Cycling Seoul to Busan – Day 3 Yangpyeong to Suanbo

Cycling Seoul to Busan on Day 3 took me from Yangpyeong 양평군 to Suanbo, total 123km.

(This is part of my 7D6N Korea 4 Rivers trail, total 680km and over 3500m elevation)
~~~ ~~~ 7D6N solo bikepacking itinerary ~~~ ~~~
Day1 90km IncheonAirport to AraWest to Hongdae
Day2 90km Seoul to Yangpyeong
*Day3 123km Yangpyeong to Suanbo
Day4 82km Suanbo to SangjuSi
Day5 90km SangjuSi to Daegu
Day6 114km Daegu to Namji
Day7 95km Namji to Busan
~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~
On day 2, thunderstorm forced me to stop 30km short of Yeoju.
This is my day 3 Strava record, I needed to make up for Day 2 extra 30km.
Bikepacking Korea 4 Rivers Strava

When people hear Suanbo, they will remember the hotspring and Sauna town. When cyclists hear SUANBO, they will remember the two peaks!

Refer KakaoMap image below, you will see an elevation of 530m+ for the second peak.

It took me 45 min and 70 min respectively to submit first and second mountain. Second one stands at 530m, and is 4km long!

(If it helps, let me assure you that the elevation on Day 6, after Musimsa temple will be steeper :p )


Back to our Day 3 itinerary, I rode across the river and continued on my way.

You may refer to my Day 3 video below.( I also shared why you should choose another motel in Suanbo.)

Anyway, this is my Day 3 route and map. The highlights are:
1- Yeoju town
2- Gangcheonseom Island (stunning flowering and views in Spring and Autumn)
3- Skipped Andong(충주댐 인증센터), 25km to and fro trip.

Highlights of Bikepacking Day 3 Yeoju

Scenic pathway next to the river, with a mini lighthouse.

You will still see many farm lands and orchids along the route.
If time permits, I  would have love to pick some apples or oranges.

My third day of consecutive cycling. Unless you are a triathlete, you should feel some strain from your leg and back. This is normal.

It did not take me long to encounter my first 10% climb at (GPS 37.4426950, 127.5151004). This would be super easy for MTB and road bikes, but slightly more challenging for small wheels with panniers.

If I had continued through the rain yesterday, it would have been miserable when I hit this slope. Wet, tired and climb. I might have missed the opportunity to find a motel to stay dry and safe.

This is part of the disadvantage of solo cycling. You do not have a buddy to help navigate or plan. Every decision, and detour has to be improvised on the GO.

One person ride disadvantages:
-Hard to have Plan B
-No one to pull or draft
-Self service. If fall or puncture, diy
-Navigate and ride on the go, ensure you are on the right segment
-Research for pit stop and meals

But I enjoy the challenges and FREEDOM from solo cycling! Cycling Seoul to Busan brought back epic memories for me

Other than the slopes, cycling in the countryside is always more scenic and relaxing compared to urban areas.
Fyi, it is the ‘unknown’ slopes ( or roller-coasters) which will wear you down. Smaller wheels and panniers will have it worse.
 Talking and singing to oneself does help to break the monotonous ride.
How can you not stop to take a photo?
Plenty of fantastic rivers and mountainous view, and beautiful man-made dams. The journey and milestones are always more memorable than the endpoint.

Ipobo weir observatory in the background. I love these mini pavilions. Ideal for breaks, shelters and even camp.

Salute to those cross country cyclists who are into camping. you have to pack more things and “rough” it out in the cold.

As you find more phone booths, you might bump into other cyclists. We are all out to enjoy the day and adventures.
Many dams and bridges criss crossing the waterways.
Near to urban areas, you should be able to spot convenience stores and cafes. Cheesecake and flat white to refresh(Cafe 숲)
I left my bike unlocked across the road. It is very safe to leave your bikes unattended when you visit cafes or even loo. Do be vigilant 🙃
I admit. I felt uneasy leaving my bikes unattended.
In Singapore, folks will vandalise or even steal unattended bikes! (Sad).
Although we bikepack along the 4 rivers, there is always a Mountain range nearby! This is a big deal from Flat Singapore.
Once you see this helicopter (on the roof) or a gorilla sitting on a bench, you are in Yeogu. There will be a popular SunValley hotel nearby. This area was where I was supposed to end on Day 2.
Dams are maintained by K Water ( water agency). Do take a lift up the observation towers to enjoy a 360 view too.
15 degrees Autumn is best weather for bike packing. Feels like Aircon, but wind can be chilling at times. Balaclava is still recommended, the chill can get to you post-ride.
You will notice that Koreans are all covered up, learn from them.
Take note that temperature will drop South along cycling Seoul to Busan (via Gumi, Daegu, Namji etc). Morning 8am can be as cold as 8 degrees.
Many folks will come to this slope after Yeoju stretch. It is steep and bumpy. Not recommended to cycle down, unless you are riding a mtb.
Keep rolling. Blue signages will indicate your location and next town. You should be familiar with Papago app by now.
This App is a lifesaver to help you understand what you are ordering from your Korean menu.
