Koreans love cycling. So much that they have transformed much of the shoreline of the Han River that runs through the middle of the city into park space and wide, well marked bicycle paths. On a beautiful day, it's a great way to see the city. And it really gives you an idea of what a big city this is!
We met out guide Adela right at 10:00am. She came and met us right outside the apartment building where we are staying in Gangnam District. We're really lucky with our location and it's right near a subway line. So we hopped on the subway with Adela and went to the waterfront. But, not the waterfront at downtown. We actually went about 10 kms (6.2 miles) east of downtown.
There are quite a few bike rental locations, and some of them are even free. But you will be able to ride a decidedly better bicycle if you pay the small fee. We rented our bikes at #6, and we dropped them off at #9...a distance of approximately 20 kms (12.6 miles).
Here's another view of the route that we took.
Can you see how many bridges cross the Han River? In the greater Seoul area, there are thirty bridges that cross the river. Some of them are very fancy, and some are very plain.
Here's where you rent the bikes.
Bikes for all shapes and sizes!
All along the riverside you will find exercise equipment. Free for you to use!
Here's Ruth, all set to go!
This is the Olympic Bridge.
Built for the 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics, this beautiful bridge has had it's share of problems. When they started construction in 1985, the original structure collapsed and had to be restarted. Then, when a huge helicopter was installing the sculpture at the top, one of the blades hit the sculpture and the helicopter crashed, killing three crew members aboard.
One of the many fabulous views of Seoul taken from along the bicycle paths beside the river.
Looking back the other way.
There are a lot of apartment buildings in the greater Seoul area! Hey, those 25 million people have to live somewhere!
This huge construction project on the left is destined to be Korea's tallest building. It is scheduled to be 123 stories when it's finished. On the right side is the Olympic stadium where the 1988 summer Olympics were held.
The city just continues forever!
Getting close to the financial district.
Can you see how spotlessly clean everything is. It's absolutely amazing. There are 25 million people living in this area! Hardly any trash lying around anywhere. Certainly the cleanest city we have ever been in. I don't know how they do it, but they are doing a great job of it!
We did a fairly long ride, at just over 20 kms (12.6 miles). Most of it is an easy ride without any strenuous hills and I think we only had to downshift three or four times, and even then for very short stretches. The entire trip took us two hours and fifteen minutes and we stopped quite a few times along the way to take photos and talk about some of the things we were seeing.
Other than a bit of a sore bum, we had no ill effects from the fact that we haven't been on a bicycle in quite some time!
Bike rental rates.
It's a pretty good deal to do one of these bike tours. The bikes are very reasonable priced, at 3,000 won ($3.45) for the first hour, and 2,000 won ($2.30) for every hour after that.
After the bike ride, we needed some nourishment. The best thing about having a guide in a city you're unfamiliar with?
They know where to eat!!!
Without a guide, you would have a hard time knowing what to order! Close your eyes, and point. You would probably end up with something delicious anyhow.
Adela and Ruth, waiting for food.
And here it is!
Is your mouth watering? Mine is!
These little "hole in the wall" type of restaurants are the best. Definitely not many tourists in this place!
This is the spot!
The Korean financial district. Anything here remind you of Wall Street in New York??
What a great day we had. Adela is also available as your own tour guide! You can contact her by email at email@example.com or by phone at 82 (0)10 5600 0483
For more information on Korea, please visit the Korean Tourism Organization at www.visitkorea.or.kr
We highly recommend that when you visit any new country that you've never been to before, you contact that country's official tourism office. They are there to ensure that you get the most out of your visit and will bend over backwards to help you out!