(1) Join_Chase_Biking_Around_Korea_Seoul_to_Busan_08_2012

Biking from Seoul to Busan on the Four Rivers Trail in South Korea.

You haven’t fully experienced South Korea until you hop on a bike and go. Rural Korea is South Korea at its best.

As part of a massive river restoration project, the South Korean government has created bike paths that mostly follow four of the nation’s largest rivers. In addition to biking from Incheon to Busan, you can also explore the Guem and Yeongsan rivers.

Although met with plenty of political and environmental opposition, The Four Major Rivers Restoration Project not only aims to improve water security, flood control, and ecosystem vitality, it also encourages more people to discover what the Republic of Korea is all about on the countryside of life.

(8) Join_Chase_Biking_Around_Korea_Seoul_to_Busan_Makgeolli_08_2012

Cheers to (and with) makgeolli along the bike trail.

Makgeolli stands dot the trail, enticing bikers to stop for a drink or two. There’s nothing wrong with riding a little tipsy as long as you’re wearing a helmet, right?

Random Koreans shouting, “Fighting!” as you pass. Like you’re racing in the Olympics or something.

Smell of peppers roasting in the sun. Mountains. Valleys. Rice paddies. Apple orchards. Elderly women sitting around with nothing better to do. Abandoned buildings. People fishing in streams.

I saw things I never thought I would. Dreams from childhood, of places I’d travel in the future came true.

Don’t be deceived. Just because the bike paths follow rivers doesn’t mean it’s going to be flat and easy the entire way. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. There are many steep inclines, and swerving declines to survive. But, gorgeous valleys with breathtaking views will be your reward on the way up and down.

(12) Join_Chase_Biking_Around_Korea_Seoul_to_Busan_Valley_View_08_2012

A beautiful view along the Seajae Bike Road in South Korea.

The total distance from Incheon to Busan using bike trails is approximately 600 kilometers. If you choose to take this route, you’ll follow the Han and Nakdong rivers. The Seajae Bike Road connects the two river paths by cutting through challenging mountain terrain.

The paths are well marked, but with room to improve. Opportunities to take a wrong turn and get lost still abound. Exercise caution as the trail often uses roads where it’s either impossible or unnecessary to have a separate bike trail.

You’ll learn to appreciate convenience stores even more after making this trek. Contrary to popular belief, there isn’t a 711 or CU on every corner of Korea. Be sure to have enough water to last for a very long time, unless you’re okay drinking water from questionable sources such as a hose from someone’s yard, or iced tea a random ajumma hands you.

Two guys. Two bikes. Two rivers. Several mountains. Six days. Approximately 550 kilometers. Seoul to Busan: A journey of a lifetime. This is our story.

(2) Join_Chase_Biking_Around_Korea_Seoul_to_Busan_Tunnel_Graffiti_08_2012

Korean graffiti near one of the bike tunnels along the Han River Bike Trail in South Korea.

(3) Join_Chase_Biking_Around_Korea_Seoul_to_Busan_Tunnel_08_2012

A railroad tunnel turned into a bike path in Korea.

(4) Join_Chase_Biking_Around_Korea_Seoul_to_Busan_Bridge_08_2012

An old railroad bridge turned into a bridge for biking.

(5) Join_Chase_Biking_Around_Korea_Seoul_to_Busan_Han_River_Boats_08_2012

Abandoned boats resting on the Han River along the bike path from Seoul to Busan.

(6) Join_Chase_Biking_Around_Korea_Seoul_to_Busan_Road_Mirror_08_2012

A stretch of curves as seen through a road mirror near Chungju Dam in South Korea.

(7) Join_Chase_Biking_Around_Korea_Seoul_to_Busan_Chungju_Market_08_2012

An open market in Chungju, South Korea.

(10) Join_Chase_Biking_Around_Korea_Seoul_to_Busan_Portrait_of_Chase_08_2012

Chase near the start of the Seajae Bike Road.

(9) Join_Chase_Biking_Around_Korea_Seoul_to_Busan_Portrait_of_Khoi_08_2012

Khoi resting after lunch and makgeolli.

(11) Join_Chase_Biking_Around_Korea_Seoul_to_Busan_Country_Roads_08_2012

Country roads along the bike path from Seoul to Busan.

(13) Join_Chase_Biking_Around_Korea_Seoul_to_Busan_Sunset_08_2012

Sunset along the Seajae Bike Road in South Korea

(14) Join_Chase_Biking_Around_Korea_Seoul_to_Busan_Rural_Life_08_2012

Korean countryside along the bike path from Seoul to Busan.

(15) Join_Chase_Biking_Around_Korea_Seoul_to_Busan_Hose_08_2012

The questionable source of water we were offered at a restaurant.

All words are by Chase, of the blog www.joinchase.org. Read more about his bike trip on his site or take a gander at a new series he’s launched on Kimchibytes. The images are from his Instagram @myseoulexposed. Check out his portfolio My Seoul Exposed for more.

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