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Guided, Self guided or independent bike touring in Korea

Guided, Self guided or independent bike touring in Korea
I am fortunate enough to have been on a bike tour of each type in the same country and have loved them all – each for different reasons and experiences. I feel that makes a comparison or appriasal quite valid. Although of course not all the points will necessarily apply to other destinations, or even to other cyclists.

A few facts about Korea and cycling

  • Population 50m with many big cities and motorways
  • Excellent cycling infrastructure especially the Riverside Bike Path network
  • Great public transport options (metro, bus, train)
  • Not much English spoken, especially out of the big cities.
  • Signs are often both in Hangul (Korean alphabet) and roman letters (or even English) – but not always!

Guided tour

  • Planning is all done for you before the tour – just turn up and ride!
  • Know what you’re getting into and what to expect
  • Generally more safety in a goup and with a local
  • Guide has local and cultural knowledge and negates the language barrier
  • Routes and stops are all designated and thoroughly researched
  • Guide manages the timetable and pace to suit all riders
  • Group camaraderie can't be underestimated
  • Gives the optimum return for your often limited time available
  • Generally a bike is included that is ideal for the tour

Self guided tour

  • Accommodation pre booked with great pre-vetted hotels
  • Support vehicle and luggage transfer optional (not used this time)
  • Recommended meal and sightseeing stops
  • Maps and GPS files supplied
  • Travel at your own pace and to your own timetable each day
  • Cheaper than a guided tour
  • Not constrained by what the group does (usually)
  • You can often hire a suitable bike from the operator - or take your own

Independent touring advantages

  • Route, timetable and pace completely unrestricted and up to you
    • Perfect if say you want to avoid riding in bad weather
  • Decide where you want to stay, to eat and what to see
  • Much cheaper than organised tours - although that depends on the standards you demand and the time you put into planning and preparation.

One of the beauties of cycle tours is there is so much variety and what suits one person or group can be very different for someone else - advantages for some can be disadvatages depending on one's point of view. The important point is that  there is a bike tour out there for everyone
Blog Tags: Korea
By: Bruce Robertson
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