotels, Angseong is the last easy stop until Chungju.