Travel Guide

Day Trips From Seoul: 24 Hours in Gangneung, Gangwon-do

Jonathan
November 6, 2023

Nestled along the picturesque east coast of South Korea, Gangneung is a coastal city renowned for its pristine beaches, rich cultural heritage, and fresh seafood. With its stunning landscapes, including the iconic Gyeongpo Beach and pine-clad hills, Gangneung offers a serene escape from the city life of Seoul. Visitors can explore historical sites like Ojukheon House and immerse themselves in the city's thriving café culture, making Gangneung a perfect destination for travelers seeking a harmonious blend of nature, culture, and food.

Gangneung, a coastal city in Gangwon-do, South Korea, offers a perfect day trip from Seoul. With its stunning beaches, rich cultural heritage, and delicious seafood, Gangneung has something for every traveler. Start your journey early, taking the KTX train from Seoul to Gangneung Station. Upon arrival, you can explore the picturesque Gyeongpo Beach, known for its pine forest and serene atmosphere.

Getting to Gangneung

For those eager to kickstart their day trip to Gangneung early, the first KTX train departs shortly after 5:00 AM from Seoul Station. However, to strike a balance between a leisurely start and maximizing your time in Gangneung, we recommend catching the 8:00 AM KTX train. This option allows you to arrive in Gangneung at around 10:00 AM, feeling refreshed and ready to explore.

Alternatively, travelers can opt for the bus departing from Dong Seoul Bus Terminal, which takes only about 20 minutes longer than the train (approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes). Both trains and buses operate on an hourly schedule, but it's important to note that tickets tend to sell out quickly on weekends, so consider booking your tickets in advance or arriving at the station or terminal early to ensure a seamless trip.

24 Hours in Gangneung

Coffee, History, and Nature (10:00 AM - 12:30 PM)

ojukheon house
Image Source: Visit Korea

After arriving at Gangneung Station, a quick taxi ride will take you to the Ojukheon House. Named for the abundant black bamboo (ojuk) that surrounds it, Ojukheon House is a must-visit attraction in Gangneung, celebrated for its natural beauty and historical significance. This site is the birthplace of Yulgok Yi-i, a renowned scholar from the Joseon dynasty whose portrait graces the 5,000 won Korean bill. Nearby, you can explore charming coffee shops and coffee labs, offering premium freshly brewed coffee and light snacks. Relax in the serene ambiance, and don't forget to visit the scenic Gyeongpo Ecological Reserve nearby.

📍 Ojukheon House: Google / Naver

A Walk Along the Coast  (12:30 PM - 2:30 PM)

gangmun sotdae bridge
Image Source: Visit Gangneung

After your visit to Ojukheon House, make your way to the Gangmun Sotdae Bridge, where you'll be treated to breathtaking vistas of the crystal-clear sea. As you continue your journey southeast along the coastline, you'll eventually arrive at Gangneung's renowned Cafe Street. This charming street is adorned with a delightful array of restaurants and cafes, providing the perfect opportunity for a light afternoon snack or a leisurely meal with a backdrop of the mesmerizing sea views. Enjoy the coastal ambiance and indulge in the city's culinary offerings as you take in the beauty of Gangneung's coastal charm.

📍 Gangmun Sotdae Bridge: Google / Naver

Zipline Over the Sea (2:30 PM - 3:30 PM)

gangneung zipline
Image Source: Visit Korea

At the end of Gangneung's Cafe Street, you'll find the Aranabi Zipline—an exhilarating attraction that allows visitors to soar across the bay and enjoy a mesmerizing bird's-eye view of the stunning coastline. This thrilling experience offers a unique perspective of Gangneung's coastal beauty, making it a memorable highlight of your day trip. Whether you're seeking adventure or simply want to marvel at the scenic wonders from above, the Aranabi Zipline promises an unforgettable and adrenaline-pumping adventure in the heart of Gangneung.

📍 Gangmun Sotdae Bridge: Google / Naver

Visit the Gangneung Art Museum (3:30 PM - 5:30 PM)

gangneung art museum
Image Source: 강릉관광개발공사

Venture further into the heart of the city and explore the Gangneung Art Museum, a cultural gem that not only showcases captivating artworks but also treats visitors to breathtaking views of Gangneung. Whether you're seeking a refuge from the summer heat or a spot to witness an early winter sunset, the museum offers a serene and inspiring retreat. Take your time to appreciate the artistic treasures within its walls and the panoramic cityscape beyond its windows, making it a perfect stop to unwind and immerse yourself in both culture and natural beauty during your day trip to Gangneung.

📍 Gangneung Art Museum: Google / Naver

Jungang Traditional Market (5:30 PM - 7:00 PM)

jungang market gangneung
Image Source: Visit Korea

On your return journey toward the heart of Gangneung, don't miss the opportunity to explore the vibrant Gangneung Jungang Market. This market is known for its cleanliness and spaciousness, offering a delightful array of food stalls, fresh seafood, and designated drinking areas. It's not only a fantastic place to savor local flavors and culinary delights but also an excellent spot to pick up souvenirs to commemorate your visit to Gangneung. Immerse yourself in the bustling atmosphere, sample regional specialties, and discover unique keepsakes that capture the essence of this charming coastal city.

📍 Gangneung Art Museum: Google / Naver


Walk by the Beach at Night (7:00 PM to 9:00PM)

gangmun beach night
Image Source: Ella's Pick

With a few precious hours remaining in your day trip to Gangneung, consider visiting one of the nearby beaches for a spectacular experience. Whether you're in the mood for mesmerizing fireworks or seeking tranquil sea views, Gangneung has you covered. Among the options, you can choose from the closest beaches like Gyeongpo, Gangmun, or Anmok Haebyeon, each offering fantastic nighttime vistas. These beachfront locations typically draw a lively crowd of visitors, creating a vibrant atmosphere that adds to the charm of your evening. Whether you prefer the excitement of fireworks or the serenity of gazing at the sea, spending your last hours at one of these beaches will undoubtedly be a memorable way to conclude your day in Gangneung.

📍 Gangmun Beach: Google / Naver

Getting Back to Seoul or Staying Out Late (After 10:30 PM)

The last trains and buses depart shortly after 10PM, so ensure you secure a seat before heading to the train station. Gangneung's nightlife varies with the seasons. During the summer, revelers often spend the night enjoying drinks and music by the beach. In cooler months, explore the vibrant restaurant and bar scene near Gangneung-Wonju National University or visit the popular pojang macha drinking tents close to Gangmun Beach.

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