Ganghwado Island is the fourth largest island in South Korea, after Jeju, Geoje, and Jindo. This island was a temporary capital during the Goryeo dynasty when Genghis Khan invaded Korea. Therefore, you can find spots that are relative to the Goryeo dynasty, which lasted from 918 to 1392. Moreover, since this island is one of the nearest rural islands from Seoul, the capital city, you can easily know what rural Korean islands look like. Now let’s dig in which experiences you can find out on this island.
How to get there
You can easily access this beautiful island by taking the bus for one and a half hours from the capital city Seoul. Take bus #3000 at the bus stop located between exit number 5 and 10 in Hapjeong station.
Experience 1: Ganghwa tourist platform
Ganghwa tourist platform, located in the tourist information center, is where you can earn experience of the historical island.
You can find this fabulous looking reception at the entrance. This is derived from the famous “Goryeo Cheongja”, which is traditional pottery during the Goryeo dynasty.
You can also try on Korean traditional clothing in this center. In this place, there is a small exhibition about the history, and culture of the Goryeo dynasty. You can try on the clothes that are exhibited. How do I look?
Address: Building B 3rd floor, Jungangsijang, 430, Ganghwa-daero, Ganghwa-eup, Ganghwa-gun
Open hours: 10 ~ 17 (Closed every Monday)
Experience 2: Sochang Fabric Experience Hall
Sochang means soft silk that is commonly used in diapers and baby blankets. There were 130 workshops at the peak, but now only 10 left, preserving the traditional way of spinning and waving. You can draw or write whatever you want on the silk. There are also cute stamps that you can seal on the silk.
Look at all the stamps with various kinds of animals and plants. I drew the text with red and yellow colors. It means “Even though you cut down all the flowers, spring comes anyway.”
Address: 8, Nammunan-gil 20beon-gil Ganghwa-eup, Ganghwa-gun
Open Hours: 10:00-18:00 (Closed every Monday)
Experience 3: Hwamunseok
Hwamunseok is handmade weaved sedge mats. It was first made during Goryeo dynasty. You can make your own little hwamunseok inside this room. Numberless sticks of sedges are served in front of you to weave hwamunseok. They have lots of colors, you can choose whatever you want.
What I hold is the result, which was made with the kit. You can buy this kit or larger ones that many people can lie down together. Since it’s handmade, larger ones are relatively more expensive than the ones that are fabricated by machine, you can feel the special texture that only can come from the handmade manufactures.
Experience 4: Luge Car
You can take Luge on Ganghwa Seaside Resort. In this resort, there are small cars called “Luge”. There is a track you can race inside the resort. With 40,000 won(33 dollars), you can ride luge 5 times. Even though you have to go up by gondola after you take the track, it is really fun to ride in this park!
Address: 217, Jangheung-ro, Gilsang-myeon, Ganghwa-gun
Open hours: 10 ~ 18 (Weekdays), 08:30 ~ 19:00 (Weekends)
There is also a restaurant near this park. You can have cold noodle made with wheat noodle, which is widespread in Korea. You can also ride a swing next to the restaurant!