Cycling routes along the river in Korea
The newly-constructed bicycle route that runs along Korea’s four major rivers— Hangang River, Nakdonggang River, Geumgang River, Yeongsangang River— stretches 1,757 kilometers across the country and takes riders past traditional Korean villages, historical relics, and restaurants with traditional Korean food. Connecting the land from east to west, and from north to south, the route was recently constructed, and is safe for cycling. It also features a variety of convenience facilities including camp sites. The route also features several bicycle rental shops on the way, so visitors can rent a bike and safety gear at affordable prices. Read on and immerse yourself in the scenic adventures of cycling tours around Korea.
ARA BICYCLE ROUTE
The 21 kilometer-long Ara bicycle route was created along the Gyeongin Arabaetgil Canal connecting Incheon and Seoul. Riders have called it a “fantastic bicycle route.” Like a runway, the route has no sudden curves or slants and it is set against a beautiful urban landscape. There are also 16 bridges, artificial waterfalls, rest areas, and large sculptures. There is also a scenic view from Arumaru Observatory, which is located in a gorge of Gyeyangsan Mountain.
Situated west of Gwanghwamun in Seoul, Jeongseojin in Oryu-dong, Incheon is the starting point of the cross-country bicycle tour route, and also has several large sculptures. The sunset landscape against the Yeongjongdaegyo Bridge that leads to Incheon International Airport is beautiful.
The Arabaetgil Waterway is the first canal in Korea connecting the west coast in Oryu-dong in the Seo-gu district of Incheon and Gaehwa-dong in Gangseo-gu district in Seoul. The canal is 18 kilometers long, 80 meters wide, and 6 meters deep. A cruise ship runs between Ara Incheon Terminal and Ara Gimpo Terminal. There is also a dinner cruise on Saturdays. Take the cruise ship going from Ara Incheon Terminal to Incheon Coastal Wharf, and experience passing through a lock gate aboard the ship.
* Hyundai Excursion homepage: http://www.aracruise.com (Korean) / +82-32-882-5555 (Korean)
Situated in Seollin-dong in Jung-gu, Incheon, Incheon China Town was established by Chinese who settled in the area 130 years ago. Visitors can enjoy a variety of Chinese food, shop for traditional Chinese clothing called qipao, traditional Chinese tea, ceramics, and accessories, and watch Chinese performances.
* Incheon Station Tourist Information Center: +82-32-777-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
The Hangang River is the major river that runs through Seoul from east to west and is a key landmark of Korea. The bicycle route runs along the Hangang. Though it goes against the stream of the river, the route has no upward slopes and is wide, making it a fairly leisurely cycling path. Step on the pedal and enjoy the landscape created by the 24 bridges on the river, the skyline of high-rises, and colorful cruise ships and yachts on the river. The route is linked with the bicycle roads that go to Cheonggyecheon Stream, the four major royal palaces, Yeouido, Olympic Park, and other major tourist attractions in Seoul.
Cheonggyecheon was a stream running through parts of Seoul from east to west. After becoming polluted during the urban transformation of Seoul, the stream was covered up and hidden by an overpass. A restoration that began in 2003 unearthed the stream, and today, Cheonggyecheon is a popular area for Seoul residents and international tourists. Throughout the year, various festivals and events are held at the stream. On the basement floor of the Korea Tourism Organization building located beside Cheonggyecheon is an Information Center for foreign tourists. Gwanghwamun Square and Seoul Plaza are both located near the stream, with both offering additional community spaces.
Insa-dong is a traditional neighborhood in Seoul that is highly popular with tourists. It is a great place to explore traditional goods, antiques, traditional food, and performances. The antique street is lined with shops and street stalls selling artwork, antiques, and crafts. Inside the small alleys, visitors will also find traditional Korean restaurants and teahouses. Various festivals and special events are held year round, so the area is popular for international tourists.
Namdaemun Market is a major traditional market in Korea. It is lined with shops selling children's clothes, women’s and men’s wear, accessories, and shoes. The goods sold at street stalls are inexpensive and of good quality, so they are popular among visitors. Inside the alleys, there are many restaurants selling steamed dumplings, noodles, and grilled fish.
N Seoul Tower
Rising on top of Namsan Mountain, the N Seoul Tower is a major landmark in the center of Seoul that offers a 360 degree view of the city. It can be reached by cable car, bus or on foot. Visitors can get to the observatory by riding a high-speed elevator. The observatory offers information on the distance and direction to the major cities around the world. Outside the observatory, you will find the “Locks of Love” hanging on the fence. The restaurant on the fifth floor of the observatory is great for dining while taking in the splendid night view of Seoul.
