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FAQ Korea Bicycle Tours

Relating to bikeOasis Cycle Tours

What are the cycle paths/route like?

The Korean bicycle paths are very modern -- they are mostly paved (over 95%) and completely separated from cars and motorcycles. In fact, the dedicated cycle paths around Korea (over 1,700km, more under construction currently) are one of the best bike infrastructures in the world. You will also appreciate a lot of facilities located near the bike paths (convenient store, cafes, public toilets, restaurants, etc.) They are also for the majority flat because the bike paths basically follow the 4 main rivers in Korea.




What is the average daily cycle distance on Korea bike tours?

On average about 60km/day on relatively flat bike dedicated paths. Most of distances are easy and some are moderate of difficulty for cycling.




What is the typical daily itinerary on Korea bike tours?

Breakfast usually starts at 07:30(either Korean breakfast or simple continental breakfast), hotel check-out at 08:30, cycle every 1 hour with 5~10 min toilet/photo break, morning coffee break around 10:30, lunch between 12:30 and 13:30 (a bit flexible daily), afternoon cycling with coffee break around 15:00, arrival & hotel check-in at 16:00~17:00. There will be some longer breaks (about 30 min) for tourist sightseeing between cycling routes during the day. Shower & relax before dinner, which usually starts at 18:30 or 19:00.




What if I don't want to cycle all distances?

Our support vehicle will always be close at hand if you feel like a break from cycling. Our guides will coordinate with you if you only want to cycle a certain distance & will identify for you which are the best cycling sections. However, unless you are in bad physical condition or bad weather, we advise you not to worry too much about the scheduled distances – over 96% of our past clients have completed the total distances without a problem (the rest 4% clients were more affected by the daily weather condition rather than physical demand of the route.)




What is the Max/Min Group size?

To provide our tours with a high degree of personalized experience, our minimum group size is set at 5 pax and the maximum at 20 clients. For a group of 10 or more, we will have two guides (one head and one tail in additional to one support vehicle driver) to make sure that no one is left behind.




What should I wear when cycling?

Suntan lotion, sunglasses, padded cycling shorts, sturdy shoes or sandals, a loose shirt & a helmet (compulsory). A sweat band or bandana under your helmet, & cycling gloves add to your comfort.




What when it rains during the day?

Our bike tour seasons are spring and autumn, when the days are mostly dry in Korea. However, when it rains, our guides will give following options to the clients: 1) cycle in the rain, 2) jump certain distance by transportation, 3) call it a day and go directly to the hotel (in this case, we will arrange some indoor activities, such as visiting a local museum or enjoying public sauna). In any case, we recommend that you bring a rain coat with you on our bike tour.




What should I wear when not cycling?

Casual clothes are the norm in Korea. On a spring day or an autumn day, the temperature difference between the highs and the lows can be 10~15 degrees C. So, please be prepared for chilly mornings and nights.




Can I drink the water from the tap?

The tap water is not recommended for drinking fresh in Korea. There are purified water stations easily available at hotels and restaurants, where you can fill up your water bottle(s). Bottled water and all kinds of beverages are sold everywhere & inexpensive.




What is the food like on the tour?

We choose our restaurants for their local character, great cuisine and hygiene standards. Meals are eaten Asian style with the sharing of dishes among the group, Being able to use chopsticks is an advantage but not essential. Meals are based around rice with several courses, including lots of fresh vegetables & meat. Some meals might be a bit too spicy for you, in which case we will order something less/not spicy. Korean BBQ’s are very popular and Kimchi is an accompaniment with many meals. Please note that on some cycling days, we are in rural areas and have little choice for lunch venue. Also, in many Korean restaurants, eating on the floor is a norm, but we try to find a high quality restaurant with the table seating possibility.




If I cannot eat one of the menus proposed, can I be served something else?

Yes, if you cannot eat one of the menus proposed in the program of the bike tour, we can order another menu for you. When you book and fill out our questionnaire form, you can let us know your special dietary needs (vegetarian, food allergies, etc.). Once we have this info, we will try out our best to adapt the menus for you personally.




What is the accommodation like on the tour?

Our lodgings are carefully chosen & of a high standard. Our rural hotels are the best available in the towns, and in the larger cities we choose good three star hotels in the best locations. All accommodation is based on shared twin or double rooms, (if you want a single room you must pay the single supplement) & have air conditioners & private bathrooms with western toilets. The exception is the traditional house (Hanok) at Andong Hahoe Village (UNESCO World Heritage), where you will have shared facilities (bathrooms with western toilets & shower shared by 4~7 persons) and sleep on a thin mattress (no bed) on heated floor. Strange and not used to at first, most of our past clients loved this special experience. UNESCO and Korean government strictly control the 100~300 years old traditional Hanoks.




