Tag Archives: Busan

6th Annual Mayor’s Cup surfing Championship (Busan)

I’m back from a great weekend in Busan.

I was disappointed that we didn’t have waves on Saturday but the event as a whole was pretty fun! It’s worth bearing in mind that the surf comp and indeed the sport itself is still relatively new in Korea so there’s lots of room for improvement.

When the judges saw that the day was getting on and conditions were not going to improve before the beach closes at 6PM, they decided to have board paddle races to select the winners instead. Before the event started, all the surfers formed a big circle in the water to pay respect to the victims of the Sewol Ferry Tragedy.

I met Brett Burcher, who won the 2009 Red Bull Juniors in Cronulla, Australia. He’s studying to become a teacher and is extremely down to earth. I think that if  he could combine surfing and teaching like Skateistan has done with education/ skateboards he could really be a force for good! Check out Toby Cregan’s surf short, Carpark Stories , featuring Brett riding some shweet waves.

The youngest surfer at the competition was Kai Kim, who, at the age of 2, has more sponsors than she can shake a stick at: Spider surfboards (from Durban, South Africa), Ocean and Earth, Carver Skateboards and Gwangali Surf School. What she lacks in height she makes up for in cuteness! All her sponsors products are available in Korea here.

5 reasons to enter next year’s competition

1. Swag: You get a cool goody bag. This year’s swag included a Billabong cap, surf wax and event t-shirt (and the comp rule book).

2. More swag: There are lots of spot give-aways during the day that you don’t find in every day Korea: trendy sunglasses, big towels, surfwear etc.

3. Free Red Bull!

4. Prizes: If there are waves, you could win a prize. Prizes range from goody bags to 1.5 million won for guys and 1 million won for girls. If there are no waves, you can paddle and still win a prize. Or not, like me… I came 4th out of 4. Sad face.

5. The afterparty. The best fucking party I’ve been to in Korea. The music, the vibe, the all you can drink for 10,000 won… Is there anything hotter than a party with sexy, sweaty surfer boys and girls?!

6. Bonus reason: Mel Vin gave anyone who was interested a SUP intro lesson . I really enjoyed it – great for developing your balance.

 5 reasons not to bother:

1. There may not be waves so if you’re a purist this might annoy you. Your back up plan should involve improving your paddling and wrestling skills.

2. You feel pretty clueless as a foreigner as there is hardly any English support.

3. The Korean competition has many divisions:  junior, longboard, beginner and open. As a foreigner you can ONLY compete in the International Open. This means that whether you’re a beginner or intermediate, you will be competing against surfers from Japan and Korea who are experienced and who regularly compete on an amateur level.  You could still beat them in a paddling match, if you run into the water for as far as you can instead of paddling straight away!

4. If you live in Korea you know that the plan can change at a moment’s notice. The surf comp was no different. My event was supposed to be at the end of the day but they suddenly gave us 5 minutes to get ready. In fact, 2 girls missed out on competing because no one called them to let them know about the schedule change… That’s a bit crap since we’d been on the beach from 8AM that morning.

5. You’ll need a Korean friend to help you enter since the KSA website is only in Korean but that’s a lame excuse not to go!

I’m definitely entering next year’s competition and it would be great if we had more foreigners. I know that loads of Saffas, Aussies, Kiwis, Brits and Yanks surf back home so the level of competition could be so much higher if everyone gets involved! I really think sport has been my favourite way of bonding with Koreans.

GET ON IT!

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Gamcheon 2-dong Artist Village (Busan)

Gamcheon Artist Village (naver 감천문화마을), also known as Taeguekdo Village, teeters precariously on a hill in Busan. It started out as a refugee camp during the Korean war. North Korean troops advanced pretty far down into what is today’s South Korea, but Busan was a strong-hold that wouldn’t budge. Seeking refuge in the hills is always a good idea, it’s easy to spot the advancing enemy and easy to defend your position (those hills would suck the energy out of most mortals).

What started off as a ramshackle collection of shacks developed into a village with a maze of narrow alleyways, steep staircases and colourful box-shaped houses.

History: Why is it also known as “Taeguekdo” Village? Gamcheon has a strange history intertwined with religion and war:  the religionTaegukdo was founded in 1918 and states that the Taeguk, aka yin/yang symbol, represents the true meaning of life and the universe. Cho Je-chol converted many refugees by offering to uplift them from poverty and eventually he had so many followers that the religion’s headquarters moved here. I didn’t see any yin/yang symbols painted on the walls so I don’t know how popular it is nowadays. The main temple is located at the foot of the village but I didn’t have time to visit it.

