Most of us know South Korea to be the land of immersive Korean dramas and infectious K-pop tunes. That aside, did you also know that the country is one of the most bike-friendly places in the world? In fact, a massive cycling infrastructure was built in its city streets in the last few decades. These new cross-country bike paths have been designed for fun and convenient explorations—they’re not only scenic, but incredibly safe too. 

Rather than hopping on public transportation, there’s unspoken beauty in travelling at your own pace. During your stay, hop on a bike or even rent a car to see what the city offers. Spanning across quiet river trails with mountainous views, there are multiple well-designed routes for you to better experience the country off the beaten tracks. 

In this piece, we’ve gathered some of the most essential tips to make your next self-driving and cycling trip in Korea as smooth as possible.

1. Plan an itinerary well-suited for different proficiency levels

Depending on who you’re travelling with, always remember to keep your group’s fitness and proficiency level in mind. Not everyone’s going to view cycling the same way. While it may be a leisure activity for some, others see it as a sport and primary mode of transportation. 

Several factors come to play here: The cycling distance, duration (number of days required), elevation gain and weather. Easy routes, for instance, have fewer ascents that make it easier to cruise.

With smooth paths that are primarily flat, we’d recommend the Hangang Bicycle Path. Flowing through the entire city of Seoul, the route takes approximately five hours to complete. Of course, you can also use it just for a quick 20-minute dose of serotonin – the route’s convenient design allows travellers to cycle in and out of there with ease.

Yeouido Park that is part of the Hangang Bicycle Path – you can find bicycle rental spots and other amenities here.

Bikes can be easily rented there; most commonly at Yeouido Park which offers a range of options—from children to mountain and two-seaters (S$3 to S$6 for every 15 minutes). 

For the pros, attempt the Cross-Country Tour Route instead. The Eastern Coast connects Busan (the second-largest city in Korea) to Goseong, and a bike ride here is nicely accompanied by the sapphire-like blues of the ocean. 

Unlike the Hangang Bicycle Path, this spans 640km. It’s certainly more extreme, with some uphills and downhills. It even takes six to seven days to complete! Some signature dishes to try along the way: Sliced raw fish, spicy seafood stew and snow crab.

With that said, cycling in South Korea is known to be safe. As a way to increase bike usage, many of its cycling paths today are repurposed from rail infrastructure. Known as the “4 Rivers Path”, this was a plan implemented as part of a restoration project connecting the nation’s major cities seamlessly.

They’re typically two metres wide and are marked with coloured borders. Regardless of which routes you pick, these are designed to be well-connected with minimal pedestrians compared to cramped city streets.

2. Purchase a Certification Passport to collect stamps on the way

The best way to make anything more fun is to gamify it. Safe to say, South Korea knows this well. Running on a bicycle certification system (also known as stamp tour), cyclists get to commemorate their journey on a certification passport while there. This little passport can be bought at various certification centres across the country for only about S$4. 

As you travel along bike paths, you’ll get to locate red stamp spots (made from recycled phone booths). The goal? Collect different cross-country stamps. Each stamp is specially designed to reflect different local characteristics. For example, the Ara Waterway stamp features a large river cruise, while the Namhanggang path has stamps of Neungnae Station and Chungju Tangeumdae (a hill called Daemunsan Mountain in Chungju).

If you’ve managed to collect them all, you’ll receive a sticker and certificate for free. Needless to say, this makes for a great souvenir, and serves as a documentation of your cycling journey.

3. Study your route, plan for rest stops and accommodation

Before setting off on your journey, pay attention to the route—specifically, to mark out potential rest stops and amenities. To do this, get yourself a bike map. These are free, and are commonly found at public spaces such as libraries, tourist information booths, bike shops and district offices. If physical maps aren’t your cup of tea, it’s also possible to use other common navigations like Naver or Citymapper. There’s also a e-book by the Korea Tourism Organization about the best places to visit and restaurant recommendations along popular cycling routes.

Don’t forget to bear in mind accommodation if you’re cycling beyond a day too. Many locals choose to stay at cosy guesthouses or motels along the way, while others prefer to stay close to nature by pitching a tent at official campsites.

Point is, plan your route based on your preferred distance to be covered and make space for multiple rest points. Be sure to include places where you can get fuelled with good food and drinks. There are tonnes of eateries scattered across the country, and as much as possible, South Korea tries to cater to travellers of different cultural backgrounds too. 

