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Guri City &
Namyangju City

Tour Guri & Namyangju Cities on the Han River Bike Path in Seoul.
39.7 km (Seoul (North Side))
71%

Guri City (구리시; map) and Namyangju City (남양주시; map) sit side-by-side on the Han River just east of Seoul. To the west lies Ttukseom Hangang Park. To the east sits the Bike Seoul to Yeoju leg of the Hangang Bike Path.

This page is the last of five guides that profile the cycling paths on the the North Side of the Han River in and around Seoul.

A picture of the bike path on Paldang Bridge connecting Hanam and Namyangju cities just outside of Seoul, South Korea.
Paldang Bridge, connecting Hanam and Namyangju cities, marks the end of the Hangang Bicycle Path in Seoul. Cross it to continue onwards to Yeoju.
  1. Nanji Hangang Park
  2. Mangwon Hangang Park
  3. Ichon Hangang Park
  4. Ttukseom Hangang Park
  5. Guri City & Namyangju City

This last section of the Hangang Bicycle Path in Seoul covers 16 kilometers (directions) and traverses two of Seoul’s eastern satellite cities: Guri and Namyangju.

Let’s get some background on these cities, then get riding.

Guri and Namyang: Twin Satellites

Guri City and Namyangju City are a pair of satellite cities east of Seoul.

In 1980, Namyangju broke away from the northern Yangju County (양주시). (Namyangju translates to South (남; nam) Yangju.) Then, Guri split from Namyangju in 1986.

Since their separation, they’ve pondered rekindling their romance and merging. They share the same regional history, commuter train, and even a downtown.

Size & People

Guri claims less land and people (33 sq km; 193,954 folks) than Namyangju (458 sq km; 725,031 folks). However, Guri is dense (5,846 per sq km), tripling Namyangju (1,576 per sq km).

Why is Namyangju spread thin?

Greenbelt

In the 1970s, Seoul enacted a greenbelt. It forbade apartments and industry to spread into designated spaces around the city’s perimeter. Just farms and nature.

Both Guri and Namyangju sit in the greenbelt, limiting their growth.

Guri petitioned the government and won back bits of territory for development. 

Namyangju? Not so successful. The greenbelt still grips the city’s mountainous heart, forcing its populace into narrow valleys, and along streams and the Han River.

Entertainment

Because the rural rules Namyangju, the city lives without a downtown.

Where do Namyangju-ites buy a new fridge or browse the latest trends?

Guri. The city clusters on a wedge between the Han River and Wangsuk Stream (왕숙천). Downtown, department stores, movie theaters, and restaurants emanate from an ancient stone bridge (road view).

Industry

The tale of two cities continues in their industrial profiles. 

While the greenbelt halts Namyangu’s industrial aspirations, it doesn’t limit agriculture. So Namyanjgu got to farming and built a reputation for organic produce.

Like most post-industrial countries, service jobs dominate Guri. The city’s office dwelling folk earn more and enjoy greater stability than their neighbor. 

Cultural Relics

For hundreds of years, the territory where Guri and Namyangju cuddled against Hanseong (한성), Joseon Dynasty’s capital.

When kings died, their successors built their gravesites in the surrounding areas. Today you can find several UNESCO designated Joseon-era tombs and more relics.

Hongneung Royal Tomb (홍유릉) in Namyangju is the tomb of Korea’s last emperor and his wife, the famed Empress Myeongseong.

Cycle Guri City

Directions (7.1 km)

Just beyond the concrete box, ten colored, L-shaped pillars (road view) mark the end of Seoul. When the path flips from gray to red, Guri City (구리시) you tread.

Welcome to Guri City (구리시). The Gangbyeon Expressway hops from the Han back overhead for a short stretch.

Mount Acha

Pop out from under the expressway underworld and find Mount Acha (아차산) rising on your left (aerial view). Near its 200-meter peak rests the low wall remains of Acha Fortress (아차산성).

At the start of Korea’s Three Kingdoms era, the Kingdom of Baekje (백제; 18 BCE ~ 660 ACE) built the fortress to defend its claim over the Han River, the most strategically important waterway on the peninsula.

​​Guri Han River Park

Pedal along as the green space beside the path unfolds into Guri Han River Park (구리한강시민공원), the first Han River park outside of Seoul. 

Passed Guri Amsa Bridge (구리암사대교; good crossing point) spreads one of Guri’s nine (9) scenic spots: flower gardens (road view). In May, they bloom blazing yellow rapeseed. In September, pink petaled cosmos open.

Wangsuk Stream

Beyond Guri Han River Park, dip under Gangdong Bridge (강동대교; impossible to cross) and meet the head of Wangsuk Stream (왕숙천), which separates Guri from Namyangju City.

The path pivots left and creeps up the stream’s western banks.

