Yeonghae-Busan-Bicycle-Ride : Day 7 - Jeongeup to Gwanju
- Distance 83km
- Max Elevation 325m
Yeonghae-Busan-Bicycle-Ride : Jeongeup to Gwanju Ride Profile
Just to the sough of Jeongeup is the small Naejangsan National Park which has a circle of mountain peaks that are joined by a 'via ferrata' path with ladders and bridges and accessed by a cable car.
We thought we might enjoy the challenge but having ridden up there we found the cable car only runs in high season. On the way we passed the memorial to the Donghak farmers rebellion of 1895.
Farmers' Rebellion Memorial
So we had to content ourselves with a walk around the Naejang Temple and the beautiful valley which was peaceful and quiet on a Tuesday morning.
Naejang Sa temple
Naejang Gateway Figures
As we rode back into the tourist village at the park entrance we could see our route on the NR 49, skirting the hillside way above us.
It was actually an easy and enjoyable climb along the valley opposite the temple, giving us views back to the national park. The roadside has been planted on both sides with maple trees and their leaves were just starting to change colour. In four weeks time they would all be deep red and orange.
View of Naejang from the road
Once over the col we dropped to a high plateau of more rice paddies with harvesting in full swing. It seemed strange to see small combine harvesters doing the work, unlike the hard labour of hand cutting in the poorer Asian countries. The rice mills were churning out clouds of bran dust which blocked our noses and gave us sneezing fits.
On the outskirts of Damgang we picked up a cycle path along the river bank. This meant we could get all the way into the centre of Gwangju city without having to negotiate the roads. The downside was that it was a very long way round. It did give us a good tour of this massive urbanisation. All around the outskirts there were groups of new tower blocks of flats under construction. In between these were little pockets of agriculture; greenhouses and rice paddies.
Nearing the city centre it was the usual problem with the cycle path along the river idea. There is usually a path on both banks of the river, one designated for walking and one for cycling. But we always seem to manage to end up on the wrong side and then can't find any way to get across to the right side. Also, once on the riverside, which is always well below street level, there are very few exits.
We booked a motel near the river and that evening treated ourselves to an Indian meal. The vindaloo and mango lassi were divine.
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