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Highlights

Ara Bike Path
Explore the highlights of the Ara Bicycle Path.

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
The Ara Bicycle Path begins on the edge of the Yellow Sea, whose muddy flats feed birds migrating as far Australia.

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

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Ever wonder where the name “Yellow Sea” comes from? Year-round — but especially in spring — winds from the west swipe sediment from China’s Gobi Desert and deposits a thin sheet of yellow sand atop the sea’s waves as it blows towards the peninsula.  

For millennia, locals on both sides of the water body experienced its extreme oscillations. When water recedes, it exposes an endless mucky underbelly. Ugly for humans. A smorgasbord of slithering creatures for migratory birds.

The Gyeongin Ara Passenger Terminal (경인아라뱃길여객터미널) hangs near the start of the Ara Bike Path, where the Ara Waterway spills into the Yellow Sea. It comprises two buildings connected by sweeping white beams that resemble a ship’s sail.

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Passengers visit the western structure to buy tickets for cruise ships that sail the Ara Waterway and beyond.

The eastern building is the Gyeongin Port Integration Operation Center (경인항 통합운영센터). Open 9 AM to 6 PM, a convenience store, small museum, and a Bicycle Certification Center operate in its innards.

The Ara Observation Tower (아라타워), twenty-four-story tall lookout deck, pokes out the top of the Operation Center. Visitors can take an elevator up, sip coffee, dine, or view the sunset on the Yellow Sea.

A third of the way down the Ara Bike Path, near Sicheon Bridge (시천교; road view), Sicheon Waterside (시천가람터) straddles both sides of the Ara Waterway.

On the northern banks, Sicheon Park (시천공원) snakes from Cafe Ara inland along a roadway.

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On the canal’s south side, an expansive patio with a bulbous, two-story high cyclist sculpture drenched in clouds dominates. When warm, Sicheon Waterside visitors frequent bike rental shops, miniature Dutch windmills (road view), patio swings, and more park staples.

Ara Falls (아라폭포) lives in the middle of the Ara Bike Path. Rising 50 and stretching 150 meters, builders designed this artificial waterfall after Inwang Jesaekdo (인왕제색도), a Joseon Dynasty painting known as “After the Rain at Mount Inwang.”

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The pumps on Ara Falls don’t suck and spray 24/7, however. When the weather’s clear, workers flip the on-switch for an hour four or five times a day.

Ara Observatory (아라마루전망대), a free-to-use, forty-five meter high, glass bottom walkway, stretches over the canal from atop an embankment nearby.

Joseon Dynasty’s countless pavilions inspired Suhyangwon (수향원; road view).

Built at the same time as the Ara Waterway in 2012, the site’s elongated courtyard contains a large raised pavilion named Suhyangru, with three traditional gates and three smaller pavilions placed around.

Suhyangru’s octagonal roof and eaves represent a bird taking flight. Visitors can remove their shoes, climb on its deck, and view Gyeyang Mountain (계양산) south of the canal.

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Duri Ecological Park (두리생태공원) is a marshy mass of green midway down the Ara Waterway. Gulpo Stream (굴포천), which flows north from downtown Incheon, forms the park’s eastern border.

When the skies pour down and waters rise, civil engineers designed the eco park to catch and hold rushing floodwaters.

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When the skies shine a warm blue, families and couples stroll raised boardwalks and dirt paths around willows, wildflowers, ginkgo trees. Visitors can also visit the park’s rec courts and auto-camping site.

The Ara Gimpo Passenger Terminal (아라김포여객터미널) is the Ara Waterway’s main cruise terminal. Its jagged, metal and glass structure forms the starting point of the Hyundai Cruise, whose sixty-six meter long, four deck tall ship sails the canal and Han River.

The Ara Marina (김포마리나) sits close by. It keeps and launches personal watercraft, from sailboats to speed boats to paddle boarders.

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The Ara Waterway starts on the edge of the Han River (한강) in western Seoul. This view of Korea’s most historic river includes:

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