Two Wheels Plus 15 days
- Gyeongbokgung Palace
- National Folk Museum of Korea
- Insa-dong Antique Shop Street
- Namdaemun Market
- Silleuksa Temple
- Chungju Lake Cruise
- Gosu Cave
- Ginseng Market
- Hahoemaeul Village
- Andong Folk Museum
- Gyeongju National Museum
- Donggung palace and Wolji pond
- Banwolseong Fortress
- Cheomseongdae Astronomical Observatory
- Tumuli Park
- Bulguksa Temple
- Seokguram Grotto
- Gameunsa Pagodas
- Tomb of King Munmu
- Haeundae Beach
- UN Memorial Cemetery
- Yongdusan Park
- Jagalchi Fish Market
Tips on Korean names
Expressway - 고속국도
National Road - 국도
Provincial Road - 지방도
City. County Road - 시. 군도
Other Road - 기타도로
Railroad - 철도
Bike Lane, Bike Path, Bikeway - 자전거도로
Sharp curve - 급커브
Steep gradient - 급경사
Usually named with following Korean suffixes stand for
Ro (로) - Road or Street
Daero (대로) - Main Street or Thoroughfare
Gil (길) - Road or Street
Ri (리) - Village
Maeul (마을) - Village
Dong (동) - Administrative unit in the city or village
Myeon (면) - Small County
Eup (읍) - Large County
Gun (군) - Administrative unit covering Myeon and Eup
Si (시) - City
Do (도) - Province
Cheong (청) - Office of Gun, Si or Do
Samuso (사무소) - Office
Samgeori (삼거리) - Fork or Junction
T Junction (T자형 삼거리)
Gyocharo (교차로) - Crossroads or Intersection
Sageori (사거리) - Crossroads or Intersection
Negeori (네거리) - Crossroads or Intersection
Nadeulmok (나들목) - Interchange
Gyo (교) - Bridge
Daegyo (대교) - Long Bridge
Yeok (역) - Subway station, Railroad station
Tunnel (터널) - Tunnel
Jihado (지하도) - Underpass
Guldari (굴다리) - Underpass
Jae (재) - Pass or Hill
Ryeong (령) - Mountain pass
Road signs are almost always in English as well as Hangeul.
Language is less of a problem than it might seem - many people understand some English.
Riding on any of the major roads can be physically and mentally exhausting and frustrating, traffic in general has little respect for your cycling plight.
Accommodation in motels or pensions is ubiquitous, standard and economical.
Vegetarian menus in some restaurants are rare to find.
Tour from April through October
|Tour facts and features|
14 hotel and pension nights in 2 and 4 star twin share accommodation
|Transport||All transportation by private vehicle, and speed train|
|Guided||Services of an English speaking guide|
|Group size||Maximum 9|
|Activity||Cycling of 8 days|
|Degrees of difficulty||Difficult|
Click on the days to access the programs quick
|Days||Visits and Activities||Distance|
|Day 1||Arrive Seoul||60km|
|Day 3||Seoul - Gwangnaru Park - Paldang - Ungilsan station - Cheongpyeong - Gapyeong||92km|
|Day 4||Gapyeong - Geumdaeri - Homyeongri - Yangsuri - Yangpyeong - Yeoju||108km|
|Day 5||Yeoju - Chungju||70km|
|Day 6||Chungju - Cheongpung - Danyang||60km|
|Day 7||Danyang - Punggi - Yecheon - Andong||120km|
|Day 9||Andong - Angye||75km|
|Day 10||Angye (Yonggi) - Bianmyen Office - Bongyang Doriwon - Sinpyeongri - Daebukri - Gunwi - Gandong Samgoeri - Sinnyeongyeok - Sindeok Samgeori - Yeongcheon||85km|
|Day 11||Yeongcheon - Gyeongju||50km|
|Day 13||Gyeongju - Busan||120km|
|Day 14||Busan - Seoul||440km|
Day 1 Arrive Seoul (- - -)
Touching down at Incheon International Airport, and after you clear Passport and Customs control, your tour guide will greet you at the main passenger terminal and transport you to your hotel. Bike pick up upon check in. The evening is yours to relax, allowing your mind and body time to adjust to different time zone.
