In April 2012 1,757km of cross-country cycling paths were officially completed and unveiled in a series of ceremonies across Korea. This was a highly popular move but to further encourage use and promote interest a national certification system was adopted using a beautiful green passport.
Of course you don’t have to have a bike passport to ride around Korea but it can be a bit of fun and a talking point with fellow travellers as well as also being a terrific record and souvenir of your bike tour in Korea.
The scheme is open to both locals and tourists and there are 45 certification centres across the country. You can buy a passport for 3,000 KRW (about $3) and, once personalised with your own details, you can then proceed to ride across Korea along any or all of the excellent paths that connect much of the country by bike. Red certification booths, which look like phone boxes, are dotted along the paths and trails and each has a unique stamp that you use to imprint the relevant page of your passport – just be sure to stamp the right place as although the names are in English in the passport, that may not be the case in the booth!
Once you have completed a section, path or river you will of course get a tremendous feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment but to prove it, you are entitled to a silver award sticker in your passport that makes it all official. If you keep going you can get a gold award for completion of the Four Rivers, Cross-Country Paths or the Grand Slam!
When your passport is complete you will have an awesome souvenir to remind you of your achievement and to relay your stories and experiences to anyone who will listen! However, and more visually impressive, you will be awarded a beautifully presented commemorative medal to proudly display and show off.
For more information of the bike passport scheme visit www.bike.go.kr
[The author was a guest of bikeOasis and the Korean Tourism Organization