Exploring Korea: Great fun, adventure in Gangwon-do
Exploring Korea: Great fun, adventure in Gangwon-do
Located east of Seoul, Gangwon-do is a charming region, filled with the beauty of nature. Popular destinations include Chuncheon, a city with many lakes; Sokcho, where you can enjoy delicious foods one after another; and Gangneung, full of various experiences and fantastic sights to see. Gangwon-do has also received much attention due to the 2018 Olympic Winter Games that were held in Pyeongchang and other regions of Gangwon-do.
Enjoy both the mountains and the sea, and experience a new and unique landscape with the changing of the seasons! As Gangwon-do is a destination with so many sights to see and things to try, we recommend taking at least 3 days to travel around the region.
8 a.m., Namiseom Island
Namiseom Island was originally not an island, but took its current form when it became surrounded by water with the building of Cheongpyeong Dam to the south. The name of the island comes from the army general Nami, who was buried here during the Joseon Dynasty.
The entire island can be deemed as a giant photo zone for its exquisite beauty and attractions that offer plenty of photo opportunities. The two must-see attractions when visiting Namiseom Island are definitely the Metasequoia Lane and Songpa Ginkgo Tree Lane. These two trails often appear in movies, dramas, and advertisements. In particular, the island offers a fascinating scene in fall with leaves colored in shades of vibrant yellow, gold and orange.
- Address: 1, Namiseom-gil, Namsan-myeon, Chuncheon-si, Gangwon-do (강원도 춘천시 남산면 남이섬길 1)
- Operating hours (Ferry): 07:30-21:40 (Operates all year round)
- Admission: Adults 13,000 won / Teenagers & Senior citizens 10,000 won / Children 7,000 won (Round-trip ferry ride included in fee)
* Admission fixed to 7,000 won for visitors boarding the ferry departing at 18:30 (December-March) and 19:30 (April-November)
* Adults (ages 19 & over) / Teenagers (ages 13-18) / Children (36 months-age 12) / Senior citizens (ages 70 & over)
- Website (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
11:30 a.m., Lunch at Chuncheon Myeongdong Dakgalbi Street
While exploring Namiseom Island, you may have felt your stomach begin to call for food. Head to Chuncheon to fulfill your needs! Chuncheon Myeongdong Dakgalbi Street is a famous alley filled with restaurants that have been serving the deliciously spicy dakgalbi (spicy stir-fried chicken) for over 50 years. Dakgalbi is a meal in and of itself, consisting of large chunks of chicken marinated in a spicy sauce and stir-fried with cabbage, sweet potato, tteok (rice cake) and more. Don’t forget to order fried rice afterwards, if you aren’t too full, that is!
- Address: 11-1, Geumgang-ro 62beon-gil, Chuncheon-si, Gangwon-do (강원도 춘천시 금강로62번길 11-1)
- Signature menus: Dakgalbi, extra order (cheese/rice cake/noodles/etc.), fried rice / Price range 24,000~30,000 won for two people (Prices vary by shop)
12:30 p.m., Chuncheon Romantic Market
Chuncheon Romantic Market is the city’s representative permanent market, filled with romance and lifestyle of the local people. Originally called Chuncheon Jungang Market, the name changed in 2010, followed by a renovation to keep up with the new name. Each shop in the market was given a drawing to showcase the shop’s particular and unique traits that were cultivated over 30-50 years of business. Every street of the market is filled with murals and sculptures that serve as a perfect backdrop for taking photos.
- Address: 34, Myeongdong-gil, Chuncheon-si, Gangwon-do (강원도 춘천시 명동길 34)
- Operating hours: 10:00-22:00 / Closed days vary by shop
5 p.m., Seorak Waterpia
Seorak Waterpia is a four-season water theme park using natural spring water in both spa and water leisure areas. The park is open year round but is especially popular in summer, when many tourists come to visit the East Sea. Enjoy the beauty of Seoraksan Mountain as you soak in the spa, or enjoy water activities with your families and friends.
- Address: 88, Misiryeong-ro 2983beon-gil, Sokcho-si, Gangwon-do (강원도 속초시 미시령로 2983번길 88)
- Operating hours: All-day pass 06:00-20:30 / Afternoon pass 16:00-20:30 / Evening pass 19:00-20:30 (Varies by season)
※ Some facilities may be unavailable depending on weather conditions during winter.
- Peak season (April 27 – July 5, 2019)
All-day pass: Adults 60,000 won / Children 47,000 won
Afternoon pass: Adults 51,000 won / Children 39,500 won
Evening pass: Adults 30,000 won / Children 23,500 won
- Low season (March 4 – April 26, 2019)
All-day pass: Adults 55,000 won / Children 43,000 won
Afternoon pass: Adults 46,500 won / Children 36,500 won
Evening pass: Adults 27,500 won / Children 21,500 won
* Adults (ages 13 & over) / Children (ages 4-12)
- Website (Korean only
9 a.m., Morning exercise at Seoraksan National Park
Seoraksan Mountain, Korea’s most representative mountain, is located in the northeastern part of Gangwon-do, stretching over the cities and counties of Sokcho, Yangyang, Goseong and Inje. The mountain range is so vast and magnificent that it is separated into Inner Seorak to the west and Outer Seorak to the east, with the dividing point being the highest peak, Daecheongbong Peak.