I cycled into Gangcheonseom Island before noon. Cheekily nicknamed the ‘island’ as Singapore Coney Island.
This island is recommended during Spring and Autumn!
Yellow ginkgo welcomed me from every corner!
Some might tell you that gingko fruits have a fermented rotten smell.
Expect some mild trail tracks. It will be muddy after rain.
Checkout our Video 5min to view the magnificent Yellow views.
A 10% gradient awaits after you exit the island.
Climb slowly for 500m (GPS 37.2449573, 127.7246872)
Even while climbing, do enjoy the views of the river and valleys.
I could see the sun rays piercing through the clouds.
Pointing out the small path below the bridge, excited to cycle through the valleys.
It will be rare for you to meet any humans along this stretch.
You only have the river and mountains to keep you company.
This signage always amused me. Why would anyone cycle into the river?

Maybe the fence is too low, some might accidentally topple over?

Cycling Seoul to Busan scenic waterways
Bibimbap lunch at an underrated eatery (부론보리밥집)
Only one item on the menu here. Friendly boss will gesture for you to sit, before he brings out the banchan (side dishes).

Delicious home cook comfort food and sweet seafood broth! Besides the ‘main dish’, I actually prefer savouring the various banchan!

Salty, spicy, sour or sweet, surprise me 😋

Flood warnings! Flooding is very common during rainy seasons. Entire pathways can be submerged, and cyclists will need to detour.

Bikepacking Korea flood warnings

Refer map picture below . I remembered this segment where I could roll for 10km with no cars behind! The whole countryside and road was mine to enjoy.

(37.1097688, 127.8094714) near Binaeseom Certification Center (비내섬 인증센터 (남한강 자전거길).  If you cannot find the certification booth in Kakao Map, try ‘비내쉼터’.

Took a break at this pavilion. It is always interesting to people watch.
Otherwise, watching golden padi fields wavering in the wind is pretty cool too. Magnificent golden reflection from the sun.
Lovely planks parallel to the waterway.. I was a bit concerned that the moist leaves might be slippery.
It is much safer to cycle on the planks, instead of the narrow roads.

Reached Jungangtap historic park, and acted like a tourist. This ancient pagoda is famous.

Besides the pagoda, there is a pavement which allows you to cycle above the water, pond. Expect scenic sunset or sunrise.

At this point (5pm), I already knew I needed two more hours to reach Suanbo. Quickly make a pitstop at emart24 to recharge. Topup water and carbohydrate (chocolate) for the last 20km.

Bikepacking Korea eMart

You never know when is the next ‘refilling’ point.

Cyclists do take note that Korea petrol stations do not sell food or drinks!

I ended around 7pm+, and had to cycle 10km in pitch dark (not cool).
The only thing keeping me on the right path is KakaoMap navigation.
You can refer to video clip from 12min onwards here.
Cycling in the dark, Four Rivers trail
Fyi, I had researched whether it would make sense to rest only after clearing the two mountains. Ie, finding a motel in town Mungyrong. That would be extra 28km from Suanbo.
This is only recommended for strong cyclists.
The two climbs will wear you down. Refer to our Day 4 Video here.
Suanbo Park Hotel and hotel
I did not do my homework, and chose Suanbo Park Hotel. This hotel is ok but there are more affordable motels around.

Single pax room was out, thus I needed to pay 141 000 won for a twin room. Too expensive (I could have secured x2 decent motel for this rate) and I had no interest to use the sauna.

There was a STEEP 100m climb up the the hotel! (at least 15 to 20% gradient!) Please avoid the climb and choose motel near center Suanbo.
Suanbo motels
My dinner was pheasant bird, 10000 Won.
Try to rest early, as Day 4 will start with CLIMBS!
=== ===


a)Part 1 and 2 of my custom Google Map will share my route, F&B and motels from Seoul to Busan. Do take note that I did not follow 100% 4 Rivers Route, skip Andong, and I did not search for all the certification booths.

I have indicated “Purple markers” to represent Detours and Slopes.

(Part 1 Seoul to Sangju) Red dots depict the Certification Booths.

Gpx of Seoul to Busan Trail

(Part 2 Sangju to Busan here)

b)YouTube videos of my 4 Rivers trail (wip)

Day 1 Bike boxing, ferry and cycling from Incheon Airport to Ara West

Day 2 – 4 Rivers trail Seoul to Yeoju

Day 3 – Yeoju to Suanbo

Day4 82km Suanbo to SangjuSi (submit two mountains)

Day 5 90km SangjuSi towards Gumi and Daegu

Day 6 114km from Daegu to Namji (Hardest segment for me)

I am still working on the other videos, do browse through all the photos in album below.

Korea Four Rivers Photos

c) 300+ Facebook photos over 7D6N

d) Seoul to Busan blog :
Day 0 Summary – Bike Boxing overseas and cycling from Incheon Airport to Seoul
Day 1 – Bikepacking Seoul to Busan – Day 1 cycle to Seoul downtown
Day 2 – Bikepacking 4 Rivers – Day 2 to Yeoju
Day 3 – Cycling Seoul to Busan – Day 3 Yangpyeong to Suanbo