City-to-City Path Breakdown
Hangang Bike Path Overview
Three Han Rivers
The Nam and The Buk
Let’s dissect their names.
- “Gang” (강) means “river”
- “Nam” (남) means “south”
- “Buk” (북) means “north”
So Buk + Han + Gang (북 + 한 + 강) translates to North Han River.
And Nam + Han + Gang (남 + 한 + 강) means South Han River.
Lost in Translation
Korean words often get lost in translation. Some translators convert every Hangul (Korean) utterance into English. For example:
All those consonant-dense bike path names are just a case of overzealous transcribers.
- Hangang Bike Path — “Han River Bike Path”
- Nakdonggang Bike Path — “Nakdong River Bike Path”
- Yeongsangang Bike Path — “Yeongsan River Bike Path”
Korea by Bike aims to translate every Korean word. Unless it’s an official title, no phoneticizing.
Three Han Bicycle Paths
Along all three sections of the Han River, a bicycle paths follows:
- Hangang (Seoul) Bicycle Path (한강자전거길 (서울))
- Namhangang Bicycle Path (남한강전거길)
- Bukhangang Bicycle Path (북한강전거길)
Hangang (Seoul) Bicycle Path
Namhangang Bicycle Path
(The Namhangang Bicycle Path follows the Cross-Country Route and connects with the Saejae Bicycle Path.)
Bukhangang Bicycle Path
The Bukhangang (North Han River) Bicycle Path starts at the convergence of the North and South Han Rivers a couple kilometers east of Seoul.
(The Bukhangang Bicycle Path isn’t a part of the Cross-Country Route and doesn’t connect with any other certification bike path.)
The Unified Hangang Bicycle Path
Let’s simplify. In most contexts, we clump the Hangang (Seoul) Bicycle Path and Namhangang Bicycle Path into one. The Hangang Bicycle Path.
Visit the Bukhangang Bicycle Path page to learn more
You don’t need stamps from the Bukhangang Bicycle Path for either the Hangang Bicycle Path or Cross-Country certifications.
In Seoul, the Ttukseom Observatory Complex and Gwangnaru Bicycle Park certification centers lie across the river from one another. Grab one and the other automatically count towards the Hangang and Cross-Country certifications.
Just trying to get the Cross-Country certification? Skip it. Want the Grand Slam or Hangang certifications? Saddle up for a detour. You’ll need it.
The Hangang Bicycle Path might be the most diverse of all certification bike paths. After crossing Korea’s most populous and landmark-spotted city, it chugs along an old railroad before settling into a countryside of gentle currents and chirping groves.
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.
- Gangseo Hangang Park
- Yanghwa Hangang Park
- Yeouido Hangang Park
- Banpo Hangang Park
- Jamwon Hangang Park
- Jamsil Hangang Park
- Gwangnaru Hangang Park
Outside of Korea’s capital, the Namhangang Bicycle Path tracks the South Han River into the middle of Korea.
The first chunk of bike road zooms down an old railroad route, through hillside tunnels, and past quaint towns and scaled down cities.
Weird Weirs & Green Galore
The Namhangang Bike Path introduces the first of many awe-inspiring weirs.
What’s so great about weirs?
This portion of the bike route also changes the backdrop from skyscrapers to green blanketed mountains.
Among the clumpy riverbed sit a series of islands. Each ecological haven hosts migratory birds, river dwelling fauna, and arbor adoring campers.
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 fear. Much of the route rides on bike-only paths. Outside cities, the path jumps onto bucolic roads only a handful of times.
What about elevation? A few spiky hills south of Seoul. With rest, water, and snacks, they cause only minor cases of quad and glute burn.
The Seoul City Paths
Much like the Ara Bicycle Path, “leisure” best describes Seoul’s bike paths. No vehicle roads. No shared pedestrian walkways. Just an uninterrupted cycling path that tracks the Han River’s flat course.
The Passes of Most Resistance
Near the eastern reaches of the Han River in Seoul, the bike road climbs an unavoidable hill fifty meters up.
Each stretch earns infamy not for their challenging ascent, but the mix of inexperienced sightseers and speeding marathoners. Rider-on-rider accidents occur aplenty.
Being the most populous city in Korea has upsides. More landmarks. More hidden gems. Better bike paths.
The downsides? People.
In the sunny months, Seoul’s parks swell with families, waddling young ones, canoodling couples, and shaved uber-cyclists hitting highway speeds.
