Top 13 gangwon-do Attractions You must Visit

Gangwon is a mountainous, forested province in northeast South Korea. Ski resorts, Yongpyong and Alpensia, in the county of Pyeongchang are host sites of the 2018 Winter Olympics. In the east, Seoraksan National Park has mountainside temples and hot springs. Odaesan National Park’s gentle slopes lead to the Stone Seated Buddha, while the steep cliffs of Chiaksan National Park offer more challenging trails.

gangwon-do History

Gangwon-do was one of the Eight Provinces of Korea during the Joseon Dynasty. The province was formed in 1395, and derived its name from the names of the principal cities of Gangneung and the provincial capital Wonju.

In 1895 Gangwon-do was replaced by the Districts of Chuncheon in the west and Gangneung in the east. (Wonju became part of Chungju District.)

In 1896 Korea was redivided into thirteen provinces, and the two districts were merged to re-form Gangwon-do Province. Although Wonju rejoined Gangwon-do province, the provincial capital was moved to Chuncheon, where it remains today.

In 1945 Gangwon-do (along with the rest of Korea) was divided by the 38th parallel north in 1945 into American and Soviet zones of occupation in the south and north respectively, which led to Wonsan joining the province’s northern half in 1946 to serve as its administrative center. In 1948, the southern half of the province became part of the new Republic of Korea. As a result of the Korean War Armistice Agreement of 1953, the boundary between the South and North Korean portions of the province was shifted northward to the Military Demarcation Line.

Things to do here

  • Daegwallyeong Special Tourist Zone
  • Anmok Coffee Street
  • Wonju Sogeumsan Mountain Suspension Bridge
  • Seoraksan National Park
  • Odaesan National Park
  • Jumunjin Port
  • Nami Island
  • Museum San
  • High 1 Ski Resort
  • Goseong DMZ Museum
  • Sono Belle Vivaldi Park
  • Daegeumgul Cave
  • Hwanseongul Cave

Daegwallyeong Special Tourist Zone

The Daegwallyeong Special Tourist Zone is made up of five cities and counties in Gangwon-do, including Pyeongchang-gun, which hosted the 2018 Winter Olympics. Blessed with picturesque highland scenery, the Daegwallyeong Special Tourist Zone includes the cities of Gangneung-si, Donghae-si, Samcheok-si, and the counties of Hoengseong-gun and Pyeongchang-gun.

Gangneung is located the nearest to Daegwallyeong. Famous attractions in Gangneung include Gyeongpoho Lake and Gyeongpodae Pavilion. Two of Gangneung’s historic villas, Ojukheon House and Seongyojang House, have been beautifully maintained for centuries.

The city of Donghae’s two ports, Donghae Port and Mukho Port, are always buzzing with the energy of coastal life. Donghae Port is a base for the distribution of materials, industrial development, and trade. Cruise ferries take passengers to Russia and Japan. Meanwhile, ferries going to Ulleungdo Island depart from Mukho Port, which is located near Mukho Lighthouse and the Bukpyeong 5-day Market.

Samcheok is a coastal city in the southernmost part of Gangwon-do. With National Road No. 7 at the center, Samcheok is bordered by Donghae to the north and Uljin-gun to the south. Hwanseongul Cave, the biggest limestone cave in Korea, and Daegeumgul Cave are some of the city’s major attractions.

Hoengseong-gun is famous for its hanu (Korean beef) and the diverse agricultural experience programs the county offers. The lush forests and the road with a scenic view of Taegisan Mountain also attract many tourists.

At 700 meters above sea level, Pyeongchang-gun is home to many ski resorts, making it a major destination for winter sports.

Useful Informations

  • Address: Hoengseong-gun, Pyeongchang-gun, Donghae-si, Samcheok-si, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do
    강원도 강릉시, 동해시, 삼척시, 횡성군, 평창군 일원
  • Phone: +82-33-249-3151
  • Homepage: www.gn.go.kr

How to get here:
By [Train]
Take a train from Seoul Station or Cheongnyangni Station to Jinbu (Odaesan) Station.

Anmok Coffee Street

Image by Bangkok Post

Gangneung in Gangwon-do is the first local district in Korea to host a coffee festival and support coffee artisans as well has promote development of coffee related facilities and contents such as a coffee museum, coffee street, coffee factory, barista academy, etc. With almost all coffee shops in the area roasting their own coffee beans, Gangneung is well-recognized as the “city of coffee.”

Useful Informations

  • Address: 17, Changhae-ro, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do
    강원도 강릉시 창해로14번길 20-1 (견소동)
  • Phone: +82-33-640-4531
  • Homepage: ggcoffeestreet.modoo.at 

How to get here:
By [Bus]
Take bus no. 202-1 or 302 and get off at Anmok bus stop.