Day 2 Seoul (B)
Your exploration this morning begins with a driving tour of Seoul, featuring sites such as Seoul Plaza, City Hall, Cheonggye Square and pedestrian-friendly Gwanghwamun Plaza that is hemmed in on both sides by rushing traffic and office buildings. The plaza is lined on each side with 365m long streamlets, two centimeters deep and one meter across, the stone bed of the plaza's east side waterway engraved with important events in chronological order from 1392 to 2008.
Standing high on a stone pillar is a statue of Yi Sunsin who had engaged in twenty-three naval battles and emerged victorious in all of them during the Hideyoshi invasion (1592-1598). King Sejong who propagated the Korean alphabet in the 15th century is also honored with prominent statue. On August 16, 2014, Pope Francis celebrated Mass in this plaza to beatify 124 Korean martyrs. Near the southwest corner of the plaza is Korea's Kilometer Zero, marking the distances to 64 cities around the world, including Seoul's antipode, Montevideo, Uruguay, 19,606km.
Step back in time to when life was gracefully slow and discover Gyeongbokgung Palace, a particularly charming spot that represents a colorful and turbulent side of the capital's 500-year history. Depending on timing, you may witness the Royal Guard Changing Ceremony featuring parade, password verification, duty shift and patrolling the gate. Accompanied by a court band with its colorful costumes and royal flags, the ceremony is performed daily basis at 10:00 and 14:00 except Tuesdays, although it is cancelled in case of rain or extremely hot or cold weather.
Up from the gates is a spacious stone-paved courtyard that is fully enclosed by wooden cloisters, and at the center of which runs three footpaths through two rows of rank stones, indicating the positions of the officials with the highest rank being closer to the hall.
Standing majestically on top of a two-tiered stone platform that is lined with detailed balustrades is Geunjeongjeon Hall, where the king formally granted audiences to his officials, gave declarations of national importance, presided over large official functions, and greeted foreign envoys and ambassadors. Check out the royal throne and a large painting, depicting sun, moon, five peaks, streams and pine trees, which was the crucial signifier of the king. And up in the center of the ceiling, the bright golden dragons in bold relief indicate the presence of the king.
At the back of the throne hall is a group of court offices. Displayed in front of the King's official quarters is sundial, conceived in order to catch the shadow of the sun, which tells time and 24 periods of seasonal change from the winter solstice to the summer solstice.
Sitting on the island in the rectangular lake is Gyeonghoeru. Supported by 48 square and cylindrical massive stone pillars representing the idea of Yin and Yang, this magnificent pavilion was used for many purposes ranging from receptions to national examinations.
Gangnyeongjeon is the king's sleeping and living quarters while Gyotaejeon is the queen's domain containing a number of halls. The noted feature of these main buildings is an absence of a top roof ridge.
Amisan Garden, landscaped with four hexagonal chimneys in orange bricks, is seldom noticed by the hurried visitors. Jagyeongjeon is the queen dowager's residence. Although less colorful, it is worth noting the wall, adorned with floral designs and the chimneys with ten longevity symbols.
Hyangwonjeong features a small pond with a manmade islet that supports a beautiful two-story pavilion. Behind this serene garden is Geoncheonggung, where the king and queen could relax in peace and quiet. It was here that the first electric lights in the country were installed in 1887 after 8 years of Thomas Edison's invention and a tragic chapter in Korea's history was recorded when empress Myeongseong was assassinated by the sword-bearing Japanese assassins in the early morning of 8 October 1895, allegedly under orders from Miura Goro.
Your visit to the National Folk Museum of Korea will familiarize you with wealthy culture of this friendly and picturesque nation. It is an excellent facility to illustrate the history of traditional life of the Korean people from the prehistoric age to the Joseon dynasty. The permanent exhibition features life and work, costumes and ornaments, handicrafts and technology, educations, living quarters, dietary life, oriental medicine, performing arts and games, beliefs and rituals, and socio cultural life.
Insa-dong is known as the center of traditional Korean art and antiques. Clustered along the main street and alleys are numerous shops dealing in antiques, oriental art supplies, and modern Korean art of all types and styles. Many scour the main street, but the back alleys do spring some unexpected surprises. Here, you may want to buy some souvenirs or simply wander and browse at leisure admiring upscale art galleries, antique shops and cultural ambience.
