Korea by Bike 19 days
- Gyeongbokgung Palace
- National Folk Museum of Korea
- Insa-dong Antique Shop Street
- Namdaemun Market
- The 4th Tunnel
- Eulji Observatory
- Hangyeryeong Pass
- Unduryeong Pass
- Hwangji Pond
- Hahoemaeul Village
- Andong Folk Museum
- Hanbammaeul Village
- Tomb of King Muyeol
- Gyeongju National Museum
- Donggung palace and Wolji pond
- Banwolseong Fortress
- Cheomseongdae Astronomical Observatory
- Tumuli Park
- Bulguksa Temple
- Seokguram Grotto
- Haeundae Beach
- UN Memorial Cemetery
- 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|
18 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 11 days|
|Degrees of difficulty||Very difficult|
Click on the days to access the programs quick
|Days||Visits and Activities||Distance|
|Day 1||Arrive Seoul||60km|
|Day 3||Seoul - Paldang - Cheongpyeong - Gapyeong||86km|
|Day 4||Gapyeong - Chuncheon - Hwacheon||57km|
|Day 5||Hwacheon - Peace Dam - Bangsan||50km|
|Day 6||Bangsan - Haean||38km|
|Day 8||Haean - Wontong - Hangyeryeong - Girin||74km|
|Day 9||Girn - Sangnamri - Misanri - Unduryeong - Wongdang Samgeori - Jangchon Samgeori - Soksa - Jinbu||86km|
|Day 10||Jinbu - Suhangri - Najeonri - Deoksongri - Jeongseon||42km|
|Day 11||Jeongseon - Hwaam - Taebaek||65km|
|Day 12||Taebaek - Andong||115km|
|Day 14||Andong - Angye||75km|
|Day 15||Angye - Yeongcheon||85km|
|Day 16||Yeongcheon - Gyeongju||50km|
|Day 18||Gyeongju - Busan||120km|
|Day 19||Busan - Seoul - Departure||510km|
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.
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 - Paldang - Cheongpyeong - Gapyeong (B) 86km
The route is a combination of bikeway and Road 403 and Road 407. The day's tour may roughly break into three sectors, Banpo to Ungilsan station (41km), Unglisan station to Sincheongpyeong Daegyo Bridge (23km) and from the bridge to Gapyeong (22km) if on bikeways along.
Start a bike touring at Banpo and head up to Paldang bridge (팔당대교) on a traffic free bikeway. As you cross the bridge, the route picks up an old railway line leading to Ungilsan station. Here, you may have two options; bikepath or 23km roadway ride. If you wish to stay on bikepath, do not cross Yangsucheolgyo and continue your journey all the way to Gapyeong. The roadway option is to cross the old railroad bridge, Yangsucheolgyo (양수철교). Then, the two-lane roadway travels in the opposite side of the river from the Ungilsan station to Sincheongpyeong Daegyo Bridge (신청평대교) (25km), where you cross to join a bikepath to Gapyeong (가평), a beautiful town set by the mountains, rivers and lakes. It is one of the favorite relaxing and vacation destinations in the region. Your tour covers most of the length of the country, enjoying a limited flat and rolling path to the the high mountain passes with a degree of valley every day. More suited for highly experienced bicyclists.
Day 4 Gapyeong - Chuncheon - Hwacheon (B) 57km
The first part of the path to Chuncheon (32km) is a bikeway which is pretty flat and pleasant. Crossing Gyeongganggyo bridge (경강교), turn right at the end of the bridge and make your way down to the riverside and turn right to get to the bikeway. About 13km ahead is Gangchon Bridge (강촌교). Upon crossing it, follow a bike path leading down to the riverside. Continue your way for 19km past animation museum and cross Sinmaedaegyo bridge (신매대교) to Chuncheon, a scenic city surrounded by lakes and mountains.
Soon after crossing the bridge, make a left turn and on to Sindong Samgeori (신동삼거리) where a challenging mountain trail begins. A combination of Road 403 and 407 leads you to Hwacheon (25km).
There is a Budari Tunnel (2,067m) on Road 403. So far, on the left side of the road near the tunnel entrance, there is a paved old road which is barricaded to block the traffics. This road meets again near at the tunnel exit.
