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Gangwon's unique 'ocean rail bikes' bring the ocean, forest closer

The province of Gangwon-do offers visitors a unique chance to experience the countryside by riding "ocean rail bikes."

Operated by the city of Samcheok, these small wheeled carriages run on railway tracks, allowing visitors to enjoy both deep pine forests and the cooling breezes of the East Sea.

Though new, this tourist attraction has already become popular among local and overseas travelers.

The 5.4 kilometer-long ocean rail bike trail opened back in July, linking Gungchon and Yonghwa Stations.

Nearly 200 thousand people, including some 2,000 overseas tourists, have enjoyed riding the ocean rail bikes in the first four months of operation.

Tourists enjoy a pine tree forest and sea breezes while riding rail bikes

Not only were the bikes fully booked during the summer vacation season, when families gather on the east coast to enjoy the beautiful scenery and cooler temperatures, they’ve continued to be popular even as the seasons changed.  Despite dropping temperatures, many people continue to make reservations and use the bikes to enjoy spectacular autumn foliage.

The bikes have been especially popular with tourist groups and students on school trips.  Related local facilities including ski resorts, accommodations, and local transportation have all worked together to help promote the ocean rail bikes, according to the city government.

Left: Tourists enjoy the scenery while riding rail bikes // Right: Rail bikes entering a tunnel

In November, the city installed an automated photo system along the route so that tourists can take photos as they travel along. The city also renovated the starting point at Gungchon Station as a rest spot.

A one-way ticket costs 20,000 won for a two-seat bike and 30,000 won for a four-seat bike from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. After 4 p.m., it costs 22,000 won for a two-seat bike and 33,000 won for a four-seat bike. Evening rides are not available in winter.

To make a reservation, please click here to visit the ocean rail bike homepage (Korean only).

Meanwhile, Korail is running a special Haeoreum train every Friday for one year from Nov. 26. This train connects Seoul Station and Cheongnyangni Station in Seoul with Donghae Station and Singi Station in Gangwon-do. 

The special train also makes a stop at Jangho Port, famous for its beautiful sunrises, and another to allow passengers to ride the ocean rail bikes in Samcheok and visit Hwanseon Cave, the largest limestone cave in Korea.

The train trip also includes a recreational sing-along program and live concert.

For more information about Samcheok, click here to visit the city’s homepage (Korean, English, Chinese and Japanese). More information is available from Korea Travel Phone: Call+82-64-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese and Chinese)

By Yoon Sojung Staff Writer


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