During the 1970’s another movement took off, the Saemaeul “new village” movement, during which slate roofs replaced the pre-existing corrugated iron ones and running water was installed. Gamcheon only got electricity in 1965!

More recently,  a government initiative was launched in 2009 to uplift the community via art and many people were sceptical at first. It turned out to be so successful that Gamcheon is now being touted as a great example of urban rejuvination and has had many official visitors from other countries seeking to improve their own shantytowns! Although this area is still seen as poor in comparison with other Busan neighbourhoods, it is definitely far more aestetically pleasing than modern Korea’s concrete jungle.

It must be pretty annoying to live there and have hundreds of tourist types traipsing past your house every day- especially when your front door opens right onto the walkway and everyone can see your laundry drying in the sun. There are loads of photogenic faces in Gamcheon-  so many old people considering the hills! It’s worth noting that you should always ask permission before taking photos of people. Don’t be a dick- a little respect goes a long way. The walls are pretty thin, providing a living, breathing soundtrack to your journey through the labyrinth. Just before I left the village I saw 3 old men sitting at a table outside, having a very heated discussion. One of them reminded me of Carl Fredricksen from “Up”- same outfit but instead of his tennis ball-adorned walking cane, this guy’s chair had tennis balls as floor protectors. If they weren’t having an argument I would have asked for a photo.

Highlights: Most people go here to take photos of the Little Prince. When I got to Korea I was very surprised to learn how popular Antoine de Saint-Exupéry‘s  literary character was here. In fact, I recently bought a mini book that features the Korean/ English version of the book complete with scetches at a local bookstore. The installations around Le Petit Prince change from time to time, as does the other murals so what you see on other blogs may not exist when you visit. I found the baby-faced pigeon gargoyles fascinating and creepy at the same time. For me, the best part was watching the locals, the soulful eldery characters, going about their daily business.

Novelty factor: You can buy a map at Haneul Maru (2,000 won at time of writing) and take a stamp tour of the photo gallery, book café, art shop and Gamnae Eoulteo observatory. If you get all the stamps you will receive two souvenir postcards at Haneul Maru.

Opening hours: You can visit the village between 9AM and 6PM.

How to get there: Take Line 1 (orange) in the direction of Sinpyeong. Get off at Toseong-dong (토성역, stop 107). Take Exit 8 and jump on mini-bus # 2 or 2-2 from outside the PNU Cancer Center and get off at Gamcheon Elementary School (감천초등학교). Alternatively, catch the 17 or 17-1 bus across from Busan Station. Get off at the last stop and walk to the mini-bus stop to take the 2 or 2-2 mini bus (“maeul”).

More photos on my Instagram page.

 

Surfing in Pohang/ Busan Surf Competition

I tried my hand at surfing for the first time in 2010. Jeffreys Bay, better known as J’Bay, is famous for its perfect barrels and its annual surf competition. I’ve been practicing paddling out and standing on our coffee table since I was 18 so it was cool to finally take beginner lessons. Two days of basic lessons followed by a year’s gap before I repeated the beginner game in Newquay, Cornwall. One day of surfing foamies followed by 3 years’ hiatus.

Last year I was in Busan to learn sailing and I happened to catch the last part of the Busan Surf Competition. The “waves” made me laugh. I come from a country where you grow up being dumped by waves and almost drown on a regular basis. They call THIS the sea? WAVES? Seriously… Korea is not known for its waves, that’s for damn sure. North Korea, maybe. South Korea? Typhoon time, sure. But then you’re not allowed to surf. In fact, they have cancelled the Annual Mayor’s Cup  International Surfing Championship in the past because “the waves were too big” ??? Check out this cool blog on surfing in the DMZ.

I decided to enter this year’s competition (entry cost 40,000 won) because I reckon even a beginner like me can surf Korea’s teeny tiny waves! If you want to learn how to surf in Pohang (in English) you need to contact these guys. However, if you already have some basic skills that you want to build on and you only need to rent a board, you can go to Surfer City or Green Room (naver 서핑 포항). These shops are both located in Yeongilman, past the industrial park and the harbour. I have rented boards from both shops and I got a better deal at Green Room but Son Young Ik, who runs it, is often away and Surfer City is usually open (expect to pay anywhere between 20,000-25,000 won for 2-4 hours’ board rental) . If you become a member of the KSA this will drop to 10,000 won. If you have your own board and a car, you can obviously go anywhere and Guryonpo is a good spot for bigger waves.