Day 5 Hwacheon - Peace Dam - Bangsan (- - -) 50km
The word of the day is Road 460 highlighted by a long stretch of climbs and then descents with a degree of valleys. The day will be a relentless series of sweaty grunts and groans uphill followed often by a tunnel. About 16km of cycling in the gentle river valley ends up at Pungsan 2 ri (풍산2리), and by making a right turn, a challenging 34km journey continues. The road elevation abruptly rises up and villages or farmlands are seldom seen, but only get the feeling of locked in the mountains. It generally has very light traffic volumes so the lack of development of this remoted area. Be prepared for a series of tunnels. Although they are well lit and have adequate shoulders, a tail reflector and a flashing rear light would be necessary.
Past Haesan tunnel (1.986m), which is the northernmost tunnel and built on the highest elevation in South Korea, then followed by Jaean tunnel (142m), Daebung tunnel (270m), and the Peace Dam that measures 125m high and 601m wide. It was built to stave off possible catastrophic flooding should the upstream Imnam Dam in North Korea collapse, either intentionally or by accident. The dam was completed in 2005. As it stands, the dam has no reservoir, and is merely preventive.
Take time to see World Peace Bell that was made from empty cartridge cases gathered from the world’s conflict zones in that it carries a significant meaning. The bell weights 37.5 ton but is incomplete. Check out a broken pigeon wing that is on display near the bell. It will be added bringing the bell complete on the day of unification of Korea.
There is a Water Museum. Although it is small, an excellent facility to get familiar with the story of water, and the importance of water conservation. After a short downhill and valley ride, a challenging uphill continues again. More tunnels including Pyeonghwa (173m), Yanghwa (329m) and Ocheon (1,280m) are on the way before allowing you to get to Bangsan. A long stretches uninterrupted by intersections and stop signs, the roadway gives you a feeling of being slightly more remote than does the river valleys. The trails are scenic and give a good sense of quiet even on week days.
Day 6 Bangsan - Haean (- - -) 38km
Road 460, Road 31 and Road 453 are the trails for the day.
Mountains are endless and still high. Past the villages like Omi, Geumak, Jangpyeong and Gobangsan. Shortly after Dogo tunnel (639m), make a left turn to jump on the Road 31 to the direction of Haean. After a short ride in the valley that hugs tiny villages like Deokgok, Imdang and Wolwun, take a Road 453 at the last fork before Wolwun reservoir and head on to Haean. Another challenge is Dosolsan mountain that stands high ahead. After Dolsanryeong pass (1,050m) is Punch Bowl, a natural geologic bowl several kilometers across, ringed by steep mountains on four sides. The bowl creates the richest farmland, and the area is starkly beautiful. Many fierce battles were fought here during the Korean War because of its strategic location.
Many fierce battles were fought here during the Korean War because of its strategic location. The Battle of Bloody Ridge took place here from August to September 1951 and this was followed by the Battle of Heartbreak Ridge from September to October 1951, meanwhile the 1st Marine Division reinforced by the Korean Marine Corps Regiment captured the line of hills in the Battle of the Punch Bowl from 31 August to 20 September 1951.
Day 7 Haean (B)
Day at leisure for refreshment. You may want to join the tour coverng the 4th tunnel dug secretly by the North and Eulji Observatory. The tour does not run on Mondays. The 4th tunnel was found on March 3, 1990. The tunnel is dug through the solid granite base in the depth of 145 meters underground. The tunnel stretches 2.1km southward across the Military Demarcation Line. Unlike three other tunnels, visitors will make a short monorail trip inside the tunnel.
Eulji Observatory is set one of the bitterest battlegrounds fought in the Korean War. Perched on a peak rising 1049m above sea level near the Military Demarcation Line, it is now one of the most informative relics dating back to the Korean Conflict. From the Eulji Observation Platform, North Korea soldiers on guard are visible.
Day 8 Haean - Wontong - Hangyeryeong - Girin (- - -) 74km
Road 453, Road 46, Pillaero and Haseoksanro are the trails for the day.
A 30km of a gentle winding valley with couple of hills extends to Wontong. At Wontong Rotary, take a Wontongro and proceed to the Wontong Gyocharo (원통교차로). Jump on Road 44. About 3km ahead is another junction, Hangye Gyochar (한계교차로). Take a Road 46 to Hangyeryeong. A strenuous cycling of 20km on a slope way continues to Hangyeryong (920m) and then steep descend of about 700m. Do not miss this point. Here, take a Phillaro to the right and continue 11km to the junction and jump on Road 31 to cross the Garisan 1 gyo Bridge (가리산 1교) to the left. About 700m ahead is another junction. Take a left fork and ride 13km to Girin.
