Tuesday 9 April, 2019
Day 2 / Haeundae to Ulsan
[Missed the previous day? Read the last post here]
We have a bit of a sleep in and head off around 10am for our first proper day on the bike. It’s a cool, crisp 14 degrees that morning and we both have to wear a few more layers than normal.
Our final destination for today is Ulsan but the maps aren’t really giving us a direct path, so we decide to play it by ear. We cycle a few roads and have to back track quite a bit, eventually with the route not matching the maps.
Somehow we end up walking our bikes along a hiking trail up in the hills because I’m certain there’s a road that crosses it but we end up getting completely lost. We can see there’s a wooden bridge-like path that runs along a train track below but it’s so far down the hill that it’s virtually impossible to get to.
We hit a T-junction but neither direction is really clear and we have no idea how much further we’re going to have to walk our bikes; so I make the decision to drag the bikes down this steep rocky decline towards the railway tracks.
The photos don’t do it justice, but it was a pretty steep and rocky descent!
We make our way onto the wooden path and cycle along the train tracks, trying to avoid the human traffic as it’s quite narrow.
After what seems like an eternity we make it back onto the road but make a lot of stops along the way. We make a quick stop at Paris Baguette for breakfast but don’t stop for lunch to make up for lost time – just a quick break at a lighthouse cafe for a muesli bar and toilet break.
It starts to rain around 3pm and it’s been a long day. I’m desperate to stop for the day in Onsan as I’m exhausted but Cheye says to push on as it’s only 17km to Ulsan. The next 10-12km isn’t pleasant – it’s all industrial, smells like plastic and Cheye has a fall and slashes his ankle.
Eventually we make it to the edge of town and stop at Starbucks to get out of the cold. We order ourselves some hot drinks – I get a grapefruit honey tea which really hits the spot and Cheye gets what looks like the world’s biggest mug of green matcha. We also jump online and book our hotel, which is just down the road.
We make our way to the motel and discover it’s in an area of town here all the love motels are. Yep, we’ve booked a love motel again without realising it! We have a habit of staying in these places but find they are often cheap and clean.
After checking in and cleaning ourselves up, we head out for a wander and in search of dinner. We find a small local eatery that has our usual Korean favourites so we order some Dolsot Bibimbap, which if you don’t already know is something I could eat every day.
The weather has been pretty good all day but all of a sudden it starts to pour down with rain so we race home, popping into a convenience store and bakery for supplies and breakfast for tomorrow.
We’re pretty exhausted and call it a night, but not before catching up on some bad Korean TV.
South Korean Travel Tip
Download Naver Map if cycling in Korea (Apple or Android). Not only it marks out cycling paths, it tells you which ones are dedicated bike paths, shared paths and roads, while also marking out paths that are part of the 4 Rivers. The detailed street view is really handy too, and even splits it into levels if you’re looking at multi-floored buildings like shopping centres!