In two weeks my close friends and a bunch of the Han River Riders cycling club will be leaving Seoul for the rugged mountains and fall beauty of Seoraksan National Park. This is my absolute favorite place to cycle in Korea offering spectacular views, challenging terrain, and beautiful valleys.
Seoraksan National Park (설악산국립공원) is my favorite place to ride in Korea throughout all seasons.
As I am the one semi organizing the trip I have put together information on Getting There, Accommodation, Food, and Cycle Routes. And because sharing is caring, here is the information so you too can one day enjoy the area as we will.
Osaek (오색) is a small village nestled in the mountains of Seoraksan National Park on National Road #44 which leads to the city of Yangyang (양양) on the East coast.
To get there find the bus terminal closest to you that has buses that go to Yangyang. Osaek is one of the stops that the bus will make. The easiest way to find a bus is to ring (02)-1330, ask them where buses leave from and which ones stop in Osaek. Explain that Osaek is in Seoraksan National park on the way to Yangyang. If you haven’t used the English Hotline before, they are fantastic and will go out of their way to provide you with the information.
Bus Timetable in Korean: http://osaek.co.kr/roadmap.htm
The bus will drop you at the bottom on the village. This is also where you can buy tickets for the trip back. There is a small convenience store that sells the tickets and has a bus timetable for returning buses.
Map link to Oseak: http://g.co/maps/4g253
Street View of Bus Drop Off / Pick Up Point: http://dmaps.kr/7cow
I have been staying at the same the Green Beach Motel since first cycling the area in 2008. Brand new, the motel is clean and quiet, run by an older couple who expect me to show up with bikes and allow us to store them in a small room one the first floor.
Green Beach Address: 그린비취 모텔, 강원도 양양군 서면 오색리 460-9 http://nmap.do/FF0rGD
Cell: 010-5012-3159, 010-5035-3159
January – June, September, November, December
(1월 ~ 6월, 7월 1일 ~ 7월 7일, 9월, 11월, 12월)
Small Room (2-3 people) – 50,000 won
Large Room (4-5 people) – 80,000 won
During the off-peak months a room for 2-3 people will cost 50,000 won ($50 USD) per night. Rooms either have a double bed or are Ondal style. (sleeping on the floor) They also have a couple of huge rooms which 4-5 people can comfortably sleep for 80,000 won. This room has a queen sized bed and sleeping padding for 3 people on the floor.
July, August, October
7월 8일 ~ 7월 21일, 8월 15일 ~ 8월 31일, 10월
Small Room (2-3 people) – 100,000 won
Large Room (4-5 people) – 150,000 won
As Osaek is very popular with Koreans during the summer and fall months prices are much more expensive, but it is worth it to see the mountainside in the vibrant colors of fall that Korea is known for. Words don’t do it justice.
The village of Osaek has plenty of restaurants to choose from serving a variety of different dishes. We eat a mushroom hot pot style dish (버섯전골) at our favorite little restaurant where the lady always gives us complimentary shots of locally made fruit wine, a.k.a gummy berry juice. You can’t get much fresher as all the vegetables and side dishes are locally grown or found in the surrounding mountains.
As with anywhere in Korea there are also a bunch of convenience stores that will have pretty much everything you need, except maybe Red Bull.
I have documented two routes, both challenging in different ways.
Seoraksan Mountains Loop (115km)
This is a great ride. It starts with a steep climb to the highest point of the route (Hangyerneung Rest Stop 한계령 휴게소 917m) before a great downhill section and some quiet valley riding. The road gradually climbs back to around 600 meters, drops down to 100 meters and finally steadily climbing back up the Osaek valley to the village. This is a full days ride and there are plenty of convenience stores along the way so carrying lots of food and water is not necessary, although I prefer carrying a packed lunch.
My wonderful girlfriend wrote her experience doing this route called Oseak…on a bike
For turn by turn information and road numbers please read Seoraksan Mountains Loop (115km)
Seoraksan Mountain Loop (67km)
This shorter but harder route is great if you want to knock out a ride and still have time to catch the bus home. Note, that the 67km loop started from the top of the mountain. Starting from Osaek will add an 8 km (one hour) climb to the top. It will also add a very fun downhill (another 8km) as well.
Katie also wrote a blog about this ride too. Oseak…on a bike, Day Two
For turn by turn information and road numbers please read Seoraksan Mountain Loop (67km)
More on the Seorksan area, including photos can be found in the previous post:
Seoraksan National Park. A Great Place to Cycle