Gangneung (강릉)  is the largest coastal city in Gangwon Province, third largest overall. It is nestled at the east side of South Korea's longest mountain range, Taebaek. The Taebaek Mountains stretch along the eastern edge of Korean Penninsula and run along the East Sea. Geologically isolated from most parts of the country, Gangneung was able to preserve its own distinct culture and to date it has a tendency of being politically and culturally more conservative.
Tourist information office, Gangneung-si Hongje-dong 992-3 (behind the bus terminal). Tel: +82-33-1330 / +82-33-640-4414, 4531 (English, Japanese, Chinese). Open all year round 08:30~18:00.
Provides maps and guide books (English, Japanese, Chinese).
Gangneung Bus Terminal connects Gangneung to all major cities in Korea. Gangneung is a popular weekend destination during the summer for Koreans living in the capital area. There is only one expressway that connects Gangneung to Seoul. Consequently, traffic gets very heavy coming in on Fridays and leaving on Sundays.
Here you can find the main tourist information centre (TIC).
Gangneung Station is the terminus for the Dong Hae line of Korail. There are 4 trains daily that connect directly to Cheongnyangni Station in Seoul, but it takes a circuitous but very pittoresque route through the mountains of Wonju and Taebaek and takes a 5:30 hours drive.
A tourist information booth is in front of the station.
Downtown Gangneung is not very big. One can cross downtown on foot in 15 minutes. Getting to other popular areas will take less than 15 minutes by taxi from downtown.
Most streets in Gangneung have names and signs.
The public bus system is good. Most signs on the buses do not have English. Sometimes one bus number will have two routes; be careful, particularly if boarding near the bus terminal. Fare is a flat 1,200 won for city routes when you pay cash and 1,080 won when you use T-money.
As of May '13, flagfall for a taxi is 2,800 won. Most taxi drivers do not speak English.
Most bicycle shops sell second hand bicycles starting at about 50,000. You can buy one and sell it back to the shop for about 50% of purchase price.
Ojukheon Museum 오죽헌, which is named after a special black bamboo growing in this area, has been the birthplace of the famous Korean scholar Yulgok (1536-1584 A.D. His portrait is featured on the 5,000 Won bank note) and his mother Saimdang(1504-1551 A.D. Who is featured on the 50,000 Won bank note). Since 1963 the Ojukheon Museum counts as national cultural heritage No 165. It includes one of the oldest wooden buildings in Korea. Several shrines and old residential buildings deliver insight into the lives of these famous Koreans. It is located about 1 km west of Gyeongpo Beach. 033-640-4457. To get there from the train station, take bus numbers 300, 301, or 302. (In the Gyeongpo Area)
Gangneung Municipal Museum shows folklore and antique pieces from the history of the city.
Daegwallyeong Museum 대관령박물관 consists of a revealing collection of more than 2000 artifacts from prehistory up to the modern time, and shows the history of the region. It is located in a somewhat remote area about 5km southwest of downtown. Daegwallyeong is the name given to the mountainous region between Wonju and Gangneung. 033-640-4482. (Daewallyeong Area)
Coffee Museum 커피박물관. You can visit a coffee farm. See coffee roasters, grinders, and espresso machines. 033-655-6644. www.cupper.kr (Daewallyeong Area)
Gangneung artist’s village, oriental embroidery museum강릉예술창작인축, 동양자수박물관. (Next to the Ojukheon Museum.) 033-642-2210 = artists’ village. 033-644-0600 = museum. http://café.naver.com/original2010 , orientalembroidery.org (city center area)
Seongyojang House 선교장 - this house is a representative house of the Joseon dynasty. It has rooms labeled Dongbyeoldang, Yeolhwadang, Hwalraejeong and Sadang. It has 8000 relics including traditional household wares, artwork, and clothes. 033-646-3270. www.knsgj.net (In the Gyeongpo Area)
Memorial Park for Heo Gyun and Heo Nanseolheon 허균허난설헌 기념공원. The place where Heo Nanseolheon (1563-1589), a famous female poet. 033-640-5118. (Gyeongpo area)
Charmsori Gramophone and Edison Science Museum 참소리축음기에디슨박물관. The world’s largest gramophone museum. 033-655-1130. http://edison.kr (Gyeongpo area)
Gyeongpodae Pavilion 경포대 / Gyeongpodae Lake 경포호 - the pavilion is apparently a very scenic sight in Eastern Korea, founded in 1326. Tranquil place to chill and check out the scenery. Walking and jogging paths nearby. 033-640-5904. (In the Gyeongpo Area)