Drive past Cheonggyecheon Stream. After the Korean War (1950-1953), more people migrated into Seoul to make their living and settled down along the stream in shabby makeshift houses. The accompanying trash and waste, and deteriorating conditions resulted in an eyesore for the city. The stream was covered with layers of concrete in the mid 1950s and roadway until the massive urban renewal project freed it in 2005. Today, a 5.8km creek tumbles gently through downtown Seoul, providing a much needed source of peace and relaxation for the citizens of this fast-paced city. You may have a chance to view the sculpture standing tall at the head of the stream on a small plaza. Created by Dutch artist Coosje Van Bruggen and Swedish artist Claes Oldenburg, a shell rising upward like pagoda symbolizes new life.
You will tour the centuries-old Namdaemun Market brimming with well over 11,000 shops selling anything you can imagine. The whole area is a labyrinth of street vendors and buildings. The market is seriously crowded, so be prepared to get bumped around. A fantastic place to haggle over the price to get the best deal on something you want or simply admire the vibrancy of this massive market.
At the western entrance of the market in the middle of a traffic circle stands Sungnyemun. It is a formidable and iconic construct that served as the southern gate of the wall that surrounded Seoul during the period of the Joseon Dynasty.
Day 3 Seoul - Gwangnaru Park - Paldang - Ungilsan station - Cheongpyeong - Gapyeong (B) 92km
With time to hassle over the city's traffic, an hour bus ride to Gwangnaru Park (24km) to begin your adventure to Gapyeong (68km), a beautiful town set by the mountains, rivers and lakes. It is one of the favorite relaxing and vacation destinations in the region. The bikeways are not for professional races or intense competition. More suited for relaxed biking than racing. The first leg of tour is to Paldang (16km). Ride continue for 9km to fork near Unglisan station where the Bukhangang River (북한강) trail starts. This trail stretches nrothward to Gapyeong and further up to Chuncheon.
There are two options to Sincheongpyeong Daegyo (신청평대교). One is staying on a bikeway straight up to the bridge (23km) and further on to Gapyeong (20km), and the other is taking a roadway carrying two-lanes in the opposite side of the river. By crossing the defunct railroad bridge, you are on the Road 352. Here, trun left and bike to Sincheongpyeong Daegyo (신청평대교) for about 25km. Then, cross the bridge to join the bikeway for Gapyeong.
Day 4 Gapyeong - Geumdaeri - Homyeongri - Yangsuri - Yangpyeong - Yeoju (B) 108km
Today, you will enjoy cycling southward to Yeoju. You may have three options to choose from in the first leg of your cycling.
1) Gapeyong to Cheongpyeong 1-gyo Bridge (청평1교) cycling on a two-lane roadway that runs along the west side of the Bukhangang River, passing by Nami Island (남이섬) and a number of villages, Geumdaeri, Goseongri including Petite France, a theme park designed like a French village. The road is relatively narrow, steep gradient with sharp curves and pretty busy on weekends (32km).
2) Gapyeong - Cheongpyeong 1-gyo Bridge (청평1교) cycling on a bikeway that you had previous day (19km)
3) Gapyeong - Cheongpyeong 1-gyo Bridge (청평1교) on a vehicle
From Cheongpyeong 1-gyo Bridge (청평1교), cycling on a bikeway to Ungilsan station you had already experienced (23km) from where you will enjoy a rolling ride of 7km over the defunct railroad and bikeway to Sinwon station by passing number of tunnels. This paved stretch follows the line of the old Jungangseon Railroad, which was built in 1939 to connect Gyeongju. Your cycling continues to Yeoju another 50km.
Your cycling path to Yeoju from Cheongpyeong 1- brdige (청평1교) is a fairly flat, and you will enjoy riding as you pass by the towns and villages including Yongdamri, Sinwonri, Guksuri, Yangpyeong, Hajapo, and Sangjapo. The weirs were constructed as part of the river restoration project to improve water quality, control the flood and to help with water shortages. One such weir you will pass by is Ipobo that was built in the shape of an egret flying up into the sky. Other weirs in Yeoju are Yeojubo and Gangcheonbo.
Cycling continues to Yeoju (48km) on a fairly flat path. Cycling is pleasant and scenery is beautiful. The weirs were constructed as part of the river restoration project to improve water quality, control the flood and to help with water shortages. One such example you will pass by is Ipobo that was built in the shape of an egret flying up into the sky.
