Friday, 24 August 2012

Shipping Bicycle from South Korea to UK - Surface Mail

Today I finally got round to posting my bicycle to the UK as I am finally leaving Korea. I chose to do this by surface mail (boat) because it is much cheaper than sending it with a courier. The only downside is that it will take 2 or 3 months to reach the UK, which is not a problem for me as I will be travelling around South East Asia for a few months. The total cost of posting mine was 69,000 KRW (GBP £38 /USD $60). My bike is a heavy expedition bike so if you were sending a road bike or a fixed gear it would probably be even cheaper.

If I had posted my bike with a courier it would have cost over 600 dollars which is far more than I was willing to pay. The plus side of sending your bike with a courier is that you can insure it and of course it only takes about a week. I don't think it is possible to get insurance when sending surface mail.

Box dimensions are the biggest problems when posting your bicycle. I was given advice from a friend to pack it into two boxes and it worked. So what are the maximum dimensions?

Maximum Length= 150cm
(2x height)+(2x width)+length= 300cm 

I found this diagram elsewhere online that illustrates it nicely:

So to put it simply, measure the circumference of the box (width and height of the box x2), then add the length. The sum of this should be no more than 300cm. A normal bike box is too large, so you need to cut down two boxes.

I took my bike into Noksapyeong post office in Seoul. It was a very simple process. When I initially asked about maximum dimensions for surface mail they just pointed at the standard size boxes that they sell. When I mentioned that I was sending a bike they gave me the instructions above.

So fingers crossed, hopefully my bike arrives intact!!!


My bicycle arrived in the UK after 3 months. It was in perfect condition! I took a calculated risk by sending my bicycle by surface mail, but I saved a lot of money and it worked out just fine!


  1. did this work?

    Mike McR

    1. Yes it did! It all arrived in one piece!

  2. this is helpful, thanks. would you know the dimensions of the largest boxes at korea post? in addition to his bike, my son is also shipping clothes. it may be cheaper via surface mail? thanks!

    1. I'm afraid I do not know the dimensions of the largest boxes at Korean post offices. They are far too small for bicycles though. You would need to buy a couple of old cardboard bicycle boxes from a bike shop. It shouldn't cost much, maybe about 10,000 KRW each (£5 GBP)

      As for clothes, you could send them by surface mail, but it would take about 3 months and their is no insurance either which could be problematic. I took a calculated risk in posting my bike by surface mail. Also I was travelling for 3 months in SE Asia, so I didn't need my stuff to arrive quickly.

      That said, I have posted clothes and belongings back to the UK before via airmail and it wasn't crazily expensive. It's a lot cheaper sending stuff from Korea to the UK than vice versa.

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