We had a few big waves around full moon two weeks ago and I got a bit cheeky. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time and ended up with a broken foam-top rental board. Young Ik is super laid back and was nice enough not to charge me, but I’m now known as that girl who broke a board. WORSE! The waygookin girl (the only one) who broke a board. Ah well, shit happens! That’s how you learn, right?! Haha.

Korea surf culture is still in its infancy but it is growing very quickly. Foreigners like to complain that Koreans follow no safety rules or etiquette when they surf. They also like to bitch about too many people at “their” spot. I would hate for Koreans to learn this negative, greedy, clique-y attitude to a resource that belongs to no one and everyone at the same time. No one owns the sea, you can’t own a surf spot. 

 Currently Korean surf culture is still very open, friendly and leans more towards longboards, which is more suited to the waves here. I’ve rented both 8 and 9 footers here and I actually prefer the 8.

SUP (Stand up paddling) is also taking off big time here, which makes sense considering the “waves”. Mel Vin is the best guy to contact on Facebook regarding SUP sales and lessons.

I have about 10 hours of practice under my belt for the Busan Surf Competition. All the foreigners get lumped together in the International Open, seperated only by gender, not experience. The Korean competition is divided into juniors, beginner, open and longboard . When I spoke to the KSA earlier this week there were only 2 other girls in the International Women’s Open, so we’re 3 in total. People can still enter on the day, but I hope no one does! How awesome would it be to snag 3rd place with my limited experience??!  The prizes in the International Men’s open are: 1,500,00 won for first place, 500,000 won  for 2nd place and a goody bag for third place. In the Intl. Women’s first place gets you 1,000,000 won, second place 300,00 won and a goody bag for 3rd place. Aussie surfer Brett Burcher has flown in to do a few workshops with Kai Surf/ Ocean & Earth Surf shop prior to taking part in the comp. I’m paying 35,000 won for surfboard rental through Kai Surf (to pick up at the venue the morning of).

Obviously I can write what I know about surf comps on the back of a soju bottle cap, but they still expect you to know the rules (even though there will be no briefing for foreigners). The rules are on the KSA’s website and event but they’re all in Korean. Luckily, the follow ISA rules, so you can inform yourself here.

For more info on surfing in Korea, go here.

Tide tables and Weather forecast: Use KHOA (Korea hydrographic and Oceanographic Administration), Buoy Weather or Windfinder.

Vocabulary: 밀물 = high tide, 썰물= low (ebb) tide,짜=date, 북= north, 서= west, 남= south, 동= east

Groups to join on Facebook: Surfing Korea, Korea Surf Association, Korea Water Love, Surfer City (Pohang), and Esl English Surf Lessons (Pohang).

Hostels on Haeundae Beach (Busan): Pobi Guesthouse and Popcorn Hostel.

Happy surfing x

Seoul to Busan Day 5 (Namji to Busan)

We were on the home stretch with 95km and only two hills remaining. After this, the route is flat all the way to the Nakdonggang Certification Centre. We started from Namji (p.40) and rode in the misty morning for a while. We really lucked out with the weather- our only hot day was Day 4. Day 5 was cloudy and cool all day- perfect cycling weather. We finished our day around 15:00!

My favourite part of the morning ride was Yudeung-ri, in Changwon-si (p.45). The village houses and walls have all been decorated with bike and farm themed murals- I found it a very welcoming sight! After Yudeung-ri you will have a steep hill to wake you up and another smaller but noticeable hill just before you enter the outskirts of Yangsan.

Note: there is one section where all the signs tell you to cross over a bridge (the Susandaegyo if I remember correctly) and I remember we were confused by it in 2013 too. Last year we ended up following a Korean over the bridge and had to do a huge hill. This time, we rode along the river, ignoring at least 5 official 4 River signs saying TURN BACK, MAKE A U-TURN!!!! and guess what? We were fine. Yeah, we still had to do a hill but it was MUCH smaller than the alternate route.

After this it’s sweet cruising at a great pace until you enter the outskirts of Busan. The bike path will be MUCH busier here so beware of pedestrians, dogs, kids on bicycles and rollerblades.