Many visitors to Seoraksan National Park depart from the nearby Sokcho, hiking on courses to Ulsanbawi Rock, Gwongeumseong Fortress and Biryongpokpo Falls. The difficulty and time required vary by each course, with most beginners choosing the Gwongeumseong Fortress course. This course is unique from the others in the fact that you can take the Seorak Cable Car to the top and hike down for an easier way to experience the beautiful mountain views.
- Seorak Cable Car
Address: 1085, Seoraksan-ro, Sokcho-si, Gangwon-do (강원도 속초시 설악산로 1085)
Operating hours: 09:00-17:30 (Varies by season and weather conditions, check website before visiting)
* The cable car does not operate during adverse weather for safety reasons.
Fees (Round-trip): Adults & Teenagers 10,000 won / Children 6,000 won
* Adults & Teenagers (ages 13 & over) / Children (37 months-age 12)
* Toddlers & infants 36 months old & under can ride free of charge.
Seorak Cable Car (Korean, English, Chinese)
- Seoraksan National Park
Website (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
12 p.m., Lunch at Daepohang Port
One of the closest attractions to Seoraksan National Park is Daepohang Port, a major fishing harbor on the East Sea. Rather than large fishing boats, the harbor and sea are filled with small boats operated by individual fishermen. The catch of the day is sold in a market stretching from the entrance to the water’s edge. Walking and looking around the vendors can be fun, but the biggest enjoyment of the market is to eat! From fried squid and shrimp to fresh hoe (sliced raw fish), the options are unlimited. Take the opportunity to pick the seafood you like and enjoy!
- Daepohang Fish Market:
Address: 59, Daepohang-gil, Sokcho-si, Gangwon-do (강원도 속초시 대포항길 59)
Signature menus: Deep-fried shrimp, squid sundae, Abai sundae, etc. / Price range 7,000~10,000 won for two people (Varies by shop)
1:40 p.m., Ride the ferry to Abai Village
Abai Village is one of Sokcho’s top attractions. Abai means grandfather in the dialect of Hamgyeong-do, a region in the northeastern part of the Korean peninsula. The village was founded in 1950 by refugees of the Korean War who settled here and the name of “Grandfather Village” came later. The village is only 50 meters away from Sokcho’s mainland and is accessible by taking the Abai Village Ferry from downtown. The first thing to do after arriving in Abai Village is to take a look around! Murals scattered throughout the village make great backgrounds for souvenir photos.
- Address: 39, Jungangbudu-gil, Sokcho-si, Gangwon-do (강원도 속초시 중앙두부길 39)
- Operating hours (Ferry): 04:30-22:30
- Fare (Ferry): (One way) Adults & Teenagers 500 won / Children 300 won
* Adults & Teenagers (ages 13 & over) / Children (ages 12 & under)
- Website (Korean only)
4 p.m., Naksansa Temple
Take in the beauty of one of Gangwon-do’s eight scenic views of the East Sea at Naksansa Temple, built by Uisang (AD 625–702), a Buddhist Master during the Unified Silla Dynasty. The temple houses many treasures to enjoy, including a grand Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva statue and Kwanseum Bodhisattva statue at Hongryeonam Hermitage. The surrounding view is outstanding, attracting many Korean artists to attempt to reproduce this scene in both writing and images.
- Address: 100, Naksansa-ro, Ganghyeon-myeon, Yangyang-gun, Gangwon-do (강원도 양양군 강현면 낙산사로 100)
- Operating hours: November-February 06:30-17:00, March-October 05:30-18:00
- Admission: Adults 3,000 won / Teenagers 1,500 won / Children 1,000 won
* Adults (ages 19 & over) / Teenagers (ages 13-18) / Children (ages 7-12)
- Website (Korean only)
10 a.m., Walk around Sun Cruise Theme Park
Sun Cruise Resort is perched on the cliff above Jeongdongjin Beach. The resort is famous for its cruise ship-shaped architecture and was selected on CNN’s list of Korea’s most unique accommodations in 2014. The night view is beautiful, but the sun rising over the ocean is also a sight not to be missed.
Sun Cruise Resort provides wonderful accommodations, but even if you don’t spend the night here, the Sun Cruise Theme Park is open to outside visitors. Take photos with “The Hands of Blessing” and other works of art in the Jeongdongjin Sculpture Garden. Visitors can also take a relaxing stroll along the grass field or feel like walking on water by stepping out directly over the ocean at the Glass Observatory.