While in Yeoju, visit Silleuksa from the Silla dynasty (BC 57-AD 935). It is a rare temple that is perched on a riverbank amid an attractive waterfront whose cove forms a snug and cosy enclosure for this ancient sanctuary. Many pray at a beautiful seven-tier marble pagoda, that is masterfully adorned with dragon and lotus carvings. Incense burning in the temple and sights and smells mixed offer visitors a really magical experience. A 500-year-old aromatic juniper tree and a 600-year-old ginkgo tree grow on the temple grounds, and on a small hill stands a seven-story brick pagoda, the only existing Goryeo brick pagoda (918-1392).
Yeongneung is a tomb of royal couple of King Sejong who is widely regarded as the most enlightened king in Korean history. He promulgated Korean Alphabet and also invented such scientific devices as a rain gauge, a celestial globe, sundial, armillary sphere, water clock, promoted the development of classical court music, and improved metal type printing techniques. Many replicas of inventions that were commissioned by the king are displayed near the entrance to burial mound. Near the tomb and all around it are life-sized statues of warriors and horses, put here to protect the King. UNESCO bestowed the honor to the 40 Joseon Dynasty Royal Tombs including Yeongneung as World Heritage sites.
Day 5 Yeoju - Chungju (B) 70km
Make your way along the river to Chungju (70km) while enjoying a relaxed cycling. The trails are still flat and scenery is beautiful. Out in the countryside, up the valley and up in the hills, there are health apple orchards. Chungju has an outstanding cultural background. In addition, the natural scenery created by beautiful mountains, lakes, and hot springs are the crucial assets of Chungju. Taking pride as the origins of Taekgyeon, a traditional martial art, and Gayageum, a traditionally musical stringed instrument invented by Ureuk. Created by the Chungju Dam and dubbed an inland sea, Chungjuho Lake is large enough to straddle the three cities of Chungju, Jecheon, and Danyang.
Day 6 Chungju - Cheongpung - Danyang (B) 60km
About 50 minute cruise over the Chungju Lake takes you to Cheongpung (26km) absolutely on boat availability. Your biking tour begins at Cheongpung pier. Following the Cheongpunggyo Bridge, shorly after crossing the bridge, and before getting to a Cheongpung Resort hotel, turn right to join the Hakhyeon-Soyaro (학현소야로). It is a challenging ride (34km). At Gakgiri village (각기리), take a right fork and stay on this road to Hari village (하리). Next, turn left at Hajin Samgeori (하진삼거리). Continue your way all the way along the lake. On the way, you will pass through three tunnels Maegok (274m), Jinju (768m) and Sangjin (47m) that comes one after another. Shortly after the tunnels, make U-turn to Danyang. Time permitting, explore Gosu cave on a vehicle. Formed about 400 million years ago, it is virtually an integrated exhibition hall of all imaginable cave resources. Then, stop off at Dodam Sambong rocks representing the typical love triangle of ancient Korea: a husband, his wife and his mistress.
Chungju - Cheongpung - Danyang (B) 90km
In the event of boat being unavailable, travel on a vehicle to the trail head of Hakhyeonsoyaro. Then, follow the route to Danyang as above..
Day 7 Danyang - Punggi - Yecheon - Andong (B) 120km
Travel on a vehicle to Punggi and Yecheon for about 70km. While in Punggi, a small remote town famous for quality apples and ginseng, you will explore ginseng market with piles of fresh ginseng roots, including variety array of ginseng products. This mysterious root, which has a good smell better than it tastes, has historically been considered an empowering medicine and a cure-all. Street vendors sell flowers, fruits, food stuff and home grown grains and vegetables. With all these features combined creates a rural ambience of Korea's remote town. Main trail of the day from Yechon is a combination of road (17km) and bike path (33km) to Andong.
Day 8 Andong (B)
Explore Andong Folk Museum offering in-depth information of traditional life and illustrating traditional Confucian culture. The museum exhibits a variety of legacies relating mainly to four cardinal ceremonies, coming of an age, wedding, funeral, ancestral memorial service, as well as dozens of pieces of pottery, utensils, clothing, farming tools and traditional folk games in small models. You'll have plenty of opportunity to explore the city at your own pace. In your free time, we highly recommend Andong traditional market, which offers insight into the local life.