What about the beer & other alcohol beverages?

The Koreans are the Irish drinkers of Asia! They love to drink beer, whisky, and local liquors. You can buy imported beers but there are some good cheaper local beers. If you are up to some stronger liquor, you must also try Soju (about 18% alcohol), the national liquor. Many Korean also enjoy Somac (Soju + Beer mix).




What if I get injured while cycling?

We hope this does not happen to you on our bike tour, but accidents of course do happen. For minor injuries, our guides always carry the first-aid kit on their bikes and are trained to use it. Also the support vehicle is readily available. For more serious injuries, we have a list of general hospitals along the route and the Korea Emergency Service is one of the most efficient emergency services in the world (an ambulance should be at the sight upon the SOS call within 10 min. at any point of on our tour route). Our top priority is always safety.




What about travel insurance?

It is compulsory that you have a travel insurance in your home country before joining our Korean tours. We advise full coverage, including cancellation, loss/theft, full medical and repatriation. You should be covered by an insurance whenever you travel overseas -- plans do change, accidents do happen, & belongings go missing, and Korea is no different from anywhere else in this respect.




Do you have airport pick up and drop off service?

Yes, we do have airport pick up and drop off service at an extra charge. Upon your request, our team staff will wait for & meet you at the airport terminal with your name sign. We do not use a private vehicle (unless a large group), but instead use the comfortable & efficient airport limousine bus for the service. The staff may or may not travel with you on the limousine bus – in case the staff only accompanies you to the bus, another staff will wait for you at the bus stop (where you get off) to guide to the hotel.




What is the City Tour on Day 1?

On Day 1, our city tour guide will meet you in the hotel lobby at 14:00 (subject to change depending on the prior agreement with the clients) and leads you to the downtown Seoul on a subway. On this walking tour, you will visit Gyungbok Palace (including a public English-guided tour) and Gwanghwamoon Area, finishing at the welcome dinner place in central Seoul.




What kind of bicycle will I ride on the tour & what accessories are available?

We use high quality SCOTT hybrid tour bicycles on our tours. Men (sizes M, L, XL) and Women (sizes S, M) bikes are available for you to choose prior your arrival in Korea. Wide seats and toe clip pedals are also available upon request. A rear rack and a set of basic panniers come in package with the bike. For detailed specs of our bicycles and the basic panniers, please look under the menu ‘Services’ / ‘Bike Rental’.




Is laundry service available on the tour?

Yes, but very limited. As we change hotel every day on the tour (except in Hahoe Village and Jeju Island), the time for laundry service is limited. If available, laundry service is also relatively expensive in Korea.




Can I combine the ‘Dream Bike Tour Korea’ with the ‘Cycle Across Korea’ tour?

Yes, you can do the ‘Dream Bike Tour Korea : Seoul to Andong’ first, and then continue your bike tour with ‘Cycle Across Korea: Damyang to Jeju’ (total 15 nights/16 days) without losing a day between the two tours. Please check our tour schedule for available dates under the menu ‘Tour Info’.




Does the ‘Cycle Across Korea’ end in Jeju Island?

Yes, it does. Either you can arrange on your own a flight to your next destination departing from Jeju or we can arrange a domestic return flight Jeju–Seoul for you upon request.




How can I make a reservation/booking and what about the payment?

Once you have completed your booking process on our website, we will contact you individually via e-mail/phone with more details of payment schedule and method. You may then also ask other specific questions regarding your tour booking procedure as well as tour program.




Are there any special promotions?

Yes, if you are a returning client (meaning, if you have been on one of bikeOasis KOREA tours before), we give you an additional 5% discount in your final payment. Also, when you book our two tour package (Dream Bike Tour Korea + Cycle Across Korea), we give you 10% discount. (in this case, 5% discount for returning clients does not apply).




Are there pre & post tour packages?

Many clients combine their cycle tour in Korea with extended stay & travel in this amazing country. We will be happy to assist you with any private stay, incl. booking for pre & post tour lodgings in Seoul/Jeju.




Is there also a bikeOasis site on Facebook?

Yes, check out our latest news & photos on your FB page!
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bikeoasis/423597591057676?ref=bookmarks
Or simply search bikeOasis on FB.