- Address: 950-39, Heonhwa-ro, Gangdong-myeon, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do (강원도 강릉시 강동면 헌화로 950-39)
- Operating hours: 07:00-18:00
- Admission: Adults & Students 5,000 won / Children 3,000 won
* Adults & Students (ages 7 & over) / Children (ages 6 & under)
* Free admission for Sun Cruise Resort guests
- Website (Korean, English, Chinese)
11:30 a.m., Relax at Jeongdongjin Beach or Gangneung Coffee Street
For lunch, visit Jeongdongjin Beach or Gangneung Coffee Street. Both places are great but for time-saving purposes, pick just one attraction to visit. Most people choose Jeongdongjin Beach for spring or autumn and Gangneung Coffee Street for summer or winter. Of course, the choice is up to you!
Jeongdongjin gets its name from being exactly due east (‘jeongdong’ in Korean) of Gwanghwamun Gate in Seoul. Enjoy the coast as you ride along on Jeongdongjin Rail Bike, departing from the train station closest to the ocean in the world. This is a popular activity especially in spring as the weather is perfect. The rail bike may not operate on extreme cold days during winter due to safety reasons.
For a cup of coffee while gazing out at the blue ocean, head to Anmok Beach. Once a street with a single vending machine, Gangneung Coffee Street is now lined with coffee shops that formed over the years. From individually operated local shops to chain cafés, visitors have a vast pool to choose from. Buy your coffee and take a moment to enjoy the harmony of the energizing drink and the calming view of the waves crashing to the shore.
- Jeongdongjin Rail Bike
Address: 17, Jeongdongyeok-gil, Gangdong-myeon, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do (강원도 강릉시 강동면 정동역길 17)
Departing from Jeongdongjin Station: November-February 09:00-16:00, March-October 09:00-17:00
Departing from Moresigye Park: November-February 08:50-15:50, March-October 08:50-16:50
Fees: 2-seater 20,000 won / 4-seater 30,000 won
Website (Korean only)
- Gangneung Coffee Street
Address: 17, Changhae-ro, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do (강원도 강릉시 창해로 14번길 17)
3 p.m., Ojukheon House
Ojukheon House gets its name from the black bamboo trees that surround the building. Ojukheon was home to Shin Saimdang (1504-1551), Korea’s most noteworthy mother figure and female artist, and the birthplace of her son Yi I (1536-1584), also known as his penname Yulgok, one of the most prominent Confucian scholars of the Joseon Dynasty. Shin Saimdang and Yi I are both important historical figures of Korea and features on 50,000 won and 5,000 won bills, respectively.
- Address: 24, Yulgok-ro 3139beon-gil, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do (강원도 강릉시 율곡로 3139번길 24)
- Operating hours: 09:00-18:00 (Last admission is 1 hour before closing)
- Admission: Adults 3,000 won / Teenagers 2,000 won / Children 1,000 won
* Adults (ages 19-64) / Teenagers (ages 13-18) / Children (ages 7-12)
* Free admission for preschoolers (age 6 & under) & senior citizens (ages 65 & over)
- Website (Korean only)
4:30 p.m., Seongyojang House
Next on the tour is Seongyojang House, located near Ojukheon House. Seongyojang House is a representative traditional hanok of the upper class. The main house is the largest of all remaining traditional houses, with a size of 102 kan (unit for space between two pillars). Considering the fact that the building regulations during the time this house was built restricted all houses to be 99 kan or less, this building is truly exceptional. The lush pine tree forest behind the house that kept its place for hundreds of years creates an elegant and refined backdrop to the charming beauty of this traditional destination.
- Address: 63, Unjeong-gil, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do (강원도 강릉시 운정길 63)
- Operating hours: November-February 09:00-17:00, March-October 09:00-18:00
- Admission: Adults 5,000 won / Teenagers & Senior citizens 3,000 won / Children 2,000 won
* Adults (ages 19-64) / Teenagers (ages 13-18) / Children (ages 7-12) / Senior citizens (ages 65 & over)
* Free admission for preschoolers (ages 6 & under)
- Website (Korean only)
6 p.m., Gyeongpodae Pavilion
When Koreans hear “Gyeongpodae,” their first thought is most often of the beach. In fact, the beach’s name actually comes from Gyeongpodae Pavilion that was built during the Goryeo Dynasty. The panoramic view of Gyeongpoho Lake seen from Gyeongpodae Pavilion is simply amazing. Gyeongpodae Pavilion is beautiful year-round but is most popular as a sunrise watching location on January 1 and in April, during the Gyeongpodae Cherry Blossom Festival.
- Address: 365, Gyeongpo-ro, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do (강원도 강릉시 경포로 365)
- Admission: Gyeongpodae Pavilion & Gyeongpoho Park are free (Open all year round)
Chuncheon Tourism (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
Sokcho Tourism (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese, Russian, Malay)
Yangyang Tourism (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
Gangneung Tourism (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
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