I really really love Gangneung even before I’ve stepped onto it’s soil but it’s really sad I have been running out of Gangneung and never taken a good look at what Gangneung has to really offer. Also known as pine city, you really see a lot of pine trees being planted here (need a christmas tree? come get yours here. okay no please don’t)
I took a 5am train from Busan train station and headed to Dongdaegu (another train station in Daegu) to catch a train to Gangneung and arrived at about 1230pm in the afternoon. It’s a small train station compared to a lot of other cities in Korea, I like how it is clean and simple. The moment you walk out of the train station, you can find a tourist information counter with some maps and information of the Gangneung and surroundings areas. They only display the korea language maps and information pamplets, but if the guy in the counter is around, you can ask him for a English one (not sure if Mandarin/Japanese maps are available though).
Most of the attractions are located nearer to the beach and it takes about 20-30mins or so from the bus terminal depending on where you go and which bus you take. So a better choice of accommodation would be a motel or guesthouse near the beach. If you are going during non-peak season (peak would be jun-sep i guess), you don’t have to worry about not booking beforehand though. I was a little anxious about how it would turn out when I reach the area so I went ahead and pre-booked my stay in Gangneung.
Because information were so limited when I was doing some research, i had little idea of how the place was going to be like, so instead of choosing a guesthouse from naver blogs, I ended up booking with Agoda just because it would be a safer choice, with good location. Just in case you guys were wondering which guesthouse I booked, here’s the link: http://www.agoda.com/myunganae-guesthouse/hotel/gangneung-si-kr.html
I was a little clueless as to where to go after coming out from the train station so I rang up the guesthouse owner and he came to pick me up and gave me a little tour around the place. After that, I had such bad motion sickness i slept till 5pm. Lol. Blame my lousy body. So I wasted my first day in Gangneung sleeping.
This bridge on Gangmun Beach is supposed to light up with beautiful coloured lights but for my 3 nights there, i’ve never seen anything lighting up though. .___.
Gangmun Beach from the bridge
Gyeongpo Beach – Just minutes walk away from Gangmun beach
Because of the location Gangneung is situated at, there are plenty of beaches here for you to choose from (I’ve blogged about Anmok beach – Coffee street earlier) and here are 2 beaches I see everyday. During summer, people flock to Gangneung for the sun, beach and sea. And because I went in autumn, you don’t see the crowd here. Besides during summer, Koreans also come to Gangneung on the last day of the year as they believe that they would be the first to see the first sunrise of the year from the east coast. So those planning for the new year, plan ahead!! If not you will end up sleeping on the streets/tents.
Gyeongpo beach is a bigger one with more restaurants and convenience stores. You can find a lot of motels and guesthouses along this beach as well. As there are a lot of swinging beaches along the beach, it is actually a popular area for couples to hang out. The restaurants here sells pretty delicious stuffs too!
Another place I’ve visited in Gangneung would be Ojukheon, which got its name from the black bamboo forest surrounding the area. This is a memorial for Lee-yi, who was a child prodigy. He came in as the top scholar for the Imperial exam for 9 times (I would seriously die even if i need to sit for the exam for just 1 time, he came in top for 9 times!!!!) which gave him another name 구도장원공 (gu-do-jang-won-gong; 九度壯元公). He is also the guy whom you see on the 5000won note.
You can also find things about his mother, Shim Saimdang, a very well know artist, writer and calligraphist during her time. I have little knowledge about how to read calligraphy and what is considered nice, but it was said that her works are very gentle yet bold. If you are rich enough, you can see her everyday, because she is the face on the 50000won note (bet you guys don’t even know that there’s a female on the currency note).
I have no idea which bus goes to this place because I took a cab to this place. However, you can check with the tourist information counter, which both the train station and bus terminal has, and they can advise you well. The tourist information counter at the bus terminal is really good because they have officers that could speak either english or mandarin. I’m not exactly sure about the one at the train station because he was having lunch break when I arrived.
The house that Shim Saimdang had a dream and had Lee Yi, so they name this room 梦龙室 (the room which I dreamt about dragon).
These hanging up there are Lee Yi’s writings.
And the honourable mother Shim Saimdang
I also went to Gyeongpo-dae, a pavillion famous for viewing moon during the 15th day of the lunar month. But no I was not there at night despite being really close to the 15th. It’s a very beautiful place where you could just seat around and enjoy the music and views of the nature. Just opposite where the Pavilion is situated, its the Gyeongpoho Lake and the there’s pretty maple(?) trees around the perimeter of the lake. You can be there to enjoy cherry blossoms in april too!
You can take the bus 202 from the bus stop outside the bus terminal and it stops right outside the pavilion. You can also see Edison and gramophone museum 5 minutes walk from the pavilion too.
And sooooooo, that was what I saw in Gangneung. There are actually a lot more things to see in Gangneung so please don’t be like me!
Here’s some list:
– Memorial Park for Heo Gyun and Heo Nanseolheon
– Charmsori Gramophone and Edison Science Museum
– Seongyojang https://knsgj.net
– Chodang Tofu village (Where you get the eat the really traditional one)
There are also things like going to a market for seafood and all but I have no idea what are the names of the market.
So my trip to Gangneung was damn fail and I seriously wish to head back there again someday to really look at the things this beautiful place has to offer.