Ibike Korea People-to-People Program



Photo essay: Daegu to Busan


Daegu to Busan ( mi,  km) The lower Nakdong River Trail
Points of Interest:  
Gangjeong Goryeongbo (dam), Dalseongbo, Hapcheon Changyeongbo, Changnyeong Hammanbo, Ilbungsa (off the trail)

Gangjeong Goryeongbo (dam), Nakdonggang, Daegu, Korea Near Daegu, the Nakdong River Trail route crosses the river to the west bank, on the Gangjeong Goryeongbo (dam) (left).

Where the shoreline is steep, probably in part because of the water backed up in the lake behind the dam, a trail viaduct has been built to get past the hill.

Egret hunkered down in the rain, KoreaThe weather was changing from dizzily to rainy at this point. Even the egret hunkered down in the rain.

Due to lousy weather, there are no further pictures for 100km, including Dalseongbo (dam), and Hyeonpung. Over a bridge, before Dalseongbo the trail crosses the river again, to the east bank.

It is in this section that you cross the route between from Cheongdo to Goryeong.

Hapcheon Changnyeonbo, Korea Sculpture at Hapcheon Changnyeonbo, KoreaAt Hapcheon Changnyeonbo (dam) the route utilizing the dam to again cross the river.

Typical of the Korean Water Authority, Four Rivers Projects, the site improvements include public art / sculpture.

A 10km side trip from Cheongdeok-myeon will take you to the general non-descript village of Burim. Wonder off of main street and you will find alleys lined with delightful and colorful murals (below), and amidst the rather ordinary architecture is a very modern house (far right) that would be distinctive in an upscale community on any continent.
Mural, Burim, Hapcheon, Korea Mural, Burim, Hapcheon, Korea Mural, Burim, Hapcheon, Korea Modern house, Burim, Hapcheon, Korea
Following the shoreline, the route encounters a precipitous hill. The signs indicate that it is a13% grade. It is not consistent, but it is in that range for long enough to get most cyclist to abandon their saddles. Consistent with most hills, there is a rewarding view from the top, and from whatever side you approached it, there is a precipitous, brake burner, grade down the other side. Too steep to be comfortable for some people.
At this point the route turns east and a kilometer later crosses the Nakdong on the Bakjingyo (bridge).

If instead you turn west, you will be rewarded with history, agriculture and culture.

The first point of interest is a monument to some generals.

Continuing to the west leads to a very typical Korean valley, with large flat fields of rice, surrounded by forested hills.

Many of the roads are lined with cherry trees and traffic is raw, so conditions are idea for relaxing and motion meditation.

Historical monument, Gunglyu myeon, Uiryeong-gun, KoreaHistorical monument, Gunglyu myeon, Uiryeong-gun, KoreaIt is common to see small pavilions covering historical markers along the road. There must be tens of thousands of them in the country. They are likely to be hundreds of years old, continually maintained, and rarely vandalized.
Ilbungsa, Uiryeong, Korea Ilbungsa, Uiryeong, KoreaIn 727, during the reign of Silla King Seongdeok, Hyecho Sunim, a monk from Silla, had a dream during a pilgrimage to China and India. Upon returning, the monk told the King about his dream to build a temple, in a place surround by beautiful rock, to console the spirits of the dead. He found the place, built the temple and called Seongdeoksa, after the great King.
Haeun Sunim, Ilbungsa, Uiryeong, Korea

Tunnel to prayer hall, Ilbungsa, Uiryeong, KoreaPrayer hall, Ilbungsa, Uiryeong, KoreaSince its initial construction the temple burnt down and was rebuild several times, but eventual people started to feel that the area was too sacred to build a temple, and it stayed vacant for a long time. In 1987, Haeun Sunim was advised to build here again. He felt that the location had very strong fire energy. To avoid future fires Haeun Sunim decided to construct a large cavern for the main pray hall. Prayer hall, Ilbungsa, Uiryeong, KoreaIlbungsa, Uiryeong, KoreaWith this the temple was renamed Ilbungsa. The temple is the largest Buddhist cave hall in Asia, according to the Guiness Book of World Records. People from all over the country make pilgrimage to Ilbungsa.


