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Chuncheon

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Chuncheon, Korea

Chuncheon (춘천,春川) City is the capital Gangwon (강원, 江原), the northeasternmost province of South Korea. For travelers weary of Seoul's crowds and big city atmosphere, Chuncheon can be an ideal place to spend several days. The area, surrounded by rivers and hills, offers a variety of relaxing outdoor activities and small town pace.

The city is now a popular destination for East Asian tourists as it was featured in the popular Korean drama serial, Winter Sonata.

Get in[edit]

  • From Incheon International Airport

Reach the city from Seoul's Incheon Internation Airport (ICN) via intercity bus. Tickets available at the bus booth in the arrivals hall at ICN. The approximately length of the bus ride is 2.5 hours (assuming no traffic). The fare is approximately 18,000 Won.

  • From Seoul

If traveling from Seoul, buses depart from the Dong Seoul Bus Station. Buses leave regularly every fifteen minutes, between 6 AM and 9:20 PM, and charge a fare of approximately 6,000 Won. To reach the Dong Seoul Bus Station, take the Seoul subway system to Gangbyeon Station and leave through exit number 4. The bus station will be visible across the street. These buses take approximately 70 minutes or more depending on traffic.

Buses to Chuncheon also depart from Seoul's Sangbong Bus Terminal once every forty minutes, between 5:40 AM and 9:30 PM.

A new subway line has recently opened from Seoul to Chuncheon. The Gyeongchun Line runs from Sangbong Station in the northeast of Seoul to Namchuncheon and Chuncheon Stations. Subways leave every 15 minutes or so, and take a little more than an hour to reach Chuncheon. It's a brand new subway line, mostly aboveground, and winds through the mountains, alongside the rivers and lakes for which the Gangwon region is famous. A one-way ride costs approximately 2,000 won ($1.80), depending on which part of Seoul you're coming from.

You can also take the ITX high speed train from either Yongsan (용산) station or Cheongyangri (청량리) station. The train is very comfortable and quite affordable, and allows you to reach the center of Seoul in less than an hour and a half.

Get Around[edit]

  • Taxis

Taxis are the most efficient way of getting around Chuncheon. Taxis are plentiful and you can easily find one within a few minutes if you wait on the sidewalk of most busier streets in the city. You may have trouble catching one if you are on the outskirts of Chuncheon or during rush hour when most are in use. The English word "Taxi" is used in Korean, so it's easy to ask someone where one might wait to find a taxi.

The taxis are identified by a sign mounted on top of the car, but also have a red LED sign with Hangul lettering inside their windshield. If this sign is lit, it signifies that the taxi is available for hire. They turn this sign off when they are already transporting a customer. Stick your arm out to the street as a taxi approaches and they will stop.

Taxis are the best option for short trips through town and are nice when you need door to door service. They are especially helpful when shopping and you have goods to carry with you as you can put them in the trunk or the back seat. Another benefit is when you have multiple people in your group as the fee is the same no matter how many people ride.

Most taxi drivers speak no English, so it is a good idea to have the address of your destination written in Korean to show the taxi driver.

  • Buses

Though bus numbers are clearly marked and always run the same routes, most are not on any kind of schedule and you could wait 5 minutes or over an hour at a bus stop. They can also become very crowded and you may have to wait for people to get off after several stops before you can acquire a seat. Bus stops are placed throughout the city, but may be a little walk from where you are staying or from your destination. However, buses are more economical when traveling alone or going very far outside the city. Bus fare is typically 1100 won per person. Most Koreans who ride the bus regularly have a chipped card they scan when they board. As a visitor, you will need to put the exact cash into a slot in the front when boarding.

When you approach the stop you need to get off at, press the red button to the right of the exit door located on the passenger side of the bus half way back. This signals the driver to stop and the side doors will open. Exit quickly as it seems they are often off and running again before you can hit the ground.

See[edit][add listing]

  • Animation Museum [1]

Korea's only Animation Museum is located in Chuncheon and is worth a visit of a few hours or more. The museum sits directly next to an animation studio. Patrons may also purchase tickets to view a screening of animated Korean short films for 4,000 won. The subject matter mainly pertains to the history of Korean animation, but also highlights animation from other parts of the world, including North Korea, Europe, Japan, and the United States. Although most of the displays are in Korean only, English speakers will still enjoy the variety of media presented. The sculptures outside of the museum, created with used car parts, are a popular photo opportunity.

  • Chuncheon city hall [2]

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Jungdo (Island)

A large island on the Soyang River. A ferry runs to the island every half hour. Fare is 5500W per adult. The island makes a great day trip or picnic. You can hike around and see ancient Korean huts, or rent bikes and ride a paved trail that goes around one side of the island. Bike rental is approximately 10,000w per hour. Surrey bikes and four wheelers are also available to rent. The island has places where you can camp, and at the southern end there are cabins for rent (55,000 won per night and up). Ask about these at the tourist bureau; they don't speak English at the office on the island.