Situated in the heart of Seoul, Myeong-dong is one of the city’s most popular shopping districts. The bustling district is a premier spot for the latest in fashion trends and culture, and is also favored by university students and young people. The area offers a range of pricing, and visitors and purchase quality cosmetics, fashion items, bags, and accessories. The district is also a strong draw for Chinese and Japanese tourists.
Gyeongbokgung Palace is the royal palace of the kings of the Joseon Dynasty era. A number of buildings have been preserved in their original form, including the Geunjeongjeon Hall (throne hall where the king formally granted audiences to his officials) and Gyotaejeon Hall (main residing quarters by the queen). Other historical sites located in the center of Seoul are Changdeokgung Palace and Huwon, a UNESCO World Heritage site and a royal palace that is considered the most beautiful royal palace of the Joseon Dynasty period, Changgyeonggung Palace from the same era, and Deoksugung Palace with its beautiful stone wall. A Royal Guard-changing ceremony is organized every day at Gyeongbokgung and Deoksugung palaces for international tourists.
National Museum of Korea
Situated in Yongsan, the National Museum of Korea has on exhibit national treasures and numerous cultural assets from Prehistoric times up to modern times. The East Wing houses permanent exhibitions, and the West Wing houses auxiliary museum facilities and special exhibitions. The Donations Gallery on the second floor features various donated artworks, including those donated by Japanese. The museum is closed on Mondays.
Situated in the upper reaches of the Hangang River, Namhangang has clear water and serves as a source of water for the citizens of Seoul. The Namhangang River bicycle route starts at Paldangdaegyo Bridge. Set against a beautiful landscape, this 132 kilometer-long route extends through Namyangju, Yangpyeong, Yeoju, Wonju, and Chungju, before ending at Tangeumdae Terrace & Park in Chungju. This route is like a natural and history museum as it passes by natural attractions like Dumulmeori as well as historical sites like the site of Jeong Yak-yong. The cement-paved route passes by three weirs constructed as part of a government project—Ipobo, Yeojubo, and Gangcheonbo—and runs along a railway. Riders will pass by a tunnel, the riverside, a closed train station, and the Bukhangang iron bridge.
The Neungnae Station, with its pretty red postbox, is situated in Joan-myeon, Namyangju-si. Now a closed station, it houses a café on a train and a bicycle rental shop. Take a bicycle and ride on the railway, tunnel, and iron bridge. At the Neungnae Station Studio, visitors can wear a school uniform and take black-and-white photos.
Jeong Yak-yong historical site
A great philosopher and scientist of the 18th century, Jeong Yak-yong (1762-1836) was born in Neungnae-ri Village in Namyangju-si. The place is a beautiful riverside village that was designated a Slow City. Visitors will find the birth home, tomb, and museum of Jeong Yak-yong who published over 500 books in his lifetime. Climb up the observatory in front of the village to get a great view of the Namhangang River.
Dumulmeori in Yangpyeong is the place where Bukhangang River and Namhangang River join. It is a delta formed by deposits of gravel and sand. The landscape around the nearby village is beautiful, attracting many movie, commercials, and drama producers. In the morning in winter, the fog creates a fantastic ambiance. The 400 year-old zelkova tree often features in TV dramas. Established on a nearby riverside wetland, Semiwon is an extensive park and home to lotus and various other water plants.
One of the three weirs built on the Namhangang River as part of a government construction project, Ipobo has been called the most beautiful. Up from Ipobo is Yeojubo Weir, which is shaped like a cheugugi, the world’s first rain gauge invented by King Sejong the Great, and Gangcheonbo Weir, which is shaped like a Hwangpo sailboat. By Gangcheonbo, there is the Hangang River Culture Pavilion with exhibits of artworks created by famous artists with inspiration drawn from the river and water.
The Silleuksa Temple in Yeoju dates back to the Silla Kingdom. It is home to a number of cultural assets, including the treasured multi-story marble stone pagoda. Take a Hwangpo sailboat at the ferry dock in front of the temple and enjoy the riverside landscape on Namhangang River. Nearby is the Mok-A Museum with exhibits of Buddhist artwork, as well as the Yeoju World Ceramic Livingware Gallery with exhibits of ceramic ware produced in Yeoju and hands-on programs for making pottery.