Once you get to the Nakdonggang Hagutduk CC you have a few things to do. First, celebrate, high five and hug each other! It feels so good to finish. Take lots of photos, pose with the Koreans who will no doubt ask you to and THEN make your way to the Certification Center Building. You need to fill in a form with your details and present your passport at the desk for processing. They gave us silver route completion stickers for the Hangang, Namhangang, Saejae and Nakdonggang (even though we left out Andong! Apparently they give you the sticker even if you have one stamp missing), as well as the golden Cross Country Road sticker. I got my completion medal 2 weeks after completing the journey, which is pretty impressive.

Once you’ve done your admin and had a beer or lunch, head to Sinpyeong Subway Station (Line 1- orange). This will take you all the way to Nopo Station which is also the bus terminal for many cities, including Pohang. I’ll refer you to Marie Eksteen’s great blog for further transport details.

I hope you have found my blog entries useful when you plan your journey. Get on it! You will not regret this trip of a lifetime 🙂

Day 5 summary: 95km total, 7 hours total time including lunch.
Fact of the day: I burnt over 13,000 calories on this trip!

TOTAL trip mileage: 705 (starting from Waterpia Jimjjilbang in Incheon to Nakdonggang CC).

If you’d like to see someone else’s photos of our trip, go to Andrew’s flickr albums:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/119431543@N07/sets/72157645142176773/ https://www.flickr.com/photos/119431543@N07/sets/72157645087705961/ https://www.flickr.com/photos/119431543@N07/sets/72157645047340816/ https://www.flickr.com/photos/119431543@N07/sets/72157645090125232/ https://www.flickr.com/photos/119431543@N07/sets/72157645100754264/

You may also find his strava route useful (although the phone lost reception on Day 4 in the hills): http://www.strava.com/activities/149321638

Happy cycling!

Seoul to Busan 2014

 

I can’t believe it’s the eve of another Seoul- Busan cycle trip. I think I’m more nervous this time round, having already done the journey once before. It doens’t help having dreams where your bike simply disintegrates into a hundred little pieces right in front of your horrified eyes… I have a better, lighter bike with gears that actually work. What could possibly go wrong?

635km. 5 days. 4 riders.

I recruited 2 guys from FB’s Cyling in Korea group to join Pieter and I this time round. I’ve sent lots of long emails with do’s and don’t, lists, route plans, pep talks and prep lists. I hope the boys have all read them carefully but I’m not holding my breath. We’re meeting at a Jimjjilbang in Incheon tomorrow night. Pieter and I are busing up from Pohang.

It will be interesting so see how closely we stick to the plan I created. I have no doubt that it will be re-jigged. The basic plan is:

Day 1: 151km/ 13.5 hours (mostly flat) From Ara West to Gangcheon Certification Center (p.8-23 in Hangang Vol. 1).

Day 2: 127km/ 11 hours  (some hills) From Gangcheon Certification Center to Sangpunggyeo Certification Center (p.23-41 in Hangang Vol. 1).

Day 3: 77km/7.40hours  (hills) From Sangpunggyeo Certification Center to Namgumidaegyo (p.15-22 in Nakdonggang Vol. 2).

Day 4: 153km/ 12 hours (hills) . From Namgumidaegyo to Changnyeonghamanbo Certification Center (p. 24-41 in Nakdonggang Vol.2).

Day 5: 86km/ 8 hours (HILLS). From Changnyeonghamanbo Certification Center to Nakdonggang Hagutduk Certification Center (p. 41-49 in Nakdonggang Vol. 2).

My basic packing list:
1 or 2 pairs of cycling shorts
1 or 2 jerseys
first aid kit
water bottles
change of clothes
shower stuff
energy bars
phone/ipod/chargers
day pack
sunscreen
gloves
puncture kit incl. allen keys and 1 spanner
pump
spare tubes
spare tyre (folded)
cycling shoes/helmet
chamois cream
lights
carrier and straps/ bungees/ cable ties
emergency contact list for each rider to carry.

The weather is supposed to be cloudy with some rain over the next few days. I’m hoping that we avoid riding in a heatwave this year. I’m also hoping that we will get lost less this year, ride more as a team and that we will have less breakdowns along the way.

I can’t wait to eat  amazing food, meet some kind, generous Koreans and bond with some cycle boys. I hope that fortune favours us, the Brave. I hope everyone finishes.

Let’s do this! 화이팅!

 

 

 

BIPAF 2014 (Busan International Performing Arts Festival)

My friend entered his play “Treasured Love”  into  this year’s BIPAF’s 10 minute play competition. He recruited 4 volunteers from Pohang, including me, and we started preparing mid April. We lost one along the way so he became writer-director-actor. What a guy!