Day 9 Girn - Sangnamri - Misanri - Unduryeong - Wongdang Samgeori - Jangchon Samgeori - Soksa - Jinbu (B) 86km
Today is one of the most challenging rides of the tour. The route goes through Road 31, Road 446, Road 56, Road 31 and Soksajaegil.
A 15km long journey to Sangnamri (상남리) along the valley past Hanamri village and steep Omijae Passs (684m). Jump on Road 446 to the left and continue on to yet another 26km stretch of beautiful Misan Valley and winding Saldun Valley up to Wondang Samgeori (원당삼거리). Turn right here and continue on a Road 56 for 10km to Jangchon Samgeori (장촌삼거리). Then, journey on a Road 31 for 25km over Unduryeong Pass (1,089m) to Soksa Samgeori (속사삼거리). Turn left and continue on to Jinbu for 10km on a combination road of Soksajaegil (6km) and Gyeonggangro (4km). A chain of mountains stand high and valleys are sparsely dotted with tiny yet peaceful helmets. Cycling is challenging but most rewarding.
Day 10 Jinbu - Suhangri - Najeonri - Deoksongri - Jeongseon (- - -) 42km
The key trails of the day are Road 59 and Road 424 that go with streams. The mountains are still high and the roadways are winding along the river valleys.
About 2km ahead from the town is Songjeonggyo Bridge (송정교) to cross. Continue on this old road crossing Singigyo Bridge (신기교) all the way down to Hamapyeong (하마평) for 7km. Jump on Road 59 and enjoy scenic valleys of Suhang, Makdong and Sukam as you bike to Jeongseon (33km). Jeongseon is a small town locked in the mountains and was once a boomed town with coal mining. It is also known as the birthplace of Arirang.
Day 11 Jeongseon - Hwaam - Taebaek (- - -) 65km
Road 421, Road 412 and Road 35 combined take to Taeabek. A challenging day with endless mountains and winding valleys. Cross the brige to the left and turn right to the direction of Gohan and Hwaam at Boyang 5 ri Gyocharo (보양5리교차로). With Jeongson behind, cross Aesangyo (애산교) to join the Road 59. Turn left here at Aesangyocharo (애산교차로) for Taebaek and Hwaam. Past Kkachiljae Tunnel (368m) and later at Deogu Samgeori (덕우삼거리), take a Road 424 (8km). Another 10km from there on is Hwaam.
Take a Road 421 to the direction of Hajang (하장). Past Molun 2 ri, Hochonri and Daejeonri along the stream. There is a fork at Daejeonri village. Go straight to Yeokdunri (18km) and rurn right here to join the Road 412. The tour continues to Midong Elementary School (미동초등학교) for 15km. The on the Road 35 for 14km to downtown Taebaek, a highland town once boomed with coal mining until the early 1980s. There is a coal museum showcasing Korea's coal mining with well over 8,000 items including rocks such as silver, ore, fossils, and mining equipments and documents. You will also explore a mine simulation modeled closely after real mine showing how the mining work was like. Taebaek boasts of two river sources. Hwangji pond from which 5,000 tons of water flows daily is the source of the Nakdong River and Geomryongso is that of Han River.
Day 12 Taebaek - Andong (B) 115km
The biking is very challenging. Winding uphills prevent your advance. Road 31, Local Road, Road 933 and Road 35 to Andong. Path finding seems to be difficult, but not really it is. Join Road 31 in front of Hamtae Middle Scholl (함태중학교) located about 3km away from downtown. Past Sangjang Samgeori, Jangseong and up to Yuksongjeong Samgeori (육송정삼거리) for 20km. The nature is beautiful, but roadway is rather narrow yet risky with much of constructions. Having made a right turn at Yuksongjeong Samgeori, an endless winding Neutjae hill (896m) continues up to 11Km. Then, a steep descend goes to Hyeondong Samgeori (현동삼거리) for 13km. A bit complicated though, make a left turn at this Samgeori on a Socheonro (소천로), continue your way through the town up to Hyeondong tunnel (현동터널) for about 1Km. Before the tunnel, take a right fork to join local road (Imgiro) running by the winding stream. From there on, the cycling difficulty is moderate all the way to Andong.
