The Hangang Bicycle Path follows the Han River. It begins on the edge of Seoul, cruises through the capital, and follows the South Han River into the city of Chungju (충주), near the center of the country.
City-to-City Path Breakdown
Bike Path Overview
Three Han Rivers
Three bicycle paths fit under the Hangang Bike Path label. Let’s break it down by looking at the river, itself.
The Nam and The Buk
Buhangang? Namhangang? What’s the difference? Look at the names.
- “Gang” (강) means “river”
- “Nam” (남) means “south”
- “Buk” (북) means “north”
Now let’s break down the names.
Buk+Han+Gang (북+한+강) translates to North Han River.
And Nam+Han+Gang (남+한+강) means South Han River.
Many Korean words get lost in translation. Some translate every Hangul (Korean) word into its English counterpart. Some phoneticize the entire Korean word.
Confusing? Here are a few examples:
- Banpo-daegyo (반포대교) – “daegyo” means long bridge
- Jeju-do (제주도) – “do” means island
- Ipo-bo (이포보) – “bo” means weir
- Insa–dong (인사동) – “dong” means neighborhood
- Hangang (한강) – “gang” means river
So, we can also write the “Hangang Bicycle Path” as the “Han River Bicycle Path.”
We try to translate every Korean word. We avoid phoneticizing, unless it is an official title or used ubiquitously.
Three Han Bicycle Paths
Bicycle paths follow each portion of the Han River. The certification bike paths list them as:
- Hangang (Seoul) Bicycle Path (한강자전거길 (서울))
- Namhangang Bicycle Path (남한강전거길)
- Bukhangang Bicycle Path (북한강전거길)
The Namhangang (South Han River) Bicycle Path picks up where the Hangang (Seoul) Bicycle Path leaves off. From Paldang Bridge (팔당대교), it carries riders through Gyeonggi Province (경기도) and ends at Chungju Dam (충주댐) in the city of Chungju (충주).
The Bukhangang (North Han River) Bicycle Path starts at the Balgeun Gwangjang (밝은광장 인증센터) certification center, near the intersection of the North and South Han Rivers, east of Hanam. It travels north and finishes in the city of Chuncheon (춘천).
(The Bukhangang Bicycle Path isn’t a part of the Cross-Country Route. It doesn’t connect with any other certification bike path.)
The Unified Hangang Bicycle Path
Visit the Bukhangang Bicycle Path page to learn more
In Seoul, the Ttukseom Observatory Complex (뚝섬전망콤플렉스) and Gwangnaru Bicycle Park (광나루자전거공원) lie across the river from one another. Grab one and the other automatically counts towards the Hangang and Cross-Country certifications.
While the Chungju Dam (충주댐) technically ends the Hangang Bike Path, the certification center sits 10 km (20 km return) from the Cross-Country bike path. You don’t need this stamp to finish the Cross-Country certification. However, you’ll need it for the Hangang certification.
The Hangang Bicycle Path might be the most diverse of all certification routes. After crossing Korea’s most populous and landmark pocked city, it chugs along a decommissioned railroad before settling into a countryside of gentle currents and natural havens.
Want to see all of Seoul? No one can fit all the highlights in a single itinerary. So we focus on the landmarks on or near the Han River in Seoul in our city-to-city breakdown.
We further divide the route into the North Side and South Side along the Han River. Then we explore the sights in and around the eleven Hangang Parks along both banks.
Our opinion? Riding The Han is the best way to see Seoul. The river and bike paths slither through the heart of the city. On the north side, explore old Seoul. On the south, see its modernity.
Outside of Korea’s capital, the Namhangang Bicycle Path flows with the South Han River into the middle of Korea.
The first chunk of bike zooms down an old railroad route, into tunnels through hillsides and past suburban cities.
The bike route introduces the first of many awe-inspiring weirs.
Weirs? What’s so great about weirs?
The route also adds splashes of nature. Among the clumpy riverbeds sit a series of islands. The Four Rivers Project transformed each into ecological havens for migratory birds and river fauna.