Deungmyeongnakgasa Temple 등명락가사. This temple was founded by Jajang Yulsa during the reign of Queen Seondeok of the Silla dynasty. Home to the 5-storied Stone pagoda, and the Celadon Scuplture of the 500 arhats. (Jeongdongjin / Okgye area)
Bohyeonsa temple 보현사. The oldest temple in Gangneung. Erected in the late Silla period. 033-648-9431. (Daewallyeong Area)
Gangneunghyanggyo Confucian school강릉 향교. The largest and oldest Confucian school in Korea. 033-648-3667. (city center area)
Flagpole supports of Gulsansa temple site강릉 굴산사지 당간지주. This temple was the center of zen Buddhism in Korea. Founded in 847 AD. The largest of its kind in Korea. (city center area)
Sinboksa temple site 신복사지. Probably built in 850 AD. (city center area)
Gyeongpo Wetland Ecological Park, 경포생태습지공원 - a park to preserve and restore the ecosystem around Gyeongpo. This park helps lower the salt content of the water and maintains water flow in Gyeongpoho lake. Includes a facility to observe the wetland ecology. (In the Gyeongpo Area)
Gyeongpo Beach 경포해변 is located 6 km north from the centre of the city. It is a beautiful beach of white sands, perfect for swimming and even fishing. Restaurants around the beach offer fresh fish specialities. Numerous festivals take place at this site. Next to the beach there are many cultural sites. It is the third most visited beach in Korea, and as such is very crowded during the summer. To avoid crowds, go to the beaches just north or south. They offer the same beach conditions, but are far less crowded. 033-640-5129. (In the Gyeongpo Area)
Old Daegwallyeong Pass 대관령옛길. A hiking trail. It takes about 1 hour and 50 minutes to walk down the pass, and 2 hours and 20 minutes to walk up the pass. The pass is smooth and easily accessible. www.east.foa.go.kr 033-640-8520~2 (Daewallyeong Area)
Daegwallyeong Recreation Forest. 대관령 휴양림 The first artificially created forest in Korea (made in 1988). Nice views of the sea and Gangneung city. Good for relaxing. 033-641-8327. www.huyang.go.kr (reservation is only available on the internet) (Daewallyeong Area)
Jeongdonjin Station 정동진역 – This train station is in the Guinness book of world records for being the train station that is closest to the ocean. 033-644-5062. www.jeongdongjin.co.kr Tip: If you walk south of the train station for about 20 minutes, you get to the Hourglass park. (Jeongdongjin / Okgye area)
Geumjin Port 금진항. Visitors can sit on the seawall and enjoy the view of the port and fishing. 033-640-4605. (Jeongdongjin / Okgye area)
Jumunjin Port 주문진항. The largest port in the Gangneung area. Good place to get cheap fresh fish. 033-640-4627. (Jumujin area)
Unification park 통일공원. This includes the Unification security pavilion, and the warship pavilion. In 1996, a North Korean submarine infiltrated this area. It is now an exhibit. 033-640-4470 = Warship pavilion. 033-640-4469 = unification security pavilion. (Jeongdongjin / Okgye area)
Haslla Art World 하슬라아트월드. A recreational and cultural art park. Opens at 7:30am. 033-644-9411, 644-9414~5. www.haslla.com (Jeongdongjin / Okgye area)
The suncruise Resort 썬크루즈리조트. A theme type of land-based cruise-shaped hotel. It’s on a hill, so enjoy the sunrise. 033-610-7000. www.esuncruise.com (Jeongdongjin / Okgye area)
Hourglass park 모래시계공원. The world’s largest sandglass built in the park. Ceremoniously turned each January 1st. It’s about a 20-minute walk south of Jeongdonjin Station. 033-640-4533 (Jeongdongjin / Okgye area)
Mountain village camp in Buyeon-dong 부연동산축체험마을. A family resort. The area has a mineral water spring, and they make honey. 033-661-6671 (Jumujin area)
Forest Fire public information hall 산불방지홍보관. You can receive training, according to the brochure. 033-640-4853. (Jumujin area)
Gangneung Imyeonggwan Samun (Triple Gate) and Imgyeonggwan guesthouse 강릉 임영관 삼문과 임영관. National treasure number 51. It shows construction techniques from the Goryeo dynasty. 033-640-5119. (city center area)
Gangneung Danoje(May 3 ~ May 7 of the lunar calendar every year, mid June): Gangwon-do's largest folk festival was registered in 2000 with UNESCO Intangible Cultural Assets. The city becomes a festive ambience with over 50 official events. The greatest attractions are the Gwanno Mask Play, open-air market with a thousand shops and splendid fireworks.
