A couple of hours’ drive away from Incheon International Airport a little west of Seoul is a hidden gem named Gangneung (강릉시).
Gangneung is a city in Gangwon-do, located on the east coast of South Korea, and the economic centre of the Yeongdong region of Gangwon Province. Gangneung has many tourist attractions, such as Jeongdongjin (a very popular area for watching the sunrise) and Gyeongpo Beach. The city is also home to National League football club Gangneung City FC and K League football team Gangwon FC.
Spending a couple of days in Gangneun is refreshing, as it is quiet, and a city that’s nestled in a time between the old and new.
Marvel at the architecture from the Joseon period and gawk at the modern lines of the official 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics venues. Stop to sip some coffee by the beach or reenact an iconic scene from a popular K-Drama. Visit the largest seafood market on South Korea’s east coast and savour everything that they have to offer. All these are possible in Gangneung :)
Gangneung Hockey Centre (강릉 아이스하키 경기장)
Gangneung Hockey Centre is an indoor arena in the coastal city of Gangneung, South Korea. The arena, which cost 108 billion won (about USD90 million) to build, will be one of the 2 venues for the ice hockey events at the 2018 Winter Olympics, serving as the main venue for the men’s tournament and medal matches. It will also host the ice sledge hockey competition during the 2018 Winter Paralympics.
Ojukheon House (오죽헌)
Ojukheon House gets its name from the many black bamboo trees that surround it. It was here where Sinsaimdang (1504-1551) lived and where her son Yi I (penname Yulgok; scholar and politician of the Joseon period) was born. It was built during the time of the 11th King of Joseon, King Jungjong (1506-1544), and remains one of the oldest wooden residential buildings in Korea. It was designated as Treasure No. 165 in 1963 and has been maintained by the descendants throughout the generations.
Location: 24, Yulgok-ro 3139beon-gil, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do.
Gangneung Curling Centre (강릉 실내 빙상경기장)
Gangneung Curling Centre, the an indoor ice arena which was used for the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games, will be used for both the 2018 Winter Olympics and 2018 Winter Paralympics. Located in the coastal city of Gangneung, it will be the venue for curling and wheelchair curling, with a seating capacity of 3,500. It is the only Olympic venue in Gangneung which existed prior to the election of PyeongChang as host city of the 2018 Winter Games.
Seongyojang House (강릉 선교장)
Seongyojang is the former upper class residence of the Naebeon Lee (1703-1781) noble family of Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do Province. The meaning of “Seon”, in Seongyojang, is boat. Gyeongpo Lake was directly in front of Seongyojang at the time it was built, thus making is accessible by boat. Gyeongpo Lake at one time reached the enormous circumference of 12km. Its size has reduced by 4km over the years and its depth has decreased by 1-2 meters. It is said that 10 generations of descendants of Naebeon Lee have continued to live at Seongyojang.
Location: 63, Unjeong-gil, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do.
Jumunjin Breakwater (주문진 방사제)
Jumunjin Breakwater was built to protect the coastline from the effects of erosion and longshore drift. Remember the iconic scene in episode 1 of popular Korean drama “Goblin” where Eun-tak (played by Kim Go Eun) blows out her birthday candles and accidentally summons Goblin (played by Gong Yoo) for the first time? Yes, that’s the one. The pier became a popular attraction after its first appearance in the K-Drama as many visitors now flock the location to take photos of a scene reenactment.
Location: 1609, Haean-ro, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do.
Haslla Art World (하슬라아트월드)
Covering an area of 61 acres, Haslla Art World gets its name
“Haslla” from Gangneung of the Shilla Era. Formed by applying to its natural features, the Art Garden contains the Pine Tree Garden, Time Hall, Wetlands, Field Garden, Sea Garden, and Fun Garden. At the Fun Garden located by the sea, artists and visitors view the artwork placed here, as well as enjoy the clear view of the sea. There is also a study room where children experience the making of artwork and observe nature, as well as try to make “sotdae” (a Korean folk item, a pole, which is set up for prayer or celebration). A full tour takes about an hour and 30 minutes to 2 hours and 30 minutes.
Location: 1441, Yulgong-ro, Gangdong-myeon, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do.
Jeongdongjin Rail Bike (정동진 레일바이크)
Jeongdongjin in Gangneung is in the Guinness Book of World Records for the unique distinction of having a train station that is located the closest to the sea. It’s known as the best spot to see the sunrise and has a rail bike running from Jeongdongjin station, letting you enjoy the beautiful ocean view all the way while on track.
Location: 13, Jeongdongyeok-gil, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do.
Operation Hours: 9pm – 5pm | Admission Fee: 20,000 KRW for 2 seaters / 30,000 KRW for 4 seaters.
Gangneung Ice Arena (강릉 아이스 아레나)
Gangneung Ice Arena is an indoor ice arena which has been built for the 2018 Winter Olympics. Located in the coastal city of Gangneung, it will be the venue for 2 sports: figure skating and short track speed skating. The Gangneung Ice Arena is designed to house 2 ice rinks (60m x 30m) for competition and training respectively, as well as a seating capacity of 12,000. An environmentally-friendly ice cooling system has been adopted, and the facility will be used for local recreational purposes after the Games.
Anmok Coffee Street
Romantic Gangneung is a city of coffee, hence, the city is home to a number of coffee shops in Anmok harbor street and coffee roasting museum. Gangneung’s coffee maniacs have a pride in their own coffee recipes and held the coffee festival every year. If it’s cold out, warm yourself up with a sip of coffee at Anmok coffee street soaking in the beautiful ocean view and relaxing atmosphere.
Location: 16, Changhae-ro 14beon-gil, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do.
Gangneung Oval (강릉 스피드 스케이팅 경기장)
The Gangneung Oval is a speed skating oval in South Korea, which will used for the speed skating competitions at the 2018 Winter Olympics. The venue will consist of a double track 400m rink and has a capacity of 8,000 seats. The original plan was to build the venue at the Gangneung Science Park, but because there was limited space due to the number of local businesses taking the opportunity to relocate, the oval will be built in the Gangneung Olympic Park, in the vicinity of the Gangneung Ice Arena and Gangneung Hockey Centre.
Jumunjin Seafood Market (강릉 주문진수산시장)
Jumunjin Seafood Market was founded in 1936 and is situated in Gangneung next to Jumunjin Port, home to a large fleet of squid boats. The largest seafood market on the East Coast, the market is a favourite among both Koreans and international visitors. Specialties include a variety of fresh seafood caught on the East Coast such as squid, mackerel, pollacks, pikes, and crabs. By the way, you must have the red crabs as they’re absolutely to die for! At the market, visitors can purchase these items (and a number of dried seafood products) at inexpensive prices, as well as get a taste of fresh, delicious sashimi.
Location: 38, Sijang-gil, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do.
Special thanks to our friends from Korea Tourism Organisation (Malaysia) for the opportunity!
Hype Malaysia is also an official “Wow! PyeongChang!” supporter in conjunction with the upcoming 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics in South Korea. So keep a look out for our future posts as we’ll be gushing over places to go, things to do, and food to eat in Gangwon ?
Big shoutout to our friends from Travel Recommends for keeping us connected with unlimited data on our trip to South Korea, enabling us to update real-time for the entire duration without a hitch ?