Ara Bike Path Overview
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).
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
- 1st View — Yellow Sea (South Side of the Ara Waterway)
- 2nd View — Gyeongin Ara Passenger Terminal (South Side)
- 3rd View — Sicheon Park (both North and South Side)
- 4th View — Ara Falls (North Side)
- 5th View — Suhyangwon (North Side)
- 6th View — Duri Ecological Park (South Side)
- 7th View — Ara Gimpo Passenger Terminal (North Side)
- 8th View — Ara Han River Waterside (South Side)
Can you read Korean? Click here for a detailed map of the Ara Waterway.
Gyeongin 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.
Already in Seoul or Incheon? Take the subway. On weekends and holidays, it’s the fastest transportation.
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.