Royal Tomb of King Sejong the Great
Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Royal Tomb of King Sejong the Great (Yeongneung) is the joint tomb of King Sejong and his wife Queen Soheon. King Sejong, who created the Hangeul Korean alphabet, is revered as the greatest king in the history of Korea. Next to the tomb is the royal tomb of King Hyojong and his wife Queen Inseon (Nyeongneung).
Angseong Hot Spring
Angseong Hot Spring is a rare carbonated hot spring, which is also a global phenomenon. Bathe in the water heated to 25 degrees Celsius for just two minutes and your skin will have a tingling sensation. After about 5 minutes, your whole body will be covered with carbon bubbles. About ten minutes in this lukewarm spring water, your skin will start to turn red, but your whole body will have warmed up and your fatigue will be relieved.
Chungju Goguryeobi Monument
Designated a national treasure, the Chungju Goguryeobi Monument is the only extant monument from the Goguryeo era on the Korean Peninsula. It is considered to have been built by King Jangsu (20th king of Goguryeo; reigned between 412 and 491) to commemorate the occupation of the Hangang River area. A stone pillar measuring two meters high and 0.5 meters wide, the monument has writing on all four sides, but the writing has been worn away so much that only about 200 letters remain readable. Nearby, there is a 14.5 meter-high stone pagoda, which is called Jungangtap (Center Pagoda) because it is situated in the center of the Korean Peninsula. Also in the nearby area is the Liquorium, which has on exhibit Korean traditional wine, as well as liquors and liquor-making equipment from around the world.
Tangeumdae Terrace & Park
The Tangeumdae Terrace & Park is a beautiful park situated on the riverside of Namhangang River. It is called Tangeumdae because this is where royal court musician Ureuk of the Silla Kingdom used to play his gayageum (traditional Korean string instrument). Ureuk is recognized as one of the three most celebrated musicians of all time in Korea.
Chungjuho Lake is the largest artificial lake in Korea, and was completed in the 1980s. Take a ferry from the Chungjuho Ferry and enjoy a view of Woraksan National Park, Geumsusan Mountain, Gudambong Peak & Oksunbong Peak.
Yangpyeong Haejangguk is a warming and tasty treat made of congealed ox blood, lungs, omasum tripe, bean sprouts, and dried radish leaves in a hearty beef broth. There are many restaurants that specialize in Yangpyeong Haejangguk near Yangpyeong Station and Dumulmeori. The area is also famous for makguksu noodles.
Cheonseori makguksu noodle
Cheonseori Village near Ipobo Weir in Yeoju is famous for makguksu. The first version of makguksu noodles is made by rinsing cooked buckwheat noodles a few times in cold water and then serving it with a hot and spicy red pepper dressing. The second version is served in a refreshingly cold and savory broth of dongchimi (a type of radish kimchi). A great accompanying dish to makguksu noodles is pyeonyuk, which is meat that has been boiled, pressed, and sliced thinly.
Yeoju rice meal
Another specialty of Yeoju is rice prix-fixe, which features glossy rice. The rice produced in Yeoju based on the area’s high quality water used to be presented to the king. The rice is also prepared with the addition of black rice, black beans, sweet potatoes, and jujubes. The prix-fixe comes with 20 or so side dishes, including various seasoned wild vegetables, bean paste soup, and grilled fish.
There are a number of pensions equipped with a spa and swimming pool located along the river in Namyangju, Yangpyeong, Yeoju, and Chungju. The Daemyung Resort and Hanwha Resort are located in Yangpyeong, and Ilseong Namhangang Condo is located in Yeoju. In Chungju, there are many condominiums and hotels in the areas of Suanbo Hot Spring, Mungang Sulfur Hot Spring, and Angseong Carbonated Hot Spring. Visit the homepage of the relevant self-governing bodies to book a clean accommodation in a private residence temporarily taking lodgers at an affordable price.