Day 9 Andong - Angye (Yonggi) (- - -) 75km
With leisurely time to pack, travel on a bus to UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hahoemaeul (24km) from the 15th century. It is the best preserved traditional village portraying and spanning the life of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) and some 480 Korean traditional houses, both large and small, are still fully functioning. As you take a walk in the narrow alleys, enjoy the rustic and old charm of this unique village. You cannot possibly miss a 600-years old zelkova tree, the home to the village spirit. At the tree's base is where residents still make their wishes. The village is also known for traditional festival, Hahoe Mask Dance which gave common people the opportunity to mock those in authority, and in particular the Byeolsingut, a shaman ritual exorcising evil spirits, dating back to the Goryeo dynasty (918-1392).
With time to visit, continue your way Yonggi (50km). Following the road to the first fork, then turn left again at the next fork at Haehoe Samgeori (하회삼거리). jump on the Road 916 until you reach Doyang Samgeori. Turn left here and cross the Bridge, Gwangdeokgyo bridge (광덕교). At the other end of the bridge is a crossroad. When you make a left turn here, you are on the bikeway. Then, ride off down the river bank all the way to Gudamgyo bridge (구담교), the first bridge ahead. Here, cross this bridge and turn left immediately after crossing it. After a while, you will find two bridges, one new and the other old crossing the river side by side. Past under the first bridge, and take the second one, Pungjigyo bridge (풍지교) and go straight and past Yonggok Samgeori (용곡삼거리). A little further on, take a left Road 923 with less vehicular traffic. The villages ahead are Bongjeong, Doam, Songho 3-ri, Yongmu, Sinha, Seongam and finally Iyeonri where the raod merging with Road 912. Turn left and soon you will get to Yonggi.
Day 10 Angye (Yonggi) - Bianmyen Office - Bongyang Doriwon - Sinpyeongri - Daebukri - Gunwi - Gandong Samgoeri - Sinnyeongyeok - Sindeok Samgeori - Yeongcheon (- - -) 85km
Continue your riding on the Road 28 for about 9km to Bian Myeon Office (비안면사무소). By taking the left local raod, you will past by the villages of Ssanggyeri, Anpyeongri, Hwajeonri and reach at Bongyang Myoen Office (봉양면사부소) (10km). Then, Head on to Dowon 1 ri village (도원1리) crossing the Doriwon Bridge (도원교), and pass under the Gyeongbuk Daero (경북대로). Make left turn and continue this road all the way down to the villages of Sinpyeongri, Deebuk 1 ri, Daebukri and where the road meets with No. 68. Turn left and pass two highways crossing overhead (10km). While in Gunwi, follow the road to Sajikgyo bridge (사직교). As you pass it, turn left and follow a pleasant trail for 10km along the river until you get to Gandong Samgeori (간동삼거리). Take a Road 919. Follow this road to Bugye Sageori (부계사거리) where you take a left road, then on to Baekhak Samgeori (백학삼거리). Straight ahead on is Sinnyeong Samgeori (신녕삼거리) to make a right turn. Follow the road up to Sindoek Samgeori (신덕삼거리) for left turn and then on to Daejeon Gyopcharo (대전교차로) for straight ahead, followed by Hwaryong Samgeori (화룡삼거리), and finally at Seomun Yukgeori (서문육거리) (46km).
Day 11 Yeongcheon - Gyeongju (- - -) 50km
The day is a bit difficult to find the right path to Gyeongju. As you approach to the larger towns and cities, the road networks get complicated and so does the roads busier. Frist, take Geumsongro, Road 919. At Cheongdongnaegeori crossroad, make a left turn. Now, road name and number changes as Cheongdongro and No. 909. Follow this road until you reach Wucheonsamgeori, a fork where you will make a right turn. The road name changes to Sailro.