Wonju Sogeumsan Mountain Suspension Bridge

Image by All Trails

One of the main attractions of Wonju, Sogeumsan Mountain Suspension Bridge is the longest and largest pedestrian bridge in Korea with the length of 200 meters, height of 100 meters, and width of 1.5 meters. The thrill of walking midair is enough to make visitors come to this attraction. The skywalk next to the bridge offers an amazing view of the surroundings. With a protective deck at the entrance of the bridge, anyone who has the courage can walk on the bridge. Other attractions nearby include Wonju Railbike, Museum San, grave of Joeom, and more.

Useful Informations

  • Operating Hours
    May-October 09:00-18:00 / November-April 09:00-17:00 (last admission 30 min. before closing)
  • Address: 26, Sogeumsan-gil, Wonju-si, Gangwon-do
    강원도 원주시 지정면 소금산길 12
  • Phone: +82-33-731-4088
  • Homepage: ganhyeon.wonju.go.kr
  • Hiking Course
    * Ganeungol Village – Solgaemi Dungji – Borigogae Valley Levee – Bawi Oreumteo – Sogeumsan Mountain Peak – 404 Metal Stairs – Forest Camping Site (3.5km, estimated 1.5 hr)
    (* Solgaemi Dungji and Bawi Oreumteo passage is connected by a suspension bridge)
  • Tour Course Information
    Wonju Station – Wonju Bus Terminal – Manjong Station – Museum San – Wonju Railbike – Ganhyeon Tourist Attraction (Sogeumsan Mountain Suspension Bridge) – Herb Farm – Haengu-dong Cafe Street – Haengu Waterfront Park – Traditional Market (Miro Arts Market) – Wonju Station

How to get here:
By [Bus]
From Express/Intercity Bus Terminal Bus Stop in front of Wonju Intercity Bus Terminal, take Bus No. 52 and get off at Wolun Bus Stop or Railbike Bus Stop.

Seoraksan National Park

Seoraksan Mountain, spreading around the highest point, Daecheongbong Peak (alt. 1,708 m), is one of the most beautiful mountains in Korea, boasting a variety of colorful flowers in spring, refreshing clear water streams in summer, vibrant foliage in fall, and a scenic snow-covered landscape in winter. With the mountain changing in color according to each season, a visit to Seoraksan Mountain guarantees a picturesque landscape any time of the year.

Hangyeryeong and Misiryeong Passes serve as a boundary line dividing Outer Seorak, located towards the East Sea, and Inner Seorak sections. The Outer Seorak section is a home to many large waterfalls such as Biryongpokpo Falls, Oryeonpokpo Falls, and Towangseongpokpo Falls as well as notable rock formations such as Ulsanbawi Rock and Geumganggul Cave. Convenient facilities are gathered around Seorak-dong, making it one of the busiest areas within Seoraksan National Park. Noteworthy hiking courses include the section between Biseondae Flat Rock and Madeungryeong Pass course and the trail connectcing Biseondae Flat Rock to Daecheonbong Peak through Cheonbuldonggyegok Valley.

Useful Informations

How to get here:
By [Bus]
From Sokcho Express/Intercity Bus Terminal, take Bus No. 7 or 7-1.
Get off at Sogongwon Bus Stop.

Odaesan National Park

Image by Klimbingkoreanmountains

Odaesan Mountain is located in the central and eastern part of Gangwon-do. The mountain was designated a national park in February 1975, including an area of 298.5 ㎢ centered on the highest peak, Birobong Peak (alt. 1,563 m). Other peaks include Horyeongbong, Sangwangbong, Dongdaesan, and Durobong.

Odaesan Mountain has the largest natural forest of Korea, home to many wild animals and plants. The mountain is divided into five sections: Odaesan Section, Bangadari Bridge Section, Byeongnae-ri Section, Hwangbyeongsan Mountain Section, Hongcheon-myeon Section, and Sogeumgang River Section. It is also rich in soil and resources, with lush forests and gentle slopes.

Useful Informations

  • Address: Odaesan-ro, Pyeongchang-gun, Gangwon-do
    강원도 평창군 진부면 오대산로
  • Phone: +82-33-332-6417
  • Homepage: odae.knps.or.kr

How to get here:
By [Bus]
Take a bus from Dong Seoul Bus Terminal to Jinbu Bus Terminal.
From Jinbu Bus Terminal, take a local bus bound for Woljeongsa Temple or Sangwonsa Temple.

jumunjin Port

Image by Outsidethebottle

Jumunjin Port, one of the main fishing ports on the east coast, is home to over 350 fishing boats. The East Sea, where the warm and cold waters meet, is excellent for catching a lot of different types of fish including squid, lance fish, pollack, herring and anchovy. Fish caught in the area is often served fresh or cooked at nearby seafood restaurants.