As you make your way, you pass a short tunnel and past by Geumgang Remicon (금강레미콘). Gatbawigyo bridge (갓바위교), Seondanggyo bridge (선당교), Imgigyo bridge (임기교), Gongijae Samgeori (공이재삼거리), Galsanigyo bridge (갈산2교), Galsan Presbyterian church (갈산장로교회), Galsangyo bridge (갈산교), Gwain Samgeori (과인삼거리), Nammyeon Samgeori (남면삼거리), Gogamgyo bridge (고감교), Samgyegyo bridge (삼계교), Samgyeri village (삼계리), Samgye branch school of Wolgok primary school (월곡삼계분교장), Ingyeri village (인계리), Ingye branch school of Andong middle school (인계분교장), Taegokgyo bridge (태곡교), Yean village (예안), Jujingyo bridge (주진교), Waryong Samgeori (와룡삼거리), Seoji station (서지역), Andong Bukbu church (안동북부교회), Andong station (안동역).
About 9km ahead , there is a Seondanggyo bridge (선당교). Turn left to join Galsanro or Road 31. Continue your way to Gongijae Samgeori (공이재삼거리) for about 3km. Here, take a right fork and continue on a Jaesanro or Road 933 to Gwain Samgeori (과인삼거리) for about 6.5km. From there on to Nammyeons Smgeori (남면삼거리) is 5.5km, The road shares number 933 and 918. Another 19km to Jeongsan Samgeori (정산삼거리) where you turn right and follow the road for about 15km up to Waryong Samgeori (와룡삼거리). By taking a right fork here, Andong is about 9km ahead on Road 35.
You may have an option to have a bus from Taebaek to Nuetjae hill (32Km), then on a bike to Hyeondongsamgeori (현동삼거리) and finally Andong (83Km).
Day 13 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 14 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, your bike tour begins as you head on to Younggi. At Haehoe Samgeori, follow the Road 916 until you reach a fork, Doyang Samgeori (도양삼거리). Turn left here and cross the Bridge, Gwangdeokgyo bridge (광덕교). At the other end of the bridge is a crossroad. Turn left to jump on the cycle trail. Then, ride off down the river bank all the way to Gudamgyo bridge (구담교), the first bridge ahead. 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). Up to here from the village is a combination of a very short roadway and a bikeway of 23km. A little further on, there is a fork leading to 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 you will get to Yonggi (28km).
Day 15 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 road, 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 (도리원교), and pass under the Gyeongbuk Daero (경북대로). Make left turn and continue this road all the way down to the villages of Sinpyeongri, Daebuk 1 ri, Daebukri and where the road meets with Road 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 16 Yeongcheon - Gyeongju (- - -) 50km
Enjoy your bike tour up to Gyodaesageori (교대사거리), and go straight ahead on to Gyodaegil, a short alley that leads you the river. At the dead alley, trun left on to the Geumhoro (금호로). Soon thereafter, cross Geumchanggyo bridge (금창교) to follow the Grumchangro (금창로) or Road 909. About 1 hour 10 minutes bike of 18km takes you to Dangrisamgeori (당리삼거리), where you take a left fork to get on the Unbokro (운복로) road. Take this road for about 15 minutes of 3.5km to Sinri Hoegwan (신리회관), a community office. Turn right here to join Sinhyoro (신효로) road and on to Seomyeon police station (서면파출소) for about 4km. Turn right and continue on the road Naeseoro (내서로) all the way you reach Moryangri (모량리) village. A little further ahead from this village, the road comes to merge 4-lane highway - Taegyeongro (태경로). Follow the road for about 800m to get to a 2-lane road.
Shortly after joining the road, you will see 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.
Enyoy your bike to the Seocheongyo bridge (서천교) 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 then left to get on the Cheomseongro that meets Yangjeongro road. Following these two roads, 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 17 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 18 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 19 Busan - Seoul - Departure (B) 510km
After this wonderful trip exploring Korea and with time to reflect on your surprise in your experience, you will return on a high speed train to Seoul. As you leisurely make your way to Seoul, you will see Korea's fertile farmland, glistening brooks, sheltered ginseng farms, apple plantations and lovely rice paddies that together forming a patchwork of colors and ever-changing textures of the rural Korean life. Then transfer to the airport in time for your flight. By boarding, you are already high above Incheon heading for home.