The Korea Tourism Organization (KTO), in fact, has categorised some noteworthy Halal restaurants for Muslim travellers. Locate them here. They’ve also got dedicated prayer rooms should you need them on your cycling trip.

4. Safeguard against emergencies with relevant items and support

This goes without saying: It’s always better to be over-prepared.

Bicycle repair shops may be easily accessible within the major cities, but they might not be necessarily easily accessible once you’re out of the city. For folks looking to challenge themselves on a longer trip, we’d recommend bringing along a simple puncture repair kit, or extra accessories like a saddle case for storage of your biking essentials like spare tube and tools. 

To be extra safe, do keep a log of essential emergency contacts at hand. Better yet, assemble a simple first-aid kit (available at convenience shops) too—they’ll come in real useful in the event of small wounds and cuts.

5. Stay well-prepared for sudden changes to weather conditions

There’s no guarantee that you’ll enjoy good weather every day. South Korea’s spring and autumn seasons are often a popular choice for travellers looking to experience the view of cherry blossoms and autumn foliage respectively. Oftentimes, though, spring can also be unpredictable. Temperatures may drop drastically to near zero degree celsius at times, or it could also range between 12 and 15 degrees. 

Either way, always make sure to check weather forecasts each day before riding off. Moreover, when you’re cruising on the bike, it might also turn surprisingly chilly. Be sure to pack a windbreaker or light jacket to guard against catching a cold.

6. Get familiar with local bike etiquette

Like in Singapore, pedestrians generally have the right of way. Other common etiquettes include using hand signals (like extending your arm to one direction) before you turn or change lanes, as well as wearing a helmet for safety. When riding at night, use bike lights to alert those in your surroundings. Keep a safe distance from those ahead of you (in case of sudden brakes) and remember to slow down at intersections or places with blindspots. 

Note: Bicycles are classified as vehicles in Korea. As such, they’re not allowed on sidewalks. That said, keep a lookout for certain sections that may be marked with a bike decal. If so, these are considered bike roads instead.

7. Take note of official requirements if looking to drive

Winding roads with autumn foliage in South Korea, making long drives a pleasant one with many photogenic sights.

Not a fan of cycling? That’s completely fine. For those who prefer to take the wheel and go on road trips, just note that you have to be at least 21 years and above to rent a car. 

What you’ll also need is a valid driver’s licence and an international driving permit, which you can apply for online before your trip (processing usually takes one working day, so plan ahead). These cost about S$20 and remain valid for a full year from the date of issue. 

For an added peace of mind, it’s best to reserve a vehicle from car rental companies as early as you can, as demand might surge anytime, especially during holiday season. Unlike Singapore, drivers sit on the left. It’ll definitely take some time to get used to (even for experienced drivers), so be sure to take extra caution. On expressways, speed limits range between 100km and 120km per hour. When in doubt, just follow the signs. As for toll gates, payment’s best paid via credit or debit card.


In spite of rapid urbanisation, it’s not hard to find tranquil and scenic spots in South Korea. Whether you’re a beginner or seasoned cyclist, you’ll be pleased to discover endless options for cycling trails available in the country. If biking or road trips aren’t your cup of tea, you can also consider trekking in South Korea instead. Feeling as though a proper getaway is long overdue? I suppose it’s now or never. 

Check out the following partners of Korea Tourism Organization for upcoming cycling and road trip tours to South Korea: 


This story is brought to you by the Korea Tourism Organization Singapore.


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Best time to visit: All year round depending on what your plans are! Looking to visit right when the cherry blossoms are blooming? If so, April is your best bet. September to October also makes a great period for those who enjoy cooler (but not freezing) autumn weather. Summer in South Korea begins in June and ends in August, a perfect time for beach fun and for those who love water sports. If you are thinking to visit South Korea during winter, there are many winter sports and festivals that you can take part in.

Transportation: If you’re tired from all that cycling though, fret not. South Korea’s transportation is rather convenient. There are extensive networks of railways, highways, bus routes, ferry services and air routes that traverse the country. 

CurrencyThe official currency of Korea is the South Korean Won (KRW).

For emergency: Need help when travelling? You can call the 1330 Korea Travel Hotline for free through the VisitKorea mobile app when you are connected to WiFi. Available in 8 different languages including English and Chinese.

Book Now: Get to Seoul from Singapore in just a little over six hours! Currently, there are direct flights to South Korea via many airlines, offering multiple choices for travellers - Air Premia, Asiana, Jeju Air, Korean Air, Scoot, Singapore Airlines and T’way.

For more destination information, check out the Korea Tourism Organization official website.