What is Saturdays in Korea?

Tired of doing the same old thing every weekend? Saturdays in Korea is activity club for those who want to break their normal weekend routine and do something different. For Koreans, it's a good chance to practice English. For ex-pats, it's a good chance to practice Korean. For everybody, it's a great chance to meet new people and have fun.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Han River Bike Ride - Ttukseom Resort Station (뚝섬유원지역)

Along the banks of the Han River and its many tributaries are a plethora of biking and walking paths.  There are many places to meet up with friends for a bike ride, but Ttukseom Resort Station (뚝섬유원지역) provides a convenient place to meet, especially for those who don't own a bicycle.


Meeting Location & Bicycle Rentals

Located on the north side of the river in eastern Seoul, Ttukseom Resort Station (뚝섬유원지역) offers a relatively easy to reach meeting location for those in downtown Seoul, eastern Seoul and the Gangnam area.

View Han River Bike Ride Meeting Location in a larger map

For those of your bringing your own bike, Ttukseom Restort Station has been built to be biker friendly.  Instead of caring your bike down the stairs, many of the stairs have been equipped with narrow ramps along the side to help guild your bike up and down the stairs on a smooth incline.  While in some other subway stations these ramps may be black, the ones in Ttukseom are a maroon color as seen in the picture below.

From The Han River Scavenger Hunt

At the bottom stairs of Exit #2 under the station, there is a bicycle rental stand that offers rentals at an affordable price.  The first hour is 3,000 Won and it's only 2,000 Won per hour after that.  Behind the stand there are hundreds of bicycles, so getting one really shouldn't be a problem.

From The Han River Scavenger Hunt

From here, the biking path is located in front of the bicycle rental stand.  The two way path extends both east and west for a long distance.  If you hit the trails early in the morning, there won't be many cyclist and you can bike at a brisk pace.  Later in the day you will find the biking paths more congested.

Scavenger Hunt

For some, a peaceful bike ride along the Han River might not be the ideal way to spend the afternoon.  It is possible to turn the day into something more interesting and competitive.  The best way to do that is to turn the bike ride into a Scavenger Hunt.

The basic idea behind the Scavenger Hunt is to divide your friends into groups (of at least two team members) and using cameras or cellphones, each group tries to find and take pictures of items on a list given beforehand.  This list could be something basic or more complex, depending on how much time and effort you want to put into it.

For a basic Scavenger Hunt, you could brainstorm a list of possible items that are likely to somewhat likely to be seen while biking along the Han River.  Here are a few examples.
  • A picture of your team members with a dog.
  • A picture of someone near the top of rock climbing wall.
  • A picture of a helicopter (it is not uncommon to see civilian or military aircraft in the area).

From The Han River Scavenger Hunt

For those of you interested in making something a bit more complex, another idea would be to scout out the area beforehand and make a list of distinct landmarks or items to take pictures.  Also, instructions for poses in front of each object could be included in the list.  One example from our list was:

  • Locate a tall black pillar with three statues of rock climbers on it.  Have two team members pose in front of the pillar.  Make sure that all three rock climbers are visible in the picture.

Our trip took place along a 4 mile (6.2 km) long path originating at Ttukseom Resort Station.  Within this limited area, we were able to find 14 unique objects for our Scavenger Hunt.

View Scavenger Hunt Bike Path in a larger map

For those of you who are good at reading maps or savvy with Google Maps, you could create a map with the locations of the different objects on it.

Another benefit for a Scavenger Hunt is that it provides a chance for your friends that are ESL students to practice their English, especially reading skills in a real life, non-test format.

Picnic / Restaurant 

There are plenty of flat open grassy areas to have a picnic in the Han River Park around Ttukseom Resort Station.  With a picnic blanket, food and beverages from home, one can easily set up a wonderful outing.  While it is possible to get some low key games going, don't expect to be able to easily set up a game of wiffle ball due to the fact the park can get crowded at times.  Also, the planted trees can easily get in the way of a regulation sized wiffle ball field.

For those of you who need some refreshments during your outing, there are quite a few options.

Convenience Stores

All throughout the Han River Park next to Ttukseom Resort Station, there are a plethora of Ministop Convenience Stores.  These shops provided all the regular items commonly found in a convenience stores.  At little ways east of the subway station, one Ministop was advertising fried chicken.  The prices are not extremely expensive but are a bit above normal (see: Supply & Demand).

The J-Bug

Just off to the side of Exit #3 of Ttukseom Resort Exit, there is a peculiar / futuristic / advant-garde / SciFi looking building that is completely above ground.  If you are looking to escape the sun (or rain), the J-Bug is a good place to go in and relax.  Inside is a small art exhibit along with a (surprisingly) very reasonable priced coffee shop.

From The Han River Scavenger Hunt


North of the highway next to Exit #1 of Ttukseom Resort Station, there is a street that leads north that is lined with your typical restaurants, bakeries and coffee shops.  This is another good option if you want to get inside and cool off (or dry off, depending on the weather).


Something that is still a bit of a culture shock to me is the fact that you don't need an address to get delivery.  If you have someone who is good at describing locations and directions in Korean, you can easily get food delivered to your picnic spot in the Han River Park.  It is at times like these when Smart Phones become a blessing to look up the phone number of local restaurants that deliver.

Ttukseom Resort Station provides a great location for people to meet up and go bicycling.  The easy to find and affordable bicycle rental stand really makes it as one of the best meeting spots for a bike ride.  Also, after a pleasant ride there are plenty of good locations to relax and have a picnic.

Note: As a decedent of Irish ancestry, bring suntan lotion.  This place is not known for shade.

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