I didn’t realise how big the festival was. It ran from 2-11 May and the 10 minute play competition was the only one open to amateurs like us.  I’m pretty sure that we were the only foreigners out of 25 plays in the running.

It became clear on rehearsal day that our play was slightly different to the rest. The main Korean themes were suicide, bullying and handicapped issues. Real tear-jerkers- no language required! Our play was about vampires… A combo of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” and “Only Lovers Left Alive”.  Needless to say, we gave our best but it was never going to cut it. At least we got some laughs from the audience…

I  learned a lot about what to expect and prep for next time.

Firstly, the theme has to have substance. Koreans like heavy themes, they spell drama with a capital D. The ten minute play should feature both laughter and tears (real ones, preferably shed by a male). There’s got to be Love and a Broken Heart somewhere in the mix. Plus Redemption if you have time…

Secondly, you need a soundtrack. At least one song but more is better.

Thirdly, lighting. Don’t think that having the lights on all the time will win you any points. It won’t.

Fourthly, timing. If the competition is called “Ten minute Plays” then you’d better finish right at 09:59 or 10:00. Seven and a half minutes? Forget you!

Lastly, script. Keep the English to a minimum, keep it basic, speak slowly. If you can, don’t use any language, concentrate on miming and dancing instead. Everyone loves a bit of synchronised dancing, especially if it’s a group of boys popping on the stage.

If I lived in Busan I would definitely have gone to the other shows. I admire  Korea’s approach to making arts and culture accessible to everyone by making tickets affordable.

I hope that next year will see more foreign plays in the running, since there is talent in Pohang, Daegu and Busan. Maybe one day a foreign play can even win. Now wouldn’t that be something!

 

Kayaking and camping on Geoje Island

Getting from Pohang to Geoje is a pain in the ass. It really is. But I had such an awesome weekend that the looooong journey was totally worth it.

From Pohang shiwae (downtown intercity bus terminal) you need to get a bus to Nopo dong in Busan, which is a frequent service and takes 1:30 hours. From Nopo dong you can take the subway to Hadan (yes, nearly the whole orange line…) which takes about an hour. From Hadan you need to take the 2000 bus and get off at Gohyun Fire Station and change to bus 22/23 to Gujora Beach. We messed this bit up which ended wasting an hour or so. Make sure the bus driver understands that he needs to tell you to get off at Gohyun 😉 Bus 22/23 only runs every 30 minutes.

Another way of doing it is to get a bus from Nopo to Gohyun which exposes you to potentially bad traffic and doesn’t run as frequently. We used this option on the way back home and we found out that the service was once per hour- we’d missed the last bus by 5 minutes… In total the journey from Pohang to Gujora beach takes about 5 hours but if it’s planned according to bus schedules it should take around 3-4. It’s probably a good idea to download the bus app for the cities you plan to visit before you go, if you want to optimize your beach time! Or learn to use naver maps properly- it has magical properties that most foreigners do not know about! If you want to learn how to use naver maps properly, check out this blog. Do this BEFORE your trip.

If you DO mess up, try to get off at Okpo, which is a foreigner friendly area with cool eateries including B.O.Bs sports bar with handmade burgers. Then take a taxi or bus 22/23 to Gohyun Bus Terminal.

Gujora beach is pretty idyllic with camping available cheaply at a stone’s throw away from the beach. Our kayaking was coordinated and guided by Kyoung Sig Jung, who runs the Geoje Kayak Club. Our BBQ and camping equipment needs were sorted by Derrick from Waegook Travel. These two guys went out of their way to accommodate our needs. Seriously, shared between 10 people it came to 62,000 won per person for kayak hire, camping space rental, BBQ meat packs and a weber grill. Fantastic! There are a few small shops nearby with bigger supermarkets a 5 minute car ride away.

So here’s what all the hype is about. You can also go for a hike that leads through a bamboo forest if you fancy that over being on the water.

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Bouldering in Busan

I went bouldering yesterday for the first time ever- what a great experience! There is a strong relationship between freediving, yoga and climbing- I noticed this in Egypt when I did my AIDA 2 and 3* with Freedive Dahab. You can climb and freedive with these guys in the Sinai . I plan to get back into freediving later this year so it’s important for me to do as much prep as I can beforehand. I’ve wanted to give climbing a go since arriving in Korea last year but all my local queries about the subject lead to vague answers. I came across the big wall near the baseball stadium pretty early on, but how to use it as a foreigner remained a mystery to me.

