South Korea has been full of surprises, pretty much all of them have been good. We started out with this idea of how easy it would be to ride from Busan to Incheon, and quickly with it being 633km directly along the cycle pathways. We were wrong, with unknown punctures and into a land where the language is alien to us it caused a few stresses along the way. Luckily the one constant on this trip is each other and supporting each other. Once we settled into things and finally sorted the wheel issue out, things turned around. We were back to relaxing and enjoying our path through South Korea.
South Korea is an amazing country and we are so glad we have come back to spend a bit more time here. We visited about three years ago and went to most of the major tourist destinations, so it was nice to do something a little different. Being on a loaded bike it definitely grabs people’s attention and is a talking point, even if it ends up being only through gestures. We have loved interacting with Korean people and there are many subtle differences between Japanese and Koreans. It has been interesting to see.
We were fortunate to spend some time with Kung and his wife Hyohee where I was able to ask my hundreds of questions about Korean culture, food and people. They looked after so well and it was great to see a Korean home.
Whilst we have been here we could not have asked for better weather. It has been stunning. It also autumn and I have been obsessed with the beautifully coloured leaves all around us. We have had some breathtaking views riding through valleys next to still water that appear lake like. We have had no problems camping along the route at all. The pathways are well maintained with facilities all along the way. There are a few patches with not too much around but there are towns near by to dip off into. It is pretty incredible the infrastructure of these cycle roads. It is a great place for anyone who may be worried about cycling on roads and to build up their confidence, a little like me.
The best bits. The ease of using the cycle paths and facilities all around. The autumn colours and the scenery. The food was delicious or ‘machita’, one of our 5 words. But it was when we ended up looking for another bike shop to sort the wheel out that was our turning point, a 24 hour stop to recharge our batteries, a lovely little town we wouldn’t have found otherwise full of kind, friendly people, after that things were amazing. We thoroughly enjoyed the rest of our trip. Also by finishing the course across the country you receive a certificate and medal, a fantastic souvenir from our time here, which we are lucky enough to have a very kind man called Brad Kirby here who will forward them on when they arrive as you need a Korean address. Thank you Brad.
The bad bits. I really did not enjoy getting from our Motel in Busan to the start of the cycling path. We will need to get used to riding on the right side but it was a Saturday and super busy. It didn’t take too long but it wasn’t very fun for either of us. Other than that we’ve gone on enough about the mysterious punctures but it was a good lesson learnt. There is little else we didn’t enjoy. The cycle path can mean that you can cycle past towns and cities and feel like you haven’t seen ‘the real’ Korea but it is easy enough to duck on and off to do this.
Overall as I think you can probably tell we loved our time here and timed it extremely well weather wise. It was nice to meet other cyclists and spend our first time cycling with them. Thanks Jorja, Dan and Haniff. It definitely brings another dimension to the trip. South Korea is a great place to visit and I hope from this part of our blog it may give others inspiration to visit one day, on or off a bike.
Days in South Korea – 16
Hotels – 4
Friends (Kung and Hyohee) – 2
Camping – 10 (all free)
Total distance – 684km