Geumgang River means “a river as beautiful as silk” and runs through the waist of the Korean Peninsula in Gongju and Buyeo, where the Baekje culture flourished. The river then flows into the West Sea at Geumgang Estuary Bank connecting Gunsan and Seocheon. The Geumgang River bicycle route begins at Daecheong Dam in Daejeon, passing by Sejong City—Korea’s new administrative city—before ending at Gongju. Gongju, which was the second capital of the Baekje Kingdom, is a place where the past and the present coexist. The bicycle route goes around the Gongsanseong Fortress, which was built during the Baekje period, then extends by the scenic riverside of the Geumgang River before reaching Baekjebo Weir in the gateway to Buyeo, the third capital of Baekje. In Buyeo, riders can visit the Baekje Cultural Land, Nakhwaam Rock, Busosanseong Fortress, Gudeurae Park, Jeongnimsaji Five-story Pagoda, Buyeo National Museum, and Seodong Park and Gungnamji Park to learn about the history of Baekje. Then, after riding past the riverside with beautiful groves of willow, they will run into Ganggyeong in Nonsan, which is famous for its fermented seafood market. Riders can breathe in a refreshing wind from the river as they ride from Ganggyeong to Iksan, and then to Gunsan.
Gongsanseong Fortress in Gongju is a “heavenly-blessed” stronghold that protected the capital of the Baekje Kingdom for 64 years. King Seongwang, the 26th ruler of Baekje and son of King Muryeong (25th king of Baekje, ruled from 462 to 523), later moved the capital to Sabiseong in Buyeo in 538. There are still remnants believed to be those of an old royal palace of the Baekje Kingdom.
Royal Tomb of King Muryeong
The discovery of the royal tomb of King Muryeong was a great excitement for archaeologists around the world. The tomb was discovered accidentally during the installation of drainage pipes in Tomb 6 in Songsan-ri tumuli in 1971. The untouched tomb, which had no marks of being robbed, has a memorial stone showing that the tomb belonged to King Muryeong and the queen of Baekje. Thus, the fascinating culture of Baekje was again revealed to the world, transcending time and space. A total of 108 types of relics, with 2,906 uncovered in total, were excavated from the tomb, including the gold crowns of the king and the queen. Most of the relics are on display at the nearby Gongju National Museum.
Gudeurae Park in Buyeo used to be a ferry port from which a boat carried Baekje kings to and from Wangheungsa Temple. Today, Hwangpo yellow hemp cloth sailboats travel up and down the river to Goransa Temple of Busosanseong. Across from Nakhwaam Rock of Busosanseong Fortress and the Deurae Ferry is the Baekje History Reproduction Complex, which has reproductions of royal palaces of the Baekje Kingdom.
Gungnamji Pond is an artificial pond that was constructed during the reign of King Muwang (30th ruler of Baekje). It is said that the king and the queen enjoyed boat riding on the pond. In summer, the pond is full of lotus blossoms, turning into a venue for a lotus festival. Near the pond are the Jeongnimsaji Temple site, Jeongnimsaji Museum, and Buyeo National Museum.
Ganggyeong Fermented Seafood Market
During the Joseon period, Chinese traders carried silk and salt on boat up the Geumgang River down to Ganggyeong. In the early 1900s, Ganggyeong grew to be one of the nation’s three largest markets. With merchants developing low-sodium fermented seafood, the Ganggyeong market grew to become the top fermented seafood market in Korea. There are many buildings from the 1900s in the area.
Iksan Jewelry Museum
The Jewelry Museum in Iksan houses 110,000 splendid and rare jewels and precious stones. The most interesting exhibit is the jewel flower created by a German artist. The work features 213 diamonds, 15 gold leaves, and 36 garnets. Visitors can purchase jewelry at affordable prices.
Sinseong-ri Reed Field
The Sinseong-ri Reed Field in Seocheon has a different ambiance in the morning and in the afternoon. The field of reeds, which are twice as high as an average adult, extends two kilometers along a walk trail, attracting many couples. Nearby, there are the Dalgogae (Moon Hill) Mosi Village and Hansan Sogokju brewery.
Geumgang Migratory Bird Observatory
Situated in Geumgang Estuary Bank in Gunsan, the Geumgang Migratory Bird Observatory is housed in an oval-shaped building with 11 floors above ground. It features permanent exhibition galleries, a 3D Theater, and a room of animal specimens. Situated between Gunsan and Seocheon, the Geumgang River is a great habitat for winter migratory birds and offers splendid views of spectacled teal and other birds on the move in great numbers.
Referred to as the Great Wall on the sea, the Saemangeum Seawall is the longest seawall in the world spanning 33.9 kilometers. It is 1.4 kilometers longer than the longest dike at the Zuiderzee Works in the Netherlands. Famous for its fantastic drive course, the Saemangeum Seawall is also gaining reputation as a walking trip destination due to the recent walking fever. Go up on the observatory to get a birds-eye-view of the big and small islands of the Gogunsan Archipelago.
