We recently went on a major road trip on a mission to visit Nami Island, which is in the far northern part of Korea and very far from Ulsan. The night before leaving we booked the Benikea Hotel (short for Best Night in Korea) in Wonju. Because we waited until the last minute, we had to book a “luxury” room for 10,000 won (about $10) more. When we got up to the rooms, we both had a laugh because the room looked like someone from our grandmothers’ generations could have been the decorator. Most hotels in Korea go for the ultra modern look, but this one had a giant vintage sofa, antique wooden furniture and to top it all off, there was a full desktop computer set up in the room. If I didn’t already know that Korea has the fastest internet in the world, I would have expected to hear the shrill sound of a dial-up modem when trying to connect to the internet.
Because it was so fabulous, I couldn’t help taking a picture of the room and posting it to my facebook page. While I was at it, I decided to add a location. I couldn’t contain my excitement when I went to check-in and in the list of possible options was a rail bike that was only a few miles from our hotel! It was destiny. I have been wanting to go rail biking since coming to Korea over three and a half years ago and this was finally my chance.
We got to the Wonju Rail Bike park around 10:00am and were surprised to find out that the 11:00 tickets were already sold out so we bought tickets for the 1:00pm train and set off into town to get some lunch.
We got back just as they started boarding the train that would take us to the rail bikes. I was so surprised by how many people were on the train. We were sure they some of them were just along for the ride and would be doing something else once we got to the end of the line, but we were wrong. They had lots of rail bikes and everyone was there for the same reason.
We found a 2-person rail bike and waited for the attendant to give us the go ahead and then took off.
The rules of the rail bike were simple: stay at least 10 meters from the people in front of you, wear your seatbelt, no smoking and no littering.
The entire ride was down a very slight slope so pedaling was easy as pie. Very minimal pedaling was required and Dave did that while I snapped photos. Lots and lots of photos.
The ride was pretty scenic. We passed over the occasional river and were surrounded by mountains that glowed bright yellow, crimson and burnt orange. We even traveled through a few tunnels along the way. The first one was the “Love Tunnel” and another one was the “Scream Tunnel” that actually had a really trippy light show.
From start to finish it takes about an hour and a half, but the rail bike part of the adventure was just about 45 minutes. They run the 6.5km track between Pandae and Ganhyeon Train Stations 6 times per day — once every two ours beginning at 9:00am (though the last train begins at 6:40pm). Additional times are added during the peak summer season.
We thoroughly enjoyed it and would highly recommend it to anyone… friends, couples or families. If you’re thinking about rail biking over the weekend, it’s a good idea to try to call ahead to make a reservation or to get there early and expect a possible wait (or they could potentially be completely booked), especially during peak seasons.
Website www.wjrailpark.com (Korean only)
Address Gangwon-do Wonju-si Jijeong-myeon, Ganhyeon-ri 870-6 (or Ganhyeon-ro 163)
Price 25,000 for 2-person rail bikes, 35,000 for 4-person rail bikes
Peak Season July 19 – August 17
Thanks for sharing 🙂 I will recommend this to my fellow expats in Korea!
It’s a lot of fun. If you try it, please let me know if you enjoy it.
The one in Yeosu is cheaper (20k) but the view at Wonju seems much nicer. Has this one been going on longer than 3 1/2 years? If so, that explains why it looks so nice and clean. Gangwon-do rules in so many ways. Here’s yet another reason.
I really love Gangwon-do. I’m not sure how long that one has been open, but it was really pretty. The one in Yeosu looks like it’s on the ocean so I’m sure it has some really nice views as well. Last weekend we did the Samcheok Ocean Rail Bike and the views were amazing. The water is so blue on the east coast.
Wow! What a lovely way to spend the day…and a nice alternative to hiking for admiring all of the autumn beauty. Thanks for including all of the useful details… this is going straight onto my giant list of stuff I want to do!
I think there are about 11 different rail bikes throughout the country. I’ll be doing a blog with the details of all of them soon so definitely check back. It’s a lot of fun and definitely worth doing at least once.