Stop at the first bridge (road view). Notice the blue bicycle signs. Where do they point? Right! So turn right to continue along Hangang Bicycle Path.

Missed the turn? Prepare for a 30-plus kilometer detour up Wangsuk Stream Bike Path (왕숙천자전거길) deep into Namyangju.

45.3 km (Seoul (North Side))
81%

Don’t cross Wangsuk Stream just yet. Glance upstream at Guri Tower (구리타워; map).

This ain’t your normal 100 meter tall spire. View the gray puffing (road view) from the top. Yep, it’s a colossal exhaust pipe.

Guri Tower the exhales scrubbed smoke from 140-tons of daily-garbage processed at the adjacent waste incineration plant.

What’s that cone wrapped around the tower’s top? An observation deck and restaurant. Below, Guri residents can visit an indoor swimming pool, soccer fields, and more.

Cycle Namyangju City

Now, cross the bridge (road view) over Wangsuk Stream and enter Namyangju.

Take a right back towards the Han River, whip around a hairpin turn, and find a tiny riverside sports park.

Thirsty? Hungry? You’re in luck. The park dead-ends into a hill topped with cafés and joints serving multicourse fare (한정식; table d’hote; map).

Refuel. Why? Just beyond, the bike road switches to two lanes and a whole lot of hill.

Mieumnaru Pass

Most of the Hangang Bicycle Path in Seoul rolls along a flat riverside basin. Until now. 

The notorious Mieumnaru Pass (미음나루고개; aerial view) marks your first (and only) physical hurdle. It snakes 50 meters upwards along a rocky, riverside ridge line (directions).

Like the Amsa Pass across the river, this hump will wake your lungs. But it’s a pussycat compared to the vertical climbs along the Saejae and Gyeongbuk Bike Paths.

So, why notorious?

The crowds! We may not be in Seoul anymore, but the bike roads still crawl with bikers of all stripes: day trippers. Road warriors. Canoodling couples.

The mixture of inexperienced and need-for-speed riders, narrow paths, and steep inclines often leads to accidents. So keep your lane and feather your brakes on the way down.

Namyangju Han River Park

Mieumnaru Pass spits you onto Namyangju Han River Park (남양주한강공원).

Past baseball and soccer fields, curving walking paths link three vast circle patios (road view; map). When warm, water springs from the embedded jets to cool off the young ones.

Continue under Misa Bridge (미사대교; impossible to cross) and head towards a wall of riverside apartments.

Sampae District

The bike path pivots left and aligns with the underbelly of Gyeonggang Road, which carries cars across to Gangneung City (강릉시) on the East Coast.

Power past the pillars and stairs (road view), which lead into Namyangju’s Sampae District (삼패지구), filled with high-rise apartments.

Slingshot from under the overpass and find Geomdan Mountain (검단산; 658 m) in the distance (road view). It and northern Yebong Mountain (예봉산; Yebongsan) create high valley walls along this bit of river.

Green Coffee Row

Roll over babbling brooks and into “green café row” (unofficial KbB name), the final stretch (directions).

Why “green café row?” Look at a map. They litter this green shackled riverside. Every few meters, on ridgeways (road view) or across fields (road view), a caffeine dispensary lurches into view.

While chains dominate Korea’s cities, mommas and pappas own these shops. They bank on Seoulites hopping the Gyeongui-Jungang Line and sailing upriver for a quick and verdant vacay.

Hangang Museum

Hanging amongst the cafés, Hangang Museum (한강뮤지엄) — a private establishment — triples as a coffee shop, art space, and photozone.

Buy a ticket, pick up your complimentary cup-of-joe, and explore the temporary and permanent exhibits, take photos with famous recreations, and gaze upon the glorious Han from the rooftop.

Paldang Bridge

55.7 km (Seoul (North Side))
100%
A picture of the bike path on Paldang Bridge connecting Hanam and Namyangju cities just outside of Seoul, South Korea.
Paldang Bridge, connecting Hanam and Namyangju cities, marks the end of the Hangang Bicycle Path in Seoul. Cross it to continue onwards to Yeoju.

Half a kilometer down the bike road sits Paldang Bridge (팔당대교), the end of your journey.

Paldang Bridge isn’t just an excellent crossing point. It’s a part of the Hangang Bicycle Path.

If you rode the South Side bike path though Seoul, you must-cross the bridge. If you traveled the North Side, crossing the bridge would take you backwards along the Hangang Bike Path.

Just before crossing under Paldang Bridge, the path branches (road view), presenting two choices:

1. Take a left. Cross the bridge into Hanam City. This sends you backwards into the South Side route, away from the next portion of the Hangang Bike Path.

Why do that? Well, if the sun is setting, Hanam holds plenty of beds, chicken joints, and a cool tower.

2. Take a right and continue the Hangang Bicycle Path along the Bike Seoul to Yeoju route.