Are there private bike tours and special departures besides the published dates?

Yes, we offer tailor-made cycle tours for any size of group, any number of dates, any level of hospitality, and any region in Korea. Please send us an e-mail with your requests & needs, our Team will be more than happy to present a cycling tour that suits you and your group. For bookings outside our scheduled bike tours, please drop us a line and we will advise you of any special departure available at the time.






Relating to Korea as a Travel Destination

** for more comprehensive info on Korea tourism, check out the following sites:
http://asiaenglish.visitkorea.or.kr/ena/index.kto
http://english.seoul.go.kr/get-to-know-us/the-website-of-the-seoul-metropolitan-government/








How do I get to Korea?

There are modern international airports in Korea (Incheon Airport and Gimpo Airport). The international flights usually arrive at Incheon Airport. But if you are traveling from Japan or China, you might arrive at Gimpo Airport.




What will the weather be like?

Korea has four distinct seasons. The ideal time to visit Korea is during the autumn months (September-November). During this time, the country experiences warm, sunny weather, skies that are cobalt blue and spectacular foliage that is perhaps the biggest draw. Spring (April-June) is also beautiful with all the cherry blossoms in bloom. There are a wet monsoon/summer season in the middle of the year (usually during the month of July and August), and a cold winter from December to February. The island of Jeju off the southern coast is the warmest and wettest place in the country.




What about vaccinations?

No vaccinations are required to enter South Korea. However, it is recommended that immunizations be up-to-date for all family members, particularly for Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B, diphtheria, tetanus, polio (DTP) and typhoid.




Can I give something back to the Korean?

By being in Korea as a tourist you are supporting the local economy & people. Most Korean would be happy simply by knowing that you came a long way to see their proud country on two wheels.




Is it safe to walk around towns and cities at night?

Korea is very safe to travel. Many Koreans, including women, walk on the street late night without fearing a potential crime. However it pays to take the usual precautions with your valuables when traveling in a foreign country.




What about the language?

Our guides all speak English & will be close at hand to interpret for you. Apart from isolated rural areas, basic English is widely spoken, especially among the young people & service staffs. It is however very important that you speak slowly to be understood.




What about the Korean currency (Won)?

The local currency is the Won (₩), the approximate conversion rate in September 2014 is ₩900 to NZ $1; ₩1000 to AUD $1; ₩1,700 to 1 GBP; ₩1,300 to one Euro; ₩1,050 to US $1. Currencies can be exchanged easily -- banks, airports & exchange bureaus. Banking hours are 9.00am to 4.00pm Monday to Friday. You will need to allow enough money for meals not included, drinks, shopping and additional sightseeing. There are also a lot of ATM machines throughout Korea.




Should I tip?

Tipping is not expected in Korea.




Do I need a visa?

Foreign nationals entering the Republic of Korea are generally required to have a valid passport and a Korean visa. However, many are permitted visa-free entry for a limited time under certain conditions. They include:

● Citizens of the countries under the Visa Exemption Agreement (see Tables 1 & 2)
● Citizens of the countries and regions under the Principles of Reciprocity & National Interest (see Table 3).

[Table 1] Countries under Visa Exemption Agreement: Diplomatic/Government Official Passport Holders

Country (Period) Country (Period) Country (Period)
Africa & Middle East
Algeria (90 days) Benin (90 days) Egypt (90 days)
Iran (3 months)
Americas
Argentina (90 days) Belize (90 days) Bolivia (90 days)
Ecuador (Diplomatic: Unlimited,
Official: 90 days)
Paraguay (90 days) Uruguay (90 days)
Asia & Oceania
Azerbaijan (30 days) Bangladesh (90 days) Cambodia (60 days)
India (90 days) Japan (3 months) Kazakhstan (90 days)
Kyrgyzstan (30 days) Laos (90 days) Mongolia (30 days)
Myanmar (90 days) Pakistan (3 months) Philippines (Unlimited)
Vietnam (90 days)
Europe
Belarus (90 days) Croatia (30 days) Cyprus (90 days)
Russia (90 days)

※ Visa period applies to both diplomatic and government official passport holders, unless otherwise specified.
* Generally, 3 months = 90 days & 6 months = 180 days

[Table 2] Countries under Visa Exemption Agreement: Diplomatic/Government Official/Ordinary Passport Holders