Pedestrians will step into bike lanes without looking. Cyclists will check their phones mid-pedal. And, kids? Not even the most advanced supercomputers could calculate their feral movements.
The Namhangang Paths
Most of the route along the Namhangang (South Han River) follows protected bike lanes. However, the farther outside of Seoul, the more you’ll encounter country roads.
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.
However, during this span, a few local roads hop across the path. Traffic signals regulate both cars and bikes at these intersections.
Farmers & Fishers
Think building a recreational bike path in the sparsely populated countryside is a waste of tax dollars? Well, local governments agree.
A good portion of the Namhangang Bike Path follows bike-only roads. However, municipalities often co opt the path to allow farmers and locals access to farm fields and the river.
Don’t show surprise when you find yourself:
- playing chicken with a chugging tractor.
- swerving around mud clumps dropped from fist-wide treads.
- dodging a fisherman’s SUV sneaking closer to a fishing spot.
When riverside hills force their way onto the Namhangang Bike Path, bike-only lanes detour onto vehicle-dwelling pavement.
SubwayIt’s the weekend (or national holiday). You’re in Seoul. What’s the best way to the bike paths? Subway. (Most subways lines forbid anything larger than a folding bike on weekdays.)
Start LineWhere does the Hangang Bicycle Path start? The eastern end of the Ara Bicycle Path. The nearest subway stop is Banghwa Station (방화역) on Seoul’s Subway Line 5. From there, ride two kilometers to the Ara Hangang Lock (아라한강갑문) certification center. You can also access the Hangang Bike Path by jumping on the Airport Express (AREX). Get off at Gyeyang Station (계양역). Cycle eight kilometers down to Hangang Path’s start line.
Hangang (Seoul) Finish LineWhile Seoul’s subways don’t reach Chungju City — the Hangang Path’s end — they reach Hanam City, the end of Seoul’s Hangang Bike Path. To reach Hop on Subway Line 5. Get off at either Misa (미사역) or Hanam Pungsan (하남풍산) Stations. They sit closest to the bike path in Hanam.
Subway LinesMany of Seoul’s subway lines touch the Hangang Bicycle Path through Seoul. Here are the four most useful lines:
- Line 5 (5호선) stops at the beginning (방화역) and end (하남풍산) of the bike paths in Seoul. It also drops by Yeouido (여의도역) and Gwangnaru (천호역) Hangang Parks.
- Line 9 (9호선) follows south side of the Han River. It stops on Yeouido Island (당산역), Express Bus Terminal (고속터미널역), and Olympic Park (올림픽공원역).
- Line 2 (2호선) circles the inner part of the Seoul. Use it to access at Dong Seoul Bus Terminal (강변역), Jamsil Sports Complex (종합운동장역), Yanghwa Hangang Park (당산역), and Mangwon Hangang Park (합정역).
Ten commuter trains integrate into the Seoul Subway System. All pass into the capital’s satellite cities. Like subways, most allow full-size bikes aboard on weekends and holidays.
Two commuter lines, Gyeongchun and Gyeongui–Jungang, scoot along the Namhangang and Bukhangang Bike Paths outside Seoul.
Hop on this train if you want to tackle the Bukhangang Bicycle Path. It doesn’t touch any part of the Hangang Bicycle Path, however.
Cyclists use the Gyeongui–Jungang Line to pop out of the metropolis for a scenic ride on weekends. Come sundown, they swing by the nearest train stations and jet home by supper.
While subways and trains are best for getting around Seoul on the weekends, intercity buses let riders access far-flung parts of the Hangang Bike Path and beyond.
They travel to every city and county along the Han River 365 days a year. Just buy a ticket, nestle your bike in the intercity bus’s luggage compartment underbelly, and hop aboard.
Bus Terminals in Seoul
There are five bus terminals to choose from in Seoul. Lucky for you, the two most trafficked perch near the Han River.
South Han River Bus Terminals
On the Namhangang? Intercity buses will carry you to all the settlements along the Namhangang Bicycle Path.
- Hanam City Bus Terminal (하남시버스환승공영차고지)
- Yangpyeong County Bus Terminal (양평버스터미널)
- Yeoju City Bus Terminal (여주종합터미널)
- Chungju City Bus Terminal (충주공용버스터미널)
Unlike Seoul, each city has one bus terminal perched in the middle of their downtowns.
After your bus arrives, just hop on your bike and pedal a few kilometers to the South Han River.
Districts 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.