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Cruising the Hangang on a Bicycle

Recent Posts, Posted by Matt in ALL DESTINATIONS,Nature,Seoul,Transportation,Video, 17 Comments

Cruising the Hangang on a Bicycle


Without a doubt, the Hangang (한강), or Han River, is Seoul’s most iconic symbol. The vast waterway – nearly two kilometers wide in places – winds its way from the mountains through the city and out into the Yellow Sea. In the past, frequent flooding kept major development largely away from the riverbanks.

In recent years, Seoul has invested millions of dollars to restore the river ecosystem, improve access to the riverside parks, and to create recreational facilities. Thanks to these efforts, today there are 12 parks lining about nine million square meters of riverbank are major recreation and relaxation destinations. Even when it’s chilly outside, one of Seoul’s best activities is simply cruising the Hangang on a bicycle!
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Via Bike

Cruising the Hangang on a BicycleAt my last count, there are 12 bicycle rental kiosks located inside Hangang parks, and for less than $3 per hour, you can rent a bicycle built for one (or a tandem for $6). To encourage bicycle use, the city has opened another five rental facilities outside subway stations that offer free rentals for up to three hours during the week, or 2 hours on weekends. Just pre-pay and provide your I.D. or car keys as a “deposit” (see the image for details). There are also a number of other low-cost DIY rental stations popping up around the city.

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I’ve personally pedaled almost the entire river on both sides of the river, and what I love about it is the diversity of the parks. For example, while the Yeouido (여의도) and Banpo (반포) parks feature broad lawns and winding, wide open trails, the Ichon section features a long, narrow stretch lined by tall grasses and dramatic views of Yeouido’s 63 Building . If you’d like to sample some of Seoul’s wilder areas, head west to Nanji or east to Gwangnaru (광나루) . These northwestern and southeastern stretches are less manicured and managed than the central parks.


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The Hangang’s Beautiful Bridges

Cruising the Hangang on a Bicycle

When I moved to Seoul I was told that memorizing the order of the river bridges was a good way to keep my bearings in this impossibly huge city. That’s easier said than done, since there are 25 bridges spanning the Hangang within the city’s limits, with three more on the way.

Cruising the Hangang on a Bicycle

Among them, 18 can be crossed on bicycle, and of those, 11 have elevators and/or ramps for easier access. If that wasn’t enough, several have become bicycle destinations in and of themselves. For example, two lanes each of the Jamsu and Gwangnaru bridges were converted into dedicated bicycle lanes, while eight bridge cafés and two observatories were recently constructed to help draw people to the river.
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Other Destinations Along the Way

Cruising the Hangang on a Bicycle

If you’re looking for things to do other than ride your bike, the riverside park system includes a number of other worthy sites, including the Hangang History Museum (한강역사박물관) on Seonyudo island (선유도) (the island is itself a worthy destination), the curious new J-Bug complex at Ttukseom, and the verdant oasis of Seoul Forest (서울숲) just east of the Jungnangcheon stream (중난천).
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Other Activities Along the Way

Cruising the Hangang on a Bicycle

Lest you think bicycle riding is the only way to enjoy the Hangang, Seoulites have found other ways to enjoy their natural treasure. Cruising along the Ttukseom (뜩섬) stretch of the Hangang parks, I was amazed to see dozens of windsurfers and kite boarders enjoying the gusts that reliably blow at the river’s bend. On the far west end of the river, the new Seoul Yachting Association is hoping to add sailboats to the water’s traffic. Add to that the occasional water skier, banana boat riders and, of course, the Hangang pleasure boat cruises that slowly ply their way along the river.

Be it for the natural beauty, the exercise or simply the fun of cruising along the Hangang, why not try your next sightseeing excursion by cruising the Hangang on a bicycle?.


LinkA Bicycle Tour of Yeouido and Seonyudo
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For your information…

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The Hangang parks are open 24 hours.bicycle rentals are usually 3,000 won per hour.02-1330
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Several locations along both sides of the river.The Hangang parks can be accessed via several Seoul Metro stations. They include:
– Reach Ttukseom via Ttukseom Resort Station on Line 7, exits 2-3.
– Reach Yeouido via Yeouinaru Station on Lines 5 + 9, exits 3-4.
– Reach Yanghwa and Seonyudo Is. via Seonyudo Station on Line 9, exit 1.
 
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17 Comments

5 November 2010 08:52

Carol

I think they should make the bridges color coded, it’s easier or maybe not?

You’ve been enlightening me about the Hangang. :)

November 05 2010 09:47 am

Matt

Hmmm but it might get confusing to coordinate them with the colored subway lines... For example, I can imagine explaining that the orange, olive and gold lines (#3, 7 and 9) intersect at Express Bus Terminal Station after crossing the "...pink or baby blue bridge." I think complaints and snarky comments would ensue. Chaos is fun sometimes.^^

23 November 2010 22:30

Cruising the Hangang « Threelovepjs's Blog

[...] Cruising the Hangang. [...]

31 January 2011 09:57

Haych

Awesome! I love your blog and I hope when I come end of February that the weather will be good enough for me to jump on a bike around Seoul, I would LOVE that.

7 September 2011 08:16

KatinKyoto

Hi there.
Wonder if you can take bicycles on public transport in South Korea.
Appreciate your answer!

September 13 2011 09:04 am

Matt

Hi Kat,
Yes, you can bring your bikes onto Seoul subways. A few stations also have bike lockers. You can also take a bike on the quick ferry that runs between Seoul Marina (on Yeouido) and Mangwon Hangang River Park. I've heard about people attaching them to the front of some buses, but that could be tricky with a surly driver. I haven't heard about bike policies in other major cities, but the government has been trying to dramatically increase bike lanes and other infrastructure. Given that they are starting from almost scratch, however, I'm not sure the extent of progress.
Best,
Matt

24 September 2012 18:57

DAVID WALKER

fantastic blog and a real insight into korea – thanks – looks like alot of hard work.

October 06 2012 00:02 am

Matt

Thanks ;)

7 January 2013 18:34

Gal

This is what I need. I plan to go to Seoul on August this year. It would be lovely to go on bike for one or two hours.

Thanks for the info :)

24 April 2013 10:43

bikeOasis

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May 03 2013 06:34 am

Matt

Thanks for the info!

20 June 2013 22:48

Ahuva

Hello,
Thank you for all the information, really helpful.
I’m going to visit Korea in July and I wonder what is the name of the park that is close to 63 building (it shows in the video clip at 2;14) with the Duck paddle boats and how to get there? Can you give me directions, please?
Thank you so much :)

July 15 2013 02:36 am

Matt

Hi Ahuva,
That park is one of the Hangang Riverside Parks, specifically the one on Yeouido Island. The closest subway stations are Yeouinaru (Line 5) and Saetgang Station (Line 9) is also close. From Yeouinaru Station, just head towards the river and park, and then veer east towards the 63 building. You should be able to see the duck boats along the river. Have fun!
Best, Matt

22 February 2014 03:38

Name

Ahh! I miss biking along the 항강! I definitely have to do this when I come back to visit Korea this spring :D

March 03 2014 13:48 pm

Matt

Hi "Name,"
Thanks for your post and I'm jealous that you'll be able to bike along the Hangang this spring. Wish I could join you!
Best, Matt

21 March 2014 00:22

lidia

hi matt, its a very informative post you have here. giving me some enlightment about what to do during my visit this may. going hop on the bike for sure. thanks alot

March 31 2014 02:56 am

Matt

Hi Lidia,
My pleasure and thank you for the nice words! Best, Matt

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