Gongju is most associated with Gongju gukbap, which was widely enjoyed by its residents in the 1950s. The soup is based on a rich broth of beef bones boiled with a flavorful onion. The rice is served separately with the soup. Gongju gukbap is reasonably priced, and has gained recently in popularity with Japanese tourists. There are a few gukbap restaurants near Gongsanseong Fortress and Hanok Village. Another specialty of Gongju is ssambap featuring rice that is wrapped with 20 or more types of organically-grown lettuce and herbs, food made with chestnuts, and sanchae (wild greens) bibimbap. Located in Seocheon, the Seocheon Fish Market sells various fish and clams caught in the West Sea at affordable prices.
Situated near the Royal Tomb of King Muryeong, the Gongju Hanok Village is managed by the City of Gongju to offer visitors a chance to experience hanok (traditional Korean houses). The dozen or so hanok are heated by burning logs. The restrooms and shower facilities are inside the houses for the convenience of guests. Situated inside the Baekje History Reproduction Complex, the Lotte Buyeo Resort is the first history and culture thematic resort in Korea where visitors can enjoy history, culture, relaxation, sports, and entertainment. The resort offers 322 rooms in its hotel and condominium and an indoor aqua pool approximately 4,000 square meters in size with an artificial wave pool and spa. The round-shaped hanok corridor, which symbolizes the great spirit of the maritime kingdom of Baekje, is a modern building with applications of traditional architectural techniques.
Nakdonggang is the longest river in Korea. The Nakdonggang River bicycle route is 389 kilometers long, beginning at Andong Dam and passing by time-honored villages like the Andong Hahoe Folk Village in the Yeongnam inland region before reaching Eulsukdo Island. Andong Hahoe Village is a major traditional village in Korea and is a designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. The route passes by Sangju, which is known as the city of bicycles, and then the Upo Wetland in Changnyeong, which is a Ramsar site, before ending in Eulsukdo Island in Busan, which is a paradise for migratory birds. It takes about a week to finish the Nakdonggang River bicycle route, but riders are recommended to select a few interesting courses for a few hours of riding and then enjoy sightseeing in the nearby villages. On the road, riders can also enjoy canoeing, kayaking, and other leisure sports, as well as a variety of traditional food and cultural experiences.
Andong Hahoe Folk Village
Andong Hahoe Village is a traditional riverside village that dates back 600 years and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is the birthplace of brothers Ryu Un-ryong, a renowned scholar of the Joseon period, and Ryu Seong-ryong who served as prime minister during the Imjin War against the Japanese invaders in the Joseon period. The village is nestled along the S-shaped bends of the Nakdonggang River. This is how the village got its name Hahoe (river going around). The Hahoe Mask Museum by the entrance to the village features various masks from Korea and around the world. The permanent performance hall stages the Hahoe Mask Dance drama performance (mask performance of Hahoe byeolsingut exorcism).
The area around the tavern called Samgang Jumak in Yecheon is where people crossed the river on a ferry before a bridge was installed. In the past, people came to Samgang Jumak for a meal or an overnight stay. The tavern was restored in 2008 and tourists drop by for old memories over a meal and makgeolli rice liquor. From a nearby observatory, visitors can see a beautiful landscape created by Hoeryongpo Village surrounded by the winding Naeseongcheon River.
Gyeongcheondae Terrace in Sangju means “Even heaven was taken aback by its beauty,” and is considered by many to be the most beautiful landscape near the Nakdonggang River. Go up the observatory to view steep rock cliffs and a golden field in a semicircular shape by the blue water of the river. Nearby are the Sangju Bicycle Museum, Gyeongcheonseom Island, and Sangjubo Weir. Visitors can also ride horses at Sangju International Ranch, which features indoor and outdoor horseback riding facilities.
A city of alleys, Daegu is home to numerous alleys such as the modern culture street and food alleys. The Yakjeongolmok Alley is home to around 200 Eastern medicine shops and clinics established along a 600-meter-long street. There is also the Jingolmok Alley, an affluent residential area, the Yasigolmok Alley lined with fashion stores and shoe shops, and the Meokjagolmok Alley with various food. Visit one of these alleys and to experience a trip 100 years back in time.
In Goryeong, the capital of Daegaya (45-562 AD; a city-state of the Gaya confederacy), there are various historical relics related to the kingdom, including the Jisandong Ancient Tombs. The tombs are the first in Korea where servants were found to have been buried alive with their dead masters. Other sites include the Daegaya history theme tourist site, the Daegaya Museum, and the Daegaya Royal Tomb Exhibition Hall. Also worth a visit are the Ureuk Museum commemorating celebrated musician Ureuk and the Gaepo Ferry from which the Palman Daejanggyeong (Eighty Thousand Tripitaka Koreana) were transported.