Guardian Gate, Ilbungsa, Uiryeong, Korea Guardian Gate, Ilbungsa, Uiryeong, KoreaIlbungsa only has some of the characteristics of a classic Korean temple:

The Iljumun, One Pillar Gate, is sort of lost among a parking lot and entrance road.

There is a Guardian Gate, with the four divas. The bell pavilion is set above the Guardian Gate, but it doesn't have the usual variety of drums and gongs.

If there is a Gate of Non-duality, it is not distinct. There is a nine-story stone pagoda in a traditional location in front of the main prayer hall.

Golden Buddha, Ilbungsa, Uiryeong, Korea Stone Buddha, Ilbungsa, Uiryeong, KoreaReclining Buddha, Ilbungsa, Uiryeong, KoreaAlso on the grounds are a variety of Buddha; golden (left), free-standing stone, plastic (left), reclining, and carved into the rock face of a cliff (right), a temple to the mountain god with its signature tiger, and a long line of stupa (below).  Stupa, Buddha, Ilbungsa, Uiryeong, Korea
Hermitage, Ilbungsa, Uiryeong, Korea Hermitage, Ilbungsa, Uiryeong, KoreaUp the hill from the main temple is a hermitage, in a very pleasant, picturesque location, over a pond, and nestled at the base of a hill and forest. The interior is very beautiful as well.
Beehives, KoreaAt the head of the valley, the pass, if you look down to the west (left) you see rice fields far below, and if you look down to the east (rights) you see rice fields far below. On the sloops near by are a half dozen stacks of nicely sheltered beehives.

Continuing to the west connect to the route from Hoeyang to Jinju.

Dochosan, Nokdonggang trail near Namji, Korea Back to the Nakdong Bike Route at the Bakjingyo. After crossing the bridge the are two choice of routes to Namji. The "river route" / trail follows the river for a few kilometers, then turns inland when it runs into a steep ridge off of Dochosan (mountain). It then goes through a village, and climbs the very mountain that had blocked the way. The route ascends very steeply for a couple miles, gaining 160m in elevation, and then descends very steeply, about the same elevation, over a couple of miles. It is a beautiful path, but it a physical test for almost everyone.

The alternative is only a kilometer of two longer and follows rural roads. For most people it is probably faster.

Agricultural land near the Nakdong River, Korea Agricultural land near the Nakdong River, Korea Agricultural land near the Nakdong River, Korea Agricultural land near the Nakdong River, Korea Agricultural land near the Nakdong River, Korea
South of Namji, to the mouth of the Nakdong, the route and immediate countryside are generally flat. Flat land in this part of Korea means agriculture.  A lot of the agriculture is rice, but there are smaller fields of soybean, perilla (sesame seed), pepper, diakon, cabbage and corn, and greenhouse for "salad vegetables."
Nokdonggang trail near Busan, Korea Nokdonggang trail near Busan, Korea Nokdonggang trail near Busan, Korea Nokdonggang trail viaduct near Busan, Korea
The engineers have done a good job with this section of trail. It is wide, well maintained and has good sightlines. Where the shoreline runs out of space, the planners have called for one of their signature trail viaduct (far right, above). They keep the route fairly direct and do minimal damage to the environment.
Nokdonggang trail near Busan, Korea Nokdonggang trail near Busan, Korea As the trail approaches Busan indications of the needs of people are more common. From left to right: Much of the flood plain is developed for recreational activity, housing towers come up to the edge of the rivers buffer zone, bridges cross the river, and an additional bridge is being built (2016). Nokdonggang trail, Sasang, Busan, Korea

As the trail passes the Sasang district of Busan the trail finds in a nice canopy of trees to duck under. What is not apparent is that there are busy wide highways on both sides of the berm that the trees are on.

Memorial monument, Eulsukdo, Busan, Korea The trail begins/ends at Nakdong River Estuary Observatory and Eulsukdo Cultural Center (performance space), which are buildings. They are on Eulsukdo (island), which is accessed via to the Nakdonggang Estuary Barrage (dam). Fortunately, most of the island is being kept in a natural state, which is important for hundreds of thousands of birds that make the Nakdong estuary a stopover on their migration route.

There is also a memorial monument in the plaza.


Daegu Busan

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