Views of the Namhangang
- 1st View — Yangpyeong Dumulmeori (양평 두물머리)
- 2nd View — The silver grass near the town of Yangpyeong (양평 억새림)
- 3rd View — Ipo Weir (이포보)
- 4th View — Yeoju Weir (여주보)
- 5th View — Gangcheon Weir (강천보)
- 6th View — Gangcheon Island (강천섬)
- 7th View — Neungam–ri Island in Chungju (충주 능암리섬)
- 8th View — Tangeumdae Park (탄금대)
Types of Paths & Difficulty
The Hangang Bicycle Path doesn’t inspire much fear. Much of the route rides on designated bike lanes. Outside of the cities, a few times the path jumps onto lightly trafficked country roads.
What about elevation? Only a few spiky hills south of Seoul.
The rest? With a few water and snack breaks, you’ll digest it with ease.
The Seoul City Paths
Much like the Ara Bicycle Path, “leisure” best describes the bike paths in Seoul. No roads. No shared pedestrian walkways. Just endless kilometers of designated cycling paths.
With one exception, a few single-digit meter dips and rises populate the Seoul paths. Because the path mirrors the river, expect a flat course with little gravitational resistance.
What’s the one exception? The Amsa Pass (암사고개) on the south side and the Mieumnaru Pass (미음나루고개) on the north side bring fifty-ish meter inclines near the city of Hanam on the eastern outskirts of the bicycle path.
The passes gained fame for their comparatively steep ascents. And because inexperienced sightseers and speeding marathoners both crowd the paths in Seoul, this treacherous stretch’s descent causes many rider-on-rider accidents.
Being the most populous city in Korea has its upsides. More landmarks, nooks and crannies to explore. Better maintained bike paths.
The downsides? The more people. In the sunny months, parks all over Korea swell with families with waddling young ones, young couples out for an exploratory jaunt, and shaved and lean uber-cyclists hitting highway speeds.
Beware! When approaching popular areas like Yeouido and Ttukseom Hangang Parks expect pedestrians to cross bike lanes without looking both ways. Look out for distracted cyclists. And, slow down when kids abound. The most advanced supercomputers couldn’t calculate their feral movements.
The Namhangang Paths
Most of the route along the Namhangang (South Han River) follow protected bike lanes. However, the farther you venture outside of Seoul, the more you’ll encounter country roads and inclines.
The Railroad Path
The opening stages, from Hanam to Yangpyeong, creep along a decommissioned railroad track. Borrowing the same efficient route, the bike path chugs along a flat, protected path.
A few minor roads from satellite cities hop across the path. At these intersections, traffic signals regulate both cars and bikes.
Think building a recreational bike path in the sparsely populated countryside is a waste of tax dollars? Well, the Korean government agrees.
Most of the Namhangang route follows paths marked with traffic lines and decals for bikes. However, local municipalities allow farmers to use these same lanes to access their fields.
So, littering the path, watch out for mud clumps dropped from tractor tires. And don’t rage when you spot a local fisherman’s SUV hop on the bike path to get closer to his fishing spot.
Protected cycle paths fill out most of the Namhangang. However, natural barriers, like riverside hills, force the route onto country roads.
It’s the weekend (or holiday). You’re in Seoul. What’s the best way to access the bike path? By subway.
(Just remember, cities forbid anything larger than a folding bike on weekdays.)
You can also access the Hangang Bike Path by jumping on the Airport Express (AREX). Get off at Gyeyang Station (계양역), which sits right on the Ara Bicycle Path. Ara Hangang Lock (아라한강갑문) sits eight kilometer down the road.
Hangang (Seoul) Finish Line
While Seoul’s subways don’t extend down to Chungju (충주), the end of the Hangang Bicycle Path, they reach to the end of the route in Seoul, in the neighboring city of Hanam (하남).
Almost all the subway lines in Seoul touch the Hangang Bicycle Path through Seoul. However, a few lines are more useful to access the route along the Han River.
- Line 5 (5호선) stops at the beginning (Banghwa Station; 방화역) and end (Hanam Pungsan; 하남풍산) of the bike path in Seoul. The line also drops by Yeouido (여의도역) and Gwangnaru Hangang Park (Cheonho Station; 천호역).
- Line 9 (9호선) follows south side of the Han River. It stops at Yeouido Island (Dangsan Station; 당산역), Express Bus Terminal (고속터미널역), Olympic Park (올림픽공원역).