Over the last few months the pieces have slowly started falling into place. Last year I went to KOTRI’s Reel Rock Film Festival in Daegu. I asked about climbing in Pohang but no one really seemed to know much about it. Lucky for me I was wearing a crazy pair of leggings. Fast forward a few months and I get a Facebook message from a Pohanger who recognised them on a night out at Tilt! He told me about local climbing walls and gyms and invited me to “Bouldering Appreciation Day”. I sort of forgot about it and was planning on surfing but I got a reminder FB message on Friday night. I was on the wrong end of pay day but I couldn’t NOT go. I woke up on Saturday morning with a healthy mix of apprehension and excitement- I was psyched to have the opportunity to try something new but pretty scared of cracking my head open before school on Monday 😉

Fear not! I wasn’t the only beginner and the community is extremely supportive of newbies. It was really nice to be in an environment where people guide you through the learning process without ego or impatience. I believe that a sport can only grow and survive if you nurture new talent and build confidence through proper training and gentle encouragement. It certainly made a refreshing change from some of the other sports I’ve tried in Korea, where you mostly learn by breaking rules no one told you about or having people shout at you.

Some sporting communities here make you question the teaching ability of teachers in Korea because there is so much negativity that comes out on the field and so little proper nurturing methods being employed. I’ve had a few girls confide in me about how their confidence is being knocked by being on the receiving end of egotistical, over-competitive coaching methods. A sport that makes you feel small and worthless is not worth your time, especially if it’s a team sport. I’m more of a solo sport person. I prefer competing against myself and using others as a guide and inspiration for improvement.

We went bouldering around Geumjeongsanseong Fortress in Busan- an area of incredible natural beauty and great vistas. I tried 2 routes on a beginner rock and managed to solve both “problems” (a climb is called a “problem” waiting for a solution). The second rock was more tricky because the lower part of the rock didn’t have much grip and required more arm strength than I currently possess. It’s also very important to wear the correct shoe size. I borrowed Korean size 250 (250cm) for the day. They were fine for the first rock, but the second one demanded shoes that fit super tight. I borrowed somesone’s 245s and got a bit higher with them.  Apparently the rule of thumb is to buy a pair 2 pairs smaller than your normal shoe size so you can truly tap the shoe’s spiderman potential. That means I needed size 235- I’m glad I have short toes!

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I was lucky enough to win a pair of size 235 climbing shoes at the after party-  I had to plank for it (my yoga teacher would be proud).

Pohang has 3 climbing walls that I know of: the first one is near the Baseball stadium, one near Pohang train station and one near Yeongdeok. If you want to know more about climbing in Pohang, go here.

I look forward to growing stronger!

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Butora shoes – 100% hemp

Seoul to Busan cycle

Last year I completed the Seoul Busan trail with 3 other people- a guy I knew from EPIK orientation and 2 other Busan EPIK teachers who we met on the Facebook Forum Cycling in Korea. We accidentally picked the  the hottest week in 2013- a heatwave featuring  day time temperatures of 40C and over. We originally planned to complete the route in 4 days but it ended up taking 5 long, gruelling days. We got lost a lot and my super basic Korean-made road bike had a few problems, like not being able to handle gear changes without chain slippage and a worn out tyre bursting and resulting in 3  punctures (I think it was 3 , or maybe that’s when I stopped counting). Let’s just say I wasn’t very impressed with the guy who serviced my bike prior to the ride… It was an epik tale, with Jake leaving on day 4 (he’d done almost no prep and didn’t have much long distance bike experience so he did well to last as long as he did). We all had our ups and downs energy wise and mentally- it’s amazing how trivial issues become heated debates by the side of the road as a side effect of fatigue.

The level of Korean hospitality was off the charts amazing- restaurant staff took such special care of us and always gave us free ice to add into our bottles when we left. We cycled through old train tunnels, beautiful countryside and up a few mean switchbacks, not to mention my favourite part of the ride: night cycling under a clear sky and twinkling stars.

Anyway, Tim Travis, who lives in Seoul, does a lot for foreign cyclists in Korea. He arranged for us to get FREE long sleeve finishers’ tops from  the Korean Tourist Organization. It arrived in the post today and it is shweet 🙂 Tim told me each top costs around US$65!

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If you’d like to cycle from Seoul to Busan, you can download e-book maps and read more about the routes here.

I plan to complete the whole 4 Rivers Trail this year and I highly recommend it to you: it’s a great way to see the real Korea!

Cycle safely x