I love Korea. I cannot get enough of it. I think it is probably the greatest country in the world (Jon doesn’t agree) . So when Jonathan and I got a chance to cycle across Korea I was excited. Really excited. I also knew it was only about 700km from Seoul to Busan so that seemed like it would be piece of cake. Vancouver to Halifax was 7000km and it took Jonathan 55 days to bike it all. So our estimates were 5 days for the tiny country.
The best part about cycling Korea is the 4 Rivers Cross Country Cycling Road that connect the entire country. Korea is already incredibly interconnected in every possible way. You can add the ‘connected by a giant ass bike path’ to that list. I was incredibly skeptical about this path. I thought that in line with biking infrastructure in Busan it would be haggard as sh*t. It isn’t. It’s decent, there are only a few parts that are sandy or filled with gravel. I had to get off my bike to walk only once.
The 4 Rivers of Korea’s story is very similar to every other Korean infrastructural development. Hyundai built dams throughout the Han and Nakdong rivers. It was a huge construction project, worth billions of Won. They were already doing such a big development along the river they built a bike path that connects Busan to Seoul. Because health and fitness is important in Korea and nothing screams health and fitness better than a cross country cycling path. Cycling across Korea is definitely “good for your health”.
We chose to bike in August, but I definitely do not recommend cycling across during the hottest time of the year. September to November is the best time to complete such a journey. Fall is the best season in Korea. Following the 4 Rivers cycling path is very easy, signs are everywhere. It is a challenge to get lost, I’ll be surprised if anyone has been lost. Finding a place to stay is easy, minbaks and motels are in every town. Almost every dam has a convenience store so you can satisfy your thirst or get some chocolate boost quite easily. Definitely don’t leave your smart phone behind (why would you, right?) as it made planning ahead to the next motel quite easy.
The last but not least perk of following the 4 Rivers path is the treasure hunt! “Wha?” says you. The hunt to get all the stamps! Pay 2000 won to buy a green book and you get a chance to track your journey with cute stamps. You get your stamps from English looking phone booths. Once you complete a trip you get a frigging medal and certificates! Jonathan and I have ours on our mantle right now.
Check back here as I will be writing more about cycling across Korea. Also, we will be giving out recommendations on some detours to avoid the big hills. Trust me, there are some steep ones.