Sokcho has a population of around 84,000. It's quite a sleepy city and is known as a gateway to Seoraksan National Park, which is a 30 minute bus ride from the central hub. Also, the DMZ is located an hour north by bus, from the central hub. The city has many beaches and areas to view the East Sea, or Sea of Japan.
Sokcho is a sprawling city. The buses are infrequent for a Korean city. The two bus terminals (intercity and express) are some distance from one another. The 7 and 7-1 city buses leave regularly for Seoraksan National Park from the bus terminal. The bus leaves irregularly for Osaek (south Seoraksan) from the intercity bus terminal.
See Abai Village A small village of North Korean expats. Located just off the main street, a hand drawn (called Gaetbae and only 200 Won) ferry will take you across the river to this charming village. You can even pull the boat across as a kind of "exercise." There isn't much to see in the village itself, but it served as scenery for the TV drama "Autumn in My Heart" and serves excellent Abai Sundae, a local speciality and probably the best sundae in Korea. Instead of pork casings and blood, this variety uses squid for both the casing and filing. Rice, squid, seasonings and vegetables are cooked and then stuffed inside the cavity of the squid, which is then cooked whole. Then the squid 'sausage' is sliced. It's different in size and has a unique flavor from other sundae in Korea.
Visit the Seoraksan National Park (two hours before sunrise to two hours before sunset), one of the most beautiful national parks in South Korea. Try and visit on a clearer day because if you climb to the peaks there isn't much to see from the top except for clouds when visibility is low. Buses (Nr. 7 and Nr. 7-1) get you from Sokcho to the park within 30 minutes. The park has a variety of routes which are well marked and i.e. lead to the Ulsanbawi peak, Biryong Waterfall, Geumganggul Cave, Biseondae, etc. Also, a cable car runs to Gwongeumseong Fortress and takes about 10 minutes to ascend to the top. The view is stunning except for cloudy days when you can't see much. It has stunning nature, beautiful temples, a giant Buddha statue and scenic rivers. The park can be quite crowded at ground level but the higher you get the less people you will see. A variety of food places provide with drinks and meals along all the routes.
See the East Sea / Sea of Japan. The beaches are not the most beautiful in the world but at night you might get to see a lot of Korean groups burning fireworks at the beach. There are numerous pagodas and observation areas for sunsets with fishing ships in the foreground. Also, the Lighthouse Observatory offers a better-than-average view of the East Sea.
Visit Sokcho Beach Only "open" from approximately July 10 - August 20, but still worth a visit when the beach is "closed", but you can still get on the beach.
Take a bike ride around Yeongnangho Lake The lake funnels into the East Sea and takes about an hour on bike to get fully around the lake. Some stops along the way include Bombawi, a rock shaped like a crouched tiger which offers views of downtown, pagodas and temples.
If you're lost without an essential and are having trouble finding it try the E-mart near the express bus terminal. Also, fans of dried squid can find a whole package of squid for only 10,000 won, which is the same price, if not less, that most restaurants sell one squid for.
Sokcho is known for raw fish. It can be quite expensive in restaurants (70,000 Won for two).
Sundubu (soft tofu) can be found in the streets of the tofu towns such as Sinheung Sundubu and Haksapyeong Sundubu. Made from pure Mt. Seoraksan water and seawater, it's chemincal free, nutritious, tasty and only 5,000 won in some areas.
Ojingo-sundae Sokcho offers a unique twist to sundae (Korean sausage) by using squid instead of pork intestines. The squid sundae consists of squid stir-fry, made with noodles and blood sausage, with carrots, onions, seaweed and spices mixed together, covered in egg yolk and fried. It runs about 10,000 Won per dish.
Wangshiprigoihanmadang (왕십리구이한마당), Rodeo Street (Walk toward the harbor from the intercity bus terminal and turn left at the three-way intersection.), ☎ 33-636-7849 , . 6:00pm - 12:00am. For ten thousand won, you can eat an unlimited amount of meat, octopus, fish, and mandu. All of the standard types of pork are available, and they even have chicken marinated in some yellow stuff. Many foreigners staying at the House Hostel go there because the proprietor duly recommends it to everyone. There are also stray cats that lurk around which are fun to feed the fish to as long as you don't get caught doing it. Because many places do not serve alcohol and ice cream together, it is important to make an elusive makeoli-ice cream float if you patronize this fine establishment.10000. edit
Sokcho is not filled with the plethora of hofs (restaurants with a drinking atmosphere), but almost all restaurants serve beer and soju (sweet potato wine, 20% proof) for 3,000 Won per liter of beer, 500 mL of soju. Hofs do exist, but are scattered, and mostly empty.
The House Hostel A three minute walk from Sokcho Intercity Bus Terminal and City Hall. Cheap accomodation in the central hub of Sokcho. Facilities include free internet access, free laundry, free bike rentals, guest kitchen and common room. Also, comes with an excellent staff fluent in English and serves you with a smile. Booking in advance is recommended since the place is popular with tourists. Address: 452-5 Dongmyeong-dong, Sokcho-si, Kangwon-do, Korea. Phone: 82-033-633-3477 or 82-017-713-0550. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Beach Camping. There is camping right by the beach in a designated area for only 6,000 per night. Look for the "Dome Pensions" the camping area is next to it. edit
There are tourist information kiosks beside both the intercity and express bus terminals. These are not always open on public holidays. More information on the city can be found at the Seoraksan National Park Information Center.
DMZ Approximately one hour north is the demilitarized zone and the Goseong Unification Observatory. However this is difficult to access by public transport and it is recommended only for people with private vehicles.
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