International Junior Art Festival, IJAF for short, is an youth festival which is held annually at Gyeongpo Beach in Gangneung, South Korea for four days at the beginning of August. With 300 participants from seven nations and 500 visitors every night, it is considered the biggest international youth festival in South Korea. The festival lasts four days (1.-4. August). Each group performs twice: one performance on the main stage at Gyeongpo Beach, one performance on the sub stage next to the Gangneung Arts Hall in the city. The first evening starts with a big parade of all participants through the city towards the beach. The opening and closing ceremony includes a big fireworks at the beach. During festival days, the participating groups attend several cultural workshops. The festival is free of charge for the participating groups, entrance is free for the audience.
Gyeongpo Rock Festival takes place at Gyeongpo Beach right after the IJAF from 5.-9. August since 2006. This rock festival, first and foremost attracting young people, offers young Korean bands from the Gangneung area a stage for their performances.
Gangneung Coffee Festival is an eleven-day long annual event which began in October of 2009. Gangneung has recently been called 'Coffee City' due to the emergence of privately owned coffee shops that serve high quality coffee.
Skiing/Snowboarding: Pyeongchang, the site of 2018 Winter Olympics is located approximately 30km west of Gangneung. There are several ski resorts such as Alpensia Ski Resort, the location where the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2018 Winter Olympics will take place, and Yongpyong Ski Resort which has 31 slopes and 15 different lift facilities.
Biking: Gyeongpo Lake has a paved biking/walking trail around its 4km long shore. There are bike rental shops near the lake.
There are several market places in Gangneung. Gangneung Jung Ang Market is located at the center of the city and is the largest one in the area. Jumunjin Fish Market located at Jumunjin Harbor is also very popular with tourists as they can see and buy various types of fish, inkfish, and shellfish.
There are two major discount stores, Homeplus and E-Mart.
Chodang Grandma's Sundubu, 77 Chodang Sundubu-gil. Ph: (033) 652-2058. If you like sundubu (soft tofu), there is no better place to go in town and Gangneung is well known for some of the best sundubu. Sundubu: 4,000 won.
Gangneung Gamja Ongsimi, 171 Toseong-ro. Ph: (033) 648-0340. Televised on several popular national TV programs for their gamja ongsimi, a variety of dumpling soup.
Yehyang Makguksu, 62 Nanseolheon-ro. Ph: (033) 644-2270. Makguksu is Gangwon's local specialty buckwheat noodle dish served in a chilled broth. If you ask the locals, Yehyang is one of the places they will tell you to go for makguksu. 6,000 won for a bowl. Besides, there are Dong Hae Makguksu, Samkyori Dongchimee Makguksu, etc.
Geumhak Kalguksu, 12-6 Daehak-gil. Ph: (033) 646-0175. Not a very clean place, but their kalguksu, a handmade, knife-cut noodle soup is what makes the locals keep coming back for more. 4,000 won for kalguksu.
Ho Ho Sarang, Byeong Sang Dong 327, ☎ (033)651-2151. This family owned restaurant serves a truly unique dish: baked yellow squash stuffed with smoked duck. You can also enjoy dong-dong ju, a traditional rice wine, with your meal. edit
So-Zac's American Breakfast, Gyodong/Taekji, ☎ 070-4248-1303, . 8am-10pm. American Owned Breakfast Cafe opens at 8:00am. American Microbrews, Specialty Teas, & Outdoor seating. 5 minutes from the beach, 5 minutes from the bus terminal, 10 minutes from downtown 2-10 dollars. edit
Rush Bar, Downtown. Foreign Friendly Music Baredit
Bon Voyage, Gyo-Dong / Taekji. Eclectic Bar with Music Videos & Imported Bottlesedit
Bus Bar, Gyo-Dong / Taekji (Next door to Wa-Bar). Inexpensive Domestic & Imported Drafts ( Locally owned & Operated) Friendly Staff & Managment edit
Lipo Hostess Bar, Downtown (Across from IBK Bank near the main street). Hostess Bar specializing in Cocktails ( Only place in town to get a Manhattan) edit
Beer King (맥주왕), Downtown. Self-Service Beer Bar - Before paying collect your bottles and scan them at the register edit