LOVE this! I really want to do this, but for me (as you) it is so far away! But definitely before I leave Korea I will do nami island & rail biking! My favorite photo is as you come out of the tunnel…just gorgeous! The autumn colors are so beautiful.
Nami Island is gorgeous, but go early! There’s a rail bike really close by too. We were going to do it, but they were sold out (and we tried to buy tickets the day before!).
I did rail bikes in Samcheok. To be honest, I thought they looked kind of lame and only did it because friends wanted to do it. But I was wrong! They were really relaxing, yet better than sitting in a car where no movement is required. Our ride went along the coast and we also got some nice views. The trippy light tunnels must come standard with rail bikes. It reminded me of that scene in Willy Wonka with the boat!
We did the Samcheok Ocean Rail Bike this past weekend. We got really confused when they stopped for the break. We thought it was over and then put all of the clues together a few minutes later. We thought it was a lot of fun though. There was one stretch of beach that smelled awful though… like rotten fish guts awful and I thought I was going to be sick. I wonder if it’s always like that. Did you have a similar experience?
Ha yea we got confused with the break too! But it was quite nice.
Didn’t have the smells though. Maybe it’s some kind of seasonal thing.
The rail bikes look like so much fun! Also, gorgeous pictures, you really captured some great shots of the changing leaves ^^
We tried to ride some rail bikes while staying at a pension up in Auraji, but when we arrived they were fully booked for the entire day. It’s such a popular thing in Korea! We were shocked and pretty bummed since we’d walked for a couple hours to get there. Luckily, the train conductor took pity on us and let us ride for free on the train while everyone else rode the bikes.
People can be so nice!
They are hugely popular! We have been amazed at how far in advance they book up. We actually drove up to the one at Auraji once (several hours through the mountains) and they were sold out until much later in the day and it was a Sunday and we still had to drive back to Ulsan. We were majorly disappointed. Especially now that I know there were other ones much closer than that one. Oh well. You live and you learn. And you have a great story to tell too!
This sounds like so much fun! I will have to try and do this before we leave Korea.
I hope you get a chance to try it. Please let me know if you do. I’d love to hear about your experience.
I’ve never even heard of a rail bike! That looks awesome and is exactly what I want to do this weekend. My goal is to find a rail bike somewhere near me before it gets too cold! Thanks for the review and beautiful pictures, I just got all excited for the weekend!
Katie, where do you live? I have a list of all of the rail bikes for a future article I plan to write so maybe I can help you out.
This looks so awesome! I first heard about the railbikes from one of Qiranger’s videos, and I thought it sounded pretty lame too. But now I want to try it! I was thinking it’d be really difficult and tiring, but if it’s an easy ride, now would be the perfect time to go! Your photos were great, I’ve never been to Wonju but I love Gangwon-do!
We did the one in Samcheok this past weekend and it was a little more difficult, but not too bad. There are a lot of rail bikes in Gangwon-do actually. We love Gangwon-do too… soooo pretty!
the rail bikes i saw at jeongdongjin didn’t look that exciting, but mostly because we had just taken the sea train and the rail bikes follow the same track. but you definitely did this at the perfect time, the colors are spectacular!
Ooh the sea train sounds nice. The fall colors were really pretty. It was really fun and it was nice to just take in the fresh air and beautiful scenery.
What an awesome adventure!
It was a lot of fun. We are thinking about trying out all of the rail bikes if we can, but that’s a pretty unrealistic goal.
You are the definition of explorer. How do you find these places? I’ve pretty much upped my activity and sense of adventure since moving to Korea, but you do it on a whole other scale.
I had no idea what a rail bike was, but should the opportunity arise to do it, I’m so in there.
That’s the question I get asked most, actually. So much, in fact, that I wrote a blog post about it. You can easily find it if you go to my main blog page. We love traveling around Korea and I’m always on the search for places to visit. There are tons of things we have done that I just haven’t written about yet.
Unfortunately, Jeju doesn’t have any rail bikes, but if you’re ever on the main land then you should give it a try.
Would have loved to do this if only it’s nearby. The views are amazing! And it must have been a good workout, too!