Bearing witness to 140 million years, the Upo Wetland in Changnyeong is a natural wetland. In the past, the inland area of Changnyeong region was affected by the intrusion of sea water that flowed along the Nakdonggang River. Sediments were deposited in the lower reaches of Topyeongcheon Stream, forming a natural embankment. The locked-in water behind the embankment created a wetland. The small riverine marshes surrounding Upo were created in this process. Upo Wetland is a habitat for migratory birds. In the early mornings, the area is surrounded by a blanket of fog. The Bugok Hawaii in Changnyeong is a hot spring resort with a 6,000-ton daily water supply emanating from underground at a temperature of 78℃. The water is rich in sulfur and other minerals like silicon and chlorine.
Eulsukdo in Busan is an island formed by the deposit of earth and sand in the lower Nakdonggang River estuary. It is named Eulsukdo because it is home to many birds and has clear water. In the past, the island had been the largest migratory bird site in Asia. Then, when the bank in the lower reaches of the Nakdonggang River was connected with the land, most of the island turned into a park. There are various convenience facilities such as an inline skating rink. The nearby Taejongdae with its beautiful rock cliffs was featured as one of the top 100 tourist sites voted by Netizens.
Andong Heotjesabab is memorial ceremony meal, but is also prepared for regular meals. The food is prepared without too much seasoning, giving it a plain and simple flavor. Other popular local dishes are the Andong salted mackerel, Andong jjimdak (chicken cooked in soy sauce), and Andong hanu beef. There are many related restaurants near Andongho Lake, downtown Andong, and Hahoe Village marketplace.
Sangju Hanu beef
In Gyeongsangbuk-do Province, Sangju is a well-known production center of Hanu beef (Korean beef). Particularly famous is Hanu fed with persimmon, a major product of Sangju.
Ten Delicacies of Daegu
These include gukbap (beef soup), swellfish bulgogi, jjim-galbi (spicy steamed ribs), napjak-mandu (flattened dumplings), and somakchang-gui (grilled beef tripe). There are many places to enjoy these delicacies, including the Dongin-dong Jjim-galbi Alley, Bokhyeon Ogeori Makchang Alley, Deulangil Food Town, and Gyo-dong Food Alley.
Busan raw fish
Busan offers countless delicacies, including the fresh raw fish sashimi, Dongrae pajeon scallion pancake, steamed angler, whale meat, and grilled anchovies. Visitors can purchase tasty dishes at inexpensive prices at Kkomjangeo Alley (selling inshore hagfish) near Jagalchi Market, the Nampo-dong Galbi Alley and Gogalbi (mackerel dishes) Alley, the Gopchang (tripe) Alley in Munhyeon-dong, and Sogogi Gukbap (beef soup) Alley in Haeundae.
In Andong, there are about 50 Hanok residences that offer home-stay accommodations. The Imcheonggak House, which is close to where the Nakdonggang River bicycle route begins, represents a typical house of an upper-class nobleman of the Joseon period. It is the home of the head of the Goseong Lee clan. In Hahoe Village, there are many tile-roof houses like Bukchondaek House and thatched roof houses available for accommodation. The Gimhae Hanok Experience Hall organizes various programs for its guests, including traditional hanjeongsik meals, permanent Korean classic music performances, and craft making programs. In big cities like Daegu and Busan, there are a variety of accommodation facilities, ranging from hotels to motels.
SAEJAE BICYCLE ROUTE
Crossing the infamously rough Ihwaryeong Pass of the Baekdudaegan Mountain Range (extending about 1,470 kilometers from Byeongsabong Peak in Baekdusan Mountain to Cheonwangbong Peak in Jirisan Mountain), the Saejae Bicycle Route requires great physical strength and endurance. This is the only route between Namhangang River and Nakdonggang River that goes over a ridge. It begins from Chungju Tangeumdae Terrace & Park and goes through downtown Chungju before climbing to a higher elevation towards Ihwaryeong. The meandering and rising ridge is rough and steep, and in ancient times, travelers had to face tigers and other wild animals. So, it is said that people used to cross the ridge in groups. Past Ihwaryeong, the Saejae bicycle route goes through Mungyeong and joins the Nakdonggang bicycle route at Sangpunggyo Bridge in Sangju.
