The Seomjin river in the Southern part of Korea is not one of the main four river cycle paths. It will not help you earn a cross country or grand slam medal and it does not connect or go through any well-known places.
But what this river lacks in credentials, it makes up for by being one of the most beautiful and pleasant cycle routes in Korea. The Seomjin river runs past the Gurye mountains and through the fruit orchards of Korea. Instead of the endless flat and monotonous views of the Nakdong river, you are rewarded by tree-lined lanes ready to burst into their autumn colours and winding paths against the shoulders of the surrounding mountains. Even the river itself is filled by interesting rock formations and seem wilder and more untouched.
Sadly I found it hard to capture the beauty of the route with my camera while cycling, I just drank it in along the way and now and then took a picture, which still failed to capture it's true essence. Like any cycle trip during Chuseok the late summer weather was perfect, with flowers, insects, lots and lots of spiders and more heron's than I could care to count. The lack of other cyclists was also refreshing, 90% of the time we had the path to ourselves.
As for accessibility, the Seomjin path is as flat as it gets, with not a single hill of worth to mention. And yet it's twists and turns and short ups and downs with the ever changing scenery keep it interesting and enjoyable. We barely ever opened a map or looked at our phones, as the path is very well marked with every twist and turn. Every certification center had ink and stamps (and a few spiders). We also forgot our cycling passports at home, so simply bought new ones at the Southern starting point of the route.
The beauty of this river is also that anyone can do it in a weekend. Just take a bus to the start on Friday night. Cycle 80 to 90km on Saturday, cycle 60 to 70km on Sunday and take a bus back Sunday late afternoon. I am already thinking of when I can come back for a weekend to do it again if I had the chance.
Wheel pressure check, lights check, batteries check, patch kits and extra tubes check. We are out the door and on our way. While most of the cycling community will be trying to complete Seoul to Busan we will be heading to hopefully less crowded paths.
The beauty of this moment, sitting in the bus to Gwangyang is the unknown. The only surety is our bus tickets from Busan to Gwangyang and back from Mokpo to Busan. Tonight's accommodation, tomorrow's lunch and the cycle path are all wonderfully unknown and exciting!
Any information about cycling in South Korea.