Gangneung 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. Taebaek Mountains stretch along the eastern edge of Korean Penninsula and run along 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 is a train that connects to Cheongnyangri Station in Seoul, but it goes takes a circuitous route through the mountains and takes 6:30 hours.
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.
Flagfall for a taxi is 2,200 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.
Gyeongpo Beach 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.
Ojukheon Museum, 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.
Gangneung Municipal Museum shows folklore and antique pieces from the history of the city.
Daegwallyeong Museum consists of a revealing collection of more than 1000 artifacts 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.
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.
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 Gangneung. 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 the place they will tell you to go for makguksu. 6,000 won for a bowl.
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.
The area code for Gangneung and the rest of Gangwon province is 033.