Bicycling South Korea
Bicycles have long been the quickest way to navigate the traffic-choked streets of Seoul.
But far from a last resort, cycling has become a national pastime throughout South Korea. Since 2010, the country has built more than 1,000 miles of paved cycling routes and plans to create a network of paths along its four main rivers.
Reinventing the Wheel: Pedal pushers can take in a varied landscape—roughly 70 percent of this nation consists of forest, rivers, lakes, and mountains—as well as experience some of the world’s most advanced cycling infrastructure.
Bike-only highways tunnel through mountains and over rivers; bike repair shops, restrooms, and picnic sites line the paths; and special traffic lights assist urban crossings.
Course of Action: On a 37-mile stretch of the Nakdong River Bike Path, cyclists pass the Sangju Bicycle Museum, a Confucian school founded in 1606, and Gyeongcheondae Terrace, a rock cliff prized for its view of the Nakdong.
Finally, at the UNESCO World Heritage site of Andong Hahoe Folk Village, weary riders can recover in a minbak (fire-heated inn).
- Travel Trivia: One of South Korea’s 3,358 islands, Jeju claims the world’s longest lava tube and is renowned for its female deep-sea divers.
This piece, written by Jayme Moye, appeared in the November 2014 issue of National Geographic Traveler magazine.