  • Soyang Dam

At the head of the Soyang river. The dam creates Soyang Lake. Boat rides are available to tour the lake, and there is a boat ride that takes you to a hiking trail to see a Buddhist temple. There are food stalls along the walk to the docks - they sell boiled lake shellfish, pancakes, fried grasshoppers and such...

  • Hiking

Chuncheon sits in a valley surrounded by mountains. Bong Ui Mountain is a famous peak located just North of Myongdong (Downtown Chuncheon) and sits just south of the Soyang river. Trails lead to the top from all sides of the mountain, and there is exercise equipment on top. It is not a very tall peak, but makes for a good hike. Its elevation is approximately 925ft, next to the Soyang River which is 240ft.

Another group of hiking trails is located on the east side of Chuncheon. Starting at the provincial police headquarters, and running in back of the LotteMart in EmmaCo, the main trail runs along a ridge, crossing over several highways on elaborate bridges. Side trails lead up from the west.

From the tourist resort of Gangchon, one can hike to a waterfall, or up the mountain to a high village where there are several restaurants for hikers.

Trails for hiking and biking can be found along the river running through the south part of Chuncheon, and then on along the lakeshore on the west side of town.

  • Statue Park

A park with many marble statues and a building which contains and replica of an ancient Korean water clock. A small store provides bike rentals and across the street are docks where you can rent paddle boats on the river. The river feeds into the Soyang and from there you can see Jungdo island. The Ethiopian war memorial is adjacent to this park.

  • Gangchon Ski Resort

Located approximately 30 minutes drive from downtown Chuncheon. A free shuttle runs from Chuncheon to the ski resort.

  • Cheongpyeong-sa Temple, The ferry leaves from Soyang Dam, +82-33-1330, [3]. Cheongpyeong Temple is South Korea's National Treasure No. 164 is a Buddhist temple dating back to reign of King Gwang-Jong (949-975). Tucked away in a valley between two mountains, it sits at the southern ridge of Mount Bong. The walk up to Cheongpyong Temple is one of Korea's most beautiful walks. Surrounded by woods, clean air and a beautiful stream with many waterfalls, the walk up to the temple is a walk that one does not want to miss. There is a small entry fee to get into the "park" and there are many "ma and pa" restaurants and vendors along the way for snacks. One of the most amazing experiences is dining on the river on a small river table, a platform that is placed in the middle of the stream. There is a small backpackers motel near the entrance of the temple if you want to stay overnight. There are a lot of hiking trails that branch into the mountain for those who want to experience Chuncheon's best eco-tourism site. However, to get to Cheongpyeong Temple is quite difficult. There is a mountain ridge road that takes you up and around the valley, however most people tend to take the ferry that leaves from Soyang Dam. This dam is about a 30 minute taxi ride from Chuncheon's central station. Adults 5,000 won / Youth 5,000 won / Children 3,000 won Including Ferry Charge.  edit

Buy[edit][add listing]

Koreans rely heavily on small, individual stores to provide goods and services for specific things. The idea of a mega store that sells everything is more recent, but growing in popularity. There are a few of these type of "mega" stores in Chuncheon, making it easy for a foreigner to find most of the grocery and general household items they need.

  • Emart

The closest thing to a Walmart equivalent, Emart is a large shopping center with most everything you might need. The lower level is a food court and grocery center, the second level a department store and additional levels for parking. Emart is located on the south side of Chuncheon.

  • GS Mart (Note: As of Dec. 2010 GS Mart in 'Aemma Co' is now Lottemart.)

A bit smaller than Emart, GS mart provides much of the same in terms of product and pricing. GS Mart also has a food court upstairs that includes a McDonalds. Some local Koreans seem to prefer GS Mart due to it's "cleaner" and less crowded nature, but it doesn't offer as large of a selection of groceries and household goods as Emart. GS Mart can be found in Seoksadong on the east side of Chuncheon.

  • Home Plus

Address: Toegye-dong 144-1, Chuncheon-si, Gangwon-do, South Korea. Hours: 10am - 12pm Price: Like Emart: Relatively inexpensive. It is very similar to E-mart and has all essentials packed into one, four story building. Produce, groceries, electronics, hardware, homeware, kitchenware, beauty products, cleaning supplies...obviously the list goes on. If you live in Toegye-dong it's the best and probably closes mart you can get to. It even has a really yummy food court on B1 and an American style restaurant (buffet style) on B2.

Eat[edit][add listing]

Many dakgalbi restaurants can be found at its namesake, Chuncheon's Dakgalbi Street.
  • Dakgalbi Street

Chuncheon is known for its Dakgalbi Street, featuring a large number of restaurants that specialize in the dish. Dakgalbi (Hangul: 닭갈비) is a delicious grilled chicken dish with vegetables and topped off with a spicy Gochujang Sauce. Most restaurants will offer both tables with chairs and tables with floor seating. Chicken, rice cakes vegetables are grilled before you on the table's skillet.

  • Kangwon National University's back gate

There's a number of places, for both Korean and foreign cuisines in this area.

  • East of the bus terminal'

Starting a block east of the bus terminal, one finds dozens of restaurants serving a wide variety of Korean dishes. Walk around and check it out!

