The Saemangeum Seawall is 33 kilometers (20.5 miles), which makes it the longest manmade seawall, or dyke, in the world. It is also one of the world’s most ambitious land reclamation projects: it has added a land mass equivalent to two-thirds the size of Seoul to Korea’s western shoreline. Throughout the 20 years it took to build, environmentalists filed lawsuits to halt its construction. They cited concerns regarding the effect the Wall would have on migratory birds and other animal life. Ultimately, the Korean government prevailed in the courts, and the Wall was finished in 2010.
Biking on the Saemangeum Seawall is an excellent day trip for anyone who has a bike, a free day, and lives in or close to the Jeollabuk-do region. It is also easy on your wallet: it costs about 14,000 won for round trip bus tickets (from Jeonju) and less than 10,000 won for food and water.
You can start your journey at the Gunsan Intercity Bus Terminal and finish at Gyeokpo Beach, where you can take a bus back to Jeonju or elsewhere. The trip takes about 5-7 hours in all depending on the kind of bike you are riding.
Initially, the trip starts out easy but becomes physically demanding near the end. From Gunsan to the end of the Wall there isn’t much elevation and there were bike paths for most of the route. The hardest part of the journey comes at the end of the Wall. Once at the end, highways replace bike paths and the terrain’s elevation became steeper. Hills sharply rise and fall and you must avoid getting too close to passing cars, most of which are traveling at high speeds (it a highway, after all).
Your reward for enduring the last stretch are some incredible panoramic views of the ocean and a chance to relax at Gyeokpo’s beaches and see the Chaeseokgang Cliffs. If you have the time and energy, you can then rent a motel and take a local bus to see Naesosa Temple and the rest of the Byeonsan Penisula National Park the next day.