Useful Informations

  • Address: Haean-ro, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do
    강원도 강릉시 주문진읍 해안로
  • Phone: +82-33-662-3639
  • Homepage: www.gn.go.kr

How to get here:
By [Bus]
From Gangneung Intercity Bus Terminal, take Bus No. 300, 302 or 315 and get off at Jumunjin Bus Stop.

Nami Island

activity in autumn
Image by Sabrinadai on flickr through Tripzilla

Namiseom Island, designed with the concept of “Storybook Land, Song Island,” hosts cultural events, concerts, and exhibitions all year round. The island aims to promote dreams and hopes in children, and love and memories in couples. Main cultural facilities include Song Museum, Picture Book Playground, Art Shop, and UNICEF Hall. Guests can travel the island in comfort by riding on the UNICEF Train, or the Story Tour Bus. Namiseom Island also has restaurants offering various cuisine, and accommodations for overnight stays.

Useful Informations

  • Operating Hours
    [Ferry Schedule]

    07:30-09:00 (30 minute intervals)
    09:00-18:00 (10-20 minute intervals)
    18:00-21:40 (30 minute intervals)
  • Admission Fees
    [Naminara Visa (Entrance Fee + Ferry Fare]
    General Rate: 13,000 won
    Discounted Rate: 10,000 won
    Special Rate: 7,000 won
  • Address: 1, Namiseom-gil, Chuncheon-si, Gangwon-do
    강원도 춘천시 남산면 남이섬길 1
  • Phone: +82-31-580-8114
  • Homepage: www.namisum.com

How to get here:
By [Shuttle Bus]
Take the shuttle bus from Gapyeong Station (Gyeongui-Jungang Line).
* Refer to the website for details.

Museum SAN

Museum SAN (originally Hansol Museum), has its Welcome Center located in the vast abundance of nature, and is composed of three gardens. From the Museum’s Welcome Center, reminiscent of a huge fortress, visitors can walk through the Flower Garden in full blossom, then to the Water Garden where a dazzling display of water reflects the surroundings, and finally appreciate the Ando Tadao’s Stone Garden featuring nine stone mounds inspired by ancient Silla tombs.

The museum aims to rediscover the meaning and value of paper in the exhibition at the Paper Gallery, as well as a collection of artworks that reflects the development of Korean modern and contemporary art, which are presented in the Cheongjo Gallery.

Last but not least, the Stone Garden is a space where visitors can view the unique exhibition of James Turrell’s main artworks – Sky Space, Horizon Room, Ganzfeld and Wedgework.

Useful Informations

  • Operating Hours
    Tuesday-Sunday 10:30-18:00
  • Admission Fees
    [Museum Ticket] Adults 28,000 won / Students (elementary, middle, high school students) 18,000 won
    [Gallery Ticket] Adults 15,000 won / Students (elementary, middle, high school students) 10,000 won
  • Address: 260, Oak valley 2-gil, Wonju-si, Gangwon-do
  • Phone: +82-33-730-9000
  • Homepage: museumsan.org

How to get here:
By [Bus]
From Seoul Express Bus Terminal, take a bus to Wonju Express Bus Terminal.
Take Bus No. 4-1 from the bus stop in front of the bus terminal, and get off at E-pyeonhansesang APT bus stop. Transfer to Bus No. 56 and get off at Wolsong 3-ri bus stop. Walk for about 18-min to arrive at Museum SAN.

Alternatively, take the shuttle bus (see below for more information).

High 1 Ski Resort

high1 ski resort
Image by Kangwonland

High1 Ski Resort is equipped with lifts and ski slopes for beginners as well as intermediate and advanced skiers, providing an enjoyable environment for the whole family.

Useful Informations

  • Address: 500, High1-gil, Jeongseon-gun, Gangwon-do
    강원도 정선군 고한읍 하이원길 500
  • Phone: +82-1588-7789
  • Homepage: www.high1.com 

How to get here:
By [Bus]
From Dong Seoul Bus Terminal, take a bus to Gohan Bus Terminal.
From Gohan Bus Terminal Bus Stop, take Bus Nongaechon (Jamutgol, Nam-myeon, Gwangdeok) and get off at High 1 Resort Bus Stop.
Walk for approx. 1.5km.

