[This guide was published in Jeju Weekly #110. To download the double-page spread and map in pdf format click here.]
Walking takes too long. Driving is just too quick to take everything in. That leaves cycling as the best option for taking in Jeju's coasts and rural roads. With wide lanes on many of Jeju's larger roads it is also safer than it used to be.
Although there are some outstanding climbs and drops for the seasoned rider in the interior upland regions, the best for the casual tourist is the coastal road. It also helps that you always end up where you started, as long as you keep going for long enough.
Jeju's coastal road is wide and although technically not a cycle lane, there are spacious side lanes for use by pedestrians, farm vehicles and whatever is being harvested at the time of your visit.
Nevertheless, in many places they provide a safety buffer from the traffic and allow you to appreciate the ocean and countryside. The four biking courses introduced below all follow this coastal road so you can skirt all Jeju has to offer.
There are several bike rental shops dotted around Jeju City so you should have no problem finding what you need. We have selected three of the most popular, two in Jeju City and one in Seogwipo City.
The shops provide drop-off points in Seogwipo City and at Jeju International Airport. Please contact individual bike shops for exact locations.
Bike rental fee: 8,000~20,000 won. The price varies depending on the bike model with standard prices around 10,000~15,000 won.
Included in the standard rental fee are normally gloves, raincoats, camping outfits, and more, making it pretty affordable.
Yongduam Hiking offers a special airport pickup service for customers with their own bikes who want special guided group bike tours. Call Mudock: 010-694-5959.
[Click the image above to enlarge the map.]
Course A (58 k.m.)
The total course from Yongduam to Suwolbong takes from 5 to 6 hours depending on the strength of the rider. There are some uphill climbs - with breathtaking seaviews - along Hagwi and Aewol which require some exertion.
The wind turbines out at Shinchang are recent additions and are not without their admirers. They also hint at the strong winds you can expect along the Jeju coast, which are welcome in the hot summer.
Suwolbong at the course end is a small satellite volcanic cone, or oreum in local dialect, and it is included in Jeju＊s Global Geopark, accredited by UNESCO. In fine weather, Chagwido and other small islets make for a popular coastal scene. The coast hereabouts is also used by locals for drying squid, making some of the coastal routes particularly photogenic.
Course B (50 k.m.)
Course B from Gosan to Jungmun takes from 3 to 4 hours depending on rider strength. With such tourist honeypots as Yongmeori Coast and Jungmun Beach, plan on a bit longer, however.
The most beautiful scenery is seen around Mt. Songak where the views to the islets of Gapado, Marado and Hyeongje-seom are picture-postcard. History buffs can also appreciate the Japanese cave encampments where war-time aircraft were hidden before they left for kamikaze missions. Yongmeori is another Geopark site and its process of genesis can be seen in the layering of rock from several volcanic eruptions.
The course is hardest as it passes Hwasun Golden Sand Beach and sets out toward Seogwipo. On this leg you will find Jungmun, Jeju＊s largest tourism complex with numerous hotels, museums and other attractions. Jungmun Saekdal Beach is also here making this coastal tour particularly photogenic.
Course C (69.2 k.m.)
Taking between six and seven hours from the stadium to Seongsan Ilchulbong, or sunrise peak, this section is fairly mild, although there are some sharp curves and steep slopes near Oedolgae to up the tempo. You can also stop off at Cheonjiyeon or Jeongbang falls, or take a quick dip at Seosokkak estuary.
You have probably heard that Jeongbang Falls is the only ocean waterfall in Asia. Another popular stop is Pyoseon Haevichi Beach, particularly picturesque at low tide when the endless white sandy beach stretches to the sky. The oreum at Seopjikoji also commands stunning sea views.
Course D (59.3 k.m.)
From Seongsan to Yongduam, the total course takes six to seven hours. UNESCO World Natural Heritage site Seongsan Ilchulbong is the pièce de résistance of this course. It is joined by another UNESCO site at Manjang cave. This cave is 7.4 thousand meters long, 40 meters high and 23 meters wide with an exposed structure.
Beach lovers will be placated by Hamdeok Seowoobong with a mesmeric mixture of ※only Jeju§ blues, greens and blacks from the sea, oreum and rocks. The uphill near Hamdeok should slow most riders down, yet once through there the ride to Yongduam takes another 3 hours. As you reach your starting point again at Tapdong Coastal Square you might be lucky to catch one of the cultural performances held there by locals.
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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