Continue your way up to Gyodaesageori, and go straight ahead on to Gyodaegil, a short alley that leads you the river. At the dead-end alley, trun left on to the Geumhoro. Soon thereafter, you will find a bridge, Geumchanggyo. When you cross it, you are biking on the Grumchangro, Road 909. About 1 hour 10 minutes bike of 18km takes you to Dangrisamgeori, where you take a left fork to get on the Unbokro road. Take this road to Sinri Hoegwan, about 15 minutes of 3.5km. Turn right here to join Sinhyoro road and on to Seomyeon police station for about 4km. Turn right and continue on the road Naeseoro all the way you reach to Taegyeongro with a busy traffic. After passing Moryangri village, the road comes to merge 4-lane highway - Taegyeongro. Go straight and join it. 800m ahead is a 2-lane road.
Soon thereafter, you will pass by a group of ancient tombs. One of them is the Tomb of King Muyeol (603-661). Presided over the golden age of Silla expansion, King Muyeol forged an alliance with Tang China and defeated the rival Baekje kingdom with the help of Kim Yusin. The tomb is a circular ground mound made of piled-up soil with a bottom girth of 116m, and a height of 8.8m. Near the base of the mound are ring of stones which were possibly used in protecting an underground structure, but most have disappeared over the centuries while only the larger stones remain. Behind the king's tomb are four giant mounds that are believed to hold the remains of relatives of the king. A famous turtle base with tablet cap-stone that dates from the original construction is on display and you will not miss it.
And a little further ahead is the Tomb of Kim Yusin (595-673), who served as general under King Muyeol. Dressed in civilian garb, the stone carved zodiac images surrounding the mound are the most well preserved of all the remains.
Enjoy your bike to the Seocheongyo bridge that leads you to Gyengju, an ancient capital of Silla (BC57-AD935) often dubbed as Museum without Walls. Today, you are treated to one of the ten most historically significant sites in the world with ancient temples, weathered stone pagodas, royal tombs, Buddhist bas-reliefs, and fortress ruins. After crossing the bridge, turn right and and left to get on the Cheonseongro and go straight on to Yangjeongro road. Then, take Bumhwangro to the right and then on to Alcheonnamro. For sure, you will find the sign Bomun Lake. At the Bomungyosamgeori, take a left fork to get to your hotel.
Day 12 Gyeongju (B)
With a full day to further explore the delights of UNESCO World Heritage Site on a bike. At Bulguksa, you will witness the impressive gates, symbolic bridges leading up to the world of Buddha, graceful architectures, Three-storied Seokgatap and highly ornate Dabotap blending well into the architectural harmony. At Gwaneumjeon hall, check out the image of the Avalokitesvara who is referred to as the Bodhisattva of Compassion and has a thousand hands, and eyes in each so as to reach out to those in need of help. You will see a gilded statue of Vairocana with the gesture of the first wisdom, Sakyamuni Buddha along with sixteen figures of Buddha's disciples sitting in deep meditation, and a gilt-bronze Amitabha Buddha who is the ruler of the Western Paradise Sukhavati. The architectural design of Bulguksa is one of constrained dignity, peace, and harmony and the temple still remains one of the most remarkable achievements of the ancient Far East.
Visit Gyeongju National Museum for a great insight into Silla culture and history. The first thing that you will notice is The Bell of King Seongdeok, the largest extant bell in Korea. You must certainly stand in awe before the bell from the 8th century with such artistic beauty of design. The bell is distinguished not only for its outstanding beauty but also for its long reverberating sound, the incredibly precise casting technique, in addition to the sad legend surrounding it. On entering the museum, you will marvel at the priceless archaeological and historical artifacts including splendid gold crowns, earrings, belts, ornaments, glassware, potteries, and clay figures as well as a royal barge.
Afterwards, explore Donggung palace and Wolji pond, a pleasure garden built to commemorate the victory of Silla, and later used as the recreational area for the Silla's royal family, then followed by a relaxed walking tour covering the ruins of Banwolseong or half moon fortress where Silla palace and eight fortress gates stood. There is a Seokbinggo, a freezer made of stones. Half of the structure is underground while the other half is above ground with three air vents on top. You can feel the cold oozing out of this simple structure. Near fortress is Gyerim, literally meaning Rooster Forest. It is a sacred woodland area where progenitor of the Gyeongju Kim family, Kim Alji, was supposed to have been born.
Then, check out the world's oldest existing astronomical observatory, Cheomseongdae. Each stone used in the observatory bears symbolic meaning; the same number of the days of the year by lunar calendar, the number of the major stars, the months of the year and the numbers of the seasonal divisions. Nearby Tumuli Park encompasses 23 huge tomb mounds where Silla rulers were buried. One of the tombs, Cheonmachong, is opened to the public and you can go inside and see how the tombs were made and replicas of the treasures excavated in 1973. After a tour exploring Gyeongju, your biking adventure wrapped up.