Suanbo Hot Spring
Suanbo in Chungju is the nation’s largest hot spring area. Emanating from a depth between 250 meters and 700 meters underground and reaching 53 degrees Celsius in temperature, the water does not need to be heated or cooled down. The water contains many health benefiting minerals, so it is effective for rejuvenating the skin. The Suanbo Hotel and Resort features an open-air hot spring and a fitness center among its facilities.
Mungyeong Flying Land
Situated 866 meters above sea level, Mungyeong Flying Land is the nation’s first paragliding runway. Visitors can take part in a tandem flying program with an instructor to get a birds-eye view of the area. The Mungyeong Zip Line, situated in Buljeongsan Mountain Recreational Forest, offers a thrilling ride down a ridge and valley.
Mungyeong Rail Bike
The Mungyeong Rail Bike sits upon the tracks of a railway that was used 20 years ago for the transportation of coal. The rail bike passes by a black hole-like tunnel, on a bridge over a river, and through a rural area full of blossoms of wild flowers. Two courses are offered: one to Buljeong Station and the other to Gaeun Station.
In Suanbo in Chungju, there are a few restaurants specializing in pheasant dishes. They offer raw pheasant meat (with pheasant sashimi), pheasant bulgogi, pheasant meat dumplings, and pheasant meat sujebi (dough flake soup). Pheasant meat has a plain taste and it is lean. In the past, it was presented to the king. Also a regional specialty of Chungu is the Sanchae Jeongsik prix-fixe, which comes with 20 or so wild vegetables.
Grilled yakdol pork
The grilled yakdol pork of Mungyeong is made with the meat of pig that was fed with stone powder containing germanium and selenium. The characteristic of the meat is that it is chewy and does not have the unique pork meat smell. There are many restaurants specializing in yakdol pork near the entrance to Jeomchon Station or Mungyeongsaejae tourist site.
The thematic pension train in Buljeong Station is made out of an abandoned train. It offers a kitchenette and bed, as well as air conditioning, a heating system and television. By the entrance to Mungyeongsaejae, there are many unique accommodation facilities, including the Saejae Smurf Village (a village of pensions made of yellow earth) and the European-style STX Resort.
The Yeongsangang River bicycle route, which spans 133 kilometers along the Yeongsangang River in Jeollanam-do, is established on the river embankment down Damyangho Lake. In Damyang, the path joins the Metasequoia-lined Road and then the bamboo groves of Damyang Marsh before approaching downtown Gwangju. There, the Yeongsangang River widens after joining Hwangryonggang River, and then passes by Seungchonbo Weir before entering Naju Plain. The path near Seungchonbo Weir is full of canola flowers and pear blossoms in the spring. After passing Juksanbo, the second weir on Yeongsangang River, the path goes through the Naju Image Theme Park where the drama "Jumong" was filmed. The path goes through Hampyeong and Naju and then runs into Neureoji in Muan, which is shaped in the form of the Korean Peninsula, before crossing the Mongtandaegyo Bridge. After that, the path extends along the 10 kilometer-long bank, which is called the Bicycle Highway. The route finally reaches the estuary of Yeongsangang in Mokpo.
The 8.5 kilometer-long Metasequoia-lined Road in Damyang features about 1,500 Metasequoia trees. The road was also a filming location for the Korean drama Summer Scent in addition to a number of movies and commercials. Visitors can walk down the road barefoot. The road is connected to Gwanbangjerim Forest, a forest that was made to block the wind from the banks of Damyangcheon Stream during the Joseon period. Situated across from Gwanbangjerim, the Juknokwon Bamboo Garden is thick with green bamboo trees, and there are also eight walking trails in the garden.
Changpyeong Slow City
Known as a special place where a small brook flows along a stone wall path, the slow city of Changpyeong began as a settlement of the Changpyeong Goh Clan for 500 years. There are about 20 hanok buildings constructed in the early 1900s. Walk on the 3,600 meter-long stonewall path covered with ivy, and you will soon feel peace and serenity of mind. Slow cities in Korea must maintain a set of traditional characteristics in order to be designated a “slow” city.
Yeongsangang River Culture Pavilion
The Yeongsangang Culture Pavilion sits next to Seunchonbo Weir, which is designed in the form of a rice grain. The pavilion offers information on how the weir was built on the river. There are a few videos projected such as the "River is" by Jussi Angesleva. Go up the observatory to get a panoramic view of Gwangju Mudeungsan Mountain, Yeongam Wolchulsan Mountain, and Naju Geumseongsan Mountain. There is an car camping site outdoors.
