Friday, July 15, 2016

Cycling Korea 2016: Day 8 - Nakdonggang River Trail: Chungju To Nakdongri

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Cycling Korea 2016: Day 8 - Nakdonggang River Trail: Chungju To Nakdongri
Tour of South Korea : Day 8, 11th June 2016
Small Group Cycling Tour along the Nakdong River cycling trail:
Chungju>by bus>Jeomchon>Yeong River>Nakdong River>Sangpung Bridge>Sangju Bicycle Museum>Sangjubo Dam>Nakdanbo Dam>Nakdongri.
Bus Travel: 69.70 km.
Cycling Distance- 53.44 km.     Level: Hard (there were a several quite steep stretches where the route veered off from the river to avoid cliffs).
Time : 7:40am to 6:00pm.
Total Time Taken : 10hrs 20mins (including, lunch, museum visit, stops at parks, dams, bridges, getting directions, certification centres, rests, looking for motels & photo opps).

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Route Recommendations :
1. Right is Right!
    Korea traffic is left-hand drive. For those coming from right-hand drive countries always do remember to ride on the right-hand side... i.e. Right is right! Same thing applies when crossing the rode, take note that traffic is approaching from left! Sounds confusing, it actually isn't, just take while to get use to it.
    Do be careful at un-signalised zebra-crossing, drivers often do not stop for pedestrians to cross.

2. Ride Conditions
- Most stretches along the river trail were not shaded, so do cover up or apply sun block.
- The stretch between Chungju and Jeomchon is very steep, best to avoid it and take a bus.
- The cycling route had several steep stretches that veered of the river trail to avoid cliffs. To see where these steep stretches are, on the route map below, click on top left rectangle, scroll down to the bottom and click on bottom left greenish rectangle to change the map view to satellite view.
- The weather was cool at 24°C to 27°C day time and dipping down to about 21°C in the evening.

3. Points of Interest
- The park enroute from Yongma-ro leading to the bicycle museum. This park has many statues of Korean deities carve from tree trunks (GPS: 36.455979, 128.246636).
- The Bicycle Bridge fronting the bicycle museum (GPS: 36.454476, 128.258524).
- The Sanju Bicycle Museum (GPS: 36.453305, 128.255349).
- Sanjubo Dam (GPS: 36.432863, 128.249217).
Nakdanbo Dam (GPS: 36.360406, 128.305703).

4. Certification Stations:
These are certification centres:
- Sanpung Bridge.
- Sanjubo Dam.
Nakdanbo Dam.

5. Food
- Lunch was take-away Big Bulgogi Beef Burgers from Lotteria at the Chungju Bus Terminal (GPS: 36.98219, 127.91487).
- Dinner was very nice barbecued Hanu Beef at one of the restaurants in Nakdonri (GPS: 36.36022, 128.29953).

6. Accommodations
    Accommodations was at the Bonghwang 503 Motel. Rooms are up at the 5th floor with no lifts; fortunately they provided large individual wooden lockers with electronic locks at the ground floor(GPS: 36.360716, 128.300515) in Nakdongri at 30,000KRW per night.
    Their contact number is +62-010-8681-9876.

7. Phone Sim Cards
For staying in touch with each other, it will be good to get local sim-cards. At the Incheon International Airport pre-paid sim card can be surprisingly obtained from a convenience store at the first floor for 29,000 KRW with a 1 gig data, 100 minutes of call time. A lady working for the phone company waits outside at the benches to help set up and activate the line, and presto! within minutes it's done.
    Or one can pre-order online through mobile providers such as Evergreen EGsim and collect at their outlet at the airport. They have several plans to select from.


The day before had been one of the best ride on the Han River Trail, one that took us through the beautiful Seom River Valley. It was a good end to our adventure on the Han River (Hangang) as we leave it and headed east to the Nakdong River (Nakdonggang). Let's see if the Nakdong is as interesting as the Han River.


Cycling Route Chungju>by bus>Jeomchon>Yeong River>Nakdong River>Sangpung Bridge>Sangju Bicycle Museum>Sangjubo Dam>Nakdanbo Dam>Nakdongri.
We take a bus from Chungju to Jeomchon; with this move we ended our cycling on the South Han River Trail and move onto the Nakdong River Cycling Trail, starting from Jeomchon and ending at Nakdongri.

7:40am - We rolled off earlier today as we have a long journey ahead of us; one that would include a bus journey that will take us east to start the next phase of our ride, i.e. along the Nakdong River.
From our motel we rode over to the Chungju Bus Terminal and bought the tickets for Jeomchon. We would be taking the 8:46am bus, the fare was 9,200KRW pax. Actually the ticket does not state the time of travel but only the date; so one can take any bus for the route on that date.
With time to spare, we headed back to the Young Woo Dong outlet for breakfast... Again? Yes, again, we liked their beef soup very much! Our breakfast was heavy as we were concerned about available eateries along the Nakdong Trail. On top of this we also popped into the Lotteria outlet and purchased take-out Big Bulgogi Beef Burgers for lunch along the way; me being a hearty eater bought two!