Country (Period) Country (Period) Country (Period)
Africa & Middle East
Israel (90 days) Lesotho (60 days) Liberia (90 days)
Morocco (90 days) Tunisia (30 days)
Americas
Antigua and Barbuda (90 days) Bahamas (90 days) Barbados (90 days)
Brazil (90 days) Chile (90 days Colombia (90 days)
Commonwealth of Dominica (90 days) Costa Rica (90 days) Dominican Republic (90 days)
El Salvador (90 days) Grenada (90 days) Guatemala (90 days)
Haiti (90 days) Jamaica (90 days) Mexico (90 days)
Nicaragua (90 days) Panama (90 days) Peru (90 days)
Saint Kitts and Nevis (90 days) Saint Lucia (90 days) Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (90 days)
Suriname (90 days) Trinidad and Tobago (90 days) Venezuela (Diplomatic/Official: 30 days, Ordinary: 90 days)
Asia & Oceania
Malaysia (90 days) New Zealand (90 days) Singapore (90 days)
Thailand (90 days)
Europe
Austria (Diplomatic/Official: 180 days, Ordinary: 90 days) Belgium (90 days) Bulgaria (90 days)
Czech Republic (90 days) Denmark (90 days) Estonia (90 days)
Finland (90 days) France (90 days) Germany (90 days)
Greece (90 days) Hungary (90 days) Iceland (90 days)
Ireland (90 days) Italy (60/90 days)** Latvia (90 days)
Liechtenstein (90 days) Lithuania (90 days) Luxembourg (90 days)
Poland (90 days) Portugal (60 days) Romania (90 days)
Slovakia (90 days) Spain (90 days) Sweden (90 days)
Switzerland (90 days) Turkey (90 days) United Kingdom (90 days)

※ Visa period applies to diplomatic, government official, and ordinary passport holders, unless otherwise specified.
** Italy: 60 days under Visa Exemption Agreement / 90 days under Reciprocity Principles (Effective June 15, 2003)

[Table 3] Countries & Regions Granted Visa-Free Entry under Principles of Reciprocity and National Interest

Country (Period) Country (Period) Country (Period)
Africa & Middle East
Bahrain (30 days) Egypt (30 days) Kuwait (30 days)
Lebanon (Diplomatic/Official: 30 days) Mauritius (30 days) Oman (30 days)
Qatar (30 days) Republic of South Africa (30 days) Saudi Arabia (30 days)
Seychelles (30 days) Swaziland (30 days) United Arab Emirates (30 days)
Yemen (30 days)
Americas
Argentina (30 days) Canada (6 months) Ecuador (30 days)
Guyana (30 days) Honduras (30 days) Paraguay (30 days)
United States (90 days) Uruguay (30 days)
Asia & Oceania
Australia (90 days) Brunei (30 days) Fiji (30 days)
Guam (30 days) Hong Kong (90 days) Indonesia (Diplomatic/Official: 14 days)
Japan (90 days) Kiribati (30 days) Macao (90 days)
Marshall Islands (30 days) Micronesia (30 days) Nauru (30 days)
New Caledonia (30 days) Palau (30 days) Samoa (30 days)
Solomon Islands (30 days) Taiwan (30 days) Tonga (30 days)
Tuvalu (30 days)
Europe
Albania (30 days) Andorra (30 days) Bosnia-Herzegovina (30 days)
Croatia (30 days) Cyprus (30 days) Italy (60/90 days)**
Monaco (30 days) Montenegro (30 days) San Marino (30 days)
Serbia (30 days) Slovenia (90 days) Vatican (30 days)

※ Visa period applies to diplomatic, government official, and ordinary passport holders, unless otherwise specified.
** Italy: 60 days under Visa Exemption Agreement / 90 days under Reciprocity Principles (Effective June 15, 2003)




Citizens of the countries excluded from the Visa Exemption Agreement or the Principles of Reciprocity and National Interest must obtain a visa prior to entering Korea. Citizens of the countries granted visa-free entry in accordance with the Principles of Reciprocity (Table 4) must also apply for a visa if planning to stay longer than allowed. The Korean visa application process usually takes about three to four days, but may change due to unforeseen circumstances or seasonal variations.

All visa applicants are required to submit a completed application form, a valid passport, a passport-sized (3.5cm x 4.5cm) color photo taken within six months of the application date, other documents as determined by the status of their country, and a visa processing fee. Applicants may be asked to submit additional documents if necessary. Applicants are not required to show an outbound ticket. Furthermore, visas may be extended for up to 90 days. All visas, including long-term visas, are for a single visit (single-entry visa).