Cross-Country Routes icon.

Ara
Bicycle Path

Bike a quick canal along Korea's Cross-Country Route.

Pack your gear! Limber up! Prepare yourself for… a leisurely cycle down a flat canal. 

The Ara Bicycle Path (아라자 전거길; map) begins (or ends) the Cross-Country Route. It’s the shortest and flattest of all Korea’s certification bike paths.

The route starts at the edge of the Yellow Sea (황해; map). It travels east through Incheon City (인천시; map), then spills onto Han River (한강; map) in Seoul (서울시; map).

The Stats
Start
Incheon City
(인천시)
← 21 km →
1 hour
End
Seoul City
(서울시)
Checkpoints Logo
Stamps (2)
Bus Icon
Bus Terminals
Link button to Kakao Maps directions.
Directions
Link button to Kakao Maps Highlights.
Highlights

Bike from Incheon City to Seoul City. Learn the course and discover pathside landmarks.

Learn the history of the Ara Canal, which connects the Han River to the Yellow Sea in Incheon City.

Read about the top highlights along the Ara Bicycle Path, from an artificial waterfall to a waterside park.

Learn how to get you and your bicycle to the Ara Bicycle Path by bus, train, or plane.

Bike Path Overview

Bike in front of the Ara West Sea Lock on the Ara Bike Path.
The Ara West Sea Lock marks the starting point of the Cross-Country Bike Path.

The Ara Bicycle Path follows the Ara Waterway, a man-made canal connecting the Han River on the edge of Seoul to the Yellow Sea, known to Koreans as the West Sea.

Begin near the Ara West Sea Lock, the point where the waterway spills into the Yellow Sea. Both the north and south side of the canal hold bridges, parks, and recreational areas. 

The main bike path sails along the southern side of the canal. But interesting landmarks inhabit the north side, as well.

There are fourteen bridges that cross the canal. Bicycle rental stations, restrooms, art installations, and more park facilities rest under many of the bridges.

The bike route touches three cities. The longest stretch, eastward from the Yellow Sea, crawls along the northern edge of Incheon. Near the end, the path touches the bottom bit of Gimpo (김포) before unfurling into the westernmost edge of Seoul.

Types of Paths & Difficulty

The Ara Bicycle Path is the easiest of Korea’s certification bike paths. Keep a steady pace and you can conquer its twenty kilometer course in less than two hours.

Only two stretches near the beginning and end detour onto city streets. But all sport sidewalks with bike lanes. The majority of the route follows designated bike paths.

North vs South

Bike roads run along both the north and south sides of the Ara Waterway. They mirror in difficulty and length.

There are differences, however.

  • The south side holds the “official bike path.” Both the start and end line lie below the Ara Waterway.
  • To reach the north side, you must cross the Ara Waterway twice. Over and back again. (Seven bridges — three with elevators direct from the bike path — make crossing simple.)
  • Each side holds a unique set of landmarks (read above).

Certification

The Ara Bicycle Path holds two (2) certification centers. One at the start line. The other at the path’s end. 

Collect each stamp to complete the Cross-Country and Grand Slam certifications. The Ara Bicycle Path does not have it’s own bike path certification.

Certification Centers

Here is a complete list of certification centers (red booths) along the Ara Bike Path.

  1. Ara West Sea Lock (아라서해갑문인증센터; map)
  2. Ara Hangang Lock (아라한강갑문인증센터; map)
A picture of bicycles on the Incheon and Seoul Subway in South Korea.
When boarding subways with your bike, enter in either the front of rear cars. Do you best to stay away from non-biking passengers.

Highlights

Though the shortest among certification routes, the Ara Bicycle Path offers a handful of scenic stops, curiosities, and architecture. Let’s go take a brief tour.

Eight Scenic Views

The city of Incheon designated eight scenic views (수향8경) along the Ara Waterway. West to East, beginning from the Ara West Sea Lock, they run:

Can you read Korean? Click here for a detailed map of the Ara Waterway.

A picture of a bike and the Ara West Sea Lock Certification Center
Along the Yellow Sea in Incheon, the Ara West Sea Lock Certification Center is the first checkpoint booth on the Cross-Country Route.