This rail bike practically did all of the work because it went down a slight slope. We did the Samcheok Ocean Rail Bike over the weekend and that one was a bit more strenuous, but not too hard.
This looks like so much fun! I had never heard of this before! Wish I knew about this sooner before I was leaving so soon. I will definitely recommend it to anyone coming to Korea, though. Thank you for sharing it~
Thanks for the comment, Elle. If I hadn’t seen it on pinterest I never would have known it existed. I don’t think we have anything like this in the US so it was a fun experience to do in Korea.
We have one in Yeosu, but we have yet to try it. It looks like a short out and back trip that probably takes 20 minutes and in’t really worth the money. The rail bike you guys went on looks really scenic, though! If we are ever in that area, we will definitely try it out!
It took us about 40 minutes to do the rail bike. The Yeosu rail bike seems to have a great view though. At least they advertise it as being a coastal route. I’m curious to see what it’s like.
Awesome! And I LOVE the conclusion with the selfie stick. It just wouldn’t be a post about Korea without one 🙂 I’m so jealous you did this and I never had the chance to. I wanna say there is another one of these on the east coast towards Samcheok. I may totally be mistaken, but I remember when I was planning to go to a penis park there, we found a rail bike course online. Regardless, super jeally you got to do this, and if I return for a brief appearance in the summer I’m gonna look it up.
We actually did the Samcheok rail bike (and the penis park) last weekend. It was really pretty! A little more strenuous (not hard, but basically just not entirely downhill like the other one). Are you thinking about visiting next summer? That sounds like a long trip from Spain!
Yea, I’m planning to come back and work a bit since Spain isn’t a full year round job. I have to go home for a wedding in the summer and planning to get certified this year, so my brief return to Korea will be very welcomed, and still on the fence about staying here another year. I miss Korea so much!
I have seen a lot of people leave and come back. And several others that have left and still post about things they miss from Korea at least once a week. Its a pretty great place to live. I’ll miss it when we go for sure.
Definitely! I’m not saying I want to stay there, but overall Asia is where it’s at. But that might just be my homesickness talking. You’re totally soaking it in though, so at least you’re taking complete advantage of it all!
Love the photo of the train track through the tunnel! Beautiful photos!
Thanks! It was a really fun day and reminded me why I love exploring Korea.
Maybe next time I come to visit we can do this.
Sounds good! There aren’t any near my place so we will have to make sure Dave is around to drive us there. 😉
As always, your pictures are gorgeous! This looks like a super cute mini vacation, and that room… HAH! I hope I find a room like that before leaving koREA.
Hello!! I’m a big fan of your blog! & those pictures are GORGEOUS!
I’m going to Korea next month and I honestly can’t wait! May I know how can I get here from seoul station?
Would you advise to go this and Nami Island on the same day?
Hi there! I enjoy reading your posts. I’m planning to go to Wonju Rail Park in May. I plan to go there from Nami Island via public transport. Is Wonju Rail Park far from Nami Island? I heard that it took about 2 hours ride by car. Is that true? Thanks! 🙂
Sorry I missed your comment. Did you go to Wonju Rail Park? How was it?
Hi 🙂 Thank you for your respond 🙂
I was there on 23rd May 2016. I was fortunate that at the very last minute, my Korean friend offered to drive us there. It was hot but I was all excited as it was my first time riding the rail bike. Since it is summer, my friends and I had to “compete” with the school children. It was tiring but I had so much fun! 🙂
After watching the reality TV show, We Got Married (우리 결혼했어요 – Solim couple episodes) my friend and I insist on going to Wonju although there is another rail bike park near Nami Island. Well, that’s the power of TV influences on us 😀
The park was quite far from Seoul, but it was worth going there. We were very satisfied.
That’s great! Yes, there is a rail park very close to Nami Island, but Wonju is nice too. I’m glad you had a good time.
hi. is wonju railbike is same with gangchon railbike ?
No, they are different. There are actually several rail bikes throughout Korea. I have a post that lists most of them, but I’m not sure if Gangchon is on the list. I’ll have to double check. http://www.lifeoutsideoftexas.com/2015/02/02/ultimate-guide-to-rail-biking-in-korea/amp/