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Certification

A guide to Korea’s national bike certification system.

South Korea wants to play a game. What game? How about a country-wide treasure hunt?

Korea’s Bicycle Certification System allows cyclists to document their journey across the country’s extensive bicycle paths.

How?

A picture of a certification stamp booth near Jeongdongjin Beach (정동진해변).
Find certification centers (or red stamp booths) at points of interest, including Jeongdongjin Beach (정동진해변) near Gangneung (강릉시).

First, buy a Bike Passport from management centers on Korea’s bike paths.

Second, ride a certification bike path and find red phone booths, known as Certification Centers.

A unique stamp sits inside each Certification Center. Use it to mark your Bike Passport.

Drop by a path-side management center after you collect all the stamps on one or more bike paths. A helpful worker will review and certify your Bike Passport.

In a few days, they’ll send you a spiffy certificate of completion. And if you finish one of three longer routes, you can buy an Olympic-style medal.

Interested? You bet!

Below, find all the tools you need to fill up your Bike Passport and earn those certifications, including a comprehensive guide, a complete list of Certification Centers, maps, and more.

Let’s get stamping!

An in-depth look at the Bicycle Certification System.

A complete list of Certification Centers for your Bike Passport.

Maps detailing national bicycle paths, Certification Centers, and highlights.

A guide to downloading and using your Bike Passport app on your smartphone.

Certification Guide Icon

Certification Guide

A guide to completing Korea’s Bike Certification System.

Want to collect all the stamps in Korea’s Bike Certification System? We’ll walk you through buying a Bike Passport, spotting Certification Centers (red stamp booths), and getting certified.

Let’s go stamp hunting!

A bike passport sits next to a bicycle tire at the Baealdo Waterfront Park certification center along the Seomjingang Bicycle Path.
To buy a bike passport, just pop into one of the many ecological centers and pay a couple thousand won.

Bike Certification System?

South Korea completed the Four Rivers Restoration Project (4대강 정비 사업) in 2012. It constructed a series of weirs, or dam-like watergates, that collect water in droughts and release it during floods along the nation’s four major rivers.

The project also created recreational parks and an extensive network of cycling routes by building and connecting local bike paths. This allowed bikers to ride clear across Korea.

To enhance the cycling experience, MOIS and K-Water created a Bike Certification System. Also known as a “stamp tour,” the system placed a series of Certification Centers, or red booths with unique stamps inside, along the new nationwide biking routes.

Bike adventurers can buy a Bike Passport — a notebook sized booklet with spaces to place stamps — then document their cycling journeys by collecting stamps and earning rewards.

A picture of a stamp booth on the Yeongsangang Bike Path in South Korea.
The Seungchon-bo Certification Center overlooks the Seungchon Weir on the Yeongsangang Bike Path in Gwangju City.

Certification Bicycle Paths

Twelve bike paths make up Korea’s Bicycle Certification System. While almost every city and town offers local cycling paths, the certification bike paths flow across the county, along the east coast, and down major waterways.

They include:

  1. Ara Bicycle Path (아라 자전거길)
  2. Hangang Bicycle Path (한강 자전거길)
    • Hangang Bicycle Path (Seoul) (한강 자전거길 (서울구간))
    • Namhangang Bicycle Path (남한강 자전거길)
  3. Bukhangang Bicycle Path (북한강 자전거길)
  4. Saejae Bicycle Path (새재 자전거길)
  5. Nakdonggang Bicycle Path (낙동강 자전거길)
  6. Geumgang Bicycle Path (금강 자전거길)
  7. Yeongsangang Bicycle Path (영산강 자전거길)
  8. Seomjingang Bicycle Path (섬진강 자전거길)
  9. Ocheon Bicycle Path (오천 자전거길)
  10. East Coast (Gangwon) Bicycle Path (동해안자전거길 (강원))
  11. East Coast (Gyeongbuk) Bicycle Path (동해안자전거길 (경북))
  12. Jeju Fantasy Bicycle Path (제주환상 자전거길)
A bike leans against a certification center booth along the Gangwon Bicycle Path on Korea's east coast.
A bike leans against a certification center along the Gangwon Bicycle Path on Korea's east coast.

Special Certification Routes

Conquer specific groups of bike paths and you can receive special Certificates of Completion and the right to buy Olympic-style medals (인증메달).

These routes include:

  • Cross-Country (국토종주) — Ara, Hangang, Saejae, Nakdonggang Bike Paths
  • 4 Rivers (4대강종주) — Hangang, Nakdonggang, Geumgang, Yeongsangang Bike Paths
  • Grand Slam (그랜드슬램) — collect every certification stamp in the South Korea

More on these later.

Han River Bicycle Paths

Glance at the list above and notice three bicycle paths along the Han River.

  • Hangang Bicycle Path (Seoul) (한강 자전거길 (서울구간))
  • Namhangang Bicycle Path (남한강 자전거길)
  • Bukhangang Bicycle Path (북한강 자전거길)

On Korea by Bike, I combine the Hangang Bicycle Path (Seoul) and the Namhangang Bicycle Path to form the Hangang Bicycle Path.

The Hangang Bicycle Path runs from the Ara Hangang Lock Certification Center (map) on the western edge of Seoul to the Chungju Dam Certification Center (map) outside of Chungju City. It leads to the Saejae Bicycle Path and is a part of the Cross-Country Bicycle Path.

The Bukhangang Bicycle Path splits from the Hangang Bicycle Path east of Seoul (map). It snakes 70 kilometers north to Chuncheon City (map). It doesn’t connect to another certification bike path, nor does it count towards the Cross-Country or 4 Rivers Certifications. 

Namhangang vs. Bukhangang

To understand the Namhangang and the Bukhangang, let’s translate some words.

  • “Gang” (강) means “river”
  • “Nam” (남) means “south”
  • “Buk” (북) means “north”

Now take the names apart. You can see that Buk-Han-Gang (북-한-강) translates to North Han River. And Nam-Han-Gang (남-한-강) equals South Han River.

The North and South Han Rivers combine to form the Han River just outside of Seoul. The Han River continues westward and spills into the Yellow Sea near the DMZ.

A picture of the Bukhangang Bridge outside of Seoul.
The Bukhangang Bridge connects the Hangang Bicycle Path in Seoul to the Namhangang Bicycle Path.

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