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Guide to Gangwon, Korea

Introducing Gangwon-do

Population 1,600,000

Photo by Nicholas Heys

Gangwon-do is a bewitching region of mesmeric natural beauty. With 82% mountainous coverage, 212 kilometers of coastline, and a clutch of national parks, Gangwon-do is arguably Korea's most beautiful province. Geographically, it meets sea to the east, faces Seoul to the west, northwards is the DMZ, while Gyeongsangbuk-do and Chungcheonbuk-do lie due south and southwest.

The province is dominated by the massive Taebaek mountain range, backbone of the Korean peninsula, which soars through the region, brushing against ocean and sky, and carving out steep, dramatic coastlines. Craggy mountain peaks offer an atmospheric backdrop to burgeoning cities such as Wonju, Chuncheon, and Gangneung, places where you'll experience the warmest of welcomes from gracious locals!

Photos by Nicholas Heys

Highlights

Mount Seoraksan

Known as The Alps of Asia, Mount Seoraksan is Korea's most popular national park, an area of breathtaking national beauty that boasts dense forest, granite peaks, spectacular waterfalls and bubbling streams.

Mount Seoraksan

Photos by Jon Tamlyn

Skiing

Gangwon-do is serious skiing territory and home to some world class ski resorts. Ski season starts mid-November and local highlights include Vivaldi Park, open 24 hours and incorporating Ocean World, Yongpyong Resort, 700 meters above sea level and with extensive facilities from beginner to expert, and Phoenix Park, the real deal for hardcore snowboarders.

Oops

Photo by Jon Tamlyn

Gyeongpo beach

One of Gangwon-do's most famous and largest beaches is Gyeongpo in Gangneung, 240 kilometers from Seoul. This beach is unusual in that it sits right next to a lake. Legend has it that one can see the moon five times from Gyeongpo, in the sky, in the sea, in the lake, in the drinking glass, and in the eyes of a lover!

Major cities

  • Chuncheon - (pop. 260,000)
  • Donghae (pop. 105,000)
  • Gangneung (pop. 230,000)
  • Samcheok (pop. 75,000)
  • Sokcho (pop. 90,000)
  • Taebaek (pop. 50,000)
  • Wonju (pop. 300,000)

Next: Gyeongbuk