  • Vips - A western style buffet with a Korean twist to it. Here the customer can order steak, an all-you-can-eat salad bar (with drinks included), tacos, fried chicken, and more. In the background, American music plays. The price for the buffet is about 25,000 won.
  • Outback Steakhouse - The Australian-themed American casual dining restaurant with many places throughout Korea. Many different kinds of appetizers and steaks are available to enjoy. Prices range from 10,000 won for burgers to 35,000 won for steak. This place is located across the street from the E-Mart Bus Terminal.
  • Hajukol

This upscale restaurant in the far eastern part of Chuncheon's urban area serves lunch for around 18,000 won per person. The set meal comes with many courses, appealing visually as well as taste-wise.

  • Peace of Mind Bakery and Book Cafe. This cafe is filled with so many books, it can be considered a library. They serve bread as side dishes and offer steak, Italian food, and special teas. Before one leaves, the customer has the option to purchase baked snacks to go (like cookies) and special teas. In the background soothing music is played from a satellite service. The owner of the shop is a gentleman who speaks fluent English and is extremely friendly, he loves what he does. To get there take a taxi: 200-933 Gangwon-do Chuncheon-si Soksadong 114-12 (Hangul: 200-933 강원도 춘천시 석사동 114-12). Telephone number: 033-262-7864, 011-9129-4706.
  • Markets

The downtown market has a number of inexpensive food stalls serving all kinds of Korean food. Also get fresh fruits here, sweets, rice cake, meat (including gaegogi [dogmeat] in season]. A five-day market located near the main post office also has tasty dishes as well as produce, fish, etc.

  • Pat Bing Su

This tasty ice dessert is sold with many variations in the summer and early autumn. Bakeries often make the best versions. Try the Paris Baguette on the main circle in the middle of town.

  • Other Options

If you are interested in trying other Korean foods, try walking or driving around Chuncheon as there are many restaurants to be found. Note that many restaurants specialize in just one type of food. For example, some restaurants serve only pork, others only chicken, and so on.

The budget traveler can easily purchase instant noodles and other snacks cheaply from convenience stores.

Drink[edit][add listing]

Chuncheon has plenty of bars and small, local establishments that serve beer and coffee and a limited selection of food. These small establishments are called "Hof's".

  • Sheriff's,(At Kangwon National University's Back Gate). Decent music, a couple of dart boards, and a fair selection of cocktails and beer, this western styled and themed bar is a popular place to hang out for both students of the University as well as foreign expats working in Chuncheon.


  • Tudari. Tudari is a major chain of Hof's serving mostly Korean beer and bar food. Usually nice and clean inside and fairly inexpensive. Tudari establishments can be found all over Chuncheon without looking very hard.
  • Hard Rock, (Kangwon University Back Gate Opposite Johnny's Bar, on the main 'bar street') A good 'Western' bar with a great selection of cocktails and imported beers, both bottled and draft. Guinness, Heineken, and Sapporo on tap, will even make a 'black-n-tan'. Also carries some hard to find import bottles, such as Duvel, XXXX, German weizens, and even North Korean-produced "Taedonggang", along with the normal Korean bar food and Korean beer.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Motels[edit]



Motels can be found in many places throughout Chuncheon. While they vary in price, they tend to be around ₩40,000.

Thehotel Q Chuncheon.(Motel)[edit]

This place is ₩40,000 to ₩70,000 per night. Room with a Queen bed and full-size bed. This place includes Free internet access and Wi-Fi. The hotel is conveniently located near Chuncheon station in a business district. Tell the taxi driver the name of the Hotel Q, but if necessary tell him the address is Hyoja-dong. (효자동 656-8 호텔큐) Tel 033-256-4334 (Facebook.com/ThehotelQ)[4]


Jjim Jil Bang (Hangeul: 찜질방) is a South Korean cultural experience that is not common anywhere else. If one is a visitor, the pleasant experience depends how well one is able to sleep. Essentially, the environment contains different rooms in a common area for family and friends to sleep. These rooms include: lockers, gender segregated shower rooms and baths, common area to sleep on floors, gender segregated sleeping rooms, saunas (hot rooms), snack shops, and massage rooms. It is advised that most likely the first night may be difficult to sleep if one is not accustomed to sleep on hard floors or sleep through snoring.

  • Jasujung Bool Sauna (Hangeul: 자수정 불사우나). This place is ₩8,000 per night. The lobby will give customers a pair of night clothes. This place includes blankets to rent, but must be done so before 12:30AM (otherwise, the shop will be closed). This place also includes an indoor PC Bang, an exercise room, and a restaurant.

Tell the taxi driver the name of the jjim jil bang, but if necessary tell him the address is Yagsa-dong (Hangeul: 약사동) 150-10.

Get out[edit]

Buses depart regularly to most major cities, including Seoul, from Chuncheon's Bus Station, on the south side of town. It may be worthwhile to inquire in advance at the station if unsure of the bus schedules.

A popular place for locals and other East Asian tourists is Nam-i Island, which consists of tree-lined boulevards that are among the set locations for the popular Korean drama serial, Winter Sonata. Particularly romantic when it snows in the winter, and popular among couples.



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