Naju Image Theme Park
Down Juksanbo Weir is Naju Image Theme Park, where the Korean drama Jumong was filmed. Filming took place on a cliff, and on the Hwangpo sailboat as it sailed down the foggy and serene Yeongsangang River.
Neureoji means “Where the flow of water slows down.” After passing the S-shaped boundary between Naju and Muan, the Geumgang River slows down at Isan-ri, Mongtan-myeon in Muan. Neureoji is also a rich agricultural area, and is most beautiful when it takes a golden hue in the fall. Climb up to Bongryong Observatory in Naju for a view of Neureoji, which when seen from the sky, protruding in the form of the Korean Peninsula.
Hoesan White Lotus Pond
The Hoesan white lotus pond in Muan measures 330,000 square meters in total surface area, and three kilometers in circumference. The pond is the largest white lotus habitat in Asia, and a filming location for the drama Summer Scent. There is a walking trail around the pond and a wooden bridge across it, from which visitors can view white lotus up close. White lotuses are in full bloom for three months from July to September, blooming in the morning and closing up at night.
Museums in Mokpo
Mokpo is home to a number of museums, including the Mokpo Natural History Museum, which has on exhibition fossil fuels, minerals, plants and various exhibits of 4.6 billion years ago, Literary Art and History Museum, and National Research Institute of Maritime Cultural Heritage.
Damyang hanu tteokgalbi is made by removing meat from the bone, mincing it and shaping it into a rectangular form. The meat is grilled on charcoal and dressed with a mixture of soy sauce, pear juice, onion juice, cheongju liquor, sugar, and sesame oil. Or, the meat can be marinated in the sauce for a day. The daetongbap is nutritious rice cooked in local bamboo. The dish is made with non-glutinous rice, glutinous rice, and black rice.
The Yeongsanpo Hongeo (skate fish) Street in Naju has a few restaurants specializing in hongeo dishes. Try a course meal that comes with hongeo-muchim (seasoned skate with vegetables), hongeo-jeon (skate fritters), hongeo-twigim (deep-fried skate), and hongeo samhap (a combo of fermented skate, steamed pork, and kimchi). When eating the hongeo samhap combo, it is best to eat each separately than wrapping them all in one.
The Gomtang Street in front of Geumseonggwan is lined with Naju Gomtang restaurants that have been in business there for several decades. Unlike gomtang soup made with bones in other regions, the Naju version is made with meat, so the broth is more savory. The soup is served with old kimchi and kkakdugi.
In Muan, which is famous for its foreshore, the most delicious meals are the three-legged small octopus, raw mullet, grilled eel, and pork grilled on straw fire.
The Jukhyang Culture Village in Juknokwon in Damyang features a reproduction of Songgangjeong, Myeonangjeong, Sigyeongjeong, Myeongokheon, and Gwangpunggak pavilions of Damyang. The village has three hanok houses offering six rooms that can accommodate up to seven or eight people in each room. There are also a few hanok houses offering homestay accommodations in Samjinae Village. The Damyang Resort Hot Spring in Wonyul-ri, Geumseong-myeon is a family hotel famous for hot spring water containing germanium. It also offers a bamboo charcoal sauna, a bath infused with bamboo leaves, and a swimming pool. There are also hotels and motels in Bukhang accommodation district and Hadang accommodation district in Mokpo.
Biketel along the River and along the Road
During cycling tours, it is necessary to find accommodation facilities where bicycles can also be stored. A new form of accommodation called “biketel” caters to cycling tourists. Biketels are accommodation facilities that offer bicycle lockers for safe storage. Biketels have been established to offer convenience to a rising number of cycling tourists traveling long distance on bicycle routes. There are currently ten biketels—in Gyeonggi-do's Yeoju, Gangwon-do's Chuncheon, Daejeon's Yuseong, Chungcheongnam-do's Gongju and Buyeo, Chungcheongbuk-do's Chungju, Gyeongsangbuk-do's Mungyeong and Sangju, and Jeollanam-do's Damyang and Yeongam. For more information on specific biketel locations, please visit the website http://www.riverguide.go.kr/tour/bikeCourseList.jsp (Korean, English).
Korea Tourism Organization website
Subscribe to our Stripes Pacific newsletter and receive amazing travel stories, great event info, cultural information, interesting lifestyle articles and more directly in your inbox!
Follow us on social media!