VIDEO| Exploring Korea: Thrill ride on Ganghwado Island

Photo curtesy of Ganghwa Seaside Resort
Photo curtesy of Ganghwa Seaside Resort

VIDEO| Exploring Korea: Thrill ride on Ganghwado Island

by ChiHon Kim
Stripes Korea

Is one of your favorite childhood memories a snow day?

Growing up in a small city in South Korea, my snow days involved sledding down hills with our own homemade sled crafted from cardboard, a bag of rice and plastic floor paper. Thanks to the steep hills in our neighborhood, that homemade sled brought great speeds and unforgettable memories.


Those delightful memories came back to me when I came across information about a luge slide about a two-hour drive from Camp Humphreys.

I drove from Pyeongtaek to Ganghwado Island, a great place for a weekend getaway. On the island, the Ganghwa Seaside Resort features a revolving observation deck that offers a bird’s eye view of the sea, a gondola stretching across 700 meters and walking trails through unspoiled pine forests. But, the centerpiece of this resort is its luge track, which is the longest in Asia. Oh, and no snow is required

Gondola and Revolving Observation Deck

Before you hop on the gondola, make sure you get a helmet that fits near the boarding point if you paid for a luge ticket.  I took in the marvelous landscape as the gondola lifted me from the boarding point to the peak of the 336-meter-tall Gilsangsan Mountain. Take some time to enjoy the stunning views from the peak before rushing to get the adrenaline rush from the luge course. At the summit, take your time and snap a selfie, as the landscape of sea, small mountains and open space landscape will give you a dramatic backdrop. There is also a lounge and UFO shaped revolving cafe that gives you panoramic view of the surroundings at the top of the mountain.

Luge Ride


Seriously, these little gravity-fueled carts may not look like much in photos, but riding in one blew my mind! But, before I could jump on, I was required to take a brief safety training. The instructor showed me how to brake and steer properly. 

There are two different luge tracks, the ocean course and the valley course, and at 1.8-kilometers long each, are the longest in Asia. The valley course is pretty steep, so it will definitely deliver on your need for speed. The ocean course, on the other hand, is a more winding track with hairpin corners. If you’re not a thrill-seeker or it’s your first time riding a luge, I recommend you try the ocean course first. And I also personally recommend you buy at least two luge rides because you’ll find yourself wanting to go more than once after the first ride.

Though you may think luge carts are for kids, one ride here and it will change your mind!  I took the valley track and as soon as I pushed on the handlebar, the speed made the wind rush at me and my body moved along every curve of the course. I was smiling and screaming in delight because this was so fun.

In the middle of the course, I slowed down to catch the spectacular ocean view. It took 10 minutes for me to reach the finish line. The ride was thrilling, but if you don’t like high speeds, try the ocean course.

Also, don’t sleep on hitching a ride on the luge at night. After dark, the tracks are illuminated in vibrant colors, giving visitors thrills and a beautiful view.

Whether this is a girls’ trip, family vacation, or couple’s getaway, Ganghwa Sea Resort has activities fit for all!

• ADDRESS: 인천광역시 강화군 길상면 장흥로 217 (KOR), 217, Jangheung-ro, Gilsang-myeon, Ganghwa-gun, Incheon (ENG), NAVER MAP

• HOURS: Weekdays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Weekend 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.


• PRICES: Individual Luge tickets

*Children under the age of 10 years and between the height of over 85 cm to under 120cm can ride in tandem with an adult. You need to purchase a “CHILD DOUBLING” ticket for your child in addition to yours.

Fuel up with some bibimbap at Manisan-sanchae

Anywhere you go on the Peninsula, you’ll find bibimbap, a common Korean dish consisting of vegetables, rice, sesame oil, and gochujang (red chili paste) topped with a fried egg. The longer you stay in Korea, the more you’ll notice there are variances in the ingredients of bibimbap and perhaps even get as far as deciding on what your preferred version is.

Sanchae bibimbap is one version of the dish featuring wild herbs and vegetables not usually found in the standard recipe. Since Sanchae also does not usually contain meat or eggs, this is a great dish for vegans or those on plant-based diets.

When I travel, I love to try bibimbap because one can never go wrong with this Korean food favorite, and it’s a great way to sample a region’s flavors.

During my stay on Ganghwado Island, I stopped at Manisan-sanchae (마니산산채), a 10-minute drive from Gwanghwa Seaside Resort. This is a famous bibimbap shop is housed inside a traditional Korean home converted into a restaurant and has plenty of parking. Outside, you’ll find many Jangdoks, large ceramic pots used in Korean cooking to store and ferment Kimchi or condiments such as soybean paste and sauce. The jangdoks are a good sign indicating this restaurant uses homemade sauces to make its food.

Usually buzzing with customers, I visited Manisan-sanchae on a weekday so was quickly seated without having to wait. The menu offers over 13 assorted banchan (side dishes) to enjoy.

I opted for sanchae-bibimbap for 11,000 won (about $9.84). While I waited for my order, I enjoyed warm wormwood tea.

When my bibimbap arrived, I was delighted to find it included brown rice, barley rice, millet, and oats which help to control blood sugar levels. I quickly stirred in some homemade gochujang, bean paste soup and sesame oil before digging in. It was love at first bite and soon I was content and filled with a delicious meal. From the bibimbap, teas and sides to the ambience and ease of ordering, I was very happy with my choice to have a meal here.

• ADDRESS: 인천 강화군 화도면 해안남로 1182, 1182, Haeannam-ro, Hwado-myeon, Ganghwa-gun, Incheon (ENG), NAVER MAP

• HOURS: Weekdays and weekend 9:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

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