Goseong DMZ Museum

Image by KTO
Image by KTO

Although the DMZ Museum was established in memory of a painful past, the museum today embraces everything about the latest efforts made to transform the DMZ from a place of political scars to a symbol of peace and nature.

The museum features exhibition halls arranged under a number of different themes that underscore the historical significance of the DMZ and its value as a treasure trove of ecology for the future.

Useful Informations

  • Operating Hours
    March-October 09:00-18:00
    November-February 09:00-17:00
    * Last admission is one hour before closing.
  • Address: 369, Tongiljeonmangdae-ro, Goseong-gun, Gangwon-do
    강원도 고성군 현내면 통일전망대로 369
  • Phone: +82-33-681-0625
  • Homepage: www.dmzmuseum.com

How to get here:
By [Bus + Taxi]
From Dong Seoul Bus Terminal, take a bus to Ganseong Intercity Bus Terminal.
From Ganseong Bus Terminal, take a taxi for approx. 25 min.

Sono Belle Vivaldi Park

Image by Romulus75 through trip advisor

Sono Belle Vivaldi Park is a comprehensive entertainment resort, located an hour and a half drive away from Seoul. The resort is equipped with a wide range of leisure facilities including the water park Ocean World, ski slopes, a golf course, and shopping mall. Surrounded by nature that provides exquisite scenery at all seasons of the year, Sono Belle Vivaldi Park is a perfect place for rest and relaxation.

The resort has the largest lodging facilities in Korea with over 2,000 rooms. Subsidiary facilities include a supermarket, sports shop, art hall, screen golf, game room, shooting range, karaoke, billiard room, table tennis room, bowling alley, gallery, clinic, bookstore, pharmacy, beauty parlor, and kids’ club.

Useful Informations

  • Address: 262, Hanchigol-gil, Hongcheon-gun, Gangwon-do
    강원도 홍천군 서면 한치골길 262
  • Phone: +82-1588-4888
  • Homepage: www.vivaldipark.com

How to get here:
By [Bus]
From Dong Seoul Bus Terminal, take an intercity bus to Hongcheon Bus Terminal.
From Hongcheon Terminal, take a local bus bound for Vivaldi Park.

Daegeumgul Cave

Image by Steve46814 through Wikimapia

Daegeumgul Cave is believed to be as old as Hwanseongul and Gwaneumgul Caves located nearby. The entrance to the cave was exposed during an excavation project, and after a long preparatory period, the cave was opened to the public. This newly opened, well-preserved cave is filled with limestone features such as stalactites, and a considerable amount of water flows through the cave, creating waterfalls, both large and small, along with numerous ponds.

Useful Informations

  • Operating Hours
    March-October 09:00-17:00
    November-February 09:30-16:00
  • Admission Fees
    Individuals: Adults 12,000 won / Teenagers 9,000 won / Children 6,000 won
    Groups: Adults 10,000 won / Teenagers 8,000 won / Children 5,000 won
  • Address: 800, Hwanseon-ro, Samcheok-si, Gangwon-do
    강원도 삼척시 신기면 환선로 800
  • Phone: +82-33-541-7600
  • Homepage: samcheok.smartix.co.kr

How to get here:
By [Bus]
From Samcheok Intercity Bus Terminal, take a bus bound for Hwanseongul Cave.

Hwanseongul Cave

Image by 콩가루 through Wikipemedia commons

Hwanseongul Cave is the largest limestone cave in Asia, formed estimated 530 million years ago. The cafe features fantastic rocks in various shapes, stalagmites, and stalactites. There have been 47 new breeds of animals discovered in Hwanseongul Cave, with four of these being found to only live in this cave. In April 2010, a monorail was installed within the cave to make it more convenient for people to see all the natural habitat.

Useful Informations

  • Operating Hours
    November-February: 09:00-16:00
    March-October: 08:30-17:00
    * Last admission: 10 min before closing
  • Admission Fees
    [Hwanseongul Cave]
    Individual – Adults 4,500 won / Teenagers 3,000 won / Children 2,000 won
    Groups – Adults 4,000 won / Teenagers 2,500 won / Children 2,000 won
    [Hwanseongul Cave Monorail]
    Adults: Round-trip 7,000 won / One-way 4,000 won
    Children: Round-trip 3,000 won / One-way 2,000 won
  • Address: 800, Hwanseon-ro, Samcheok-si, Gangwon-do
    강원도 삼척시 신기면 환선로 800
  • Phone: +82-33-541-9266
  • Homepage: www.samcheok.go.kr

How to get here:
By [Bus]
From Dong Seoul Bus Terminal, take a bus to Samcheok Bus terminal.
From Samcheok Bus Terminal, take a local bus bound for Hwanseongul Cave.

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