Day 13 Gyeongju - Busan (B) 120km
Visit UNESCO World Heritage Site, Seokguram grotto. It is the home of the serene stone Buddha of the eighth century. Inside, a white statue of a seated Buddha in a sublime state of enlightenment, is surrounded by 37 relief figures of Bodhisattvas, disciples, devas, and guardian kings. The grotto represents the magnificent harmony of religion, science and the arts of Buddhism, symbolizing the pure land in which Buddha resides.
Your journey cotninues to Busan, Korea's second largest city surrounded by the ocean on one side, and mountains on the other. Its deep harbor and gentle tides have allowed it to grow into the largest port in Korea and the fifth largest in the world. It is also a center of industry and commerce, a thriving metropolis formed unusually long in shape along its coastal line.
You will tour the 7th century Beomeosa showcasing Korea’s traditional Buddhist architecture. Since it is built on a mountain slope, the temple buildings are arranged on three elevations, but the setting is very peaceful and serene. Passing One-Pillar Gate, Four Guardian's Gate, and the Gate of Non Duality gets you to get to the spiritual world of the Buddha. Learn about the Buddhist culture and temple’s history as you explore the compound, including halls, pagodas, stone lamps, and Brahma bell pavilion holding four dharma instruments. In the nearby valley is a mass of wild wisteria trees that have curled around each other, every year in late spring, their lavender blossoms create an extraordinary sight, unseen anywhere else in Korea.
Enjoy a short break at Haeundae, a world-class beach resort blessed by beautiful water and screened by skyscrapers along the beautifully curved coastline. Afterward, cross the Suyeong Bay over Gwangan Bridge, installed with over 10,000 colorful LED lights which sparkle brightly under the night skies.
Visit UN memorial cemetery where 2,300 deceased soldiers from sixteen Korean War allies rest in honored serenity. Learn about the Korean War and pay tribute to those who dedicated their lives to the World Peace. During the period of 1951-1954, remains of approximately 11,000 fallen of the UN Forces were buried here. Thereafter, most were repatriated to their home countries. In the cemetery, lie the remains of Korean War heroes from Australia(281), Canada(378), France(44), the Netherlands(117), New Zealand(34), Norway(1), South Africa(11), Turkey(462), the United Kingdom(885), the United States(36) and Republic of Korea(36) as well as of unknown allied soldiers(4) and non belligerents(11).
You will tour Yongdusan Park where people of all ages gather for recreational activities. Sitting on top of the hillock of a steep slope is Busan tower topped by an observatory, overlooking the hilly terrain of this mountainous coastal city and the harbor in a breathtaking view. At the smack dab in the middle of the park stands the statue of Yi Sunsin, who is credited with the perfection of the first iron-clad warship in history. You will also see a flower clock and a Busan citizen's bell that they ring on New Years' Day, March 1 and August 15.
Just off the park is Gwangbokro Street, full of shops selling everything from bargains to luxury items. Adjacent is a maze of small streets alive with color, sidewalks sprinkled with unique shops and local eateries. Enjoy the vibrant ambience as you leisurely make your way to the BIFF square, another area packed with trendy shops, movie theaters and food stalls. The square is Busan’s modern movie district which was originally little more than a pair of cinemas that were built over half a century ago. However, major renovations took place ahead of the first Busan International Film Festival (BIFF), and the newly transformed district was named BIFF Square on August 14, 1996.
Across the street from the square is a fascinating Jagalchi fish market, a great attraction located dockside. Here you will find a diverse array of seafood on display as you walk along the narrow alleys of street vendors. A nearby indoor market features live fish in the tanks and the upstairs are dried fish along with many restaurants selling raw fish at reasonable prices. The market is really a visual and culinary treat.
Day 14 Busan - Seoul (B) 440km
With leisurely time to pack, return on a speed train to Seoul.
Day 15 Departure (B) 60km
After this wonderful trip exploring Korea and with time to reflect on your surprise in your experience, you will return to the airport in time for your flight. By boarding, you are already high above Incheon heading for home.