It has been my goal to cycle alongside the Taewha river in Ulsan and to explore all the nooks and cranies with my bike in Ulsan Grand Park for a long time. Finally with the help of the slow train I managed to explore these lovely places.
Every Saturday at 7:38am a train leaves from Haeundae station and travels all the way to Gyeongju. This train departs from the brand new Haeundae station in the middle of nowhere, not close to the subway or the ocean or nothing. Actually the closest thing to the new station of note is the big highway running nearby. But if you use your pedals and wheels it's not hard to get to the new station.
And so only once or twice a day the slow train includes a cafeteria car, which also contains 5 bicycle racks and lots of space to stack or keep more bikes. On the Korail app you can book the bicycle seats if you use the app in Korean and if the seats have not been sold out.
Even though the train did not have any bicycle seats left when I booked, I just put my bike in car 4, its the cafeteria car so there's lots of space. The train is a really great way to get to and from Ulsan or Gyeongju without a 60 or more km ride.
From Haeundae station to Taewhagang station it takes just under 1 hour. Then from the station you can cycle right away to the river and the cycle track, it's just a few hundred meters. There are two courses, one going West and one going North. I tried the western course and left North for another day.
The Taewha river is not so different from many other river paths in Korea, but riding along an unknown road was refreshing and relaxing. Compared to the Nakdong river near Busan there were also very few people or cyclists around, so you could really just spin and cruise ahead on the generally flat course. Just as you set into your rhythm and think it's going to stay the same, you are delightfully surprised by bamboo forests filling the banks of the river and lining the cycling path. It feels like being transported to Korea's Bamboo tourist destination in Damyang, except that you can actually cycle through these forests. A truly wonderful experience.
Once you reach the furthest Western point of the cycle route, staying on one side of river you find a welcome and neat little coffee shop with sandwhiches, drip coffee and more. After grabbing a cup and a bit to eat I set off back along the river on the other side. At 3pm I took the train back to Haeundae, but I will be back to finish the Northern cycle track.
Route: West - East Taehwa river cycle path (Ulsan)
Distance: +/- 30 km
Terrain: Cycle track
Start: Taewha train station (Ulsan)
Any information about cycling in South Korea.