- Line 2 (2호선) circles the inner part of the city. Use it to access at Dong Seoul Bus Terminal (Gangbyeon Station; 강변역), Jamsil Sports Complex (Sport Complex Station; 종합운동장역) Yanghwa Hangang Park (Dangsan Station; 당산역), and Mangwon Hangang Park (Hapjeong Station; 합정역).
Integrated into the Seoul Subway System are ten commuter trains. Each passes through Seoul and into its satellite cities. Like the subways, most allow cyclists with bikes to board on weekends and holidays.
The Gyeongchun Line (경춘선) carries cyclists from the center of Seoul to the city of Chuncheon (춘천). Hop on this train if you want to tackle the Bukhangang Bicycle Path. However, it doesn’t access any part of the Hangang Bicycle Path.
In fact, you can hop on the train on the western edge of the Hangang Bicycle Path (Gangmae Station; 강매역) and cruise all the way to Yangpyeong (양평역), thirty kilometers past the end of the path in Seoul.
On weekends, cyclists can use the Gyeongui–Jungang to hop over to Hanam for a scenic ride. Come sundown, the train stations dotting the route can jet them home by supper.
While subways and trains are best for getting around Seoul on the weekends, intercity buses provide the best access if you’re heading out of town.
No matter the day, to travel to cities along the Hangang Bike Path, buy a ticket, throw your bike in the luggage compartment underneath the bus, and hop aboard.
Bus Terminals in Seoul
Heading into Seoul, there are five bus terminals to choose from. Lucky for you, the two largest and most popular sit near the Han River:
Dong Seoul Bus Terminal lies in the eastern regions of the city. It lies only a couple hundred meters off the bike path. Even more convenient, just across the street you’ll find Gangbyeon Station (강변역), which services Seoul’s Subway Line 5 (5호선).
Seoul Express Bus Terminal perches a kilometer south of Banpo Hangang Park (반포한강공원), in the center of Seoul. Like Dong Seoul, it has a subway station that feeds into the building: the Express Bus Terminal Station (고속터미널역). The station services Line 3, Line 7, and Line 9.
Bus Terminals along the Namhangang
Unlike Seoul, each city has one bus terminal. And each rests in the middle of their downtowns.
So after your bus drops you off, hop on your bike and pedal a few kilometers to the river. Bam! You’re on the Cross-Country bike path.
Cities on the Han
Below find a complete list of cities, counties, and provinces on the Han River. You can also find links the bike path breakdowns.
Seoul Special City (서울특별시; Seoul-si) is the gravitational center of Korea. Like London is to the U.K., Paris is to France, everything flows to and from the megacity. It:
- is the capital of South Korea.
- claims the headquarters of most Korean corporations.
- houses the biggest K-Pop labels.
- boasts the most awe-inspiring cultural relics.
Gyeonggi Province (경기도) is the most populous province in Korea. Why? The name says it all, translating to “the area around the capital.” But the province not only surrounds Seoul City (서울특별시; Seoul-si), the largest city. It also cuddles up to Incheon (인천시), Korea’s third largest metropolis.
Hanam City (하남시; Hanam-si) is satellite cities of Seoul (서울특별시; Seoul-si). First established in 1989, the city closely ties itself to the capital, borrowing many resources, including a subway (Line 5; 5호선) and commuter train (Gyeongui–Jungang Line; 경의·중앙선).
Yangpyeong County (양평군) sits on the South Han River (남한강; Namhangang) near the middle-north of South Korea. Its borders touch the bottom of Hanam City (하남시) in the north and the top of Yeoju City (여주시) in the south.
Yeoju City (여주시) lies on the southeastern edge of of Gyeonggi Province (경기도; Gyeonggi-do). South Korea recognizes Yeoju for two things.
- Its farmlands were some of the first to cultivate rice on the Korean peninsula.
- And the city birthed and holds the tombs for some of Korea’s most important leaders.
North Chungcheong Province (충청북도) sits in the center of South Korea. It is the only landlocked province in the country.
The province’s name comes from its two historically important cities, Chungju (충주시) and Cheongju (청주시). Chungju + Cheongju = ChungCheong.
Chungju City (충주시; Chungju-si) sits near the middle of South Korea in North Chungcheong Province (충청북도; Chungcheongbuk-do).
Just east of the city, you’ll find Chungju Lake. This body of water transforms the Donggang River (동강강) into the South Han River (남한강; Namhangang). This makes Chungju City the first or last stop on the Hangang Bicycle Path.