The above profile shows the elevations of our bus and cycle journeys. The bus took us over a super steep stretch (we could hear the bus engine straining during the climb) which Korean cyclists call "HELL"!
Hah! We did escape the big HELL but further along were several small hells with steep climbs awaiting us!

10:05am - We arrived at Jeomchon Intercity Express Bus Terminal, we had shaved almost 70 kilometres off from our route and saved a day's tough cycling ride too. Goofy (my bike) looking happy in front of the Mungyeong Tourist Map, too bad due to time constraint we won't be seeing many of these places. Just for note, Jeomchon is in the Mungyeong Province.

From the bus terminals we rode along the town streets to the riverside, reached a park at the start point where the girls found this cute Hello Kitty car which gave them a cheerful start.

Our first stretch was along the Yeong River (Yeonggang), a tributary to the Nakdong River. It's a quiet stretch with not much buildings around and then it was the guys turn to be cheered up - a sight of these planes!

About 15 km. downstream, we cross a bridge and were onto the Nakdonggang. The Nakdong River is the longest river in South Korea, flowing 506km from the Taebaek Mountains down to the Korean Straits. It will flow through Daegu and Busan; so we will be meeting it again later on.

11:45am - Out comes our Bulgogi Burgers as we stopped for lunch at a rest-stop in the shape of a traditional Korean pavilion, near Toegangri. The girls were real happy, plucking some flowers to adorn themselves. Here the trail joins the main road before veering off again; slightly further up round the corner of the road was a large eatery.

Hurrah! Our first stamp on the Nakdonggang page of our cycling passport; this one at the Sangpung Bridge.

From here was where the several "mini hells" begin; some were on steep ramps to get up to the top of cliffs that were hugging the river...

... others were on even steeper broom-swept concrete paved paths. Too steep to cycle? Well just come down and push, no shyness in there; just enjoy both the cycling and the pushing, just enjoy being there.

The perks of steep slopes, up at the top were great views of the river and its surroundings.

At Sangju, we were back along shared roads along Gyuncheon-ro stretch. This area seems to be a place for institutional buildings among which was the Sangju Museum. Here too was a public hall opened to the locals; there was a wedding going on then and we gate-crashed it.... okay, okay... we just gate-crashed the entrance gate and civilly took a snap there.

At a foothill park after that, we got hooked on another item just like we got hooked on ice-cream. This time it was fresh mulberry juice which was sweet, slightly tangy and flavourful. Like the ice-cream, we went looking for it everywhere we went after this. But unlike the ice-cream, we could not find it later on, even at the markets.

The foothill park led us up-slope to pass to another park, one filled with statues of Korean deities carve from tree trunks.

Another view of the deity park.

2:40pm - At the Sangju Bicycle Museum; we enjoyed the facilities at the compound area first, posing for lots of photos.

Entry to the museum is free and the first section shows restored historical bicycles like the Draisienne, the wooden Macmillan Velocipede, Michaux Velocipede, etc.

I think this bicycle built for two would definitely interest couples going on dates; my wife would definitely love it, she will just sit comfortably while I do all the huffing and puffing!

This tallest bicycle in the world was actually rode during the a public event in Seoul.

A bicycle with bamboo frame.

From the gallery at the first floor, a view down to the compound, a section of which is cordoned of for parents to teach their young tots to cycle; this is indeed encouraging.

Sangju is really bicycle-themed, the bridge opposite museum have stainless steel statues of cyclists, and the railings with half bicycle wheel grilles.

3:45pm - We reached the Sangjubo Dam; on seeing the bicycle logos embossed onto dam's piers, Sin was really happy here.

We were now int the rice belt of Korea, passing by fields and fields of green padi.

Another stretch of undulating climbs at Gansang 4 gil. This one took us through narrow lanes too, part of which was off-track making it difficult to ride on and the drizzle that started did not help.

5:40pm - Almost at the end of our journey for the day, the Nakdanbo Dam, another beautiful dam. The South Koreans are really good engineers building so many marvellous dams and bridges.

Time for motel searching again; and found the Bonghwang 503 Motel. The rooms are at the 5th floor and there are not lifts! Dang, we will have to carry our bikes all the way up!

Fortunately, at the ground floor they provide large wooden lockers, large enough even for full sized bikes. Each locker comes with an internal timber bike rack and an electronic combination lock so the bikes can be safely left here.
They also provide air compressors for pumping up the tires and cleaning the bikes.

Nakdongri is a small town; but it is famous for the renown Hanu beef, the local version here is called Nakdonghanwoo beef. There are rows of restaurant selling them; needless to say we had one of our best meals in Korea while here, one of fantastically good barbecued Korean beef. !Yummy!

Tonight I will be sleeping alone; poor Goofy will be down in his box at the ground floor. It has been accompanying me all the previous nights, I am going to miss him!
Am I getting too attached to my bike?


This is page 8 of a 15-page blog, Click Here To Go To Title Page.
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A video by Sin of Day 8 of our South Korea tour, riding on the Nakdong River Trail from Jeomchon to Nakdongri.




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