Kayaking in the Han River in Seoul with AirBnB
Having lived in Seoul for nearly 5 years now, I have spent a good deal of time admiring the Han River. From bus windows, bike paths, and even from a sailboat, the view of this huge river is always breathtaking. One thing I had never done, however, was to actually get in the water. Other than a quick sailboat ride about four years ago, I had never actually touched the Han.
All that changed when I teamed up with AirBnb to try out some of their Seoul experiences. My first choice was the kayaking adventure, and it did not disappoint.
The kayaking would take place just before sunset, so I arrived at Tteuksom Park just before 6pm. That is when my friend and kayaking partner called me to tell me she would be very late and I would have to go alone. I'm not going to lie, I panicked.
I'm not the biggest fan of water, having been caught in one too many rip tides back home in San Diego. I was only brave enough to go out there with someone I knew could calm me down. She sensed my nerves and somehow managed to make it to the dock only 20 minutes late, and out guide Kai was kind enough to stall for us.
I had no idea that all of these water sports existed on the river! I had seen a few people water skiing and kayaking before but here at Tteukseom there were paddle boards, rafts, wind surfboards, and even wake boards! There was a large group of Koreans leaving for their kayaking lesson when I arrived at the dock and a paddle board yoga class (yes, they exist) was just coming back from their session.
Once my friend arrived we were given life jackets, a paddle, and some water bottles. Kai grabbed our tandem kayak and lead us to the water. We were given a tandem kayak because we were beginners and Kai warned us that the single kayaks are much easier to tip. The single ones were also closed around your legs and that freaked me out way too much. I appreciated our little canoe :)
The dock was filled with locals learning various water sports too! We shared a piece of the dock with two women learned to windsurf. We ended up almost colliding (which wouldn't have been an issue since we were both moving so slowly) but turns out, my friend and I are good and back peddling.
Kai taught us the basics and gave as a buoy as a goal to reach and we set off. The river was a lot calmer than I thought it would be, especially considering we were there on a very windy day. We made it out to the buoy, turned around, and then headed to the our next goal: Jamsil Bridge.
Kai hopped in his kayak and paddled alongside us the whole way, though we were going so slow that he would just float around and then catch up every once in a while ;)
We got pretty tired halfway through and ended up only going to Jamsil Bridge and back. To be honest, my friend wasn't pulling her weight haha so I ended up with very, very sore arms the next day. You could have kayaked for a full hour and a half but we barely reached 45 minutes.
Normally you would be given a chicken and beer picnic afterwards, but we declined it since it started raining and neither of us eat chicken or drink beer ;) But all that is included in the experience price!
Kai was really kind and patient with us and I really wish I could go back out there another time, preferably in better weather. It was so calming in the middle of the river and it was really fun to see Seoul from a completely different angle than I had ever seen before.