The Ara Bike Path begins on the edge of the Yellow Sea (West Sea). When the tide ebbs, gazing out from the start line, you’ll see Yeongjong Bridge hop over vast mudflats onto Yeongjong Island where Incheon International Airport hums.

Ara Passenger Terminal and Ara Tower in Incheon, South Korea.
The Ara Passenger Terminal and Ara Observation Tower (아라타워) hang above the start of the Ara Bicycle Path.

The Gyeongin Ara Passenger Terminal hangs near the start of the Ara Bike Path, where the Ara Waterway spills into the Yellow Sea. It contains an observation tower and two buildings connected by sweeping white beams that resemble a ship’s sail.

A cyclists cross the Cloud Bicycle Man Statue on the Ara Bike Path.
Find the enormous Cycling Cloud Man statue spinning away under the bridge along the Sicheon Riverside.

Sicheon Waterside straddles both sides of the Ara Waterway. Find Sicheon Park on the north side and an expansive patio with a bulbous cyclist sculpture drenched in clouds on the south.

Ara Falls along the Ara Waterway in Incheon, South Korea.
Want to witness the awe of Ara Falls? Depending on the weather, come back at 11 AM, 1 PM, 3 PM, or 5 PM. They open the spigot for an our.

Ara Falls is an artificial waterfall that rises 50 and stretches 150 meters. Builders designed this artificial waterfall after Inwang Jesaekdo, a Joseon Dynasty painting known as “After the Rain at Mount Inwang.”

Suhyangwon was inspired by Joseon Dynasty pavilions. Built in 2012, the site’s elongated courtyard contains a large raised pavilion, with traditional gates and smaller pavilions.

Duri Ecological Park along the Ara Bike Path in Incheon, South Korea.
Duri Ecological Park is the 6th scenic view along the Ara Waterway canal in Incheon.

Duri Ecological Park is a marshy mass of green midway down the Ara Waterway. Civil engineers designed the eco park to catch and hold rushing flood waters when the skies open.

The Ara Gimpo Passenger Terminal is the Ara Waterway’s main cruise terminal. Its jagged, metal and glass structure forms the starting point of the Hyundai Cruise.

The Ara Waterway starts on the edge of the Han River in western Seoul. This view of Korea’s most historic river hosts rich sights.

Gyeongin Ara Waterway

A birds-eye view of the Ara Bike Path in Incheon, South Korea.
The Ara Waterway connects the Han River with the Yellow Sea and absorbs flood waters.

The Ara Bicycle Path borrows its name from the Gyeongin Ara Waterway (경인 아라뱃길; a.k.a. Ara Waterway.)

Let’s take that name apart

  • “Gyeong” (경) comes from an old name for Seoul.
  • “In” (인) refers to the city of Incheon.
  • “Ara” (아라) derives from Arirang, an ancient Korean folk song.

The Ara Waterway is Korea’s first people-produced canal. Eighteen kilometers long. Eighty meters wide. Six meters deep. The canal starts at the Han River in Seoul and flows into the Yellow Sea.

How To Get There

The Ara Bike Path lives in Incheon, Korea’s third largest city. It gives cyclists three terrific options to get on and off the cycling route.

Subway

Already in Seoul or Incheon? Take the subway. On weekends and holidays, it’s the fastest transportation.

Intercity Bus

Not in Incheon or Seoul? Take a bus. They’re the best tool to hop between Korean cities with a bike.

Incheon Bus Terminal (인천종합버스터미널) sits square in downtown Incheon. Both intercity and express buses flow in and out of the terminal.

A picture of intercity buses at a rest stop in South Korea.
Intercity buses are the best way to move around Korea with your bike. They stop by every major cycling path.

Airplanes

Coming from overseas? You’re in luck. Incheon International Airport (인천국제공항) lives on Yeongjong Island, visible from the Ara West Sea Lock, the Ara Bike Path’s start line.

So, can I cycle there? No. The bridges connecting the island to the mainland only allow vehicles. No bikes allowed.

Subways and buses are your only ways off the airport island. 

Districts of the Ara Waterway

Behind Seoul and Busan, Incheon Metropolitan City (인천광역시) is the third most populous city in Korea, holding over three million residents.

Nestled against the Yellow Sea in the nation’s northwest, Incheon is a part of the Seoul Capital Area (수도권), which includes Gyeonggi Province (경기도) and its dozens of cities.