Exploring Gangneung: Attractions & Activities
Gangneung is a coastal city in Gangwon-do that’s emerging as a popular travel destination. It’s best known for hosting the indoor sports events of the 2018 Winter Olympics and having one of the best sunrise viewing spots in South Korea. What I like about Gangneung is that it offers a nice mix of natural, cultural, and historical attractions that are worthwhile to visit. The summer and winter seasons here are also relatively cooler and milder, respectively, so touring is very comfortable.
If you’re planning your first visit to Gangneung soon, here are some of the things to do that you can consider for your itinerary:
1. View the sunrise or sunset from Jeongdongjin Beach (정동진해변)
Many enjoy swimming in Jeongdongjin Beach, but this attraction in Gangneung is more popular as a sunrise and sunset viewing spot. A lot of locals flock to the 250-km beach to welcome the new year, but at any point throughout the year, you will find couples and families walking on the sand and admiring the lovely scenery!
2. Visit Ojukheon (오죽헌)
Before becoming the attraction that people visit today for historical and cultural appreciation, Ojukheon was a residential complex in the early Joseon Dynasty period. It was home to Korean artist Shin Saimdang, whose portrait appears on the KRW 50,000 bank note, and her philosopher son Yi I, who also appears on the KRW 5,000 bank note. Today, at Ojukheon, visitors can see what’s it like to live in one of the oldest hanoks in Korea, which is designated as a Treasure No. 165. (It’s a very Instagrammable location, too, in case you’re wondering!)
3. Explore Gyeongpodae Pavilion (강릉 경포대) at night
Another well-preserved attraction in Gangneung is the Gyeongpodae Pavilion, which is one of the representative sites of the city. It was constructed almost 700 years ago (in 1326) before it was transferred (in 1508) to its current location at the small hill facing Gyeongpo lake. The pavillion is surrounded by a pine tree forest (fun fact: Gangneung is also called as the Pine City), and many come to visit at night to view the reflection of the moon on Gyeongpo lake.
4. Spend time at Gangneung Coffee Street (강릉커피거리)
Gangneung earned the nickname “city of coffee” as it’s the first local district in Korea to organize a coffee festival. As you can imagine, you’ll find a lot of artisan coffee shops and kiosks in the Coffee Street, but they also have a coffee museum and factory that you can visit! Make sure to try their homegrown coffee when you visit!
5. Experience the Aranabi Zipline (아라나비 짚라인)
As mentioned earlier, Gangneung is a coastal city, and one of the best experiences that you can have here is by zip lining over the ocean! Aranabi, which is a combination of the words ara & nabi (or sea and butterfly) is the only zipline in Korea that overlooks the sea. If you’re traveling with family or friends, make sure to visit this exciting attraction for a truly memorable getaway!
Aranabi Zipline tickets regularly cost ₩20,000 or $18.4, but you can book on WAUG here for only ₩18,000 or $16.5! (First time to use WAUG? You’ll get an extra ₩3,000 or $3 discount coupon after signing up 🎉)
BONUS: Hotels & Accommodations in Gangneung City
If you’re planning to spend or a couple of nights in Gangneung, you can book any of the following hotels and accommodations in the city:
How to Get to Gangneung from Seoul via Bus or Train
You can either take an express bus from the Express Bus Terminal or Dong Seoul Bus Terminal. Fares start at ₩14,600 or $13.2.
Alternatively, you can also take the KTX train (Gangneung Line) from the Seoul Station or Cheongnyangni Station. Fares start at ₩26,000 or $23 and travel time takes 1.5-2 hours.
Featured images from @jh_jjjjang, @jm_son0318, and @maiko.510 on Instagram.