Jeongdongjin is in Gangwon-do and its minutes away from Gangneung by train. It also has the closest train station to the sea.
I was pretty disappointed that the seaside train (http://www.seatrain.co.kr/) was closed for maintenance till December 2013. But I found out at the tourist information center at Gangneung Bus Terminal that I could still take the normal train to Jeongdongjin. Ha, silly me. I totally forgot about normal trains. In fact, it is cheaper to take the normal trains to Jeongdongjin train station and it’s the same view. You just got to be lucky to sit on the left side to see the sea.
Upon reaching, once the train leave the station, you can take your time to roll on the train tracks until the next train stops by the station. This is a great chance for those who don’t get a single chance to ever come near the tracks. I was going crazy because the day was really pretty and I took lots of pictures.
Jeongdongjin’s transport are a little slow, so you probably need to get cab everywhere you go. If not you could spend a lot of time waiting for transport. I wanted to get head to the Unification park which features the US Warship, a wooden boat used by defectors to escape North Korea and also a North Korean submarine which crashed into the coast of Gangneung in 1996 (just trying to remember what I read in the park). The road outside the train station has no bus stops, or at least I don’t see any. So I asked one of the workers in the train station and he said it would be better to catch a cab there instead. So I got on, and the cab driver asked if I would like to have a tour around Jeongdongjin instead of just going one place, 3 hours tour for the 60000won (around 65 bucks) and I thought why not?
So the driver drove me around and it was nice because some of the places I didn’t even thought of going because its so far away. Places he covered were the Unification park and museum, Deungmyeongnakgasa Temple, Hourglass park, Heonhwa Road and Suncruise Resort, which covers pretty everything you need to see in Jeongdongjin. He even double up as a photographer so yay to people taking pictures for me again hahaha!
I thought the Unification park was nice because I get to see real ROK soldiers. And that North Korean submarine is so small and creepy. I can’t actually believe that there’s actually 25 North Korean soldiers in it. There’s also a US Warship in the park and we could look around it too. What surprised me was there’s a Coffee Cupper cafe up on the ship, which I find damn cool. Ha!
Though not in the list of places to visit, I was brought to the museum (I can’t remember what’s the name of the museum though) and had a look at the history of the Korean war. One thing good about having the locals bring you around, they know the best way to see things. After the museum, the driver showed me a way down the hill where I could see the president’s plane, all of it which weren’t listed in the “What to see/do in Jeongdongjin”.
Hourglass park was pretty nice, and it’s very interesting how they reset the hourglass every year. The sand in the hourglass contains 1 year’s of sand. I was explained that the position changes every year because they will roll the hourglass to the left when the year ended to turn over the hourglass, and then in 2015, the hourglass will be rolled to the right again.
Another place we visited was the Heonhwa Road, one of Korea best winding road along the coast. My pictures really don’t do justice to the road but if there’s anything you should not miss in Jeongdongjin, this is definitely it! I felt like I was in the movie when I drove by this windy road, really beautiful!
The Suncruise resort is pretty sweet from afar but other than the cliff stairways and the glass bottom balcony at the end of the stairway, there’s really nothing much and definitely not worth 5000won for entrance fee.
I pretty much like Jeongdongjin and the cab driver brought me to eat a really cheap 6000won Maeuntang. My impression of Maeuntang is really expensive because they cook it with fish, but 6000won per person is such cheap deal! Can I add that it was really delicious? I gave the cab driver a treat cos I thought he did really well though.
Though I would totally call myself lazy for getting a taxi driver to bring me around in Jeongdongjin, but I was glad I did because I got to see things beyond what I’ve planned and the trip to Jeongdongjin was fruitful and Jeongdongjin definitely have more than just the seaside train station that is awesome.
TIP: Before leaving the train station to get your cab, check with the train station staffs on the train back to wherever you want to go. Reason being, the trains in Jeongdongjin don’t come as regularly like how trains in Seoul does. It is good to have a grasp of what time is the last train back so that you can plan how long you have over there.